Thursday, 3 April 2014

Robin Brightley and Why I Love Him

Okay, I'm going to confess something.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned, but I love Robin Brightley. And when I say love, I mean it. If Robin were a real guy (and uh oh, giant problem here since he's partly inspired by someone I definitely don't have a massive stupid crush on ha ha no, you must be mistaking me for someone else) I would be disgustingly, shamelessly, giggling-at-all-his-stupid-jokes, schoolgirl crushing on him.

And no, before you scream "you'd date Robin? THEN NIGHTINGALE MUST BE A MARY SUE", let me explain you a thing:

First, Nightingale's not a Mary Sue. Holy shit, let me tell you that she's not anything I want to be. Ever. For any reason. In my life. As I have stated, of the characters written in I came out most like Caroline, NOT like Nightingale. Second, that's not why he ends up with Nightingale. Believe me, if I let my nauseating adoration of him dictate the way I write, I would've conveniently written in a character called Niamh who sweeps in and with her magical powers of seduction makes him swoon like the pretty princess he truly his, before swaggering off, fingers in belt-loops, stetson tipped backwards, with that fine piece of ass known as Robin Joseph Brightley.

Yes, that's his middle name. Don't ask me why. No, I never say that in Inamorata. It's in The Fires of Spring. 

(insert shameless self-promotion here and authorial pleading for you to read my other stories)

But I don't let my love of characters dictate my writing. It just so happens that I love Robin. No, seriously. I really do. I am the #1 Robin Brightley fangirl. An accurate description of me would follow this pattern:

20% literature enthusiasm, 80% curly hair, 100% Robin Brightely stan.


See what I did there? I hope you did, otherwise that joke is flatter than a seriously flat tire. Not that I have much experience with flat tires. Or any experience, really. I'm no connoisseur of flat tires. I don't look at a tire and imagine it flat. Anyway, where was I?

Right. Robin. Okay, so why do I love him? People who share a devotion to him should understand. But considering that most of you have yelled at me at some point for putting Nightingale with Robin and not with David, I'm sensing a lot of you don't recognize his unparalleled superiority.

This is why I have come to your rescue! You don't understand why Robin is the man? Then this is the post for you. So pull up a chair, sit your ass down, and prepare to get a lecture on why you should want to do the dirty with Mr. Brightley (if you swing that way) or why you should want to be his best friend (heterosexual men, asexuals, and lesbians, I'm looking at you now. Y'all get a pass from wanting to tap that like an aquarium of tropical fish, but not from liking him).

Should I put this in a list? I'm going to put it in a list. Lists are neat.

  1. He's smart. Don't all of you like smart people? You do? Excellent! Robin's perfect for you, then. Smart, but he doesn't brag about it. For those of you who are like me and would like to be seduced by someone's massive, throbbing intellect, he's for you. Oh, Mr. Brightley, talk dirty to me by analyzing poetry.
  2. He's not handsome, but he's got physical things going for him. He's tall. And dark. And hella graceful. Like a fucking dancer or some shit. Damn, son, he moves like everything is supposed to be ridiculously elegant. Have you ever seen someone dance beautifully? Been to the ballet? To the theatre? That's how he moves. Everything is goddamn beautiful and it makes you wonder what...ahem...else he'd be graceful doing (insert suggestive eyebrow waggling). He's also extremely good with his hands and mouth. This is quickly becoming non-PG, so I'll leave the rest to your imagination, but let me just say this: Robin isn't ugly. Far from it. And he's got some talents that any person could appreciate. Besides, are you going to judge someone on looks alone?
  3. He's kind. He's sweet. He's gentle. He's understanding. He'd do anything for Nightingale. Need I say more?
  4. He's not emotionally constipated. As much as you like David, David is one of the most messed up, emotionally-stunted, blackmailing, psychotic lunatics ever to walk the metaphorical earth of my stories. Oh, you LIKE the fact that David is tall and brooding and almost never smiles? I dare you to marry him - Caroline will tell you how it's probably more fun to cohabitate with a surly alligator. Robin, on the other hand, is full capable of all emotions, and is able to express them.
  5. He's sassy. Find a character more sass-tastic than Robin, really. It ain't gonna happen. King of Sass, right here. And don't you like sassy people, provided the sass isn't directed at you. Hell yeah.
  6. He's not perfect. I think this is the most important thing. Like any good character should be, Robin has his flaws. He's certainly not perfect, though I've tried to make him as good as anyone can reasonably be. But I think this is important - Robin, while being unable to be perfection, comes as damn close as anyone I'v ever written.
There are a lot more reasons why I like him. Really, there are. But these are the ones that make sense to me, I think. All in all, I think he's a great guy who doesn't get the love he deserves because most people (and I'm going to hazard a guess here, the majority of heterosexual female readers) are more into David.

