Monday, January 31, 2011

Advice to my past self...

I was looking over my archives the other day, just sort of skimming through notes and revisions and scribbles and if I were to give my past self a few pieces of advice, they would be:

1) Just keep writing, 2) don't throw anything away and 3) put the date on everything.

They both seem rather simple and sort of "duh", but really, I wouldn't have known back then just how much I wish I'd done those things then.

1) Just keep writing. Even if an idea isn't working or you don't know how it should turn out, just keep writing it. It's sort of the golden rule of NaNoWriMo especially, but it can be applied to just about any other piece of writing. If nothing else, you'll figure out what doesn't work. In the best cases, you can end up with character motivations you didn't see coming or a plot twist that incorporates a throw-away mention you made earlier. In the worst cases, you simply have to throw out some stuff that wasn't working anyway when you edit.

However you won't really throw them away because

2) You shouldn't throw anything away. Even if that one chapter is just awful, the idea makes no sense or it's a conversation from the more bland regions of Blahsville, keep it anyway. If nothing else, you can look back on it and laugh at yourself. In the best cases, you might reincorporate it somewhere in another story or it provides the perfect inspiration for something else. In the worst cases, you at least have material for your future biographers and literary scholars to look back on and write books about.

And to help them out, you should

3) Really, put the date on EVERYTHING. All-caps was warranted there, because you have no idea how many times I've looked back at stuff I know I wrote more than a few years ago and have wondered exactly when I started writing it. Or I find a scribbled sentence or idea and I have no idea when I came up with it. If nothing else, you'll have a timeline of papers. In the best cases, you can track how long you've been on a project and keep track of your consistency and inspiration timeline. In the worst cases... Well, there really are no worst cases here. You just had to take the split second it took to write the date up in the corner. And I really do mean everything. Even if it's just a post-it note you happened to scrawl "two months instead of three?" as a note to yourself for your novel, date it. It makes things so much easier in the future, in ways you wouldn't even imagine now.

Well, unfortunately, I can't tell my past self this, but maybe my future self can put it all to good use.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sweet lullaby...

There are times when you run into a book or a movie or a piece of music that is just too powerful. It literally pains you to read/watch/listen to it because it is just too beautiful.

Going through a music phase right now, similar to that of pre-NaNo frenzy, and just aching at the gloriousness that is Joe Hisaishi.

One of my favorites from the first Studio Ghibli movie I ever saw: Howl's Moving Castle (whole rant about that here). Seriously though, the entire soundtrack is pretty much win.

Been listening to a lot of foreign music (and a lot of foreign film/anime soundtracks) lately, mainly because even when they have lyrics, I don't understand the words and thus aren't too distracted. Typically, if I listen to a song with lyrics that I know, I inevitably end up singing (for real, it actually requires concentration for me not to sing along to any and every song I know) and if I sing, I end up typing or writing what I am singing rather than what I actually mean to be writing.

'Inasmuch' still won't leave me alone until I scribble down some notes, but the good news is that I can sleep in tomorrow, so it can keep me up all it wants. I have pretty music to listen to, so I don't mind.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


...does inspiration have to strike in the middle of the night when you have to get up crazy early the next morning?

For real, I have to get up at five tomorrow for work and 'Inasmuch' just won't leave me alone.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beneath the mask...

In fiction, it seems like if you are a) a nice person, you can hide all sorts of mental issues, but if you are b) mean in an attempt to mask your mental issues, everyone can see right through you with their psychiatrist-vision.

For examples of this phenomenon, I present to you a) Tohru from Fruits Basket and b) the titular character from House.

a) Fruits Basket 

There's this trope called the Stepford Smiler where a character seems cheerful and all, but is really masking a deep-seated pain or crazy or whatever. The thing is, no one ever seems to see through it except the audience. The rest of the characters remain painfully oblivious until something happens that causes the mask to break. 

Exhibit A: Torhu Honda 
Just look at those big eyes and bright smile. So cute! She's kind, caring, unrelentingly cheerful...

But then she's so accommodating that she's practically a doormat, has deep-seated self-esteem issues (as does everyone in the show) and just generally has quite a few sucky moments in her past. Yet, the other characters would never have known if there weren't moments where she breaks down and says something she doesn't mean to. No one; not her friends, not her adoptive family, not even her real family. The audience sees it more than the other characters do, because we see her at her most vulnerable. 

Contrast this to:

b) House M.D.

Exhibit B: Dr. Gregory House

Bitter, sarcastic, drug-riddled... He's a bit of a mess.

And everyone seems to know why. Patients he's only just met are monologuing at him, telling him all the reasons for why he acts the way he acts. Sure, sometimes he himself tells us about his past, but it's because people have been poking at him, prodding at him, explaining to him (and via him, the audience) why he acts the way he acts and how beneath his jerkish exterior there is a heart of gold.  

I picked these two examples because they are particularly egregious. As mentioned, House's patients almost always seem to know exactly what his game is after just meeting him, and Tohru goes for a long, long time without anyone noticing that she was, oh, living in a tent, abused by her family, blah blah blah. In fact, she has to tell them mostly or have people see it for themselves. And the reverse is true in both examples as well: in early seasons of House M.D., no one seems to see how messed up Cameron is and all through Fruits Basket characters are explaining other character's issues to each other in response to bursts of temper. 

And it always seems to be this way. If a character is a jerk, another character almost always has to insist that there is actually some sort of good in him and it will almost always turn out that there is. But if someone is indefatigably happy, it could be anything really hiding under the smile. 

It's like characters (and I guess people in real life too) would like to think that when something seems all right, it is, but if something seems to be wrong, we have to pick at it until we find an answer.

Any other examples you guys can think of for either extreme? Or, conversely, any examples that completely defy these generalizations?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Laughing at myself...

Funny that right after I should write an entire blog entry about how I seem to be unable to write anything but angst, I sit down with a fresh notebook and wrote two entire pages of a non-angsty beginning to a second draft.

Yes, I'm starting afresh. Probably something like over six thousand words on my last draft and I'm sort of ditching them and beginning again.

Do I consider those words a waste? Do I consider that time and the act of throwing it all away to be completely pointless?


This is how I write.

It's a messy mess of a mess. Full of false starts and redundant redundancy. Those thousands of words I wrote showed me what didn't work and gave me ideas for things that would work. And now I have a quirky beginning, the sort of light-hearted prose I was whining about not being able to write.

The moral: I shouldn't whine about how I can't do something until I try.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Not-so-happily ever after...

See, here's the thing: I write angst.

