brittni in ink

a writer's blog

creative breaks

Ah! I haven’t written anything in like two weeks!

To be fair, I was working on a play – “Yellow Vines,” a comedy by Linda Collard (who’s also a children’s author)!

Here’s a photo of the absolutely stellar cast:

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We had so much fun putting on the show! Like any creative/ collaborative project, it involved late nights, lots of coffee, and very little free time. But it’s all part of it, the theatre life!

With show weekend rocked and now past, I’m turning my focus back to writing. And it’s good. It’s good to take creative breaks, make other things, and come back to that quiet writing place with more ideas and experience than you had when you left….

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print copies and reading aloud

Hey everybody! Lots has happened since the last time I posted.

First, the Kindle version of The Patch Project came out! The Green Bean Cafe hosted a reading, which was a lot of fun!

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I read a few sections of the book and got to hang out and drink coffee with all the amazing people who attended.

A few weeks ago, the first print copies arrived!

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Since then, I’ve been delivering books to friends and mailing off copies to family all over Canada.

Last week, I was invited to read as part of ChiSeries Windsor, a night of genre fiction writers sharing their work.

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I think that night was when it became real to me, having a published book.

It’s been a long journey from writing the first draft to holding the printed copy in my hand, reading aloud for strangers and friends alike to hear. It’s a wonderful thing, and I’m super thankful for it.

I’m ready to see where that journey takes me next!

 

**The Patch Project is currently available on Amazon.com or through EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.**

excited about writing again!

Hey, I was just working on a novel and remembered why I like writing dream scenes!

There were quite a few in The Patch Project, mostly from May’s perspective. So I thought, why not write one in the sequel!

I’ve been working on part two of the sequel since April 1st. I thought if I set a goal through Camp NaNoWriMo, it would force me to finish the book. (I lost motivation about a month ago when I had very little free time.)

For the first week, it was great. I was consistent with writing and sometimes exceeded my target word count for the day. But once I got most of the establishing writing out of the way, I started avoiding the book. This happens for me pretty regularly – I LOVE starting stories, but once I get into the middle, my enthusiasm tends to dissipate.

Today, I had to write 900 words to stay on track (if I want to hit my goal by the end of the month!). And that’s where the dream scene came in.

Sometimes, dream scenes can be interesting filler, or a way of solidifying themes. For writers like Dostoevsky, they’re an important piece in exploring characters’ psychology and ideas. They create a surreal space, where the usual rules don’t apply, drenched in symbolism, in untold desires, in fear. They can show better than they can tell.

Maybe this is why I enjoy writing dream scenes. There’s room for play, ways to discuss relationships that would seem forced or out of place in the “real world.” There’s a focus on the intimacy of experience, of visual/auditory cues – a character can have a rotary phone for a head! Inanimate objects can move on their own! Myths can come to life!

Writing a dream scene helped spark my enthusiasm for writing again! If you’re feeling stuck, maybe try writing out a dream one of your characters would have – something bizarre, surreal, bursting with colour and sound and symbolism! 

The Patch Project, it’s happening

Five years ago, I wrote a novel.

For a long time, it sat in my inbox, followed by a rejection email from an acquisitions editor who had shown interest in the early chapters.

I had only shown the manuscript to one other person while I was writing it. Otherwise, I kept it close, told people I was working on it, but never shared anything beyond the first chapter.

About a year ago, I revisited the manuscript.

I rewrote it, filled in the cracks. The years since I’d read it gave me perspective, helped me to cut awkward sentences, fill out plot and character points.

I read it aloud to P.

I got feedback from some writing friends.

After reading it over a dozen times, I submitted it to EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing – and they accepted it!

But the reworking didn’t stop there. A house editor went over the manuscript with me, did three editing sweeps, asked questions and clarified muddy points.

Since the final manuscript came to be, I’ve had a dozen advanced readers, who’ve really helped me to see the story in new ways.

All this to say, writing can be a really private thing. But I’m learning that readers are the best thing that can happen to your manuscript. Readers that you trust, who can spot your bullshit and get excited about the best parts of your story.

And I can’t wait for March 19th, when the Kindle version of The Patch Project will be available for readers everywhere!

 

***The Patch Project is available for pre-order through Amazon or http://www.edgewebsite. com until March 18, 2018.

christmas trickster

Every year, I read through A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. (Many people I know do as well – it’s a time-honoured reading tradition). And every time I read it, something different stands out.

I was struck this year by how much time Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas present spend travelling the world and visiting the homes of the poor. That section never makes it into the cartoon versions.

Or how Scrooge sends the giant Christmas turkey to the Cratchits, but doesn’t follow it up with a visit. He doesn’t need recognition or closure for his good deed – he does it joyfully from his heart. An almost ridiculous joyfulness! With it, he mischievously raises Bob Cratchit’s salary!

There is no other book that makes me smile as much as A Christmas Carol. But it’s also very serious in its portrayal of the systems which keep the poor miserable, and how individual action for change is important, all the year round, not only at Christmastime.

The Christmas Scrooge is hard to live up to, in theory. How am I supposed to help the people around me when I have so many concerns of my own? But the enjoyment Scrooge exudes makes his generosity something accessible for all of us. He buys a turkey for the Cratchits because it tickles him to think of it arriving at their house from out of nowhere! He acts the part of his old self to make Bob think he’s in trouble before shocking him with a raise! Scrooge is a Christmas trickster! And I like that, very much.

looking back

It’s that time of year: When our calendar reaches the last page, when we finally find time to spend with friends and family, when we eat far too much knowing that the time to turn over a new leaf is at hand. We know what it’s going to feel like, because we’ve been here before. Thank goodness we have the cyclical seasons greetings to give us stability in our linear timeline.

Looking back from this point in the year, it’s been a good one. I got to see my play develop from cradle to stage. I was hired after a long search for employment, and I still love working there. I’ve read more contemporary novels and local authors than I have in previous years (all of the books I read this year took up more than the one shelf I thought they would need). P. and I learned a lot about relationships, and about each other.

We also went through some hard stuff: our dog passing away. Long swaths of unemployment. Ending our two-years-running podcast. These all come with their own kind of sadness.

But now, we can look back on all of these things, and look toward the future as well. There is so much to be thankful for. There is so much to grieve for. There is so much to reflect on, so much that can be changed for the better. So much life.

Merry Christmas, and a happy and joyful new year, to you all!

 

48 hr film

Every year, WIFF hosts a challenge: you can sign up a team to write, film, edit and submit a 1-5 minute film in 48 hours. I participated last year, so was very excited when our friend got a team together for the 2017 iteration.

We went to the kick-off event. We met around our dining room table to brainstorm ideas for the film. Two hours later, a handful of us remained, putting the finishing touches on our script. It was incredible how clear the writing was. The five of us in that room got to experience the ease and enjoyment of being creative with people who are on the same wavelength.

We filmed for four hours on Saturday and edited into the night. Sunday, we had a mini editing party with some of the team and sent off our finished product with 30 minutes to spare. The quality of the film was impressive considering the time restrictions.

It was a good reminder that if you have a project you want to do, you should go out and do it. If we can make a decent short film in a weekend, why shouldn’t we make another one? And another one? And another?

P.S.: Our film is being shown at the FlickFest screening on November 1st. Check out all of the amazing films made by local talent!

P.S.S.: JUST SAW THAT LOVING VINCENT IS PLAYING AT WIFF!!