Thursday, March 14, 2013

There is SO too much going on in my head right now.

And it's making it very difficult to finish anything.

I mean, I know I come in here with writing problems every couple of weeks, and I make them seem major, but this one just slays me because, well . . . I mean, everyone has That One Story: the one that's been on your mind forever and that you need to write someday even if it kills you. Even if it just a story purely for you that you doubt anyone else would care two cents about reading.

See, the worst thing has happened: the story I've been trying to figure out for the last six or so years of my life just decided to make perfect sense - only, naturally, I am in the middle of so many other projects right now (Camp NaNo, TGoES, TH: Skyborn) that I'd feel like a total jerk for dropping them all for this. And I'm so changeable when it comes to what I'm working on, I'm a little doubtful about haphazardly throwing myself behind something that, to me, is a very important story that is going to need a lot of my time.  

But at the same time, I feel like I need to drop everything. At least for a couple of weeks.

The thing is, I started this one story years back called Until the End of Colin Ackartt (now that I check, it's #6 on The Bucket List), and all I had were the characters (so vivid in my mind that I could not ignore them) and such a vague idea of a plot that it literally was incomprehensible. The whole idea verged on the notion that the title character, Colin, just . . . should not have existed. And I mean in a metaphysical/existential/order of the universe extent. And that he was near to just totally disappearing. But I did not know what he was, why this was happening to him, how he had come to exist in such a unstable state in the first place, or what he and the other characters were going to do to save him. But I had the atmosphere and there were scenes in my head and I knew how it ended. Elaina, the FMC of the piece, was and is still my favorite character I've ever come up with. The story was just so out there and missing so many pieces, though, that beyond a few scenes I could not possibility write it and feel right about it. It wasn't a story. It was this disjointed, dream-like scenario. 

(I nearly choked a few years back when I found a book that was similar in subject matter/surreal-ness called Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler. Like the story I was trying to write, few answers were given concerning the nature of the strange boy that the main character meets.)

Then, about two nights ago, I was playing with a plot in my head that I had no intention of actually writing - it was just a mental exercise, like, "OK, what if I wrote this kind of story, with this scenario? How would I do it?" And I thought pretty far into it - the setting, the main characters, the initial few chapters - until it hit me in the face that this was my story. I honestly leapt out of bed. If I dropped Colin, Elaina and crew in, and looked at it from the perspective of UtEoCA - well darn, it suddenly made perfect sense. I mean, it was still surreal and out there and everything, and there were still things that would be unexplainable - but it was a purposeful kind of unexplainable. And the whole story, beginning to end, was just there. I talk about wanting to have just a skeleton of an outline when I start a story, and with this all the bones for UtEoCA just fell in my lap. After I had been trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B with this thing for years. 

Anyway, I guess this is just something I needed to get off my chest. I still plan on doing Camp NaNo in April, because NaNo events are like long writing festivals for me, but if I'm scarcely seen at Figment for a while, this is probably why. I'm just . . . very happy and anxious about this story. 

OH almost forgot - on the subject of the much celebrated notebook from my last post, I've decided to hand-write my Camp NaNo story in it. Last November revealed to me that NaNo goes a lot smoother if I can just carry a notebook around with me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mwahaha New Post

(Maybe I'll get the hang of this again?)

I went out and bought a new notebook yesterday - just one of those standard 70-sheet college rule ones. I'm pretty sure if I could be bothered to open a couple drawers, I'd find that I have a stash of them, but I'm kinda of  (read: definitely) a nut for office supplies. I could spend all my money on pens, and anyway for me there's this spiritual aspect of going out and buying a notebook for a specific purpose. (Seriously. Me and office supplies. Don't even let me start.)

