Writing Week • 10/1/17 — 10/7/17

It’s been an odd week. 

Also, I have a mild headache, probably from getting distracted on the Internet (tumblr specifically, so it wasn’t like an info-inspiration hole, just the imprint of others’ thoughts and creative projects into my active consciousness) when I had wanted to revel in the sense of openness and work on a few odds and ends, but …nope. Internet. As one does.

Anyway. 

I HAVE discovered that a technique used in an old (and now moot) revision may be what I need for Nights of Heroes. I’d been trying to figure out to parcel out the plot via characters. But it’s soooo much easier to:

  1. break into plot categories 
  2. categorize characters into plots 
  3. work out how their wants interact and effect the plot

Also did some fine-tuning on types of magical imprisonments: 

  • types of magical being
  • type of imprisonment
  • type most likely to be sought be different antagonists

But it does bring out how odd it (still) is to me that Disney’s Aladdin operates in a world where jinn are automatically enslaved. (Unless that’s some quirk of it being a wish…)
Sadly, I’ve only made minimal progress on “White Tree.” 

Did a lot of drawings for Inktober. That’s been taking up my writing attention. Cause deadlines! Bleh. Though to be fair, I did enjoy the load of Dreams drawings I did. Also love drawing those characters. But I have missed writing. I’ve just been off, I guess. A bit tired and a sense of feeling over-ambitious but only getting a bare minimum done. (And being me, I have had medical-inspired anxiety about it!)

Sorry for the downer post. I guess there isn’t much to say.

Oh! I forgot. I tweaked a bunch of chronological info and got a better sense of when events happened in lieu of each other. Yay

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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: Stress & Focus

This morning I spent a few hours calibrating and analyzing what causes me stress and my stress levels. Or more specially “needling things that send me into a mental whirlwind panic/confusion.”

I won’t go into the details. Suffice to say, the categories of Creator, Writer, and Promotion feed off one another to create the highest levels of stress and the highest amount of stress. Additionally, as with this blog, some of the trouble comes from the simple question of: what am I doing? What do I intend? (I hope I’ll be able to post my thoughts on that, which have been waiting in my drafts, soon.)

A few, unrelated tidbits I learned about me and my writing today:

  1. a playlist I made of songs I can listen to over and over without getting sick of them lend themselves to worldbuilding and character development in Nights of Heroes. Which is interesting since it may imply that if left to it, I might think about that series a lot.
  2. I realized the third section in my recently complete novel (which is in revision) is more incomplete than I realized. Getting a handle on the chronology has helped a whole bunch (i.e. cementing dates so they don’t wiggle around; I have a tendency toward flexible dating…) Additionally, I realized why the second section comes off as different than the rest — it has subplots! The trouble is I’m unsure how much the content of those subplots plays into the larger story. So anyway, it gives me focus. I can work with that.

Sorry if this was a short and brusque.

I took an iPad photo of by analysis notes, if anyone’s curious.

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January Summary

a day late

As part of the Every Day Challenge, instigated by the-cassandra-project, I set up two challenges. The second one, or Challenge #2, focused on Nights of Heroes — revision, outlining, character development. I posted about my progress it every couple days. These posts can be found here at my writing journal.

Other general writing posts can be found here.

My Challenge #1, which was to write 100+ words every day, can be found here (among other material and inspiration related to the story.)

Finally, I made character aesthetics.

What to write?

11 December 2016:

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a lot of my thoughts and feelings down. It felt as if I was pushing myself to really think and consider things: how I felt, what I felt, my situation, who I was, what I believed.

I didn’t post any of it; I never post those kinds of reflections. I have a writing document, or a journaling word document. It’s where I can work through thoughts and confusion and realizations. Or at least it feels like I am. I don’t have to worry if the paragraphs fit together, or if it makes sense, or if it has a unified topic, or if it is writerly or witty or just good writing. I don’t have to worry about if my feelings sound good. I can just focus on what I mean or what I feel.

Almost two weeks ago, I posted a verbatim one about my purpose and why I write. I hadn’t written anything since then.

Today’s the seventh Anniversary of The Princess and the Frog. It’s the only Disney movie that directly influenced my writing. That winter soon after it premiered, me and my immediate family went to Walt Disney World and stayed at resort near Animal Kingdom. It was an awesome place. (It was connected to the safari/savanna so there was a waterhole area outside where you could view animals; we saw a giraffe drinking on the last day.*) But it was really out of the way.

