Hello Again

Sometimes you get to that point where you are so busy, that you are exhausted and can’t even muster up the energy to do things you enjoy. That has been me for the past couple of months, and, sadly, the main thing that fell to the wayside is this blog.

There has been so much that has happened in April and I have thought up blog posts that I can’t wait to share with you guys. You can think of this as a new dawn.

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The important things to note are that I finished the first draft of Star of Xianu (Yay!). I honestly did not think that day would come. I have been working on this book on and off since last year and I finished this draft at about 56,000 words. It is a bit short for a YA fantasy novel, but I know there is still a lot of work to be done to it and I think I can get it up to 70,000 words easy. I really think with my friends as betas, I could be ready to send this out on query by the end of summer.

Also, I have found a writing community that inspires and challenges me at every turn. You will hear more about them in an upcoming blog post. I can’t wait to tell you about them.

As part of my program of self-improvement, I am working on getting out of my shell and participating in more social media. That means if you look to the left in the pull out screen (click the three bars in the top left corner), you will see more tabs under Social Media. I am more active on building writing resources and book inspiration on Pinterest and I am determined to getting back into my online writing streams on Twitch. I am also trying to do better with my self image and post pictures on Instagram, but that is a work in progress. And, of course, I am still easily be found on Twitter.

With my screenwriting, I am still editing another draft of Court Square, but there are several scenes I want to add in before I consider it really done. There is a cool table read of the script if you are interested in listening to it being read by different actors. I am also finally brave enough to tackle a comedy script. In June, the plan is to work on an half-hour comedy pilot, so wish me luck with that.

I had to break my silence and come back to this page. I am going to work harder to make time to post here. As I said, I have several post ideas brewing in my head. But until next time.

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Diversity Initiatives: Equality vs Equity

I am a writer. I write in any way I think that will best convey a story. Usually that means a novel or script, but occasionally a short story. I am also a black woman. Yeah, that shouldn’t mean anything when it comes to my writing. The writing should be held up and judged on its own merit, but often that is not the case. Women and people of color are often not represented in media.

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It’s this that sparks things like #OscarsSoWhite, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #OwnVoices, and diversity initiatives in both publishing and film. Sadly, these attempts to make creative industries more inclusive than the “old white boys club” they are often seen as comes with some backlash. White men complaining that it is harder for them to break in because because people want diversity. Mind you, diversity is usually spoken with contempt in these conversations.

There is a saying (for the life of me I cannot find who originally said it) “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” When programs are created to give the underrepresented a  chance, so many overrepresented people decry it as “racist”.

Cis white men often cry out “Why are we holding down the white man?” “It is getting so hard to be a white man.” They ignore their privilege (often narrowing it down to “well I didn’t get such-and-such so I can’t be privileged.”)

It is usually in the face of the few programs out there that are specifically to help underrepresented individuals (usually people of color, women, disabled, or queer) break into industries. But since they exist, there are the ever present complaints that helping underrepresented people is “racist.”

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People with privilege often look at the world in a sense of equality, rather than equity. If they want to “help” underrepresented people, they want it in a way that gives those people equal opportunity as them, ignoring that they often have a  leg up that still puts them ahead. Programs focused on diversity look more towards equity that gives the underrepresented an extra boost so that they will be on the same footing as the privileged.

While this extra boost may seem unfair to some, it is what is currently needed to get to a point where were can focus on equality rather than equity. Maybe within the next few generations, industries like film and publishing will no longer need diversity programs. With then incoming amounts of diverse people working in these fields, maybe others like them will get the opportunities that were previously denied to them. Until then, shut up and stop whining about equity within those few programs and check your privilege.

January Check-In

85k90: 13,406 out of 29,278

GYWO: 13,406 out of 16,986

 

Projects-

Star of Xianu: 2,685 out of 40,000 (42,737 out of 80,000 total)

Court Square: 8,973 words (45 out of 90 pages)

Short story: 2,141 words

Blog posts: 757 words

 

To date:

85k90: 13,406 out of 85,000

GYWO: 13,406 out of 200,000

 

Thoughts: I am pretty far behind on my 85k in 90 Days, but am almost keeping up with my Get Your Words Done. This has been a tough month for writing. After the holidays at the end of 2016, I got out of practice of writing and my ability to hit my daily word count suffered. Then with certain political happenings, I’ve been distracted by the depressing real word. It is going to be a struggle getting back into the swing of things, but last night I created a new writing schedule that will put some motivation back in me. Wish me luck!

Project Round Up

I realized I have mentioned in passing several projects I have and am working on, but never really have given details about them. So here is a round up of all my projects.

  • Star of Xainu
    • Novel
    • Status: Currently about halfway done writing
    • Blurb:

      Robin is a simple thief. Well, if you can call the most notorious thief around ‘simple’. She lives by the uncomplicated code of stealing from rich and giving to the poor, much like the man she has taken her name from, Robin Hood. Everything is great until she takes a partner for one job and gets caught. Enter Chen Liu, prince of Xianu. He blackmails Robin into helping him recover the Star of Xianu, the ancient jewel that is the source of power in Xianu. If they can’t figure out who stole the jewel and why, the entire Xian race is doomed.

