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IWSG: NaNo time again

Published November 7, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Bah, I really wanted to write a non-IWSG post this month.  I even tossed some ideas around in my head…during the commute to and from work, when I couldn’t do anything about it.

*sigh*

Well, anyway, I actually finished the draft I was working on about mid-month, giving me some time to play around with a new fanfic (which I didn’t come even close to finishing) as well as time to do some prep for NaNo.

I’m pretty confident that I’d have super-duper no problem finishing this year’s NaNo novel if I had no other demands on my time.  But I have a presentation and a paper to prepare (and as of this pre-writing, on Oct. 30, I’ve only had my main source for 24 hours, and have read about five pages of it, max), plus the museum where I work will be decorating for Christmas, which will likely take away the majority of a day when I’d normally be free to write (probably two or three, actually, as I’m going to need at least a day to pull all the toys that will go on display, plus I’m supervising a display case we always fill at a local library for the holiday season), and as Christmas season approaches I’ll have to be working more days as we get more busy at work.  So…yeah, life is going to do its best to throw a wrench in my writing plans.

Maybe there’ll be a freak snowstorm and I won’t be able to go to work for a week.  That’d help me keep caught up on NaNo and my class work.  Might kind of suck otherwise, though…

(Also, I am totally creeped out beyond anything any Halloween-related movie is likely to do.  Not ten minutes ago, a mosquito landed on my computer.  Inside my bedroom.  This is all kinds of wrong, and has left me compulsively scratching all over myself as if it’s already bitten me everywhere (despite that most of me is covered with cloth).  How did it get in my house?  How did it get in my bedroom when I always keep the door shut?  How is it even alive?  I know it was unseasonably warm today (70+ degrees Fahrenheit), but earlier this month we had nights that were down below 40; it should have died of cold.  Even worse, I didn’t wanna squash it on my computer, and so it got away, and now I don’t know where it is…)

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IWSG – Twas the Month Before NaNo…

Published October 3, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Ack, I forgot to pre-write this!  *cough*

I find myself in pretty much the same place I was last month, with not getting much done on my re-write and desperately hoping I’ll finish it before NaNoWriMo starts.  Only it’s not just slow going because I’m having trouble motivating myself to get working on it.  It’s also slow because my class work picked up.  It’s been a while since I was in a really heavy-duty class (doesn’t help that I didn’t take a class last semester), and this one is turning out to be particularly intensive.  Like, one week the professor assigned us a thousand pages of reading and didn’t see what was wrong with that.  Even though she knows most of the students are either working full time or are taking multiple other graduate level courses.  Argh.

Speaking of “argh,” I had a strange dilemma come up a few days ago as I was working on the re-write.  The way this level of the re-write is going, I’m tending to copy-and-paste anything that doesn’t need to be changed to accommodate the new version of one of my leads, right?  (Because further refining those scenes can wait until the next draft.)  So in pursuing one of the radically, radically, radically different sequences, I had been so eager to move ahead (because it was just fresh composition, rather than trying to tell the same basic sequence of events with a different character) that I had skipped over a “cut-away” scene to show what some of the less prominent characters were up to.  After I realized that, and went in and put it in place, I remembered that at the last Camp NaNo session, I had written another “cut-away” scene to show what one of the antagonists was up to, and it had to go sometime in front of the previous one.  Then….

…..okay, let me start over with a few more details so it won’t get too confusing.  The main antagonist of this book is the prince of the country it takes place in, who is also the ex-boyfriend of one of the main leads.  However, the main antagonist of the series (yes, this is book one of a series) is the king, not the prince.  And although I talked a lot about the king in all the earlier drafts, he never once showed up.  So I had written a scene where the king is having a fit and orders his son to go hunt down that pernicious ex-boyfriend of his.  This was to lead into the “cut-away” scene I already had, where the prince goes to the bad-ass lady sky pirate and asks her help in approaching his ex-boyfriend.  So what happened the other day is that after putting in the scene with the lady pirate, I remembered the other scene, went to read it and figure out where best to insert it into the draft…and found out that I had written it in such a way that it was required to go after a battle against the Royal Navy that hadn’t happened yet.

*sigh*

Honestly, the worst part about that is that it meant that the entire writing session (most days I only manage to write in the interim between breakfast and leaving for work) turned out to be wasted, because everything I had done had to be undone because it was in the wrong place.

