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Life Rage: This Writer Is Going H.A.M.

Disclaimer: This post contains a heated rant of one extremely repressed writer. If you do not wish to join me on my angry rant, please refer to this adorable video of a Bengal cat playing fetch.

Let me start with the fact that I am naturally an angry person, but a happy angry person. Although that may seem like an oxymoron, it honestly isn’t. You can find me in most situations as an encouraging, optimistic person, who is always will to please others before pleasing herself. But when something angers me, it’s sometimes best to step aside and let the tornado run its course from a safe distance.

My boyfriend is, at times, on the receiving end of my anger, not for something he has done wrong, but by being a spectator in my path of destruction. Sometimes my only healthy source of relieving stress is writing, which leads us to my life rage. From annoying pests to driving in the car, my rage runs deep and true. I welcome any comments: agreeing with the few I’ve listed here, listing some of your own, and even your points for disagreement. All are welcome.

Ants- I want to assure the animal-conscious readers that I don’t willingly loathe any living creature, but ants make it difficult to be humanitarian about the whole “invading my home and bringing diseases onto every surface” situation. Besides the fact that there are 1.5 million ants for each human, a queen can make a million a day. I’m personally not worried about extinction when the below species have made themselves basically invincible.

The bulldog ant will follow you from a meter away, and they’re responsible for deaths every year in Australia. Or how about the Safu or killer ant, who causes elephants to flee before them in addition to having jaws that stay locked into your skin even after the ant is torn off.

These two pale in comparison to the sheer terror I felt last week when I had dozens of big, black carpenter ants swarming my kitchen over night. The physical danger is minimal, I’ll admit. However, the emotional and psychological trauma of finding your home overrun with these invaders is beyond the 1-10 pain scale can categorize.

How did they get in? Why did they chose my home to ransack? And how do I get rid of them? These questions raced through my mind as I ran from one end of the kitchen to the other to catch these greedy, fast-moving pests. The chaos following bordered on apocalyptic proportions. As the lady of the house, I failed miserably inside my head. If I can’t protect my kitchen from these invaders, then how will I make our home, a home? It seems silly to think of a few ants as an invasion, but it angered me to my core. Luckily, the magic of Pintrest allowed me to take back my thunder, restoring my kitchen to its pest-free glory.

Being called Mandy-This one is a simple issue. My name is Amanda. Not Mandy Not Mandie. Amanda. Please don’t call me Mandy because that’s not my name. You can call me Manda, Manders, Manda Panda, Amanda-kiss-n-hug, Manda-lin, etc. It’s less about particularities of my personality, and more about common courtesy. Why do people insist on addressing me by a different version of my name without knowing me or my preferences? It’s like calling someone Bill before they have a chance to tell you they prefer their given William. Just ask if someone has a preferred name before you rudely assume you are best friends and can call people whatever you want.

People who don’t say goodbye on the phone-Another courtesy issue (oh, there are so many) that I’m bothered by at work. As a customer service rep, it is a daily struggle to find common, American etiquette in other people. Please, please, please say good-bye before you hang up the phone. It is the courteous way to let the person on the other line know the conversation is over. Just do it, so I don’t have to wait on the line like a douchebag for another 5+ seconds hoping you’re going to hang up on me. Ugh!

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Writer Rage:

Writers against editors-My only coherent response is—STOP BEING SO PRETENTIOUS! My non-coherent response is rjsdjftjjfdjft.  Translation: I feel an extra special disappointment for all writers who choose to snub an editor. It makes no logical sense to discredit a tried and true aspect of the writing/publishing process. To disregard the input of an editor both in a professional situation and in general conversation is to cheat your characters from reaching their full potential.

Regardless of whether the editor is a friend, stranger, or world-famous, his/her opinions matter. The occupation of editor strives on bringing out the best in the story no matter the cost. It’s not about personal preference or what HAS to be in the book. The editor doesn’t care about the writer’s feelings because it’s not their job to make sure you’re happy. The editor worries about the characters, the overall story and of course, the reader.

Sure, as a writer you should begin every piece writing it for yourself. Yet, if you so choose to publish then it becomes a less selfish act of sharing your personal thoughts and experiences with others. By handing your precious composition off to a trusted source (the editor), you allow your story to be scrutinized and elevated to a level of completeness you couldn’t have imagined. In addition, it helps lend credibility to your work when you don’t have glaring grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, or giant plot holes. Editors are a writer’s friend. They give you the unbiased, critical support your story needs when you get too close. Gah!

So, there is my current life rage. There are many more, which I chose to save for another post, and instead I will show off my newly painted cell phone case, which happens to be modeled after my rather snazzy new domain/brand-The Spotted Writer. I feel like I am on my way towards success with a little piece of merch to go with my blog. Check it out!

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Happy Reading/Writing!

 

 

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June 21, 2014 · 1:23 am

A Halloween Homage to the King

As a belated Halloween post, I thought that paying homage to the Master of Horror, Stephen King, seemed fitting for one of his constant readers. Maybe not consistent in the amount of books I have read over time, but definitely in my dedication to his work.  It was only after reading this wonderful post What Stephen King Isn’t by Joshua Rothman from The New Yorker that I truly realized why I love Stephen King so fiercely.

He is not simply one of the best American horror writers to earn his way onto the shelves and into the Kindles of thousands of people. King is one of the best American authors of our time, and to the dismay of plenty of critics, I am not the only one to think so. Although book sales cannot always tell you the quality of an author’s writing,  how does one deny the 60 awards won over a forty year period and over 350 million books sold? With three bibliography pages on Wikipedia: one for novels and collections, one for his individual short stories, and one for his unpublished works, you can imagine how hard this amazing man has been burning the midnight oil to make his masterpieces.

