Expanding PROOF – Week 1

As I mentioned a few days ago, I have switched gears to due an impending and enormously exciting deadline! Since I document everything ever, I figured I’d go ahead and document this process, too.

The gist is in two months I need to take “Proof”, a 6,000 word short story, and expand it into a short novel by adding at least 40,000 words. No small feat, right? Well, luckily, I have a bit of a head start: “Proof”, like the vast majority of my fiction, takes place in Aerdh. And it explores characters in a locale i’ve pretty thoroughly built out worldbuilding-wise. And it dovetails with some characters I’ve written about elsewhere. In short, I have a pretty comprehensive sense of what’s going on in the universe in which the story is set at that particular time in the universe’s history, which makes things a lot easier to work with. Mostly expanding “Proof” means taking the current plot, which is stripped pretty bare, and throwing in a bunch of complications to blow up the scope of the narrative.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m not much of a plotter. The pace and action of my narratives typically develop organically from exercises in worldbuilding first and then character development. This project is really no different–the characters are definitely my starting place.

"where should i start? I know! A nice orderly table about my characters"

“where should i start? I know! A nice orderly table about my characters”

“Proof”, at its heart, is a love story, and I very much want to keep that element when I expand it to a novel. Specifically, “Proof” describes a relationship between two women that already has a history. Obviously, one direction I could take the project in is to pull back and watch them fall in love. But I like that they’re already together, that they already have a rhythm and a history. My inclination now is to keep it like that and to use the longer format to explore why and how they work (and why and how they don’t work) together. There is a certain kind of playfulness that exists when you’re writing about two people who already know each other and already love each other that is a little different than the sort of playfulness that exists when a relationship is new and still forming. I want the book to be about how they stay in love rather than how they fall in love.

So, since this will be a book so deeply rooted in how these two characters play off of each other, I started with mapping out how they react to each other. With a table. Look, I’m an analyst by training and trade, right, I think in tables.

The other thing I’ve been working on is an extremely rough idea of a plot. Now, the reason I’m doing this instead of just letting it blossom on its own like I usually do is a matter of scope–left to my own devices I will turn this into a 200,000 word epic about the nature of love and loss and shit like that. And it would be good. But this needs to be a quick, swift romp with just enough gravitas, and for that I need to keep my focus. Since I’ve got two months to make it happen, I don’t have time for a sprawling first draft.

EYES ON THE PRIZE, SANDERS

EYES ON THE PRIZE, SANDERS

So I’m brainstorming at lightspeed, figuring out which elements of the current story need elaboration and what the scope of this will be. It’s like a planning blitz, and so far it’s been really useful. I am sort of concurrently working out the roughest outline in the whole wide world.

I’ll keep y’all posted on where it goes from here!

Website update: Published Articles List

Hey all! While I have not formally published fiction yet, I do have a number of scholarly and nonfiction pieces floating around. I’ve compiled a list for any and all who are interested, which will be updated as things come out here. Below is the list of my work to date:

Sanders, B. “Pregnancy and Parenting While Genderqueer.” Hoax 7: Feminisms and Change. 2013. http://www.zinewiki.com/Hoax_Zine

Sanders, M. R. & Mahalingam, R. (2012). Under the radar: The role of invisible discourse in understanding class-based privilege. Journal of Social Issues, 68 (1), 112-217.

Sanders, M. R., & Mahalingam, R. (2012). Social dominance orientation and John Henryism at the intersection of race and class. Political Psychology, 33 (4), 553-573. 

Edelstein, R. S., Stanton, S. J., Henderson, M. M., & Sanders, M. R. (2010). Endogenous estradiol levels are associated with attachment avoidance and implicit intimacy motivation. Hormones and Behavior, 57, 230-236.

Sanders, Melissa. “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” Justice 20 March 2008. Print. http://rngton.socialistalternative.org/news/article16.php?id=790

Cheng, C., Sanders, M. R., Sanchez-Burks, J., Molina, K., Lee, F., Darling, E., & Zhao, Y. (2008). Reaping the rewards of diversity: The role of identity integration. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 1182-1198.

Darling, E., Molina, K., Sanders, M. R., Lee, F., & Zhao, Y. (2008). Belonging and Achieving: The Role of Identity Integration. In M. Maehr, S. Karabenick, & T. Urdan (Eds.)Advances in Motivation and Achievement: Social Psychological Perspective on Motivation and Achievement, Volume 15. Elsevier Press: NY.

