Category Archives: Writing

In the Spirit of the Season

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Holiday Requests 2014

No holiday requests for today (feel free to ask for more!), so I thought I'd talk a little bit about the stuff I've been thinking about, largely because I noticed I tend to write a couple commentfic every day regardless of whether I write anything else.

En brief: writing some small prompted thing without an expectation of perfection or any amount of length helps keep my ideas flowing and me writing. I can usually manage it regardless of what else is working well or not.

It made it obvious to me how much I like writing AUs of my AUs and tons of different premises or ships with the same characters and how much it irks me in original fiction when I'm stuck with one solid canon. Did you know I apparently ship all of the following:

  • Bucky/Maria
  • Maria/Clint
  • Natasha/Clint
  • Bobbi/Clint
  • Natasha/Bucky

It's almost scary. To say nothing of my heaps of headcanons that conflict and different much beloved backstories I make up for these people, among many others in many other fandoms. No wonder I have difficulty sometimes nailing down my original worlds. I like to open things up, not nail them down.

On a different note, I still love gifting fic. I can write for myself and do, but there's something wonderful about giving that kicks in with prompts that makes it so much easier and also that puts on more constraints to what I'll produce because I want the recipient to like it, even if they only care that I like it.

There's a prompter at the comm who doesn't care if the fills tickle their fancy, only that I'm happy with the fic, but I'm only happy if they like it and it suits them, which is hard at times because they like rarepair (how I picked up a couple actually) and don't like Clint/Natasha.

So rambly thinky thoughts.

Happy ficcing to all of you doing Yuletide or Secret Santa (don't get me started :growls: ) or anything else!

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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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On Writing and the Scribbler

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

For health reasons, I'm dropping the NanoWrimo deadline for myself, though I still have various Christmas scribblings I intend to do and the book is still on my plate.

Lisea has surprised me. I keep trying to talk her out of where she just went, but she's going there with or without me, so I finally decided to just let her go and hang on for the ride. My girls are talking to me, and that excites me.

Additionally, I've finally gotten my first December fic figured out, if not written quite yet, and I have done some drabble treats for Yuletide. I'd like to triple the count I have, but we'll see. Assignments should come first. But I love drabbling and comment-ficcing or I wouldn't hang out at the LiveJournal Comment Fic Community so much, so... :shrugs: I'll always snuggle tiny fics between the cracks I think.

I will still track the November novel's numbers on Nano until end of November, just to see what happens.

Today, I have some reviews to catch up on and Lisea to follow. Happy writing!

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On the Pause and Write It Again Front

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series NaNoWriMo 2014

On November 4, 2014, I got 1580 words written on the sketch then paused and bounced it off of someone. My family was watching the election coverage and I discovered I can't tune it out and write while it's playing, which was annoying because if I'd noticed sooner, I could have just gone to bed and gotten up early.

Today's another day.

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The Story of November, Thus Far

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series NaNoWriMo 2014

November 1–2 (weekend)

Super-large Board project wrap-up and Board meeting, plus a side dish of sciatic pain. Seriously, life?

Ah, well. Life happens. I'm writing this novel.

November 3 (Monday)

I decided at the start of November I was going to make my goal to write 2000 words a day, so I also opted to take the Dean Wesley Smith approach to goals. Don't make up. I wrote my heart out, not worrying about my two missed days and made 963 words. Could be worse.

November 4 (Tuesday)

Heading into the sketch it out and fill it in zone with a side helping of check this out: a viable Blurb service that enables you to make a magazine or a color book at a decent price (with their new economy option) and still sell on Amazon and other retailers. Nice.

Off to go write.

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Holiday Requests

So I love doing the holiday fics/posts every year, and I'm opening up the requests post again. Pick a date, whether fic or essay, a fandom or storyworld, and a prompt, and I will write at least 300 words for you and post it on that day.

For examples, previous year's:

  1. 2011 - Holiday Fic Requests
  2. 2013 - December Ramblings

You can request more than one. If no fandom or storyworld is stated, I'll try to pick one I know you like.

December 1.

December 2.

December 3.

December 4.

December 5.

December 6.

December 7.

December 8.

December 9.

December 10.

December 11.

December 12.

December 13.

December 14.

December 15.

December 16.

December 17.

December 18.

December 19.

December 20.

December 21.

December 22.

December 23.

December 24.

December 25.

December 26.

December 27.

December 28.

December 29.

December 30.

December 31.

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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.


First Nano prep post coming soon.

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The Plans

So I break radio silence without much to show for it yet, but care not because accountability being what it is, I work better with a little. That said, the plans:

  1. Write trovia a birthday fic (which I'm still wracking my brains over because I want to write something she'll like and I've clearly not gifted her in a while because I'm still wracking my brains over it)
  2. Wrap my head around this thing I'm trying to do with Lisea and Malina (it's a big thing) and turn out something awesome by end of October because...
  3. I'm doing NanoWrimo. I've tried this four years now (not in a row) and I want to finally win.
  4. Then after that, Yuletide. Still waffling on my last two noms. If they let us nominate 4 fandoms, it'd be a wee easier, but alas! It's three.

Love y'all. See you soon.

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