Wednesday, 25 January 2012

*type type type*

Owie... I've written so much over the last few days that my arm is all seized up and sore, even past my elbow, which has never happened before. I blame the terrible angle at which I write when I am lying in bed. In movies and stuff you see cute kids writing in their journals or whatever lying on their fronts. Can I just say that in practice that is an awful way to do it, and you should sit up to write. Even if it is really cold out there. And yes I don't think I will practice what I preach, at least while it feels about 20 degrees colder out of my duvet than under it.

I've been writing ahead with Temple Elves (still not sure that it's going to end up called that). I'm now pretty much a whole chunk of my notebook ahead of where I have it typed up. I can see this going the same way as Ghost Choir: I spent the earlier part of this week typing up almost to the last of that... Stuff I wrote just before and just after I moved house in October... Yikes.

In a way it's pretty good to leave it a while before you type up because it lets you do a cleaner second draft version: if I type up something I wrote just that morning while I was on the go I'm much less likely to want to change things. On the other hand you can leave it too long, lose interest, and never finish typing it up. Ghost Choir dropped out of my interest for such a long time because I did NaNoWriMo then after that I spent December working on other projects because it's always hard to pick right up exactly after you last left off with your work before NaNoWriMo.

But yeah, finding some really good scenes in there, actually. Some stuff that I was thinking before I got there, "Oh lord, I'm going to have to re-write all of it...", once I'm actually working on it again I realise it was actually a lot better than I was thinking, no matter how silly it sounded when I was thinking about it. Actually reading it improves it a lot. :P It's always the filler stuff: getting too and from scenes, and pieces of scenes I wrote while I was between interesting parts that always need the most work. They say to always start and finish before the scene is actually over and after it's first started, to jump right in. But you need a bit of narrative cohesion: if you followed it to the rule the first paragraphs would always be full of recap stuff anyway. I mean, fair enough to start some with a bit of action then to explain how you got there shortly after: it captures the interest. But all the scenes? It'd just start looking like a tiresome device.

It does bug me how writing advice always seems to black and white: "Never use adverbs! Avoid passive voice like the plague!" etc. But sometimes you have to use one or to use a passive sentence for effect, and so on. Seen some writers confusing themselves into knots trying to avoid writing a sentence the way it should be written because some arbitrary rule laid down in a How To Write book forbids them from doing it the way they want to, and the way that suits their story best. I mean, it might look bad to litter a story with all these negative examples of writing, but that's no reason to suggest you will be shot for the occasional use...

Anyway, rant over. : D I probably have something to type up or something.

Or, you know, sleep that I need to be catching up on.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Just spent the last couple of days printing out a lot of stories to complete my folders and folders of work that I've been accumulating through my life. I have everything there, even stuff I wrote as a child... Or infant : P Well, I brought most things up to date. There are a few gaps here and there, but by and large it's stuff I wouldn't want to print out anyway: middle drafts of Cloud People or Soddinelvs stuff which was already old when I last got around to a big printing out session.

I do like seeing my writing in print, even if I'm the one with the printer. It just feels good to have a big box full of writing, so I can look at it, and say, "That's everything I've done with my life so far... And it's impressive." People do say "Woah!" on seeing my piles of files... I mean, obviously a lot of it is unpublishable and unpublished even if it's okay... But I suppose the point is that I have written all of it. I've never really had a total break from writing... I go through phases of all the other creative things that I enjoy doing... Writing, drawing, playing music. But I always end up sitting down and writing something. I just can't imagine going a week without it.

Anyway, having my series printed out will help me... I want to go through and read the whole thing on paper... In order, hopefully. I am still making edits and expanding things all over the place on the computer; I've already done some more editing on Clockwork Dragon since I finished printing things out this evening. But I can't alter everything all at once, and I do need to get a lot of things in order in my head... I talk about this project a lot and I'm always making notes and explaining to myself what it needs to be, but actually reading it through would be the best way for me to learn what it's missing and where I can put those things back into it.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

I will never run out of things to say...

I'm trying to think of ways to work on and expand my series... Some of the stories are really obvious, such as I could get a dozen more scenes out of the one I wrote for NaNoWriMo if I follow up some stuff I never did with the romance subplot, and though I don't particularly want these books to be all romantic and squishy, that is the first book where someone does have a normal healthy relationship with someone (instead of being all, you know, "I am going to have that god's babies and you can't stop me!" or whatever Teb was thinking when she ran off with the Green Man.) So, you know, 5 books in and I still have to prove I know what a romantic subplot actually looks like, which I clearly didn't when I fleshed out the story over NaNo. Also, since it's a new location and new characters, I can do a lot more world-building... I was feeling pretty rushed because of NaNo, so that is a story I'm going to be completely open to re-writing from scratch.

