I took December off. Here’s how it improved my writing.

Today’s beautiful artwork is by Skywalter. Check him out here.

December is usually a constant juggling act. The holidays bring with family obligations, along with the crippling need to feel like we’re doing something festive. And despite all of that, work doesn’t feel the need to slow down all that much. 

So, to take some pressure off of myself, I decided to take December off from writing. 

This took some doing. I had to write and schedule blog posts and reviews for both PBW and Haunted. But after I got those wrapped up, I was free to pursue whatever I wanted to pursue through the rest of the month. 

This may sound indulgent, and in a way it was. But it was also something I feel like I needed to do to be a better artist. And I wasn’t wrong. 

Here are five ways taking a month off made me a better writer.

Rest is always a good idea

This can be hard for me in my little go get ‘em brain. But taking breaks is essential, even in creative endeavors. 

Yes, writing is my life. But when writing is also my job, that puts on pressure to perform at a certain level. A level that I can’t always maintain. 

But when I allow myself to rest, I can reach that higher level more frequently. 

Time to read

Stephen King famously said that to be a good writer you need to do two things. Read a lot and write a lot. 

Alright, cool. Way easier said than done. Usually, if I get twenty minutes in a day to read, I’m doing pretty good.

But when I take writing off my to-do list, then that opens up time to read. And I read a ton in December. Mostly holiday books. I just filled my mind with the works of other authors. And that’s exactly what I needed

Time to write for fun

I’ve talked before about the importance of writing for yourself. Writing not to produce, or to share with the outside world. Just writing for you. And while it’s great, it’s another thing that takes a backseat to writing as a job. It was nice to just sit at my desk and write with no pressure, no plans for what I was going to do with this piece. Just have fun on the page.

As a bonus, this is something I’m trying to encourage more of when I’m writing a rough draft. Both for my own joy, and to increase the quality of my work. It was great to practice that for a whole month. 

Time to experience life

We are not unending wells. We cannot keep putting out work and words if we do not take something in. 

We take things in by experiencing our lives. And the holidays are the perfect time to do that. Try new things, go on fun outings, celebrate with your loved ones. All of these experiences feed into your writing because they expand your experiences. 

Time to learn 

Finally, I was able to take some of my downtime and focus on learning. There are lots of things I want to learn, that I often have a hard time finding the time for. So having this extra time to spend on Spanish, tarot cards and writing studies was a Godsend. I hope I can keep up with these studies as I’m getting back into the flow of writing this month. To be honest, it’s been a struggle so far. But I think I can do it.

All that being said, I likely won’t take a whole month off in 2022. I’ll probably take two weeks, though. And likely a few weeks off in the Summer. 

Spending time away from your work just makes you stronger when you return to the page. Don’t be afraid to take that time. 

Paper Beats World is a labor of love for me. If you’d like to support this site, you can do so on Ko-fi. 

My 2022 goals and how I made them

We’ve reached another year, so it’s time to start making some goals. As you know, I don’t do resolutions. I think they’re unhealthy and unrealistic. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take the new year as an opportunity to make some goals. 

Goals are important for everyone, either big or small. And if you’ll recall, in August I committed myself to make better art. This made choosing my word of the year easy.

My word for 2022 is care. 

I want to care more for myself. I want to care more for my husband and my family of fur babies. I want to care more about my art. I want to care more about my fellow man. 

Step one of goal-making is to choose your word of the year.

Choosing a word of the year helps to guide everything else. That’s what the word care is doing for me. If I’m to care more about things, I have to lower the things on my plate. We just cannot commit ourselves to everything. I kept this strongly in mind as I made my goals. When I make too many goals, I become too frantic to get anything done. Or, I get things done but not done as well as they could be.

 So step two of goal making is to be realistic about what you can do, not idealistic.

Next, I make a huge list of all the things I’d like to do. That list is stupidly long and unrealistic. But that’s okay, I’m just brainstorming.

After that, I separate my goals into personal, family, and professional. I tell myself I can only have three goals for each of those categories, nine goals total. This means I’ve got to decide what I care about most. What matters most. After a lot of crossing out, considering, and soul searching, here are my goals for 2022.

Personal

Read the entire Bible.

Reach my Goodreads goal of 42 books.

Take 24 Masterclasses. 

