Author: DeAnna Knippling (Page 1 of 28)

Journal: Some mornings I have a bit of an issue with making sense

I’ve been journaling a fair amount lately, but a lot of the stuff I’m journaling about is probably not for public consumption.  Like, I wrote some a little bit about the fact that readers are going to see the cover and blurb on whatever you write, so of course the first big plot twists aren’t going to be all that surprising, but it was in such a scattered way that it’s kind of nonsense.

What does the reader know?  More things, more stuff.  They know the cover & blurb–so they know more of the secrets.  Well, you do what you have to.

See what I mean?  Makes no sense.

But when I got the garble cleared out and put the journal down, things became more clear.

Another thing I wrote about was a couple of people who have inadvertently come out to me as being pretty damn sexist, and I came to the conclusion that I had better keep an eye on them (and maybe not get so involved in some projects).  That’s been on my mind lately.  “Am I burning too many bridges?”  And then I realized, “Wait…shouldn’t they be giving a shit about burning their bridges with me?”

But I think I’ll let that ruminate before I write it–a lot of gobbledydook this morning.  Like this:

Also, one more heartbreak–one more sexist asshole dickweed guy.  “You can save them!” No, you can’t.  They can climb out of the hole, or they can’t.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this morning’s hurbleburble (although I’m not sure how), please take a look at my book, The Clockwork Alice, which is a historical steampunk/fantasy intended to produce a thoughtful, yet turn-around-in-circles-until-you’re-dizzy effect.



Journal: A bunch of bad ideas. Or evil ones.

Today’s blog post is brought to you by…

Cheesy horror tropes. I was coming up with title ideas for cheesy horror stories…at one point I caught myself going, “Why am I writing this? Who’s gonna read these anyway? Who cares?” See if you can spot it 🙂

1. Don’t Go into the Basement. 2. Let’s Split up. 3. The Final Girl. 4. (He Had a) Bad Childhood. 5. The Monster in the Mirror. 6. Don’t Look Behind You. 7. Push the Bell & Run Away. 8. Double Dog Dare You. 9. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? 10. Why’s Calling? 11. People Suit 12. Rubber Mask. 13. Things That Go Bump in the Night. 14. Don’t Go to Sleep. 15. A Knock at the Door. 16. Don’t Touch That. 17. The Forbidden Room. 18. Don’t Do That One Thing (I Told You Not to Do). 19. Who’s That at the Door? 20. The Thing in the Basement. 21. The Skeleton in the Closet. 22. Scream and Run. 23. What Happened to Your Face? 24. Night of [All] the Monsters. 25. Good Friends Help You Move. 26. A Dish Best Served Cold. 27. Red of Tooth and Claw. 28. Bad Choices. 29. Don’t Leave the Garbage Out at Night. 30. Taking Out the Garbage. 31. Don’t Make a Face (Or It Will Stick That Way). 32. The Guy on the Other Side of the Street. 33. The House Next Door. 34. The Cabin in the Woods. 35. What’s in the Attic? 36. You’re It. 37. Bad Luck. 38. It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. 39. Good Neighbors. 40. The Accident. 41. Born This Way. 42. The Rats/Spiders/Birds/Bats/Ants, Etc. 43. Unquiet Ghosts. 44. The Town Where All the @#$% Happens. 45. Suburbia. 46. Quaint Little Tourist Trap. 47. Tourist Trap. 48. Homeschool. 49. Unsupervised. 50. The Babysitter. 51. Nightmares. 52. Don’t Step on a Crack. 53. Girls Always Go to the Bathroom Together. 54. Split Personalities. 55. The Devil You Know. 56. Things That Go Bump in the Night [this is apparently the sequel, since I already listed it]. 57. Loose Ends. 58. Don’t Throw the First Stone. 59. What’s in the Sewers. 60. Best Friends. 61. The Chosen One. 62. The Devil’s Daughter. 63. Back from the Dead. 64. The Haunting. 65. ESP. 66. Telekinesis. [Note: someone wanted to know the first Stephen King book one had ever read; mine was Firestarter.] 67. Poltergeist. 68. The Little Old Lady (Who Has Like 50 Cats). 69. The Cathouse. 70. The Thieves who Broke into the Wrong Damn House. 71. On More Monster Just Trying to Make It. 72. Cubeville. 73. Guilty Conscience. 74. But I’m Not Wrong. 75. Expect the Unexpected. 76. The (Werewolf) Pet Sitter. 77. Now You Know. 78. The Divorce (Splitting up Secrets). 79. The Squirrels in the Attic.

