writer’s blues

All posts tagged writer’s blues

IWSG – Untitled

Published October 2, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

So, I had this post planned out where I was going to spend the whole time bitching about how the new NaNoWriMo site is broken and hideous and it’s completely killed my desire even to participate, and…

…but I’m not gonna write that post, because I don’t want to just sit here soaking in negativity.

Then I thought I’d write about the monthly question (which I haven’t even looked at in ages, lol) only it turns out I really don’t have anything to say about this month’s optional question.  So instead I shall flounder about for something to say.

I haven’t really been doing much writing lately.  I mean, I try, but I keep failing to get much done.  Not because I have no drive to write and not because I’ve hit a wall in what I’m writing, but because it’s just too freakin’ hot.  I mean, today’s October 1st (pre-writing) and it was over 90° today!  (Which is over 32° for those of you living in civilized countries where you learned metric everything instead of this backwards place.  Are we, like, the only country in the world that hasn’t gone metric yet?  (Although, I have to say, “90” sounds a lot more impressively awful as a temperature than “32” does.  So that’s one small something to be said for Fahrenheit…))

And no, I don’t live in a tropical area where that’s normal.  When I was a kid, October would have been in the 50s or 60s.  Maybe 70s if I was a particularly warm fall.  But those days are long gone.  And yet some people still deny climate change.  Ugh.

Anyway, my body has basically overloaded on hot weather, as far as I can tell, and is violently insisting that any, say, contact between two parts of my body (arm and side, for example) is being interrupted by a frying pan just pulled out of the fire.  Makes it very hard to find a position to sit in to write that doesn’t end up being brutally uncomfortable.  In consequence of which, I haven’t been able to get much writing done.  But a cold front is supposed to move through Wednesday night (or was it Thursday morning) and the rest of the ten day forecast is much more seasonal, so maybe I’ll be able to start writing again.  And sleeping through the night without being woken up by feeling like I’m lying on top of a stove.

It’s a pity that I can’t write for such annoyingly external reasons, because my current story is going pretty well.  My half-pantser/half-plotter method sometimes means I end up with a convoluted mess with an entirely unstable tone, but sometimes it means that as I’m going along I have a terrific idea that ties everything together and fills in holes I had in my plan up until that moment.  I had one of those “aha!” moments just the other day; the main plot of the piece is about a journalist writing a story about the disappearance of a fellow journalist, who the police won’t go looking for, and having no other way to go about it, he ends up investigating the story she had been working on, about the thirty year anniversary of an actor’s defection.  (This is set in 1984, btw.)  So, I knew all along that it was in some way because of that story that she disappeared, but I didn’t know quite why, but then a random little detail I threw in about some of the other research the journalist was doing into the defection told me exactly what the cover-up was that the first journalist had stumbled onto (or that someone at least thought she had stumbled onto) that made her a target.

I’m still left with the nagging question of “so did they get her, or is she in hiding somewhere, and if they got her, is she still alive, or did they kill her?”  It’s a hard question to answer.  I tend to write light, fluffy stuff, so part of me just wants to say “yeah, it was a narrow shave, but she managed to get somewhere safe” but part of me is saying “the journalist’s story is going to have more impact if she was captured and/or killed, so that the exposé can get the crooked politician behind the cover-up impeached.”  See, it’s not set in the real 1984, but an alternate, slightly dystopian one.  Like, in the previous story that this is a sequel to, I had an editor tell the journalist that unlike the man who owned the magazine, he wasn’t a “rabid” liberal, because “if it weren’t for the censorship and the martial law, I’d quite like President Reynolds.”  It’s that kind of a dystopia, you know?  Not so far removed from reality that it’s unimaginable for it to happen (the martial law having first been declared after the attempted assassination in 1981, which I figure would have happened regardless of who was president, since it wasn’t in the slightest bit about Reagan’s politics) but still just off enough that we get jarring statements like that from someone who claims to be at least somewhat politically opposed to the administration.

