Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson


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My Playlist

If you’ve been following along, you know I wrote a novel that’s been workshopped in Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars contest. My story takes place behind the scenes on a rock band’s road tour. It features roadies! rock stars! women in the industry! managers! fans! models, Irish wolfhounds, load-in, load-out, backline techs, tour buses, hotels, extravagance, heartbreak, heartache, lies, deception, true love’s first kiss… and oh, yeah, music. Even though I can’t share the music in my mind from my pretend rock band, I can share the real-world music pivotal to the story.

Each of the primary characters have their own theme songs. My main characters get two each, just because. Continue reading

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Exchanging Original Fiction

I’m putting out feelers here…

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about setting up an original fiction exchange. I’ve done a lot of fanfic exchanges and they’re great, but I’m wondering how to work an exchange for original short stories.

Would any of you be interested in that kind of exchange? There are many ways to run it–I’d want to take the time to figure out the best way (probably a prompt fill)–so if you have ideas, interest, or questions, please leave a comment.


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Smashing Writer’s Block

Generally, I don’t believe in writer’s block. Because I’m self-critical, I look at it as just being lazy. By now, though, I ought to know myself well enough to understand that when the words aren’t flowing–when they feel like pulling teeth–it’s because I’m forcing the writing. I know how it feels to write with sheer joy. I know how it feels to love every nuance and every new plot twist.

Today, I had a terrible day on a personal level. It wasn’t what I wanted at all. I didn’t get a chance to do any writing, I’m exhausted, I’ve been attending to unexpected but necessary things, and all I wanted to do was come home to write. When I finally got home, did I write? No, not unless email counts.

BUT.

As I was sitting here feeling exhausted, it was EPIPHANY TIME. Not only did I finally acknowledge that I was forcing the issue, I unlocked the key to making the book so much better than it already is.

Now I’m excited. Now I can set my alarm and get up in the morning eager to write. All it will take is a little bit of plotting and planning, and I’ll be good to go.


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It Only Takes 100 Words

I used to run a prompt-based community called 100 Word Stories on LiveJournal. Every other week I’d leave a prompt — usually a word or a short phrase — and open things up for members. The only caveat was that the finished piece had to be exactly 100 words in length. It could be original fiction, fanfiction, or even poetry, as long as it told a story in 100 words.

Often, I think about that community. There’s a definite art form to telling tales in limited word count. Maybe I’ll open it up again, or start a new one here on WordPress. Would anybody be interested in participating if I do? Participation would never be mandatory, and stories can be left (and commented on) in comments.

What do you think?


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When Querying is like Cooking

Ask any writer how fun it is to send out query letters. You’ll probably get a blank stare that means the words “query letter” and “fun” don’t belong in the same sentence. We agonize over those letters, trying to perfect them and make them intriguing while keeping them professional. It’s like juggling double-ended knives.

It’s like giving someone an open invitation to stomp on your dreams.

BUT.

(Oh no, I just broke all the rules of grammar at once! A sentence beginning with a conjunction. A fragment. A single-word sentence. A single-sentence paragraph! Improper capitalization!)

Learning to craft a query letter has been such a great experience! I participated in several Twitter pitch contests earlier this year. While I’ve decided to step back from those for the time being, they were invaluable for several reasons. First, I made a lot of great connections with other writers as a result. Second, I learned to distill my story to its core.

Producing a good query letter is just a different kind of story-cooking magic. It’s the equivalent of inviting someone in while you’re baking chocolate chip cookies: the place smells great and the idea of the treat to come is so enticing your guest can’t wait for more.

A synopsis, on the other hand, is like getting a taste of the cookie… but only one bite of that hot gooey delicious melted chocolate chip. If your guest wants more they need to ask for the whole cookie, not just one taste.

Since I enjoy cooking and following recipes while making them my own, I’m taking a similar approach to sending out query letters. Not every recipe will be a hit, but one of them surely will. There’s a perfect literary meal in there somewhere, and I’ll dish it up one of these days.