Writing Week • NaNoWriMo retrospective (11/25/17-12/2/17)

Well.

I wrote A LOT last month. I nearly filled an entire, fat notebook.

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Not all it is part of my NaNo story; some of it (a small part) is notes and some of it is rewritten scenes and some of it is plot progression I cut and did over. So, I’m pretty sure I didn’t write 50k words for my story, although I might have gotten close to writing 50k words.

This NaNo has shown me that having a strong sense of what the story is about and the order it’s going to happen in and the aim of each section (and even some backstory) is a good thing. What I’d like to do for some other NaNo is do that — but for a full story. This one that I did was really three connected stories forming a larger story. Or at least that was the idea.

And that’s another thing last month taught me: that no matter how much I might plan and (think) I know what’s happening, that won’t stop the story from shifting as I write it. The order of events, how details are revealed, or where plot points are placed.

Initially, I wasn’t sure what to think of my NaNo end results, mostly because I wasn’t sure I had achieved my aim. Had I written all of what it was that had been gnawing at me for years? Well, maybe. Trying to figure it out led me to, once again, categorizing and calibrating all the tales upon tales that make up all the ~stuff~ I aimed to fill my NaNo story with.

And that’s when I realized why I started having trouble during the last two weeks: the content I was trying to write, while yes involved in the lineage of the Moon, really only connected tangentially to what my broader NaNo story was about.

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Writerly Notions: blogs and purpose

tl;dr: I’ve tried various times to create and categorize writing (and related) blogs. But I can never maintain interest (except in ones I delete or revise the intention of). Until I know what I’m doing with my writing and my various categories of purpose (for me, for fairy tales, for sharing stories, for sharing experience), I won’t be updating this blog on a regular basis, if at all. Thank you to everyone who read and commented on my weird little posts. 🙂

At the beginning of the year (February, to be precise), I typed up an initial post, which has been on my to-do list for…maybe a year?, about this blog. And it’s various incarnations.

The central question was why? Why do I even have this blog?

It started as a place to post detailed responses to books I’m reading or have read. But my motivation and interest in that only lasted so long.

Then it was supposed to be a writing blog, with posts of my writing, especially my daily writing exercises. The trouble with that was two-fold: making sure I didn’t publish anything online I wanted to publish in some other way (and the added analytical sieving to make sure the stories or vignettes I post/posted were not something I wanted to publish in some other way) and a lot of what I would post/posted weren’t really that important. About the most important bits I’ve posted about my writing is my Writing Demons posts.

Then it was supposed to be a place to post my experiences, struggles, and thoughts as a writer. But doing that felt too messy for a blog, so I made a writing journal. But that has since ground to a halt. Likewise, this blog’s venue as a writing blog has ground to a halt. And my question is why?

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Writerly Notions: What to do?

So I’m in a bit of a muddle. (Also, don’t mind me, I’m just clearing my thoughts.)

What should I work on? Okay, scratch that. Should I write the final section of my long, long, long overdue demon mythology story, even if I’m not 100% sure it actually makes sense, nor do I know what’s happening? Or should I try to make it all fit together?

And see, that’s the hitch. A lot of ideas I’ve had post 2010 (Romance of Three Jewels, The Painting Story, NIAR, 12D + Bluebeard) actually have structure. Story structure. Conflict. Character arcs. Story stages. Do I know every detail? Probably not. Do I have enough to see how the plot connects and how my characters will grow and get from one story stage to the next? Oh, yes.

But I have at least three major projects that came before 2010. And it’s a pain because they’re not, well, as well structured.

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A Life’s Worth

Day 41: March 11 (written)

Azana laughed. But her heart was weary. What was the point of her life? Or this story, if one was inclined to think of stories like that? What was she doing? What would it be worth to others in the future if she had lived at all? And what did it matter if they knew at all? Others, especially those that were only possibilities, were not the ones she should measure her life. Only she could do that.

[78]

Sea Cuddle

Day 28: Feb 28

Azana hugs herself. Cuddled in a mound of blankets, she snuggles deeper into the fluffy folds of fleece. Most of them dark blue and greens, she imagines she is sinking into the sea. A safe kind of sea, of course, not the dangerous, unpredictable one that many of her relatives have been lost on. Don’t think about that. Azana releases her breath slowly and buries under a cozy turquoise blanket.

[70]

I have renewed these in lieu of the Refugee Ban in the USA. Inspired by the-cassandra-project and their Every Day Challenge, I am writing every day to raise money for the Urban Justice Center. You can donate here or please spread the word. Thank you.

Cold Nettles

Day 12: Feb 11

Wind blew a cold flurry into his face. Hunching over, Alion shoved his way through the building mounds of snow. Each flake clung to the prince like a stinging nettle, frosty chill crystallizing on his cloak and jacket. He was glad he had left Rahk behind in the cave; the horse would be relatively safe there until the storm cleared. Til then…

[62 words]

I have renewed these in lieu of the Refugee Ban in the USA. Inspired by the-cassandra-project and their Every Day Challenge, I am writing every day to raise money for the Urban Justice Center. You can donate here or please spread the word. Thank you.

Unlooked for Sweetness

Day 8: Feb 8

I have renewed these in lieu of the Refugee Ban in the USA. Inspired by the-cassandra-project and their Every Day Challenge, I am writing every day to raise money for the Urban Justice Center. You can donate here or please spread the word. Thank you.

A tantalizing sweetness buffeted the air, coy and floral. Stopping, Azana peered into the hoary brush. Dead twigs and cobwebs thick as moss tangled around the dreary landscape. Most of it rose nearly equal to her height. Once it must have been a wondrous sight, but now it held nothing living. So where was the scent coming from?

Azana scoured the dreary shadows, piercing shapes and outlines around colors. Nothing. She close her eyes and followed the scent. Her nose led her forward. Hands out, she ran into a prickly bush.

“Ow!”

Pulling her hand away, Azana sucked on her bleeding finger. And then she saw it. The source of the sweet scent.

There among the gray twigs and drooping cobweb-moss and needle-sharp thorns, was a dainty rose. Milky grey, like a dreary snowy day, it rustled on its stem, underside petals a touch darker than the rest. It was the most common and colorless thing Azana had ever seen! And yet… It was the sweetest thing she had ever smelled.

[171 words]