Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

Progress on After the Fall

I have good news: I’ve been on a roll with writing After the Fall.

From May to August 2016, I’d managed to churn out several chapters in quick succession.  It was an intense and exciting time, and I was hoping to finish the story before a certain significant milestone in my life.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and when Autumn rolled around, I started to run out of steam.

It’s taken a while, but I’m so glad to say I’ve returned to this project and I’m making significant headway once again.  I am so in love with the story I was trying to tell that I felt so guilty at the thought that it might get permanently shelved as so many others have.  Fortunately, that’s not happening!

Where I’d left the story, I had a bunch of unfinished, disjointed chapters and snippets that didn’t really have places in the current order of things.  I managed to salvage most of them and rework them slightly until everything fit together.  But there’s still so much more to write and I’m so ready to write it.  (I’m not sure if it will be a novel-length work by the time it’s done, but that really doesn’t matter to me as long as the story flows.)

Here’s the kicker: I’m seriously considering pulling another Seaport for After the Fall.  When I self-published Secrets in Seaport, I was overconfident in my self-editing skills and I inflicted the story upon the world in a frankly sorry state.    But as much as I hate Seaport now, I force myself to keep it available as a snapshot of my abilities at the time it was written; a cringey milestone, if you will.  I’ve promised myself to do better next time.

Cliche is my attempt at doing things better, more traditionally and responsibly for self-publication.  It’s being beta-read.  When that’s done, I’m going to edit, revise, and proofread it to the best of my current abilities.  Then and only then will I publish it.

After the Fall is kind my book-baby.  I want it to be delivered into the world as all babies are, bare and helpless.  (The comparison sounded way better when I said it aloud to my mother….)  If I’m to spend months or even years editing this, as I grow older, it will change too.  It’ll age with me.  It won’t be the story whose general plot I jotted down on a sheet of loose-leaf paper two years ago.

When I finish After the Fall, I’ll do a basic self-edit and some other minor damage-control rituals (to make sure no one’s backing their cars into circular driveways and people’s ages don’t change when they shouldn’t … stuff like that), but then I just want to publish it.

This is a conscious choice made with experience, however impulsive it seems, to publish this book “raw.”  It’s imperfect, holey, unrealistic, you name it.  But that’s how I think I want it to be.  I want it to be a testament to where I am now, that I can look back and cringe at when I’m older.  Hopefully, I’ll cringe a bit less at this one.

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

Beautiful People #26 – Author Writing Process Edition

I had so much fun in May participating in Cait (PaperFury) and Sky’s (Further Up and Further In) Beautiful People meme for writers, that I’ve decided to join in again.  This time, we’re talking about my writing process (or lack thereof, haha)!

 

How do you decide which project to work on?

It’s rare that I’ll obsess over a single project.  I usually work on multiple and rotate between them depending on what subjects I’m inspired to cover that day.

 

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

It really depends on the project and how motivated I am.  It took me three months to finish Secrets in Seaport, but that’s hardly an example of how long it takes for me to write well.  I think it took me about five months to finish my most recent project, Cliche, and I owe my fast pace to Aerin, my dear critique partner, co-writer, and muse. 🙂

 

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

I don’t have an established routine for getting into the writing mood.  I take the opportunities as they come.  I never know when inspiration will strike next.  But in the past, listening to music that fits the mood or even just reading books have helped me break the cycle of writer’s block, at least for short periods.

If you know of any good ones, I’m all ears!

 

What time of day do you write best?

Extremely early in the morning or extremely late at night.  The best, albeit most absurd, madness-ridden pieces of writing typically come to fruition at unearthly hours.  I think the self-scrutinizing parts of my brain goes dormant when I’m half-asleep, which enables me to write more freely.

 

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

My tenth grade English teacher compared my writing style to that of Douglas Adams.  I tried reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that year and never finished it, so I can’t verify that comparison for myself.  Still, Adams was a Whovian and considered a terrific writer by many, so I appreciate the comparison.

Oddly, my writing style is easily influenced by whatever I’m reading at the time.

For example, I wrote Cliche on the heels of finishing A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix – there’s a chapter entitled Meanwhile, Back at the Bookstore.

If I’ve been reading a lot of Conan Doyle, my first-person narrative pieces include many “said I’s” and other quirky Doyleisms.  (One of these days, I’ll read enough that I’m motivated to continue my Sherlock Holmes genderswap story.)

