NaNoWiMoNoNoNoNoNoNo Bah Humbug (and everything else in my opinion)

Warning: Negativity and Triggers Ahead

The cake isn’t for you. I just thought it was funny. Yes, that is what I said: Triggers.

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Or if you prefer horses.

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Trigger, in his natural state, before being dressed up. And yes, he was stuffed after he died. I find the taxidermy aspect kind of creepy (and I’m a Vampire for heaven’s sake)

 

Now let’s get going on the main feature.

 

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Even I have to admit this is funny.

NaNoWiMoNoNoNoNoNoNo Bah Humbug (that includes fan fiction, fantasy drenched quests, magical children in black robes, and super heroes.)

Random thoughts on all kinds of stuff.

If you spend the night at my house, like Scrooge, you will also have three visitors during the night. That would be Alice the German Shepard as the ghost of writing past, Oscar the tuxedo cat as the ghost of writing present, and Gloria the calico cat as the ghost of everything else. If you like I will follow up with chains and howling, though I’d rather not.

First off – my hat goes off and I take a bow to everyone who attempting to write a novel during NaNoWiMo (National Novel Writing Month.) Keep writing. I am cheering you on.

However…

As I look around social media at the November writing frenzy, numbers pressure, and general drama I’m finding some disturbing trends.

Large numbers of beginning writers want to be somebody else. This makes my fangs hurt, both as a writer, and as a parent.

These beginners, bless their hearts, are obsessed with Harry Potter, what Hogwarts house everybody belongs to, superheroes, superhero powers, fantasy stories with names nobody can pronounce much less keep track of, sparkling Vampires, and absolute good vs absolute evil. They are also obsessed with movies – not books. This includes LOTR, Slasher movies, and The Never Ending Story.

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This is how I feel about this. It never ends. I do not like it more than Sam I Am does not like Green Eggs and Ham.

This is all lovely, but write your own story. Use your own voice. Tell your own story. Steer clear of the absolutes and the childhood loves and move on. In other words GROW UP. 

OK maybe you don’t want to grow up. It’s your story.

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My regular readers know of my distain for fan fiction – that is writing a story based on somebody else’s story.

Sure one of the worst books ever –  Fifty Shades of Grey the 2011 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James, was fan fiction inspired by the Twilight series. I guess if you can make that much money off of writing horrible pornographic prose based on a YA novel and make millions of dollars then go for it.

My favorite fan fiction story is quite different. My daughter had a classmate in hight school who wrote slightly PG-13 rated 60 page  homoerotic fan fiction based on historian David McCullough’s book 1776.

Most A lot of fan fiction seems to have an erotic element to it. I shutter to think how much erotica has been written about Mr. Weasley and Samwise Gamgee. They’re both great characters but sometimes I just wish people would leave them alone.

On the other hand adding Zombies to anything, especially Jane Austin is always fun.

I can’t imagine adding zombies to Withering Heights. It is already close to a horror story as a dark hopeless gothic romance can get. Or adding zombies to Jane Eyre… well we know Jane would kick their rotted heads right off of their fragile putrified necks. Not sure if that would be before or after the crazy wife burns the house down.

Other books that could use Zombies are Little Women, The Bible, War and Peace, The Bridges of Madison County, Eat Pray Love, The Notebook, Gone Girl, and Tom Sawyer. 

And speaking of things that will never die…

Oh joy another version of Little Women is coming to the big screen. I say that with little joy. Nobody at my house is overly fond of that story. We just don’t like it. We don’t like the book. We don’t like the movies. We especially don’t like Marmee who needs to kick her deadbeat husband’s ass. A lot of ass needs to be kicked in that story.

Greta Gerwig is from Sacramento and we love her here. I do not love Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy. Little Women definitely needs Zombies and maybe even some Werewolves. I’d love to see Laurie as a Vampire.

There are times when I feel like I’m the only adult in the room, or the only adult on the world of Internet writing groups (there are exceptions but those are rare.) But it isn’t just the Internet. Let’s get serious here.

As a parent, as a mom, as a parenting blogger, and as a concerned adult, I have a few options for those stuck in their YA wormhole.

I have a game called RATHER THAN. Let’s give it a go.

Rather than watch 

The Neverending Story (1984)

See

Tangerine (1984)

Rather than watch

Little Women (1933, 1949, 1994, 2018, 2019)

See

The Big Sleep (1946)

Rather than watch

Any Superhero movies that involves capes and lots of explosions

See

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Rather than watch

Twilight (2008)

See

Pulp Fiction (1994)

 

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I’m not trying to put anyone down (even if I sort of am doing that.) When I first started my blog there were all sorts of asshats that told me what Vampires can and can’t do. I told them I do whatever the hell I want to do. No dark Vampire lords are going to tell me or my kids what to do. So I get it. I get it when you’re passionate about something and somebody like me comes along and puts you down. If you want to think I’m an asshole go ahead, but please consider growing up a little and finding your own story. Looking at the real world will help with your fantasy world – write something readers can relate to.

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And speaking of random thoughts…

Robert Clotworthy (The Curse of Oak Island) and Mike Rowe (Deadliest Catch) should switch programs for a few episodes. Think about it. Damn that would be fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I love jumping into another reality.  I love what cosplay people do. They’re amazing. I love events like The Dicken’s Fair, and Scottish Fairs, and Steampunk events. I LOVE Halloween. I love fantasy and science fiction and weird stuff and urban fantasy. For goodness sakes, I’m a Vampire. But even I have to live in the real world sometimes and deal with real issues.

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And what about me?

Juliette Kings writes the blog Vampiremaman.com.