Don't get me started on why David is unworthy of your affection, and why having a tortured soul doesn't excuse him being a first-rate asshole in most situations. But yeah, I don't want to have an angry mob equipped with pitchforks, torches, and "We Love David" signs screaming for my blood. So I'm just going to leave that there.

In all seriousness, I love Robin. But if you don't, you're entitled to your wrong opinion. I adore him. I want to wrap him in blankets, make him soup, cuddle him and tell him he's perfect. And then have rough sex with him. Whoops, did I say that? Ha ha, no. Not me.

(cue nervous laughter)

TL;DR: Robin Brightely inspires in me a desire to quote Ke$ha lyrics. Specifically, "turn around, boy, let me hit that." I think he should inspire this in you, too. But if he doesn't, that's okay. We'll just agree to disagree.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Profanity (and why I use it)

Some foul language ahead. But go on and read it, you little shit, I know you love swearing...

Okay, let's face it. I swear one hell of a fucking lot. Whatever you see me do here in terms of swearing is incredibly moderated - a lot of the time (but definitely not ALL the time, I swear (oh, look, a wild pun appears), I'm dignified and adult most of the time) I take a sentence that sounds like this:

"Fuck, man! I am so fucking happy you're reading my story! This shit's not easy to write, it takes a lot of fucking encouragement to get one of those bitchy little motherfuckers out each week!"

And turn it into this:

"Aww, thanks, sweetie! I'm thrilled you're reading my story! It's been difficult to write, and it takes a lot of encouragement to get a new chapter out each week!"

So yeah, I swear like the lovechild of a trucker and a sailor raised by very cussy wolves. And it's not always classy swearing - I make up some really lovely and sort of incomprehensible strings of cusswords when I'm not even angry. I also rely on the word "fuck" as an integral noun, adjective, verb, adverb, and I think I've even used it as a conjunction at some point. The word "motherfucker" is my personal favourite to describe anything I feel strongly about, and the phrase "you little shit" has escaped me at children's birthday parties in the past...

But before I go on, I don't want you to think I'm completely foul-mouthed. You see, I have two swearing settings. Motherfucking on, and politely off. There is no in between. No period where I say "heck" and "darn". Nope. But I can go from saying "ow" when I stub my toe to calling the piece of furniture responsible a motherfucking whore son of a shitting asshole (or a similarly colourful phrase) in a femtosecond. I enjoy swearing just as much as I enjoy not doing it at all.

So a lot of the time, I use the Queen's own fucking English, fit for Ascot. I speak like the most elegant of ladies. But some of the time, usually when I'm alone, my vocabulary is enough to make a sailor blush (oh look, two My Fair Lady references in so many sentences...).

As a result, my writing is riddled with swear words. You should all see my early drafts of Inamorata if you think the language is bad now - the f word is one of the most commonly occurring words in those early writings, before I cleaned up some of the violence and swearing to try to make it a bit more gentle. Nightingale swears less than I do, and she's not exactly soft spoken when it comes to four letter words.

But that's not the only reason why. There are three others:

1) The boring reason is that it's because it's more realistic. No one avoids the f word in real life, no one in a bad situation like the Inamoratas'. As a matter of fact, you're lucky I didn't drop the c bomb in there a few times, just to add a bit more kick. So they all swear and the narrator swears to make it more realistic.

2) It's a stylistic choice. By using profanity, the reader gets a certain sense of what to expect. This isn't for children, it's certainly a story that I hope is adult enough that it doesn't shy away from swearing. Also, it's pretty dark - light things can contain swearing, but it's usually not quite so pronounced nor so vicious.

