Archive for Ksenia Anske

Writing and the Morality Shift

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2013 by royalmanaball

When you write, you will find yourself inside of a pigeonhole no matter if you are indie or self-published. And it’s not just with the Big Six, folks.

I am known for my YA saga, The Ancients and the Angels. Although the content of these volumes may be dark and unpleasant at times, no blue language is printed, and all of the sex is “offscreen.” There’s tons of violence and vomit in them, though, but parents just don’t seem to give a crap about this. Whatever.

As anyone in this business understands; a writer writes. In a recent blog post by my friend and fellow scribe, Ksenia Anske, she examines the topic of writing and “genre-jumping.” I say, “go for it!”

The burning question is whether this is good for an author’s business acumen. From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t really seem to matter much as long as the work is solid. C.S. Lewis who was renowned for his children’s literature, had written remarkable nonfiction tomes on religious philosophy. Philip K. Dick would alternate between out-of-this-world sci-fi versus weird dramas that criticized Nixonian America. J.G. Ballard took a 180 route with The Atrocity Exhibition and Crash from his more conventional sci-fi offerings.

Writing is an art and an artist is going to explore and you won’t stop this process. I simply cannot write YA and nothing but it forever. Sure, my elves and angels will return, I promise you this, but for the rest of this year, I have the uncontrollable urge to delve into the realm of Bizarro.

This stuff is NOT for children. Already, one of my short stories entitled Conduct Disorder has been green-lighted (lit?) for inclusion into James Ward Kirk’s horror anthology Serial Killers Tres Tria. The piece is nothing less than revolting and cruel. Now, I’m not that kind of a person, and there still remains a strong moral ethos to this tale, but I just took the dark alley (very dark) to get there with this ditty. And it works! So, did anything really change?

Look at it this way; many actors of children’s films extend their feelers into other areas of cinematography. After all, Anne Hathaway of The Princess Diaries has shown the world her boobs plenty of times. Oh, the horror!

Yo, my bewbs rawk!

Yo, my bewbs rawk!

It may sound like I am apologizing here. I am not. No artist should ever apologize for their product. You are responsible for it, sure, but you are also the one who had invested so much time and energy into making it in the first place. Yes, you may get egg on your face when you throw the masses a curve ball, but responsibility is the first phase of accountability. Just take that accountability like a good Scout and be prepared for it.

The bottom line is that genre hopping can involve a moral shift in content. As a writer, you will have to be brave enough to venture into places unknown, and sometimes, they’re bad neighborhoods.

That’s all I’ve gotta say about that.

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In Response to Ksenia Anske.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2013 by royalmanaball

Ksenia Anske, author of The Siren Suicides, due in July, had just posted a blog in regards to the time-honored kerfuffle of how one can write a book – Pantsing versus Plotting.

Truth be told, I had just learned of the term “pantsing” last month. No foolin’. For those not in-the-know, it means to “write from the seat of your pants.” Not necessarily stream-of-conscious, but damn close.

Ach… how do I do it? Hmm… Well, when I had written Celestials, I did begin via pantsing, I suppose, but I soon found myself having to keep a “playbook.” This is basically an outline for your plot and a poopsheet for your characters. Now, I don’t mean you have to write everything that is in the bellboy’s closet that won’t even remotely be mentioned in the narrative, but it does file down some of the basics. What they do look like and, most importantly, what they do and don’t know.

I had managed my playbook in a very pantsing style, however. Things would develop and I would outline it as I went along. Remember, your characters are going to wind up writing the story for you eventually. No, they really will, and thus, the plot may change. Does this make me a pantser?

A typical writer's butt.

A typical writer’s butt.

Research. I do it. Only when I need to, though. If I have some sort of technical question, the wonderful world of the Interwebz will fulfill my need in a jet-flash. No excuse for technical inaccuracies anymore.