I didn’t run out of ideas, just out of page. One of the things that was interesting was that changing the phrasing slightly caused a completely different idea to come into my head, for example, “Don’t Leave the Garbage Out at Night” vs. “Taking out the Garbage.” One is more “If you go outside, the monsters will get you or do SOMETHING to your garbage,” and the other is, “We killed a guy and now we have to get rid of the body.”

If you liked today’s journal, check out Chris Fox’s Write to Market, which is what started this train of thought.

Journal: I’m not going to even mention the name of the book

Being both sick and feverish and in manic mode is not pleasant.  I did get a haircut.  The conversation ended up with me encouraging the hairdresser to start talking to her daughter about sex earlier rather than later, because it’s better for the information to be coming from you…I’m not really sure how we got there.  The details are kind of foggy.  But!  Haircut, no tears, success.

I wrote half my journal before I went to get the haircut, and half after.  “Get a haircut” kept coming up in the writing and I finally just broke off and got it done.  When I got back the thoughts were a lot more settled.  For some reason what came up was a rant about this writing book I’d tracked down at the library because it sounded interesting.  Then I read this:

Motherhood is a creation.  It is the beginning of immortality.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons women are less inclined toward philandering [and, or so it is implied by the author, creating stories] than men.

The greatest injustice imposed upon a mother is when her grown up children, out of sheer love and consideration, keep their troubles from her.  They make her feel unimportant.

As you might imagine, I stopped reading about this point.

This is so sexist that I’ll grieve every time I [try to read this book].  How is this person going to tell me how to write a story when he doesn’t think I’m fully human?  what stories can he even tell?  Having birthed a child did not satisfy my need to create.  It slowed me down, granted–and if [a lack of need to create] is how you wanted to read the situation, you could.  But I stopped being fully human for a while there, because it took everything I had to deal with my child.  I was carefully trained to turn my essential nature off.  That is not the same a having satisfied the need to create.  That was being exhausted and brainwashed into compliance.


I am not a magic breeding machine who is “satisfied” by my daughter’s mere existence and her desire to have her every whim be my command.  There’s nothing essentially holy or uplifting about it, no more so than some guy leaving behind an unwanted child after a one-night stand.  Or do guys get some special glow after they’ve impregnated someone?  Someone, tell me, was your need to create satisfied?  Were you like, “I was going to be a world-famous novelist, but now…?  I’m good.  Someone else take my place at the table.”

I thought not.  Screw that guy; I’m not even going to mention the name of the book.

If you liked the journal today, please check out my historical crime novellas in the Smoke seriesHow Smoke Got out of the Chimneys is the first one.

[Shakes fist at the author of that book.]


Journal: The (ugly, unwanted) heart of the story.

This morning…a little bit downhill on the viral front.  I broke out the new gin and peach bitters last night and I feel terrible this morning.  It’s like I can’t believe that the same thing that happened to me last time (drinking even a little alcohol while I’m recovering causing me to be completely wiped out the next day) won’t happen to me this time.  And of course my inner voice is no help.  “What are you, some kind of alcoholic?”

And yet so much of my life has been, “Well, it’s been six months since you got screwed on that front.  Why not try it again?  Instead of swearing that you’ll never do it again.”

So if it’s a choice between, “Poke the boundaries and have something negative happen” and “Never poke the boundaries at all,” I have to go with the former.  But I also feel like I should be able to find a middle way that doesn’t involve being dehydrated and miserable in the morning.

