Tag Archives: writing

Visions have crashed over my planned plot


It is really frustrating. I’ve been working on a story for Nano, because I decided that I need to be more methodical in my planning. I tend to ramble, and I was hoping to rein this in. So, the planning process was going well. I still had some more research I wanted to do, but I had the bones of the story mapped and was starting to flesh it out. But gradually, this other story has been creeping in. A dystopian is forming, and it is taking up all my thoughts. I am not thinking about a YA urban fantasy, but a dystopian with a raw character, and an out of control landscape. I see civilisation being reclaimed by nature, a nature which has been evolving, vaguely tainted by something which occurred in the past. The problem is, this story idea is half formed. I can see the landscape and the rag-tag people who populate it, but I don’t know what the plot is. I have no main character, I have no grand scheme. I just have the world in which it occurs building itself away in my mind, and blotting out the story that went before it. I suddenly have no passion for the previous story. I am sure it was a good idea, but I don’t want to write it now. It is in black and white, and the new story is in colour.Glorious, dreary colour. I am thinking washed out skies, faded browns, rich but tarnished greens, and glorious electrical storms. Even now, I can feel the fury and the awesome magnitude of storms ripping across the landscape, bowing before it everything which dare stands in its way.

How can I write a nearly formed boring urban fantasy when an epic landscape of potential is taking up all my attention? I don’t even know what will happen with this story, who is in it, where it takes place. I know nothing of the people who inhabit it, nor if they are peaceful or martial, desperate or content. All I can envision is this amazingly raw landscape in which it takes place, and the potential it holds for me.

Planning Nano: shaking something loose

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I suddenly wish nano was here already! The first paragraph of my story just hit me! I jotted it down, hoping it will shake something loose.

Almost. I almost wish nano was here. I’m still worried that I don’t know what Jade is running from. It’s like a quest in reverse, because she is running from something, not the classic running toward a goal. All my normal responses are out of wack because of it. O need to know what she is running from before I can work out her past *sigh*

I am an ink-stained notebook whore


I’ve been reading Chuck Wendig’s blog again, entitled How To Tell If You’re A Writer, and you know what? As well as being a funny fuck with a way with words, he just gets things. Things I never even noticed until I read his posts. I really recommend following Terrible Minds – only, of course, if you do not mind profanity and adult themes (hehe dragon sex) and, well, don’t take yourself too seriously. I don’t take myself seriously at all. And profanity and adult themes? Let’s just say my mumma tells me to mind my language when I talk to her. And yes, she has threatened to wash my mouth out with soap. A lot.

Anyhoo. Basically, Chuck Wendig is a legend.

I realised something. I may not have written much for ten years, but even when I wasn’t pen to paper, I was composing in my head. Sometimes I turned things into poetry, sometimes into art, but others? Well I wrote words upon my mind, dwelled on them, then let them float off into the aether. Words have always been incredibly important to me. I love playing with them. I love savouring them. I love saying them. I love writing them. I love weaving them. I just love words. I collect them too. I am sure some of you have noticed but I collect interesting words and phrases that mean something to me. It may be because of the way they sound (I love onomatopoeia and assonance), it may be word meaning, or it may just be that something about that word resounds in my being. Sometimes they are not actually modern english (“cwellan” is a good example – Old English for “to kill” and where the modern word “quell” originated from). Sometimes they are slang. Sometimes they are antiquated english. Sometimes they are culled from poetry or literature. They seem to worm their way into my writing, into my conversations. I can’t stop them. It is like the words have a life and a mind of their own. A soul. And those words (are they possessed?) sometimes fall upon a page and write themselves. Sometimes they talk to me. Sometimes I talk to them. Sometimes we have conversations (hopefully when no one can hear us). Sometimes everything meshes and I have something I am willing to share. All the other times, I have scratches on pages that I hide in books scattered around my room.

I still don’t call myself a writer. I get flustered when others do. But, I am one who writes. So that is who I am. I am an ink-stained notebook whore. I scribble stories on paper, I scratch them into my skin. I write.

NB: “an ink-stained notebook whore” is in reference to Chuck Wendig’s article, linked above. Also, in my circle? We call it a stationery slut.

AmWriting Links

TalkToYoUniverse: Hiding Information in Plain Sight: {link}
Zena Shapter: “Times have changed for fantasy writers… or have they?” {link}
Patty Jansen: “How the size of a planet determines its atmosphere” {link}
Stepcase Lifehack:“10 Reasons You Should Write Something Each Day” {link}
Patty Jansen: “So you want to be a space farmer?” {link}
Bothersome Words: “How stories are distilled” {link}
Erica Hayes: “Chapter breaks and pacing” {link}
Patty Jansen: “How to punctuate dialogue” {link}
Lillith Saintcrow: “Avoiding the ‘hard sell'”  {link}
Ripping Ozzie Reads: “‘Words’ a writer’s tools” {link}
Rachelle Gardner: “Myths About Agents” {link}
The Voyager Blog: “Emerging Writers: don’t give up the ghost” by Kim Falconer {link}
Plotting Made Easy: “The Complications Worksheet” {link}
Blood and Barricades: “Writing well versus writing (and tweeting) for the market” {link}
Blood and Barricades: “Bloggers, writers and ‘negative’ reviews” {link}
Patty Jensen: “What to put in a cover letter” {link}