Normally, I’ve always thought of myself as a plotter, but I think I do rely on the wind to carry me more so than I imagine. My proofer and my editing phases or “passes” (I never think of them as “drafts.” I just don’t), take care of everything from the major transgressions to the minor peccadillos. MS Word is vertical, and I figure my process in a linear fashion.

Ksenia writes that she produces no less than two thousand words a day. I’m pretty much on base with her. During this principal production phase (my first “draft”), I write and write and do so simply via the little animated cartoons going on in my imagination.

That’s easy for me since I am, by trade, a graphic designer. Visual play is second nature to me, so as long as the film keeps rolling in my head, I can translate that into written drama.

I am not educated in English or Comp. Lit. or Creative Writing – nothing like that. Big University styles and shibboleths are more or less unknown to me. Because of this, I don’t kvetch for hours on end over, “It t’was the Schooner Hesperus! No, no. It WAS the Schooner Hesperus…”  Sure, I enjoy a certain beat or music to my writing, but I just let that come as it does and edit out the chaff during a later “pass.” Resting upon this knowledge, I just tap away during principal production and this does make the words flow in an easier fashion for me. I won’t stop until I hit that goal, because this is my job like any other and I’m not allowed to punch out early.

Due to this semi-pantsing process, if someone doesn’t enjoy my final “gold-phase” product, well, that’s just a question of that reader not liking my style. There’s plenty of styles out there and far more readers.

Ksenia Anske’s “Easter Bunny Apocalypse”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2013 by royalmanaball

Well, it was bound to happen, but I was invited to partake in my first flash fiction compilation. The theme was (drum roll) –The Easter Bunny Apocalypse.

Whaa???

Yes, I know, be careful what you wish for, but I had so much fun!

Here’s how it all went down…

Author of The Siren Suicides, Ksenia Anske had a fevered idea to coordinate a flash fiction potluck of writers from various genres from all over the world. USA, Mexico, EGYPT!!! the UK and, of course, Canada (and two from Chicago – murder capital of the world) took a shot at kicking the tar out of the Easter Bunny (that bastard).

I want an apocalypse NOW, dammit!

I want an apocalypse NOW, dammit!

And so, the plot had to be:

a)      Crazy, and

b)      About the possible end of the world in the springtime.

How ironic, don’t ya think?

Love it or hate it, those were the rules. We scribes had a world of possibilities before us!

The end product was awesome and tight, thanks to the editing wonders of Ms. Colleen M. Albert. I mean, what more could a project want than free editing! (That doesn’t come cheap). I feel a bit bad for her as she had to connect the dots with our eclectic and, admittedly, insane plot-points and styles. Some of us were poetic, some zany and others spot-on with adventure writing. British author David Eccles, was kind enough to blog the experience as well!

Twenty chapters and yours truly was number nineteen. EEKS!

After reading J. Luis Licea’s inspiring entry to the story, I just had to jump the gun and tap out Chapter Nineteen well before my time was due. You can read it right here. Very divine I must say, and I mean this literally.

Must admit, my preemptive shenanigans threw a turd in the Easter basket, but damn it, we sailed to the shores of Switzerland with this one!

READ THE EASTER BUNNY APOCALYPSE HERE! CHAPTER ONE!

The best part of it all was I had the opportunity to connect with amazing new friends in the writing field. This was something foreign to me as I’ve never hung with the scribe-crowd before.  I wish all of you guys the best, and you will be with me for as long as I can hold on to you.

In no particular order:

Ksenia Anske

David Eccles

Baz Nova

Brandon Yusuf Toropov

J. Luis Licea

Becky Flade

Colleen M. Albert

Danielle Tauscher

Dustin McKenzie

Rosalind Smith-Nazilli

Sandra Hould

Diogenes Ruiz

Michel Lee King

Lori Lesko

Aliaa Jordan El-Nashar

Kevin Nielsen (the Canadian dude)

Cat Scully

Kai Kiriyama

Doug Karlson

Sheila Hall

Andrew Hovenden

Seth Werkheiser

You guys are the greatest. Hold on to me, and I’ll hold on to you!

HAPPY EASTER!

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