Tag Archives: writing process

Thoughts on Writing and Writing It Down

Bare bones journaling again with just flat-out open thoughts and no self-censoring.

On The Voice, watching Luke Wade prep for his performance said some things that hit me in a way I finally got, even if I should've gotten it a while ago. He stopped to think about it and that was when he couldn't make the notes. (Total sidenote: I find I can hit all kinds of notes if I sing all out at high volume and don't overthink it that I can't even dream of hitting otherwise, so makes sense.) It made me realize I need to stop trying to write and just try to write it down.

There's this moment where Pharell told Ryan Sill to find where no one else can do what he does and do that. There's stuff I do with blending my poetic sensibilities and worldbuilding and prose with character studies that is what I do. I can write other stuff, but that's what I do and where I stand out as the one who does that stuff. It only happens when I'm not trying to do it.

The Vardin story, "Portrait of a Butterfly," balanced a huge amount of Vardin mindset and vocabulary and yet it worked for my super-picky (and I like her that way) beta because it did all that. When I try to do that, I can't. I wasn't trying when I wrote Portrait.

I look at Dowse and Bleed. I was trying there, but do you see how incredibly long it took me and it was built around a core of stuff I didn't try to write; I just tried to write it down. My work people love most I just wrote down. The comment fics I can write when longer work is driving me batty and not happening is stuff I just wrote down. I usually call it scribbling, but I'm making a point to myself here.

Don't try to write. Just try to write it down.

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Nano Prep Post #1

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series NaNoWriMo 2014

Reminder to thecatisacritic: I'd advise you not to read these posts.

I've decided to take a fandom approach to my Nano novel. En brief: I'm remixing the material I have and narrowing perspectives and picking an ending to work toward to narrow my focus.

There was quite a chunk of accidental sprawl in creating this novel that was involved in figuring out where said story should go (this is the problem with a premise-only approach to a novel-length work), and then there were multiple characters and the original characters that inspired the story got almost buried under the compelling ones that came along for the ride, so...

Here are my steps for preparing for Nano:

  1. Determine dealbreaker inclusions for the fic
  2. Determine dealbreaker exclusions for the fic
  3. Pick my foci for the section I'm working on, which I suspect will hit that 50,000 no problem
  4. Plan out the highlights I want to hit along the writing way
  5. Know where I'm headed and from whence I'm headed

I'm taking the entire thing from the perspective of the women, all three of them, with absolutely no deviation allowed. I've written fic like this, and it's a wonderful way to bring in my focus. I have a few key knots to work through to get from point A to point B and it took me a while to dig through knots in "Dowse and Bleed." That's work I'd like to get done before I dive in for this November.

I have a beginning, and I have an ending, and they aren't for the same portion of the plot. I'll be learning plot this November, whereas there are others who have grasped this all-important concept at a level I haven't because I generally write around a story and let plot handle itself, but this book has a plot and it's the  plot that's ran away with the story left in the dust. I'm picking this book for Nano because 1) huge priority and 2) because if there's one thing I can do if I think in a ficcing mindset it's pick up a story and dust it off and make it shine out around the plot.

Time to start unknotting.

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Pre-Nano Thoughts

This entry is part 103 of 103 in the series Daily Scribble Reports

I broke down and watched The Voice like Dean Wesley Smith has been telling writers to do for years now. The interesting thing about it is after I wrote down the writing lessons I picked up from it, I wandered back through my email archives looking for a manuscript I'd emailed myself and discovered some things that my beta taught me and they ran along similar lines.

The Voice: Go all in. Lay everything out there. Lose yourself in the moment.

in_the_blue: Get down and dirty and write it all out.

 

The Voice: Overfeel, not overthink. Own the moment.

in_the_blue: Don't apologize.

In short, it took me this long to get a handle on what in_the_blue was actually telling me. There is one story that was her favorite of the Vardin shorts I wrote before I did the 365 challenge (which was a nightmare for my novel-writing skills apparently, though it did wonders for my shorts), and that was Portrait of a Butterfly. She told me it was unapologetic for the characters and their motivations and the hierarchy of Vardin came alive and took over.

I'd like a whole lot more of that, where something I wrote without trying to cater it to the uninitiated came together in a way that came alive.


There is a simple concept so intrinsic and fundamental to Vardin society and its root cultures that I only now, upon rereading all three stories in Gone Hunting, realized I have yet to convey it in writing anywhere and that it is such a fundamental law, tradition, societal code, and aspect of who they are that it is the basis of many of my characters' decisions there, including Rhiannon and Miraia, another whose family's reaction to her marital choices puzzled the one person I bounced them off of.

That code is this: outsiders must become family before they are trusted with the knowledge of the gifteds or are considered members of Vardin society. They must have what is called 'cahnten,' an inner circle of friends and family by whom any Vardin individual is measured.

