Category Archives: Guest Blogs

Guest Post #2 — K.B. Wagers Sick and Twisted

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I’ve only known K.B. for a few months now. We share several mutual friends on LiveJournal who had apparently been meaning to introduce us for a long time, but never did. I ended up introducing myself to K.B. after stalking perusing her journal for a bit. Boy am I ever glad I did that because she is everything I love my friends to be — crazy, opinionated, intelligent, funny, geeky. If you like all of those things as well, I suggest you do as I did and stalk her. She can usually be found haunting the halls of Black Ink, White Paper or LiveJournal.

I am a sick writer. I am a spiteful writer. I am an unattractive writer. I believe my liver is diseased.

*laughs* Okay, not really. (and my apologies to Fydor Dostoyevsky for stealing the opening of Notes from the Underground)

I am, however, a mean writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my characters, but given half a chance I will destroy them. I will maim them, break them, kill their loved ones, burn down their houses, and run over their puppies. (Okay, I might be lying about the puppies.)

You’d think I write horror the number of times my characters get beaten up, shot, stabbed, killed, brought back to life, and killed again. I’ve broken bones, set characters on fire, and cut their throats. That’s all just the tip of the violence iceberg. Psychologically I’m even more sadistic. To date I’ve killed more than a handful of loved ones, made characters watch their significant other die, forced them to fall in love with their enemies, questioned their ethics, pushed their morals, and turned them into traitors.

It’s so much fun. *grins*

Before you call the authorities, I have a very good reason for this. See, I’m endlessly (some would say obsessively) fascinated with what happens to a person at rock bottom. Where do you turn when there’s nothing left for you? What do you believe in when all your faith is stripped away?

I’m less interested in the mundane, mid-level crises that people can face – lost jobs, break-ups, things like that don’t attract nearly as much interest from me as the endless plummet into a pit of despair.

The good news is that my characters recover (mostly) from their ordeals. It makes them stronger (usually) and gives them the tools they need to overcome whatever challenge happens to be in their way. They’re normally only slightly cracked and broken in the process, though I have progressed in a few cases to exploration of out-right insanity.

I said I was mean. I honestly can’t help it.

If you’re a reader, what’s the worse thing you’ve seen happen to a character? If you’re a writer, what’s the most awful thing you’ve done to your characters?

Guest Post #1 – Elizabeth a.k.a. LizzieBelle

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I have known Elizabeth for many years. Not only is she smart, funny, and a great friend, but she’s also a great writer and photographer. She can be found on LiveJournal or view her wonderful photographs at her Flickr account or her PhotoBlog.

I’ve always been a storyteller, since before I can remember. When I was little, I had three (count ‘em!) imaginary friends, and I would make up adventures for the four of us. I I would draw pictures of our adventures, and when I learned to write, I would make little books full of fabulous (or so I thought) stories. Being the eldest child (and one of the older kids in the neighborhood), I usually directed our group play. I was always Peter Pan (I grew up with Mary Martin as Peter, so that wasn’t too unusual), the ringmaster, the wicked witch; whichever role was the most prominent, or most dramatic.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve made up stories in my  head when I went to bed. They’d be little movies, often playing out over several consecutive nights, and often with sequels and prequels to follow.

Even when I wasn’t actively writing fiction, I was always a storyteller. Writing Wiccan rituals, sharing stories around a campfire, even in my jobs in sales, I was weaving a narrative, telling a story, connecting with others through the power of words.

A few years ago, I got more serious about writing. I gathered up all the half-written stories I had stowed away in notebooks and on hard drives, and took a good hard look at what I had. A few themes stood out, but I was struggling to find a voice. When I finally figured out that I was writing the way I thought I was supposed to, instead of how I really wanted to, it was like a dam broke. I started writing to please myself instead of a mythical reader, and the words flowed much more easily.

My favorite form is flash fiction: a quick, short story, written all at once and in under half an hour. Something self-contained, a little vignette sparked by something I’d see or hear. I’m  really at my best when I can get down even the bones of a story right when I have the idea. I’m not the kind of person who can sit at a keyboard for hours every day, working a story over and over. My attention span is just not that long!

A while back, though, I had a germ of an idea that threatened to become something more than just a short, self-contained little story. The original idea was sparked by a customer placing an ad for her condo (I work at a newspaper), and the main character sprung nearly fully-formed in my head. My first thought was to write a series of linked short stories, as more ideas for this character and her situation came to me.

I finally resigned myself to the fact that only a novel would do this story justice, and had to start nearly from scratch in order to weave all the elements together. That was really tough at first, but once I got started, it actually became easier than writing a series of separate stories. I had little notebooks with snippets and ideas and names. I sat down at my computer, ready to tell this character’s story. I knew what was going to happen, and when, and even where.

Something just wasn’t working, however. I wasn’t getting across this character’s voice and personality, which was so clear in my head. I decided that the problem was point-of-view: I had to tell this in first person in order to properly present my character’s little quirks. I really didn’t want to do this, but it seemed the only way. So I started all over again, nearly from scratch. Again.

I’m making progress on my story, and as long as I dedicate time to writing away from the internet and other distractions, I know I can finish it. The hard part isn’t writing, it’s staying focused. I have a lot of respect for writers who can sit and write every single day, for hours at a time. The key, I suppose, is to really want it. I will always have stories in me, and I must have discipline in order to keep telling them.