a dark & tasty blog by kl pereira

Sunday, January 31, 2010


The only time I am truly is when I am inside the story.
All the pieces lock and become what they were always going to be.

When I'm in the story, I'm so inside myself that I can't see
speak sing. I'm in the fog, in the dark, in the deep

and it's hard to climb out, to creep back
to be human again, it's the only place that feels

like me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Close Your Eyes

I'm co-teaching a course called Monsters and Mayhem this Winter with the amazing Sue Williams (check her blog in the sidebar). Last night, Sue led us on a wonderful visualization that helped me discover who one of the newest (and most fragile) characters in my fantastical short story collection is. (Yes, I am working on a short-story collection AND a novella. It's crazy but somehow it works for me)

So I thought, I'd post a shortened version of a visualization (for the real Sue Williams treatment, you'll have to come to our class) that could help transform a character from page to reality.

Close your eyes.
Imagine you are in a barren field. There is no one around but you and your character.
It is deepest, darkest night and the only way you can know anything about the physicality of your character is to touch it.
Move closer to your character.
How does it react to being closed in upon?
Does its breathing change?
What changes manifest in its body that you can sense without seeing?
Move even closer.
Reach out and feel your character's skin.
Is it warm? Cool? On fire? Caked with dust?
What's going on beneath the surface of the skin--what changes can you physically feel happening as you run your hands along the character's body?
What happens when you touch your character?
Do they try to move away? Push you away? Cover themselves?
Or do they move toward you?
What do you hear? Does your character's breath change? Speed up? Slow down? Purr? Huff?
What does your character say to you?
How does your character WANT to be touched?

Soon everything disappears but you and the character.

Open your eyes. Free-write about the experience you just had with your character.

What did you discover?

Anytime you feel like there's something missing, something about your character that is unknown or simply not working, try closing your eyes and going somewhere else with you them.

They'll tell you everything you need to know.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Greatest Fears

I think my greatest fear as a writer isn't to be misunderstood but to be cliche. It's actually quite a vain fear if you think about it. Considering the case in a purely logical, mathematical way, there are no combination of words that haven't already been crafted and cobbled together, so really, everything that can be said is in essence somewhat cliche. As a writer I have this egotistical need for my words to be hailed as unique. I want to speak to those who have not spoken.

I've been thinking about this because I'm working on (struggling through) writing a novella that I felt was unique...until I re-read it after letting it sit for a few months. Let's just say there were more than a few cringes and moans. My protagonist could not have sounded more like a whiny teenage girl than well...a stereotypical teenage girl. I resolved to make her more sophisticated, less self-aware. Yet as I went over a re-write with my writing partner that I thought had stepped up the character and the language, she countered that now the draft felt flat, pedestrian, that it had lost it's voice, its interiority, its flavor. It stopped sounding like a teenage girl. And wasn't that the point, she countered, to be completely inside that experience?

I find that I'm afraid of that voice. The sticky, self-loathing, awkward 15 year-old that still lives somewhere inside me. So I decided to change it, make it into someone else, someone whom I was more comfortable with.

But really, it's just not right.