Outsiders can become insiders and are given very specific avenues into how to do so, but Vardin's is an insular culture, so anyone who does not become an insider is neither trusted as one nor treated as one. This particular rule came out of life and death wars and slaughters in their history where too many died over this issue for their people to ever take it lightly.

As a side note, they don't consider mindreading an alternative as mental gifts are to be used on others with permission where possible, with knowledge and open communication where impossible, and by force only in life or death situations and war. Rhiannon wasn't at war.

Miraia broke the rules at a whole different level: she married a man and refused to make him a "son" of her household. In short, she refused to make him family and an insider. She had reasons, but that's not the part that puzzled the one I was talking to. The family's reaction was entirely overkill by our cultural standards. She had just broken a law that would result in her being disowned or worse and talked them into exacting a blood debt instead as if she had killed a son of the house.

It only makes sense in the context of a culture with intense insider/outsider rules for leaving, entering, or crossing those lines. It doesn't make sense in a culture that is simply protecting a secret. It only makes sense in a culture that is a secret.


I have three different writerly skillsets and intense practice of one makes it very hard to slip into another apparently. I write poetry, I write shorts, and I write long chaptered fiction. I can mix up the first two fairly easily, but the last two don't get along so well. I used to write a ton of chaptered work and kept on it too, then my life blew up and I switched to shorts as a temporary thing to keep in writing practice. Didn't work. Why? I had a very hard time writing chapters after that. After a second life blow up, I almost lost the ability altogether.

At least I get that now and have an idea of how I'm going to approach Nano. I suggest, thecatisacritic, that you don't read my Nano posts because I am going to be yakking about how I work this project for my own personal information in the years ahead, and you've already told me you don't want to know about it if anything goes wrong. So heads up.


This rambly post brought to you by "I felt like writing out my pre-Nano/Yuletide/trovia's gift/collab wrap-up" feelings. Hope I didn't bore you too badly.

:grins:

First Nano prep post coming soon.

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Percolating

This entry is part 86 of 103 in the series Daily Scribble Reports

April 3, 2014

Publishing

All my proofs are in the mail to me. Now I must be patient and wait.

Collaboration

Worked on the collaborative short with thecatisacritic, mostly percolating, but 364 new words were in that.

Fandom

Did research for my Couples Big Bang and the attached, related other crossover fic I'm not supposed to write. Yeah. That'll work. :rolls eyes at self: 208 words there.

Publishing Again

Planned out how to do my next collection. Kingdoms and Thorn. It's my current playground apparently.

Reading

Thought I'd get some time to. Didn't.

Word Counts

  • Fiction: 572 words
  • Poetry: 0 lines | 0 words
  • Blog: 0 words

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The Real Work of the Big Picture of This Sort of Writing

This entry is part 85 of 103 in the series Daily Scribble Reports

April 2, 2014

Publishing

So I've got three proofs going back and forth with Createspace: a gift book for family members, Songs from the Dust, and the mass market edition of Dowse and Bleed, which is still gorgeous by the way. I got two ordered, one submitted, and the Kindle edition of Dowse and Bleed finally published. I also have some more editing of Songs from the Dust despite having a print copy on the way because I want to change something on the cover and forgot to add author info in the back. Wow, scribbler. Really batting a thousand.

Anthologizing and Completing Fiction

Creating an anthology isn't as hard as I thought if I have my arms around what I want from the collection. It seems a lot like writing fiction: once I have that handle on the overall arc, I can fly through the story. Same thing happened with creating Songs from the Dust. I knew what I wanted and it just came together with ease.

Today, I work on "Justice." I have an idea of what I want and there's the matter of theme. I've hit on the need for theme and I think thecatisacritic gave it to me buried in with the rest. Let's see what can happen.

Headspace

I spent some time cleaning out my inbox because it needed to be done. I didn't really deal with much, but I deleted a couple hundred emails and finally moved a few thousand into their folders to end up with 9. Yahoo has corrected the most egregious of their errors and so I could actually find my email again. Though the search is still wonky.

Writing

Started on "Justice," then got poetically side-tracked with a poem I want off that 'unfinished' list. Getting back on track. (No, it's not finished.)

Wrote 232 words. Hashed out ideas with thecatisacritic. Have bunny. And got it to 553 words.

Again, will edit this post if I get any more done.

Word Counts

  • Fiction: 553 words
  • Poetry: 102 lines | 530 words
  • Blog: 400 words

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Headspace

This entry is part 84 of 103 in the series Daily Scribble Reports

April 1, 2014

So I got out my catch-up post before 9 a.m. and also got my proof reviewed for my grandparents’ gift and the book submitted for lithiumlaughter’s. My new cover upload last night apparently didn’t take, so I’ll have to do it at home tonight. This is starting to get headachesome.

