Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Nemesis by Amelia C. Gormley

Twenty-four years ago I sought to sign up for my high school’s Creative Writing class. This was actually sort of a big deal. The class was composed of entirely juniors and seniors. Occasionally, the odd sophomore would be allowed to sign up. The instructor, an eccentric guy whom I came to adore, was death on freshmen and would have nothing to do with them. My curriculum advisor told me there was no way he’d allow me into the class.

Some insight: nothing makes me want something more than to be told I'm not good enough to have it. I’m perverse that way; if I’m going to seek membership into a club, I’m going to try for the most elite, selective one I can find. It’s always been that way. When I shoot for something, I aim high. So I tracked the guy down in the hallway and basically gave him an elevator pitch on myself.

I got in because I laughed at one of his jokes.

The point of this is not actually to brag. The first day of class, he gave us a handout. It was a copy of the article Bonehead Writing by Craig Vetter. You don’t know how thrilled I was to find that link; I actually still have the handout saved in my papers somewhere, but I wanted to share the article itself with you, because it’s brilliant. Read it.

At any rate, this is one of the many quotes that stuck with me all this time:
Don't turn away, you wormy little cowards. This is your enemy: a perfectly empty sheet of paper.
Truer words were never spoken, though now, almost thirty years later, it might be rewritten to replace "paper" with "computer screen." It doesn't matter, though, if it's the start of a blog post, a new book or short story, a new chapter or scene. Unless you have been fortunate enough to have one of those lottery-winning, lightning-bolt moments of divine inspiration where the first sentence writes itself, that blank screen will always be your nemesis. It will taunt you with your inadequacies and twirl its mustache smugly over the futility of resistance against its impenetrability. And you will scramble to figure out how to fill it before it slips away in its ubiquitous villainmobile to come back another day to menace you with its next diabolical scheme.

But that empty screen is also an opportunity for a new start, to try something fresh and unique that you've never done before.

Each time I begin a new story, I set out to try something as a writer I haven't tried before. I do this very deliberately, with malice aforethought, because each time I write something new, I want to add another tool to my kit. One story, I set out with the goal of adding in more lush descriptive text because my prose is often very straightforward and barebones. Another, I worked hard to construct an external plot, whereas my bread and butter has always been character exploration and development and internal/interpersonal conflict. And in yet another, I try my hand at writing in a historical context, whereas I'm most comfortable with contemporary or near-future.

I find that fresh starts are often a theme within my writing as well. In my Impulse trilogy, I have two characters who are each starting over as they recover from wounds and try to shake off the baggage of the past. In one manuscript on which I'm presently at work, I examine ethics and morality as people try to find their place in a post-apocalyptic world struggling to rebuild itself. In another, I explore the innocence and wonder of first love between two characters just coming into adulthood.

Each blank sheet of paper is a new opportunity as well as a new challenge. And while it is, indeed, "the hardest, dirtiest shoveling any of us ever has to do" it can also be the most rewarding. It gives us an opportunity to offer something fresh and new to our readers as well, and there will never, ever be higher praise than for someone to say about your writing that you opened their eyes to something new or showed them something they hadn't considered before. That's what makes it all worthwhile.

Gavin Hayes is everything Derrick could ask for in a lover. Gorgeous. Passionate. Great in bed. Derrick finds it very easy to just let himself go, to let Gavin guide him and teach him all the things he missed during a decade of celibacy. In the course of a single weekend, Derrick’s routine is transformed, his mornings and evenings filled with sex. Sweet, seductive, wild, or raunchy, Gavin offers Derrick all the pleasure he’s denied himself for so long.

But learning how to be a lover in bed is one thing. Learning to be one out of bed is another. For Derrick, being alone has become habit. Sharing his confidences doesn’t come nearly as readily as sharing his bed. After so many losses, the last thing Derrick wants is to become dependent upon another person who might not always be there.

And Gavin always being there is far from certain. With an ex-lover lurking in the background, and the question of Gavin’s future health still outstanding, neither Gavin nor Derrick feel capable of asking for anything more than right now. But Gavin won’t be kept on the fringes of Derrick’s life. Can Derrick let someone in before the opportunity passes him by?

                                                                              * * *

Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her five year old is napping. When she’s not writing, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into a everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else. Her first two novels from the Impulse trilogy are available at Amazon, ARe and other retailers.