Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Writing Goals

*notice I didn't use the "R" word. It scares me.

These are just big, scary, goals I'm going to make, and see if I manage to get them done. It would be very, very lovely if I could. :D

  • Finish Drem rough draft-I love this story. :)
  • Write second draft of Wyrd-I also love this story. I love this world. It's barely even sketched out so far in Drem and Wyrd, but I know everything about it I just need to get it all down.
  • Write more short stories! One of the things I learned in my fiction class is that shorter fiction is REALLY REALLY fun AND satisfying. To this end, I'm going to write at least one short story a month, either in my Alice in Wonderland world or my Dimension Tournament world. I'm hoping to revamp those novels into linked-short-story sequences, and possibly take those sequences and turn them into novels later, DEPENDING on the results, lol.
  • Catch up on this blog. :) I have several posts-in-progress to finish.
  • Write every day. I always make this res-er, goal, but I'm just going to keep making it until I accomplish it! :D

Monday, December 21, 2009

Self Doubt

So I know I promised to write a post on critiques, but first I'm posting this. Because this is already written, and the other post is NOT (great excuse, no?). This was an in-class assignment wherein we had to write about our own personal self-doubts about writing.

I didn’t want to open the door. I had just settled into the rented cabin and I was finally ready to start writing. And yet there came Beatrice, my know-it-all big sister, down the icy dirt path, up to the thick oak door, and rapped on it with all her might.

“Let me in, Sharon!” she demanded. “It’s freezing out here!”

I sighed. No help for it. I got up from my warm cushioned chair by the fire, walked across the bare wood-paneled floor to the door and hauled it open.

Beatrice charged in at once, her waist-length blonde hair covered with a snow-frosted shawl. I shut the door behind her as she looked around.

“This looks nice and cramped,” she observed.

“What are you doing here, Bea?” I asked wearily.

“I’ll have some coffee, thanks,” she answered, walking over to my cushioned chair and sinking into it, dripping melted ice onto my blank notebook.

“You realize this little escapade is totally pointless, don’t you?” she asked, pulling off her gloves and dropping them onto the floor. “Even if you can get a lot written out here, you won’t get it published. Do you realize how hard that is? You’re still learning, after all. And if there’s no hope of getting published, what’s the point of writing?”

“For myself,” I murmured, plugging in the coffee machine and getting out two chipped mugs.

“You’re just ostracizing yourself,” Beatrice plowed on. “Writing isn’t a career. You never see your friends, you never spend time with the family—“

“That’s not true!” I exclaimed.

“Well, you don’t even have a boyfriend, your job sucks, you need to spend more time on those things before you go gallivanting off to the mountains to spend time on a hobby—“

I dropped one of the mugs. It hit the floor and broke with the satisfying sound of shattering pottery.

The sound made Beatrice pause and look. I marched over to the chair, my chair, grasped her by the elbow and hauled her to her feet.

“Sorry, I don’t have time for visitors just now,” I told her. “I believe I made that clear when I left.”

Hustling her to the door and ignoring her protests, I added, “I have a lot of work to do. See you in two weeks.”

I hauled the door open; a gust of freezing wind hit us in the face, drowning Beatrice’s angry retort. I pushed her out, slammed the door, and lowered the bolt.

I turned back to the fire, sat in my chair, and picked up my notebook.

