The Magicians

image

Okay, okay. I know I said I was going to do mostly indie authors on Friday. I am going to do mostly indie authors on Friday. But Lev Grossman’s third book just came out, and you know where that leaves me.

Well, I hope you do, at least. That would be reading Lev Grossman’s third book.

So I decided it might behoove me to take a minute and talk about them a little. These books– The Magicians trilogy — are not only a worthwhile read, but what they do as fantasy novels is noteworthy.  Not so much for the writing– which is interesting, if only because I’m not sure words like ‘palimpsest’ and ‘lulz’ would belong in the same story anywhere else–but for the way people have reacted to them.

If you want some good genre-based entertainment, read the reviews for The Magicians on Amazon or Goodreads. Some of this I blame on poor marketing– NYT reviewed The Magicians as a ‘Harry Potter for adults’, which it most certainly is not– but a lot of it, I feel, pinpoints how comfortable people have become with those predictable YA different-but-better themes, and how much, especially in fantasy, they crave them.

The negative reviews fall mainly into two categories. One, of course, is along the lines of ‘OMG LOLZ STEELS FRUM NARNIA TOO MUCH LOLZ!!!11one’. These don’t interest me too much. I suspect their writers belong to a class of people who hear the word ‘satire’ and wonder if that’s something you can take while having more than three drinks per day. Yes, Grossman’s Fillory is a lot like Narnia. This is thoroughly intentional. He isn’t even making fun of CS Lewis, not really, as much as he’s appropriating the concept as a way to define fantasy and magic as escapism– escapism that, honestly, doesn’t always help you escape.

The other category–more worrying to me–is the people who call the books badly written (which, all right, I can get–see earlier comment about ‘palimpsest’ and ‘lulz’), but claim, above all, that they are not actually fantasy novels, because (le gasp!) they are intended for adults.

Excuse me, what?

These comments make sweeping generalizations about fantasy as a genre. They’re generalizations that are, sadly, mostly true. Most of the best fantasy IS written for young adults. Of course it is. Who needs a world of escape, where magic can happen and a suitably plucky narrator can become king or queen of a small country with ease, quite like a fourteen year old kid? You’re old enough to find your family like totally boring, but not old enough to drive and get away from them. You’re old enough to like the opposite sex, but not quite old enough to go beyond kissing and over-the-clothes clandestine fondling beneath the bleachers. You need, in essence, a way to escape from the pubescent C-4 of your own emerging personality into a world where things always wind up how they’re supposed to, and you have power over your own destiny. Because, when you can’t count on yourself to stay the same day after day, you crave these things.

What Grossman does, essentially, is take this theme to the next grade level. In The Magicians, his narrator Quentin is roughly college-aged–I think he runs from about 17-23 in the course of the book, but I wouldn’t swear on it– and his problems are college problems, peppered with the occasional f-bomb and none-too-slick cultural reference to prove it. He wants the same things he got from fantasy books as a child from actual magic–not only escape, but escape to a world where everything is fair and explainable, where his fate is writ large from the book of his own actions.

Quentin, like all good fantasy main characters, doesn’t really know who he is or where he belongs. He steps out of gray Brooklyn and into the boarding schoolesque magic of Brakebills, and he’s happy at first, but then shit starts to get real. Even a magical school isn’t what Quentin expects magic to be. Quentin–raised on the Fillory novels just as a lot of us were raised on Narnia or Lord of the Rings–has to learn the hard way that there is no full escape from trouble, no full escape from your own emotional issues. Even in a Narniaesque fantasy world, your actions have real consequences and the person you’re left going to sleep with at the end of the day is yourself.

However, sometimes you don’t have a great golden lion to step in and put you on the right track. Sometimes you make the wrong decision. And then–then, my dears, all you’ve got is damage control.

I wish I saw this lesson in more fantasy. Even when they’re crowning you King of Gondor, even when you’ve defeated He Who Shall Not Be Named, you’re still the same fucking human being. Heroism doesn’t engulf and change you like a bright cleansing light. Someone’s still slept with your girlfriend–or maybe you’ve slept with somebody else’s. Or maybe both. And these things aren’t separate from saving Middle fucking Earth. They’re a part of your world, the only world you know. Wherever that world may be.

Also: just because you went to college and graduated with honors doesn’t mean getting a real job will be easy.

