Waiting Sucks. Moving on.

Don’t let the title make you think I’ve given up on the novella. Buuutttt, waiting to hear back from a publisher is making me way more anxious than I expected. The logical part of me says, “Hey, you only sent it in a couple of weeks ago. Chill.” The anxious mess side is checking my email daily as if that will make things move faster.

So, I plan on starting work on the next book. It’s not at all related of Of His Flesh, which was a stand alone story. Will it be dealing with the same sort of themes? Kinda. I love working with characters who have broken psyches.

However, it needs tons of research. As much as I want to just throw myself into writing this thing, I need to learn a lot about… open heart surgery.

I heard once that a writer is a jack of all trades. We write characters with pools of knowledge that are beyond our own and thus, for a little while, need to become as much of an expert as we can on subjects where our own expertise is so limited. All for the readers.

I can’t count the number of times while reading or watching something that some little detail I know quite a lot about is just off. The immersion is ruined. I know that no piece of writing is ever going to be perfect. I’m not going to get every single detail in a story 100% correct.

But I can get as close as possible.

Retrograde

When will mercury be out of retrograde? I feel like every interaction I have with people has been so emotionally charged and confrontational. It’s exhausting.

Is this all stress based and not the mystical workings of a planet?

I have a writing class where the teacher is an elitist jerk whose assignments are poorly worded, making me wonder what it is she wants me to do exactly, and her feedback leaves a lot to be desired so I don’t even know how to improve. She makes assertions about the horror genre and the readership that she has no way to back up with sources, so most of what she says is opinion and conjecture. I’ve never had a professor (politely) fight with me on a discussion board before because she doesn’t “agree with the conclusions I come to”. Learning environment is now hostile. Stressed about grades and failing this class.

I finished my book and the initial edits., then had a beta reader go over it and was left feeling like a failure. Her critique was thorough and good, pointing out all of my problem areas, I felt as though she didn’t like anything about it. Clearly I’m a hack, my brain says. Repeatedly. Stressed about not being successful at the craft I love.

I tried to quit smoking. Stress was too much and quitting was stressing me out even more. Now a failure because I was unable to quit. Stress. Anxiety. Fear of failure in life, writing, school.

No. No, it’s definitely none of those things. Mercury is in retrograde.

Edit, Edit, Edit…

I feel like the editing process is so long and tedious. Sometimes I’m excited to get it done and like reading back over what I’ve written. Other times, rereading my own work is like looking in the mirror and I can see every single flaw in it, flaws that are outside of just grammar or quick changes. It’ll never be good enough, I think.

But, I’ve red-penned the whole thing. I printed out every chapter and went over it page by page. Now all that’s left is to take the edits from the physical copy and put them in the digital one. I feel like this process only made more work for myself, but editing on a screen feels so different and far less effective than editing on paper.

So, this is how it’ll be done. Even if it’s a bit more work and even if it means going over the draft a second time as I enter in changes.

Inspo

So, as I’m working my way through this novella, I’ve found that my biggest source of inspiration has been music. I made a whole playlist on spotify dedicated to Lyle, the main character I’m writing for. It’s all sickly sweet love songs that sound innocent until I put them in the context of his fucked up thoughts about love and possession and his life long pining after his high school sweetheart.

Sometimes, moodboards help. I made a pintrest purely to make character/story boards where I could put pictures that inspire me, but I haven’t kept up with it and thought images are fun to think about in relation to who I’m writing, music definitely works best for me.

Want to have a listen?

Prologue

pexels-photo-673862[Photo by it’s me neosiam from Pexels ]

 

Music drifted through the peaceful halls of the house, winding its way through the open basement door and down the stairs. It wrapped around the two of us and I couldn’t help humming along.

This magic moment, so different and so new…

Was like any other until I kissed you…

It was magic how the scalpel in my hand, caressed by my fingertips, pressed into him, sharp enough to part the flesh like cutting butter. Crimson weeping wounds kissed his skin and making him shake. For joy, I told myself. He was just as happy as I was that this was happening. My love, my dear. Staying with me in the most permanent of ways.

