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.

New Opportunities

Life has been pretty grand for me lately. I’ve been given new opportunities that are expanding my reach as a writer and a person. I’ve attended my first writers’ retreat/workshop and connected with a lot of other writers. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and working on some secret stuff that only a few people know about. But what I wanted to discuss today is an opportunity that I have been very open about.

My friend, Cade, recently started a new website called Fandom Bay. The site is a one stop shop for info on fan culture, pop culture, politics, music, and anything else that people have a passion for. I’m working as an editor and contributor for the site!

This site is letting me explore the topics in media I have been dying to write about. I’m lucky to be a part of this group and everyone should definitely check them out. I already have a few articles up there ranging from new shows on race relations to how media has handled sexuality.

Go check them out!

Poem: Oh, Black Woman

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I haven’t written poetry in years, but something about the ever present #resist if our lives has me needing to express myself. Given the subject, it would have fit in February, but there is never a wrong time to celebrate the beauty of black women.

Oh, Black Woman

Oh, black woman
How you carry us all
Our history and our future
An unresented burden upon your back

Oh, black woman
Every part of you is a testament to your strength
Designed by God
To uplift your people

Oh, black woman
From your feet that leaves a trail
For those to follow in your path
Leading to a haven

Oh, black woman
To your knees
So calloused and bruised
Falling down in prayer

Oh, black woman
Blessed is your womb
From which a nation is born
Of kings and queens

Oh, black woman
Your breasts of which
Feed us the milk of life
We grow strong from your nurture and comfort

Oh, black woman
Rough hands cling to ours
We cling in fear
Yet always there, you never let go

Oh, black woman
That mouth sensual and sweet
Smiling away the darkness
A beacon of eternal light

Oh, black woman
Your eyes shining
In both worry and mirth
Watching our every step

Oh, black woman
Those tears run down your face
Each drop contains the multitude of our pain
That is enshrined in your soul

Oh, black woman
I cry out for your heart
It bares the scars of our past
That has been inflicted upon us

Oh, black woman
Your beauty and your strength
There is nothing like it
In all the world

Oh, black woman
How others try and match you for your power
Yet they have not been tempered in fire
And encrusted in diamond

Oh, black woman
The might you show
Spirituality and teachings and growth
None out there like you

Oh, black woman
Oh, black woman
Oh, black woman
Blessings fall on you

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.

Writing For an Audience

audienceOften when a writer says something about writing for an audience, they are referring to their imagined (or not so imagined) future readers. This is usually what we consider a writer’s audience. It’s not like we are musicians that play in front of people. Or are we?

Writers all have a myriad of ways that help them write. One of my ways is to put myself in a situation that I am forced to continue and not take too many breaks or get distracted by the internet too often. I write for an active audience.

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On Twitch, I can stream my computer screen as I write. I will often listen to music, and if anyone is watching, I will chat with viewers. They generally will ask questions about what you are writing and this can carry over to them being interested as future readers.

There is a thriving community in what is called Twitch Creative. There you can watch artists paint or someone compose a song or sew something. There are hundreds of people doing different things. Per my interests, there is a subsection devoted totally to writing.

Of course, since I have not published anything, I am not sure if the translation of viewers to readers works, but for now it is a fun way for me to write and gets me to stop procrastinating. And honestly, who can ask for more than that.

Have you ever tried streaming? Have you ever watched a streamer?

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