Grossman deals with themes of escapism, elitism, the protection and arrogance of youth. I know, that’s a few more isms than I’m usually inclined to, but for me at least these ARE the themes of life in your twenties, of growing up and discovering that you can’t just run from your problems, because they are suddenly actually your problems and not your parents’, teachers’, or friends’. And Grossman deals with these themes just as well–better, actually–than most YA fantasy deals with those old high school themes of not belonging and finding your own ‘special powers’. The thing that makes him special–more special than a lot of people who write in similar theme in different genre–is that he does this honestly, baldly, and with few apologies for the giant dick you probably were in college, just like Quentin, which is why you love to hate him just a little bit.

So get out of your genre rut. Mr. Grossman did a brave thing and extended common fantasy themes into a whole new age group. If you’re still in high school or college–still looking at that $2,500 a month apartment and thinking ‘sure, I’ll be able to afford that once I graduate’–these books might not be for you. However, if you’ve had your dreams knocked around a bit–especially if you’ve done some of the knocking yourself and you still, obstinately, find ways to believe in them– these books will resonate.

And I have to add–on a semi-related note–that Mr.Grossman apparently read at a local bookstore around here last night. I, having no idea this was going on, spent the night cooking and watching a Korean horror movie.

ARGLFRGLBRRR. I could kill myself. No Korean horror movie is worth that shit. Especially not this one.

In other news: my spellcheck recognizes the word palimpsest, but does NOT recognize ‘escapism’, ‘honors’, or even, yes, ‘recognize’. This is why, in this little world of writing, you need an editor.

Advertisements

BONUS: Kill the Muse

image
Via unsplash,com. Guess what? You don't need this place to write.

Okay, here’s a nice little bonus post for you. It’s not long, but boy is it EVER from the heart.

I’ve been paging through my Twitter feed, through my blogs and my writing pointers and my whole little virtual writing world. My fingers have been tappity-tapping, my brain running. Note the lack of adjective there; ‘running’ is about all I can say.

I see a lot about the writing ‘life’. Articles with grandiose titles such as ‘facing the blank page’, ‘obeying the muse’, ‘living in the world of your story’, etc. I even found tools–special plot-point dice, prompt books, so on–especially created for writers. And my question is–when in the HELL did writing become a lifestyle choice?

There is no ‘muse’. The blank page is just a piece of paper. While the world of your story should be concise and well-explored, and your characters close to you, you should, at no point, be ‘living’ in an imaginary place. (I think I’ve been guilty of this cliche too, I have to say. But still.)

Writing, like any arts-related activity, is a profession for some, a passion for others. I hope, for those lucky enough to make good money doing it, it’s both. But at the end of the day, it’s putting words on paper. It’s a mechanical process, and if it’s done well it’s a lot of sweat and labor and painstaking decision. Writing isn’t some vaunted mysterious art, there’s no burning incense or augury reading involved. Being sensitive, prone to exposition, and artsy doesn’t make you a writer.

What makes you a writer, in fact, is an assload of hard work. It’s seeing the word ‘agonized’ in a sentence and KNOWING, because you’ve studied what words sound like and their precise meanings, that really, you want ‘stressed’ there. It’s seeing a blank page and not giving a shit, because you’re over all that self-aggrandizing prove-yourself bullshit and you know, KNOW, that what you put down on it will either work or it won’t.

And it’s reading. Boy, is it ever a lot of reading. It’s reading in ‘your genre’ and outside of it. It’s recognizing good work when you see it. It’s reading SO MUCH that your grammar is awesome by reflex. After all, if you have a young dentist, wouldn’t you hope he’s learned something from other, older dentists, who might do things differently? You can learn, my dears, from the strangest places, in the strangest times. Whether or not you want to write LIKE Dostoyevsky, you should still read him. Because he did something good, and maybe he’s got some habits you’d like to steal.

So don’t piss your words away on things like ‘feeding the hungry Muse’ or ‘writing from your heart’. Inspiration will either strike or it won’t, and writing from your heart would be awfully messy.

Write with your two hands, as much or as little as you please. If you keep doing it, you’ll get better. If you don’t–I hear there are some marvelous opportunities in telemarketing.

Beauty and the Queef: Worldbuilding from the Ground Up

image
Photo courtesy of the worthy unsplash.com

Your character is a beautiful and sassily intelligent half-elf half-whatever. She wears a simple green and grey dress. She throws daggers, because she’s kind of a tomboy. She goes hunting with the guys (even though, interestingly, she always seems freshly showered, and the closest thing to stench she collects is a ladylike sheen of sweat, generally ‘on her brow’.) Her hair is a ‘waist long mass of auburn curls’. Her eyes are green–insert sparkling or emerald here. And she’s slender. Always, ALWAYS slender.