She is currently working on a novel and it is November. She is also working on an illustrated version of Jane Eyre, trying to come up with more short stories, and continuing to landscape her yard. She is also still a mom and a Vampire. Want to know more? Read my blog.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Dogs and Art make everything better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer School Daze

My almost 19-year-old daughter Clara is taking a college English Class this summer. They’re reading and writing about poetry and literature. The exact name of the class isn’t important.

Clara: I can’t believe some of the other students.

Me: What happened.

Clara: Some girl bragged about being an English Major, then she said she hated to read. She actually said she hated to read. She just wants to write. She just gushes about how she loves to write. But she hates to read.

Me: But how can she be a good writer if she doesn’t read?

Clara: She LOVES to write. I bet she writes awful fan fiction. She’s that type.

Me:

Clara: shrugs shoulders

Me:

Clara: I feel sorry for the teacher.

Me: Wow. You have to wonder.

Clara: I know.

The moral of this true story is that if you love to read you don’t have to write. HOWEVER, if you love to write you have to read. That is one of the fundamental laws of the universe. Live it. Teach it. Preach it.

And keep listening to those kids of yours. They’ll tell you all kinds of unbelievable things. Also, hug a teacher.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Revolutionary Fanfiction, Being Creative, Being Weird, Being True to Yourself as an Artist

Yesterday we were fully entrenched in the Dark Ages. Now that we’re almost back in the light, Clara, my teenage daughter told me about a girl she knows who writes fanfiction based on the Sons of Liberty TV series. She wrote 60,000 words of fanfiction complete with a lot of non-physical romance between Sam Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Hey, don’t laugh, that might be more accurate than the TV series (Sam Adams was shown as a smokin hot bodice ripping hunka hunka burning love.) Not that Sam and Tom had a romance but the general facts, or lack of facts, in the show. In fact, one of the history teachers read it and said that the teen writer was right on spot with her historic lifestyle facts. It was silly and far-fetched but the girl did a great job. Huzzah!

Will the real Sam Adams stand up.

Will the real Sam Adams stand up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have never even thought about writing fanfiction. I have to admit that I’d like to rewrite the final season of Justified because it seems like the worst fanfiction ever played on TV. It just isn’t fun or interesting or believable this season. I feel cheated. Anyway, enough of my rant on that.

My own teen told me a while back that there is fanfiction out there about bands she likes. These aren’t bands you hear on most radio stations. This is fanfiction about bands like Dance Gavin Dance or Twenty One Pilots or My Chemical Romance. There is plenty of fan fiction for the bigger bands too. Anyway it usually involves a lot of sex. Lots of it. And most of it is really bad.  She read an interview of one of the musicians who was amused by it all. I mean, you’d have to be amused.

Meanwhile back at the castle…

Vampire Maman is sitting in a semi dark room with coffee and a head full of cobwebs. I’m  finishing up a novel. It has nothing to do with fanfiction or Vampires or much of anything I’ve ever written about.

When it is done I will fling it out into the world.

That is why I have to admit I admire the passion and guts of fanfiction writers. They just throw their stories out into the world with no shame or fear of backlash – no matter how bad or silly it is.

Alright I have to admit that I do that every time I post something here, but they (fanfiction writers) really throw it out there. It is hard to explain. They just barf it up – right out in the open. OK they’re weird and if you’re that weird then you don’t care what other people think SO we should embrace our weird sides because weird is fearless.

I am not fearless.

Last week I received a rejection notice from a well respected publication. It is a publication that I have always read and admired. I’ve always thought I would one day be published in that magazine. I was told by many that my work would be a perfect fit. No, my story didn’t capture the interest of the editor. That is what I was told. Oh well. At least it was read and somebody got back to me about it.

My daughter asked me if I was sad about it. Maybe for a few seconds. I was disappointed. Being in the creative world be it art or graphics or writing or music or even writing, one gets used to rejection. One gets used to being disappointed with one’s self as well as others. It is part of being a creative soul. You expect people to be assholes because they don’t understand the difference between a Thomas Kincade and Thomas Hart Benton.

But you also learn to be calm. You learn to be clear with your words. You learn to count to three before saying anything. You learn to explain the difference between what you believe is good and WHY it is good and WHY it works and the advantages of your work over some stupid ass lame idea. Just don’t say out loud that you think the other ideas are stupid ass – use different words such as less effective.

So if someone rejects you what do you do? You don’t use bad words. You don’t get emotional. You just move on. That is part of being a creative person in an uncreative world. Tell your kids that.

So back to that novel. It is a lot of work.

Here are a few other things I believe about being creative:

  • It doesn’t matter if anyone else sees it.
  • It doesn’t matter if you make money from it.
  • You can make money from it (I do make money from it.)
  • Stand up for your work.
  • Learn and refine your craft – this is a process that never ends.
  • Don’t be stupid about it – you can always get better. You can always improve.
  • Relax.
  • Don’t make excuses for yourself. This is one of the hardest things to do. You don’t have to explain anything to anyone (unless you write a blog.)
  • Stay with your art, your music, your writing, your dance, your furniture design, your painting, your typography, your garden sculptures, your videos, your cooking or whatever you do that makes you feel alive and creative. Stay with it.
  • Never give up.

I don’t believe in suffering for my art. That comes along easily enough on it’s own. I would rather embrace it and fit it into my life. It is who I am, so suffering is unproductive and it just isn’t fun. Nobody likes a martyr. And being a martyr is too much work. With all the time and energy you put into suffering for your art you could have written that novel.

And with that final thought I will refill my coffee, sharpen my fangs and work on that novel and fear no more.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Jessie at the Guitar by Thomas Hart Benton

Jessie at the Guitar by Thomas Hart Benton