I don't want to. It's not like I mean to. But it seems like, because I take my characters so seriously, they start to take themselves too seriously and I end up with these serious stories, filled with psychological issues and just general not-fun.

It just sort of happens, even when I mean to write something a little more lighthearted. I mean, for NaNo10 even, I wrote a zombie story. How can you take a zombie story too seriously? The entire point of a zombie story is to have fun with it or scare the crap out of people. It's a survivor story and because there is no society, you have no rules and so you can go on a rampage of awesome.

But I had to bring character angst into it and it became one of my darker things to date, I think, simply because of the protagonists' lack of morals. It has a relatively happy ending, but still...

Then comes my hedgehog story. I meant for it to be light-hearted, sort of like Princess Tutu, which manages to make me smile every single episode, even when it descends into the dark and heart-wrenching. There is something just so heartwarming about it and funny and cute and just plain sweet, that manages to make the darker moments all the more dark. The ending is happy, if a little bittersweet, but it manages to still feel light and cheerful despite it all.

However, my projected ending for the hedgehog story (at least as it stands) is not really happy. If anything, it's bittersweet, with emphasis on the "bitter". There is a potential for a happy ending later, but the actual last event shown on the page would be heartbreaking (y'know, if I actually succeed in the correct mood in my writing).

The problem is that I can't think of a way to make a happy ending feel like a cop-out. After all I'm going to put my characters through and the world I have established, the happy ending I want wouldn't fit. It would feel like a deus ex machina, or just simply a saccharine ending. It would feel like I was forcing a happy ending on it.

It drives me crazy when stories do this, putting us through so much and then at the last minute pulling the ridiculously happy ending. And while it feels good the first time you experience it, the second time it doesn't feel quite the same. It can feel like a let-down, sort of negating all the suffering that came before it. I'd rather have it end with hope; maybe everything isn't perfect, but there is a knowledge that the future will improve and be happy.

That's sort of what I'm shooting for with my hedgehog story, but at the same time, it just sort of makes me super-aware of how angsty my stories seem to be all the time.

Quite angsty.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nostalgia and crack...

So, in being all nostalgic and stuff on my birthday today, I was reading over my old writing, namely from around 2006, and was impressed with the thoroughness of some of it. And shocked that my memory was so bad.

It turns out the bulk of the writing for my old project Ocean of Fire was done when I was fourteen through maybe early sixteen, which is older than I had thought. But reading over the notes and things almost made me want to pick it up again. I wrote a ton of stuff back then, like folders and folders of outlines and notes. I had forgotten just how much it was, even if I do remember having the entire twenty-page original outline up on my wall for a long time.

That led me to thinking about one of my other more-favorite characters from that abandoned project, Meirzen, and how I occasionally feel the urge to resurrect his story the way I did Quina and Red's. And I then had the cracktastic idea to combine his universe with that of my hedgehog story. I don't know if it's actually going to happen, or if it does, I'll just be stealing the world and there will likely be no mention of Meirzen himself (seeing as how if there were, he would end up dying and I don't want to kill him off in case I ever do decide to resurrect his story) but I was just shocked at the audacity of my brain for even thinking of such a thing.

There needs to be a term for original fiction writers and ideas for crossovers and such like that within our own writings. Fanfiction writers have the term crack!fic, where they have the strangest crossovers or ships or simple out-of-characterness, but we original fiction writers don't really get that, seeing as how it's all in our head or in our private universe. No one outside of us cares because no one outside of us has ever seen it. But we do crossovers and cameos all the time. I once wrote something like four pages that contained every main character I'd ever written, all in some sort of secret agent group hunting down their respective antagonists or something like that.

Seriously, we need our own term. Suggestions?

Monday, January 24, 2011


It's funny how ideas evolve. And sometimes devolve.

For real, my character of Rat is going through quite a lot of changes lately. She started out as sort of a bitter old man, unsatisfied with his lot in life. Then he turned into a bitter young man, a sort of incompetent student convinced he was more talented than he really was. Then he became a she, not even a student at all, but convinced that she was just as good as the men who were refusing to let her join them. Now she's sort of gone back to the original idea, becoming a bitter older woman, closer to the knight's age than she was, and unsatisfied with her lot in life, helping the knight and the hedgehog more out of boredom and to prove to her peers that she actually can, more than out of any real compassion.

It's strange how a character can go through stages of development like that, eventually coming full circle back to the original idea. It shows how sometimes you shouldn't second-guess yourself, or at least be willing to accept that the second-guess wasn't as good as the first idea.

Though, who's to say it won't change again? Ah, writing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Awesome (except not really)...

The only thing worse than a truly, truly awful story is one that has so much potential, but squanders it and falls flat on its face. This is worse, to me, because it makes me get nitpicky. A bad book or movie is just bad. You see it, you  laugh/cringe at it, and then you move on with your life. You tell jokes with your chums about how terrible it was and you're done.

Wasted potential, however, gets under your skin. There very well might be something about it you liked; character archetypes, set up, art design, production crew, something. There's something about it that looks promising, only for it to be snatched away and thrown into a pit of soul-sucking lampreys.

It's drives you crazy, because it's like someone took a perfectly good chocolate cake

and dropped it into a blender, added corned beef,

lo mein,
and then a healthy scoop of the scum from the underside of your trashcan lid.

 The cake is still there. You know it, but you can't get around all the other stuff that's mixed in.

Too graphic? Too graphic. Here, enjoy the lampreys again.

Obviously, this is a bit of a rant-filled subject for me. My point is, there's a reason why you shouldn't tease the tiger at the zoo.

A prime example for this (y'know, based on my own preferences - feel free to disagree) is Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

I wouldn't call myself a fan of everything Burton's done, but I do genuinely like a few of his movies. I love the visual design and nearly every single member of cast for the film and Carrol's Alice books are obviously some of the strangest, most influential pieces of literature in the English language.

And yet, this movie sucked. Despite everything, the story has no life to it. The whole thing is supposed to be about how Alice comes to grips with herself and her choices in life, but there was only ever one real option in Underland (unless, y'know, she's chill with being partly responsible for genocide). There's no conflict. She had more opportunity for finding herself in England. She did more to find herself in England (codfish vs. corsets, anyone?).

Gah, too much to get angry at.

The thing that really drives me crazy is that I have this weird, unfounded urge to want to like this movie, despite having seen it enough times to have supposedly purged myself of that notion. Yet every time I see the cover for this film, I have a moment of excitement, as if it were one of my favorites. But it's not. I seriously don't like this movie. I'm not in denial about it. I am comfortable with not liking it. I just want to know why I want to like it.