Family

Build our emergency fund. 

Plan a Covid safe vacation.

Get the darling husband’s health back on track

Professional 

Join SFWA.

Make plans to attend a writing con.

Make progress on the two novels I’m working on. 

Now, I have a bunch of other projects I’m going to be working on this year. I want to get out new seasons of Off The Bone and AA. I want to start two brand new podcasts. I want to practice mindful eating, join a proper coven, and about a thousand other things. 

But so long as I get those top nine goals accomplished, this year has been a total win. Everything else is just icing. Though I will say, I love icing. 

So what are your goals for 2022? Let us know in the comments so we can cheer each other on. 

Paper Beats World is a labor of love for me. If you find value in the work I do, please consider supporting the site on Ko-fi. 

Don’t Look Up, (not) A Review

Don’t Look Up is a movie that’s been getting a lot of flack. Written by David Sirota and Adam McKay, this dark comedy has been panned by critics and reviewers all over the place. 

If you saw the movie as I did, then read the reviews, as I did, you might have gotten a chuckle from them. Because I swear, they might have come right out of the film. It’s almost like the writers knew exactly what they were talking about. It’s almost, almost like they wanted to hold a mirror up to America in the desperate hope that we might see exactly how stupid and suicidal we’re all being. 

This isn’t a review of the movie. Yes, you should watch it because it’s funny. But you should also watch it because it’s honest. 

The premise of the movie is simple. A comet is going to hit Earth in six months and kill everyone. Two scientists, named Randall and Kate, discover it and try to warn the president. But things get complicated fast. The president, played by the historically amazing Meryl Streep, doesn’t care to do anything about the comet. Until it hurts her politically.

So let’s talk about climate change. 

At this point, I assume most of the people reading this are pretty liberal-minded. So I’m going to talk to you the way I need to be talked to.

We have got to stop being performative and start insisting upon real changes. 

What do I mean by this? I mean attack campaigns against people using plastic straws. I mean believing that buying less plastic on a personal scale is going to save the penguins. I mean posting Instagram pics of the sweet new reusable paper towels you bought. (They’re called washcloths.) All of these things are the product of marketing campaigns intended to prey upon our good intentions. And they do not do a damned thing. 

We don’t do these things because we’re bad people. We do them because they feel like action. Because they feel like something we can control. And the people who are responsible for boiling our seas and burning our forests laugh at us while we do it.

Do you know what’s going to help fight climate change? Electing people into power who are going to fight for real, sweeping changes right now. Protesting companies who pollute our world. Protesting politicians who write laws that let them. Shutting down fossil fuels right now, not in five years. We need to vote. We need to run for offices. We need to educate ourselves about who’s doing the damage. And we need to make it clear who those people are. Call them out on social media. Say their names. Educate others.

While we talk about climate change, let me be clear about who I am and where I come from. I’m from Western Pennsylvania. There’s a lot of coal here. And a lot of fracking here, too. When I say we need to do something about climate change, I understand what this will mean for my community. My neighborhood, my beloved hometown. I’ve compared my town to a racist uncle that never forgets my birthday. I love it and hate it at the same time. But I need to be clear about this. I care about this place. I care about the people who live here. I don’t want them to lose their jobs, their livelihoods, their homes. Trust me, enough broken souls are haunting this place already. I am fully aware that shutting down fossil fuels might very well mean the death of my hometown.

But here’s the choice we’ve got, folks. We can do what is needed to stop climate change, and we can do it right God damned now. Or we can suffer the consequences. And I do mean we

Not our grandchildren. Not our children. We are dealing with rising temperatures right now. You don’t have to believe me. Believe your own eyes. Believe what you can see right in front of you. 

Just look up. 

If you like the content you see here, please consider buying me a cup of coffee on Ko-fi.

Top ten posts of 2021

Well, 2021 is almost in its grave. And good riddance to it. I for one am hopeful that 2022 will be a better, brighter time. 

Whether it is or not, we’ll have better, brighter content here on Paper Beats World. I’ve got lots of exciting plans for the new year. But before we get to that, let’s indulge in our annual look back. Here’s a list of the top ten most popular posts of 2021. I’m always surprised by this list. But I’m thrilled that I might have helped you learn something. 