I might do a halfway between them solution, where she was captured by whichever government agency was stalking her, but a whistleblower-type inside the agency had protected her from any serious negative consequences.  Dunno.  I’ll have to see how it feels when I get there, I guess…

…only who knows when I’ll be able to get there if things don’t cool off first.

IWSG – Campin’

Published July 3, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

Camp NaNo is here again, and I’m really hoping it’s going to jumpstart me back into regular writing habits.  I’m pre-writing this last night, so two days into camp.  The first day was sort of “ehhh” in that while I did get something written that I’d really been meaning to (specifically, the dream sequence intro to a fanfic that’s been awaiting editing for about six months) it wasn’t anything long or important or even, you know, particularly good.  (Though in my own defense, it wasn’t precisely bad, either.)

Today was better.  I started work on the crossover fanfic I’ve been wanting to get to for…I don’t even know how long.  Months.  (I could check the NaNo forums to find out, as I posted about it pretty soon after coming up with the idea.)  And it’s starting out pretty well; in fact, one of the characters I’ve loved for years but never written for is behaving differently than I had planned, and what I wrote is actually much more in character for her than what I had planned, so that’s good.

What’s not good is that I kind of wanted to use this time to work on the first-in-a-series novel that I’ve worked on for the past two proper NaNos, and both of last year’s camp sessions.  (Ooh, that looks weird when I write it out.)  So November 2017, I wrote the first draft.  April camp, I worked on revising the first draft, mostly just replacing some stuff that really didn’t work.  Between April and July, I got it in the hands of a beta reader, and started July doing basic work on the draft until I heard back from the beta.  It was one of those good news/bad news kind of reports.  Good news was he liked the basic story and the world.  Bad news was the characters weren’t very distinct from each other (even though they were like night and day in my head), and one of them was utterly useless.  It was the “total lack of agency” point that really made me step back and see that he was totally right, my character was just this utterly passive shell tagging along after the other two characters.  So I spent the rest of July ripping him out and replacing him with a different character who shared a few of his traits, and also trying to make the other two characters’ on-paper versions match the versions in my head better.  A long and laborious process, but the new version is infinitely superior to the old one.  However, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to differentiate the cultures in the book from the ones in reality that had inspired them, so for November of last year I decided to write up a book of that world’s mythology, complete with introductions and footnotes by one of the minor characters from the novel, who happens to study that sort of thing.  And then after that I integrated the myths into the book where I could (I’ll probably have to do a full new draft for a complete integration), but I realized I had left out a major one who had been directly referenced in the novel, a mortal hero comparable to Cu Chulainn.  (Fortunately, I have total freedom as to what to have the hero’s myth contain, because the novel’s reference was just to his birthplace.)

Anyway, long story short (too late!), I was really hoping to get that finished up so I could polish up the other few major rough spots in this draft and send to to another beta reader.  Because I promised myself that I would eventually release this novel to the public, and I don’t want to do that until it’s actually ready for it.

Of course, there’s other complications.  I don’t write descriptions because my brain can’t really process them, so people always have trouble visualizing what I’m writing about.  And the majority of that mythological world building from the second year’s NaNo can’t be comfortably included into the novel without distracting from the story.  For that matter, there’s already extraneous stuff tacked onto the front of every chapter (largely the diary of an important historical figure which the heroes find and read late in the book) which already probably distracts from the story.