And then it happened, it took me by surprise…

The Drifters crooned, making my heart melt. You took me by surprise. Each new incarnation of you that I took captive. Each new man that wears your face, that smiles your smile, that laughs your laugh.

I knew that you felt it too, by the look in your eyes…

He was weeping. I almost was too. Each time felt like the first. Each time new, yet the same. Each time pure. Each kill a retelling of the same old story, the same tragedy that I live. The tragedy that is me without you.

Sweeter than wine

Softer than the summer night

Everything I want, I have…

I have you, even if you aren’t here. You on this table, letting me carve you up. He has a different name, but he tastes like you when we’ve kissed. He makes the same soft sounds low in his throat. Sort of like the keening sounds he’s making now, though not nearly as high-pitched.

Already I’m thinking of how I’ll prepare him, after I’ve cut him into fillets.

Whenever I hold you tight…

    How many times had I held him tight, pretending he was you? And then he was going to leave, just as you did, just like all of the others. I couldn’t let him. Of course I couldn’t. I wasn’t going to be left behind, some forgotten memory.

Blood gushed up around my fingers, warm wet coating the tips and making me hum.

This magic moment while your lips are close to mine…

I couldn’t help having a tiny taste. I didn’t want to spoil my appetite, but a little self-indulgence wouldn’t hurt. I flicked my tongue over the mess he’d made, a burst of copper hitting my taste buds and the metallic scent that hung heavy in the air filling my nostrils.

Will last forever, forever till the end of time…

I’ll keep you like this.

She wishes she had a home.

This place, these walls, all wrapped up in brick, isn’t it; this place is a sickness, one that leaves its toxic marks on her. A miasma of poison lingers in the air that she drags into her lungs with every breath. Its claws rend flesh, leaving bleeding red lines on her body. It leaves her crying and hopeless.

She wants to feel warm. She wants to feel loved and happy. She wants to feel heard.

This house always promised that. Its lies, tempt her back with assurances of fulfilling every childish dream she’d ever had of a happy family, of belonging and being wanted. And she falls for it. Every time she falls for it, always returning, always letting it suck her dry. Only this is the last time. She’s come and gone before, but this time she has nothing else.

So she dies, with every passing hour, every single day that drags on around her, without her. She stays because now she doesn’t have a choice. Her feet have become a part of the wood floors, her hands painted plaster.

She lets it.

It has become a necessity that she let this house eat her whole.

Routines

Sera runs.

She’s one of four pet rats kept in this little apartment, in a cage far too big, or perhaps not entirely big enough. Her little feet rush over the cheap plastic of her ever turning wheel as the others sleep and eat. I wonder what her day is like. Running but going nowhere. Does she know how stuck she is or is it enough to keep the wheel spinning, that wheel that’s started to squeak from age and wear.

It’s still early, early for me anyway. It’s noon and I’ve just woken up. I’ll be stay up until three or four in the morning. The rats will too. I have a cup of coffee next to me and my laptop open. Work first, like always. There’s a schedule I follow every day; work, school, play. I pull up my browser, check work notifications, reacheck my time card, then get down to business. SIx hours of work, from noon to six, sitting there toiling over various tasks. I can’t sit still. My computer chair moves, wheels spin, back and forth absently as my eyes are fixed on the screen.

 

Sera runs.

 

I get up for bathroom breaks, to eat, or to pause at the cage to watch the other girls napping in their hammock, the three of them together making a ball of fur and pink ears and long tails. I always return to that chair. After work is school. All there in front of the monitor. Endless rows of text. Maybe I can get some writing done later if I’m not too tired. The chair is starting to squeak in time with the turning of the wheel. My fingers are tapping away at the keys, pausing now and again to use the mouse. More coffee. I’m getting somewhere. Once school is taken care of then I can play a little. Gaming, writing, chatting with friends. More text on a screen. I pause long enough to make dinner. I fill a large pot of water with pasta and watch the coils on the stove turn from black to a bright orange before dumping the noodles in. Rigatoni. It’s my favorite kind, long and round. The best for trapping sauce, I think as I stir now the bubbling water, watching the contents spin.

I get back to my seat with a steaming bowl of food, back to wiggling the chair, rolling it too and fro on the carpet, and Sera runs.