I also try (but don’t often succeed) to read Dickens when I’m doing freelance writing, paid by the word. 😛

 

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I started writing chapter books in word processor files at age ten because it was a quiet and not particularly costly way of making art.  People didn’t take notice, so they didn’t make a huge fuss about it at family gatherings, as they did with my musical dabbles.

Today, I write because first and foremost to entertain myself.  In my tweens and early teens, I had a hard time digesting books with vulgar content.  (I still do, though I have a clearer idea of my current comfort zone.)  Anyway, I tried writing the kinds of stories that wouldn’t make me blush or feel very indignant as a kid.  I want to publish them someday because I hope others like me, with my sensitivities, might benefit from them too.

 

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

One of the hardest thing I’ve written so far, for a story, is a diary entry from the perspective of a character who has fallen in love.  As a headstrong young prude, it took me a while to embrace the reality that attraction, love, and the creation of new life needn’t necessarily be cheap, dirty, promiscuous things simply because the mainstream media portrays them as such so often.  The least I can do is portray those beautiful facts of life in a clean, tasteful way; once I realized that, I was able to tell the story of how After the Fall’s protagonist came to be.

 

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

Rewriting Adventures with my Time-Traveling Uncle.  It’s such a neat project, but at the time I wrote it, I really didn’t have the skills to convey the story in a compelling, publishable fashion.  I printed a single copy for myself and it’s around here somewhere, but I never sold it.  It was 50 book-pages long, approximately.  I have one-third a mind to retell the important parts as a short story, because I need to get back into the habit of writing those.

 

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I didn’t make any. 😀  That way, I was pleasantly surprised when I was suddenly able to churn out an entire first draft in about six months’ time!

 

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

Spontaneous. Passionate. Progressive.

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

The Young Writer’s Life According to RWBY: Beta-Reading Edition

Mild content warning: post features pictures of a somewhat skimpily-dressed anime character.

I ran a poll on my Twitter page a few weeks ago for the theme of my next “Young Writer’s Life According To…” post.  It was a 50/50 tie between Tangled (which has a surprising variety of gifs) and my favorite anime, RWBY.  So, why not both?

This gifset in particular puts particular attention on beta-reading, an immense readerly kindness I’ve come to appreciate in my latest writerly project.  That said, I’d like to dedicate this post to Aerin and Lauren, the best beta-readers a young writer like me could ask for.

And now, if you are among the 50% who voted for a RWBY-themed post, this’ll be the day you’ve waited for!

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Continue reading “The Young Writer’s Life According to RWBY: Beta-Reading Edition”

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

Answering Your Writerly Questions!

In honor of my 3rd Bloggiversary, I decided to hold a Q&A session with my wonderful readers.  Here are some of my favorite entries:

What’s your favorite genre to write in?

My favorite genre to write will always be fanfiction.  Not going to lie.  But of the more serious genres (the ones I can write in and publish in without getting sued), my favorite genre to write is currently mystery.  Whether it’s a mystery-adventure, a historical mystery, a contemporary fiction with a mystery subplot, there’s always an element of mystery in the things I write.

Of all the fandoms you’re a part of, which one do you find easiest to write fanfics for? 🙂

I think I know who sent this one in – you know me too well! 😉

For me, the easiest fandom to write fanfictions in is Star Wars.  The franchise has been around for forty years, and there’s just so much information about the Star Wars universe readily available.  Wookieepedia, the official Star Wars wiki, is just a click away, and it has everything from how lightsabers are built to the different slang dialects spoken by characters throughout the galaxy.  When I was part of a SW roleplay on Young Writers Society, I did a lot of research on the types of food and music they had available, and I think this made the setting seem all the more real.

If you could be a character in any book, which book and which character? Why them? 🙂

I think I’m going with Eowyn from The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.  In both the book and the movie, I feel like Eowyn is the quintessential “strong female character.”  She’s brave; she goes out and fights for her people and all the free peoples of Middle Earth, disguised as a man, but she’s still distinctly feminine in the way she carries herself.  She’s like this happy medium between all the female lead archetypes I’m coming across in fiction today.  She does a bit of everything without losing her identity, basically.  Okay, the old-English pickup lines she kept using on Aragorn were a bit annoying, but if I became this character, I wouldn’t feel limited by her gender, abilities, personality, etc.

