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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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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Slumber of the Moon • Tale of the Princess | Ch. 1

{an explanation}

Long ago, a princess acted wicked and the world was broken. To preserve a piece of the pristine paradise, the prince wove a protective veil around the last sliver. Within the dulcet, temperate spring, tiny towns and then grand translucent castles emerged, radiated forth from the seed of paradise. Thus, a fragment of Eternity and True Beauty survived. Until a forlorn stranger waylaid the princess to corruption.

Chapter One: Path of Thorns and Brambles[1]{Chemin des épines et des ronces}

Iren squinted through the gray haze; great furry shapes, outlined in silver dewdrops, prowled on the edge of his vision. The shapes circled a slender, dark-skinned woman, whose long hair glistened like moonlight. Her eyes, which met his for a fleeting moment, were a sweet raspberry pink. Reaching out her hand, the woman exposed her palm to him.

“They will guide you.”

“Wha…” he croaked, but the haze melted into the silver of the animals and the gleam of her hair until a white, wet mist was the only thing he could see.

Groaning, Iren forced up his head. The blood had crusted over his right arm, so he propped himself on the weight of his good one. An eerie stillness encased the forest. For that’s what it was now. The distant, ever-present sigh-and-hiss of the sea had vanished. Only the damp frightened slap of moisture, intersected with thick gasps of silence, was audible.

Iren crept around the wall of briars. Thick as his forearm, the vines hoisted thorns twice as long; like used dirks, the thorns shone crimson in the withering light. A shudder scampered up Iren’s back, dainty as a frightened spider. Every sense surged up to warn him to flee. This was not his place; this was not his battle. Uncertainty gnawed at his gut, nibbling at chucks of his heart.

Just as his uncertainty began to weigh out against surmounting the fence of unearthly briars, Iren glimpsed one of the luminous beasts he had seen upon waking. In the dark, brilliant shades of dusk, the lean canine, massive and sleek, called to mind the wolves that had once roamed the Caran Mountains north of Miravor. A painful vise squeezed his heart, and Iren bowed his head beneath the untimely weight of memory. But the spectral wolf darted past his downcast eyes, drawing him back to the briars. And there Iren saw a low, narrow wedge cut through the glistening thorns. Shaded by a lattice of thorns, it was nigh invisible and if not for the shimmering ghost wolf, he never would have seen it.

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NaNoWriMo 2017 • the plan

Unlike other NaNoWriMo, my goal isn’t to write 50k words. Then why do it? Because it’ll, I hope, make me actually write this story. Or stories.

Also, unlike other NaNoWriMo, I’ll be posting this as a rough draft.

That said: Expect spelling errors and mangled sentences. I will edit as much as I can, especially if I’m typing it from my notebook, but this is, in no way, a polished story. And I’m okay with that. This story — and its variants — has been brewing, in all its different iterations, as snippets or vignettes or just emotional seeds in my head for awhile. I want to. Get. It. Out. Just share this story that’s been sitting in my brain for almost a decade.

If it never moves beyond this rough draft, I’m okay with that, too. It’s always been a mixed up, tangled story idea to begin with, with bits taken from different sources of inspiration (I’d be curious if people can guess what they are), so having it exist in its fullest form as a work-in-progress is fitting. This may not be the final version, nor the most authentic. Rather, think of this of the canonization of a slew of variants and related tales.

In-congruent Premise, or How I Often Feel What I Think & Feel is at Odds with “General” Advice

Well, getting here, to type these words, was a challenge unto itself. Sorting through emails and passwords.

There’s an incongruity between a self-help card that says “forgive others” & “what you judge in others is a shadow-self of yourself” when the judgement is what you perceive others to think of your skills. 

If I feel bad about myself because of how I feel from what others say, it’s not because I think badly of others. It’s that I perceive myself as not-belonging. So, to follow the premise set up by the card:

  1.  forgive others for making me feeling bad (because I don’t write well or make sense / try to make my writing pleasing to others or what others would expect)
  2. recognize that what I judge in others (that they are competent and correct in their assessments & belong in a writing environment) is a reflection of myself
  3. let go of my unfair judgement of others and…???

The problem is that the entire premise is centered around the idea that one’s judgment is misconstrued. But if someone has bad feelings or judgments, not at others, but at themselves, for what they see as others being right about them in a way that impacts someone negatively or in an emotionally broken/I don’t belong way, then… How does the premise of: forgive/recognize/let go & see the unity make sense??

(I’m not sure this makes any sense. I’m kind of rambling my feelings.)

#6: NOT Like Everyone Else

I’ve begun to realize that some people or generally people:

  • Assume everyone is like you
  • I assume no one is like me (not because I’m special (though I used to be/believed) but that I’m terrible/no one’s as terrible as me)

If people are like, I’m not uber special but I’m not scum; I’m a unique multi-dimensional identity, like the way I try to conceptualize others.

I think NOT: isn’t everyone like this. But: no one is like me (with some exceptions of privileges and looks and conditions)


Disclaimer: these are my uneducated opinions. I am not an expert. I only have strong, persistent opinions, acquired from listening to others, living life, and reading. If anyone notices any errors or misuse of words and meaning, let me know and I will correct any post or information.

Written 8/16/17

#5: Pacifism v. Passivity / Copying

Pacifism doesn’t mean being passive; it doesn’t mean you submit. It’s still about resistance. Violence isn’t always resistance, but resistance should have an active element.

Since the year started, I’ve been trying to figure out how to act.

I tried to follow what others were doing.

I tried to copy others. Because what else is the world but copying? There’s the you at school, where you follow rules (sometimes leading to frustrated or unhappy results), do what’s expected, and there’s you at home, where you do what you want, act how you want. Additionally for me, there’s the impulse to be liked. And being liked means (and meant in college) being in-sync and agreeable to those around me. This stems from fear of being other and outcast

I tried to do what I could money-wise without having lots of money to spend. Then I stopped and thought: what would I do if I was me? And this is that.


Disclaimer: these are my uneducated opinions. I am not an expert. I only have strong, persistent opinions, acquired from listening to others, living life, and reading. If anyone notices any errors or misuse of words and meaning, let me know and I will correct any post or information.

Written 8/16/17 + 8/31/17