Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG - Staying motivated. How to keep typing. Plus, an excerpt from that Exotic Dancing Mystery Novel.

It's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group's monthly post! To find out more about Alex J. Cavanaugh's brain chile, click HERE!
My first year of grad school is over. (It's a weird semester schedule. Jan 1st through May 1st) My master thesis project proposal was approved by CIIS's MFA faculty, and my faculty advisor is the amazing Carolyn Cooke
The really exciting part is -drum roll- I finished my novel! It's the most important/ complicated project I've ever attempted. I'm in the process of my first read through.

This is the outline for North Beach. BTW, I hate the fuckwit working title.

Here's a sample of the mystery novel's tone:
(note: Lucifer is a bookseller and paramedic who just has an unusual name.)

The two men reek of Armani White cologne and whisky. It’s one of the colognes we keep in the men’s room at Penthouse Club, a smell I’ve grown to loathe. They must have had a long and blasted evening last night. The right arm of Raymond’s sport coat is slick with a Victoria’s Secret glitter lotion, a.k.a. stripper juice. Probably from one of the all-night bottom-feeder clubs still open after Penthouse closes at three. Stripper juice is forbidden for dancers to wear at both Penthouse and the Gold Club. It not only rubs off on customers, it also makes the two story poles slick and dangerous.
            Outside is Raymond’s blue Ferrari. It’s double-parked. How long is this interrogation going to last? Lucifer is staring at me drop jawed, and I avoid meeting his eyes.
            “How many times was she supposed to meet you in Paris? How much money do you give to her outside the club? She’s been married and divorced. Did she tell you that? She was married when she met you. She’s been using you, mon frere.”
            “Your name is, Ali? You didn’t even tell me your real name?”
            Really? This wealthy grown man who’s traveled the world has to have it spelled out for him?
            “She’s a writer. Did you know that? This has all been a game to her.”
            Isn’t it, though? I’m supposed to feel bad about doing what every dancer is paid to do? It’s not like these men had good intentions for me. Having sex is easy, but true seduction is an art form. The representation is always better than the real thing. Representations are perfection. Whore’s can have real sex and come out scathed, used, even if they’re financially well off. Exotic dancers selling fake sex can make a fortune. It’s like the ‘dachshund author’ who had a paw-signing. Fake books, fake sex, that’s where the money’s at. But some times you have to deal with this shit.
            “You were married?”

Now that I have three months to baby it and pitch it, I've been allowing myself to do this -

And this -

And best of all, this!

Kickin it in the Presidio with my bookseller friend, Anne!
I've also been looking for more freelance writing work on Craigslist. San Francisco Craigslist posts can be both hilarious and mind-boggling.

You have to admit, it's kind of adorable she's too scared to go to a Mac or Benefit counter. Still, come on lady. If you want to emphasize your assets you need to go get berated and belittled by snotty cosmetologists like the rest of us. 

Harvard. Baby. Just. Ew.

I'm working for Public Programs and Performances about every other week. I teach a Writing Workshop Thursday evenings and write a ton, but keeping self imposed deadlines is hard. I'm already missing school. 

How do you stay motivated and typing? Please share in the comments below!


  1. Congrats on completing both your novel and your first year of grad school!

  2. Congrats on finishing your first year of grad school, your thesis, and your book! You have a bunch of accomplishments under your belt. You definitely deserve to do all of those things.

    This person actually called said "trust-fund baby"? Ew is right. lol

    1. Thanks Chrys! It's been a long exciting ride. You know how it is. San Francisco's still a favorite city of mine, but man does this bubble need to burst! Happens about every other decade, or so. ;) Cheers!

  3. You have a story board! I want one. School, top degree and a finished work. You have a lot to be proud of.

    To answer your question, I have a lot of time since I don't work but my time is limited when it comes to writing. I'm in the middle of reading one of my critique partners ms. Last week I tackled some one else's. I am itching to start work on book 3 in my series, but first I'm putting together two flash fiction series. One for Halloween 2016 and one for Valentines Day 2017. Then I'll finish edits on book 2 and send it to my editor and make her recommended corrections on a short story before I publish that. Flash fiction is a breeze compared with novels. I guess my answer to your question is, I stay focused on one thing at a time. Then, at 64, I have the luxury to spend my time as I see fix. I don't really suffer from writer's block unless I'm learning something new.

    1. Thank you, Nancy!
      I've been trying to stay focussed on a single project and seeing it through to completion as well. I have a bad habit of juggling MSS. It only leaves me feeling frustrated and stagnant. Breaking bad habits has been the key to moving forward for me.
      Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Kelly!
      I'm impressed with how you manage to edit peoples MSS, work on your own so prolifically, and manage your blog. It's inspiring.

  5. I'm trying to imaging pole dancing on a two story pole slick with stripper juice! Something definitely outside my experience! I love when writers expand my horizons! Congrats on all you are accomplishing! You mentioned your mini-mutt in your comment on my post ~ I'm guessing the mini-mutt that adorable dachshund you're holding. I hope it's a dachshund; my eyes are tired after being on-line a lot today! Lots of laughs in this post! Thank you!

    1. My mini-mutt is totally my miniature dachshund, Peaches! Thank you for your input. I'm happy you read my excerpt. This next book will spotlight more than a few dark corners many readers don't yet know exist. It's very exciting. Cheers!

  6. Your responses to those Craigs List items are hilarious!
    Congratulations on having your master thesis approved and finishing the novel.

    1. Thank you, Alex!
      Craigslist does provide a myriad of writing material. And thanks again for creating the IWSG. Out of everything I've tried digitally, this has been the best platform to find other writers in need of/ and wanting to provide support. You rock!

  7. Congrats on your great achievements! That is a highly impressive outline. I like the tone of your sample too; sounds quite gritty, which I like.

  8. Thanks Nick! My humor is a little dark. ��

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