This morning:  working on a story idea that I was stuck on.  Plot usually doesn’t cause me problems, but when it does, they’re doozies.  However, I backed up and went, “This isn’t actually a plot problem, but a story problem–I don’t know what the heart of this story is.”

This story is stupid and I don’t understand it!  What am I struggling with here.  Plot.  A series of logical events.  I don’t like being railroaded [by my plots].  “Now, we have to look for the killer.  It’s a whodunnit!”  But it’s not a whodunnit.

I’m struggling with keeping the reader in mind.  Tell myself a story, tell someone else a story.  I’m telling nobody a story, I’m just back at the stage of not even being able to figure out a logical sequence of events.  Yay.

What is the heart of this story?

Once upon a time, a writer had to seek revenge.  It was a horrible thing.

(Please note that I generally hate revenge stories and was both amazed to see myself writing these words and yet knew that’s exactly what it was, too.  I cut a bunch of story specifics here on the revenge plot.)

You don’t contain a berzerker by force.  You contain one by erasure.  The “Mama Bear” is the true face, not the comforting mother.  Story idea:  A female serial killer who kills the people who hurt her kids, over and over and over.

I couldn’t figure out what the heart of that story would be, and decided to move on this morning to the one that I’m already invested in.  If you’d like to claim the idea of the female serial killer who kills the people who remind her of the asshole who hurt her kids, feel free.

If you liked the blog, today I’d like you to check out my horror/dark fantasy short story collection, A Murder of Crows:  Seventeen Tales of Monsters & the Macabre.  Since I seem to be on a revengeful rampage and all this morning.

Journal: Not knowing you’re being rude is not the same as being polite

I’m finally getting over being stealth-sick (the kind where you find yourself panting after a small exertion but that doesn’t leave a trail of mucus in your wake), and it still shows.  I gotta wonder if more people just need to stop and take naps, and if that would solve a lot of problems.  “You’re dehydrated and tired.  Get off social media and take a nap.”

Three semi-random tidbits follow, mostly tied together by the feeling that I’m going to have to be ornery if I’m going to make it through the day…

What if [everyone] learned not to let other people assume that you were on their side?  Then that literally would be enough [to change the world].  What if everybody with privilege said, “Oh.  Maybe I should default to helping out when it costs me nothing but 30 seconds of my time.  Instead of defaulting to looking the other way.”  All you have to do is change that one default.  “It would take me one minute–so–I’m out.”  Fine, cool.  But that one default.

There are already millions of bigots who are loudly standing up for what they believe in.  All you have to do is not let them count you in their ranks.  “I will not let you believe that I am on your side.”


Not knowing you’re being rude is not the same as being polite.


I realize that you, like me, have a passion for self-sabotage.  Something is uncomfortably intense = time to run.  Why don’t we all just get along?  However, I’m not willing to let my fear control me to the extent that I must fail.  […] I will keep vigilant against fear.  It’s not a mind-killer.  It’s a tool and I will use it to its highest and best purposes.  I will use my fear to help me live, not to help me fail.

I have a new novelette out (yay!) but it hasn’t sifted through the system to become active on Kindle or iBooks yet (b00!), so I’m going to sit on the links for that for a bit (sigh!).  So I think what I’d like to ask of you this morning (if you liked this blog) is to watch a Chef John/Foodwishes cooking video.  This is one of my favorite recipes, spicy caramel chicken.  Be prepared for dad jokes.  I make this fairly often.



Journal: The bestowing of a name

This morning’s journal, like yesterday’s, had signs of mental exhaustion all over it.  I finished writing the novel (yay!), then worked on a freelance project that involved rewriting 40K of a 50K novel in less than a week.  So about 90K of writing in two weeks:  mental exhaustion.  I can tell because all I do in the journal entries is bitch and moan about things.  So take that into consideration.

I was thinking about someone who’d been ranting about how everyone who wasn’t Christian were “moral relativists,” and how their being intolerant of his views was complete hypocrisy on their part.

