09 August 2014

Guest Author Post: C. R. Langille

C.R.'s fiction empire!

When Revision Rears its Ugly Head, Give it a Makeover

I don’t think I’ve found a subject that writers collectively loathe more than revision. For some reason, just the thought of chewing through pages upon pages of manuscript is enough to elicit a mass pandemic of sighs and eye-rolling. Yet revision doesn’t have to be a monster in the closet. It can be (and should be) the writer’s best friend.

I too suffered from the revision depression until just recently. I had finished a rough draft of my novel and knew that the next step would be to go through and polish that piece of $%!# until it shined brighter than the sun. The manuscript sat untouched for over two months before I finally opened it back up. I didn’t want to do it and did everything in my power to put it off until it could wait no longer. When I chewed my way through the first few pages something magical happened; I found that I enjoyed it. Revising the story and fixing the errors of my first run was almost cathartic.

What was it that made revision fun? Perception.

Since I finished the rough draft, I now had a firm grasp of the storyline, where it was going, and how it would end. I knew the characters inside and out, and how they interacted with one another. For those of you who write with detailed outlines, this may not be an issue. But for me, since I write by the seat of my pants, these details don’t come alive until the story is well on its way. I wrote a lot of my initial chapters in a very bare-bones style just to get the plot moving, or to finish the novel. But now I had the power to turn it into something wonderful.

I flew through the first few chapters in record time. Some details stayed, but others got a pink slip and disappeared, replaced by scenes or sentences that set up events to come. Characters were better developed, and character interaction became a fine-tuned machine that purred.

Whenever I told my writer friends that I was having a good time with my revisions, they gave me looks as if I were trying to describe the Pythagorean Theorem. Revision doesn’t have to suck. It doesn’t have to be tedious or menial. Just like anything else, it’s what you make it. Enjoy the process and have fun with your revisions. Find the excitement in the word-craft and it will make the job of revision an adventure.

About C. R.

C.R. Langille has been searching the darkness for the ultimate scare for over a decade. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he began crafting nightmares for others to enjoy.

He and his wife live in Utah. They share their home with a Doberman, a Corgi and an ill-tempered cat. His stories have been featured in Dark Moon Books and FearKnocks. He’s an avid hunter, martial-artist, table-top gamer, and amateur survivalist.

You can find C. R. on his author website, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

07 August 2014

Publishing news: haiku and synaesthesia

(c) Dollar Photo
I'm pleased to announce that ExFic, "the home of subversion, surrealism, and freedom in writing," will be publishing my poem "Haiku of the Synesthete" next week!

The haiku is one of my favorite poetic forms in which to write. Originating from Japan in the 13th century, the style is renowned for its deceptive simplicity, but perhaps most famously for its syllabic patterns. This is the rule of 5-7-5, where the first line must be five syllables in length, the second line seven syllables in length, and the third line another five syllables in length.  

I'd come across ExFic before a few times on my search for writing opportunities. The site's editor, Sophie Boyce, is a published writer and poet from the UK, and the site specializes in the deliciously weird. When I saw the opportunity to submit was available, I jumped at the chance. I took a whack at poetry and chose for my subject synesthesia, because it's one of the weirdest and most surrealistic of human experiences. 

Oh, and I have personal experience with it. Although for most of my life, I didn't realize that synaesthesia was a thing, and that at its heart it's considered a neurological disorder. As a simple explanation, synaesthesia describes the process in which the brain mixes and matches the five senses together to come up with unique associations. 

Presenting Kristina
as nail polish!
(c) Incidental Twin
My friend and fellow author Sami Holloway is a synesthete and associates color with sounds, but also is able to see colors whenever she meets or speaks with other people. At is kitschiest, it's kind of like a "what color is your aura" BuzzFeed quiz, but much more complex than that. Whenever she speaks to me, and whenever we hung out at residency, she'd see a mix of purple and green (coincidentally my favorite colors). And do you know what's awesome? She made me into a nail polish!!! 

*As a sidenote and shameless promotion, Sami actually makes some of the best nail polishes Etsy has to offer. Check out her store Incidental Twin for geek polishes, literary polishes, and more. My personal favorite: Can You Feel it On Me Love, inspired by Florence + the Machine.*

Jumping back into synaesthesia-land, the senses I mix together are taste and sound. But a lot of what comes into play involves texture as well.  The best way I can explain it: I think people sound like food. Most people I come across have voices that sound like fish or noodle dishes. Once Sami told me, "I'm thinking your synaesthesia is mostly Asian-flavored." Although to be honest, there have been voices that sound like foods that I haven't actually tasted, either--it's the textures I associate with those foods.

Image Source
True story of my synaesthesia in action: my sophomore year in college, I took a history class from a Russian professor, and no matter what he said, the ends of his phrases reminded me specifically of Lo Mein noodles. Anytime he said a word with "cur" in it, which came out like "coewrrr," my mouth would start watering. And if he lectured for long periods of time, I'd start craving Lo Mein to no end, so I'd treat myself to Chinese takeout after classes.

Anyway, for ExFic I decided to try and translate my experience with taste and sound associations into poetic form, with each stanza in the form of a haiku. Food of choice: salty caramel. 

I'll let you know when it's up!