That’s all well and good, I suppose. It’s so utterly, boringly saccharine I’m scheduling another dentist appointment as we speak, but okay.

Here’s where my question comes in. What does this have to do with anything?

In a movie, I might be transfixed by your character’s glistening eyes, her auburn curls, the faint blush of her alabaster cheeks (we’re going to call her Princess Caddywampus. Why? Because we can). The alarmingly even tan on her long and well-muscled legs. In a literary document of some 100,000 words, however, I have better things to contemplate. At least, I hope I do. If I was reading for beauty, I’d pick up a copy of Cosmo. Beauty is all well and good, but I don’t need to slog through a page and a half of what your character looks like.

Pure and simple truth of it is, even if you didn’t describe how Our Fair Princess looks at all, people would provide their own visual image as they read. Some basic details–hair color, maybe eye color, general dress, height, etc.–can be inserted as the story goes, as they’re relevant. And if they’re inserted, they better be relevant.
Again, folks, we’re talking cause-and-effect characterization. You will find I talk about this a lot. I talk about it because I believe in it. So should you.

Take this example:

1) Princess Caddywampus is a beautiful red-headed half-elven maiden who likes to go hunting with the guys. This leads us through:

A) What kind of effect has being beautiful had on her life? Does she have an uncomfortably long line of suitors? Are some of them assholes? Do the ladies of the court make up cruel shit about her, because they think she’s just too beautiful to be a genuinely nice person?
B) For that matter, IS she a nice person? She’s very attractive royalty, come on. I bet this bitch hasn’t had to lift a finger for herself in twenty goddamn years. She probably has people falling all over themselves to help her (except, of course, for those vicious court ladies). But wait a second, she goes hunting with the guys. So she has some friends–or maybe they’re just hoping to get in her pants. Either way, she’s hunting out in private, so she probably has a somewhat humble nature. Therefore:
C) Something’s made her this way, in spite of what you’d expect. Maybe it’s the vicious gossip of those court women. Maybe her not-so-wicked father named her Caddywampus when she exited her mother’s womb and, being so pretty, blinded the attending physician. As a result, she’s had to go through life with this awkward-stupid name, and she just knows everyone is secretly laughing about it. Maybe she was ugly as a kid. Hell, maybe she got secret magical corrective surgery, and this whole damn story is about her dealing with her body issues. But this is the main crux of your story, right here–whatever has made her so shy is good inner conflict. It’ll also make her grow.

So now we know a little bit about the delectable Lady Caddywampus. And that’s great. I’m thrilled as a fat kid in a jumper made of cupcakes.

However, I’m still bored.

Let’s take this to the next level. The fantasy writer level. The level that keeps you from tossing away your golden quill and taking up the matte black spacepen of mystery/thrillers. And that level is, of course:

What does this princess being so beautiful and red-headed and stuff mean in the context of her world?

This is where you get to some true-blood, magnum opus, final-words-recorded-for-posterity shit.

The best world-building, in my not so humble opinion, is never done from the top down. It doesn’t start with a map, or a government system, or a pantheon of gods. It starts with you, killer. It starts with you thinking of something small–one character, one place, even a brief scene–and extrapolating. You’ll have to use your imagination, of course. But if that’s a problem, technical writing has a place for you. Your iPad owner’s manual will be a bestseller.

I don’t think the job of a fantasy or sci-fi writer is really to come up with something new. Entirely new is unappealing because we have no idea what the fuck it is. This is why, perhaps, fantasy and sci-fi remain very formulaic. We know all about being on a journey, searching for validation, finding friends in odd places, growing up and accepting responsibility. In literary fiction, that’s what you call this stuff. In fantasy, f’rinstance, ‘growing up and accepting responsibility’ might come in the form of ‘Prince Arkansas goes on quest for the legendary Blooded Scarab, has to do difficult shit and learn more about himself than he’d really like to know, comes home and becomes King’. A journey might be a quest to get rid of a certain Ring (hint: there’s only One of ’em). Your ‘unlikely friends’ might be telepathic spiny water creatures living under the ice of Europa.

But these basic stories are, essentially, the same in any genre. And the trick about them is, your main character has to learn something from them. Otherwise, why write fiction? Write biography. There are plenty of people in this world who don’t learn shit the entire time they’re alive.

This is why, to me, a fantasy/SF writer builds milieu and plot and everything from a fucking character, even more so than your regular ol’ writer. A fantasy/SF writer has the unique opportunity of building a world, to order, in which all the facts reinforce the main lesson your character is learning. When done correctly, this is powerful.