And then yesterday, I think I figured it out: it's the music.

The score of this film is just gorgeous. I actually bought the soundtrack recently, it being so easy to write to. I mean, just listen to this hero theme:

Gah, so pretty and epic and inspiring and all that. 

And because music is, as I've ranted about before, a glue to make a movie stick, I keep wanting to like this movie just because it has a good score. And, inevitable,y when I end up watching it, I end up pulling my hair out at all the wasted potential.

Do you guys have a particular movie or book that just drives you crazy because it could have been so much better? What is it's redeeming quality that makes you care (however small)?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ode to sugar and English...

I love English. As beautiful as other languages are, as deft and elegant as they may be, I really love English. It takes what is best about so many languages and smushes it all together into a complicated marvelous slush pile. English is like a kid in a candy shop, taking a little or a lot of whatever catches its fancy.

But there have to be rules, so that we don't eat ourself sick. Sure, you can play with the rules of punctuation and grammar for effect, just like you can choose to have a crapload more gummy bears than chocolate bars, but the point remains that you have to know what the rules are, what your limits are, before you can break them.

Gah, if only some people would understand this instead of just tossing things out willy nilly.

Friday, January 21, 2011


 I’m very much about character development. I mean, I rant about it all the time, but it’s true. One of the reasons I’m a punster is that if I were to decide a character is to be a certain way and have a certain relationship with another character, and decide the resolution of all this in advance, I am inevitably frustrated that it either a) turns out completely differently or b) supposedly plays out the way I wanted, but completely dead, with no soul or real chemistry.

It’s part of the reason why my angel project was dropped, or at least shelved. I was trying to force two characters into a particular relationship and it just wasn’t working. It didn’t make sense for their personalities as they evolved.

In my current hedgehog project, I sort of wanted Rat to end up with a crush on the knight, but the way it’s going right now, she would have to be a real masochist for that to work. I mean, he’s been downright nasty to her. Not just the antagonistic “jerk with a heart of gold” or anything, but almost genuinely abusive. She brought a lot of it on herself (y’know, scaring him half to death, hurting the only thing that’s giving him meaning in life, “stealing” said creature and disappearing) but for her to end up with a crush on him, there is either something really wrong with her (which, the more I write her, the more I am suspecting) or there is going to have to be some serious character development for both of them.

Which is going to happen in either case, but whether it will turn out the way I initially wanted is up in the air. Yay?

Have you guys ever had a character relationship not turn out the way you planned it, or emerge out of nowhere? Do you know how your characters are going to respond to each other or is it just “wait and see” for you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back it up, back it up...

It's always a tragedy when you lose writing.

Well, I don't think I've actually lost it, or if anything, all I've really lost were some school papers. At least, I think that's it...

Yes, I lost a flash drive that I was trying to back up.

The moral of the story is: back up the files before you lose the flash drive!

For real, it's a good idea to back up frequently, with one copy on your computer and another on something like a flash drive or external harddrive. I even back up some files (should do more, but I've been busy) on Google Docs, just in case (plus, then they are accessible from any computer with internet if I manage to leave my flash drive somewhere!).

The good news is that the reason I realized I was missing this flash drive is because I bought myself a new one. A shiny 8 GB flash drive, as opposed to the 2 GB I had before. I put every single text file from both my old computer and my new computer onto it and I still have over 6 GB left. Amazing. (I haven't transferred pics/music/video yet, but I think those are going on my external harddrive anyway.)

Anyway, a day of shop talk here. Though, on the subject of writerly bling, I bought myself a messenger bag today that has the most perfectly situated compartments ever! Perhaps there will be pics in the future...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One down...

Remember that one writing goal I made to write a song based on Well, I accomplished it!

Yes, my brother and I wrote a song about suave Russian zombies astronauts and chain-smoking widows living with robots in haunted houses who fight Big Bads named Agamemnon McCulley. It's pretty much awesome. We're even trying to hash out some basic piano/guitar accompaniment, which is made difficult by the fact that, while my brother plays some guitar, neither of us play any piano beyond one-handed Christmas carols.

Anyway, in doing that, I've also begun another of my goals, which was to do a radio drama. We've decided our song is the theme jingle for a radio drama currently temp-titled "They Fight Crime". It is incredibly silly, runs on Rule of Cool and is just plain fun. Plus, it's quality time spent among siblings, if you are able to conveniently ignore the knock-down-drag-out fights that happen when someone talks during someone else's take.

This might never be seen outside of a select circle of family members and friends, but we're having fun with it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How To Write: Gryph-style...

Well, I was so super late on the uptake on this, only having found out about it on this, the day of, but here is the What's Your Process Blogfest!

Writing process... Hmmm...

It really does vary from project to project. Sometimes I get an idea for a character and want to write their story, other times I get an idea for a story that I need to add characters to. For actual writing, I usually just put some characters on a page and have them do stuff, and sometimes I do little test runs, almost auditions, to work out how the story is going to be told. When it comes to editing, I almost always just completely rewrite the sucker, rather than line-by-line edit or anything. My first draft is like a big long rambling outline, really the only outline I do.

To show some of the differences (however minor they might seem) I'll illustrate two of the most different: my NaNo for '09 Scorpion and Sandman and my current hedgehog project Once Upon a Spine. Buckle up and get ready for a rather long and rambly post! Yay?

Scorpion and Sandman

The idea for this actually has a really crazy long story. When I was like thirteen, I had an idea for a story about a blind kid named Bain. It started because I had just had an idea of a blind boy running through a field as if he could see. I think that idea came from "The Lost Year of Merlin" series by T.A. Barron. It was mostly about him, later evolving to include his estranged father who was a disillusioned warlord, and an elf girl who would eventually become Quina.

It took a long time though. Initially, she was some sort of savior character, downtrodden and being trained for her place in the world by a drunken half-elf. He was initially supposed to be some sort of pseudo-romantic interest. Then Quina was supposed to be captured and imprisoned and I came up with the idea for this human prisoner who would fall in love with her and help her escape at the cost of his own life. To my thirteen year-old self, it was all very grand and epic and I loved it.

That itself eventually changed to a slightly more happy ending, with this new character, Red, and Quina ending up together, though they did have a rather long bout of slavery.

The project eventually sort of died, seeing as how a) it grew huge, with no less than eight different protagonists and b) I was so enamored with outlining and planning it all that I didn't really get to writing it. I got through one entire draft of the first book in a proposed trilogy, but then it just sort of died.