Delays like that are one of the main reasons I’m worried I won’t get the re-write done before November.  My class is the other reason, because I’m supposed to be spending October doing research for my final paper…not that she’s letting up with the heavy assigned reading for a second.  Ugh.  I am so ready to graduate that I can’t stand it.  (But I definitely need to take one more class after this, which really sucks.)

I’ve had some thoughts about my NaNo project, too.

My plan is to write out some of the myths of the world of this novel, because I keep having characters refer to their gods without my having a very firm idea of who those gods are or how they function in their societies.  One of the characters in the novel (in the new draft, anyway) is a scholar, so I just decided to set him up as more of a folklorist/mythologist instead of a historian, so he’s going to be the “author” of this book in-world, and that way I don’t have to worry about trying to change narrative voices between cultures.  And I think I may have said all that last month?  Well, anyway, my plans have narrowed and focused a bit since then.  Originally, I wanted to write every culture’s main myths, but since I want them all inspired by real cultures, that would require a lot more research than I have time for.  Instead, I’m going to just do the three cultures my three leads come from.  (If I finish all that and still have time, I might address the two cultures that are going to come up in the next book, one based on Nordic/Teutonic myth, and the other…uh…I have no idea what to base it on.  I need to research what little we know about Gaulish myth…but I fear it was not much different from the Celtic myths of the British Isles…)

So I’m going to write the main myths of three cultures, one inspired by Celtic, one inspired by Greek and one inspired by Roman myths.  Once I’ve done the basic mythic background material, then I’m going to do that character’s “paraphrases” of the major mythic cycles.  And that’s where it’s going to get tricky, because a large part of the plot of the series is that a thousand years before the action of the books, a mystical doodad was used to erase all knowledge and memory of war from the minds of the human race.  It began to wear off after about nine hundred years, so there’s war again in the present, but there can’t be any wars or knowledge of war left in their myths…

…and that means I have to write myths that have obvious places where there used to be war, but it’s been removed and/or replaced.  The Celtic mythic cycle will be easiest in that respect:  I plan on it being about a character who’s basically a fusion of Cu Chulainn and King Arthur, so I can replace wars with jousts and tournaments.  (And it’s not like personal violence between individuals went away along with wars…)  But the Greek and Roman mythic cycles?  How do you tell a “based on the Trojan War” story in a world without the concept of war?  Actually, the Roman one will be easier, since the major mythic cycle that the Romans don’t share with the Greeks is the journey of Aeneas (only important post-Vergil, of course) and the foundation of Rome, and I can always have their culture hero fleeing his distant home because of a natural disaster instead of it being destroyed in war.  But for the Greeks, it’ll be trickier.  All the more so because I’m flouting the typical thing and my based-on-ancient-Greece culture isn’t based on our modern idealized vision of Athens (because let’s face it, the real thing was not such a pretty, erudite democracy) but instead based on the horrible, slave-powered reality of ancient Sparta.  Which means their favorite god wasn’t the noble Athene but the brutal Ares.  Athene can be reworked easily without the war part (some people probably forget she’s a goddess of war as well as of wisdom) but Ares?  Without war, all he’s got is sleeping with Aphrodite and hiding in bronze jars when Olympos is invaded by giants.  It’s going to be a real challenge to reinvent him both without war and yet while making it clear that he’s supposed to be a god of war.  (I may have to make him a god of martial arts, as it were, but even that doesn’t work because “martial” is still a reference to war…)

Anyway, strangely, despite that it sounds like I’m filled with worries for my writing, my main writing worry is…okay, actually, I have two.  One, I feel like I’m gonna flip out if I can’t write some fanfic soon and let out all my crazy new fantasies about my current OTP, but I don’t want to do that before I finish my rewrite, because I don’t want to contaminate the characters, and my brain is slow to change over between sets of characters in my writing.  The second — and bigger — thing is that I seem to have totally lost my blogging habit.  (I don’t even want to think about how far behind I am in reading blogs, either…)  I think it’s because I started work on the review of a book I really didn’t like, and the idea of finishing it feels oppressive.  Maybe I should just write a preface and post it as an “abandoned” review…?

