It’s about time I gave you fine folks an update, so here’s a taste of what’s going on behind the scenes: my recent projects, starting with my new paid creative writing gig.
I never thought I’d be able to say it, but here I am, saying it: I’m getting paid to write stories!
What kind of stories? you might ask.
Sleep stories, I would reply. Which means (I would clarify) that I write stories that make people fall asleep.
Stop laughing, I,d say. Sleep stories are a real thing! (I’d be crying by now, probably.)
I know, I know. This doesn’t seem to recommend me, does it?
So much for that English degree, right?
Anyone can write boring stories, right? WRONG.
Well, maybe anyone could write boring stories, but I’m not writing boring stories. So lemme learn you summat about alla dis.
Platforms exist—for example, the Calm app, the Sleep Sounds Alexa skill, and the Get Sleepy podcast—for the express purpose of helping people fall asleep. Developers for these platforms use psychological concepts to determine the best conditions under which people will fall asleep and what the platforms can provide to create ideal sleep conditions. Many of these platforms feature guided meditations, sleep sounds (like white noise or rain sounds), soothing music, or audio sleep stories (you've heard of audiobooks?).
Sleep stories feature generous descriptions, cadenced language, and an immersive experience. They often take listeners to distant lands or fantasy destinations or describe specific processes in detail. The best stories ensnare the listener’s attention from the beginning and pull them close enough into the narrative to draw them away from their mind’s current sleep-spooking preoccupations. These stories are usually read by professional voice actors with soothing voices.
Still think I’m making this up? Run and tell that.
Right. Now that you’re properly excited about the genre, I’ll give you the sweet deets of my new job!
I’ve been hired as a freelancer to write sleep stories for Voice Apps, LLC, the company responsible for Alexa’s Sleep Sounds skill. Currently, I’m writing one story per week to help them build up a store of stories to be used as a new feature, Sleep Stories, which will debut on multiple platforms. The best parts of this are that my name will appear beside my stories and that, for however long Voice Apps, LLC needs new content, I will be making a wage I can actually live on. I've been floating near the ceiling for the last week, and I may never come down!
The idea to apply for a job like this popped into my head about three or four weeks ago, and after pursuing it for two weeks, I landed this amazing opportunity. All the glory goes to God for every part of this process. I get to do a thing I love while helping people in an area I also struggle and empathize with. *Swoon* God is so cool.
How Do You Write a Sleep Story?
You may think writing sleep stories would be boring (you have got to get past that line of thinking!), but I find it fascinating.
I'm no expert, obvs, cause I been doing this for all of two or three weeks, but here's my approach:
Choose a place or activity I enjoy
Develop a motivation for the character (but no complex plot)
Describe the place and activity in detail
Tell, don't show
Include info dumps
Include Faulknerian description
All the metaphors
= best sleep story on the market.
What Else Is Going On
I'm on draft 2 of my historical fantasy (age range TBD), and Liam and the antagonist are going through some pretty drastic changes (only some related to puberty). Once again, I'll be doing a pretty drastic overhaul, but the story is beginning to feel more real now than ever. Also, I'm on draft TWO, y'all, so . . . self-five!
I'm freelancing on Upwork! Now that I have significant experience as a contract proofreader (read: copy editor), I'm going into the market for myself. This should give me a lot more control over what I read, for how long, and for how much (it'll be nice to make more than just grocery money during the month, na-mean?) If you or a friend need some eyes on a story, academic work, or job application materials, I'm your gal. HMU.
I have a longer paranormal literary story out on submission that I'm excited to share. It deals with the strange phenomenon that occurs when you suddenly lose a member of your household but expect to find them around every corner. This story has gained increased significance for me lately since the passing of our cat, Jack, who was in my family for over 13 years. We weren't ready, to say the least.
2020 is the devil.
God is still good.