06 Feb

A Long and Long-Overdue Post on Editing

The last few months have been busy. I closed down my legal business, opened my editing business, finished my copyediting program, edited a slew of stories, proudly watched a self-published book I edited rack up glowing reviews, and started revising an unfinished novel I wrote and set aside a year ago. I also found out that the pain in my hips comes from a skeletal deformity that will require surgery, went through a ton of physical therapy, traveled to San Francisco to see one side of my family, decided not to fly to New York to see more of my family, and ate a whole bunch of tasty food. Somewhere in there, sleep happened, too. I think.

I’ve written about many of those things, but I never quite managed to post them. Much of my recent writing deals with my struggle to come to terms with my disability–typing those two words still makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the gut–and the best pieces are also the darkest. Sometimes sharing my writing scares me, and part of the reason why is below. I know I need to get over that. One day, when I’m feeling brave, I’ll publish some of those dark pieces.

I’ve also written–and not posted–about editing. Back in November I promised to explain why I’m starting up an editing business, and the short answer is because I love editing stories of all sorts. The long answer stretches back ten years and involves an unpleasant incident that many writers may, unfortunately, recognize. Read More

26 Mar

#badfiction

Quoth the raven, “Mmphhmm!”

Quoth the raven, “Mmphhmm!”

Gentle readers and fellow scribblers, on Monday, March 31st, I will begin a game with a cabal of other creatives on Twitter. At 6 p.m. PDT, I will tweet the most overblown opening line I can concoct in 140 characters. Another author will add the next line, perhaps mentioning heaving bosoms or a mysterious and alluring stranger. And, lo, we shall unleash a storm of fiction unto the Twitterverse. Purple prose will majestically sweep forth to darken the scene. Furious flashes of fractured alliteration will fly. Together, we shall bring forth a monster of a story, and we shall call it… #badfiction!

Feel free to follow me, @chendersonbauer, and join my little game. The water will be filled with sharks, dragons, and possibly even unicorn sailors. Rumors of marshmallow-covered zombierotica have surfaced from the deep. What could possibly go wrong?

26 Feb

Monsters, Part I: Finding the Right Monster

I set out this morning to write a post about monsters. I make up weird creatures all the time as part of my writing, and I thought it would be fun to turn some of them loose here on my blog. Then a friend pointed me to this post, where Lauren Fleshman, a professional runner, tells the story of how she published unflattering photos of herself to give context to her “fantasy” pictures from a NY Fashion Week runway show. Her story made me think about fear and courage. It also made me think about how the real monsters in our lives aren’t always easy to spot.

Creepy devil? Sure. But not necessarily the demon I’m after.

There can be any number of villains in a story, but most good stories have one real monster. This monster is the primary entity that keeps the hero from getting to her goal. For me, one of the hardest parts about writing a story is figuring out whether I’m focusing on the correct monster. I’ll start detailing a man’s terrible hobby of encasing live frogs in melted glass only to realize that I’ve blamed the wrong bad guy; my protagonist is actually fighting against the ghost of her father. Read More

19 Feb

Goodbye, My Friends

Sheet moss festooning a vine maple. Totally not a many-tentacled swamp monster… okay, okay, maybe it’s both.

Sheet moss festooning a vine maple. Totally not a many-tentacled swamp monster… okay, okay, maybe it’s both.

Seattle is a fertile environment. Plants will grow on anything that stays still for too long. I’ve cleaned sprouts out from the crevices around the trunk of my car, and I have a friend who found a small carpet of moss growing under his windshield wipers.

The upsides of this include the lush greenery everywhere and the vegetable garden that delivers buckets of yummy tomatoes despite my black thumb. The downsides include things like mold, which is a real issue in many buildings. Today, I learned it is a problem in my home. Read More