Tagged: My Writing Journey

I was tagged by Lisa Stapleton to write these three things:

1. Where are you at in your writing journey?

I have a novella and a full-length novel published, and a published anthology piece! I have three more books I’m working on that are done and just need edits. Plus, the new Marjorie Diaz book should come out sometime earlier 2019.

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2. What advice would you give to young writers?   

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t write every day or if you can only write 100 or 500 words a day at first.

Eventually, you’re going to sit down at your computer and be able to write without thinking about it. And eventually, the more you do it, you’ll be able to crank out 1,000 or 10,000 a day!

But it is not without hard work. Writing sometimes feels like a chore or like pulling teeth and you will be stressed out and upset and angry A LOT. But it is so rewarding to put your story out into the world at the end of all that anger and resentment.

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3. Things you need daily in order to function as a writer: 

-headphones
-a snack
-video game break
-my cats

That’s 4 things, but I think I’ve earned them.

I’m here, I’m queer, and I write gay literature

(YES IT RHYMES, SHUT UP, SHARON.)

I see a lot of posts on here where people complain about not having queer representation in literature. And most of the time, I’m like, “Same”, but I’ve also written a book about a trans female who falls in love with a nymph (whose entire culture is based on a trans identity) so. 

I’m not saying you guys, like, have to read it, but I’m not not saying that. 

Look, I wanna write more gay literature in the future. So it’d be nice if Bloom sold. Its got a sex scene in it, its got self-acceptance, its got other monsters, and a whole slew of other things.

(No vampires in this one, though. The Monster Love series is more about monsters that don’t get much love, so. I do have vampires in Marjorie Diaz, though).

I’ll keep plugging away at representation in the future. Especially for all my monster lover friends out there. There may also be unicorns in the future. *Wiggles fingers ominously*. And time travel. You never know. 

But expect more gay shit from me. And maybe even one single straight thing cause Nighthawks, the second novella in the Monster Love Series is pretty straight. 

BUT, the main character is POC, most of the characters are female, most of the characters are POC, and there’s archaeology involved. And also gay birds. 

So, like I said, stay tuned for more gay shit and monster porn.

theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenks.

YOU CAN FIND ALL MY BOOKS ON MY WEBSITE 🙂

So I wrote a book about Teratophilia

It’s sort of like paranormal romance, but it doesn’t have any vampires in it. I know everybody really likes vampires and stuff, but nymphs are cool too, right? 

Apparently not considering a straight, white male who wrote a book from a masculine viewpoint with all straight, white male characters told me my book was too “niche”.  I’m not bitter.

I never really thought of myself as the type of person to write short romance novellas, but I did write one. Shocking, right? With a username like wholesaleromance. 

Now, in the book, the romance isn’t the main part of the plot. It happens, but the plot is more about the main character, Holly, coming to terms with what she wants her life to be. The romance is short and a bit fast, but in the end, it helps. 

Holly ultimately determines her goals. She makes new friends, she discovers new things, and she finally, finally, gets up the courage to go off to college. 

I know this is really niche (that word again) or whatever because apparently, the only paranormal creatures people wanna read about are, like, Dragon shifters and vampires, but that’s kind of the point isn’t it? Where are my other monster lovers at? 

I’m tired of reading about vampires. I’m tired of reading about abnormally hot pale white dudes seducing women. It’s exhausting how heteronormative the writing world is. 

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So yeah, I’m a bit “out there” with writing lesbian characters and trans characters and ace characters and shit. I get that, but you have to understand that this is the kind of representation I wanted when I was growing up. 

I didn’t have a supportive family, or parents who gave a shit about me, or friends who thought being gay was “a-ok”. I grew up in the Bible Belt

I was severely mistreated by most people around me. All I had were books, and I never got to read lesbian romances that weren’t 100% tragic. There were some MLM books in my school library that were less tragic than the lesbian ones, but I liked girls. I didn’t like guys all that much. I wanted to have representation for people like me. I never found it, not until I was much older. 

I just want newer generations of lgbt teens to have something to look forward to.

So I write gays in magical worlds, gays as main characters, gays as normal fucking people instead of as masturbation fodder for straight people. 

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No tragedy, no anti-bullshit. Just normal, every day people falling in love. That’s all I ever wanted. I hope that you guys want it too. Cause I’mma keep writing for the people who are “niche” and under-represented. 

This INCLUDES POC characters. I despise that there isn’t enough representation of POC culture in the writing industry. Like, please stop writing boring white characters, thanks. It’s time for some friggin representation up in this bitch. 