Perfect writing conditions.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

An Anecdote on Revision

Owing to my overloaded schedule, I had to write a 4-page analytical literature paper in a matter of hours on Friday (it was due by midnight). Normally for final papers like this one, I like to spend about a week on them, pondering, pre-writing, roughing, and editing/revising/rewriting (whichever is necessary). So I was pretty depressed Friday morning, to say the least. It was even more depressing because my sister and her fiancee were coming into town that day, and my little brother had his black-belt confirmation for karate (which I went to, it was just stressful to go away for even a little bit).
Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that my sister is a genius. I wrote the rough draft of the paper, feeling okay about it, and printed out a rough and gave it to my sister. She read it thoroughly, and then said something very close to this: "Yes, it all made sense, generally. But I really don't think your conclusion is right. I would take these two paragraphs [the last two], put them at the beginning after your intro, then take these paragraphs [random ones in the middle] and put them at the end, and oh, rewrite this part to make it make sense."
I did what she suggested and VOILA the paper made sense in my brain and on paper. XD It was pretty much the most awesome and hilarious experience ever. I always have issues with conclusions, but this paper in particular was in completely the wrong order. The paper went from being "Meh-licious" to being one that I'm pretty proud of; there were minor errors in the rough too, of course, but the basic structural madness was what really made it so much better.

So, shout-out to awesome beta-readers who manage to find exactly what's wrong and tell you! :D

Coming soon: Fiction-Class Critiques (i.e. How To Take Criticism)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Nano 09 Wrap-up: Drem

I wanted to post a Nanowrimo wrap-up post, but wasn't sure what to even say. Luckily, Snazel's blog is always there to rip off of.

Basic stats:
Total wordcount: 65,071 words-this is partially fake because some of this is just fiction I wrote during the month and incorporated into the novel. Only about 60k of this is actually pure novel.
15 day wordcount record: 40k (I'm pretty pleased with myself that I actually did this....even if I didn't reach 80k overall like I originally self-hypnotized myself to do while under the influence of Halloween zombie-cookies)
Overall sanity casualties: My brain stayed with me for about a week. My emotional equilibrium lasted a little longer.

Stuff I learned:
1. It's hard to have a plot when no one, not you, not your characters, have any clue who the villains are. Bad stuff happens. Okay. Mystery.
2. I not only suck at writing action scenes, I hate writing them. Weird. I always play them out like movies in my head but I can't write them to save my life. Or their lives. Heh.
3. I have a LOT of world-building to do. A lot of stuff I just gave totally lame names (like fortresses and military ranks) because I didn't do any pre-writing, it wasn't covered in Wyrd (Nano from last year that this one is related to), and I had no inspiration whatsoever.
4. Suffixes and prefixes SEEM like a good idea at the time. I still haven't decided how that's all going to work out.
5. I suck at first-person male POVs. Drem is kinda a woman a lot of the time.
6. There is always a good reason to write scenes that involve gratuitous fire of some kind.

Shout-outs to some of my characters (in no particular order except for the first 3):
Drem: Thank you for being easy to write, even though this is probably due to the first-person POV more than your personality. I put you in the hospital-equivalent a lot, didn't I? Sorry about that. I'm looking forward to writing you when you're a bit older and even MORE cynical and world-weary. XD
Byrn: I think I'm in love with you. No, really. *cough* I mean, you jerk, you kept trying to hijack the novel! Luckily it's in first person so that's pretty hard to do, but you still tried to pull a Great Gatsby. I hope you live. Really.
Myra: I had high hopes for you, which you promptly dashed, and then rebuilt yourself. Thank you for surprising me and being a great counter to Drem. He's an idiot, huh?
Vakko: OMJAM I'm in love with you too! You almost took Byrn's place. Almost. It was close. I probably will bring you back at some point because there are just too many possibilities when you're around. Although don't you think the hair is a BIT Malfoy?
Cray: You became more important and more interesting than I thought, but then you just kinda disappeared? Sorry? You'll be back.
Hadric: WOW Byrn kinda HATES you, doesn't he? I thought you were a nice guy but I'm not really sure where you stand right now. But thanks for taking care of Drem for a while.
Akkaro: I really need to change your name because you're trying to channel a certain other character whom I do not own. But I'd like to bring you back, too, maybe in a combo move with Vakko.
Petra: Ahahahahaha. Sorry.
Deia: Wow, I kinda love you too! You were a total surprise. I enjoyed watching you behave like a total b**** and yet somehow totally loveable at the same time. You go girl.