Get me? Your cool creatures and magic weapons and majestic magelords better be the way they are for a reason.

To reinforce this, let’s return to the plight of our tragically lovely someday-to-be-majesty Caddywampus. What do we have so far?

1)She’s beautiful. This has caused some friction in her life, because if it made her life too easy she wouldn’t be able to learn anything, and would therefore be static and uninteresting.
2)She’s a slender, green-eyed, half-elven redhead.
3)She goes hunting with the guys, because she’s cool like that.

There’s a lot of stuff to pick from here, to start building your world with. I’m going to choose the red hair, because my hair is red and goddammit, I want to.

Maybe–and this is just the sound of me drinking–maybe a redheaded elf is extremely rare in the land of Arglefargle, where Caddywampus is from. Maybe most elves are blonde and blue-eyed. King Crispus, Caddywampus’s rakishly good-looking but strangely stolid father, knows why this is, of course–her mother (kept a mystery from the general courts) was actually a human woman.

This tells you a few things right off the bat. Humans and elves obviously don’t interbreed much. Why?

Maybe there’s some great law against it. Personally, I don’t like that. I don’t want Caddywampus’s father to become more interesting than she is, and a lawbreaker for love and passion is pretty interesting. In fact, let’s go with something that makes the missing mother cooler. This might give us a little more info on The Caddywamps–maybe she’s very curious about her mother, because all she knows about her is that her human mother did this brave-ass thing to be with her dad.

Let’s say humans and elves don’t interbreed because there’s a magical wall of hot cheese around Arglefargle, and the humans live beyond it. Elves, by the way, are horribly lactose intolerant, and fart like a well-fed Boston terrier when exposed to the smallest drop of cheese.

Because Caddywampus grew up with the elves, she doesn’t really know that humans aren’t like that. After all, the most she’s heard about it is all the elven priests praying to the Goddess Beenoh to spare them from the Mighty Winds, and the sound of her father in the bathroom at night after he accidentally ingested half a teaspoon of powdered milk. (How did the powdered milk get there in the first place? Elves like their dignity, and nobody likes farting like a Boston terrier. This could be another plot point. Maybe it’s considered an extremely dangerous substance, religiously forbidden, and Caddy herself stole it from the house of the single human beggar woman in Arglefargle on a dare from one of those boys she goes out hunting with. Dad saw the vial sitting on a countertop and thought it was salt. Maybe this has really strained (YES, strained) the relationship between Caddy and Crispus, her dad.

Now, Caddywampus already feels a little weird in Arglefargle. She’s the only redhead in the land, and there has been much speculation (cue those obnoxious court ladies) on The Manner of Her Birth. Crispus has sworn her to secrecy regarding her human side–he’s a bit of a conservative, and he’s worried about what his people would think if they knew his missing wife had been a human who crossed the dreaded Brielin Wall to be with him. (Hell, let’s call this the Cambertian Curse–if even the suspicion of cheese is cast on an Aglefarglian monarch, his crown is forfeit. And Crispus likes his crown.)

Caddy feels so out of place, in fact, so estranged from her father, that on one of those one-of-the-guys hunting trips, she tells her friends the forbidden secret, that she’s actually half-elven. Being younger men, they’re awed–half human, you? No! Humans are imaginary!–and, of course, promptly dare her to eat the rest of that vial of powdered milk to prove it. Because they’re boys. And she’s one of them.

Caddy’s half human, sure. But she’s only half. She sucks down that sweet powder, waits a second or two, and farts so hard her hair turns brown.

Well, she fucked up pretty big. She is now most definitely and obviously touched by that Cambertian Curse, and as soon as somebody sees her she knows she’ll be declared an invalid heir to the entire Arglefarglian populace. Dad won’t understand, he’s too busy covering his own ass (with TOILET PAPER, because Caddy left the bottle out. Heh. Sorry, ignore that).

So what does our intrepid princess do? Hair veiled, Caddywampus braves the Brielin Wall to find the one person she thinks might be able to help her–her mother.

All sorts of things can happen then. Maybe an assload of human men fall in love with her beyond the wall. Maybe she has to learn about love the hard way, and how shitty people can really be when they’re smiling at you and kissing your hand. Maybe she meets her mother, all these expectations built up inside her, and discovers that, hell, any human could walk through that wall. They don’t because they’ve all gotten too fat from eating readily-available cheese. (Mom used to be on a diet. She gave all that up when she lost her well-paying job, and had to start eating wall-cheese like everyone else). Having discovered her mother is even more useless than her father, maybe Caddy goes home, gives the middle finger to the Cambertian Curse, and says screw you, I’m doing this ruling thing anyway.