3) The final reason is that it's just plain FUN. There's some sort of weird satisfaction out of writing "fuck" out a whole bunch of times. I mean, you know your mother would probably be horrified if she read a sentence in which you use more swear words than is grammatically correct.

So, yeah. That's my piece on swearing. Now have a pleasant fucking day, you little shits.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

My darling muse (the real life one!) AKA why I can't write...

Yes, yes, a lot of writers have muses. I'm with them on that. I appear to have a muse, a sort of personification of what little talent and inspiration for writing that I possess. She's a finicky creature, my muse, and often leaves me when I'm trying to write things - you know, important things like a chapter I've been procrastinating on, or an essay that I'd really like to get done.

So if a writer tells you they have a muse, believe them. Trust me, I have a muse, but it's a slippery devil and, right now, has decided to leave me alone with absolutely zero will or talent for writing. Also, something about the fact that I leave my house at 7:30am and arrive back at 6:00pm most days probably has something to do with that, too...

However, the topic of this post is a different muse of mine. A real life muse. One who's inspired me to write since the day I met him. Now, without going into too many details about this guy, I can safely write a boring post which I expect no one to read about him and why he's very interesting.

The main reason why my particular muse is interesting to me is because of how fascinating he is. He is not an attractive man, I grant you that; too thin, too old, too gangly to be of much attractive value save anyone who's actually interested in his bewitching personality. Of course, this all sounds batshit, and it probably is - but crazy or not, the man has a certain quality about him that just causes me to churn out reams and reams of writing; poems, short stories, novels, plays. Most of them are crap, but the few I like were all inspired in his presence.

For example, I finished Inamorata when he was around, and I got the idea for The Storm-Grey Sea when I saw him for the first time again in months. I've written the only poetry I actually like - poems from the perspective of a pair of former lovers - when I've been around him.

It's strange, really, because he doesn't even know I write. He's clueless to the effect he has on me in that way. Hell, he's probably also clueless to other effects he has on me, but those ones we'll leave out for the time being...

Why I bring this up is simple: I am without my muse, and am finding it difficult to write. I have had calls for an Inamorata sequel, and definitely others for a few one-shots, but how the fuck am I supposed to get anything done without something to inspire me? The hunt for a new muse is going terribly, with absolutely no one the right fit for a muse for Niamh.

So this general post has really been an excuse: I can't write because I'm without my muse. Goddamn it, I am trying my damndest, but it's nearly impossible. Never fear, though - I will see him again and hopefully get back to writing.

Toodle-oo for now, and I shall remain this crazy until next time.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Confessions of a pleasant writer turned bitchy whiner (and why I try hard to fight it).

Spoilers and bitchiness ahead! Tread with caution!

Yes, it's true. I can get very bitchy, especially where my writing is concerned. I see people commenting on my story with things like "Good story, but Nightingale should have ended up with David, not Robin" and, rather than thinking:

"Oh, they have a difference of opinion from me. How very interesting. I am so glad they took the time to read my story and comment. Oh, yes. I am so pleased that it at least got that comment. I will take their feedback into mind when I write other things."

I usually end up thinking something like this:

"Hey, you think that Nightingale should end up with David, do you? Well you can suck my dick, because I'm the fucking writer and my word is law when it comes to my stories. Oh, and you've just commented on the last chapter to say how disappointed you are? Lovely! And you've just suggested how you would do it? Exquisite! All your comments are negative ones, without any positive things? How ingenious! Hey bitch, here's an idea: how about you write a goddamn 135,000 word story and end it however the fuck you want? OH WAIT. YOU CAN'T. YOU CAN'T EVEN SPELL YOUR COMMENT CORRECTLY. So shut your fucking mouth about saying you know best because if I want to have Nightingale end up with Caroline you better shut up and trust my judgement. I'm the fucking writer, and I have nearly 2 million reads on my story and though that still makes me a nobody in the grand scheme of things, you are even more inconsequential!  So you can fuck right off and go read something else, you illiterate twat."

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. I've very rarely wanted to call someone an illiterate twat, but still, the feeling's there. Now, I've got no problem with constructive criticism. I'm not an author, and I don't pretend that my writing is anything superb, so I welcome people pointing out flaws in my writing with the intention of helping me. That's awesome. Helping people is great, and those who do it, rock the fuck on, man.

