Category Archives: Dani Nicole

The Beauty of the Eighteenth Draft

There comes a point in writing, soon after the super excited “I’m going to write a book” phase, that you begin to write yourself into a corner, or into an alleyway you had no intention of venturing into. And at that point when you are backed against a wall you must ask yourself, is it time to start over?

It is very difficult to run the length of the book without having the first few steps in order. I cannot let my creative mind be free when it is focused on how ineffective the beginning of my novel is. And as much as I aspire to completely turn off my inner critic when I write my first draft, sometimes it is worth listening to.

It takes a few wrong beginnings to get the right one. And isn’t that true in life? We are constantly trying, failing and starting over. Just as it takes a beautiful vulnerability to write in the first place, it takes a beautiful humility to admit that something needs work. Something needs another chance. I need another chance.

And that is the beauty of writing. It is completely your own creation and in your own control and you can start over at any point. No one can tell you that you don’t get a second chance, or a third, or a fourth.

Writers do not sit down and write a final draft. They write a first, second, third, eighteenth draft. Nothing in life is perfected on the first try.

I am beginning to think that writing has much to do with grace and persistence, and little to do with perfection.

-Dani Nicole

Lifting the Veil

Writing is like bleeding onto paper–directly translating thoughts to a print medium. People tell me they can’t write. They aren’t good with words… they can’t spell “restaurant”… they don’t know how to rhyme.

And I agree. A large part of writing is practice and study of the craft.

But the other, larger part is sheer expression… the ability to be completely transparent and let the world see what is in your own mind. When someone asks me how I feel, I give them a poem. When someone asks me what’s important to me, I give them my stories.

Words are created for expression. They are the currency of thought. I’ll give you my words for yours. I’ll read your words to create my own words.

Unsuccessful writing is writing that fails to pick up the vulnerability of the author. People want to connect deeply to characters, and that can only be done through exposé — here is my character, here are his flaws. Some of his flaws are things that I quite understand, because they are a facet of my own imperfection.

His hesitancy is my hesitancy.

And his desire to love… that’s mine too.

Our characters are not our carbon copies, but they are part of us nonetheless. They are an accumulation of thought, emotion and desire. They are a creation of what has been created in us.

And to be able to extract something from within us and put it on paper, we have to be willing to be completely exposed.

I think that is what I love about writing.

The wonderful, horrible feeling of letting someone inside your own mind, your own heart, and realizing that the reader is finding something beautiful there.

 

-Dani Nicole

Let’s Get Personal

What kind of animal would you be, if you could be any animal?

I’d be a bear. Think about it. Bears are like the honey badger, before the badger was a guy who didn’t give an F. Bears binge eat, binge sleep, kill anything they want and are never hunted. Plus they have fur that keeps them cozy and claws that keep them deadly. Bears don’t care what you, or anyone else thinks.

What do you think is your biggest weakness?

Mortality. Hands down, the fact that I can die makes me super vulnerable to well, dying.

If you could only do one thing for the rest of your life what would you do?

It would probably involve eating. See bear answer for reference.

If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?

I’d be a big truck with about a thousand wheels, zebra stripes and a bedazzled hood. Because if you’re not going to make a statement, what are you going to do? (#YOLO?)

If you could be any book character, which would you be?

I would be Katniss Everdeen’s badassery with Jane Eyre’s eloquence and Elizabeth Bennett’s ever after.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

If I could see myself in five years I would have the gift of prophecy. If I had the gift of prophecy I would probably be out and about giving people vague fortune-cookie fortunes — “Something irreversible is about to happen,” “You’ll learn in a few minutes,” and “What you lost will be found.”

-Dani Nicole

 

Tell us your favorite personality question!

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to The Paige Duke! She is thirty and flirty and thriving today.

30 things I love about Paige:

1. She loves coffee like I love coffee.

2. Fellow HP nerd.

3. I can talk about writing all day.

4. I can talk about boys all day.

5. We both get excited about words.

6. She’s an editor too.

7. I can text her pretty much any time of the day.

8. I can ask her about em and en dashes, the reason for their existence and the cause behind the torture that is known as deciphering their use. (No serial comma here 😉 )

9. She will read anything I write.

10. She will let me read anything she writes.

11. She is in my writing group!

12. She is fashionable.

13. She has a “hot husband.” (These are not my words.)

14. She has the world’s most adorable daughter.

15. She lets me babysit.

16. Her daughter likes Play-doh as much as I do.

17. Her daughter likes Hello Kitty as much as I do.

18. Did I mention coffee?

19. We both love chocolate.

20. Turtles!

21. She doesn’t judge me for eating a bunch of white chocolate pretzels.

22. She cheered me on as I dieted and lost weight.

23. She reminds me that I don’t have to do life alone!

24. She always asks me how I’m doing.

25. She always wants to talk to me.

26. She is a wonderful mother.

27. She is a wonderful wife.

28. Look up grace in the dictionary. Her picture is there.

29. She tells me I’m pretty/skinny/talented/smart when I need to hear it.

30. SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND!

 