This is all totally off the top of my head. I took up five minutes or so of your valuable time with it because I think it shows, very well, how an entire world can blossom from a few meager facts. You’ve got a redheaded half-elven princess who goes hunting with the guys, and suddenly you have a religion, a system of government, and interpersonal conflict. You have societal stratification (I note that human woman uno was a beggar in Arglefargle, and only the poor humans Beyond eat wall-cheese) and immense possibility for growth and learning. Our disgustingly lovely Caddywampus even got a personality. So did her dad and her friends.

You don’t create a world by ticking things off a list. You create a world by dreaming up the people who live in it and then, for as long as it takes, living with them.

Think about your own world for a minute. Maybe the stop sign on the corner has been knocked over for two months–is this because your local government is broke? Maybe you have a poor highway department? Or maybe Mrs. Brantwell’s son Brian keeps running into it. He’s always driving drunk, mostly because his dad left four years ago and he had to quit high school so he could get a job and help support his family.

But the story doesn’t start with your government’s failings, or the nymphomaniac in charge of Highways and Roads who’s too busy sleeping with Brian’s dad to authorize a new stop sign. It starts with the stop sign. It starts with you, one person with a limited view of the world.

If this is the way you see your world, shouldn’t you see the world you’re creating the same way?

Badass does not equal Badass Characterization

We’ve all seen this, I know we have. There’s a woman, usually young, usually beautiful. Or a man, young and handsome: we’ll go with a woman here because I’m a woman, and I write a lot of female characters. This woman has a sword, an axe, some daggers, whatever. And she kicks ass. She kicks attitudinal, full-blown orgasmic ASS.

But that’s all she does.

This character (who we will call, for the purpose of this post, Griselda) has a smart mouth, serious skill, level-headed cool. You can count on her to deliver a pointed remark (or a pointed object) to a much-needed destination. She often falls in love with (or, worse, IS) the main character of the story. Her backstory is traumatic in some way–family killed cruelly, husband/wife murdered, sexually abused, raised by a press-gang of flesh-eating priests, you name it. She has ‘grown strong’. Whatever happened will never happen again.

Cue my problems.

While it’s certainly interesting in a movie to watch the bloodbath boil, it gets a little boring in a book. There are only so many fight scenes I’m prepared to read per chapter. And Griselda–well, Griselda kills a lot of people. For justice. Because that’s what makes a strong character, right? Killing people for justice.

And this justice-killing bombshell, who has some adorable flaw tacked on for the sake of salving the writer’s conscience (“it’s all okay if she’s clumsy too, right? As long as it doesn’t affect the plot, or that feast scene where she has to dance…”), well. For some reason, she’s otherwise lovable and kind, and not at all bothered by the fifty or so people she’s ended this chapter. She’ll be a great Queen someday, whether she knows it yet or not.

I know Griselda’s type. That type, in reality, is called a sociopath.

Don’t get it twisted, this isn’t just a girl thing. People do this to men all the time too. (Usually, okay, minus the dance scene). But characterization, my loves, is all in the consequences. There are some things that have happened in Griselda’s life, some things she’s done, that would have an impact on her character. Badasses aren’t usually the most pleasant people to know.  And they certainly aren’t the prettiest.

Some things to think about, before you decide your character is a badass warrior motherfucker:

1) This is probably not a pretty person. Unless your badass is just starting out at Badass University, there are probably a couple of scars here and there. I imagine armor leaves some pretty interesting tan lines, and I imagine spending any time in armor in semi-tropical climates leaves you sweating like an ice cream bowl in a sauna. This person has been knocked around, kicked, punched in the face. This sort of thing leaves marks. It just does.

2) Why the hell is this person the way they are, anyway? Sure, Griselda’s husband/wife/child whatever was taken away in a murder most foul some years ago. This is horrible, and if I ever saw it played out convincingly I might believe it. But it’s also cliche. What on (insert name of fantasy land. here) could make this otherwise ordinary person bend to a life of camping on hard dirt, constant weapons maintenance, and wading through foetid puddles of liquid effluvia after a battle? Is it a desire for heroism? A need to be different? Otherwise unattainable sums of money? This is probably a grey person, a grim person. Or, if not, tell me why not. Better: show me why not.