10. Blank out poetry

Let me know in the comments, should I do more poetry content? 

9. What I learned as a flag football mom

What I learned is that children’s sports are thankless. 

8. Building a Go Bag for writers

Everyone should have a go-bag. If you don’t, read this post and get one together this week, whether you’re a writer or not.

7. An open letter to the teacher who changed my life

Truly, Mr. M, I’m thankful to you every day. 

6. Writing medicine in fantasy books

Number one rule here? Don’t ever take medical advice from a fantasy book! 

5. World building questions to answer for a more realistic world

This one takes a bit to work through. But all real-world building does. We don’t all have the time to create several languages for our fantasy world.

4. Beginning and ending rituals

To begin something is brave, to get to the ending requires strength. Both require celebration.

3. Science Fiction Subgenres

A lot of this series ended up on the list, but I put them all together. This was a really fun series to research and write. I’m glad it helped so many of you.

2. Keeping a Poetry Journal

I really should do more poetry content.

1. Writing dark poetry

Still so proud of this post. It honestly might be the best one I’ve ever done. 

So that’s it. Another year down. If you have any requests for posts or topics you’d like to see me cover here on Paper Beats World, let me know in the comments. We’ll be back with new content next week. I hope you all have an awesome New Year. 

It’s Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve. I’m going to the day job today, but that’s alright. I help people at my day job. Not a bad way to spend the day. 

Later today there will be celebrations. We’ll have a nice dinner and open crackers. We’ll watch Elf and play games. Then we’ll go to bed early. Not because we’re eager for Santa’s arrival, but because I’ll be up bright and early to be at the day job again on Christmas Day. 

I had Yule off, so it’s not a big deal. 

There’s lots of excitement to come over the next 48 hours. Lots of fun, lots of food and wine. It really is the best time of the year.

I hope that you have a beautiful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I hope that your Yule was wonderful if you celebrate it. If you celebrated Hanukkah early this month, I hope that was great. I hope that your whole month was great. 

And I hope that, even if it wasn’t, you give yourself some time today and tomorrow to just enjoy life. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, everything is shut down so you might as well take some time for yourself.

Read a book, enjoy something indulgent, watch a movie with people you love. Don’t suffer people you don’t care for. Play with your kids, your pets, your friends, your partner, your co-workers. Make someone laugh today. Let yourself be a kid. Do what you love most, as much as you can. 

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Have a beautiful day. 

My top ten books of 2021

It’s that time again. With just a few weeks left of 2021, it’s time to look back with fondness at the good this year brought to us.

I mean, there’s not a lot of good. This year was another dumpster fire from start to finish. But at least I had lots of good books to read. 

So today I want to share with you the top ten best books I’ve read in 2021. Most of them didn’t come out this year, it’s just the year I got around to reading them. And if you haven’t read them yet, 2022 might be the year to do so.

The books are listed from least to best. I’m not going into a lot of detail about any of these books, because either I reviewed them here or on Haunted MTL. Or, I’m going to. 

Velvet was the night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I think this is the weakest of her novels so far, and it’s still on my top ten list. That should tell you something about her other books. 

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva 

I said this last week, but it bears repeating. This is Silva’s first book. I am just blown away. 

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

This book is clever, dark, and disturbing. So, you know, it’s a King novel. Keep an eye out on Haunted MTL for my review.

Dexter by Jeff Lindsay 

Dexter was a mood for me this year. 

Ms. Peregrins School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. 

This whole series was fantastic.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

If you haven’t read this book, go get it right now and read it. 

Savage Legion by Matt Wallace 

I have the second book in this series sitting on my desk staring at me. I cannot wait to get my hands on it. But, you know, life. 

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This was a real treat. I just got lost in it. 

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

I read this during a vacation in Spring. It was delightful. 

The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman has the amazing ability to write fairy tales for adults that scare the hell out of me and make me feel like a little kid again at the same time.

So that was it for my list this year. Now I want to hear from you. What was the best book you read in 2021? What are you most excited to read in 2022? Let us know in the comments below.

You can support Paper Beats World on Ko-fi. 

Holiday Books That Aren’t Romance

Holiday books are my jam right now. But I have a problem. I don’t like romance novels, and the vast majority of holiday books are fucking romance novels.

And I’m just not down for that. 

