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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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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So, Nanowrimo…

tl;dr: Had one novel planned for Nanowrimo; at the last minute changed it to another one with a depressed character pov because I felt writing about her and working through her issues was more important, but in the first week I was more motivated to write 13 short stories instead. Currently, I am not doing Nanowrimo this month.

Had one novel planned (Nano.1) that was a detailed outline I was excited to get into. (Some of the details may have changed based on a comment raised whilst reading The Silmarillion.)

That novel was flipped at the last minute to a novel (Nano.2) about the conclusion of my Camp Nanowrimo because 1. it was easier to create character aesthetics and 2. I felt it would be more useful because it centered on a depressed/anxious character pov. i.e. it would be beneficial for me to write that story.

The trouble I now realize is even though I have characters and I have events staged for where the novel is supposed to go… It’s not really about anything except a character feeling like crap. (Okay, there’s a whole quest to find lost mirror shards that distort reality and emotion…) But I can’t figure out what it’s about.

Case in point: I compared Nano.2 to the other stories in its category (Lineage of the Moon) and this is what I got.

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Chronicle #2: 9 Oct 2016

To get right to it:

  • finished (for the most part) the third story in my NaNo 2015 novel; I’ve started to finish the fourth story which I’m excited about (I have a loose outline of events)
  • touched up a character head-shot for Romance of Three Jewels
  • reformatted an old story I’m thinking of going back to revise and edit (exciting!) mostly because I’ve realized that I still care a lot of about the subject and themes (what happens to invasive species if they adapt to a new environment and fear of the unknown/night and the monster’s pov in a legend)

(I promise that 1. I’ll explain what my stories are, and 2. I’ll try to figure out a more consistent time to post these.) Much good will and thanks to all!

Revisions & Me

The times I’ve tried revising a story it always seems as if it gets worst.

In one story, where it doesn’t really start until Chapter 3, in the revision the story doesn’t start until Chapter 9 because of all the additional material. And while adding to a story might be good, it has to improve and strengthen the story. These additions just took up space. 

I realized, after going through each chapter by scene in both revisions, that the first draft actually had a stronger story. Oh, there were plot holes and needless scenes, not to mention lots of room for improvement in dialogue, description, and character development. But the core of it, especially the end, did hold what I feel is the heart of the story. This aspect was lost in the additions of the revision. 

The reason for this was twofold: 

  1. The revision was designed to shift the narrative point of view from limited third person to first person. And the first person POV was a very cumbersome narrator. 
  2. The revision was supposed to set up an important thematic family correlation. This has since been refuted (to an extent), and admittedly always felt at odds with how I wanted the characters to relate via family

Some of the additional plot threads I will still use (there are two major additional story lines), but as for this particular story and its future revisions, I will use them only if they actually contribute to this story. Like I said, the revision should make the story stronger, not cumbersome, boring, or stunted.

I think honestly the problem was that I was trying to rewrite the story. And while, yeah, revisions can basically mean a complete rewrite, the story core should probably stay intact.

In another story, where the original draft starts out with a very clear problem and objective for the protagonist, the first revision went back to her birth and a few snapshots before the original drafts starts. While those scenes aren’t badly written or unnecessary, per se, I do feel that they halt the action. If anything, if I feel they’re necessary enough I would add them later as flashbacks or explanation.

Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts on my revisions. Has anyone else ever had similar trouble?