What I don't like is mindless asshattery. Let me put it this way: if you can't do it better, shut your mouth. Because if you come onto my story and say how I should be writing it, and your story is entitled "The Player and the Nerd" with two reads and one chapter, I'm going to get pissed because guess what? Not only is my story objectively better than yours, it's - newsflash! - MY STORY. I'm not telling you how to write yours, you know. And if I don't have something nice/constructive to say, I don't say it. There's no point in saying "this story is a piece of shit" and then just sort of breezing off. That's like walking up to a random stranger on the street, kicking them in the nuts, and then walking away like nothing ever happened. Don't. Do. It. Because. It's. Not. Nice. Or. Polite.

Writing is like anything in that regard - I do it my way, and if you don't like the way I do it, you can do it your way. But you'd better keep quite about it if you don't want to do it your way, 'cause I don't have time for assholes.

Moving on: the worst part about all this is that I used to be a pleasant writer. I used to be nice. Kind. Caring. I have now descended into a ball of bitchiness and whining, and that ain't nice. So, having now explained my feelings, I'm going to apologize for them.

I'M SORRY I'M SUCH A BITCH. I am trying to mend my ways and I anticipate that, in a few days, I will be back to what I hope is my pleasant self. Sorry.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Historical fiction must be historical!

I love historical fiction. I cry with joy when I read a beautiful piece of historical fiction, something that makes me feel as though I've been dropped into the time period and am suddenly immersed in an era of horse-drawn carriages, sailing ships, beautiful dresses, and delightfully tight trousers or breeches on men.

What I HATE is inaccurate historical fiction. It drives me up the wall. There are several main things people royally fuck up, and it drives me absolutely bananas.

1) Titles. Not every woman is "Lady So-and-so". Lots of respectable women were "Mrs. So-and-so". There are a shit ton of titles, and you should get them right. Here's a handy Wikipedia link that explains titles for the nobility, the gentry, the commoners, and the clergy for the UK:
Keep in mind, these titles have changed, and so you might want to do more research should you be writing pre-1700s.

2) The way the characters speak. You read a sentence like this: "forsooth, my lady, thou do not know what I ate for breakfast this morning you saucy rascal". HOLY. MOTHER. OF. GOD. No one spoke that way. Ever. Even Shakespeare, though he wrote things like "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate", never spoke like that. Don't believe me? Read his prefaces to his poetry. Nobody ever talked like that ever, so don't write your characters like that. "Miss Marlowe, you are a wicked girl and an impudent rascal, and I shall have you flogged" is fine, but "M'lady Marlowe, thou are a tyrannical trollop and you are totally bad, and I'm going to beat thee" is not.

3) Ships. Sailing ships. IF YOU CAN'T TELL A HEAD FROM A HALYARD, don't write about them. Don't write a pirate love story (oh dear God, what is it with people writing awful pirate romances?) without knowing anything about a ship. I don't think you need to name all the points of sail (irons, close hauled, close reach, beam reach, broad reach, running, in case you find yourself sexually attracted to ships the way I do) just to show off, but if you're writing about a captain on a ship, make sure he (or she, even though there's like a 0.0000001% chance of that happening), would say something like "lay aft here" instead of "come talk to me". Also, pirates, though they existed, hardly had the glamorous life depicted in fiction, so get a little more creative. Write about the navy men of the age of sail. They're just as hot, and their uniforms are to kill for. Just do your research, landlubber - the floor's called the deck, all ships are shes, and "hard a-larboard" is a direction, not a sex move.

4) Fantasy stories. They aren't historical fiction. Unless you've actually written a story that's about medieval history, it's not historical fiction, so get it out of that goddamned tag. Fantasy is great - Game of Thrones, anyone? - but it's not historical fiction. The only fantasy story I accept as historical fiction is the Temeraire series. And that's because that's two awesome things, dragons and the Napoleonic wars, combined.

It's easy to do research. Just look up the era you want, use Wikipedia or something, and look up clothes, titles, and the necessary props. Remember: effort is everything. If it's not perfect but you've tried your best, that's what counts.

And so help me, if I see one more story with a "Lady Cat", I'm going to punch myself in the face.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Unpopular Stories Are Best?