Sanders, Melissa. “A Military Mother Speaks Out Against the War — An Interview with Sara Rich.” Justice 23 May 2007. Print. http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article13.php?id=548

Sanders, Melissa. “The Case of Suzanne Swift — U.S. Female Soldiers Doubly at Risk.” Justice 4 April 2007. Print. http://socialistalternative.org/news/article13.php?id=528

Seid, Jon & Sanders, Melissa. “Washington’s racist plan to divide U.S. & Mexican workers.” Justice 15 Nov 2006. Print. http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article15.php?id=462

Sanders, Melissa. “Sexism in the Military — What the Army Brochures Wont Tell You.” Justice 1 July 2005. Print. http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article16.php?id=70

Sanders, Melissa. “Stealing With the Rich to Pay for the War.” Justice 1 March 2005. Print. http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article13.php?id=131

Sanders, Melissa. “Why I Am a Socialist.” Justice 1 Sept 2004. Print. https://socialistalternative.org/news/article22.php?id=1305

Gallup, John & Sanders, Melissa. “The Myth of American Democracy.” Justice 1 Sept 2004. Print. http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article10.php?id=1297

NEW SHORT STORY FOR BETA READERS!!: Blue Flowers

blueflowerswordleHey y’all! I just finished another short story. The description and info are below; I welcome any and everyone to read it!

Pahvo loved Anu before they ever met. Pahvo is a scryer; he sees the future, the past, lives both in a fractured present. When Pahvo first notices Anu across the street, he sees their entire lives together. Anu sees a stranger.

BLUE FLOWERS is a completed short story 4,950 words in length set in the world of Aerdh. BLUE FLOWERS explores the nature of irrevocable and inescapable love.

Interested? Let me know!

ASSASSINS first draft is done!

I just finished a novella about satyrs assassins (the first chapter is up here)! It clocks in at 27,000 words and explores themes of essentialism and free will with a heavy dose of queerness in there because that just seems to happen in my writing. Looking for first readers, so let me know if you’re interested!

Queering Thanksgiving

Holidays have always been a sort of mystery to me. It’s hard to understand what the point of returning to your natal home is when you don’t get along with your family and you hate your hometown. It never made sense to me to spend the few days I had to myself, away from the day-to-day grind of school or work or what have you with people where there is more bad blood than good. A visit home is exhausting.

People from less than ideal families and queer people – and let’s be clear here that these two categories are anything but mutually exclusive – seek each other out. Sometimes this phenomenon is deliberate, and sometimes it isn’t, but in my experience it’s generally pretty useful. It can be hard to explain that dread when Christmas rolls around and you know you have to drag yourself back. It’s a simple comfort to have someone in the same boat read your expression and just get it.

What I’m saying is that when your natal family is not supportive, is not safe, that many of us build a family that provides us with these things from the ground up. I am lucky enough that for years I have been able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my created family. This year, I had my partners Jon and Hunter here with me, a dear friend Van, and the kiddo. These are people with whom I can be totally, unapologetically myself: genderqueer, sexually fluid, poly, brash, foul-mouthed, an enthusiastic eater. They call me B instead of my given name without having to be asked to do it. Reconnecting with them, soaking up the easiness of our relationships to each other, that is what I need from a holiday.

This is exactly the kind of holiday atmosphere I want my kid to have growing up. I want to model an expectation that you get to choose who you share your life with. I want her to know she’s not obligated to spend her days with me if it means she needs a week to prepare to see me and two weeks after to recover. I want her to know she’s not obligated to be with anyone she does not choose to be with, and that she’s allowed to set high expectations for those people.

NaBloPoMo: There Are Some Things I Just Won’t Write

Generally, I let the writing flow. I am, in basically every other aspect of my life, a planner. Very detail oriented. One of my partners (Partner H) called me an order muppet of the highest degree, and she is very much correct. I will have you know that this comes in extremely handy in my day job as a data analyst. It is also useful in managing family google calendars.

But writing is a release from that. It just…works. I try not to over think it. But I’m not writing in a vacuum, and it is me doing the writing, and that means I write within certain parameters. There are some things I just cannot write.

Ok, if you haven’t read Cloud Atlas and you’re planning to, skip the rest of this post as it will contain spoilers. CLOUD ATLAS SPOILERS, I SAY! 

Continue below the cut if you don’t mind being spoiled/have already read it.

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