Fandom

My new AO3 drafting process: I don’t like the expiration on drafting a WIP on AO3 or the inability to really preview all chapters of a multi-chaptered draft, so I found a workaround. Create a WIP collection that is (Closed, Moderated, Unrevealed, Anonymous). Post fic to the collection.

Poetry

I have come to a conclusion. Poetry carves headspace in my mind. It opens the doors that have gotten shut and blows down the walls of the maze I raise for fiction. Sometimes I just desperately need the room to breathe.

Just wrote a poem because my headspace fresh off of poetry just got kinda cluttered and I’m feeling tense again.

And there went another one at the oddest of moments. Make that two.

Will edit this post tomorrow if I write any more tonight.

Word Counts

  • Poetry: 35 lines | 274 words
  • Blog: 836 words

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The 2014 First Quarter Report

This entry is part 83 of 103 in the series Daily Scribble Reports

About those challenges…

The seven-sentence challenge with the goal of daily production went by way of Sandusky. I don’t know that I’ll get back to it.

The publication challenge on the other hand:

Songs from the Dust

So the poetry collection is published book two for the year. (I’m supposed to be at three, so I’m not quite as far behind as I think, though I still have to wrap up the lagging Kindle and mass market version of Dowse and Bleed. Createspace printed most of the white letters on the back cover in black, with the exception of certain random ones.)

Lithiumlaughter is my poetry ally. She has inspired a lot of my stuff by her own favorites among my poems and those of others.

Currently, the most complex poem I have written to date is “Five Reasons I Love You.” There is a definite stanza scheme, a definite and careful choice about every line break and every stanza break, every bit of punctuation. I wrote in multiple meanings to the whole thing and even though it doesn’t rhyme and doesn’t have a defined metrical scheme, it has a very defined rhythm and plays carefully with the specific concepts being mined. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons it’s among my favorites. It means something different but also true if you read it according to the punctuation, or if you read it according to the line breaks, or if you read it according to the stanza breaks.

It was also written a single beautiful rush. I’m starting to like the epic poems that do that. “History Lesson on the Night Train” started the trend, then along came “Queen of Heaven” and “Five Reasons,” then “The Bringing of Light” and finally “Name You.” There’s something about these poems and what it did to me to write them. I’m really excited about how the collection came together and hope to have it out to the world soon.

Daily Scribbling

You may have noticed I’ve gone to daily tracking and irregular reporting. It works better for me because I’m writing and publishing on three different devices with different limitations and drawbacks.

In new words produced, I noticed that my fiction numbers were best in January, then dropped in February and rose slightly in March. Poetry rose slightly in February, then went crazy in March.

In completed words, I’ve solely produced fanfic and poetry this year (bummer), but steadily more each month. The method works, in other words, but I’m not entirely happy with the lack of original fiction work getting finished. Worked on is great, but finished is necessary. Going to try to correct that despite my Big Bang coming up.

Monthly Reading

January and February went swimmingly. March was a non-starter. I’m moving next month. I spent a lot of money at Costco the other day that I wasn’t intending to and bought some books. We’ll see when I actually have time to read them. :rolls eyes: They come after in_the_blue’s new fic. I don’t think I really read anything this last month at all that counted.

I need to file an extension on my taxes too. :headdesk:

Plans

Get. more. disciplined. Finish something to publication. Finish fiction. Get my taxes taken care of. Consider picking up a book to read now and again, huh?

I always want to put giftfic first, but that doesn’t always work best. I’m considering how best to remedy that. I’m considering what to do when I hit up the collaborative novel again. I’m considering whether to read first because I want to check things off, not just make progress.

That’s the 2014 First Quarter Report.

How have you done for the first 1/4th of the year?

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In the Meantime...

This entry is part 81 of 103 in the series Daily Scribble Reports

March 26, 2014

Was chatting via email with lithiumlaughter and this morning, the conversations turned into a 1397 word fic. Whoops. It wasn't good enough though, not quite enough. I'm changing my Couples Big Bang pairing.

March 28, 2014

Started putting together a poetry collection for lithiumlaughter, since poetry was actually happening (research and fic were frying my brain) and wrote a poem to go with the fanfic.

March 29, 2014

I almost forgot. I wrote a ton of fodder on this day, probably a few thousand words of poetry that will never see the light of day, thus the name "fodder." I'm not counting it.

March 30, 2014

Focused on rereading “Justice” and reminding myself of where I want to steer it. Unfortunately realized that I need to check in for the Couples Big Bang tomorrow, so also need to work on that. Finished out what I started on the 29th of getting gift books ready for publication. Will need to continue wrapping that up on the 1st.


