New Home!

19 Apr

Hey all, one last update here, then all will be posted at my new home, www.madelineclairefranklin.com.

…and that’s the update! From now on look for any info on me, my writing, and especially The Poppet and the Lune at www.madelineclairefranklin.com ! :D

Thanks for reading!

HALP! TPaL Book Cover Poll

23 Mar

People of the world, I need your help. I’ve got my cover art from the lovely Plamena Doycheva, and I’ve got some fonts I’ll have to get licensing for. I’ve made 4 potential coverts for The Poppet and the Lune (TPaL), and I’d love your feedback. Tell me which one you like best, or which one you would like best if I did something to it (also tell me what you think I should do to it).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(the images are actually very clean/not pixelated. They just look weird shrunken down for the slideshow)

Thanks for your help!

Labels, genres, and other things that limit you

21 Mar

When I was much younger, just beginning to become aware of myself in relationship to the rest of the world, I realized three very important things that determined much of the person I’ve become- 1) that there is an immense amount of pressure for you to “fit in;” 2) that depending on who you fit in with, people will try to label you; and 3) that I wanted nothing to do with any of that, thankyouverymuch.

It was a hard road to follow. Did I find people I fit in with? More or less. We respected an appreciated each other, and while we did have many things in common we were not the same people. We were individuals, with very different things to offer to the world. People tried to label us, “goth” or “punk” or “freaks,” but when it came down to it we were just doing what we wanted, regardless of labels, regardless of what each other was doing.

In my writing, I’ve come to find that the same principles apply. I’ve let myself become bogged down on one level or another by the marketing aspect of publishing. I’ve mistaken craft for industry, and those are two very different things. Yes, you should write an opening sentence that pulls the reader in- but no, you should not write your entire novel based around what’s going to sell the most copies. So when it comes to writing for an audience, it gets tricky. The main reason to write for an audience is because you want to sell the book to them, which is fine. But is that why you’re writing to begin with?

If it is, then read no further. This entry will only piss you off. Because for me, writing is something I do because I must- I must tell stories, I must craft worlds, I must get to know characters and witness their struggles and triumphs. I write stories because I love to write, and yes I do want to sell them and have them be read, and ideally make a living from my passion. But what I’ve come to realize recently is that it can be very tempting to sacrifice a story in the name of securing an audience. Often, audiences come packaged under something I’ve come to really dislike, the labels known as “genres.”

Genres are just another form of labeling. They limit your creativity tremendously, lock you in, stifle the flow of your story. For instance, if you decide to write for young adults because that seems to be where the market is thriving- but wait, one of your main characters is an adult… Do not even for an instant consider changing that character based on the fact that it makes your story not fit into that genre. For the story to really shine you have to be true to it, from beginning to end. The soul of the story, that thing that burrows into the reader’s heart and makes a home there, it can only be found when the author tries to recreate the story given to them to tell in it’s most pure and, in many ways, divine form.

——————————————————————————-

You can see that I look at writing as more of a spiritual experience than anything else– I hope that’s been apparent for some time now. I’m a spiritual person– my spirituality (read: NOT RELIGION) is one of the most important things about my existence. Writing is not terribly separate from that. And there are a lot of people who would disagree with me about this, that to sell we must conform, to make our story the most accessible and widely read we must change it because the experts say so. But I have a whole lot of faith in the story– about as much as I have in the audience to be able to appreciate what it’s worth. Call me naive if you want, but I would rather have high hopes than low expectations. Being a writer–indeed, an artist of any kind–is about trusting in your own ability to create something beautiful.

Do you find genres to be helpful or hindering as a writer? What about as a reader?

That oft-used metaphor called “road”

10 Mar

So in my life I’ve gone through various phases in regards to my relationship with writing and publishing. At one point, I just wrote stories and had no reason other than compulsion and joy. And then I wrote because I wanted to be a Writer. And then I thought I would never be a Writer because I wasn’t good enough. Then I realized I was a writer, no matter what. But I still wanted to be a Writer, and even though I didn’t admit it, I believed there was a difference. A Writer was Published. I wasn’t, not really. So I was just a writer. (Following me?)

Then, a few months ago, I said DAMN IT I am a writer, and there is no such THING as a Writer. And I believed it, mostly. And I said I was going to self-publish The Poppet and the Lune. And I even went so far as to commision artwork for the cover (see the background of this blog?). But something was still off- that part of me that didn’t want to budge about the difference between a writer, and a Writer. A Writer wasn’t just Published, but it was validated by Official Writer Validators, who decide if your book is Good Enough to Publish.

Then, what I really, really realized is that… those “official” people who decide these things about your book? They have no power. Not really. They decide what they can sell, not what’s good. (*ahem*Twilight*ahem*)

Those are very different things. That’s like Hallmark deciding what’s a “good” sentiment to have on an occasion. It’s not real- their decisions hold no real weight.

I write, still, because I am compelled to. I write because I have stories to tell, that sing through me until I have fleshed them out completely on the page. Do I want to make a living from doing the things that I love? Of course. But do I write to create something that will sell? No.

Will my books sell if I write the best story I can, truest to my heart, and take the best care I can to edit, format, and design the book, and then publish it myself?

I believe so.

To emphasize my commitment to this understanding (deep in my bones and screaming through my blood): unless I’m offered an AMAZING contract and an agent I think is one of my plutonic soul mates here on earth, as soon as I get a confirmed pass or whatever on the networking happening on my behalf at the moment in NYC I’m going to get going on self publishing The Poppet and the Lune. Because putting it out into the world under my own terms is better than waiting for someone else to decide that they can use it for their own success, and waiting for other people to tell me when I can begin my career as a Published author… when really the only difference between a *Published author and a published author is that the former has a lot more hoops to jump through. And frankly I’ve never been able to hula hoop, let alone jump through hoops. (joke? eh? haha?)