See, before I had a computer - or at least before I had one that didn't sound like a race car when I turned it on - I wrote notebook-long stories. That actually got finished. That were all in one place and not scattered across files and loose sheets. So yesterday I arbitrarily decided that I was going to buy a shiny new notebook and do that and who cares if I've already got like, three stories on Figment going that need attention and does it really matter that I have no idea what I'm going to write in said notebook, I'm sure something will happen once I start. (The God of Encloses Spaces though. That is going to get updated. Because it's my baby. And I'm almost done making my pretentious soundtrack for it.)

I don't know what it is. The last few months I've felt a bit stagnant, writing-wise. (I think I have a new writing crisis every other month, but this one's been the prevailing one.) My composition books are full-up with story snippets and scraps and beginnings that stop three paragraphs in. I think I really do need to just fill up a notebook with a story, any story. Maybe have my own little NaNo, only measured in pages instead of words because I need baby steps.

I love this box. Teddy bears.
ALRIGHT, SO SERIOUS WRITING BUSINESS ASIDE - What else is going on with my life? I don't know. I'm job-hunting, but it's not going too hot since I don't have easy access to a car and most of the jobs are at least 30 miles away. Waiting for college acceptance letters. Fangirl-ing about stuff (finally made myself finish Cowboy Bebop last night - I'm now having a serious case of emotions). After a long hiatus (it was hot chocolate season) I've resumed collecting tea.

Oh, I'm planning a surprise party, which I'm super-excited about. I've never thrown, attended, or been surprised by one, but my best friend called me up a few weeks ago and declared that since our friend always throws his own parties, we should get the jump on him this year. And apparently someone is dressing up like Slender Man? We've told the birthday boy it's just one of our usual horror movie days, so I guess it kind of fits . . . Slender Man though. Oy vey.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Still Alive. Honestly.

Alright, so keeping a consistent journal/blog/etc has never been exactly my thing. I started keeping a diary once in middle school, wrote at least once a week for a while . . . and then it turned into about twice a year. Which resulted in these really, really long entries that were basically a breeze over of all the significant events that I could remember at the time. But, anyway.

Right now The God of Enclosed Spaces is getting top priority, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going continue the version that's up on Figment right now. I think it might actually end up being the prologue to the actual story, though chronologically some of the chapters might be set during the main story . . . (this always happens to me, by the way: I right a story and then realize too late that I've totally botched the chronology, so I decide that I just couldn't care less about time and the natural order of things so I jump around to my heart's content, to be edited later). See, 'cause the main story, I think, is going to be lot more focused on what is presently skulking around the Anderson woods and upsetting the local wildlife - and the identity of the entity (oh, that phrase was fun to write) is intrinsically tied to not just Mackenzie, but to Oscar Valentine, Sabrina Andrews, and the events on which their film Orithea Town was based. But to say any more would be spoilerific, and I don't know if anyone wants that.

I've been warning, anyhow, that in all likelihood whatever chapters come out in the near future are going to be vignettes, because I'm still having a lot of fun fleshing out Mac and Flan and their relationship, and sometimes I just want to write about what happened that one time they were at the beach, or that one time Mac adopted a cat, and so on. But I did say at the beginning it was a slice-of-life deal, so really that just fits in with the project from the start.

Now, I will attempt to post again sometime this month. :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm Totally Still Alive

So . . . I won NaNo, so that means I'm probably going to be getting back to a regular blog/Figment schedule at some point in the very near future. You know, after Christmas decorating is done (tree goes up tomorrow!). My final word count was 50,783 - not that the story on Figment reflects that in the slightest. Some crazy business went down, and I ended up handwriting most of it in panicked bursts at nine o' clock at night.

Anyways, I'm also in the middle of Christmas shopping, which at the moment amounts to frantic price comparisons of Xbox 360s and PS Vita's.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Or, "Why the New A Fine Frenzy Album Is Forever Endeared to Me Even Though I Have Not Yet Listened to It."