So I owe you all an end of March post and would like to check back in to my publication/release schedule issues as well. I’m not really happy with that bit.

Word Counts:

  • Fiction: 1397 words
  • Poetry: 8 lines | 51 words
  • Blog: 18 words

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Brain in a Fog, Guess I'll Write Poetry

This entry is part 82 of 103 in the series Daily Scribble Reports

This is what happens when I get tired and my brain shuts down. I end up writing poetry instead of fiction or research or anything useful or productive. At least something happened, but I feel woefully remiss towards certain people who were hoping for some cheering material soon, who are also not fond of poetry.

I’m very sorry
I hope you’ll forgive
The muse slipped out
O’ my ‘mind like a sieve’

March 24, 2014

So it started with this story that had played in my head overnight, but it was too long and complex to justify writing, so in the morning when it started coalescing into a poem on me, I memorized the lines and stanzas in my head and at work, I wrangled them into something I liked. All 136 lines of it.

I sent it to lithiumlaughter who likes poetry and she blessed me with an amazing review that inspired poem #2: "Tale of Domestic Life in a Series of Coffee Cups."

Did some research for thecatisacritic before brain stopped cooperating again.

Word Counts:

  • Fiction: 0 words
  • Poetry: 155 lines | 905 words
  • Blog: 90 words

March 25, 2014

The idea of a poetry collection for Kingdoms and Thorn pestered me and then another poem did. I wrote it down and loved it.

I peeked inside the books of Billy Collins and got a little more inspired. There went four more small poems.

Did more research and chatting with thecatisacritic.

Tried two more poems with less than great success. I wrote "The Cup" and promptly deleted most of it. "Daughter" started out better—twice—before I gave up on it.

This evening, the mass market edition of Dowse and Bleed arrived. It's stunning and full of little fixes I need to make, but it is stunning. I love it.

Word Counts:

  • Fiction: 0 words
  • Poetry: 281 lines | 538 words
  • Blog: 72 words

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Just Pretend My Scribbling Is Invisible

This entry is part 79 of 103 in the series Daily Scribble Reports

March 17, 2014

Wrote 371 words on an invisible treat and didn’t finish. It was getting unwieldy. This particular attempt is attempt three at the same fandom. It’s just determined, it would seem, to give me trouble.

Wrote 198 words on an Invisible Treat, start to finish done. Then for the same prompt: a 66-word octet. And then another of 3 lines and 7 words. And another treat in 125 words, specifically because my assignment wasn’t very lighthearted as the requester might have preferred.

I brought that original treat from 371 words to 919, but I’m still not sure how much I like it. And 201 words for one more treat.

Word Counts:

  • Fiction: 1443 words
  • Poetry: 11 lines| 73 words
  • Blog: 106 words

March 18, 2014

In 2376 words, I finally got something written for this fandom.

Word Counts:

  • Fiction: 2376 words
  • Poetry: 0 lines| 0 words
  • Blog: 11 words

March Totals

  • Fiction: 12,678 words
  • Poetry: 140 lines | 1364 words
  • Blog: 947 words

Pieces Started Not Finished (2014)

  • Fiction: Hear the Stars, novella.
  • Nonfiction/Blog: Indie Author Guide to Genre, book/blog series.
  • Poem: Untitled - You gave me a name...
  • Poem: Untitled - The way riverbeds miss the water...
  • Fiction/Fanfic: "Blank Verse," probably novella but not sure.
  • Fiction/Fanfic: “Justice,” short story.

March Completed Pieces

  1. Poem: "Open Hands," 12 lines | 63 words.
  2. Fanfic: “God Help the World,” 205 words.
  3. Poem: "Everything's Blood and All is Well," 16 lines | 97 words.
  4. Fanfic: “Perfection,” 688 words.
  5. Fanfic: Invisible Ficathon Assignment, 1267 words.
  6. Poem: "Wonder," 4 lines | 29 words.
  7. Prose Poem: “the bringing of light,” 485 words.
  8. Poem: “Rothnen,” 24 lines | 102 words.
  9. Poem: “This is the universe…” 12 lines | 80 words.
  10. Poem: “For Sister,” 4 lines | 36 words.
  11. Fanfic: "Demoralized," 204 words.
  12. Fanfic: Invisible Ficathon Treat, 198 words.
  13. Poem: Invisible Ficathon Treat, 8 lines | 66 words.
  14. Poem: Invisible Ficathon Treat, 3 lines | 7 words.
  15. Fanfic: Invisible Ficathon Treat, 125 words.
  16. Fanfic: Invisible Ficathon Treat, 201 words.
  17. Fanfic: Invisible Ficathon Treat, 2376 words.
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