Then I had an idea to take each of the protagonists' stories (combining some of them, seeing as how some were intertwined) and write several books that way. I started with Bain, but he eventually evolved into such an emo-tastic tortured soul that he was no fun to write for anymore. But there were two characters who were always a blast to write: Red and Quina.

They were sort of secondary characters, a married couple living in the slums because he was a former slave, still branded, and she was an elf. I loved them to death and when the new project died too, I was actually heartbroken to have to let them go.

Fast forward a few years to NaNoWriMo 2009. (I'd actually signed up for NaNo in '08 and never done anything as I discovered later, having completely forgotten about signing up at all.) I needed a story, I had two characters whose story I wanted to tell. Lovely!

Now, I say usually that I am a pantser, just sort of writing things, but Scorpion and Sandman had a huge backlog of history (seriously, those few paragraphs up there summarize several years of my life). I had some fairly developed characters already and an idea for how I wanted the story to go. And, this being the first time I had done NaNo, I did some simple outlining.

I could still make an argument for my panster status, since those outlines were never really more than a page long and a few of them were made on the fly in the middle of the month, just so I wouldn't forget the resolution I had projected, but that was actually the beginning of my panster self.

As mentioned before, part of the reason the parent project died was because I was so enamored with outlining that I never actually got to the writing. I'd learned a little since then, but it was really the "omigosh, have no time, no ideas, need to write 2k words nao!!!" attitude of NaNo that really cemented that idea of just sort of going "blah" on paper.

So I did. There was a little bit of outlining and a whole lot of previously acquired knowledge, but I pretty much wrote that novel on the fly. I started with two characters with stories I wanted to write and just wrote them.

This project has been on the back burner, in the queue for editing, since NaNo09's completion, but I've never really dug into it hardcore. Mainly because I'm terrified of messing it up. I love that novel so much. It represents so much; the completion of a childhood obsession, the first accomplishment of NaNoWriMo, etc. etc., that I'm afraid of sullying that memory. I'll get over it eventually, I'm sure, and dig into it (seriously, writing about the parent project is making me want to pick that up again), but there's really been no editing as of yet.

Once Upon a Spine
This was inspired by (mm-hmm, here it comes) Princess Tutu, right in the middle of NaNoWriMo this past year.

Actually, I'd wanted to write a fairy-tale princess story for a while. This was an example of just having an idea for a type of story I wanted to tell and sort of sticking things into it. The original idea was for it to be a delightfully quirky story, completely not-full of my apparently trademark angst that I keep finding in all my works. (Hahahahaha, hold on while I finish laughing at my own naivety... To think I thought I could keep angst out of this story.)

It was just the idea of a hedgehog wanting to become a princess that was practically blatantly stolen from Princess Tutu. I wanted to explore what would happen if a character went through drastic changes for a single motivation, only to discover that those changes gave them other motivations as well.

This, I didn't quite jump into immediately. Instead, there was a sort of "waiting" period between NaNo and a new project. It wasn't as bad as it was last year (when I literally didn't write for months after NaNo in some sort of horrible burnout) since this year I did actually do a crapload of blogging and some scribbles of fiction and nonfiction alike in my own portfolio. And, mixed in there, were some little scenes and snippets of ideas for my hedgehog story.

They were sort of previews, sort of teaser scenes that I wanted to include, or that sort of captured the mood I wanted. I don't know if any of them will actually make it into the story itself, but they were fun to test the waters. Got a few ideas for character motivations, and came up with an idea for a potential ending for somewhere down the line.

But then, on January 4th, I actually started writing. Didn't think too hard about it, just sort of picked a narration style, and just started writing. Panster style all the way. There was no history to this project, no built-up knowledge of my characters. Just them, not even named (not even joking) standing there, wanting to know what they were supposed to do. So I made them do stuff. Two of the three main characters have names (Rat and Gareth), but that's it.

It's been like that since then. I write down notes to myself whenever I think of a revelation that I want to remember (like, further character motivations), but mostly it's just been hashing it out and seeing where it goes. It's pretty much a long, extended outline. I can tell you for almost absolute certain that the section I'm writing right now will not be in there, or at least not in the place or form it's in.

Unlike Scorpion and Sandman though, I'm actually looking forward to editing this one. Of course, it might be way too early to tell on this sucker, seeing as how I've only been legitimately working on it for a grand total of two weeks now, but I have a good feeling about it. I sort of know where I want this story to go and even though I know that what I'm writing right now isn't fitting into that most tentative of tentative mental plans, I know that I need to write it. It's the raw "blahsome" for my future "awesome".

Whew... Long and rambly that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

One big sandbox...

You know, the internet is an amazing thing.

Sure, you have to sift through a lot of chaff to find anything good, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

See, there is so much crap that it actually sets the bar low enough to give folks the courage to put stuff out there. It gives them the gumption to try putting some of their work out there, knowing that even if it's not as great as the good stuff, there's at least something definitely worse out there.

This does, of course, lead to a lot of crap. A lot of crap. With posting things on the internet being free and all, there's no filtering system in place like there is in the publishing industry and so anything and everything is on there.

But there is stuff that is mediocre. It's not fantastic, it has flaws, but it has so much potential that you like it anyway. It gets a following. The creators get practice in their craft and we get free entertainment out of it. Fanfiction, abridged series, podcasts, music, original fiction, short films, animation, blogs, all of that. For everything worth watching/reading/listening to/etc., there are a hundred ones that really aren't. But those things are worth watching/reading/listening to/etc.

I've been scouting out the forums at a few writing sites lately and watching a lot of videos on YouTube and just plain been reveling in the sheer volume of brilliance that can be exhibited there, unhindered despite their flaws. Sure, some of these never would have made it past a publisher's desk, but not always because they are hopeless.

Every endeavor will be flawed. There is no way to improve without making mistakes. But it can be hard when you're all alone. The internet gives us a place to put it out, have a community, and improve among others without actually having to face someone.

Because the internet is anonymous for the most part. I, at least, have a neurosis about showing my work to people I actually know (aside from my siblings, oddly). The anonymity is soothing. I have managed to strike up friendships with folks over the internet and we've become close, but for some reason, that wall that is put up between me and IRL people never gets built up.

I think it's because of the way the internet works and is accepting of everything thrown at it (sometimes to the point of madness). So, despite the crazy, I love you, internet.

Plug time! What has the internet brought you that you love in your deepest heart of hearts that maybe wouldn't be published anywhere but the internet?

For me, it's vloggers. And bloggers. And abridged series. And TVTropes. Thank you, denizens of the internet, for TVTropes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Non-fiction continues to win...