I did actually have a good idea for how to start blogging again, though.  One that should help with my writing, even.  I just can’t act on it yet.  Among the altogether too many things I’ve backed on Kickstarter have been some card-based party games that I plan to use as writing prompts rather than games.  For example, one of them is called “Pitch Storm” (I think), and you get a set of cards suggesting ridiculous movie premises, complete with asinine notes from an incompetent executive, and you’re supposed to pitch the movie that would result.  So, what I plan to do instead is to write a brief story (or possibly detailed summary) based on the cards.  And I thought I’d post that to my blog.  But the game hasn’t been produced and shipped yet, so I can’t do that yet.  (There’s one or two others I plan on using for writing prompts, too.  I actually have one of them already, but it’s going to be the hardest to use for the purpose, it turns out, and I haven’t had a chance to try yet.)

IWSG – Stalled Out (+ An Idea Up For Adoption)

Published September 5, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Lately, I  just don’t seem able to write.  Not much, anyway, especially not at a single sitting.  My blogging has almost stopped entirely (I seem to be averaging about 2 posts a month on this blog, and about 1 every other month on my other blog), and my regular writing has really stalled, too.

Part of that is due to the re-write in progress, I think.  I believe I said last time that I was currently re-writing last year’s NaNo novel (and had been for both this year’s Camp sessions) and that for the current attempt I’ve completely replaced one of the characters, which has necessitated massive shifts in story.  Some of the scenes are barely altered (largely because he’s not in them), some are still similar enough that they’re easy to deal with, and then you get to the sequence I’m currently in, where there’s more that’s 100% new than there is that’s been kept.  And I don’t mean how much text and I can copy-and-paste from the old draft.  I mean the entire situation of why they’re in town, what they’re doing there and how they’re going to get to the island off the coast has nothing in common with the original version.  Once they get to the island, things won’t be as different, but…they have to get there first.  Today (er, yesterday) all I did was look over what I’d written the last time I worked on it (some two or three days previous) and ended up doing nothing, because I just wasn’t feeling it.

I feel like that’s a big problem with this draft, is that while some scenes I’m really into (mostly the ones with the two male leads interacting and developing the possibility of the relationship I originally intended them to have before I started the initial draft) and then there’s scenes like this one that feel like a chore to write (mostly, these are purely story scenes that don’t develop their relationship, even though they do tend to develop their characters).  I think if I was going back to my fanfic, I probably wouldn’t be in this slump, but I don’t want to stop halfway through this kind of re-write, because I feel like if I did, I’d never finish it.

*sigh*

It’s very frustrating, because I feel like there are a lot of wrong answers about what I need to do right now, and no right answers.

Another thing that’s bugging me is the world-building.  Specifically, the world’s religions.  I’ve based each culture loosely on a real world culture, and I’ve tended to have the characters just toss off mentions — generally in the form of oaths — to their gods, pretty much on the assumption that they’re identical to their Earth counterparts.  (To the extent that some of them don’t even have their own names yet, and just get [Athene] or [Aten] or whatever for now.)  I’m thinking of using this November’s NaNo to write up the mythology of their world, so I can have them more organically reference their myths and stuff.  Since I’m planning on releasing the final book (for free via LeanPub) when the re-writes are finally done, I could just release the myths as well, either before, after or simultaneously.  I haven’t at all started planning it yet, aside from trying to decide some of the details of what kind of myths I want to write (cosmogonies and theogonies, first off, then stories of the gods and major heroic tales for the cultures of the three leads), but I feel like it’s probably a good idea.  I hope.

The idea is that what I’ll be writing will be a book from that world, specifically a book on world mythology.  I’ve already set up a character in the novel who’s a professor studying mythology, so I can have him be the “author,” and that way I don’t have to worry about setting up extremely different voices for the myths from the different cultures, because they’re all being re-told by the same author.

Given the way my writing seems to go, the myths will probably make better reading than the novel.

*sigh*

Aaaaaaanyway, it’s not that I’m running out of ideas.  It’s just that almost none of my ideas are about how to approach this rewrite.

However!  I had a great idea the other day (at least, I think it’s a great idea) for a movie musical, and I wanted to share it, on the off chance that someone might read this who happens to be (or know) a screenwriter.

The movie would be a musical adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984.  Now, it’s been a very long time since I read the novel, but I seem to recall that Big Brother never showed up (in fact, the way I remember it going, I’m not sure he even existed) and I’d want that to stay the case in the movie adaptation…but he’d still get a theme song.  The way I envision it, the Big Brother posters would feature an artist’s rendition of Sting at whatever age seems appropriate for Big Brother (I’m picturing him the way he looked in the mid-’90s, but that might not be old enough), and the theme song would, of course, be “Every Breath You Take.”  Possibly with new lyrics that removed the lines that make some people mistake it for a love song.

