Thursday, August 14, 2008

I killed someone today.

It has not been the first time. I hid two others in my closet, ignoring their musty smells for the past four years. Mothballs work if you know where to place them, and if visitors ask what the funk is, I can just tell them the odor comes from the mothballs.

I could state right here that it was an accident. But it wasn’t. I knew exactly what I was doing - in an offhand, oh well, sort of way. I fed them into the machine, listening to the shuffles and muffled screeches across their bent bodies as they went through and back out. They are changed for the better, in my opinion. I am an artist in my craft. And sometimes sacrifices must be made. This will be the third I have killed for my stories - FOR MY ART. That is what is most important.

No. I do feel guilt. They never asked to undergo this treatment. The life is gone from their beings, dashed away in such a cruel manner. I seek mercy from those who have it in their hearts to forgive me. I will post their photos. If anyone recognizes their faces, could you please contact their relatives with the sad news?

Arggh . . . they are heavier than I realized. You would think they would be bare enough to roll out the closet. Come on now. Get up on the dresser for your photo spread. No! Wait! Don’t go sliding around. I don’t want to clean up any mess afterwards. Hm, I think we are ready now.

Hold still . . .

Almost have the camera ready . . .

There now . . .

Sorry, trees.

Okay, now that I got that guilt out of my system, I will tell you about the two piles of deceased lumber pulped and formed into paper. They are unpublished manuscripts, might as well be yellow snow as Stephen eloquently calls them (what most self-published books are worth.) Those stories we write then do nothing more except to shove the papers under beds or into boxes.

Why do I have the makings of yellow snow collecting in my closet? Well, these are my very first stories. In many writing circles, it is said that we should put aside our first manuscripts - wait a couple of months - then come back to them. It is this way that a writer becomes refreshed enough to read the stories with a clearer mindset and to improve on the writing.

Well, I wrote these stories for the express purpose to see if I had the urge, the drive, to pursue writing full time. I convinced myself that I could come up with a comprehensive storyline (twice) and expand on it. They were going to become a series: a ten-part series. As you can see, I had very high ambitions. I wrote the two stories one after the other. The first novel is a stand alone. The second is the first to a five-part series featuring the same storyline. The other four phantom manuscripts were going to be back stories since many of the characters were centuries old. The entire set was a dark fantasy saga.

After I finished the second manuscript, I stepped back from the writing. I was forced to take the time off because my aunt passed away and my other aunt had four heart attacks and liver failure. If you can’t tell, it was a very traumatic time for me. When I finally had the opportunity to return to the stories, I realized something.

What’s next?

That was the thought I had. I read the first manuscript, saw all the changes I had to make and could do it with no problems. Yet there was a problem.

Was this really the genre I wanted to write in? After this incredibly long series, what would there be next? A fantasy writer needed to have more worlds to explore. Or do I continue with this setting, with spinoffs of characters meeting new characters while confined to this realm of my own making?

Uncertainty took control. I am a variety type of girl. I never know what it is that I am going to write next. I love the thrill of surprise and to explore the dark realms inside people’s minds. I love putting characters in dismal situations as they struggle toward the light, reaching out, so near to the peace and tranquility we all crave in our existence. Then I pull a surprise as the rug whisks out from under their feet with the characters tumbling into even more sinister depths no one could have ever fathomed.

I looked at the fantasy manuscripts, and felt my imagination confined in an ever shrinking box of boredom. Did I really want to suffocate myself in there?


I stepped further back from the manuscripts, still happy that I wanted to write - but not in this genre. I searched for the fate I sought. I searched for the siren call on rocky shores that would offer a safe haven for this wandering mind.

Did I finally find it? Yes. Did I write in this genre? Yes. Did I finish the manuscript? Yes. Is it yellow snow?


Is my mind confined there?


Is this what I want to pursue? Do I want to put my characters in such hostile conditions, pulling twist endings and listening to their torturous screams as they plead for the sanity and light that I tease in front of imploring eyes?


I am unpredictable, and I love it.

This is what I call suspense. This is where I call my home.


  1. Brilliant!!

    Well done, Michelle!

  2. Aw, Sandra. You are easy to please. LOL!

  3. Someday, I hope to delight in telling people that I knew you when. I'll say, "Yes, we were quite close. I used to call her my darker-gray friend, and she called me her lighter-gray friend." Of course, by that time everybody in the world will know what I'm talking about, as you will have received your Nobel Peace Prize along with your Nobel for literature :-)

  4. You held my attention.

    One day you'll be signing books in some Barnes & Noble somewhere, and a middle-aged gray guy will ask you to sign his copy, "To the yellow snowman," and it will be great to finally meet you face to face.

  5. Suldog:) Okay, now I know someone is smoking something. Nobel Peace Prize? I would just be happy with having an agent say, "Send me your manuscript for review." Even if they turned it down it would bring a smile to my face to know I got THAT far.

    Stephen:) Unfortunately, the person in that B&N would probably be my evil twin - who locked me in the closet with the rest of the yellow snow she has me slaving away at writing. Someday I will break the chains!

    Seriously, I would just like to meet all of you before I get published. That way I can send invitations to the celebration party if I ever get published. I'll call it the, "GRAY'S SHINDIG!"

    Thank you for all of your wonderful comments.

  6. So many "writers" don't even have those piles of paper, just have their ideas in their heads.

    You are way ahead on the learning curve with those big piles of paper.

  7. Josephine: You should have seen how big they were BEFORE I edited them!

    Thanks for the kind comment. I'm glad to have gotten this far with my writing. Usually I'm way behind the learning curve attempting to hitchhike to the front of the pack.


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