It is fantastic.
This issue includes four stories and five poems, each of them unique and beautiful.
Table of Contents:
The Curse of the Reaper’s Wife
The Language of Flowers
The Orphean Habit
The House That Did Not Breathe
I’m going to resist the urge to talk a bit about each piece here because, really, if I’m going to editorialize (and I’m not) I should do that in Niteblade not my personal blog. Still, it is a fantastic issue. I think everyone reading for it, from the slush readers to Alexa and myself, were super selective and aiming for beautiful language and something unique in the story. I look at our line up and there are no poems, no stories that make me go “Well…”. When Jo was doing the layout and asked me, as he usually does, “Which is your favourite story?” followed by “Which is your favourite poem?” it was not an easy question to answer. That, I think, is a pretty damn good indicator of quality, which is totally what we are striving for at Niteblade.
While I think all the work in this issue are fantastic and very much worth reading I am especially proud of our production team for this issue. There were so many things going on in the background, any single one of which could have legitimately kept us from being able to put this issue out on time, but they didn’t. There were family deaths, horrible sicknesses, ill pets and fewer slush readers than usual and we still managed to make it work. Go us!
On a completely unrelated note — NaNoWriMo.
When I first did NaNoWriMo it really was a challenge for me and I struggled and sacrificed to make it to the finish line. Then, with practice and some changes in my life (ie: giving up my other jobs), NaNo became really quite easy. Just this thing I did. The most difficult part was running NaNoLJers during it, and then, when Arnold took over that for me, cheering on my teammates on Team Calliope and, this year, Team Thalia. This year though, this year it was a challenge again.
I am depressed these days and pretty low on energy to begin with so juggling dealing with my Mom’s death, Indiana’s sickness, Niteblade and NaNoWriMo in addition to everything else in my day-to-day life was pretty tricky. But I did it. And I am so proud of myself for that
One way I managed to reach my word count each day was by using the Write or Die desktop edition with the backspace key disabled. That helped push me toward my word goal but it also resulted in a very, very messy manuscript. I would start to write something and mess it up somehow and, because I couldn’t use my backspace I would just put my cursor behind the screwed up word and hit enter a few times to get it out of my face. For example, I’ve copied and pasted the following directly out of my mss:
er :I think
coo a in
e Cal Sanda sa
‘I t e jo
faz v she lovere lowever
I also wrote in Kamikaze mode, which meant if I stopped writing, it would start deleting my words. Most of the words at the end of the manuscript looked a lot like the gibberish you see above this, but still, they were words and I didn’t want to lose them. So when I got stuck for a word or a phase I wanted to use, I wouldn’t really stop to think about what I wanted to say, I would just write a note for myself and keep going. The same thing if I realised I’d written something contradictory or perhaps forgotten something important (ie: suddenly the MC is holding a torch when there hadn’t been any torches anywhere around three paragraphs before). Some of that resulted in some amusing notes for myself. Like these:
“You’ll be fine,” he replied, and VERBED the cover into place.
Left alone in his room, *** I DON”T WANT TO WRITE THIS SCENE RIGHT NOW ***
he hoped that wasn’t going to be seen as WORD but
***THIS CHANGES, RIGHT?***
*** THIS IS DUMB, DUDE HEARD HIM TAKE THAT OFF TEH WALL AND HE”S NOT A MORON. CUT G ***
***DAMN IT, WRONG POV. RWArR. YES. RWArR!*** (my backspace key was disabled for these notes to myself too, so… typos!)
*** CHECK AND SEE WHAT SHE”S ACTUALLY WA WEARING LOL ***
“Are you ready?”
“Ready for what?” ***GOOD QUESTION***
and my personal favourite:
her voice, cold as *** SOMETHING THAT ISN”T ICE ***
Ahhh… good times
This novel isn’t finished and it’s my plan to complete it before I move on to anything else, but one of the wonderful parts about writing everyday is that it becomes a habit and then it’s easier. What’s more, it opens my mind and I feel my creative juices flowing easier and more freely than usual. While working on this novel I had three separate epiphany-type moments about how to fix the problems in some of my other novels (Hollow Children, Twixt and Shadows). I intend to keep Shadows in my drawer despite my idea for its improvement (at least for now) but I’m super excited about the possibilities for the other two stories.
As for November Poem a Day? I fell behind early and never managed to catch up however, those prompts aren’t going anywhere so I’m just going to keep working through them outside of November. Because I can.