I can honestly say that I think Sting would sign on.  (Of course, I don’t actually know much (or anything) about the man aside from his lyrics (mostly from the ’70s-’80s) and a couple of quotes I’ve seen.  But those lyrics lead me to believe he would be receptive to the idea.)

So, if anyone reading this happens to work in the movie industry (or know Sting), please think about this idea seriously!  I think that if the movie hewed as closely to the book as possible (using actual novel text for the lyrics of the new songs, etc) it could be quite something.  I give you this idea freely, and I want neither compensation nor credit should it be made.  I totally want to see it if done right, though.

IWSG – Wednesday snuck up on me!

Published August 1, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Not used to the first being a Wednesday!  *cough*

*ahem*

So, this month’s suggested question is about the journey to publication, and I detoured off that road years ago, so I have nothing to say about it, and will instead talk about how July CampNaNo went for me.

It was a very up-and-down kind of thing, honestly.  As I said last time, I had a draft with an alpha reader, and I couldn’t really address any big issues until I heard back from him to get an outside perspective on those big issues.  (It’s very annoying:  I could tell there were problems, and that they basically had to do with the structure and one of my three leads, but I couldn’t figure out what the actual problems were.  Too close to it, y’know?)

So until I got that feedback, it was mostly just me reading over it to see if anything leapt out at me as wrong, and adding a few scenes I knew needed to be there.  (Like a scene that actually contained the series’ big bad…)

And then I actually heard back from him.

Wow.  I mean, it’s amazing just how many blinders I had on, you know?  The lead I knew was a problem was 100% broken; he was supposed to be the reader’s entry point character, the easy-to-empathize with guy, and instead he ended up being the one character the reader absolutely couldn’t stand.  And all his points made sense.  (In fact, most of the particular things he pointed out as being problematic were things I had added in late in the planning stage to try and cover up for other problems that seemed much worse to me at the time.  I wonder how he would have reacted to the character if I’d just been like “screw it, who even cares?” and left him as originally envisioned?

After processing his feedback for a while, I decided to start a comprehensive re-write, replacing the broken lead with another character with the same name and hitting a few important details for plot progression (he still needed to be associated with the original version’s home town, for example), and to completely excise the “sub-plot” that ate up most of the novel.  (And which had caused one of my big structural problems, where the cast sat around on an island for two weeks so the problem guy could learn to read and one of the other leads could read a dead man’s diary.  So that problem goes bye-bye surprisingly easily, it turns out!)

Obviously, since he got back to me relatively late (I think it was around the 20th?), I haven’t gotten all that far in the new version, and the replacement lead is still not even in his characterization, because I’m sort of inventing him on the fly (sometimes being a pantser is a curse), but I think he should be more interesting this time around.  And the plot’s not going to be bogged down by my really pathetic attempts at “the feels.”

Overall, a very weird experience, because I went through the first half+ of the month barely able to think of anything to do to fill out the minutes for my daily goal, and then suddenly I had so much to do that there was no way I could finish it in the month.  (Well, okay, I might have been able to if I hadn’t had to do things like going to work.  And playing video games.  *cough*  Not that I exactly have to do that, but…)

I do feel a bit like I’m floundering in the new version, I have to admit, but that’s largely because I can’t quite nail down what the new personality is.  I should probably stop writing and figure that out before I go any further, now that there’s no longer a daily goal to meet…

One thing I did think of is that since I’m going to release it in a .pdf via LeanPub, maybe I can do some fun stuff with some of the extra-textual materials.  I’ve got things like a recruiting waybill for a British East India-type company (only without the imperialism, because that doesn’t exist in this world) and I thought I’d actually do it up like a handbill pasted on a wall, complete with curling corners and font flourishes and stuff.  And another thing is someone’s journal from a thousand years earlier (not what the other character was reading in the original version, btw), and I thought I might use one of the more legible handwriting fonts and put it on a rough paper-looking background, that kind of thing.  I may do the preliminary work on that (obviously, the final work will have to wait until I’ve finalized the text to go on the special pages) while I’m trying to figure out the new personality.  Not sure.  I mean, it’s not the most productive use of writing time, but now that I’m no longer on a NaNo deadline, why not?

