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.
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.
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.)
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!
I wrote A LOT last month. I nearly filled an entire, fat notebook.
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.
So, I planned to type up the next chapter yesterday, to post today. But I got gummed up on the next story. Not so much the what, but the how: how the next story follows, in what order should the events go, are these the events I want, is this the best order?
Spending some time in this season’s first snowfall helped. (Well, that and re-reading my list of Untrue Stories that form a basis for a lot of the belief in my NaNo story.)
As for now, I will have to rethink when I’ll post the story. I’m hoping, if I don’t post as much as I intended in November, than I’ll post in a more consistent pattern in December. Or I’ll post the next chapter on Friday or thereabouts. I shall see. Thank you for putting up with my inconsistency as I figure this out as I go.
Best wishes and (NaNo) writing!
It’s wild; I haven’t written a post on my demons (or demons in general) this month. I feel like October is usually when I start thinking about that type of content. But nope, it’s been more backstory, story chronology, plot pulses, and better character definitions in an entirely different project. That and prepping for NaNoWriMo, which I’ll go into more when November arrives.
So. The biggest thing(s) which have been on my mind is short stories. More specially, how stories (and plot) are constructed. This extends to novels too. For a long time, I could never quite distinguish between a story and a plot. I knew there was a difference. But I’ve finally, I think, gotten it through my head what the difference is. One is the chronological order of events. The other is the causality between events, which is strongly tied to character motivation and desire.
The other result is that I really want to write short stories: old ones I want to rework, due to character history changes, and new ones, based on content, characters, and what I’ve been reading. These will probably plug along slowly, being of a lower priority than other objectives.
That’s all for now, I think.
Best wishes and writing!