I also write books with more women than men because I’m tired of all the male main characters or the male love interests of female main characters (but the love interest controls the whole story, so he’s basically the main character). Like, it’s exhausting. 

So support queer writers, POC writers, female writers, people who write mostly female characters, and so on, please. Especially now

You can read my blogs, books, and other rants here on my website that I made with my own two hands. 

I also have a new book coming out. It’s called Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society to be released late July. 

It features POC MAIN characters, ace characters, and, yes, vampires.

Why Gay Representation is Important

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to the past few days. I made some incredible strides with Nighthawks, the sequel to Bloom. I also did an interview with @Unm4sk3dPodc4st  because they’re amazing. And I’ve been reading a bunch of great books. 

I’ve also started on my new, new, NEW story that I’m doing in a CINDERELLA ANTHOLOGY!! It’s called “Call me Eli” and it’s my LGBT take on Cinderella with a trans MC. (Though no Cinderella will ever be as good as the one with Brandy in it. FOR REAL).

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The point is, I write a lot of gay stuff. And man, growing up being gay was hard. I’m a child of the 90s. I didn’t have much representation. 

Which was incredibly difficult, considering my family was very religious. I grew up with this family who was homophobic and racist and abusive and it took me a long time to break out of this sort of box they’d shoved me into. 

The first time I ever came out, I didn’t actually even come out. My brother found out from some asshole at my high school that I was dating a girl and I considered myself gay or bisexual or something. Then he told my abusive mother. I never even got to come out on my own. 

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After she called me all sorts of bad names and asked me if I was fucking all of my female friends. She forced me to quit my job because freedom “made me gay”. Then she made me break up with my girlfriend. THEN she forced me out and I lived with my brother for a little bit. 

And trust me, my eldest brother was no picnic either. He constantly called me a loser and told me I needed to be medicated. He also called me lazy and unmotivated and a piece of shit. So. YEP. Everyone in my family is REALLY this delightful.

I kept talking to my girlfriend. Even though my mother was trying her damndest to take everything away from me. She cancelled my phone, cut off the internet, wouldn’t let me take my computer to my brother’s. It was a nightmare. 

Eventually, I went right back into the closet and pretended to be straight. I legitimately did break up with my girlfriend and my mom let me move back in. And let me tell you, my life has been one gigantic circus of trying to win this woman’s approval. 

But now, sitting here at my computer writing this post to tell you guys my story and why gay representation is SO fucking important, her approval means less than shit to me. 

She’s told me “I’m proud of you” more times than I can count. Because I got out and she wanted to bring me back in. I’m on the other side of what were the worst years of my life. I moved 3,000 miles across the country. I have a wonderful partner. I have everything. 

Now that I’m sitting here, alive, and well, and beginning to heal. I want to give back. I want this new generation of young ones to have the representation they so desperately need. 

So that’s it. That’s why I do it. That’s why I write gay literature, that’s why I write female characters (ESPECIALLY FEMALES IN STEM CAREERS), and that’s why I write POC and trans characters. No one should EVER have to feel as alone as I did. 

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And no more of these tragic gays. There is already too much suicide and self-harm and mental illness and homelessness among the gay community. What we need now is hope, acceptance, love, and even curiosity. 

In other words, if you’re homophobic, transphobic, acephobic, Anti-LGBTQIA+ in ANY way. Don’t read my books. I don’t want to hear about your bullshit. I don’t want my characters, who are seriously like my children, to be bullied by people who didn’t even try to understand them. 

And I don’t want ANYONE in the LGBTQIA+ community to ever feel like suicide or self-harm is the answer. I feel very strongly about this and I will continue to write literature that normalizes the LGBT community. So, like, buy my books, I guess :P. http://desdemonawren.com 

Writing Advice: How to Get Started

Not all writing advice is created equal! This is just what works for me.

So you think you want to write? Well, there are some things you should know prior to getting started. Writing isn’t easy. People who think it is, are the people who never finish anything. That or they publish horrible books with weak plots that either become popular or flop completely. 

I once spent three days researching and practicing five ballet poses to use two of them in my writing. Writing is a lot more difficult than you think it is. So if you still want to do it despite my warning, here’s how to get started. 

One Does not Simply Write a Book

Start small. I wrote short stories, flash fiction, drabbles, news stories, blogs, articles, and social media posts. Each of these things helped me understand a little bit better how to write for an audience. That and every single time you write and are peer reviewed you have the chance to get better. 

Write fanfiction if you can. Fanfiction is the easiest way to get feedback outside of college and writing news stories. In fact, I got my start in fanfiction. It’s where I got my most criticism and where I learned to grow as a writer. I’m serious. Without fanfiction I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. 