I WILL get this. Soon, hopefully.
Honestly, I think I need to start a running tally of what has become endeared to me this October, because I feel like it's going to be one of those seasons. Those ridiculous perfect storms of writing where stuff just starts popping left and right. Which I suppose for Wonderfall is fitting, because epiphanies are kind of magical in their own way. But, really now? First Lowe's and now a CD I haven't even heard. Which I want. Because A Fine Frenzy's stuff is like, "Magical Realism, The Music." I'm playing the first album right now, and "Borrowed Time" and "Rangers" are on my Wonderfall playlist.

Anyway, why Pines? This morning I was sitting at the dining room table, trying to refine Wonderfall's plot because I had fallen into one of my regular pitfalls: overcomplicating things. It wasn't that the story had too much going on, it was that it had too much going on for the tone I'm aiming for, so I was either trying to pare it down or reframe it. Things were going uncharacteristically well, actually - I had adjusted the plot so basically the same things were going on, but in a different context. I was working on character motivations, then - what Elias, Lorelei, and Connor each really wanted, and what the antagonist (ostensibly not a real villain this time) wanted. It was taking so long to come up with that I stopped thinking about it after a while, and moved on to other things.

Now, part of the problem that arises in the story is that Connor and the antagonist want close to the same thing, though not exactly. I knew what Connor wanted, but the antagonist's motives were still vague. I knew he or she wanted an event called "Wonderfall" to occur for a specific purpose, whereas Connor was just waiting for Wonderfall for the sake of it. The question was, what specific thing did the antagonist want Wonderfall for?

Later on, I got up to make toast, mulling it over, when it hit me. The thought process looked like this, though of course the details aren't really that simple. Um, SLIGHT VAGUE KINDA SPOILERS:

Haha, spoilers, yeah, I guess. A magical garden is in some way involved. But anyway, what the antagonist is going for versus what everyone else in the story wants just fit so perfectly with the tone. And then I just fell in love with the story all over again. Plus, I did want to keep the story a bit on the shorter side, by my standards, and the garden idea made a bunch of things fall into place.

*Sigh* I do love October. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In Which I Discuss the Perils of Planning Stuff

Cut to October 31, 2011. I know what my plot is. I know who my characters are. I am ready to get stuff written. Planned stuff. The plot I've (kind of) slaved over for basically the whole month.

Then November 1st happened and all that kind of just melted and slithered down the drain as I barreled blindly forth with the rough equivalent of my plot's deformed half-sibling. I don't even remember for sure what the original plot entailed, but I'm pretty sure the title (Dark Horse) was the only thing that remained entirely intact.

This is the NaNoWriMo strain of plot ADD. Dozens of ideas flutter around my head all October, I stalwartly keep focus on one of them, and then some invisible force slams in on NaNo Eve and, well, "Goodbye, focus! It was nice seeing you! We'll have to do this again sometime! Like, next October!"

Now, frankly, I don't think that will happen this year. I'm all, like emotionally invested this time around. Wonderfall (which is based on my poems found here) is my new adopted child, and I love it, and it gives me seizures when I think too hard about it but I ignore those, eat some chocolate, and plan it anyway. There's this nifty article here in which, I kid you not, the Incredible Hulk totally curb-stomps the Three Act story structure in favor of Shakespeare's five acts, and I used it to draw Wonderfall into a modified six act version. It's the most outlining I've done in a year, and I'm going to do more.

See, this year I'm finally employing the Psycho Person Notebook technique, in which I stuff I comp book completely full with outlining and character bios and random writing resources I printed off the Internet. It's working wonders for me, truly. But there are still kinks to be worked out.


We do battle every year. I'm pretty sure I wrote an epic forum post about it last year and everything.

