Writing Week • this and that [1/1/18-1/8/18]

Well. It was harder than previous weeks to write this post. Not because there was a lot to write about — far from it! — or because there was nothing to write about — though that may have aided the cause — but because I was so frustrated with having to write the post at all. Not about the content or purpose of the post, no, but that I didn’t really want to write it when I initially sat down because I had something else I wanted to do.

Aside from that personal revelation, if I had to describe this week (and the new year) thus far, it would be: mountains of questions and a particular peak with murky holes and crags, which ultimately turned out to be mostly imaginary.

To wit: I, once again, struggled to make sense of all the tales, contradictory, repetitive, or otherwise, that compose my NaNo 2017 story and the backstory behind it. In particular, the chronology of all the tales, etc. This struggle was re-ignited by my desire to write the tale that caused me the most trouble during November last year, and the one which I ultimately cut because it didn’t fit what the story become.

But as I struggled to make sense of the chronology, I started to suspect that this particular tale might not be ready to be written. Though seeing The Greatest Showman on Saturday may have helped in a very, very, very roundabout way. If asked to explain how…the best I could say is positivity over despair. And stars.

That said, I’m tentatively thinking of using this cut tale for NaNo this year. I shall see.

A few other writing things of interest:

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Writing Week • reminiscing [12/25/17 – 1/1/18]

I recently starting following a tumblr blog that’s goal is to share writers, and I assume, promote the writers’ writing. I browsed the first couple posts and a lot of those posts reminded me of me right before I was in high school, wanting to share my writing with a teacher. And thus began my odd trouble of never finding anyone to read or share my writing with.

I should clarify: people have read my writing, my mom, I think, being the one who read most of it (that was because she had a good eye for editing). But what I’ve never been able to maintain is a consistent reader and I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a beta reader, someone who reads me work and offers solutions or critiques on the content, plot, characters, etc.

I’ve been to workshops and classes that had an aspect of that, but when I did try to get in contact with the only person’s who contact information I had, I never heard back. This wasn’t more than a week after I got back from the workshop/trip where I met these people. Perhaps it was too long. (My advice book on networking says to contact sooner than later.) Perhaps I wasn’t involved enough for this person to remember me. I am pretty forgettable.

So finding beta readers would be a big boon. I think it would make my writing not only be better, but might help me write faster. Since I do everything on my own, it helps to take breaks between stories, to give myself time to note problems or inconsistencies. It’s a very slow progress, and I’ve suspected was part of why revision takes me so long. Oddly, writing the first draft is usually not hard. It’s revising that can take years. (Although some of that may also be or have been my lack of comprehension of how stories function.)

Which leads me to my next point: It’s strange, when I looked through various school projects from when I was in elementary school, I was surprised how many focused on stories and plot. I did fine on the assignments, but I don’t think I fully absorbed what the lessons were saying. But then, school was more about “doing the thing” than “knowing the thing,” since it was just filler time until I got home and could focus on what I wanted. Some of which included my oldest story ideas and characters.

But school and my writing or stories always had a strange tension.

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Writerly Notions: romance and choice

I re-read a story I wrote about a decade ago and hadn’t thought much, except for a few blimps of contemplative revisions, and…wow. What stood out to me was not what I was expecting.

I remembered that the plot, and thereby one of the MC’s choices and decisions, didn’t really make sense. She’s looking for someone, but decides he’s been captured by hunters specifically out to hunt demons. Later in the story, she even acknowledges that her deduction that the hunters captured him didn’t make sense. This kind of illogic, acknowledged in the text, happens a couple a times. But I remembered that. I expected that.

(Aside: after the midpoint of the story — literally and potentially plot-wise — the action and tone of the story fits a little better. Though it suffers more from a lack of explanation. Like she’s looking for a specific healing spring but ends up at the heart spring. And somehow she just…knows? It’s a little weird.)

What I didn’t expect was how much I would dislike the romance in the story. By romance I mean the attraction/getting-in-a-relationship kind. And the wildest thing about how I wrote a developing romance a decade ago is I can see why I wrote it the way I did then.

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Writing Week • story sprinkles [12/18/17-12/25/17]

Originally I was going to use the last two weeks to reminisce about my writing and the odd, disorderly tale it’s been (and continues to be). Until I realized that next Monday is New Year’s Day/1 Jan 2018.

So I paused and thought: what have I done this week, in regards to my writing?

Mostly it’s been little snippet writing, scenes that aren’t about anything specific and some that are. Most inspired by movies I’ve watched recently, others sprung from a desire to write. (As I haven’t really been writing anything all month. At least not with the same singular consistency as I did in November and the months before.)

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Writing Week • stuck (12/12/18-12/18/17)

It’s been one of those weeks where I have lots of ideas, but nothing done.

At the beginning of December, I finished a biography that reminded me of myself when I started writing and old characters ideas, and from there to older stories, all complete but not fully revised or finished.

So I took some time and just…wrote up my thoughts on my stories. I actually used to write a lot of my thoughts about my writing, my writing process, and my stories. What’s equally fascinating is how I’d be leery of posting those kind of thoughts because those are very…mm…specific?

I name characters and places and the interlay between them. I reference ideas that may not be valid and it’s all written in the vein that anyone reading it will know what the references mean, what the history behind the references is, who the characters are, and what the connections are about.

So I’m leery because I don’t think my more useful thoughts would actually make sense to anyone reading this. Because it’s over a decade of ideas and characters and shifting stories. (And that’s not even taking into account some of my Nights of Heroes stuff — characters and stories — which is about twice as old.)

Sorry for the bland post. As always best wishes and writing!

Writing Week • maps (12/3/17-12/11/17)

So, I should probably have more to say. Or I feel that I should have more to say. But the main thing I can think of is a revelation I had regarding mapping the world where my stories take place.

I’ve done various maps over the years. There’s a certain continent that’s pretty solid, in terms of its geography and coastline. But the rest…it’s been a migrating, inconclusive tableau for a few years. Just when I think “I’ve got it!”, I’ll make another one that, yep, “That’s right,” and so on.

The thing that I finally realized was that all this time I’ve been trying to draw a world map. Or half a world map. Like one half of my writing world’s globe. And…that’s way more than what my stories encompasses. So figuring out that my map only needs to cover a quarter of the globe helped a lot.

Of course, I know of other countries and islands and kingdoms and what have you that don’t feature on the main map. But those places are elsewhere on the globe and I don’t feel a need to place them in relation to the rest because 1. they’re far away and I don’t know everything that exists in-between, and 2. they’re not as involved in the network of history and culture that exists among the main places.

(There are exceptions to this, but the handful of places off the map that I know of, while important for different plots and characters and locational history, are only integrated in very specific instants, rather than spread out through 20K+ years my story world has been around.)

As always to anyone reading this: Best wishes and writing!

NaNoWriMo Update • short or long?

My goal, as it’s already been edited, was to start posting the chapters (and revised one I’ve already posted) today. But I’m waffling on how I want to divide my chapters up. Do I go for shorter chapters or longer ones?

One might wonder why it isn’t already divided. After all, I wrote it. And yes, there was a vague sense of “this is where this chapter ends” or “this chapter begins.” The problem is that the word count is just so…uneven, no matter which way I go at it. And it’s just…bugging me.

Short Chapters: 1424/1470/1655/1873/1544/2085/1575

(it’s that bolded chapter that’s giving me trouble! I can’t cut it up, since most of it is one long scene)

Long Chapters: 2895/2825/2237/1544/2085/1575