I've found that one of the best things for recharging fiction writers is nonfiction reading.

After all, while you should read books and watch movies and all that stuff, sometimes seeing someone else's work is... draining? discouraging? "darn, why didn't I think of something that brilliant?"

It happens to me all the time. Sometimes, when I want to be recharging, instead, I am being drained.

For instance, I just recently re-watched Princess Tutu (and you all thought I was done with that), just to sort of fill up my inspiration meter for my hedgehog story (and because I was making my little sister watch it with me). I was expecting to come out feeling invigorated and excited.

Instead, I felt horrible.

It was just so much better than what I was writing. It moved along, had great characters, was beautifully animated, yadda yadda yadda. It was better than my stuff.

While that didn't come as a surprise at all, it did sort of hit me hard for some reason. (Not that I regret re-watching it. .)

So instead, I picked me up some nonfiction. Namely, a true crime book entitled Satan's Circus, about Charley Becker, a cop executed for murder. It's gritty, it's historical, I've only read about ten pages and it has nothing to do with anything I'm working on right now, but it makes me want to write.

I think it has to do with burnout. Sometimes, even when you love something, too much of it is just sickening. Take chocolate for example. A bar of it is great. Ten boxes has you hunched over a toilet and never wanting to see a cocoa bean again in your life.

Fiction is awesome. I love it. It's what I want to do with my life. It is what I do with my life. But sometimes it gets to be a little much, so diving into something else for a short while can be refreshing. Checking out a documentary. Going to a museum. Reading about something like quantum physics for dummies or whaling. It's just so different that I don't have to worry about making it fit into what I'm doing.

Anything you guys do in particular to recharge your writing batteries?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I hate it when they disappoint me like this...

Darn you, muse, and your easily-distracted tendencies!

So, last night, I watched Titan A.E. for the first time and was both a) pleasantly surprised and b) bitterly disappointed.

a) The Happy
- It was a gritty, lived-in, rag-tag sci-fi, one of my favorite types of the genre. I love the idea of very different crew members on a small ship interacting and getting along (or not). (Funny anecdote: I kept being reminded of Firefly through the movie, just in little bits and pieces, only to find out that Joss Whedon had been one of the screenwriters. Lulz for perception.)

- The voice cast was surprisingly star-studded. My especial fangirl moment was when I found out Cale's dad's voice (which I had actually commented on when he first started talking) is Ron Perlman. It made me happy.

- It was actually rather adult in tone. Not "adult" adult, but very mature. And quite dark. I mean, there are character deaths on screen, a few rather gruesome. It was nice to see a Western animation that wasn't really for kids and wasn't something like Family Guy or South Park.

- The music was pretty cool, especially the first real rock song that that shows up as Cale is working his dead-beat job.

b) The Sad
- Mostly just missed potential. There were some great set-ups for characters. Cale, the cocky, cynical, "cute but troubled" guy with daddy issues, the well-educated and grumpy weapons expert Stith, the creepily charming Preed (who, btw, was my favorite of everyone we got to see for however short a time). All with huge potential for interaction and unique development that went nowhere. We barely get to see them acting in these characterizations before they're pretty much forgotten about and they are just vehicles for the lines that need to be said in order to get the story moving. The romance between Cale and Akima felt so forced, when it really could have been great, with her teaching him to hope again and stuff. I dunno, it just felt like they were shooting for so much more and it felt completely on its face.

- I wasn't too clear on the motivations behind the characters at all, aside from perhaps Akima and only her because she insisted on making a speech about it every time she and Cale were alone on screen.

- The animation sometimes didn't seem like it knew whether it was shooting for realistic or cartoony. It threw me off a few times.

All in all, it wasn't the worst movie I'd ever seen, but I wouldn't even say it was that good by a long shot. Apparently, it came out at the same time as Treasure Planet and is actually surprisingly (though just superficially) similar to the other movie. But Treasure Planet handled itself better, making it about the characters before it was about the quest. And it's a stronger movie for it, one that actually makes me cry during some scenes, despite its annoying sidekick characters.

But, despite Titan A.E.'s less-than-thrilling review from me... I want to watch it again. It's like it had so much wasted potential that it drives me up the wall and I want to watch it again to find some sort of redeeming qualities in it. I do this with Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland too. That was another movie with so much potential that it just never lives up to. But I want to watch it again, to pick it apart, to try to find something that would let me like it.

Plus, my muse is going nuts after sampling such potential and the parts of my brain that were chugging along after Pitch Black are starting back up again. Gah. And I actually like where I am in my hedgehog story too...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Feel the love...

So, today, I opened my e-mail. In it was a notification for a lovely response to my last post from the lovely Trisha. I read it, smiled, then did a double take because, at the bottom, in what I had initially taken to be some sort of signiature at the bottom of the e-mail, were the words: "You have an award here."

Not quite, seeing as how I wasn't grumpy to begin with and I didn't quite "LOL", but you get the basic idea. Plus, hedgehog! 

Indeed, I received an award for my versatile blogging! Which surprised me, since I consider this a Johnny One-Note blog about writing, but hey, I guess there are many parts to writing! Plus, my nerddom covers many fields. 


The rules of the award are:

  1. Share 7 things about yourself.
  2. Pass the award to 15 bloggers recently discovered.
  3. Notify the blogger recipients.
  4. Link to the blogger who gave the award.

Okay, here we go...

  1. I have a strange phobia of mirrors. Not really of looking at myself in them or anything, but I'm sort of strangely paranoid about being watched out of my mirrors. Of course, with my history of favorite entertainment (Labyrinth, Phantom of the Opera, and many other books and movies) this is probably not too surprising. 
  2. When I was little, like eight or so, I wanted to be an archeologist.Before that, I had wanted to be an artist, so for a little while, I reconciled those two by wanting to be an illustrator for archeology books. 
  3. My first introduction to Batman was from a few episodes of the show in the 60's that my parents had taped at the end of a tape with a Disney Christmas special on it. I didn't even know it was on there until one night when I finished watching Lady and the Tramp and was sitting there waiting for the tape to run out (I don't know... I was a strange child). The first one was the episode with the lady magician robbing the bank and falling in love with Batman. "Suspended over a... Holy birthday cake!"
  4. I've never drunk a cup of coffee in my life (unless you count one iced coffee slurpee-type thing once because it was free and I didn't want to be rude) and I don't plan to. First, I'm super-caffeine-sensitive and I get shaky after I drink just a soda, and second, I don't like the taste at all.
  5. I love the idea of cufflinks for some reason and was always jealous of guys for getting to wear them (I blame the Disney version of Peter Pan, what with how Mr. Darling was looking for his cufflinks in the beginning). 
  6. I used to be terrified of 80's fantasy movies and the effects therein. Now, they are some of my favorite movies and effects.
  7. I've never read an unabridged version of any Dickens and only one abridged version of Oliver Twist.
And as for who I would bestow this award upon...

