The Woman in White

the writings and ramblings of a writer and rambler

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    Call me Westenra. I am the woman in white. Who writes. This blog will tell the story of my adventures while being an adventure itself. How very meta.

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  • from The Woman in White, Martin Justice

Song of the Day: Don’t Stop Me Now

Posted by Westenra on October 8, 2008


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bubblings and percolations

Posted by Westenra on October 8, 2008

Okay, since part of the point of this blog is to post fiction, I need to figure out what fiction I’m going to post. This means figuring out what fiction I’m going to write.

Oh yes, I haven’t written anything for tWiW yet, or at least not much. You’re going to get everything fresh.

I mean, I am writing. I have some novels in progress. (You don’t get those.) And I have the beginnings of some stories for here. But barely.

What do I know so far? Probably everything’s going to be episodic, à la Dickens or Wilkie Collins or those other Victorians. Ooohhh, I could do something epistolary. (ie, letters, another favorite among Victorians.) There will be few stand-alone short stories. I think. It’ll be easier for everyone if I split things up into at least two or three parts. Easier to write, easier and quicker for you to read.

This, by the way, is an example of me rambling.

Where was I? Okay. So structurally I know what I’m doing. So now what about the stories?

Like I said, I have a few things I’m working on. A dark vampire story, and another thing that’s just a jumble. At this point it could be light, it could be dark, it could be first-person, it could be third-person, it could be harsh, it could be soft. Over the past twenty-four hours, it has been all of the above. I can’t figure out what fits. I can’t figure out what I’m trying to do. I really just have the concept, the space. Hm.

So we’ll probably be starting with the vampire.


I like Agnes. I hope you do too. What’s today? Wednesday? What say we start Agnes’s story on… Friday? Is that good for you? Excellent.

And please note: My fiction is NOT rated PG. This will probably be your only warning. =)

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the second debate

Posted by Westenra on October 7, 2008

I’m going to be writing this sporadically as the debate is in progress. It will be posted at the end of the proceedings. It’s gonna be kind of hodge-podgy, just to warn you. And I so don’t have a sharp, hard-hitting political mind, so we’re going to focus on things like…makeup.

Watching the presidential debates in HD is really an enlightening experience. Who KNEW the pundits wore so much makeup?

I missed the first presidential debate (okay, I may have been watching Law and Order) but I saw the VP one a couple days ago and I would just like to say this: if anyone WINKS tonight, they lose my vote. Hands down, end of story.

Ahhhh Soledad and her focus group and the “perception analyzer” and the squiggly lines. Got to love CNN.

Whoooa did McCain just look at Obama? He becomes a better person by the minute!

“We are not rifle shots here, we are Americans.”

Whoa hey, the candidates are not paying attention to the timers and the clocks? Color me shocked. Shocked, I say.

Did McCain just call Obama “that one?” WTF.

I would like McCain to stop calling me his friend. I am not his friend. That is probably obvious by now.

Okay it’s over.

It was kind of boring, I have to say. I don’t really see the point of debates anymore… Like, everyone keeps talking about how boring and ineffective the debates are, and I just don’t see what they’re expecting.

Okay. I’ll try to be more interesting tomorrow.

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Song of the Day: Sam Stone

Posted by Westenra on October 7, 2008

there’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes
jesus christ died for nothing I suppose
little pitchers have big ears
don’t stop to count the years
sweet songs never last too long on broken radios
hmm mmm mmm hmm

written by John Prine, performed here by Johnny Cash (mostly b/c I can’t find an acceptable video of JP doing it):

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why write…here?

Posted by Westenra on October 7, 2008

At one point, through one of my other blogs, someone sent me an article about why it is a bad idea for writers (young writers?) to publish their fiction in a free, online format. I unfortunately cannot remember who it was, what blog I was attached to at the time, and which of my dozen email addresses this article went to. Which annoys me, because it was a good article.

However, it wasn’t making any arguments I haven’t heard before, or since. Basically the “don’t publish your work online” argument can be boiled down to the same three points:

1. Money

Basically, so theory goes, nobody will pay for what they can get for free. (I learned this in the Economics class I almost failed.) This applies to food, sex, anything really. So publishing my work for free on a blog means that I am not going to get paid for it. Well yes. But, two things. 1) It might help me gain a fanbase, who WILL pay for longer works. (novels, when I finish them.) 2) I’m not doing it for the money. I’m doing it to write. I may have to do an entire blog post on that topic, because I think it confuses people.