More importantly there was a lot of PatF stuff being promoted. So, the African décor, animals, PatF, and the Christmas lights and spirit mashed up in my mind to deter and take over the second book of my Aladdin-lyric story.

That’s a really bad working name, but it’s the best I can think of to explain it.  Essentially, I wanted to take the cut lyrics from Disney’s Aladdin and see if I could create a compelling story out of it. Or more precisely, if I could take a lazy character and a spoiled character and see if I could make them compelling. By the end, it had begun to deviant from that idea and sink into a strange fog focused on the early stages of my Dreams. Then PatF came out. And I got two new characters that changed the plot.

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Writing, Worth, and Purpose

Dying is easy. Or giving up is easy. The trouble is how to know when you’re wasting your time on something (even if it’s what you decided to do since you were ten) or whether you just need a good dose of focus and hard work.

That’s been my dilemma for years now. I’m at attempt #3 for finishing a few novels, connecting with other writers, connecting with others in general, connecting with the writing world, finding people to share my writing with –

(i.e. beta readers! Cause I realized that I can write easily; I can even see where and how my rough drafts need help, but I have the hardest time trying to 1. Figure out to actualize these changes, 2. Actually actualizing these changes, 3. Seeing how to alter and change content/plot/characterization/dialogue. Basically, I’ve been thinking I could benefit from another pair of eyes on my writing. But that’s really difficult because I could throw like 10 things at a beta reader: 5 novels, 2 novellas, and a sprinkling of short stories and snippets. And that’s just included finished rough drafts.)

Sorry. Got distracted.

So. It’s the eternal question. Why do I write? Also: is writing worth it? Or more precisely: is my writing worth it?

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Dreams, Giving Up, and my Thoughts

I feel very mixed up. 

Tumblr indicates that learning to live with what you get is what growing up or real life is like. Or is it more that sometimes having a job and money is not inferior to your dreams? But like…I’ve always tried to live with small dreams. Small desires. Small goals. Keep thing small. Be quiet. Non-obtrusive. Live quietly. I just want to be stable and have financial security. I’ve accepted that any job I have will be low level and maybe not the best but it will be better than nothing. 

At the same time… 

I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m saying. I just…I don’t know. Like I never had any big dreams. The most I ever wanted was to experience new things, live a little. But that was six years ago and I still haven’t gotten to do that. So it’s not like I can have less of a dream or that I’ll have to settle for less of a dream, but I’ve accumulated myself to the veracity of drudgery. Of a future that is hard and probably with money and hopefully some security. It’ll be the life I see other people my age living. I’ll be like everyone else. But that’s the story of my life. Be like everyone else. I hear and read other people’s stories — about college, about work, about their art, about their relationships, about money, about bills, about mental health — and I absorb that. That’s the right way to be exist, you know? And I’ve never existed right from the day I was born. 

But what do I want? Or more on point: is it okay to dream for big things? Tumblr says not to. I tell myself not to, either to ensure I don’t do better at things than my twin, I relish in failure (at least when it comes to my creative writing), or I’ve never had anything I wanted.

If I’m honest the only time I burn with any meaning is when I love someone. That and environmental subjects. 

All I’ve ever wanted is a quiet life. I also wanted to create pictures with words. That’s why I decided to be a writer. Not to tell stories (although I love them), but to create visual art with words. Like animation with words. It doesn’t have to tell a story or have engaging or deep characters, but it has to have some kind of art to it. At least that was my initial impulse. But if I could write a story that matters to someone that would…that would be grand. But is that possible? Is that something I could hope for and work toward! Is that something I could aim for? Is that allowed? Is it okay to want something?

I guess I’ve never had any strong goals, except experience life (“I want to see the world and write a book about it!”). I can get by on gliding but working hard… I give up so easily. If something was too hard or made me anxious or felt like too much work, I always had the option of backing out. If anything at all bothered me growing up, I could just stop and not do it. Usually. I only did things because I liked doing them. I think this originated with being a preemie. Like a really critical preemie. Like I don’t have functional esophagus preemie. (I got better, though I still got to make sure I don’t get clogged on certain food textures.) The problem was that it made my mom not want me (or my sister) to have any difficulties while we were growing up. The problem now is that this instilled in me an easy-out card. Damn.

Of course that doesn’t explain why I have no belief in my writing ever really being published, why rejections relieve me, or whether it’s okay to have a concrete dream.