Anyway, Wonderfall has three protagonists: Elias, Connor, and Lorelei, the latter of which is our wonderfall girl. And if you hopped on over to Figment and read the poem, you know she doesn't stay long. Except, we still need to know what she's up to. So naturally, I think, well, we'll do third person limited - then we can go around to Eli and Connie and her and know what's what. Except that, when Elias (arguably the true main character) first burst into existence, it was in the form of a first person and pretty badass opening monologue-type thing. And Lore, bless her, had a very Lore-like second chapter too. But I can't get a handle on how Connor would sound in first person, I'm sketch about attempting two male point of view characters when I've never even done one for any length of time, and I'm frankly not a huge fan of rotating point of views to begin with.

So, I say, "OK, so third-person limited it is." Except I still kind of want to write Elias. I hear him talking. Only, I can't just write Elias, because then how on earth would he know what Connor and Lore were secretly getting themselves into. Grr.

And then, I'm still working on character motivations, which of their flaws to haunt them with, and all that good writerly stuff. I'm doing fine with that. I know Elias is going to be put on the spot for how he's always avoiding drama at the cost of ignoring important issues, and Connor's going to be selfish and ignore how he's been pretty distant lately and call Elias out on it. Stuff like that. It's just, depending on the point of view, certain things are going to be highlighted more than others.

Oh, the joys of NaNo planning. Now, I'm off to go find some rubber cement, because stick glue doesn't cut it when pasting things into a notebook.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Writing Revelations, and Other Fun Things to Do With Home Improvement

(Long story.)

So, I forgot to mention this in my last post (it was late, I was half asleep, etc.), but the local Lowe's is pretty much endeared to me forever.

The genre wars are still raging, as far as my NaNo is concerned, but yesterday I had one of those little writing epiphanies we all know and love and kind of get desperate waiting for. Now, I had already been to a different Lowe's and a Home Depot in the last couple of days, and when I walked into this new store I wasn't particularly impressed.

This, x1000.
I'm silly. I judge most stores by what music they're playing and how bright it is, and this Lowe's was bright enough, but they were playing this mainstream hip-hop/pop station - and a song I really don't like, no less. I am not a big hip-hop person, and Home Depot had already wowed me with a rock station that played some of my old favorites I'd forgotten existed. So, I was inwardly cringing at the music and getting sidetracked taking in the sheer number of different bathroom faucet fixtures they had on display.

Also, I was doing what I always do when I'm out shopping: imagining story characters. What they would do if they were here, why would they be here, what story am I putting them in, again? That sort of thing. I'm of the "voices in my head" and "hallucinations" writing set, and I take my characters everywhere. It makes trips less boring.

This is important
As I wandered toward my actual destination (flooring, by the way), I was thinking about the aforementioned cyberpunk plot's characters. It's this trio of friends, and I was pondering the group dynamic (especially the sorta-romance between two of them), and how the girl is kind of the mystery. She's the one that's going to get the plot in motion, get into the weird stuff, generally be obfuscating. Because she's hard for me to get my head around, and sometimes I attribute that sort of thing to an actual character trait.

The thing is, with the plot in general, I was having a real hard time getting it squished into something I felt capable of writing. I wanted a story slightly less out of control than my Camp NaNo project, and the cyberpunk plot? Totally insane, over-the-top madness in my head.

Then, Lowe's came through. Bless its heart. I'm staring up at this huge contraption draped with laminate samples, and it's been ages since the last time I heard the song, when here comes the opening lines - I need a sign to let me know you're here / all of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere. "Calling All Angels" by Train, right? No big deal.


Cue a torrent of mental images I have yet to sort through. It involved what was definitely not ghosts, but perhaps something similar. My mind blown, I continue to stare up at the laminate.

So, yeah, suddenly my crazy cyberpunk characters are plopped into my beloved home genre. Which is kind of great, because they're the kind of people I wouldn't expect to find there, and I'm excited to see how they fit in.

Another odd thing about me and writing - all my ideas come with color schemes. Swatches of color are intrinsically tied to the atmosphere I feel off any one story, so this one had this really light, white/bright color/mid-morning sun vibe along with some grittiness that Elias brings in.

And that, friends, is what I've been spazzing about for the last day or so.