IWSG – Still Frustrated (But a Bit Less So)

Published July 4, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

The pinched nerve situation I talked about in last month’s post (also the last post before this one *shame*) is still not completely resolved.  There are probably a lot of reasons for that, but most of them, I fear, stem from the fact that I didn’t want to take an indefinite break from work, and almost everything I do at work exacerbates the situation and prevents it from healing properly.  But at this point I can type for a little while as long as I have the computer directly on my lap; putting it on a desk (like at work *cough*) continues to pinch the nerve and my entire right arm goes all tingly within about 30 seconds.

So, due to the fact that I can kind of write again, I did take the risk of signing up for July CampNaNo, still revising last year’s NaNo novel, just like in April’s Camp.  But this time it’s a bit more…lazy.  I’m counting re-reading time as revising time.  (I’m measuring my goal in minutes, rather than words.)  My goal at first is to go through and try to standardize the characterization of one of my two leads.  That and add any major stuff I can think of that’s still missing.  There’s also a draft with an alpha reader right now, who will hopefully let me know how I can fix up the novel’s structure, though goodness knows it may not be salvageable.  (Since I don’t plan on typical publication, if it’s that bad, I may just release it into the wilds with broken structure.  As long as the characters are solid, the dialog good, and there aren’t any horrific grammatical errors, I figure bad structure is probably okay in the particular context of this novel.)

I’m still frustrated by my lack of physical ability to write, though, because I had all sorts of cool plot ideas during that no-writing down time, and I wasn’t even able to write them down, so now I’ve forgotten a lot of them, or they’ve at least grown cold and fuzzy, which isn’t much better than being forgotten.

I’m hoping to get back to writing short blog posts sometime this month, though.

But unfortunately I’ve hit my limit for now, and have to stop.

*sigh*

IWSG – Frustration

Published June 6, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Late post, and 1st time trying to compose a post on my phone. (If my tablet wasn’t still broken, this’d be easier!)

I can’t type right now. Pinched nerve in my shoulder; my whole arm goes tingly if I try. (Fortunately, the phone is okay(ish) because of the different poses it allows.)

Haven’t been able to use my computer in a week. I may actually go insane at this rate.

Worst part is, I had just started getting the project from NaNo and April Camp ready to beg on the NaNo forums for a beta (alpha?) reader to help me figure out the structural SNAFUs before July Camp.

That is looking less and less likely now. 😦

IWSG – Post April Camp

Published May 2, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Because I was just doing revision instead of writing something new, CampNaNo this time did not feel quite as…how do I even put this?  An impetus, I guess?  Only that’s not quite it, because it did serve as a low-level impetus, finally getting me to stop putting it off and start the reworking on my novel from November.

I think my biggest accomplishment was sort of a by-product, though.  I knew I wanted to add material (at about 80k, it was short for me, but that isn’t why) to try and get around the complete stoppage of action near the end, and also some fun stuff to flesh in the world a bit.  My attempt to prevent the stoppage absolutely did not work; it still comes to a screeching halt, and I have no idea how to change that.  But the fun stuff opened an amazing door.  It started out in the form of an advertising campaign trying to get people to sign on with a very shady trading company (like the British or Dutch East India Companies, only with trading ships flown around the world by pegasi, and no imperialism to make their gains even more ill-gotten) and when that failed to get out all the information I wanted, I decided to follow it up with their new employee handbook.  (Parts of it, anyway.)

I had a lot of fun with the new employee handbook, but more importantly, it made me realize two things.  One, if I started half my chapters with an excerpt from a promotional ad or an employee handbook from a company like that, any readers I might have would obviously expect the company to feature in the story, and they would expect them to be evil.  And two, that it would be really boring if it was as simple as them just being evil.

So I decided I should have the company just be, well, a slightly more powerful and sadistic version of the real thing, but with a twist:  there’s a secret society hidden inside the company that’s been guarding exactly what the heroes are searching for, and will spend the whole series gaining pieces of in a desperate race against both the villain and the clock.  (Well, the calendar rather than the clock; they have three years.)  That way I get around the earlier, rather ludicrous idea I had that all the clues were in a 700 year old book and no one had ever in all that time stumbled across any of the pieces to move them.  This way, they have to get the information out of the members of the secret society, instead of already having the knowledge they need.  And some of them will cooperate, and others won’t.

