I’m thrilled to say that my first published novel, Paint, will be available on Amazon on October 14th of this year! Get ready for a great story.
I've switched over to being a full-time content creator, and it's an uphill battle that I love. I would really like to use this blog exclusively for honest updates, so that I can have a separate place for my articles on metafiction, short fiction and writing in general. That place is medium! You can find my stories here: https://medium.com/@shethewriter
Here is my content strategy as it stands:
Youtube: 3 videos a week
Instagram: live interviews and daily updates
Medium: Weekly articles for writers/readers
IGTV: Book notes (reviewing my personal library)
Paint is still slated for an October release, although I am on hold in my process right now so I can hear back from an agency I know and trust. There's a good chance it will come back to me and I can roll forward with the cover. I am so excited!
I've been grappling with some other health issues lately, which is especially tricky when you are working more hours than ever. But luckily I have more flexibility now than I did with a full-time brick&mortar job, so that helps enormously. I don't want to think about the kind of stress I would have otherwise. Of course, working 15 hours a day will cause some stress anyway, but it's good stress when you're doing what you love!
If you are looking to learn more and improve your craft, I really do think you should check out my youtube channel. There are a lot of tools and methods I've developed over the years that I haven't gotten from any workshop, and I'm only just now learning how to share them. Youtube has been the perfect avenue for this. I'm so excited to see what will come of it, because I genuinely want to help people write better fiction. It's not a zero sum game. The more decent fiction is out there, the better all writers will be, and the more people will want to read. It's really quite simple. I am through reading the same crap over and over again (follow me on IGTV later this week if you really want to hear my frustrations) and I want to read something new. That's why I write and that's why I share.
There's so much more to learn from this process than I thought. From making an editorial calendar to trying to pick up more client work. The internet is extremely competitive. But I've been showing up a long time, and I'm ready to get my piece. Thanks for following me on this journey.
First things first: I was disappointed by the lack of eye contact. there were a couple moments in the first season that got me pretty excited, but nothing close to it here. So no, it's not metafiction...yet.
Season two has some serious improvements, though. The tonal chemistry has matured. Season one was a long, single note. A minor chord of melodrama. The new season, on the other hand, actually had some ups and downs. Moments of levity, to quote Minnette. This allowed me to actually feel the weight of the heavier scenes. Emotional fatigue keeps a viewer from feeling what they should. They get bogged down. You can't have effective lows without effective highs. It certainly helped that the narrative connected with adult characters. It gave me permission to accept the scope of the story and the issues it address.
The next thing I'm excited about is obvious: They're addressing relevant, sensitive conversations. No one else is producing a streaming series about teenagers taking down rape culture. We've never seen this before. I'm just delighted by it, and I'm further delighted by the variety of perspectives presented. They're not representing everything perfectly (I'm still grumpy about the totally unnecessary and gratuitous scene of you-know-what in season one). I don't expect them to do everything right. But they're trying, and the acting is damn good. There something thrilling for a lot of people--both on the left and right--about witnessing morally dichotomous situations in fiction. This show knows it: rape is bad. Period. No exceptions. Yet not everyone sees rape for what it is--at least not right away--and there are aspects of this story that demonstrate both sides of this reality.
Let's take a look at how they're doing this, though: there are moments when representation is used just for representation's sake. Best example of this is the scene in the courtroom where every female character shares an experience about misogyny. It's not really happening, but it doesn't matter. They saw an opportunity to make Jessica's testimony universal in a concrete way, and they took it. Personally, I love when filmmakers take this liberty. It's what makes visual mediums so flexible and powerful. It's not always necessary--, I think the scene itself could hold its own. Jessica's story could be just as emblematic in its own right. But they took the liberty, and I don't mind it. It's just those kinds of liberties that can nudge something closer to being metafiction.
That said, such luxuries in the cinematic form can compromise believability: Zach's fling with Hannah is a representation of a healthy, consensual intimate relationship, and it does that very well. Does it accomplish much else? Meh. Not really. I didn't mind, but let's be honest: some people do. Extrapolating a storyline to represent an idea independent of the plot is something all writers do, but it's something that rarely makes a final cut. It's decorative. It looks nice, I know why it's there, but if you don't give it a real use, I'm on to you. That said, it's a plot line that contributed a lot to the improved tonal chemistry of season two.
If you read this blog, you know there's nothing I love more than a fictional character who knows they aren't real; regardless of the reason. By far my favorite thing about this seasons is Clay's interaction with ghost-Hannah. It thrills me to be able to apply Jung's Theory of the Anima to a contemporary show like this. Was it the writers' intention? Not likely. But I love it anyway. I'm starved for it, so when it's in short supply, I'll find it. Of course, if you've seen my video work, or even just the trailer for Delta Phi, you've begun to think of the subtext that's possible when a character projects their subconscious onto another--even more fictional--character.
I can't deep dive into it right now, though, because I just have one big fat complaint that must leave my chest. The dialogue.
It's still quite atrocious at times. Yes, we know that teens curse. Profanity, in speech or in writing, compensates for ideas that are otherwise hard to articulate, and teens aren't the most articulate. That is true.
But the profanity in this show really comes from a lack of ability to use specificity.
Take, for instance, Justin's story about staying in "shit motels." This is classic first draft writing.
I know what the writer means, but it's not what I want to know. I want to know the name of the motel, and whether there was a number in it. What did it smell like, Justin? Did you find roaches in your bed? Where did you shoot up? Those are the details that will wreck my heart, at least as effectively as his puppy-face. When writing lacks specify, it puts too much on the actor. Lucky the actors in this show are extraordinarily competent. But please, put me in that writers' room! It's the specificity that will always make shows like Breaking Bad a cut about the rest. 13 Reasons Why deserves that level of craftsmanship.