But, say the critics, you’re weakening the market. Why would someone pay to read something of yours, when they can read your writing here for free? And of course, not only am I not making money for myself, but I am somehow leeching money away from other writers. By offering the product (fiction) for free, it is unnecessary for readers to purchase fiction from someone who IS charging money for it. Bad Westenra. Bringing the brotherhood down.


I would argue that fiction works in a specific kind of market. (which probably has a name, but I did almost fail that Econ class.) My product doesn’t replace anyone else’s. It’s not like, say, a refrigerator. When you sell a fridge, you’re preventing anyone else from selling a fridge to that consumer because, well, they’ve bought yours. They only need the one. But when someone reads my short story, there is nothing preventing them from going to read your short story as well. Also, quality counts for a lot in fiction. There’s a lot of free writing, and a lot of it stinks. There’s a lot of published writing, and a lot of it stinks. Readers are always looking for what’s good, and while they may go for the free stuff first (but then again, maybe not, there is this stigma that free writing = bad writing) if they want to read more fiction they’re going to read more fiction. You can never have too many short stories. You can have too many refrigerators.

I mean, the market can get saturated with, say, vampire stories or teenage-wizard-adventure stories, but that’s a different phenomenon.

2. Agents and Publishers will look down on you / will not accept your work.

Obviously, once something is published online, nobody is going to want to publish it in “pay-me” format because, well, it’s free. Somehow this fact is often grouped with “agents will not accept your work.” I don’t really understand why. And I don’t really think it applies me at all. I mean, I am writing here anonymously, so no agent, upon receiving the novel I sub them, is going to google me and be like, “ew, she throws all her fiction out for people to see? has she no respect for herself?”

Mostly this is not going to happen because I doubt the agent would google me. If they like the novel, they’ll rep it, if they don’t, they’ll send me a form letter. Good system, really.

But even if I were blogging under my real name (or subbing under Westenra?), I just really really doubt that having my fiction online is going to hurt anything. I mean, I am obviously not planning to earn money from the writings I publish here. I am not subbing this work. I just don’t understand why it would be an issue. If someone wants to explain it to me, I’m all ears, but I just don’t…get…it.

3. You’re not a real writer unless someone is paying you to do it. Until then, it’s just a hobby.


Emily Dickinson, anyone? Not that I want to be discovered after my death. Right now would be great. But still. Just because I’m not on anyone’s radar, doesn’t mean I don’t have talent, and it doesn’t mean I’m not a writer.

Writing is not a hobby for me. It is what I am. It is what I do. Everything else, just extra. While it would be nice to earn enough money writing that I could not do anything else, that is so unlikely in today’s world. I need a job. A real job with health benefits and a salary. I like to eat. I like to not get rained on while I sleep. Money is good. And even before the internet arrived, making money as a writer required a Herculean effort. Dickens didn’t write books the size of Great Expectations because he had time to kill; he had mouths to feed. (18, I think. Some ungodly number. Poor Mrs. Dickens.) Anthony Trollope ran the British Post Office, writing in the morning before going to work.

Things haven’t changed. People read less, so actually things have gotten worse. To make money, you have to be JK Rowling or Stephen King. Basically writers make Not Enough to Live On or Millions. Two extremes. I don’t actually think I could handle being a Stephen King or a James Patterson–the pressure, whoa.

So call it a hobby if you like. I guess I really don’t care what anyone thinks. But I’m doing what I want to do.

I’m a starving artist, baby. Living the dream.

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Welcome to the Wonderful World of Westenra

Posted by Westenra on October 6, 2008

I now officially have enough ‘W’s on this page to capsize a small boat. But nevermind.

Welcome! This is the first day of the rest of my life.

I’ve blogged before (couple years now, kinda lost track) but I’m beginning again with a new nom de plume, because this blog has a new purpose. I want to write about writing, which I’ve done before, and write about me, which I’ve done before, and write. My intention is for this blog to be a mish-mash of fiction and non-fiction as I hone my writing to a sharp and dangerous point. Bwa ha.

I am not telling anyone about this blog, not my RL friends or my other blogging buddies–I truly want to start fresh. This means my blog traffic is going to be low. Possibly non-existent. Whatevs. Hello, void! However, if you’ve managed to stumble upon me, however you’ve managed to stumble upon me, I’m glad you did and I hope you enjoy your visit.

Comments are always welcome. =)

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