I’m afraid I need to find a beta reader now, though.  I need help with the structural problem; I’m too close to it to see the solution.  (If there is one.)  It’d probably be good to have someone tell me if the characters are totally annoying, or whatnot.  I’m not quite sure where to find a beta reader, though.  Probably through the NaNo forums.  I mean, technically, I don’t absolutely need a beta reader, because I’m not planning on publishing this professionally, or even self-publishing it in any meaningful way.  (To defeat a forum troll, I have to release it to the public in some way, but I’m just planning on putting it on LeanPub for free, and posting a few chapters on AO3 to increase the chances of at least one person actually seeing that it exists and maybe downloading a copy.)  But I’d still like to get it into better shape than this before I set it adrift on the interwebs.  (Admittedly, LeanPub allows you to edit as much as you want even after you release it, but I’d rather it be as fixed as possible first.)

The idea of getting a beta reader terrifies me, though.  They’ll be expecting something much better than my crappy writing…and I worry that they’ll dismiss the whole book just because I can’t write descriptions (or even visualize the things to be described) or anything much other than dialog.

IWSG – April is complicated

Published April 4, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

(If you’re looking for today’s April A-to-Z post, you have astonishingly bad timing; I scheduled the two posts to go up within two minutes of each other!  You can find the A-to-Z post here.)

So, April is a crazy month for me this year.  I’m doing both CampNaNo (working on a revision of last November’s novel) and the April A-to-Z blogging challenge.   (And, come to think of it, I haven’t done my taxes yet!  Yikes!)  Therefore, I don’t have a huge amount of time to spend on this post (even though I’m writing this on March 29th) and I’m gonna move on to the optional question for April:

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Okay, well…actually, I prefer cloudy and rainy days to sunny ones, so…um…I totally lost track of my answer already.

So, my writing is entirely for my own entertainment (though I do post my fanfic on AO3, for the two or three people that actually read it) and if I’m not really feeling it, I just put it aside for a while.  I definitely do go through writing-heavy and writing-light phases in my life.  (And getting hooked on Stardew Valley has not helped my writing life any.)

I do often look to NaNoWriMo (and CampNaNo) to help me jump start my writing when I’m feeling a little less into it.  The structure and the competing-with-yourself nature of it somehow really helps me out.

IWSG – It’s almost April…

Published March 7, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

…and that means Camp.

Not camp like “cheesy, over-the-top” but camp like CampNaNo.  (But you knew that.)

Actually, I’ve never done the April session of CampNaNo before, just the July session.  But I’m not taking a class this semester, not doing April A-to-Z (or maybe I should, just to try and jumpstart my pathetic blog), so there’s no reason not to.  Plus I haven’t been very motivated lately (getting addicted to a couple of video games in a row has definitely not helped, of course), so I’m hoping this will get me back into a good writing habit again.

I’ll be re-working my NaNo novel from this November, which is a first:  I’ve never done a rewrite as a NaNo project.  I’m also doing a first for me and have set my goal as 30 hours instead of a number of words.  I generally get about half an hour’s writing time before I leave for work in the morning…though I don’t always use it to write.  In fact, lately I’ve loaded up my current project (essentially an RPG in fiction form), written about two sentences (if even that much), and then opened a file of one of my past projects that needs editing.  Not that I actually edited the past projects when I opened them; I just read over bits I liked and made mental notes about the parts that needed fixing.  (Yeah, not the least bit productive, I know.  That’s part of my worry.)

Of course, I have new worries about doing this revision for camp.  Like, for starters, I haven’t even opened the file since early December.

I should probably read it over before April gets here.  Especially since the idea is to start out by writing the long dead guy’s journal in order to use it as chapter-openers throughout the book.  I need to remember what he was writing about before I can actually write it.  And refreshing my memory about the world I created would probably be a good idea, too.  (I mean, I could look at my notes file, but it’s a freakin’ mess, so I’m not sure that would actually be helpful.)

Part of me thinks I should see if anyone in my Cabin (once I’m in a Cabin, anyhow) wants to look over my first draft and see if they have any suggestions, and the rest of me thinks that wouldn’t be at all fair to them (I know it’s a convoluted mess with ghastly pacing and a tendency to take back doors to avoid anything actually, you know, happening) and might serve no function but to make them hate me.