  1. Thinking Caps on Chaps by Jon
  2. Holy Nerd-Blog Batman! by CaligulaBob
  3. Aimée "The Great" by Aimée "The Great"
  4. The Thought Process by A.L.Maddix
  5. Don't Shake the Flask by syaffolee
  6. Breaking Into My Shell... by Nicole
  7. The Ink Ribbon Writer by Suzanne
  8. 8-Bit Words by Liz Pezzuto
  9. Working Title by Erin Millar
  10. leo fair by Leo Fair
  11. At the Iron Hill by Conrad Rice
  12. Compulsive Creativity by theinsomniakid
  13. Falen Formulates Fiction by Sarah Ahiers
  14. Musings of a Procrastinating Author by Mildred
  15. Enthusiasm Shoppe by Pumpkinhead
And there you have it. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wasting away...

See, here's the thing about writing; it's a repetitive motion. Whether you are typing or scrawling, it is a fairly repetitive thing you do with your wrist and fingers. And that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

I have carpal tunnel. I wear a splint at night to keep any pain to a minimum and so far it hasn't really affected me too much. Just sort of a hyper-awareness of my forearm's interior sometimes, or a slow, dull ache. If I do funky things with my thumb or wrist, I feel a pang, but I have to actually be trying for it.

So, all in all, I wasn't too worried about it, until today, when I was flexing my hand and noticed a bit of a depression along the muscles mass at the bottom of my right thumb that isn't there on my left thumb.

My grandma has something similar and had been talking about it the last time I saw her, which probably the only reason I noticed.

It's not much and it's only when I flex a certain way, but it's there. And I sort of freaked out, because muscle atrophy is one of the signs of advanced carpal tunnel.

Now, it may just be me jumping the gun and freaking out about nothing. Like I said, I don't know if my carpal tunnel would really be considered serious (of course, as I type those words, I can feel an ache starting in the back of my forearm) and atrophy is apparently the last stage of nerve damage. After all, I don't have that pit in my thumb muscles at rest and I'd assume there would be some symptoms if I really had advanced nerve damage. It may just be my paranoid self freaking out about an asymmetric feature of my body.

But still...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Space oddity...

Was reading a little recently about writers' spaces, the places where they write. And I realized, I don't really have one.

I have a desk, sure. It's got an ancient desktop on it that runs Windows '98, one shelf full of dictionaries, binders stuffed with old work, scrap paper and my entire year's subscription of Writer's Digest, and another shelf crowded with my printer and seemingly every stupid knick-knack I own. But I don't write on that desk. I barely use it at all. The computer is rarely turned on since I got my laptop a year ago. Plus, the chair is too short, has crappy support and wiggles unbearably.

I write everywhere but on flat surfaces, it seems. The only times I really write "properly", sitting down in a chair with the paper on a desk, is in class when I'm scribbling during the dull periods of a lecture. Other times I am laying down on my side on my bed, notebook up by my head where I can reach it with my right hand. Or I'm curled up in the new comfy chair at the bottom of my bed, notebook resting on my knees. Or I'm sitting with my laptop on whatever flat surface I can find, tapping away with my arms in awkward positions.

I don't really have a "writing space". And as much as I would love to say that I want one, I don't think I would really use it, or at least hardly ever. Because I do my writing when it happens, when I have a spare moment, when I'm comfortable, I tend to be in odd positions or at odd times. If I get an idea in bed, I'll write it down in bed. I don't want to get up and move to a writing space to get my mojo going. Some of my best writing has been in these strange places, like in the back corners of libraries or in the middle of the campus at school.

There's a danger to trying to make a perfect writers' space, I think. I mean, if I were hung up on trying to make myself the perfect writing nook, I'd be at it all the time instead of writing. It's part of what drives me crazy before and during NaNo, trying to make the perfect environment. It's just a means of procrastination. The best way to write and the best environment for writing is just writing itself.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We're different, different as can be...

Yay for super-mega-foxy-awesome-hot fan-produced parody musicals and their ability to inspire blog titles.

It's funny, how even when you know something, it doesn't really sink in. This past November, I finally sort of got it through my head that my characters don't have to think the same way I do.

It's not that I was opposed to the thought of people having different thoughts than me, I just didn't really write characters that were all that different from my own way of thinking (excepting perhaps the antagonists). However, for NaNoWriMo last year, nearly every single one of my protagonists thought quite differently from me. They approached problems differently than me, they resolved issues differently than I would, and they were just different people.

Not that (I hope) all of my characters have been the same before this, but this was where I noticed a real change from myself. And, just like the narrative style, I'm ripping off what worked from that novel for my hedgehog story. In this case, writing outside my comfort zone.

My narrator isn't much like me at all. In fact, I find myself annoyed by her sometimes. But that's part of her character and she'll grow out of some of the more universally-annoying traits, though I don't think she'll ever come into conformity with how I think. And I don't want her to. It's a new experience for me as a writer. I like it.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Been sort of kicking around the beginning to my hedgehog story, consistently scribbling on it in inconsistent places. For real, I've got the first part on my computer, the second part on pages ripped out of an old spiral-bound notebook, the third bit on the backs of scrap paper, the fourth bit in my writing notebook and now this fifth bit on looseleaf.

In a way, this sort of broken writing is frustrating, in that I can't look at my previous bits to see what I wrote before (seeing as how I don't always have them all together), but for that same reason, it's almost helpful. I can't look back and be discouraged by what came before, and it forces me to keep writing. And I have been. It's been like NaNo all over again, only not quite with the stringent word counts and guilt-inducing failures. Writing every day, chugging ahead without worrying too much about what's going on. It's fun, and without a deadline hanging over my head, it's almost relaxing.

I don't do scheduled writing time, but this is becoming my writing task for the day. If I were to say "first thing every morning, I will write", I would drive myself crazy because I wouldn't be able to keep that commitment, what with how my daily schedule changes so much every day. However, if I sneak in writing in the spare moments -  like today, when I got in a solid half-hour of writing (two and a half pages of looseleaf, baby!) while I was waiting to pick up my brother from guitar practice - I get writing done, feel accomplished, and avoid boredom.