So after spending way too much time searching online, checking out Bookstagram, and stalking my local library, I cultivated a list of holiday books that are a bit more my speed.

Sadly, none of them are what I’d call speculative horror. But at least they’re not solely about getting someone to kiss under the goddamned mistletoe. 

Santa Claws, By Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

This is a cute, cozy murder mystery. I have a secret love of these kinds of books. And I’m a long-time fan of this series.

In this one, the main character Mrs. Murphy, a tiger cat, finds the body of a dead monk in a Christmas tree lot. She and her person, Harry, end up tracking down the killer just in time for Christmas.

Is the writing great? No. But it’s quaint, full of small-town charm, and includes a scene where a corgi almost takes a bite out of a dead body.

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

This is a nonfiction holiday book about what it’s like to work in a hospital during Christmas. It’s got some moments, let me tell you. There’s death, blood, annoying upper management. And a holiday tie that goes off at literally the worst time you could possibly imagine. 

If you read This is Going To Hurt by the same author, you might have already heard some of these. Read the book, then go do something nice for a medical professional. Like, I don’t know, get your covid vaccine. 

Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chivarini

I was worried at first that this was going to be another romance novel. But the historical story of Henry Longfellow was interesting enough to encourage me to keep going.

And I’m so glad I did! 

Yes, there’s a love story between two volunteer choir teachers. But there’s also a story of a family whose father is missing overseas. And a young girl who’s accused of plagiarism. A boy accidentally sets a tree on fire. A woman whose husband has just passed on, getting through her first Christmas without him.

There’s so much going on in this book. And the way it all fits so neatly together at the end is nothing short of a Christmas miracle. 

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva 

You guys, this is a premiere novel. Can you even believe that? This is her first novel! 

This holiday book is about the creation of A Christmas Carol. I thought at first it was going to be a slightly romanticized version of the truth. To be clear, no this is not the case. It is an almost totally fiction story about the creation of A Christmas Carol that includes ghosts, magic, publishing contracts, and long walks through London at night. I loved every single second of this story. And I teared up at parts.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This is such a classic, you might be thinking. Why would I even include this on the list? Well, let me tell you why. I talk to people all the time who swear they know A Christmas Carol front and back because they’ve seen so many versions of it. But they’ve never read the actual book.

Don’t do this. Read the original. You can find it for free online. It is worth every second.

(I’ll also be joining the other Haunted MTL writers in reading this ghost story for Christmas. Starting on December 21st, check it out.)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

The Herdmans were the worst kids in the history of the world.

So begins this classic tale about a family of neglected children finding the true meaning of Christmas, and reminding a few people who thought they already knew it. 

I have a few holiday books still on my list to read. I can’t vouch for them yet, but they look alright. If they’re good, they’ll probably make the cut for next year. 

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine

Christmas Cake Murders and Christmas Caramel Murders by Joann Fluke

Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt

By the way, it would be dumb of me to not mention that I wrote a Christmas book. It’s called Twelve Little Christmas Stories. Like the name would imply, it’s twelve speculative fiction holiday tales. Some are charming, some are ghoulish. All are fun. 

Let me know in the comments what your favorite holiday book is. I’d love to lengthen this list. 

You can support Paper Beats World on Ko-fi.

2021 Gift Guide For Writers

I do this every year, so there’s no real need for a massive introduction. You need gift ideas for any writers in your life. I have some suggestions. Let’s get into it.

In case there isn’t anything on this list that fits your holiday shopping needs, I do this every year. Here are links to all of my previous years’ shopping guides.

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Gifts that cost nothing. 

I always like to start with gifts that cost nothing but time. In our world of ultra-consumerism, these are underrated. I embraced free things in a lot of ways this year.

– I foraged pine boughs, sticks, and pinecones for some one-of-a-kind decorations and ornaments. (Note, if you’re going to do this, spray your projects down with hair spray as soon as you can. I like Aqua Net, personally)

– Instead of buying wrapping paper, I’ve been using the paper that comes in my Chewy orders. This cost me nothing but a couple of bucks for the red ribbon. And these look so cute!

– I relied a lot on things we already had. Holiday-themed mugs look great on the kitchen counter. White pens work in place of gift tags. Red, green and white books set through the house. The place looks like a holiday wonderland, and I didn’t add many items at all.