I'm going to confess it - I like my unpopular stories better than my popular ones. It's not like I dislike them getting popular, not at all. I feel satisfied that Inamorata as 1.8 million reads, and I'm tickled pink that The Child's Father and Three Anniversaries have done fairly well for themselves. Though I want to throw up every time I see The Cabin Boy, Lifelines, and the The Child's Father series, it's nothing to do with their relative popularity (keep in mind, this is RELATIVE popularity. Ain't nothin' so popular as Inamorata, and I have literally no idea why).

So why do I like unpopular stories? Good question!

I like my unpopular stories better than my popular ones because of the freedom I have with them. For example, I could kill Dr. Stephen Byrne - from my wildly unpopular story The Storm-Grey Sea - in the next chapter and I wouldn't hear a squeak from anyone. I could also decide that, fuck this relationship of Stephen/Rosalind I'm setting up, I'm going to start shipping (aha, a wild pun appears!) Stephen/Vice-Admiral Marlowe instead.

Or Stephen/Isaac.

Or Stephen/his surgical tools.

The possibilities abound, really. But with Inamorata, the moment it started to get popular, I lost that freedom. I was quite at my liberty to chuck major character death and unconventional relationships around like confetti before I got featured. I was also able to spend four pages describing a book if I damn well pleased. Now, I love that I was featured, but the moment that happened, along came this whole idea of making my story not too shocking. I had a responsibility to write well and to please everyone. In fact, Nightingale's eventual romance with Robin was too much for a lot of people (see: "lol shit characters shit ending great story", or something to that effect, a comment I received on Inamorata that will eventually be carved on my tombstone for how much I love it).

So with my shockingly unpopular The Storm-Grey Sea and The Fires of Spring (both being two of my favourite things I have EVER written), I've got more freedom. I can freely write about Christopher's sexual debauchery, and spend an obscenely long time lovingly describing a forty-two pound carronade.

Don't take this the wrong way, as I'd love to have all my stories at the top of all the lists, and I hate it when popular authors bitch about their popularity (I love my fans, seriously, I LOVE YOU GUYS), but I'm just pointing out the level of freedom and lack of responsibility that comes along with an unpopular story.

So if you have an unpopular story, work it. Love it. Do whatever you want with it. Buy it dinner, take it home, and then make sweet, sweet love to it. After all, it's your story, and no one can tell you what to do with it.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Surprising Revelations

So, the other day, just for the hell of it, I did my own "Which Inamorata Character Are You?" quiz. And I could tell I really set up that quiz well (if I may be so self-serving) because I did not end up with the answer I expected. I sat there, full on expecting to come out as Robin due to the fact that I relate the most to him and have even used some of my personal witticisms in writing him, but then I had a surprising revelation:

I'm most like Caroline Bure, according to my own test.

I needed a moment to process that. Could I really be like Caroline? I was immediately appalled.

Now, I'm not a Caroline-hater like most people are. I'm not the type to scream, "OMGZ CAROLINE'S A BITCHASS SLUT AND HATES NIGHTINGALE OMFG" as I have heard it so elegantly put. As a matter of fact, I actually agree with many of her opinions and her actions. Not to mention that she's drop-dead gorgeous and is intelligent, loyal, and hardworking, to boot. She's one hardcore badass bitch, ladies and gentlemen, and for that I admire her.

But Caroline has flaws that I don't like. She is unnecessarily and unfairly cruel to Nightingale, she pines too much after David, and let's not even get into her manners or the whole business with Steel.

However, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. When I step back and look at Caroline, and when I consider what other people have told me about myself, I actually see the similarities. I do the ice-cold bitch thing very well, I dislike people who use only their sex appeal to get places though if I could I'd probably use mine to get what I want, I am very loyal, I am not initially trusting of people, the list goes on and on.

It's actually gotten to the point where it's alarming. I look at Caroline and see a huge number of similarities. And that's scary because of the way I've written her - only a mother could love Caroline, and I've been very unkind to her in my writing of her. She comes off as a bitch, as an ice-queen, someone whose anger over someone else's success comes across as petty jealousy.

And though it sounds crazy, it really makes me wonder about myself.

Have any of you had surprising character revelations like this one? Either for one of your characters, or for one of mine? If so, tell me, because I don't want to think I'm the only person insane enough for this to have happened...