Basically, writing becomes my time-killer, rather than watching television, reading magazines or twiddling my thumbs. My poor video games are feeling a bit neglected, but I'm getting writing done and it's awesome.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Music of the write...

One thing that film gets that prose doesn't: music. And I am super-jealous of it.

For real, I was listening to some of the soundtracks to my most favorite movies/shows/games recently and was literally just plain aching. I mean, music manages to bring so much into a story, playing with your emotions almost subconsciously, connecting you to characters and situations more quickly and effectively than just showing them would have. Music can stick with you long after a story fades, or be the glue that makes a story stick.

For instance, years ago, I watched the movie Escaflowne: 
(Yeah, don't believe the cover... it's not good. The show it's based on, however? Utterly fantastic.)

It's not that great of a movie. I mean, it's okay (it is really, really pretty to watch), but not the greatest (the English dub really ruined it for me too...). It was one of my first encounters with anime and while the story didn't impress me all that much, the music. Oh gosh, the music.

In particular, there was one song, sung by a minor character a few times through the course of the movie.

This. song. haunted. me. 

I mean, for years. 

(Related: Yoko Kanno is a genius among mortals. For real, check out her music - soundtracks especially.)

It was what actually made me watch the series years later when I found it on TVTropes, the sheer nostalgia of that one song. 

I love this song so much that I actually bought the soundtrack, it being the second CD I ever really bought and the second soundtrack I purchased (the first CD and soundtrack being the Labyrinth soundtrack). 

This song stuck with me much, much longer than the movie itself did. Or rather, the movie stuck with me because of that song. 

Music is important to writers, regardless of medium or genre. I listen to music all the time when writing (mostly my ever-growing collection of soundtracks for their virtue of having no words that I could sing along to and thus write down). It taps into some deep, visceral part of us and humankind at large. 

It can make something seem epic (really, try doing anything to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack without feeling just a tiny bit awesome) or subtle or emotional or flippant with just a few notes. It can build or deflate tension. 

It can also make or break a scene, as evidenced by those scenes/movies when the soundtrack is way too over-the-top for what's going on, or too underscored. But even then, the power of the music is demonstrated in the way that it does make or break the scene. 

It makes me jealous. It really does. The closest we writers get is collections of music that we pick out for our novels (there are many folks who do this, especially around NaNo - making lists of music that relate to or inspire their story) or original music like what Maggie Stiefvater did for some of her books. But regardless, we lose that scene-by-scene synch that films get. Even if a reader listens to the music while reading the story, they lose the moment-by-moment impact and timing, since everyone reads at a different rate.

The closest we could get, I suppose, is an audio book with music, similar to some of Brian Jacques' Redwall books, where the song lyrics he writes are actually sung. But instead, there would be actual music throughout the whole thing, in the background. Which now I want to do. Like, start a company to do. The difficulty would be original music for even a fraction of what is often a several-hour epic read.

Saturday, January 8, 2011



It's key for characters. You get a couple good characters, give them some motivation, and throw them in a setting and plot will happen like crazy. I've always been far more character-oriented than plot-oriented, just because plot comes from characters, so you just worry about the one and the other follows.

But motivation takes some exploration to find. Right now, I'm still finding my characters' motivation. It's how I write. I just sort of stick characters together, let them interact, let them blather on about unimportant stuff, until I find something, anything that's important to them. You get those one or two things and make that character work for it. And it can change. It often does.

It's why my first drafts are so messy. I mean, it's said that you will cut out the first three chapters of your first draft. It's certainly true for me, since that's when I just sort of hash around and mess with everything. I never know what I'm doing going in. The first half of my NaNo is seriously just me poking things and seeing what jiggles.

So right now, I'm playing with the idea of motivation for my characters. My narrator is just sort of complaining right now, but I have an idea for future motivation for her. But as for my knight and his hedgehog, I'm sort of kicking around layers of motivation. I mean, the hedgehog wants to become a princess. However, that's not enough.

To continue my references to Princess Tutu, (I just rewatched it this weekend), there are several layers of motivation. It starts out simple: Ahiru wants to save Mytho. Everything she ever does is in pursuit of that goal. But as she continues to work towards that goal, she accumulates more goals. She wants to remain a girl. She wants to be with the people she loves. She wants so much more than just to save Mytho, even if that is her primary motivation. It comes down to the point where she isn't even sure if that, her original goal, is still want she wants anymore.

Plot unfolds from that.

So I guess I'll just be hashing around for a while, putting down as much blahsome as much as possible. The editing will come later, actually sorting through it all to find the awesome (or least sucky) hidden in there.

Friday, January 7, 2011


If you are ever in doubt about whether or not you should bring a particular notebook with you on a trip, you should wonder what the crap is wrong with you.

Yeah, I'm out of town right now and I didn't bring my stack of scrap paper with me. I have my new notebook, but it's sort of my diary-type notebook for writing, rather than a place to seriously write (just because I want to be able to collect all of my writing in a folder for this project). But, due to the fact that the hotel's notepad is seriously unsuited for serious writing, I'll likely just write in the notebook and type it up to print it out and collect it in the notebook.

But seriously, if it's ever a question of whether or not to bring paper, the answer is always "YES!"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blah, blah, blah...

Omigoodness, but my narrator talks a lot. I mean, a lot.

I'm blatantly ripping of my narration style from NaNo this past year, using a first-person narrator for a lot of it, interspersed with some third-person and some storybook-like interludes. And I'm remembering (again) why I usually don't do first-person narration.

Because my narrators talk. A lot.

I think it's because it's in their head and their head ends up being a lot like my own head - rattling down the tracks, only to stop every three seconds to notice/explain/wonder at whatever shiny/non-shiny/slimy/furry thing happens to cross said tracks. Which is all well and good inside someone's actual head, but not so great for telling a story.

Nevertheless, I'm doing writing and if nothing else, the first-person infodumps are helping me hash out the world itself (seeing as how I typically do little to no actual worldbuilding beforehand).

The difficulty is going to be to keep my narrator from coming across as a femi-nazi. Which she sort of is. But it's not what this story is about.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Endings are hard...

So I watched James Cameron's The Abyss for the first time. 

It drove me nuts.

*spoiler alert*

I understand, James Cameron, endings are hard. When you work so hard for an hour and a half to build suspense and tension, it's hard to create a climax that matches that sense of suspense. It's why horror movies often have the lamest endings and psychological dramas devolve into action sequences (I'm looking at you, Red Eye). It's hard to end stories.

But really. Really.

