Go read this interview with YA author Amelinda Berube!
Amelia Denyven Ross
This summer I participated in Pitch Wars—a competitive author mentorship program, which concludes with an agent showcase—and I was fortunate enough to work with Amelinda Bérubé as my mentor. Amelinda has a flair for crafting creepy stories and characters that will haunt your memory. She was kind enough to discuss a little about her writing process with me.
What is your favorite stage of writing, and why? Research? Brainstorming? First drafts? Revising?
Revising, absolutely. It’s so much less excruciating when the words are out there on the page and all you have to do is make them better! Research is a close second, though; it never fails to get me excited and lit up about a project, no matter how frustrated or stuck I am.
Are you a plotter, pantster, or both? Or does it vary throughout the creative process?
I’m an unhappy hybrid of the two, I think. Plantser?…
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This is a lovely poem by Samantha Nock. Go forth and check her out.
my kokum used to tell me:
“if you wear your shoes on the wrong feet
a bear will eat you.”
when i moved to the city
my kokum cried
because cities have never been kind to us
and there are threats bigger than
bears chasing a toddler
with her left shoe on her right foot.
she calls me to say:
“don’t leave your drink unattended”
“don’t walk alone at night, my girl”
she taught me how to knead bannock
and how to say the lords prayer
she showed me where she saw
hungry spirits at the lake
she taught me how to say “i love you” in our way
she taught me how to
be scared of the dark
when you’re a lone woman
walking from the bus stop to
your front door.
my mother taught me
that no man is anything to you
and that you can pick up…
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Just… Just go read this poem by Shirley Wang. ❤
your hair’s wet because we went night swimming
the mothlight furring my forehead
together and pulsing with the spectral heave of the moon
these tides knowing me the way i know myself
pensive and cold and slick along the insides.
hoarse siren song and the fuzzy swan-curve of my neck
the waves carving me into the rind of your back
the shell of something once living hot in your mouth
sunbathing in the dark, smashing sea glass with so much
care and wearing it in the dips of our fishbone bodies
drinking warm soda with our flapping caved-in lungs,
kissing the water and capsizing in our own holiness
sheeted over with salt, dissonant with our hands,
pruned and pink and tender from years on the sand
conscious that i love you like a skin-psych
these rough and seismic things only making us softer.
Shirley Wang is a Chinese poet…
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Originally posted this on Syrens, but figured I should stick it up here as well. 😉
My skin is
hungry flutter in
aching for touch
smooth my hands over
fingers trace the line
of lip and collarbone craving
burn my tongue on the absence
of a lover’s mouth
longing for all that
to make me
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As someone who writes femme/femme, this is still relevant to my interests.
Teile des Ganzen
Recently, Corey Alexander wrote a great series of tweets about butch representation (especially in fiction) and what kinds of butches and butchness are overrepresented and which ones could use a lot more representation. (Aside from the fact that butches/butchness in general could use a lot more representation, of course. See this Twitter thread and this blog post from Corey for more on that.)
Their thread inspired me to write a list of my own femme representation pet peeves (not just in fiction) as a companion to that thread. And since I’m bad at being brief, I’m making this into a blog post.
Before we start: A few words on my perspective and use of language
I’m writing this as a butch-loving femme who actually enjoys and eroticizes many of the more stereotypical representations of butch/femme dynamics. Nevertheless, many of these representations still miss the mark for me, usually in nuances…
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Notes to self… (Go check out this piece from Story Nurse).
Dear Story Nurse,
You mentioned in #22, Passion Projects and Practice Projects, that you felt plotting was one of your weak points. I wondered if you had any anecdotes on how you work to overcome this and any advice for the bare bones of creating a plot that keeps moving?
I’ve been told that my writing is best when it focuses on characters and my most successful stories have been tight 1,000 word flash fiction competitions with a time limit of a weekend. I seem to be able to craft memorable moments and interactions pretty solidly. When it comes to working on bigger projects I tend to get stuck because I don’t know how to turn a solid character-based idea or series of moments into a plot that moves along.
It’s not that I don’t have ideas for plots, and I have two longer stories I’ve stalled at. One is…
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I haven’t written much, lately.
The last poetry I wrote was for submissions to an anthology/zine/something out in BC (I have no idea if my work has been accepted or not, or whether the anthology is still happening, as the organizer/editor is dealing with Life Stuff and has other things on their plate right now. Time will tell).