NaNoWriMo: Why I consider less than 50,000 words a success

My NaNoWriMo is going both good and bad. It is sort of see-sawing in both directions. It really depends what goals you refer to. The official goal is writing 50,000 words in one month. My personal goal was a change in writing attitude and behaviours. One is a bust and the other a success. As a Nano it is officially going bad, because I haven’t been able to write each day, and the only time I can write is during my lunch break. Basically this means my word count is rubbish. I am writing by hand, so I don’t know exactly how many words I am up to, but I am guessing it is up around 7000 to 8000? I took a week off as my best friend was visiting, and then this week I have been quite ill. I was already behind, but these last two weeks have seen my left in the dust. I have a friend who finished hers in 7 days (FTW) and I have two other friends who have nearly finished. Most of the people I talk to are near the goal number of words, or at least only a few thousand words behind it. But to tell you the truth, I really don’t care that I am so far behind them. I know the reasons I am behind, and I am okay with them. I never told myself that I must write 50,000 words in one month, but that I needed to give myself a chance to change my behaviour. I am really proud of how I have changed my thinking towards writing, how I have changed my editing practices, how my story is unravelling, and I am excited about what will happen to my character next.

Despite the lack of word count progress I am happy with what I am writing. I didn’t write a synopsis, or make any real plans. I was free wheeling it, and it seems to be going well for me. Every other time I have tried to write something longer than a short story, I would get caught up in editing. I’d write a page and have to go back and make it perfect. Revising one page ten times does not equal writing ten pages! o.O Nano is forcing me out of that habit of constant revision, and it means I am getting words down on paper, even if it is taking me longer than I expected. It really is difficult when you don’t have a dedicated work space. I’ve been going to cafes, writing on trains, at railway stations, etc. I’ve even stood on a door stoop and written against a wall while waiting for the rain to stop!!! No joke! I’ve banned reading urban fantasy/ paranormal romance, which is killing me (I can’t help it, I love reading about supernatural creatures in our world!) and that basically means that I am no longer reading fiction. I have a big bag of books I am meant to be reading so I can return them to their owner, but they are all in the PNR genre, and I don’t want to start the dystopian stories I have because I will go on a dystopian bender again. I thought that extra time I gained from not reading would give me more time to write, but due to lack of workspace that wasn’t to be. I bought a Sony Reader last week and have filled it up with free books on mythology and folklore from Project Gutenberg, and have been reading through those instead. The problem with my lack of planning (I decided to do Nano at the last minute) is that I haven’t boned up on the mythology and folklore I want to tap into. It resides in my skull somewhere, but I want to read over things again. That takes time.

I am handwriting, so I do need to type my Nano up, but my computer desk at home is covered in millions of books. My desk chair actually does have about 50 books stacked on it. No joke! I got curious and counted them. I tried moving them to my bed once, but then I tried to sleep in a bed covered in books, as I was too tired to move them back to my desk. It was not a success. My desk is only for my computer, so I can’t write in my notebook there, and writing in bed just hurts me. My housemate has his fiancé visiting from the Philippines, and they have taken over occupation of the house for the last three months – meaning I can’t write in the dining room. They are going on holiday next week, so I am planning on taking over the house again. My other housemate spends all her time at her boyfriend’s house, so I should have free reign! *mine. mine, all mine!* *cackles* Hopefully next week I can dedicate a decent amount of time when I am hope to write this bitch down! I did find the official write-ins very helpful! I went to one on a Wednesday at the coffee club near Town Hall. I doubled my word count that day. I also went to the tail end of a day-long write-in at Circular Quay, which was helpful. I made a character breakthrough, which was great. I wanted to go to more, but last Wednesday was the Galaxy end of year party, which I couldn’t miss, and l was sick on Sunday and Wednesday this week. Maybe this coming Sunday I will be well enough to go! I think the best thing about NaNoWriMo is the sense of community! I have met so many new people this month. And discovered that more friends than I thought were aspiring writers. I wish them all luck with their endeavours! 😀

To sum up:

I never went into NaNoWriMo thinking I would write the “Great Australian Novel”, and I was never very focused on that goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. I do not feel disappointed that I won’t make that goal. I suppose it is still possible if I could commit to writing abut 4000 words per day, but I am not going to kill myself trying to reach that goal. As far as I am concerned, I have already been successful with my NaNoWriMo goals. I have sat down and started a novel. I have gained the self control not to edit the shit out of what I AM writing! And I have started a story that I want to finish and that continues to percolate in my brain. When November 30 rolls around, I will have a big fat NC next to my name, but I really don’t care. As far as I am concerned it is a RW! (Results Withheld, as opposed to Not Completed). If you are doing NaNoWriMo this year, I wish you all the best! But even more so, I wish you all the best finishing your novel, not just writing 50,000 words!

NaNoWriMo 2010

So it is decided! I am going to join NaNoWriMo this year. I am doing it under my pseudonym Zja Zja Francis and see it as a writing project. I need to learn new behaviours for writing. In the past I have always gotten so hung up on writing the perfect sentence. I constantly edit, and in doing so, I loose my train of thought. I’ve never written more than 3,000 words on one story before. I want to change that! I don’t think I have a future as an author, and I am doing this purely for my own self. My friend Ashley wrote 17 consecutive chapters without edits, and plans to go back and worry about those later. I think I need to take that approach! I’ve been mulling over giving writing another shot, and I think this will give me the perfect opportunity to test my wings. It also means I will have to actually put pen to paper instead of just talking about it! I don’t think I will get to write “The Great Australian Novel” or even reach the goal of 50,000, but I would like to write at least five chapters. Wish me luck!