  • UCCS
    • Feature Screenplay
    • Status: Researching and plotting and first drafting
    • Logline: Now that’s a secret
  • The Society of the Pantheon
    • Novel
    • Status: I have finished writing this novel and it is just with a beta now and in editing.
    • Blurb:

      Imani Wynn has been a pushover her entire life, but when strange things start happening to her, she finds it is high time to start standing up for herself. After receiving what she believes is a fake invitation to the mysterious Skull and Bones type organization, The Society of the Pantheon, Imani believes there are people out there hellbent on making her life miserable. Things turn worse when she finds those same people following her around campus and outside her apartment. She isn’t sure if it is better or worse that the invitation to The Society was real and she really is the vessel for a minor Norse goddess. While dealing with this supernatural mess, she must also face her boyfriend showing his true colors, her best friend betraying her, and her grandmother being sent to the hospital.

      When Imani finds out other god vessels have been disappearing and one of her new friends is being accused of being behind it, she is determined to prove everyone wrong about him and possibly learn that she is a little more special than she gave herself credit for.

  • gray_rabbit
    • Pilot
    • Status: Finished with minor tweaks happening
    • Logline:

      When a woman is killed by the police, two best friend take two very different routes on proving a government conspiracy.

  • The 100 Spec
    • Spec Script
    • Status: Currently Writing
    • Logline:

      The missing 24 hours between Lexa dying and the next time we see Clarke

No Writer Is An Island

Well that is a bastardization of the old saying, but it rings true. A writer has to really actively try hard to be alone. Even if they are removed from traditional publishings, there are still editors, cover designers, beta readers, and the all important reader, among others, that are with you along the journey.

For me, being part of a community is an essential part of being a writer. I am a member of multiple Discord groups, Facebook groups, and an IRC room devoted to writers. We cheer each other on, give advice, bounce ideas off of each other, and challenge each other. This year two groups that I am a member of are having extended challenges that I am joining.

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The Facebook group, 85k Writing Challenge, is on its second annual challenge. The goal is to write 85,000 words in 90 days. From January 1st to March 31st. Think NaNoWriMo, but a larger word goal spread out over a longer time. It is an average of only 945 words a day. Significantly less than NaNo. Also, with the longer time period, if something comes up in life, the writer has more than enough time to catch up.

The other challenge I am participating in is called Get Your Words Out. This one has a little more wiggle room and allows you to choose your own word goal. I chose their “Basic” level for 200,000 words. GYWO is a year-long challenge, which gives you plenty of time to “get your words out.” Anyone with a LiveJournal, OpenID, or DreamWidth can join, though there is a deadline of January 15th.

Because GYWO has a mandatory monthly check-in, you guys will get the pleasure of me posting a more detailed check-in here on the last day of every month. Until March, I’ll post updates for both challenges and after 85k90 I will only post for GYWO. Feel free to join me in these challenges, and bonne chance in this new year of writing.

Originals And Comics And Franchises, Oh My!

Writing makes my world go round. When I am not writing (which is far too often) I am thinking about all the things that I want to write. So many original ideas run around my head on a daily basis. Most writers I know are the exact same. We all want to see the stories in our heads play out for the world to see, be it on screen or on page. I feel like I should preface this next part with a paraphrasing quote from Mean Girls. I’m not a regular screenwriter. I’m a cool screenwriter.

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You see, I constantly hear from other writers that they only want to write original stuff, they don’t want to become a cog in the machine of Hollywood and crank out things for franchises or adaptations. Be prepared to judge me for the worse, but I do. I do want to write for franchises, I do want to make a superhero movie, I do want the chance to adapt a novel.

I grew up loving these movies alongside my love of the classics. As I write this I am upset because I have to wait a day to see Captain America: Civil War (and I have plans to see it multiple times opening weekend). I am a total geek girl and I love these movies. It would be a dream to be a part of bringing the wonder of things I love to the world.

It seems that many consider the people that write these movies are only doing it for the money, but I am sure my desire comes from one of two things. I freakin’ love comic books. Give me a chance to write a Ms. Marvel movie and I will hop on it in a second. Origin story for Harley Quinn? Yes, please. Do I already have ideas for a modern retelling of Pygmalion? You bet I do. Of course I want to write my original specs, but my love of comics and novels too.

The other reason may be because of where I got my start in writing. Some of my first real substantial writings were fanfiction. No longer media’s dirty little secret, fanfiction has become more prevalent and makes me less ashamed to talk about my writing roots. As a fanfic writer, I frequently play in other people’s worlds. I take something others have created and morph it into something new and unique to me and that gives me great pleasure. I get to play in a world I love, and what are franchise movies if not that?