Friday, November 11, 2016


I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. And it's really weird for me, because it's been such a huge part of my life, every year since I was sixteen. I would never have started seriously writing, the way I do now, if it wasn't for NaNo. I could never have finished my first novel, and I probably wouldn't have tried.

This time five years ago, I was already finished with my fifty thousand words, and on my way to one hundred thousand. But right now, it's just not something that's useful in my life. The deadline doesn't drive me to work harder like it used to, because I know that I can do it. And it seems pointless to write a whole new book when I already have so many in need of revision.

The thing I didn't think about when I decided to take a break from NaNo, though, is the community. Once a year for the past seven years, I've been a part of something, not just during November, but during October and December, too, as we gear up and then wind down. I gave that up. And a part of me really regrets it.

I could start today and still catch up, still get to fifty thousand words. But I'm not going to. I have a story that needs to be finally finished, and if I'm focusing on a word count, I won't be giving it everything it deserves. I won't be making it as great as I know it can be.

So no NaNo. Not now. But I do miss my community this year. NaNWriMo jump-started my writing career, but I think the community, ultimately, is the most important part of it. So I just want to encourage all of you who want to write to do it. Take part. Start now. Who cares if you can't make word count, starting a third of the way in?

A lot of people are not enjoying how November is going so far, and I really get that. So let's just take a break from Political November, and spend some time with Writing November. Write a crappy novel, hang out on the forums, make new friends. It's an amazing experience, and I hope you can all enjoy it, if not this year, then some November soon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


You are a little girl. You are a little girl, and your mother is dead. Perhaps you are a child so young, you will not remember her when you grow. Perhaps you are on the verge, already, of being a woman. Did she know what torments she doomed you to?

It doesn’t matter. I mean, yeah, I’ve always been curious, but who really cares? She’s dead. Your dad is still alive and kicking, and spoiler alert: he seriously sucks.

Now, to be fair, your mom? She had a pretty messed up last request. Normal dying wishes include, but are not limited to: take good care of our daughter, try to move on, etc., etc. Normal dying wishes do not include “Don’t remarry unless the new chick is as pretty as me.” That’s not cool, lady. I mean, of all the things to make a priority on your deathbed. Seriously?

You aren’t scared to die. You aren’t worried about how sad your husband is going to be, or about how your daughter will grow up motherless. Nope. You just wanna be the prettiest. I mean, who cares? You’ll be dead. That ain’t changing. No point in envying the living.

So. Back to you, little girl. Your mom is dead. Your dad is sad. And you? You’re growing up. And you’re getting pretty. And prettier, and prettier, every single day.

And dear old dad is not enjoying this whole widower thing, but he respects the wishes of the dead, and sadly, your mom was smokin’ hot.

And you, honey, you look just like her.

So one day, you’re just minding your own business, doing whatever princesses do, and your dad comes up to you, and he’s all like, “Hey, kiddo, let’s get hitched.”

This is where things get seriously screwy.

“Um, Dad,” you say, “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

“Dad,” you say, “there are laws against that.”

“Dad, you changed my diapers. Do you really wanna go down…?”

Well. Daddy’s nothing if not stubborn, and he hasn’t been quite right since Mommy bit the dust. You try a different tactic. The spoiled brat tactic, specifically.

“Dad, I wanna have the prettiest wedding dress ever. I want a dress as bright as the sun, and if I can’t get married in that, I’m not getting married at all. So there.”

And Dad, impossibly, produces one. When you throw a fit about how it isn’t good enough, and demand one the color of the moon instead, he gets that too. And the one that’s all the colors of the sky.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. “Dad,” you say, “you know that donkey that poops the gold that’s the source of all our kingdom’s wealth?”

Your dad does, indeed, know that donkey.

“Well, if you really loved me, you would kill that donkey and make me an outfit out of his skin.”

And amazingly, proving once and for all that incestuous lust is indeed a more powerful force than greed, the old nutcase does it.

Only one thing left to do. You throw that donkey skin on your back, you rub some dirt in your face, and you make a run for it.

You, in your donkey suit, you take a job at the castle of a different king. Your coworkers point and laugh. Forget them. You’ve dealt with worse.

Still, it’s hard sometimes. You’re only just a girl. Sometimes, when you have time off, you lock the doors and try on the dresses your daddy gave you.  Sure, he’s a disgusting psycho, but he’s the only family you’ve got, and those clothes were pretty. You live in the skin of a dead donkey, hon. Sometimes you just want to look nice again. Like a princess. Like someone loved and taken care of.

And then you find the aviary. Pretty birds. Pretty dresses. No people. It’s such a good place to sneak away to, to feel like you again. You don’t know it’s the prince’s favorite place to hide away, too.

Of course you meet eventually. In a way. You’ve seen him before. Maybe you have a little crush. But you’ve been down this road. You know what you’re doing: nothing. Steer clear. Do not get involved in this crap again.

But the prince. You, honey, are new at this. You walk down a hallway, and then, well, you just chance to peep through a keyhole, you little pervent. And the girl you see, well, she’s smokin’ hot. She’s too smokin’ hot to just walk in on. That would be disrespectful, man.

She’s also so smokin’ hot you, like, can’t function because you’re so busy thinking about how hot she is. You gotta find out who this chick is so you can marry her or something. You ask around, and everyone’s like, “That room? Yeah, man, that’s where the donkey freak lives. I think you’re…confused.”

So you go to your room to waste away and pout, and when your mom asks what’s wrong, you say you need Donkeyskin to make you a cake.

And here you are, Donkeyskin, just minding your own business, and suddenly the prince is asking questions about you. So you make a cake, and you drop your ring in the batter, because, hey, maybe he’s not a creep like your dad, and it would be cool to be a princess again.

Dude finds the ring, and it turns out your fingers are freaking tiny, because we’ve got all this Cinderella crap going on now.

You guys get married. You live happily ever after. Your dad comes to the wedding and you forgive him, of course, because that’s what good girls do. And since this is Perrault, and he’s big with the lessons:

Moral 1: It’s better to endure hardship than neglect your duties. (And this would be the duty not to marry your dad? I guess? What about his duty not to marry you?)

Moral 2: Virtue is good. (Way to go, Donkeyskin. You didn’t try to hook up with your daughter, you didn’t look in people’s keyholes, you are rocking the virtue here.)

Moral 3: Love is more powerful than reason. (Hence the forgiveness for dear old dad?)

Moral 4: Bread and water are totally sufficient for a girl to live on. (Um…what? Are we not gonna talk about how trying to do your daughter is bad? No? Just focus on the diet? ‘Kay then. I guess we’re done here.)