So what I kind of want to do with it is instead of just releasing it as a free ebook on LeanPub or wherever, work it up into a particular kind of “game,” the name of which I’ve forgotten.  “Dynamic novel” or something like that, I think.  There’s this kind of game called a “visual novel,” which is like a choose-your-own-adventure novel with constant pictures.  (Large sprites of the characters in a scene, backgrounds, the occasional full-screen splash illustration of a major event, that kind of stuff.)  The thing about a visual novel is, of course, that you make choices that alter what happens, usually heading you towards one of multiple endings, and sometimes (maybe even often) giving you the possibility of getting yourself horribly killed.  But there’s another kind that’s the visual novel format without any of the choices, and that’s what I’m thinking would be good for this novel.  Because as the player (reader?) went along, they could unlock diary entries, myths, and other flavor text which they could then read from a menu whenever they wanted.  The flavor text would still interrupt the flow, but less so, and could be omitted entirely if the reader (player?) didn’t care enough to bother with it.  Of course, to do that I’d have to get it all polished up and find an artist or five to create illustrations to go along with it.  And find some way to pay for said artist(s) and their work.  (A Kickstarter campaign would probably be required, sadly.)  So this is whole “dynamic novel” (or whatever it’s called) thing may just be me spinning my mental wheels fruitlessly, but it’s at least interesting to contemplate.

But I can’t even think about working towards that eventuality without first finishing up this draft to the point that I feel it’s read for another beta reader.  And I can’t do that while I’m writing fan fiction instead.  But I just feel so much more motivation for the fan fiction right now.

And it’s the right thing to do to just get writing first, right?  And worry about what I’m writing later.  Right?

IWSG – Trying to get back in the habit

Published June 5, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

The good news is I am finally through with graduate school.  (I don’t officially know that I graduated yet (obviously, I skipped the ceremony, because it was attend graduation or go to work, and I would rather be paid for a day’s work than pay money for a graduation robe and waste all morning sitting in a gym full of strangers.)  A side effect of this good news is that I am slowly getting back in the blogging habit.

The bad news is that it’s been so long since I had time to write that I have completely fallen out of the habit.  Lost the knack, even.  I have so many plots sitting around waiting to be expanded upon in full fiction form, but every time I turn my computer on to write, I end up re-reading my rough outline for a plot and then going “hmmm” until I say “nah, not feeling it today” and do something else.  Or I look over one of my drafts that need revision, with a thought to fixing it up, and still end up saying “nah, not feeling it.”

I’m trying my hand at writing prompts to get back in the groove again.  I’ve written (and posted to this blog) a couple (oddly, both turned out as sci-fi, though I usually don’t write sci-fi), and will probably write some more before I get myself back into the same writing headspace I used to be in.

It’s very frustrating, though, knowing that I’m no longer able to just sit down and start writing the way I used to be.  This has never really happened to me before, and I’m not sure how to deal with it.  It’s not that I’m out of ideas — I have lots of them.  Part of it may be the feeling that I need to fix up those old drafts before I start on anything new, but I don’t think that’s all of it.  I don’t know what it is.  (Though finally being free to tackle my backlog of unplayed video games is not helping, I don’t want to lay all the blame at the feet of gaming.  Especially since Persona 5 has been annoying the heck out of me, and is therefore not proving terribly addictive.)

Anyway, I’m gonna keep plugging along.  And I’ll be signing up for July’s CampNaNo, with a time-based goal rather than a word-based one, and no specific project.  (I do love the flexibility of Camp!)  Hopefully by August, I’ll be more myself again, in terms of writing.

Has anyone else ever had to deal with this?  Being jarred out of the writing habit so badly that it’s hard to get back in it?

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 – 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 – 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 – A Day Late (Again)

Published September 7, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

*sigh*  I suck.  This is the second time (though thankfully not the second time in a row) that I’ve only remembered my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post the day after it was supposed to go up.  I could make a lot of excuses (things are hectic at work, I had my first assignment (of sorts) due this semester, I’m generally a stressed-out wreck) but ultimately this is just me being my usual idiotic self.

The bitter part is that I actually had stuff to talk about.

I’ve got two things going on with my writing right now.  My super-massive fanfic (155k!) is finally getting a rewrite, more than a year after I wrote it, thanks to someone from AO3 volunteering to beta it.  I’ve never actually worked with a beta before (not in a proper sense; I’ve had a few people read things and then give me a few hasty notes with no accompanying back-and-forth) so it’s a little nerve-wracking, but so far it’s been really awesome.  She’s been giving me very helpful notes about places I needed to flesh out and follow-through on earlier plot threads.  (With so much text, it’s not surprising that things got forgotten!  Especially considering I wrote it in a month.)