So someone in the world has felt the good sense to keep publishing him to build a colossal fan base of what? Horror fans? Speculative fiction maybe to generalize? He gets the nick name Master of Horror, but to his constant readers he is so much more than the author of spine-tingling supernatural thrillers that defy the laws of the known universe.

In the recent interview with Parade magazine (which I fervently read through at my parent’s kitchen table), King reiterates my point, “I’ve been typed as a horror writer, and I’ve always said to people, “I don’t care what you call me as long as the checks don’t bounce and the family gets fed.” But I never saw myself that way. I just saw myself as a novelist” (A Rare Interview with Master Storyteller Stephen King). He doesn’t see himself as anything more than man with a story (or hundreds) that he hopes to share with people who will love them as much as he does.

As a “greenie” to the world of Stephen King, I feel in love with his ability to write anything and everything. He has earned the right to at this point in his career, which not many contemporary authors can claim because let’s face it- if  you get one good book that’s mildly popular that is a success. For King, he has made miracles come from the imagination that has inspired dozens of movie and television show adaptations including recent ones like Under the Dome and Haven.

Besides the horror elements that made his initial stories famous, King transcends all genre as you will read in Joshua Rothman’s post. I will let him describe the SK phenomena in his own way, but I will touch upon it in my short review of two of King’s recent books.

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Joyland is a refreshing breath of carnie air, complete with the lingering scent of salty sea air and stale popcorn. King, as if on cue, finds the perfect story to bring the best parts of summer bliss back into our lives. Who doesn’t want teenage romance, a forlorn female ghost, and a crew of lovable amusement park employees that treat the “greenies” or new employees with a little rough and tough love? I do! And after reading Joyland (and other pieces) I could never imagine King as JUST a horror writer. In some ways, it limits readers to view him only as a writer of killer clowns and raging, possessed cars. Joyland has some gruesome scenes, but nothing that screams horror.

Instead, I felt myself pining for the romance he was building slowly with the subtle actions of the characters and unique, direct style of his writing. And let me tell you, I did NOT anticipate or hope for romance in a book with murder, amusement parks, and ghosts, but King made me want it. The main character, Devin Jones, is 21, and like any young adult thinks of love even without trying. King  leaves the characters to do most of the work, and yet his ideas if tried by anyone else would turn out as a hodgepodge of genres that should never belong together.

Joyland is a blast from the past that combines the yearning of a romance, the deduction of a murder mystery, and the subtlety of a supernatural story that will leave any reader laughing or crying by the end. It is a quintessential King novel because it uses the supernatural to elevate the truth of the human psyche. He knows what we want to read, and writes the story we need to hear. Most importantly, King is in the business of selling fun!

I finished Joyland about a week ago, on audiobook, which is well worth the money, the reader is FANTASTIC! Afterwards, I was so inspired that I went back to 11/22/63 that had been out for two years, and I was about 50 pages from the end. It took me two years to read this monster of a book because it was characteristically long for King books, but even more so because I didn’t want to know the end.

King introduces an age old question of what would happen if someone could go back in time and CHANGE history. It’s difficult to understand time travel in a theoretical sense; add a lovable main character with a hero complex and presto you have the makings of a wonderfully adventurous. 11/22/63 is another of King’s recent works that succeeds with a believable love story-of an English teacher from 2011 and a librarian of the 50s. Is there boat loads of gore and supernatural elements? Well, sure. You can’t have time travel without the repercussions, but what is really comes down to is a well-written, well-researched historical novel that uses the best imagination in all of us to answer what would happen if someone went back in time and saved John F. Kennedy.

There’s hope, guilt, history, patriotism, and an overwhelming feeling that just once everyone lives (ten points for any blogger who points out where that phrase is from). In the end, King wraps up the story as though there is no other way it could have ended. The balance of the world is restored, and the reader, who has ridden on this whirlwind of a story, is faced with one honest, human reality. The past has a nasty way of happening no matter what you do to change it. Instead of trying to fix it, sometimes the best way to change the past is to learn why it happened.

In the collective ten hours over the past week that it took to research and write this post, I have fallen more in love with King and his writing than before. I spent all yesterday and today watching videos  of this ordinary man, and found a foul-mouthed, experienced writer that simply loves books.  I won’t try to place him on a pedestal, but the man deserves credit for everything he’s done. Not only that, he has stayed the same humble, book worm that picked up Lord of the Flies and landed in a fictional world that he has never left.

To me, Stephen King is more than a popular author, more than a very successful author. He is the hope that my ideas, my imagination can mean something to someone else if I work hard enough. He transcends genre by combining elements and characters that no one else could make work. He believes in his stories, in the ideas that come to him in the motel, the drive home, or in a dream. Stephen King represents the dreams of every writer to be more than the picture on the book jacket. A man that is willing to read 50 shades of gray and find something positive to say about it, has to be brilliant or a complete psycho. Either way, I suggest if you haven’t given the King a chance–try again. Ask me for suggestions, check out his website and find something that interests you. There are hundreds of stories to choose from, and King does not discriminate genre. He has a little bit of everything for the reader willing to open him/herself to be captivated by this everyday, extraordinary author.

P.S. There is a website that uses a statistical analysis tool to analyze your word choice, writing style and compares it to famous authors. Out of the five chapters I placed in this statistical tool, 3/5 came back as Stephen King. If that isn’t proof of how influential he is not only in my current manuscript, but my writing in general, I don’t know what is.

If you feel compelled to put each chapter of your current WIP, blog post, or journal–the link is below:

http://iwl.me/

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

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November 7, 2013 · 12:20 am