I keep going “but I’m tired”, and knowing that’s not really what’s up.
I mean, yes, I have two (both part-time) jobs + occasional other paid work, my social media feed is a landscape of fear, panic, and calls-to-action that is somewhat less-frequently interrupted with Emergency Kittens and kink discussion than it was two weeks ago, and I’m not sleeping too well these days, but when “I’m tired” – and, more-so, “I’m just tired” starts showing up in my interior monologue, I know it means something more than that.
Starhawk, in Truth or Dare talks about the gate of the censor (the book is constructed loosely around the Descent of Innana). She says:
Notice when you are bored, when the dull fog of the Censor creeps in. Ask: What is not being said here? What am I not seeing/saying/doing? What do I want to do? What do I fear?
This is what “I’m just tired” generally means for me. It means I’m self-censoring. I’m “tired” of… what? From what?
So I ask myself: What is not being said here?
My answer comes back:
I don’t want to write a break-up album. I don’t want my queer-poly poetry collection to be all sad and wistful stuff about loss. I don’t want my chap-book of femme-poetry glosas to just be me spending more femme energy on a masc who broke my heart.
I miss writing. I miss making the time to write, and I miss generating creative work, but I also miss the ritual of sitting down in a coffee shop, dropping $5 for coffee and a lemon square, and creating for a couple of hours without distraction (meaning: without access to the internet, which I can technically do at home by sitting in the front room rather than on the couch; but also meaning: without the guilt/shame around taking time to Art when my living room and kitchen are untidy). I feel guilty for wanting to take that time, and for wanting to spend that money, when I could be working in the shop to help my wife’s business grow (aka: to help us pay our bills) or donating to Standing Rock or emailing my prime minister about repealing Bill C-51 (among other things). But mostly? Mostly, I’m just embarrassed to be still processing a heart-break that happened almost a year ago (meaning: more time has passed since breaking up than passed during the entire, short-lived relationship), and I want to find something else to speak-from-the-heart about that will contribute to the works I have in progress.
Ugh. Ages ago, I read a horoscope for myself that said my break-throughs were going to come from the artistic-output equivalent of singing “Bed of Roses” in a really heart-felt way, while drunk at a karaoke party. So maybe I need to write the damn break-up album and be done with it?
I don’t know. I’m working at a cegep tomorrow. If I arrive early enough, maybe I can sit myself in their school cafeteria and scribble something while I wait.
Filed under poetry, writing
This was awesome. So is the whole blog.
Go take a look. (And also support the creator’s patreon). 😀
Dear Story Nurse,
A recurring problem I encounter in my writing across the board is that I’ll come up with very cool ideas for worlds and settings, but then become completely stumped with inventing characters and stories for them.
I’d hazard that part of this problem stems from the fact that I come from a fanfiction writing background where characters are pre-supplied, though I’ve been working on original stories for several years now. I’ve got no problem worldbuilding, either in an already-extant canon nor an original world of my own.
When I have a story idea come to me already with characters and rudimentary plot, I’m fine—the problem only shows up when I have a world but no story, and then I find myself stumped, brain running in circles as I try to force a plot to happen. I sometimes feel like I’m just picking random plots out of a…
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Not mine. Jan Bradley’s. Guh.
In science class we learn the anatomy of fire, the three elements it needs. Fuel, oxygen, heat. Kel and me, we’re not allowed to sit together. I’ve gotta sit up front, where they can watch how I behave, where I can’t do any damage without them seeing straight away. She’s on the back bank of desks, with the window and the blossoming tree; vision seared by sun and hot pink petals each time I sneak a peek. They haven’t clocked that Kelli, in the corner, keeps stealing the scalpels, the ones designated for dissecting frogs. Every week she slides another up her sleeve, faster than I can confiscate. Just in case.
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hard femme poetics
Leah said breathe into the things that hold you up
I felt the back of the chair, my feet on the floor,
the basket of your intertwined fingers that catches my heart every time
first it was Amelia whose home was calling her
then Trudy, and adventure
Justine, and the sun
Sara, and the break
Allison, and her dreams
and then it was just me
expected to explain my sadness to him.
All I can do is sit quietly in the cave of it, in awe of its shape
I reach out to touch it, and run my finger along its gritty grooves and pits
I photocopy poems and send them in the mail
I write letter after letter
I get in planes, taxis, rental cars
I bring books, I send dresses
I send Mac and Cheese
I write you a poem and then another poem
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