The other thing is that I’m trying to get myself ready for this year’s NaNo.  I’ve had this idea kicking around for a while now, but wanted to get the fanfic urge out of my system before I started devoting any serious attention to it.  Only then I discovered Sparkler, an online magazine that would be the absolute perfect place to try to publish this project if it turns out good enough to try to publish it (which is, admittedly, highly unlikely), and so now I’m totally motivated to try and get this puppy written.

I did finally work out a really good solution to a backstory issue that had been plaguing me — which had the additional benefit of making one of the main characters already a wanted man before the story started, so he can’t possibly blame the other main character for dragging him into danger —  but I’m painfully aware of how little actual world-building I’ve done so far.  I want each country in this fictional world to be partially based on real cultures, but I have this distressing tendency to use that as a crutch, thinking of it so totally blatantly as a transported version of the country that my (chaotic) plot-development word processor file has placeholder names like notFrance and notJapan.  (And my dependence on their history was going to be even more ludicrously similar, to the point that they were going to arrive in France during the Reign of Terror and then (despite that they’re a century apart) end up in Japan during the Meiji Restoration.  Uh, not in the same book.  This is the start of a series.)

Trying to figure out the right way to handle that aspect of the world-building is challenging.  Though perhaps some of it can be left for rewrites?  I dunno, though, that sounds dangerous.

I need to focus more time and attention on the world-building before November (fortunately, it’s only September, lol!), but I don’t know how much time I have to do so.  I’m working more days than I used to, and my responsibilities have increased (which I’m not complaining about in the least; getting to design exhibits was something I really wanted to do!), plus my class this semester is what’s officially called “directed readings,” which basically means I’m self-directed and just check in with the professor every so often to make sure I’m on the right track…which means I really have to dedicate a lot of time to the research, since no one else is going to do any of it for me.  (I mean, I like that, but it’s also a lot more stressful when you stop to think about it.)

So, yeah, I’ve got a lot to be insecure about right now, and yet I’m also kind of in a hopeful place.

IWSG – I forgot! (Again!)

Published May 4, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Somehow, I ended up forgetting my post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group again.  Ugh.  (But at least it wasn’t twice in a row!)

What’s bugging me right now as a writer (and yes, I realize it’s pointless to go into it when I’m a day late, but…I’m doing so anyway) is that it seems like I’m more interested  in dreaming up scenarios than I am in writing out the stories.  I’m still working on the same project I was this time last month, and have gotten very little accomplished on it in the past month.  (Though in my own defense, I did have to spend half the month working on class projects, to the exclusion of all else.)  Meanwhile, I’ve come up with a bunch of other plots I’d like to explore.  (One of them just hit me today, in fact.)

I don’t know if it’s just the way my brain’s wired or what, but it’s starting to get frustrating.  The feeling that I can’t ever finish anything because I get tired of it and want to work on something else.  (Even though I do actually finish a lot of first drafts.  But only first drafts.)  Which is one thing when I get snatched away by different characters (it’s always the characters that compel me into whatever I’m writing, not the story), but when it’s just the idea of putting the characters in a different situation…it starts to feel very counter-productive.

Though I guess my writing is always counter-productive, since it’s taking away time I could spend on actually productive activities like cleaning my horrific house.

IWSG: Conflicted

Published March 1, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So I’m back to being insecure again.  (This, I suppose, should come as no great surprise.  If I wasn’t prone to insecurity, why would I be taking part in the support group, right?)

After some SNAFU stuff on the NaNo forums regarding my nearly submitting my 2013 NaNo novel for self-pub, I made a pledge to myself that “screw it; I’m never publishing anything, and that’ll teach those jerks!”  (And no, that didn’t entirely make sense even at the time.  And the people in question were not trying to be jerks.  (Most of them weren’t, anyway.)  But it’s one of those heat-of-the-moment resolutions that becomes firm and feels permanent, because you feel like you’ll have lost if you go back on it.)

