My First Love Was Not a Dark Lord of the Sith

I had my next blog post all planned out. No really. And then something happened that made me toss it out the window.

For secret reasons, The Other Lamm and I have been searching through boxes and boxes of old paperwork. It was unbearably tedious work, until he tossed me an old, deteriorating folder and said, “This looks like yours.” At first I didn’t recognize it. Then I opened it.

You know that feeling you get when you smell the musty scent of your grandmother’s basement again as an adult, or you find your mother’s panda-shaped cake mould that hasn’t been used since your fifth birthday, or you hear a song you used to wake up to every morning for the first time in years? That’s how I felt when I opened that old folder and found, among a collection of treasures from my childhood, the story I wrote the day I decided I wanted to write down stories for the rest of my life. All of a sudden, I remembered finding the book that drove me to it.

I saw it for the first time in my elementary school library. As a child, I had a secret love affair with dragons that my parents didn’t approve of (“too dark, Jodi; try collecting unicorns instead”), and this book’s cover had a fiercely beautiful dragon on it. It was love at first sight. Though I was much too young to understand the story completely, I devoured it. I even memorized where it was on the shelves so I could go back and read more the next day without checking it out and taking it home to my potentially disapproving parents. When I finally came to a scene that made me cry for the story’s villain, I decided I wanted to create a story, too. I folded paper into a little book and began to write. I imitated my secret love as best I could. I had just learned to read and write, but I was determined to make something as beautiful as that book. When I finished my first attempt, I moved on to the next. I haven’t stopped since.

Finding my little homemade book brought back the experience of getting lost in a story for the first time ever—how I treasured that well-worn library book like it was pure gold in my hands. So when people ask me who my first love was, even though I usually answer Darth Vader, the truth is my first love was Dragon of the Lost Sea by Laurence Yep. Darth Vader was second.

As soon as I have access to a good scanner, I’ll post a scan of my first efforts in an “About the Author” section of this website, so you can laugh with me at my atrocious spelling and awkward plot, and so you will believe me when I assure you that storytelling is something I have always done. It’s not a new hobby I’ll likely drop in a year or two; it’s part of who I am. And I am just so incredibly excited to finally be able to share it with you.

Why I Won’t Touch Time Travel with a Ten Foot Elder Wand

There are some things in writing I’d rather not touch. I’m not particularly fond of description that makes my stomach turn. Graphic abuse, torture, drowning kittens: things like that. And there are some things I won’t touch simply because I KNOW I will inevitably screw them up. One of those things is time travel.

The trouble with time travel is it’s a plot-hole magnet. No matter how careful or brilliant you are, you will dig a great big plot hole in any time travel story. Either that or your characters will have to be “too stupid to live” in order to make it work.

Even if you’re the most talented, awesome, lovable author in the world (let’s say… J.K. Rowling), and you’ve only included one little time-travel device in your world, you’ll most likely have a plot hole on your hands. Of course, J.K. Rowling is the Grand Empress of World-Building and the Immortal Overlord of Awesome Characters. She can overcome the time travel curse. But I can’t. At least, I don’t think I can.

So I’m not going to play with time travel. It’s too dangerous. Here, I’ll show you… What? You thought I came here without evidence? Never! I have evidence. Time travel is dangerous. Observe (it should be noted that all these reviews/videos contain spoilers for their respective films):

 

 

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/gcJcgpTqUgI%5D

 

Or just watch the movie Timecrimes and you’ll see what I mean.

Of course, mostly this post was just an excuse to share with you two awesome Harry Potter spoofs and my favorite reviewer of bad horror movies. Still…

I WILL NOT PLAY WITH TIME TRAVEL
I WILL NOT PLAY WITH TIME TRAVEL
I WILL NOT PLAY WITH TIME TRAVEL
I WILL NOT PLAY WITH TIME TRAVEL

How to Apply Pascal’s Wager to Publishing

[SPOILER ALERT: This post shares some secrets from the film, The Ring. If you haven’t seen it yet, go do so, and then come back here and tell me how awesome it was. You’re welcome.]

Blogging is not at all like riding a bicycle. You completely forget how to do it once you’ve stopped. Although, for someone like me, riding a bicycle is not at all like riding a bicycle either. So there’s that.

Still, not to be dissuaded, I asked The Other Lamm what I ought to write about in my new blog, and he said, “Why don’t you just write about writing? Or publishing?”

“But there are already a million blogs on writing and publishing,” I said.

“So?”

So I’ve decided to write what I know, and also what I don’t know, and also what I imagine I know but most likely don’t. The first question I should probably address is why I am choosing to self-publish.

To begin with, here’s something I learned about storytelling (not writing, since there is a difference): if no one gets to enjoy your stories, you’re doing it wrong. Storytelling is, remarkably, about telling stories. To other people. Of course, you can tell them to yourself, but you can do a lot of things to yourself and we all know what most people call that. So, yes, in order to tell stories, you have to find an audience, even if that audience consists of one slightly distracted person.

For years, I had no audience. I hid my stories in a dresser drawer (I didn’t need the space for clothes, being so fashionably unfashionable as I was). And maybe I escaped some humiliation by doing so—God knows I’m no A.S. Byatt—but there comes a time in most people’s lives when getting out there and risking humiliation is better than hiding in the dark. So I plan to step out into the light and suffer the usual bleary-eyed confusion until I’ve learned to adjust. Or not. Maybe I’ll never adjust. I don’t know, but I’m willing to try. And I’ve decided to try with Titan Magic.

Why self-publish? Because every story deserves the chance to be loved. I did introduce the manuscript to quite a few kind professionals who said it was attractive, well-mannered, and clever enough, but they just didn’t feel that marry-me-now spark of enthusiasm. Still, I thought, someone out there might love this story. And a story’s purpose is to be told.

So it’s settled. I’m going to tell you a story. If you don’t like it, I will cry bitter, bitter tears. If you take some enjoyment in it, I will dance the dance of the supremely happy. And if you fall in love with it, I will consider you a kindred spirit and adore you forever.

Now I know there are a lot of people who say self-publishing fiction is a terrible idea, and they may be right. I may be sabotaging myself. On the other hand, what if my characters are like Samara from The Ring? What if they can only exist in the minds of others, and if I don’t pass them on, they’ll crawl out of my book like proper Japanese ghosts and terrify me to death? Huh? Has anyone thought about that? I mean, on the one hand, I could get some bad reviews, but on the other, I could SCREAM UNTIL I DIE. Not a difficult choice, as far as I’m concerned.

And that’s why I’ll be publishing Titan Magic through Amazon and B&N this fall.