So before you jump in to writing your epic story, I’d suggest doing something smaller. Books are a lot of work. I’ve written three and trust me. There’s a lot of crying and frustration and dumb bullshit you can’t escape. To date I haven’t even published any of them because I feel like they’re not my best work.

Writing is a lot harder than people give it credit for.  

Publish Small, If You Can

I’ve written a whole slew of blogs and news stories. I’ve been published on several different websites for poetry and editorials. You don’t have to self-publish short stories to add published work to your repertoire. 

You can also send short stories into magazines or self-publish novellas. I’ve been featured in a few anthologies in the past. That’s another great way to get the word out about your work. And it’s a great way to grow as a writer. A lot of anthologies employ their own editors so you can get a taste of working with them. 

Editors are merciless. I’m lucky that by the time I started writing for anthologies I had already experienced a lot of criticism online for my work. Editors will rip you to shreds and you have to accept it. Because honestly they’re trying to make you better and help shape you as a writer.

P.S. It is okay to cry. 

Read. Read. Read. 

You don’t have to read fiction to write fiction, but you do have to read. Writing isn’t easy and when you’re developing your voice, it’s important to understand how books and stories are written. Read books about writing, read articles, read Wikipedia, read something until you understand the basics of how to write a story. 

You should also read books by other authors. Read books similar to the ones you’d want to write. It is 100% okay to base ideas on another writer’s book, but all of your stories should be your own. 

You should be reading tirelessly!

Research Everything

Everything you write needs to be well-researched. That’s the bottom line. Just like reading, you also need to research anything and everything you want to put in your book. If you have first hand experience, great, but if you don’t? Research the shit out of it.

I’m an avid reviewer of Wattpad stories and Fanfictions and I’ve had a whole slew of writers tell me “there isn’t much information on this topic!” 

Don’t play with me. I know how to use the internet and I know how this shit works. I’ve been researching stories since I was 12 and if I can find information on it, so can you. 

If you’re writing something like what it’s like to die or what a specific mental illness feels like and you don’t have first hand experience go to Ask Reddit. I’ve done this hundreds of times. All you have to do is post a topic then wait for people to respond. If no one does, try to see if someone has asked the question before and read the testimonials on that.

Most of the time people are willing to share their stories and experiences. There is no excuse for you to have poorly researched stories. Not in the age of technology. 

If you genuinely can’t find anything on your topic or it is extremely difficult to find what you’re looking for, I promise you that there is a book for that. In fact, I had to buy a book on poisons and poisoning to write Wixen. I needed to know what a safe dosage of Belladonna and Mandrake were and what an unsafe dosage was. I spent several days trying to find it on the internet before caving and buying this book. 

I also own several books on witchcraft and runes and I’ve employed the help of several different witches to offer insight. There is literally no fucking excuse for you to not research your stories.

Not All Word Processors are Created Equal

Number one thing people ask me is what I write my stories in. Honestly? I use Google Docs. It’s easier to share and get feedback. Plus you can block people from copying and pasting your work, etc. 

Some of my friends swear up and down that Microsoft Word is the only thing they’ll write in. Some people use Notepad or Wordpad or any number of things. Pick the one that feels most comfortable for you. 

Though I don’t recommend using Notepad because it doesn’t have spellcheck, but that’s probably just me. Not to mention you can’t format it. Unless you’re exporting it as an HTML file, but I don’t recommend that? Just don’t use notepad, promise?

Anyways, quick helpful formatting tips: Add page numbers to the bottom of the page. Center or right. Try to avoid left because that puts it in the crease of the page. Also change the background color of your story to something you can easily look at. White is going to hurt your eyes and burn you out. I use gray, blue, green, and pastel pink. 

Outline or Write a Vague Idea Down

You don’t have to outline every single chapter, but you do need to have a vague idea of where you’re going with the story. It can be as short as half a page or as long as 200 pages. Just get something down. I promise this will help you so much in the long run. 

I also use journals and the notes on my phone to write down any idea I have when I’m somewhere where I can’t sit down and write. I always carry a journal and a pen on me at all times. I’ve collected over a hundred of them in my lifetime. I write a whole fucking lot. 

Write Every Day*

You should be writing every single day. Whether you want this to be a hobby or if you want to make a career out of it, you need to write at least 100 words every day. This is the only way you’re going to get better. 

It doesn’t even have to be anything pertaining to any ongoing story. As long as you’re writing. Don’t ever stop. 

*I'm gonna be honest with y'all. I don't actually write every single day. However, I do do something creative every day. Like drawing or baking something cool or outlining a story or writing a blog. Do what works for you!