After that, I took the smart path of withdrawing from the NaNo forums for the next couple of years, but I don’t learn too good (poor grammar intended), and so I’ve been active on the forums again.

And this time the guy really was trying to be a jerk.

Basically, he said that I’ll be a racist if anyone in my entire novel has a different skin color from everyone else.

Yes, he was advocating an entire planet of uniform skin color.

And he thought that was somehow less racist than having a diverse world.  Ugh.  (And keep in mind, I neither said anything about nor intend to introduce any ethnic stereotyping or prejudices.  It’s a world very unlike our own, without our social construction of “race”.  They have some prejudices, of course, but they’re based on culture and nationality.  (Read any 19th century work wherein the English discuss people from other European nations, and you’ll see the kind of thing I mean.)  But really even those prejudices are unlikely to come up much, because it’s a steampunk/fantasy adventure with heavy doses of m/m romance.  They’re going to be much too busy flying around the world looking for the pieces of the McGuffin and flirting/having sex for weighty social issues to come up much.  Because I write light escapism.)

So, because he said all this crap about the world I’m trying to put together for a series of novels I haven’t even begun to start writing yet, I feel like “now I have to publish it just to prove that f***er wrong.”

But that is in direct opposition to the 2013 doctrine of “never publish anything ever no matter what!”

Which puts me in a weird emotional bind.  All the more weird considering I haven’t even named the main characters yet.  (Well, it kind of grew out of an AU fanfic idea, so for my plotting purposes I’ve been using the names of the movie characters.  Though at this point there’s not much similarity between my characters and the movie ones.)

It’s probably a moot point.  I’ll probably finish the first draft of book one (assuming I ever start writing the thing) and go “wow, this is irredeemably terrible” and go back to writing other stuff.  (That is, after all, what usually happens.  Like my 2012 NaNo novel, the last time I tried to spin an original novel out of a fanfic idea.  I was enjoying writing it at first, but by the time I was done I was just like “ugh, I never wanna see this piece of trash ever again!” and I haven’t opened the file since.)

Anyway, amusingly enough, this all kind of ties in to this month’s optional question

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Because that 2013 NaNo novel?  It was the result when I finally got around to writing something I’d been planning since I was 18.  (So the idea was almost twenty years old.)  I think I had actually started writing it back in the summer of my 18th year, but…not sure what ever happened to the manuscript.  (And I guarantee it had zero similarity to what I eventually wrote.)

IWSG – Detail-oriented

Published November 2, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

I’ve been thinking about some of my problems doing research for historical fiction (whether set hundreds of years ago, or just a few decades back) because it’s always sort of irked me that I, someone studying history in a post-graduate setting, have so much trouble with writing period pieces that actually feel period-appropriate.

If you asked someone what it takes to write — or research — a good piece of historical fiction, they’d probably tell you that you need a detail-oriented mind, or at least strong attention to detail in your research.  And I always feel like I’m pretty detail-oriented in my research, so why do I have so much trouble?

I think I finally figured it out.  It’s because I’m too caught up in the details.  I spend so long looking into one little thing that I miss the big picture.  (The same applies to researching a location as the setting for a story.  I’ll be so caught up in what the architecture should look like or what kind of trees grow there that I’ll miss big, basic stuff like the general lay of the land.)

Unfortunately, I haven’t the foggiest what to do about the problem.  But I guess since I long ago decided that I didn’t even want to publish my writing, it probably doesn’t really matter.  If no one’s gonna read it, it can be as inaccurate as I please.  (Not that it pleases me to be inaccurate, but if I missed something in my initial research, then I’m probably not really aware that it’s inaccurate, right?)


This post has been pre-written last week, ’cause I’m busy working on my NaNo novel right now.

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