What’s your opinion about Lovecraft?

I’ll be honest, the first time I heard the word “Lovecraft,” I thought it was a type of Harry Potter romance fanfiction.  The author’s initials, H.P., didn’t help matters much.  (In my defense, I was really young when I came to this conclusion!)  I eventually found out more that H.P. Lovecraft was the author of several gothic horror stories, including “The Call of Cthulhu” and my interest is definitely piqued.  I’ve yet to read any of Lovecraft’s stories – nor have I played any of the computer games inspired by them – but one of these days, I’ll pull down a few from Project Gutenberg or Wikimedia Commons.  While I can’t yet give a definitive opinion, Lovecraft writes stories that I think I’d enjoy.

What is the first advice you would give to an aspiring writer?

This is such a great question, but it’s easier asked than answered!  There are literally a million potential answers coursing through my brain right now in no particular order – there’s just so much I know now that I wish I knew when I first started writing….

The first piece of advice I’d give is: plan everything to some extent.  Whether you write a rigid, formal outline or jot down a few ideas on the back of a napkin, it’ll make all the difference when you start writing.  Last month was NaNoWriMo, and there are primarily two schools of thought when setting out to write a 50k-word body of work in thirty days: “planning” and “pantsing.”

“Planning” is, as the name suggests, setting as rigorous a outline for the entire story.  There’s no way you can possibly go wrong or run out of ideas, unless halfway through the process, you decide What the heck?  I’ll stop following this lame outline!  Which brings us to “pantsing.”

“Pantsing” roughly translates to making everything up as you go along.  I tend to lean towards this school of thought, but I usually end up writer’s blocked because halfway through, I run out of ideas and get burned out.  I’ve found simply jotting down some casual notes about how I want the story to begin, climax, and end, as well as some loose character arc ideas is a nice, happy medium between the two extremes.

 

Thank you for taking part, and especially to all my readers, thank you so much for accompanying me this far on my writerly journey.  Here’s to another year of growth and creativity!

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

So, what *have* I been writing?

All this time, I said I was writing something, and you’ve all been very good in believing me.  Now for some proof. 😀

Whenever he thinks I’m asleep, Dad takes this picture of my mother that used to hang on our wall out of the truck’s glove compartment and just stares as it, sadly.  Tonight was one of those nights when he actually whispers to it.  I can’t tell what he’s saying … and I can’t imagine how she’d respond if she were here.

You see, she died when I was two.  I can barely remember the sound of her voice.  I like to think I can remember her smiling at me, but I think it’s just the picture Dad keeps of her.  In all of my “memories” of her, she’s always wearing that light and airy sundress from the photo.

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Mom was petite with straight-as-sticks blond hair, and eyes that I think were green.  It’s hard to tell when all you’ve got is a black and white picture.  Aside from my height, I’m glad I don’t take after her; if I did, I’m afraid Dad would look at me in the same sad way he looks at her photograph.

He never did tell me how she died.  I suppose he’s trying to protect me from something.  What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you, they say.

I don’t think that’s true.  Curiosity burns … and burns hurt something awful.

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, Uncategorized

New Blog Theme

I really loved the blog theme I’ve been using until now, “Baskerville.”  I liked the multiple columns of posts that showed up on the front page – it was a very nice way of showing a lot on the screen at once in an organized fashion.  However, readers I know personally complained that the post columns were awkward-looking, though, and the color scheme was pretty limited to a weird shade of green.  Mind you, I love that color, but I like being able to choose from a more diverse palette from time to time.

So it was time for a change.

At first, I was very scared to use this “Scratchpad” theme.  I was worried that, like many of the freebie WordPress themes I was considering, its customization options would be limited.  Plus, the color scheme in this demo image (pictured below) looked pretty tacky to me.

scratchpad-landing-image

I just wasn’t feeling that grey-blue background color.  Also, did I mention that there’s a  … HIGHLIGHTER (aka the evil yellow thing which permanently defiles pages)?!?!

Still, the bulletin-board, pencil-and-paper elements appealed to me, so I gave it a try.  I’m pleasantly surprised at how much customization this theme offers.  I was able to change the background to an image I really liked, and the available premade color schemes blend very well with just about any picture.

All in all, I am very happy with the result.  I still miss the columned arrangement a lot, but what I have now is very bright, cheerful, and most importantly, writerly. 🙂