Monday, 23 December 2013

It's getting super close to Christmas!

I am eating a ton of mince pies and putting off editing my story. Woop! :P

I sort of felt like I should carry on the Medwin Christmas thing but going from that to my NaNo and then back to Medwin sort of feels like overkill.

Somehow instead I put it into my head that I might want to re-structure Cloud People as a 2 or 3 volume series and put back in all the stuff I once stripped out, and now I can't stop thinking about that instead. I'm going to be honest: I miss Sael and his snarky ways. I even miss Yzobella and her bratty ways. There is so much I could do with it! *vibrates off the walls* But I'm all committed to Troutespond at the moment so I guess it's like cheating and I'm a good person so I don't do that? *looks sidelong at Cloud People* *sighs*

Catwin's re-reading all my TP stuff anyways and pointing out all the weird errors, so I have that to work on if I can't bring myself to do that close edit yet anyhow :P Things which absolutely must be fixed because they're just currently *wrong*

Friday, 13 December 2013

*leaps over NaNoWriMo*

Hey again, on the other side of the month :P

So I went and did NaNoWriMo in style and didn't have much brain left for anything else all month apparently. I love the discipline of it but on the other side of the month there's always the "urk, now what?"... First of all I finished the story, getting it to 60k words thanks to a wizard battle (with vampires!) and actually giving it a decent ending... I haven't re-read it since and it's probably too short still at that length but this IS one of those ones where I am happy with it after. Happy enough with it, anyway. I wrote it pretty quickly and even though I had a plan structurally I managed to deviate from that and the projected character arcs I was hoping would come out of it. But that's what writing's all about :D I just need to re-read it at some point after the New Year and see what I think.

I've got Medwin exhaustion at the moment anyway so I haven't picked up The Twelve Days of Christmas again. Instead, inspired by Ciaran, I copy and pasted all of the Troutespond series into one big file to see the overall word count (around 500,000) and then got distracted reading it, which meant having to open up the proper files to make those changes... I spotted more than a few embarrassing typos in Concrete Faery, but they sort of just sneak in no matter what you do and are physically impossible to spot until things are way out of your hands. In this case, I have a professional manuscript doctor about to get back to me any day now with his suggestions, so there is zero point in fussing with it now. I have a theory that typos will slowly reveal themselves to you depending on the number of other human beings who view your story, while remaining invisible if you are the only one to read it.

As I was walking about during the week all this chronological reading has pointed out to me that I should really turn my attention to Book 4, which is still sitting around being 50k words and lacking narrative hooks to anyone who isn't me. The opening is super promising but it does have a bit of a fizzle halfway, which I worry a lot of stories I write do when I try to make them happen organically. So I need to go inject a bit more drama into it. I mean, the ending is stupidly OTT so I'm pretty sure I'm allowed to ham it up just a little beforehand, and now I've written book 8, never mind got proper re-writes of books 1-3 sorted, I should reeeeeally know what I'm doing now. I've come up with a few ways to come at it, so we'll see. I still need to finish re-reading book 2, which I could do really quickly but I'm pretty easy to distract.

*wanders off*

Monday, 4 November 2013

That time of year again...

Yep, it's November, aka NaNoWriMo, the writer's, er... well I'd say like holy month or something but it seems to be a great source of stress and frustration to some, no matter how fun they say it is. A busy month for us, anyway. :)

So, not like I'm completely obsessed with him or anything, I'm writing a story about Medwin this month, making it vaguely detective-ish, the sort of thing I always assumed he did when I wasn't writing him for Christmas stories in his grown up incarnation. So yeah, that Christmas story was revived quite a lot just for world-building and me trying to get a grip on everything. It's only just turning day four as I type this but I do like how it's coming along.

