Writerly Notions: Revision & me

So, for awhile my approach to revising stories, be they short or long, was to either literally revise in-text or to re-write from scratch. The latter was not…the best idea. To wit, I rewrote a 68k word story, to make it fit better with where the story had gone (which is now obsolete), and it ended up at 111k words, having only made it to 2/3rds of the original plot. In other words, it became even more rambling than before.

Recently I came across a suggestion that for revision one should rewrite, not from scratch, but from the already written story. Which I took to mean following its scenes and its order, rather than letting the story meander on a completely new path. (Nothing wrong with letting a revision go to new places, I think, but not letting it just be a new story.)

I’ve always had a puzzle with revision. If I rewrite completely, with only a loose thread, I’m afraid it’ll be a new (worse) story. But if I do the rewrite I read about, it becomes the struggle of not rewriting each scene word by word from what I just re-read so I can remember what’s in the each paragraph/scene.

I wish there was a step by step procedure that would let me know I’m hitting the right “marks” to let me know when I’m revising my story in the right way. Or getting my characters right. Or whatever I need to do. It’s not very clear.

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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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Late

Day 27: Feb 28

A gentle ache at the back of her head threatens to blossom into a migraine. Ha, she laughs internally, what is breakfast? What’s it worth? When one has to do the things one meant to do before one did the other things… The words die because there are so many better things to think about and to do.

[58]

A/N: sorry this is late. I saw a post on tumblr about changing passwords for not sites I use, but it recommended doing so anyway, so I started doing that, even though I knew it would take me time to do. (I still have 4 to 5 left to change.) Based on what I realized — planning my day/actions is the same as planning a story: what is the best order to put the events/actions in? — I haven’t put my story, thus far, into a good order today.

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.

Every Single Day

for future updates visit my writing journal

The Cassandra Project proposed a great idea – Every Single Day Challenge – where you do something every day throughout January for charity raising. I recommend anyone who can to spread the word about this Challenge and donate. I’m doing two:

Every Single Day [January Challenge] #1

I’m writing 100+ words every day in a long-standing story about demons, the moon, and love. And even if I’m just one tiny seed in the grand forest of people, I’ll sow what good I can. If we plant enough seeds and take care of them, well, then we’ll have a forest.

Every Single Day [January Challenge] #2

When I first heard about the Every Single Day Challenge I thought: Hey, I think of my Nights of Heroes project every day anyway. So I wanted to use that time — revising, thinking, chronicling, name-building, drawing, writing, and even old original content* — as a means to do something good for the world.

*my Dreams: basically Disney characters developed like original characters rather than adhering to Disney’s characterizations

NoH: Morning & Coffee

[original first post of a blog linked to a discontinued email]

I’ve always wanted to have a blog where I could post my thoughts, my ideas, and my research. So here it is, after 4 years trying to figure out how to and swapping urls and blogs, I’ve finally decided: heck, I’m doing this.

Every blog needs a beginning and morning’s usually the start of the day. And for (other) people that can include coffee. I’m not a fan of the stuff, but it came up in my morning writing drabble so I endeavored to learn a bit more about it. Especially how it’s made Palestine, Syria, and Jordan.

Wikipedia informed me that the Levant has Turkish coffee, which is less a different type of coffee bean and more a method of brewing the coffee. From what I can gather it seems to require at least three periods of boiling to create the best, but not burned, flavor. Also, foam is important. Having the liquid be completely smooth seems to be key.

I wonder if Turkish coffee would taste better than the stuff I’ve tried because it’s done so precisely. 

Anyway, a quick google search led me here, which states that it’s not boiling, it’s foaming that you want. And it doesn’t have to be done three times. But what’s important is the freshness and (again) the foam. The finely ground coffee beans are added to the warm water (ratio of amount taken into account) and sugar is added to taste and it’s left to heat up. It’s important not to stir it and wait for foam to start forming. Then you can stir a little, if you want. But, again, it seems to be more about the flavor.

Isn’t this interesting, everyone? And I realized while researching this that I can use it in a short story/novella I’m writing (it’s a novella, I think, clocking in at 26k words. I’ll see what its final length is — if it’s long enough I’ll grow it into a novella; if I can hack it in half and still keep the story together, I’ll prune it into a short story)

Interestingly, the top link on a google search of “how to make Turkish coffee” reiterates that it’s the fineness of the ground coffee beans and the thickness that makes it good. But it also, in contrast to the one above, states that the sugar should be stirred in (although I believe the first one mentioned that the sugar could be stirred in once the coffee had settled on the bottom?). And it uses “boil” in its recipe, although I think it means the same thing — heat the coffee up enough to expel flavor.

One aspect of its method that stood out to me was that the foam was removed. Wikipedia (which cannot always be relied on) and the first link claim that the foam is important. The video and recipe make a point of removing the foam.

I will have to look into this more.

Oh, and welcome to my blog. It’s nice to meet you and it’s good to be here. 🙂

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.

Chronicle #3: 10 Oct 2016 – 18 Oct 2016

I was on a trip most of this week, so sorry for my absence.

  • Finished the fourth story in my NaNoWriMo 2015; it ended taking more time because there were way more scenes than I had anticipated/planned (I thought I had one scene left but it became four scenes)
  • Started the completion of the (extensively outlined) fifth story in my NaNo 2015
  • Started the completion of the sixth (and final) story in my NaNo 2015 (yay)
  • Did some mapping and history clarification
  • Wrote a vignette about characters sharing feelings
  • Attempted to move my google docs to a new owner/email
  • Did character and plot building for Garden of Flowers/Chthonic Flowers (I really need to 1. Explain what all my story categories mean, and 2. Come up with a better title name
  • Wrote a short action snippet from Romance of Three Jewels
  • Wrote a character birthday drabble (11 October)

This blog’s future and wandering roads

I’m not sure what I’m doing. Well, that’s not entirely true. I knew what I was going to do. But since October started my objectives have been uprooted by bad choices, bad luck, and “bad brain” days.

Back in the summer I had begun to wonder why I even had this blog. What did I have to say? What did I want to say? Did I really care that much about responding to and writing about books I’ve read? Or, most importantly, what did I want this blog to be about?

Because as much as I like stories — especially fairy tales, legends, epics, and myths — I’m not a reviewer. That’s not my thing. I don’t think it ever was. I’m not against reflecting on a story I read, potentially ruminating on what I like in it, or discussing how it functions as a story and any, if applicable, style/plot/thematic details that inspire me. But I don’t have the drive or passion to maintain an entire blog on that premise. No way.

So if I don’t want to review stories or write about them all the time, what do I want?

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To my followers

Thank you to everyone who’s read or liked any of my posts. Although I don’t always respond, I notice and it does mean a lot to me. I want to apologize for vanishing from this blog, as slim as my posts already were. I was working on things and assessing the use/point of this blog and considering the future (what I want to do with this blog, what I want to do with my writing…)

I will have a fuller update next month. Thanks for your patience. Best wishes and welfare to all. ♥

(There’s also a short entry coming on 22 Sept.)