3) All that killing to do, and you’re also a Prince/ss? If you are ruling the realm, and not just figureheading it, I imagine a lot of your time is spent in council rooms, shuffling around exciting things like zoning ordinances and building permits. Or learning to shuffle around building permits. You probably don’t have a lot of free time in which to pillage, murder, and otherwise raze the countryside. Sure, you might ride in a campaign or two. But if you’re out heroing it up constantly, why? Are you a shitty prince/ss? Do you have an inescapable longing, which your mother the Queen most definitely does not approve of, to see the Harkening Hills? Or maybe you’re just shy, and killing is easier than state dinners. At any rate, I need reasons. Characterization always needs reasons.

To put it simply–characterization is a string of cause and effect, in which the fantasy badass is caught up just as firmly as any other character, even in real life. A fantasy writer must be, of all the ironic things, a realist. If you’re not a realist, your world exists in the realm of smoke and mirrors, and that is precisely where fantasy should not exist. A believable world exists in a net of believable actions, even if those actions involve three-headed dragons and a duchess whose finest weapon is an enchanted tongue depressor. For example, if Griselda is Princess of the Realm of Forgotten Asafoetida, here’s how it might go.

A) Griselda is a warrior princess, and she is very pretty. This is feasible because:
1) She is still very young, which implies that
2) She probably isn’t all that good yet, so
3) She feels the need to prove herself on the field of battle, which is NOT going over well with Queen Mum, so
4) She’s been shirking her Princessy duties to practice, which both scares the hell out of mum and means she’s just THAT much worse at being a princess.

And you can see how, out of that, all sorts of questions jump out at you. Is it common to be a warrior princess, in good old Forgotten Asafoetida? What happens to Griselda when she finally princess-fails so hard her mum disowns her? Would the queen do that–or is the queen hopelessly doting? Maybe Griselda, following her warrior princess dreams, has to disown herself.  And what happens, anyway, when someone finally knocks out one of her front teeth? Is she embarrassed? Or could she care less? Maybe her father, the King, played around with a sword in his youth before he was tragically murdered by whoever. Maybe this is part of the reason Griselda’s so fixated on it. Maybe it’s part of why her mother hates it.

This is how you craft character. Character isn’t a matter of blue eyes or brown, position in society, identifying powers. It’s a matter of situation and reaction.

Characterization, worldbuilding, plot, are all interconnected. If you start to do one well, the rest will follow, because everything makes sense together.

Here’s to your warrior. May he or she win a lot of fights, in and out of the arena.

First post, yay whooptee.

So I keep hearing I’m a writer, so I should do one of these things. Whooptee doodle. Yippie-kai-ay.

I imagine we’ll mostly be tackling issues like adverbs, dialogue-driven characterization, and various common fantasy tropes. Should you listen to me? Maybe. If you want to. It’ll be a lot of ill-educated whining about writing (which I think I know a lot about), grammar (which I can say with some certainty I do know a lot about), and occasionally my personal life (which I know far, far too much about). There may also be periodic recipes, mostly things covered in bacon. Because bacon makes everything better.

Yes. Anyway.

This blog will accompany me, like a pretty-but-not-quite-as-pretty-as-me handmaiden, on my journey through the doubtless entertaining swamp of self-publishing. Do I know what I’m doing? No! Hell, no. But you can learn from my mistakes as well as my successes. There are enough experts online these days, anyway. Think of me more as that kid who sat in back of your chemistry class in tenth grade, whose nostrils were always caked in white powder and whose blood alcohol content was so high that he, beyond all expectations, pickled his own liver. Could he help you study for midterms? No. But you did learn something from him. It was even, in a roundabout way, something about chemistry.

More educational posts to follow. This is just me saying hello.

UPDATE: Here’s my generalized listing of what will happen when, just to keep myself sane and keep you guys from pissing yourselves in excitement.

WEDNESDAY: Writin’ Wednesday. Here there be posts. About writing. And how I do it. And stuff.

FRIDAY: Friendly Friday. On Friday, I’ll post a review of something I’ve read lately that rocks. This’ll be mostly indie, because I believe in giving a leg up to people who deserve it. If you want me to review you, you’re welcome to shoot me a message, but be warned–I’ll only do it if I liked your story.

SAT/SUN: Wallowing Weekend. On one of these days there will be a spare post, about writing/food/me wallowing in self-pity over the shattered but interesting wreckage of my personal existence. Or maybe more writing stuff, because writing also works with weekend.

This is, of course, bare bones. I have an infinite amount of words at my disposal, and am only too eager to vomit them all over the internet.

Love,
E