Writerly Notions: What to do?

So I’m in a bit of a muddle. (Also, don’t mind me, I’m just clearing my thoughts.)

What should I work on? Okay, scratch that. Should I write the final section of my long, long, long overdue demon mythology story, even if I’m not 100% sure it actually makes sense, nor do I know what’s happening? Or should I try to make it all fit together?

And see, that’s the hitch. A lot of ideas I’ve had post 2010 (Romance of Three Jewels, The Painting Story, NIAR, 12D + Bluebeard) actually have structure. Story structure. Conflict. Character arcs. Story stages. Do I know every detail? Probably not. Do I have enough to see how the plot connects and how my characters will grow and get from one story stage to the next? Oh, yes.

But I have at least three major projects that came before 2010. And it’s a pain because they’re not, well, as well structured.

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Diamond Tears

Day 40: March 11 (written)

Tears crystalize on her cheeks then fall, tlinking softly against the floor. They roll toward the writhing fire trapped behind the grate. Even before its monstrous heat, the tears — now diamonds — cannot melt. But the heat cracks wickedly against her skin, rising fissure in her cold flesh that do not bleed. Chained to the chair, all she can do is weep.

[61]

Ocean Ancestors

Day 13: Feb 13

Tales of the past — sometimes the recent past, if she’s honest — curl across the floor, dainty, almost fanciful words, so wondrous and unbelievable that they seem capable of cracking under the slightest inspection. But they are true; she knows so. She has lived part of this recent, unbelievable story herself. Though it is the older stories, the ones interwoven like flashes of silver on the sea among the recent one, that keeps her attentive: astounding voyagers across the vast ocean, colony and kingdom founders, dropping words and letters on their journey. They were the first to understand the sea and what lay beneath. A tiny silver glimmer flashes inside her; she is glad they play a part, however miniscule, in her story, too.

[123]

I have renewed these in lieu of the Refugee Ban in the USA. Inspired by the-cassandra-project and their Every Day Challenge, I am writing every day to raise money for the Urban Justice Center. You can donate here or please spread the word. Thank you.

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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The Darkangel

Like those before, here’s another re-read. I wonder if I should have a separate category for them, seeing as I’m so any I want to read before I’m sure whether I want to keep them or not. (Okay, most of them I know I want to keep, but this one I wasn’t as sure about).

What striking about this one is all the subtle and complex world building I missed when I first read it. The world Aeriel lives in has a very interesting and intruiging history. I remembered pieces of it: god-like beings hidden away in domes and a seahorse skeleton. But the nuanced quality of it, the tone of the telling, the murmurs of meaning – they seemed richer than before.

Oddly I’d wager that this was one of the earliest examples of multicultural fantasy  I read. I didn’t realized it at the time. I recalled Aeriel going into the desert, but I hadn’t quite visualized it as clearly as I did now. I’ll expand on this more in the second book.

As a writer, Aeriel’s growth arc came at a peculiarly propertious time. One of the stories I’m writing is similar, only so far as its about a meek girl growing into a more confident self. What reading this book cemented in my mind was that there’s needs to be a background for my character to grow in. Does that make sense? In The Darkangel, Aeriel gores as a result of her journey but also her growing awareness that the darkangel who kidnapped her is a danger to the her homeworld. (More precisely, his complete transformation into a icari will herald the reign of the terrible water witch, the lorelei.)

Underneath Aeriel’s growth, there is ask her relationship to the icari himself, the wraiths (who were once his wives), the durrough, and the gargoyles. For each she develops compassion, indifferent ways. Expand.

Speaking if the wraiths, I loved the spindle and how she spun love into garments. I also love that her courage is really closely knitted with her compassion for others. I think that’s why she’s able to do what she does at the end.

And thus we came to the surprise in the story: Aeriel turns the icari back into a human. She has fallen in love with him, or as Talb says, she has true love for him.

Is this believable? I think so. It’s clear that Aeriel has developed love of some sort for him. She wants to “free him like the gargoyles.” Her developed sense of kindness appears here for Ikkaryth. Is it necessarily a fully romantic and sexual love? I don’t know. May I still consider if true love. Certainly. True love is only love that can accomplish the remarkable. It doesn’t have to limited by romance.

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!

Chronicle #1: 1 Oct – 8 Oct 2016

As I said, I want to start sharing my writing or at least what I’m doing with my writing projects. Now that I’m more settled (on a New England autumn foliage tour), here’s what’s I’ve been working on since October started.

  • wrote two scenes in my unfinished NaNoWriMo 2015, decided that that story (since it’s a collection of interrelated short stories) would be better written after the one before it (since writing a novel in the order its read in may work better for me), and have since made good progress
  • said content (witches) of said progress inspired me to write a vignette (~1,600 words) about one character’s backstory and the comparison of witches from different parts of the world he inhabits
  • sketched, inked, and partially colored a picture of a character from NaNo 2015
  • did some initial brainstorm writing for some old ideas (Garden/Moon Lineage)
  • sketched, inked, and fully colored a picture from a recent Drabble A Day (I was quite pleased with it)

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