Like I said, bitching and moaning…

When you bestow a name and its “obvious” rules on someone else, you can’t be offended and shocked when people seem to behave hypocritically with regards to those rules–they were never the rules (or principles) that applied in the first place.  Humanists, secularists, atheists, agnostics, [probably a bunch of other groups I’m not naming, not limited to people who aren’t Christian but who are religious after other faiths,] and just plain “don’t care”-ists don’t go walking around saying, “I am a moral relativist.”  That’s a specialist term from philosophy.  […]

If you’re going to lump everyone who isn’t “you” into a group called “moral relativist,” then you’re really just setting up a “them.”  And of course you’re going to be on the looking for things “they” are doing wrong or hypocritically.  And of course it’s going to start looking like “they” are evil.  So–practically speaking–[calling someone a] moral relativist is, or rather belongs to, the process by which one turns other people into evil.  Calling someone a name they don’t apply to themselves is terrible.  I dunno about evil [in and of itself], but definitely a dick move.

I’ve gotten to the point where I hate responding negatively to other people’s comments on Facebook.  If you want to bring some b.s. to one of my posts, I’ll feel free to say what I like–it’s my party and I’ll say what I want to.  But the original comment still rankled, after a stupid amount of time.  It was probably a good thing to just spit out my opinion, even if it was totally l’esprit d’escalier by this point.

If you enjoyed today’s blog post, check out the stories in my Smoke historical mystery series, in which the small eke a leg up over the big.  Sometimes.  If they’re lucky.

Not-a-journal: Signs of fundamentalism.

I finished the novel!  This does not end the state of panicked scampering.  But I did give myself a break this morning and slept in, took a shower, ate breakfast…okay, when I say it like that it sounds bad.  I made my bed.  There.  All better.

I also skipped journaling this morning and instead wrote this, which was inspired by this article on why literature is the answer to fundamentalism.

1) The only correct interpretation is the right interpretation. The only right interpretation is the approved interpretation. The only approved interpretation is the received interpretation. People in authority have checked up on this.

2) Don’t read the book that exists. Read the book I tell you exists. Your friends, family, community, and country support me on this matter. Don’t disappoint them. They wouldn’t understand.

3) Only the context necessary to support the true interpretation is contextual. The rest need not be recorded. Or brought into the picture at all. In fact it’s purely a matter of historical record. Why question the facts? They are in support of the truth. Everything else is cherry picking and lies.

4) It’s easy to understand. It’s black and white. It’s obvious. Don’t be an idiot.

5) The abuses of power that arise from this situation are not institutional. Do not assess this in the light of news reports to the contrary. That guy was crazy. His behavior does not reflect on us all.

6) The real problem is that you should be stronger. Suffering builds character. It has nothing to do with injustice. You are too weak and whiny. Your opinion does not need to be heard. You deserve this. You need it. If you were stronger this wouldn’t be a problem. Stop crying. Nobody likes you anyway.

7) If you agree with me, that’s not suspicious at all. It was the right and obvious choice. No pressure has been put on you at all. You did this of your own free will. Unless you change your mind. Or do something that I don’t like. And then there were influences. Brainwashed. The media. Video games. Fake news.

8) Just follow the orders. Now is not the time to ask questions. Someone else will sort it all out.

I wasn’t really awake at that point.  Then I started reading the news.  Oh boy.

The thing you could do me if you liked this morning’s post:  check out the Folding Ideas YouTube channel.  It’s a philosophical kind of hmmmm thing.  It features videos about film editing that I like, among other things.  I recommend The Art of Editing and Scuicide Squad.  Hur hur hur…

(Oh!  The name of the novel is One Dark Summer Night, and it’s a riff on 80s-style horror novels and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.)

Journal: The broken routine

If all goes well, this morning will see the end of a novel.  If not, well, it’s probably because I’ve sabotaged myself again.  I got up this morning and went, “I can’t do this.  I can’t write, I can’t take out the trash, I can’t journal, I can’t put a bra on, I can’t do laundry, I can’t check social media, I can’t do any kind of maintenance tasks, I can’t do freelance work, I can’t do…”  You get the picture.  I was trying to swerve away from all the hard things.  Yesterday I pushed pretty hard, and I’m scared that I’m going to remain uncomfortable and drained all day today, too.  Fair concern.