I mean, I was sucked into The Abyss from the beginning. I seriously have a phobia about suffocating/being drowned (which fall under claustrophobia and aquaphobia, though I'm not afraid of tight spaces or water, just dying of oxygen deprivation) and with a setting much like one of my favorite movies Alien, what with tight spaces, not being able to get help from the outside, and a very squabbling-family-like, lived-with quality to the cast and set, I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie. Not to mention that the scientific accuracy (for a big-budget movie) was impressive, so I was satisfied with its level of integrity, underwater aliens and all. 

(Though that does bring to mind a question: Why couldn't they have been sentient terrestrials, rather than extraterrestrials? I would think that would be much cooler. Moving on...)

Then came the suicide dive Bud goes on. Which is all good and fine in and of itself, until he actually got saved. From then on out, I was frustrated beyond belief. A few questions that came to mind:

- How is he surviving that far underwater? Are the aliens doing it? Why would they do that? I mean, they live in water, how would they know to depressurize him? 

- Alien city? Why? Why do we have to reveal everything about them? Why can't they stay a secret? Mysterious helpers?

- Why do the aliens have a) hands and b) eyelids?

- The insta-depressurization thing makes no sense. (Not a question, but omigeez, for realz?) I mean, the aliens are deep-sea critters, apparently. You don't just bring deep-sea critters up into air-pressure. They pop.

Yeah, all of these questions threw me right out of the story. I mean, when you establish your world as one of nitty gritty reality, with the main threat for the first half of the movie being a man afflicted with a very real condition and dealing with very real, human problems, when you suddenly switch genres on us and make it an all-out sci-fi with Tron-alien-lights and everything, the audience gets thrown out of the story.

I had this problem with Atlas Shrugged too. I mean, I was hooked through the first half of the book. Sure, I didn't like the characters that much, but I was interested in the railroad. The railroad and the real-life financial dramas that were taking place around it were fascinating. Then John Galt's valley shows up and it becomes some sort of dystopian fantasy ala 1984. It was stupid, it was sudden and it suddenly became about ten times more preachy than it had been already. I was thrown out of the story and I only finished the book to be able to say that I had. 

Endings are hard, I understand. The temptation to make everything all gooshy and happy is very, very strong. But you have to resist. The far more realistic ending of  The Abyss would have been for Bud to die. He drowns down there, everyone else gets saved just in the nick of time, they are all scarred and sad, but they make it out. It'd be like the ending of Armageddon (which was totally a comparison I drew right from the beginning when they both had oil rigs and Bruce Willis look-alike main characters - seriously, Ed Harris kept reminding me of Bruce Willis all through the movie): in Armageddon, Bruce Willis makes a heroic sacrifice, dies, and everyone else is saved. 

Granted, that would have been a totally bittersweet ending and I'm not sure where the aliens would have come in, seeing as how they would have pretty much been useless, but that isn't entirely bad. This movie could have been really good, just making it about the sub going down and the things that happened afterward. Make it an accident that the sub went down and blame the hurricane for everything else. No need to bring the aliens in. They felt shoehorned in by the end, having no real bearing on the characters' growth or their situation.

I understand, James, I really do. Endings are hard. But really... Just, really...

(Note: I haven't seen the Director's Cut, which apparently does some better jobs of explaining some stuff by restoring footage. Or so I hear. I wouldn't know. I haven't seen it. But really, we shouldn't have to just rely on the Director's Cut to tell a complete story.) 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Viruses and Hedgehogs and Lampreys, oh my...

“Language is a virus from outer space.” – William S. Burroughs
It is my firm belief that writers are highly susceptible to the virus.,We are obsessed with manipulating and exploring language. We are also the primary vectors by which it propagates, evidenced by our mad drive to shove our virus-laden pages at other people.
My brain is riddled with cosmic microbes and I must share them with you!
~ Paul E. Holmes, on a blog comment at Chuck Wendig's Terribleminds

Yeah, it stuck with me for some reason.

In writing news, I actually did some today! Yay me and actually starting a project when I said I was going to! The writing isn't great, but it's a first draft. I'm just telling myself that over and over again as I hash out a rough roadmap for the story.

I can't plan beforehand. Really. I end up overthinking and tinkering and not actually writing until I've convinced myself it's a lost cause. Much better for me to just jump in without looking to see how far I actually have to swim or how there's a pit of lampreys between me and the end.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Somehow, it all works out...

Strange how I can spend so much time trying to think of character motivation and development and arcs and whatnot and not actually write a word, then just sort of come up with a change and let the characters run with it and end up with stuff that is a million times better.

So, there was this magician character I had planned for my hedgehog story. He was originally a guy. But what if I was to make him a girl? Suddenly, there is a great deal more opportunity for growth than there was before, just by changing the dynamics that will automatically arise from her interactions with the rest of the characters.

Yeah, yet another glowing example of how much of a pantser I am, that I literally do much better when completely winging it than when I try to outline/plan/develop the story beforehand.

Tomorrow, I vow to begin writing.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


So I have a new notebook for this year and I love it so far (unlike a certain purple velvet affair... *shudders*). But the trouble with a writing notebook is that I'm never quite sure what all to put in it. Inevitably, if I muse all the time in it, I will lose valuable story information from my current project in the wells of other general rambling and angsting. However, if I don't muse there, where am I supposed to muse and what would be the point of having a notebook? It's a fine line.

As is, I'm musing everywhere, collecting looseleaf in a folder specifically labelled for my hedgehog process and making notes to myself in both folder and notebook about what's in the other one so that I can reference back and forth. Probably will be hectic and irritating in the future, but like I said at the beginning of December, the goal for this year is "collected", not necessarily "organized".

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Hello to you, 2011. Come in, make yourself at home.

It's funny, even though I was blogging and doing some scribbling, I felt like I was waiting for something to end or something to begin before I really dug into writing. Probably a holdover from NaNo still, what with being married to deadlines for the month. It might also have to do with the crazy work schedule I've been dealing with. Whatever it was, I was sort of subconsciously waiting for a corner to approach so I could turn it.

And now it's the new year. I don't feel any different. But at the same time, I do. It's like... I have a whole new year!

So, with the turning of that particular corner, I'm jumping into writing. I've still got two days of heavy work to go, so it might take a day or two before it happens, but it will happen. I've got a free week before school starts again and I don't intend to let it go to waste. Sure, it will be filled with oversleeping and copious amounts of video games, but I will be writing. I will get writing done.

It helps that I think I've figured out how to actually begin my hedgehog story. It involves jumping right into a relationship, rather than trying to establish it from the beginning. I think it might work.