[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She served as guest editor for issue 43.4 of Star*Line, an issue focused entirely on Black voices in the speculative arts. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]
Hell Hath No Terror Like the Writing Hordes of Early Winter
Hello All. Melanie here. I’m not even going to lie. The last few weeks have had such a turn of events I’ve given up trying to make sense of it all and have now given myself wholly over to just eating popcorn and hoping nobody dies.
I don’t want to ruin anything for you. Without further ado…
Subject: Winter is coming and my thighs are flabby
The leaves are really starting to change. It’s like you blink your eyes and suddenly every hill looks like it’s on fire. I don’t know how I’m going to be a famous writer by Christmas without doing something drastic.
It has been a trying week. The New Yorker hasn’t sent me a check yet or sent me any kind of communication whatsoever. If you see my world in their pages, can you let me know because that’s plagiarism!!! I haven’t gotten much writing done at all because I’m so tired. I think there’s been a full moon. As you probably know, I can’t sleep in my room. I’m not even using the upstairs anymore because it creeps me out. Instead, I’m ordering new clothes online every week and having them delivered. My mudroom now doubles as a walk-in closet. I’m stuck sleeping on the sofa.
Last night I slept even less than usual because of the endless rattling and banging on the walk-in closet door. I kept hearing that woman’s voice, “Let me in! Let me in! Please, let me in!” But everyone knows that when you hear a woman who shouldn’t be there banging on the interior of your closet door that the last thing you should do is let her in.
She’s probably trying on all my pant suits as we speak. Not everyone can pull off that much pink so serves her right. I hope she gets a complex.
I also have not seen hide nor hair of my new protege. It’s probably for the best. I don’t have the energy to raid the Grim Hill house for my missing croc what with all the palm readings I’m doing this week. I did two last night and, weirdly, both people were doomed to die within a year in a mysterious fire that burns down their house and takes over this neighborhood and ultimately the town. They handled it much better than Ms. B____. One fellow hugged me and immediately increased his home owner’s insurance against fire damage and booked a one year teaching sabbatical in Tokyo.
Gladys. We need to talk truthfully and frankly about where I am with this book.
I’m doing EXCELLENT.
As I mentioned to you, I won’t be a famous writer by December without doing something drastic and I have lined up just the thing. But first, I have to explain to you a couple important truths about what it takes to be successful.
It takes a rare bread of person to be successful. We are those special souls who, when looking down the barrel of writing 279.36 pages a day, summon our writerly grit, crack our knuckles, fit ourselves with a special writing catheter, and ASK FOR HELP.
While I didn’t get anymore pages written, I DID spend two to three days online ordering 300 special spell candles that are custom made for writing success. I set them up all around my sofa (that’s where I’m writing currently) and lit them all and said a few mantras. I didn’t really feel the mantras this time so I left all the candles burning and went down to the mantra store to buy some new ones and when I got back there was hot wax all over my wood floors.
That of course led me to go to the hardware store to look for some scrapers and while I was there I passed by the community bulletin board and I saw a flyer that I think is going to change EVERYTHING.
But first, I have to explain something. There is something out there, Gladys, that stands in the way between my book getting to the top of the publishing pile and someone else’s. It’s something that the uninitiated AREN’T familiar with but once I tell you what it is, it will bring a shudder to your very soul.
It’s a little thing called NaNoMoMO!!!!!
Now you’re really on the inside, Gladys. You know about SHOW DON’T TELL, CHEKOV’S GUN, and NaNOmoMo. You’re almost a writer. But not quite. Still and all, I need to explain this to you.
Every November, just when the Pinterest Halloween pumpkins are starting to go mushy on everyone’s front steps and the goths run out and put santa caps and elastic-banded beards on their lawn skulls, NaNOmOmO comes.
It’s a special program created in the 16th century by Queen Elizabeth’s Illuminati (I know you don’t believe in Queen Elizabeth’s Illuminati, Gladys, but EVER HEAR OF OH I DON’T KNOW WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE????)
Anyway. Every November, all of the people who have put off writing all year gather at their keyboards and at their leather bound special writing journals with their good pens and their favorite mugs and their Brandon Sanderson novels all around them and you know what they do? They write. The sounds of their fingers tapping against the keys reverberate across the world. The earth trembles at the wealth of new stories coming into existence. The writerly light of inspiration fills the writers’ writerly eyes. The knowledge of others struggling through their latest science fiction and fantasy drafts hearten them and encourages them to push through their backstories and THEY. WRITE. ONWARD. They struggle, they celebrate, they post #nAnOmoMo and #amwriting hashtags on twitter until finally November 30th arrives.
And then, it happens.
SUBMITAPOCALYPSE. It comes first as a trickle. But as bare minimum proofreads are done and drafts are finished, it arrives as a tidal wave, a tsunami of storytelling!!! Not all who finish their word count in NAnomoMO submit…but many do. I’ve heard said that when publishers think of the Ides of December, they are filled with uncanny dread and cross themselves and say their brand new mantras, they reinforce their levies to hold against the tide of unedited fantasy stories coming their way.
Which is why I have to beat them to the punch!!
I have found the answer.
I have found…The Writing Coach. Check out this video.
I’m not going to do it alone anymore. I have someone to hold my feet over the fire until I produce the 279.36 pages per day and beat the Writing Hordes to the submission portals before December comes!!!
And I have just enough room on my credit card!! This guy only costs $5,000 a month with a three month up front minimum. I’m going to do it, Gladys!!! Even better, I don’t need to worry about maxing my credit card because my writer advance on this series alone will easily pay it off!!! This is it. Fenchin is finally coming to the world—Hang on.
The lady in my closet is getting really loud. I can’t hear myself think. I’m going to yell up to her and tell her to quiet down.
K. Just did. —Hang on.
She’s yelling something back but it’s really muffled through the closet door.
I have to ask her what she’s saying.
K. Just did.
I can’t really make it out. Something about needing to let her in because she’s fading and to go tell Brian that the charm he’s installed is killing her and that he needs to remove it before she’s locked out of this world forever. That Brian doesn’t know what he’s doing and the end is near.
Anyway, Gladys, how does the week of November 7th – 13th look for you??? I’m going to need you to free up your schedule, get your phone turned back on, your battery loaded up, and get ready for a read-a-thon!!! Someone has to be the first person to listen to all these books!
Gotta go. I have to take a shower in my kitchen sink.
Subject: Holy Cow!!
Well, I’ll be!!
My lights upstairs just turned back on!!! I have light through the whole house again!!!
…I’m still not going upstairs.
Wait-a-minute. What does she mean the charm Brian’s installed?????
Oh wait. Now all the lights in the house are flickering.
Now it’s completely dark.
It’s just me and this blinking cursor on the screen.
…I should go. I have to send this email to the Writing Coach before I run out of battery. Gladys will you call the electrician for me? I’ve been blocked.