But that's the fifth in the series. What I really should be focussing on is getting Concrete Faery up to scratch, because once I have the first book ready I can start trying to flog it to agents/publishers, because no one will buy the fifth book in a series if the fifth isn't ready. No idea what sort of extra scenes I could put in there, though. I have made a lot of notes on individual parts to lengthen and improve, but I don't have much additional content. Perhaps I could focus more on Teb from the start, since at least for that novel she's my "Normal" one and I should be focussing a lot more on what a normal reaction is meant to be, since everything that Ally does is so completely abnormal.

I suppose a lot of what I need to add is the emotional stuff and character reactions... These stories more than most that I've written are pretty action focused, which is unusual for me since I usually get all inward looking and have people standing about moping and not saying much. I think that's why I find them so easy and fun to write, but I get pretty carried away with "and now there will be more fairies!" when I should probably be thinking more about the particular characterisation challenges that I have set myself: Concrete Faery is supposed to be about Ally understanding Tanya and there's almost none of that, Changeling's Choice is supposed to be about Alana understanding Teb, and Clockwork Dragon is meant to be a look at Alana's life from Tanya's perspective, which at least was a bit more unavoidable because of the plot, but still not developed very well. Those two need a lot more screen time and a fair bit more reflection on said screen time.

I do also wish that 3/4 of the first four stories in my series didn't begin with "C"... It's starting to look like I have a theme going here. Or something. Half the reason I originally called the 2nd one Purple Pixie was because I was wary about going with Changeling because of the C thing. Since I was dead set on Clockwork Dragon as well as Concrete Faery pretty much from the start. I just had to decide which one was meant to be Clockwork Dragon...

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Woah, I just updated my settings on Blogger to the new look, and came to check out how blog posting looked... Pressed the little arrow at the bottom of this narrow box, and it jumped down to fill the whole screen... I now have the most generous editing box I have ever seen in blogging software ever. This is one happy Melly typing this now. Although... It may potentially lead to much longer blog posts...

I managed to blow up all the computers I had for a short time during the summer, and when I got myself back to working order I found that while my writing was all obsessively backed up, I'd lost some things that were a lot more important to me than I would have thought before. Most of it was photos: I put a lot of my arty shots on the internet, but all my silly things, my hoarded photos of my friends, etc... All gone. Group memories live on on Facebook, I suppose. And I can always go take more photos. I just feel sad to have lost what was a pretty cool portfolio of work, should I ever decide to pose as a professional photographer while infiltrating things on one of my secret spy missions.

Also lost a fair amount of music: most of what I'd gathered while at university. My musical taste has therefore regressed about 2 years. Well, I'm slowly building it back. But it's hard to remember everything that I enjoyed listening to. The things I really love came back at once, but there are some things I forget to rate as highly as I should. I love Mt. Desolation's self-titled album, but since I bought it on Amazon digital copy I had no hard copy of it, and it's been months since I had a listen through. Finally asked BlackJack if she had it, and she kindly reminded that I'd uploaded it so she could listen, so I re-downloaded it. I'm sure you can re-download it from the Amazon site, but I had enough trouble getting this CD off them in the first place when their digital download program messed up and it never delivered...

I guess I'm just thinking about how much of my identity lives in this big mysterious internet cloud now. In this modern age everyone is using it, and everyone has invested a bit of themselves to it, whether it be private things or the horrible drunk photos plastered all over Facebook. Really good material for a story about a creature stealing souls that have been poured onto the internet.

And here I am feeding it, and you know, I have two inches left of white space still before I hit the bottom of the screen... I should probably let whoever comes by here get on with their lives. : )

Later: incomprehensible rambling about something I was writing.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Have you read....

Every single time I go to my dad's house he will ask at some point, "Have you read [x]", to which I invariably say, "Er... no." This happens about 3-5 times a visit... I think it's mostly because I read outside the field I write in, and spent the last few years reading intensely on my courses, mostly modern literary literature, and classics, and non-fiction for History. When I read for fun I've been reading silly things mostly... I'm totally missing out on literary genre stuff: all the good science fiction and fantasy that I apparently should know a lot about, but actually don't. Apparently this is pretty bad for me as a writer because one shouldn't soak up solely popular culture, what they read on Wikipedia and crappy novels. Half my understanding of what's a trend in writing at the moment comes from seeing what people on Fictionpost are writing, since people do write in the styles they know best from reading, usually.

Anyways. Today when I went around there he presented me with a stack of books 10 deep with the promise that more are coming, and I am apparently now on a crash course to become a bit more cultured within my own genre. It'll probably be good for me and I should enjoy most of the books since I will read pretty much anything... Just, wow, that stack of books looks huge at the moment.

Aside from that, I've written a lot of Temple Elves (presumable working title) over the last week... It is just the first push through, but I'm having some fun with it since it's pretty much how Clockwork Dragon would have gone if someone other than Tanya was at the helm... Even asking for her advice from time to time, Teb has no idea what's going on, and I like it that way. Tanya's fun to write, but WOW is she tiring. My plotting for that story went on for triple the amount of any of the others in that series. And it worked out shorter than all of them in the end after all the effort making sure I'd get it right... The others were just: "here is a character. Apply pixies." Story ensued. :)