….so, I just re-read my IWSG post from December, where I was talking about NaNo, and there was a lot there I’d already forgotten.  Am I getting senile in my early 40s?  That’s a terrifying thought…but either way, at least I have that post to help me remember what I wanted to do in the re-write.

But I think I definitely need to re-read the original draft before April 1st.  I guess, since my current project isn’t grabbing me, I’ll set it aside for now and use my mornings before work to re-read my NaNo novel and get some planning done about how I want to proceed through April…

…and maybe make some plans to do April A-to-Z after all…

IWSG – Genre

Published February 7, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

(Pre-writing to make sure I don’t forget!)

My writing life has been a bit slow of late, so I don’t have any fresh…well, anything, really…to talk about, so I’ll just stick to the optional question for the month:

February 7 question – What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

It’s sort of an awkward question for me right now, because lately (like, for the last year and a half) what I’ve been writing has been fanfiction.  And I’m not sure if that counts as a genre.  (I’m fairly sure it doesn’t, regardless of NaNo categories.)  So what genre have I been writing in?  I guess it’s either the catch-all “fiction”, romance or…is there such a genre as “recent historical fiction”?  Or rather, “recent alternate history” fiction?  Because the movie I’ve been writing fanfic of is set in 1984, but it’s not the real 1984, as it’s a bit more dystopian (without going full-on Orwell), and I have a tendency to play up the dystopian angle, though not enough to make it a work of dystopian fiction.

I suppose, for the sake of argument, I’ll pretend that “recent alternate history” is a genre.

I have to admit that I have a lot of fun with that, playing around with the early ’80s, not only in revisiting the decade (though the movie’s 1984 is also a lot less colorful than the 1980s I remember (admittedly, I was only 9 in 1984)) but also playing around with all sorts of things we all know came after.  For example, in one I wrote a while back, the reporter who’s one of the central characters of the movie managed to write a story that broke the fictional president’s reign of terror.  (Okay, okay, “reign of terror” is an exaggeration, but…for cryin’ out loud, there’s a scene in the movie where there are three police-types standing on the streets of New York with freakin’ assault rifles, and everyone ignores them, because that’s their “normal.”)  Because that happened about 1986 or so, I figured that made a safe bet that 1988’s election would go differently, and I could make a passing reference to “President Dukakis” in a scene that took place around 1990 or 1991.  (Admittedly, there’s no real reason to assume Dukakis would still have gotten the Democratic nomination in such a different 1988 primary race, but I figured “why not?”  Considering it was just a single passing reference, I didn’t see any reason to research the other contenders for the nomination to decide if someone else would have been more likely in the atmosphere left behind by a president whose corruption caused his own self-destruction.)

Still, as much as I love doing stuff like that, I guess that’s all secondary to the romance…which is more than a little weird, considering that I’m aromantic and don’t actually like romance as a genre.  It’s just that Curt and Arthur are so perfect together and I can’t help wanting to write about them somehow finding a happy ending together, despite their coming from such different worlds!  (Of course, the romance is the weakest angle of my already weak writing, what with having zero experience (not to mention being female), but…well, I’ve come to understand a few of the things I do a lot that are most absurd, and I plan not to do them anymore, and hopefully I can even excise them from some of my unposted works that are still waiting for editing, so that’s something, anyway.)

Prior to getting addicted to Velvet Goldmine fanfic, I used to write mostly various types of fantasy.  For that, it’s easy to say what I loved:  getting to utterly ignore reality, and create a new set of rules for my little fictional world to follow.  Admittedly, I frequently depended on pre-existing rule sets (like the set of novel-length works set in the Heroic Age of Greece, starring the offspring of three of the most important and famous of the Greeks who fought at Troy) but I still had more ability to tweak reality to suit me, and as long as I was consistent in that tweaking throughout the work, it was okay, you know?

Getting to create a whole new world, even if it’s only a tiny bit different from reality, is definitely my favorite part of writing all around.  I lack the descriptive ability to make others fully grasp what I’ve imagined for my fictional worlds, but my writing is pretty much just for me, anyway.  (I’ve only twice tried to actually publish anything, both times quite abortively.  I’m going to do a half-hearted self-epub of this past November’s NaNo once I’ve polished it up, but for very different reasons than one normally publishes anything.)

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