Bullshit! That's the first word that popped into your head, right? Or, baloney! Or, nonsense! Choose your sophistication level. More, here is a scimitar. HACK OFF MY HEAD! Because who am I to dare to say this! No one. Carry on. Go somewhere else. I don't even know why you're still reading. What is wrong with you, poppet? Didn't you read everywhere that outlining a novel is a must? Oh, you must not lose yourself in the jungle of your thinking! Oh, you must not let the creative wander, you must contain it, organize it, channel it, for fuck's sake! This is how writers write, they stick to the outline! They must know how the book ends before beginning it! They must not stray from the road of the story! They must not... Yeah, yeah, yeah. I heard all that. I'm sure you heard it too. And I read about it. And I totally outlined my first trilogy. TOTALLY. Like, 3 whole times. I reoutlined my outlines, even. Gee, talk about being thorough. Now, my 2nd novel, I wrote without an outline. I thought I was crazy, but I simply didn't feel like it. It was more fun just to plunge into the mess and swim in it. Or drown in it. Anyway. With my 3rd novel I got sorta stuck, at first. I wrote the 1st shitty draft, wanted to puke at it when I reread it, and now I'm finishing the 2nd draft, and I hacked it to pieces and restitched it and added a whole another layer and am changing the ending and I was so scared and doubted myself so much that I thought, SHIT. I should've outlined this beast. But. Here is something to ponder.Read More
So. There are things you know. There are things I know. We all know some things. Some, we don't. We write by pulling stuff out of those things we know. Because we think, since we know, this is how it's supposed to be done. But it isn't. The more I read, the more it gets under my skin. It's not about knowing, it's about not knowing. UNKNOWING. There are no rules. Rules stem out of fear. We see a book. We see it sells well. We buy it. We read it. We try to learn from it. We think, hey, if this sells, if this writer wrote it like this, I will try the same. It's safe, to try it. Like that. Isn't it? If someone with a big name did it, I can do it too, right? Well, that's where trouble starts. You begin your writing career by mistrusting yourself, by ignoring your instincts. Because someone big out there, someone famous and important, did it the other way. Or someone not necessarily big and important, but whose book you liked. Doesn't matter. What matters is, you get locked into this pattern of self-hate. Why? Because of course you can't write like that someone.
You're NOT THAT SOMEONE. You're YOU. And you start rejecting everything you ARE, for everything you want to BE, while who you are, suffers. Bleeds. Big time. It can't create. You won't let it.Read More
I've been asked a lot lately by various folks in various online places for advice on how to start writing a novel, how to write a novel, how to finish the beast once you started. Some people told me that they referred beginning writers to my blog, so this post is for you, for those of you who always wanted to write a novel but never got around to it, or maybe were afraid, or maybe didn't have time, or for some other reason couldn't. I will attempt to summarize my writing process into one blog post, so in a sense you will be reading a sort of a satirical piece on how writing works, because of course it's impossible to cram into one single post the entire book writing process, but I will make it fun and, with luck, it will bring down those barriers that gird your mind and prevent you from getting started. I can guarantee you one thing though. If you have 1 hour free right now, like, RIGHT NOW, and if you get out your pen and paper or your laptop or whatever your preferred writing tools are (perishable papyrus, anyone?) and you do everything I tell you to do here, you will start writing your book this very minute. Got it? Great. Ready? Here we go.Read More
I must share this with you. Writing IRKADURA, my 3rd novel, has been quite a trip. I thought I know what I'm doing. Oh my God! I'm writing my 3rd book! Holy shit, I'm so fucking experienced! Turns out, I know nothing. I've gone through periods of loving it, hating it, wanting to share it with the whole world, wanting to burn my laptop in the oven, wanting to quit writing altogether, then deciding not to, adding a whole magical realism layer to the 2nd draft, rearranging chapters out of order, spending up to 9 hours writing 2K words when my normal writing speed is about 3K words in 4 hours, and on, and on, and on. I do know that whatever it takes, I will finish it, but man, I tell you, one thing I learned is that I don't want to go back to my past, I'm over it. One of the biggest problems I'm having is forcing myself to go back to that time when I was a runaway, when I was 17 and pregnant and not knowing where I would live and what would happen, when the country around me crumbled, people were shot in the streets, buildings were on fire, governments kept changing, pensioners were protesting and waving Soviet flags in hopes that communism can come back and Stalin can straighten everything out, gays were persecuted, Jews were hated, as was anyone not white and not of Russian blood, people lost homes and their life savings overnight. I must catch my breath here, there is so much, it won't fit into one blog post, and a lot of it is still prevalent today.Read More
I know I promised people to write about my Russian literature influences, like what books inspired me to write, what authors, and someone asked for a post on how to write ABOUT ME blurbs. I will get to it, I swear, but something else bubbled to the surface today, something that I want to share, to help those of you who are like me, unsure of themselves as artists, stumbling in the dark, wanting to share their art and not quite having enough courage to step forward, into the light, and say it as they want to say it, afraid of judgement, afraid to be themselves, like I often am, and therefore to those who withhold their true creations, ashamed, perhaps, or perhaps thinking their writing is so utterly ugly and horrible and shallow and not worthy of anyone's time that they never dare. I've been there, I'm still there, I'm slowly climbing out, and I learned one big lesson today that will help me get better, and hopefully I can condense it into one blog post to help you too, to give you a hand. Hold on to my hand, together we can create art the way WE want to, the way WE feel, the way WE want to share it with others, no matter what anyone might tell us.Read More