Anyway since I'm sort of injured still with a hand that gets sore after too much typing I am going pretty slowly, and also going back and editing etc, re-reading and doing all sorts of normal writing practices which are normally banned during this month. I can write over the required word count per day normally, so I guess this is also about consistency more than anything, and this year I kind of want to write something I won't instantly decide to hate. The only other one I didn't hate is The Poet and the River, which I accidentally destroyed not long after NaNo ended by trying to edit it and saving over it after a whole day's hard work with an old version, so... *sad face* It never really went anywhere and is back on the pile of "NaNo stories that never happened" with all the rest.

I'm determined to like this one. :)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch etc

I'm getting very good at writing left-handed.

For some reason I haven't quite given up the idea of doing NaNoWriMo this year because November is a ways off still and maybe my hand will be working again by then. It's only been like a month an a half of pain, this belief is totally not misplaced.

Anyhow, just on the off-chance my hand works, I've started plotting a Medwin story of all things, just in case. Medwin stories should be easy to write, and it'll be a I-read-Sherlock-Holmes-at-the-beginning-of-the-year book as well, so I'm hoping to have a bit of fun with it.

Thinking of Medwin, I've worked my way through 7 books of the series putting proper chapter headings in and stuff. Just going through the actually unnamed book 7, thinking it's funny Or'wenn is in it but as Orwenn and he's not a changeling because one of them is the villain of book 2 and he's a lovely elf thing so I've made him one of those instead. Those two really do get around. They'd also be starring in the continuation of my Christmas story if I can make myself write it.

I'm going to New Mexico soon, and I'll have to amuse myself on the flight. I imagine writing laboriously left-handed for eight hours will be good practice. It won't be during NaNo obviously, but maybe I can get back into writing Book 5 which I wandered off from, or maybe I can get some mystery-writin' practice in and do book 6's redraft, since I'll be going out to America. Sitting on a plane with nothing to do will be a great way to focus my mind and force me to draft it, and once I'm out there I can soak up the 'Merica vibe and hopefully write the country properly.

Last time I went to America it was BAM Faces in the Mist, so maybe something entirely new will come of it :D

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Will the real Robin Hood please stand up..?

Somehow ended up reading a book about Robin Hood to while away my hours of "ouch ouch ouch" that accompany a wrist attack. It's quite an interesting book: a manically historical look at who Robin Hood might have been. Basically the opposite of the way I work which is to look at a thing and go "ooh I wonder how magic this could be?" (see above: everything I've ever written). Normally I get on with History books fine because they carry on stating facts and finding things amusing but this one is so determined to jump up and down on anything fun that there's no room for me to wonder about stuff.

However I suppose this approach is necessary for a character who is fundamentally non-magic except for being really good at shooting arrows, and poor Hawkeye in the Avengers didn't get a sniff of origin story or background except for "he shoots good" so I suppose that's an example of people not really thinking it's magic so much as like a basic skill. Legolas excepted, although in LotR Tolkien does make it clear ALL the elves are that good, and it's just Legolas happened to be the elf who drew the short straw to possibly risk mussing up his hair while escorting this quest. (LotR from Legolas's long-suffering POV would be hilarious if done right). Anywho, historians can't be expected to go around saying "oh yeah this miraculous stuff probably happened because it's in a story everyone's told a hundred times!" and Robin Hood is by far the least bad offender. I'm looking at your, King Arthur. You have a freaking wizard following you about, you do not get to pretend you're a historical character thankyouverymuch.

Yes I have been stuck at home with not much to do for weeks, can you tell? :P

I think this was going to be more of an intelligent discussion but it got away from me a bit while I sat and mentally wrote Legolas's take on LotR for a few minutes and it was very hard to swing my thoughts back around.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Up in a cloud of smoke...

Went my computer. Apparently all this time off work I'm suddenly had when my hand became completely non-functioning from stress (starting a couple of weeks ago but I have NOT been in the mood for typing very much!) means that running my computer all day for the first time basically since I got all the upgrades like the new graphics card has burnt out the power supply. It went in probably a flash and definitely a bang and as I sat there staring at my newly-dark computer screen I just thought, "Wow, I am glad I keep everything on Dropbox where I don't have to freak out that I didn't update it..."