And then, I’m going to fix up The Hierophant and put that out there too. You see where I’m going with this?

Basically, I’m taking back my power. In the immortal words of Sarah to David Bowie/Jareth: “You have no power over me.” And boy oh boy, is that refreshing.

*disclaimer: I have nothing against traditionally published authors. More power to them. But if I’ve written books that “just aren’t a match” for the agents who read them, even though they love them… then I’m not waiting for them. I’m going straight to the public.

Testing

1 Mar

Just testing my new phone app. That’s right, I’m hip to the times finally- got mah self a smurt phone!

My hypocrisy, my self

28 Feb

So I am a total hypocrite. I have hardly written a god damn thing since my last post. I can’t begin to really explain why, or where I went “wrong,” or what’s happening now that I’m still unable to write. An epic writers block descended, and I’m currently dealing with a lot of subversive and deeply internalized fear and the denial of said fear. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s there. I’m accepting it, and hoping to move on.

Spiritually, I’m okay with all of this. I see it as an opportunity for growth. I obviously need a reminder that sometimes the only thing that really matters is how I feel- and it is most important that I find a way to be happy with everything that is. Being negative about it doesn’t help- fighting against it doesn’t change it. Look at the war on drugs, how billions more are spent on preventing drug use and trafficking every year, but it only ever gets worse. Look at me trying to stop eating junk food but only finding myself snacking on ice cream even more nights a week… you get it. Energy flows where attention goes, regardless of saying “stop” to a problem.

So, whatever, maybe that’s not your philosophy. It’s mine, and this is my blog :p

Anyway.

The Poppet and the Lune has not been sitting on a desk collecting dust, in case you were wondering. It’s been sent around, read by a few agents, and a few editors, most saying “it’s great, but I don’t think I’m the right person for it,” which, you know, is nice in the first half and disappointing in the last half, but that’s okay. I have plans. I also have a non-traditional thing in the works, some NYC networking happening on my behalf. In other words, TPaL is being passed around like a porn mag in a 12-year-old boy’s tree house in a Stephen King story. And they like it. That’s not saying anything official, just that I’m getting good feedback from people who know people. Besides, worst case scenario: I get an ego boost.

Also in the meantime, I’m brainstorming a sequel or prequel idea. If there are any characters from the book that you’d like to see again, let me know and I’ll consider their story. I think I’m going to be making up new characters for this one, but you never know- sometimes the story takes over and does what you didn’t want it to do. It happened in TPaL, twice.

So, will I be writing again any time soon? I hope. I can’t say for sure. I feel like I will. I have been nurturing myself, and I already went through the worst of the despair. I feel like things are changing as spring comes. Winter is always hard for me.

Again, I apologize for the radio silence and being a bad writerly role-model. Or maybe I’m a good one? Maybe writers are allowed a break without questioning their purpose in life? Maybe. Probably. Cause I’m okay with it.

I’ll be updating again soon, hopefully, probably with philosophical waxing about my spiritual journey, etc. It’s okay if you don’t want to read it, frankly I find those kind of blogs self-indulgent. As a matter of fact, I think all blogs are (but I still read them and [try to] write one). So never mind!

Happy last day of February!

The Mood to Write, and other mythical ideas

11 Jan

So I’ve been struggling lately to get back into a writing routine. I took a bit of time off after I burned myself out with a technically-victorious but personally unsatisfying National Novel Writing Month in November (or NaNoWriMo if yo’ nasty), and spent the darkest days of winter laying some stronger foundations for the year ahead. Then The Holidays happened, and us kids found out we had a long-lost half-brother (no, I’m not joking), and I was severely distracted for a while. Anyway, the point is I’m trying to get back into writing again and it is HARD.

I didn’t expect it to be easy. I’ve been writing like the wind for years now, and I know that it takes huge effort to discipline yourself into writing. But I’m re-training myself to have that kind of discipline again, even though it’s still dark and cold outside, and I’m still sleepy and wanting to hibernate. And it got me thinking, as I was cracking down on myself this morning, telling myself “damn it you’re going to write those 3 pages today, tomorrow, and the next…” about all the times I have decided not to write because I wasn’t “in the mood.” Or all the millions of times I’ve heard people say “I can only write when I’m inspired.”

Well, that’s bullshit.

Writing is not something that happens because a Muse comes down from Olympus and blows us full of ideas. Yes, we can be inspired to write, and have moments, days, even weeks when we’re thrilled to sit down at the page every day and cry a little when we have to put away the word processor or pen. But in most cases, while we might think about writing all day, and daydream about our characters and stories, and we “can’t wait to write today,” when the time comes we have to drag ourselves away from every single tiny distraction that we can possibly use to keep us away from the page. We struggle to plunk ourselves down and force ourselves to write. And an amazing thing happens then. If we can force ourselves to focus, to not check Facebook or answer the phone or start making grocery lists, at about 500 words (small potatoes!) the inspiration comes to us. We find ourselves nudged forward by a playful gust of creativity, ready to sweep us up in the fire.

And inspiration- it is fire, a fire that burns brightly when we give it fuel. The fuel itself is action- is writing. For another artist, it might be practicing instruments, sketching, singing, but for writers, if we want to find inspiration we need to show the Muse that we’re responsible parents, that we’ll take care of our brain children, that ideas are safe with us.

So next time you (or I) find yourself avoiding the sometimes-not-so-easy joy of writing because your mood isn’t right, or the gods of literature just aren’t on your side that day? Sit down, turn off your phone, disconnect the internet, and write.

As one of my favorite novels (Dune, by Frank Herbert) says: “Mood is a thing for cattle and women- mood is not for fighting.” Well word warriors? Just DO IT!

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