How does one keep up a broken routine?  Easy answer:  start with good intentions every morning, then dismiss them when things go to hell. What if losing that routine isn’t [due to everything] “going to hell,” though?  What if it’s an opportunity?  Like I was jotting down the other morning:  when you have an opportunity that’s better than the routine, there is no shame in breaking the routine.  But when you don’t, or when you need your routine in order to make use of that opportunity–back to the routine.

If you liked this morning’s entry, take a look at what makes you break your routine (whatever that routine may be).  Is it “writer’s block”?  Is it the chance to jump onto something really cool?  Is it a series of small tasks that you really should get to, but honestly could do later?  In short:  what disrupts you?  Fear, or opportunity?

Also, wish me luck 🙂

Journal: How to tell if it’s criticism or opinion

Yesterday’s journal was all about a new project that I’m working on.  It was cool; a bunch of stuff just gushed out.  Today’s was back to normal, more or less.

Something that’s been getting on my nerves is when someone “criticizes” a piece of entertainment that features women or has female creators by pooh-pooh-ing it.  Watch for things like, “I didn’t think the actresses were attractive enough.”  “It’s just not funny/scary/whatever.”  “I thought it was an X, but really it wasn’t.”  (Prejudging the work.)  “I just didn’t get around to it.” (Swerve.)

[Rant on people who “criticize” the Ghostbusters remake, some notes on the hypocrisy of people who love the Scooby Doo movies and Hudson Hawk turning their noses up at it.  I liked all three; Ghostbusters wasn’t one of the greats but it was a lot of fun.]

The good criticism is when you know the form well, and you can make insightful, specific criticism about the piece based on the form.  “They shouldn’t have done it” or “the story was bad” — those things mean you are not providing insightful, specific criticism.  You’re dressing up your bias in fancy words to excuse your shitty behavior.  People with vague, superficial criticism don’t have criticism:  they have opinions.  If you’re not doing some kind of analysis, then [pretending you have some kind of valid criticism] just a bullshit, handwaved, “I didn’t liiiike it.”

If you liked today’s blog, check out N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.  It is an incredible book.  If you’re one of those people who “reads for story” and yet somehow doesn’t end up with a lot of women writers on your list…you’re missing out on this one.  It should go down as containing one of the best plot twists of all time, in my opinion.

Journal: More on swerve.

This was a pretty productive morning, where I wrote a lot of concrete thoughts (if there can be such a thing) on a couple of short stories I have to turn in ASAP.  Apparently I’m terrified that one of the stories just flat-out doesn’t work, but I decided to let the editor make the call on that one.  I did manage to pull out more on the idea of swerving away from the things you’re scared of, though.  I interrupted myself a lot this morning.

A note on something–I have a number of reading lists that I try to work through, to reflect the reading habits I want to have, and the territory I want to cover.  For some reason it occurred to me that I wasn’t reading an entire category of books that I’d resolved to read:  the works of long-term professional writers.  I started to explore that and…

I have a hard time reading long-term pro-writers’ work [on a regular basis].  Like not that it’s terrible or anything.  Just–I don’t have the discipline for it.  Why is that?  Well, a) where’s the list [of long-term professional writers that I can dip into], and b) you’ve read some books that are totally not for you.  Just not.  So you swerve.

There, too?  Shit, that’s annoying.  Like, new resolution:  don’t swerve.  But it’s hard to prejudge the state of not swerving, because the whole point is to not have to encounter something.  A good goal, but perhaps one that–

[Subconscious refuses to let me finish the sentence.]

Don’t swerve from success.


Just stop fucking yourself over.  Force the universe to cough up an enemy [that isn’t you].

If you enjoyed this morning’s journal, check out my novella, All the Retros at the New Cotton Club.  It’s all about a character who swerves from the truth.

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