-Dani Nicole

Blood Red, A Poem by Dani Nicole

Her stare could pierce the sky

Her anger knew no bounds

She buried sin in her heart

She buried death in her arms

Blood Red is the color of her hair

Blood Red is the color of her soul

 

She longed for a child she could not bear

She longed to live but never would

And so to punish the entire world

She brewed her hate until it swirled

Into a mix of misery

Into a rage that could calm the sea

She called it Blood Red

She called it Blood Red

 

The misery like silver spirals

Swirled throughout the air

It tangled inside

Innocent victims’ hair

Grasping at their clothing

Winding in their veins

Becoming one with patience

It turned them into hate

They called it Blood Red

They called it Blood Red

 

Intoxicated by the feeling

Of powerful tyranny

A wonderful sin brewing

They smiled blissfully

“They will call us Blood Red”

“They will call us Blood Red”

 

Marching through the forest

An army of her own

Wanting nothing but pleasing her

To take her to her throne

She stops in front of them

Bending to her knees

She tells them she’ll be with them

Hidden among the trees

“We will call for you Blood Red”

“We will call for you Blood Red”

 

They march towards the castle

They march towards liberty

And in that ivory tower

They only find mutiny

Their weapons turn inwards

The mirrors shatter all around

And every tyrant soldier

Falls to the ground

 

Blood Red comes from the trees,

Steps over bodies and does not weep,

Takes a seat in her stolen throne,

And takes the world for her own.

“I will call it Blood Red.”

“I will call it Blood Red.”

 

-Dani Nicole

Effervescence

That word has been on the tip of my tongue lately. I’m not sure if it’s a muse-type thing or just due to the fact that sometimes I get obsessed with words that just hit a certain spot of my soul.

It’s just the only word I can think of to describe the pre-epiphany buzz–that feeling you get when you’re on the edge of discovering something great. Whether it’s in you, or a part of you coming to the world through channels of creativity, there’s nothing more euphoric than sheer inspiration.

I feel that way lately, nearly all the time. I am on this quest for self-enlightenment that I’ll just call my twenties. I’m looking for answers, or at least facets of answers, for facets of myself–for joy, love, and euphoria. As a result, I am constantly anticipating discovery. Always on the edge of my seat in love and faith and creativity. I am on a quest I couldn’t imagine myself NOT being on, and what I love about it is how thrilling, how unknown, how untamable, and how effervescent that journey is.

-Dani Nicole

How Love Is and Isn’t like a Romance Novel

1. Love can be unexpected.
Not to freak you out, but it can happen anytime, anywhere, whether you’re ready or not, whether you’re looking for it or not. People do actually meet at dog parks and coffee shops and all kinds of clichéd settings. People also meet in bars or traffic jams, but all I’m saying is the whole, I hope my dog’s leash wraps around a hunky, employed man’s legs is NOT so farfetched. Don’t put anything past serendipitous forces of the universe that very much want you to find your other half.

2. Love is not a giddy feeling all the time.
Emotions are a somewhat unreliable indicator of love, because let’s face it the first time he or she shows you a small facet of their flawed personality you’d hit the ground running. Love is not always a feeling, but it is always a choice. The thing about Edward and Bella — they may seem like they are just all about each other all the time, but if they were real Bella would have to CHOOSE to accept Edward’s overly protective, jealous, semi-stalker nature, and Edward would just have to choose to love Bella despite her neediness and insecurities. This is real life y’all.

3. Love is messy, literally.
I dated a man who liked to cook. And by cook I mean explode the kitchen. I came in one time to find spaghetti sauce on the wall and vent hood. Okay. Acceptable. But then I looked up and saw red splatters on the ceiling. Mr. Darcy did not get spaghetti sauce on the ceiling.

4. Love is sickeningly cute.
There’s a reason for Hallmark and warm fuzzy feelings. They aren’t just for fairytales. It will probably be something insignificant your partner does but you’ll get those mysterious butterflies. You’ll be mushy to each other, come up with pet names, steal kisses in public. You will say it won’t happen to you, but it WILL, so be warned.

5. Love is not always happy ever after, or tragedy, but something in between.
Most people accept the fact that they aren’t going to ride off into the sunset with their honey, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a happy ending. Love is a series of ups and downs but most of all it is persistence, the constant choice to devote yourself to another human being and make the world a better place. Some days are tragedy, some days are sunsets, but the best part of love in real life is that it’s still a story — your own personal romance novel.
-Dani Nicole