c’mon and SMASHthegenre!

SMASH. transparent logo

It’s sure been a while, now, hasn’t it, dears? That’s my bad. That’s my bad, entirely, but it’s also for a later post that I promise will happen. I’m getting back on track with the doing-things-on-the-internet lifestyle, because being a presence here in this gigantic mash of creativity is a dream of mine, and it’s time to work on making that happen!

That’s where SMASH comes in! SMASHthegenre is now LIVE to the public! What is it? It’s something, that’s for sure.

SMASH is an online writing forum that I began working on at the end of November 2015, and brought out of hiding at the beginning of 2016 for a small group of friends that I had made during NaNoWriMo. I didn’t want to lose these creative minds and friendships after the hectic November event was over, so I barreled forward with an idea I’ve had for years but never before been able to execute. With support, lots of energy drinks, skype calls, and a little last-minute BB Coding for Dummies, SMASHthegenre came into being.

You can read more about the SMASH manifesto on the forum. Let me break it down quick though: SMASH is a forum for sharing your own writing, to read the stories of other writers, and to offer critiques, advice, and good ol’ fashioned friendship. There is also a members’ only chat room that is available 24/7, where we all come together to talk about writing and life in general, set up timed writing sprints to keep each other productive, and on Saturdays, we have set discussions on certain topics (so far, we’ve discussed such things as POV, Setting, and Dialogue).

What do I hope to achieve with SMASH? I’m not entirely sure, yet. I’m growing right along with it, learning new things daily and discovering different things that I can bring to the table to make it a fun, interactive place for other writers. Like I say in the manifesto, if all I do in the end is bring five people together to share their passion, then that’s enough for me.

keep rioting, xo. shilo christina

do, please, judge a book by its cover | nanowrimo 2015 covers

NaNoWriMo 2015 is upon us in less than three days! Have you plotted and planned? Are your characters all ready to fall in love or be ripped apart or slay the dragon? Have you let your daydreaming get to you, imagining what it would look like to see your name on the shelves with the best? I have, without hesitation… okay, with some hesitation. I wasn’t too sure, until mid-October, whether I would participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. Last year, a lot of life-related issues kept my best friend and I from reaching our goal, and it was a blow to my ego — my first “loss” in the six years I’ve been giving my soul over to the literary deities and muses so as to bleed out 50,000 words within 30 days. I finally decided that no, I wouldn’t let last year’s bad luck and emotional turmoil spoil the fun I’ve had every year throwing new characters into new situations, sharing excerpts and gripes and milestones.

Plus, and here’s where I get to the point: it means that I get to design a cover for my novel! One of my favourite, random little hobbies, is graphic design. I’ve been messing around in photoshop programs since 2003 (even before then, if MSPaint can be counted). For the most part, the art I make is for myself; collages to depict characters, certain scenes, moods; digital journal pages to clear my head of thoughts; and every now and then, something fandom-related. It’s a medium that I like to think I’ve grown talented in, and I love when opportunities arise for me to share my work with other people. NaNoWriMo is a great outlet for this. On the forums, there’s a gorgeous little section called NaNo Artisans, where artists of any make or measure can come and offer things such as character sketches, personalized soundtracks, and, as my luck would have it, covers!

This year, I wanted to get back into the spirit of NaNoWriMo and include myself in the forums and chats. I started that journey off in the Artisans forum, asking other writers to tell me the synopses of their novels, so that I could, with a little inspiration, create something that they could use to motivate themselves and do that thing we writers love to do: imagine ourselves on the shelves. Over the last week, I created 36 mock book covers for some amazingly talented writers. I had an amazing time with every design, wanting to do right by each author and the world they have ready and raring to go come November 1st. I hope above all hope that everyone is successful with their 50,000 words this year, and that maybe a few years down the road, I get to see their book on a shelf somewhere (likely, without the cover I’ve made, but hey, at least I can say I helped inspire them a little back in the day).  

Here’s my personal Top 10 from all of the covers I did!

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1. we are broken bones looking to meld together
hairline fractures fitting with impossibility
except we can't get to this point with you
too afraid or too stubborn or too this-isn't-a-good-time
to let me rip you open from the throat to gut to get at your heart
when i told you i was broken you didn't say you would fix me
you said you were too and it was like someone saying
thank you
yes please
let's set this straight

2. animals
we are animals
violent. and if we fight for anything we fight for love
we are teeth and claw and blood
our ribcages are the antlers of deer who want their way
crashing together, locking, and struggling
and one of us will die wearing the other like a crown

3. i am a universe where you kissed me the day you met me
eye to eye without a hello, just how i asked you to
you are a lifetime where you never know my name
and something always feels off
i am a vowel at midnight that just doesn't sound right
and you are nobody's favourite colour
(i saw you in shades of green)

4. i chose not to grieve for you
and that's all i want to do

5. we are what i said we would always be:
and desperate
              - s.c