Now, about the gifts. 

Time spent together is the best thing you can give someone for the holidays. Anytime, actually. I make a point of spending Yule doing two things, reading and snuggling with the darling husband. Honestly, the less time I can spend buying things, wrapping them, cleaning up, and cooking, the better. Those things are great, and I’ll never stop doing them. But I’d like to lessen them. This is a gift not only for my husband but for me as well.

As far as writer-specific gifts, I can’t suggest enough an offer to critique something they’ve written. I would personally love this gift, as it’s really hard to get sufficient beta readers. (I don’t suggest this as a gift from your spouse. Beta readers need to have a level of honesty that probably isn’t great for a relationship.)

Another great gift you can give the writer in your life is to recommend their work to others. Especially if you can request their books from a local library. Word of mouth is the best way for a book to get someone’s attention. There’s just nothing better.

Finally, a fun option, if you’re artsy, is some fan art. I’ve had a few friends do fan art for my work, and I love it every single time. Even if it’s bad. Especially if it’s bad.

Gifts that cost money dollars 

If you’ve got some cash to spend, here are some good ideas for the writers you love. As always, I’d like to remind you that none of these items are sponsored, I don’t get anything for suggesting them to you.

A journal is always a great idea. I know for a fact that I’m getting some cute ones from Archer & Olive. There are great ones on Etsy too. And handmade is always cool, even when it’s not your hands that made it. 

If you’re looking for something to give them a kick in the behind, I’d suggest The Hero’s Journal. I got a copy of this earlier this year. It wasn’t for me, but that’s just because I have a bullet journal and that fits my needs well.

The Hero’s Journal is super fun, though, and seems tailor-made for those trying to forge a creative path in life for themselves.

Did your favorite writer win Nanowrimo but lack the funds to get a winner’s shirt? What better thing could you give them than a physical reminder that they kicked their word count in the ass?

And if they didn’t win, the Nano store probably still has something drool-worthy. And the money spent there goes to help young writers. Win, win.

A gift that would be great for writers and readers is a soundtrack from something they enjoy. I love writing while listening to show soundtracks. My current favorite is the album for Wheel of Time. It just gets me in the right writing vibe. I don’t know why, but the singing in Old Tongue (which I do not understand) takes up enough of my brain to keep it from straying but not enough to distract me.

Video game soundtracks are also great for this. 

Another suggestion is a good reading light for either their desk or reading chair. I’ve been all about proper lighting during the last few years. There’s just something so cozy about a single lamp illuminating my chair like a halo. 

Finally, if your writer doesn’t already use Dabble, I’d suggest getting them a subscription. I’ve been using Dabble for a few years now, and it is just awesome. I can use it on any device, it autosaves my work. It’s just the best writing software I’ve ever used.

That is it for my list this year. If you have any handy suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. And I hope you’re all having a great holiday season so far. 

If you want to support Paper Beats World, you can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-fi.

Impostor Syndrome never goes away. And that’s a good thing

Alright, I know that’s a hell of a thing to say, but hear me out.

Most of you reading this are creators or aspiring to be so. And we know impostor syndrome. It walks with us daily, holding our hands and whispering in our ears like a lover. Only what lover would tell us these sorts of things?

You don’t belong here. 

No one really likes your work. They just pity you.

All your Instagram followers are just following you to send you scammy DMs. 

Feel free to insert your own hellish thoughts here. 

These thoughts suck. And no matter how long I write, no matter how much I create, they’ve never gone away. I honestly doubt they ever will, even if I achieve everything I want to achieve. 

I’m a published author. I’m a professional critic. I’ve produced podcasts, both fiction and nonfiction. People like what I create. They tell me so. And I still feel like I don’t fit. Like my stories aren’t good enough. Like I got published and hired as some cosmic joke. The universe gave me just what I wanted, but I can scarcely believe I earned it. 

I could join SFWA, get published with Tor, and quit my day job. And it would just make my Impostor Syndrome even worse. Because I wouldn’t feel like I deserve any of it.

So how in the hell could that ever be considered a good thing? Let’s talk about it. 

When you feel impostor syndrome, it means you’re trying new things. We don’t generally feel like impostors when we feel comfortable, after all. And if we want to grow as artists, we should always be trying new things. Learning new things that might make us feel stupid and slow at first. Things that make us feel like we’re writing with a crayon shoved between our toes. It’s easy to feel like we don’t belong. Which is a great way to be sure we’re growing. 

Along the same lines, impostor syndrome likes to show up when we’re out of our comfort zone. When we’re trying to level up. Even as we do it, it’s normal to feel like we don’t deserve these new spaces. That doesn’t mean we don’t deserve them. don’t ever misunderstand. It’s just that you can’t move into your new phase in life without some growing pains. 

Impostor syndrome also means that you give a shit about your work. That you want it to be good, you want it to be the very best it can be. Your work matters to you. And you care more about your opinion of your work than anyone else’s opinion. It should be better, it can be better. Because you are capable of better. That’s why you’re feeling like your work should be better. Because you’re capable of better.

Impostor Syndrome will never go away. And you’d better hope it doesn’t. Because as soon as you feel like you belong, you get complacent. You stop trying to get better. You stop working to hit new levels, achieve new dreams. 

There’s a time for that in your life. But it’s near the end so I’d rather not think of that right now.

So the next time impostor syndrome takes your hand, give it a comforting squeeze. It’s saying awful things to you, but it’s not trying to hurt you. It’s trying to help you grow. 

All that being said, you probably deserve the praise and rewards for your work. There are too many people out there creating for any praise or achievement to be from pity or by accident. Celebrate your wins, celebrate your space.

But then reach for more. Reach high enough until you start feeling that impostor syndrome whispering in your ear again. And again, and again, and again. 

If you want to support Paper Beats World, you can do so on Ko-fi.

Why Velvet Was The Night Works

Velvet Was The Night is the latest novel by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia. We’ve talked about several of her books in the past, including Mexican Gothic and God of Jade and Shadows. She has no trouble genre-hopping, going from horror to fantasy to political noir without missing a beat.

Through each genre hop, some things remain constant. Each book shows Mexico for the beautiful, complex, rich country that it is. And each book includes a love affair that melts my heart. 

Velvet Was The Night is that political Noir genre I was talking about. Set in the 1970s, it’s all about political uprisings and protests. And, about a young woman named Maite who accidentally gets caught up in all of this.

I loved every single page of this book. So let’s break it apart to see why it works. 

We see the story in this book from two points of view. One is Maite, a secretary who’s bored to death with her life. She has just one pleasure in her life, a series of romance comics.

The second pov character is Elvis. He’s a pseudo-government agent, tasked with shutting down protests in the city.

These two people show us entirely different views of the situation and the city itself. More than that, though, they know things the other doesn’t. They’re able to see the mystery from different angles, revealing secrets to the reader that one or the other character isn’t privy to. This means that this is one of those delightful mystery novels that you can play along with.

I’m not a fan of mysteries you can’t solve. Maybe that’s just a me thing.

So now, let’s talk about Maite. I didn’t like her at first. She seemed dull. Not interested in anything but her comics. She also didn’t like cats, which is a total turn-off.

Maite was also a thief. She stole little things from her neighbor’s apartments. It’s a weird thing to do, not gonna lie. At first, it seems like this is just a weird thing she does. And it makes sense. Maite is bored with her life. Bored people sometimes do dumb things to entertain themselves.

Eventually, though, we find out that this is a crucial plot device. If this petty theft trait of Maite’s hadn’t made sense right from the start, this would have felt cheap. Instead, it made total sense. 

Honestly, a lot of the enjoyment of this book came from Maite. She’s miserable, but it makes sense that she’s miserable. Her mother treats her like an afterthought. Her boss barely notices she’s there. She’s broke and has no friends. Everyone would be a little miserable. 

As you read the story, you can see exactly why she fell into the scary situations she found herself in. 

There are a lot of stories about bored young women ending up in fantastical, scary, dangerous situations. Most of them don’t seem plausible. But this one does. 

So, what can you as a writer learn from Velvet was The Night? 

Point of view switching is a great way to build suspense. 

Flawed characters work best when their flaws make sense.

It doesn’t work to put a random character in a random situation. How or why did they of all people end up there?

Is there a movie, tv-show or book you’d like me to break apart to see why it works? Let me know in the comments.

You can support Paper Beats World on Ko-fi.