So yeah, I have a new laptop now because as much as I love the old ones they are just not good/reliable enough to work on day to day for a long while. Also I've kind of been wanting a new laptop for ages. So here she is! She's called Tanya and she's very pretty but odd as well since she runs Windows 8 which I have minimal experience with. Also she initially all orange with desktop etc but I remembered that laptops aren't too great at displaying reds so now all my themes and stuff are green. I like green. *nods*

Like I said I haven't been writing much because I've been avoiding over-doing things with my wrist. I have been doing some read-throughs of book three and of all things it's book 6 in my head when I'm quietly musing on something. It's been two and a half years since I hammered out the NaNoWriMo draft and I know it's pretty bad... my brain keeps picking over it because even without re-reading it the flaws are so basic and obvious that merely remembering that the story exists is enough to remind me of them. And since they're a problem that needs solving I will keep harping on it...

We'll see what happens :)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Needs more coffee.

Blurgh... *rises from the depths of bed, coffee mug already in hand* Mornings, right?

Whatever they say about it supposedly being hot again, it's quite clearly going to be another grey horrible day, and I'm glad of it. Working in blistering temperatures is exhausting and expensive because I keep buying as much Fanta as I sell to customers.

I've run a bit aground with book 5. I tried to talk it through with Ciaran last night and just ended up confusing myself too much to begin with the plot... I hope just because it was five books in and every time I began talking I realised there was something else he needed to know from an earlier book... Book 5 does not have that complicated a plot and that's possibly part of the problem. So now I have a writing hangover from staying up late babbling about my plot which I'm still not much clearer on.

Maybe it's just nerves about getting to the end because at that point I'd have finished a draft for all eight of the first books in the series. And at that point I have a few options:

- Book 3 is still half-redrafted. I think it's actually sitting with a half-finished scene and then ten blank lines before it picks up again. And after book 8, which rudely interrupted it, I feel I can handle the fairy half of the book much better.

- Book 4 is still far too short, and I would probably need to sit down, write out the plot and then try and brainstorm ways to add more drama/suspense/twists because right now Tanya blunders in and out and that's it basically.

- Book 6 needs a total overhaul since I'm still just sitting on my NaNoWriMo draft. Just last week I was walking down to work getting all excited about the way I could write it properly. It's the least-good draft of any of these stories

- Book 7 is still missing a few scenes I told myself I was going to write basically as soon as I wrote the last chapter... I think I even wrote the last chapter alluding to them a little bit. But in the end a million things distracted me and I never got around to writing it.

I'm half-tempted to go do any one of these things now, but Book 5 has been repeatedly abandoned to write the others because I'm like "Oh it's just Ally, she can wait." And now I feel guilty for doing that because I've really enjoyed writing the middle of the book. I just can't find a way to bring it to a natural conclusion, mostly because I'm really not sure what's meant to actually happen at the end.

So maybe it would be a good idea to go, like, write that bit of book 7 or something.... *bad ideas all over the place and off I go...*

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Oh yeah, I have a blog...

Well that was an embarrassingly long time to go without blogging anything.

Random thought: I wonder how many other people stare at a word like "embarrassing" that they're not actually sure they can spell, then type dgkfhjudfg into the box to check the spell checker is on, despite it never failing them before, and only after seeing that wiggly red line appear actually feel confident they've spelt something correctly.

I suppose I should start off lightly with just saying what I've been up to (not much, in terms of doing anything other than selling doughnuts). The season crept up on me and I was working more hours each week... I went to EasterCon and that was fun, but other than that I've been in Hastings pretty much just writing in my off hours.

Last month I finished book 8, which I think I was probably only just starting about the time I made the last blog entry. Considering how fast I write for NaNoWriMo, 80k words between late December and... June? I think? Probably doesn't seem all that much, but the important thing is I usually don't like 100% or even 50% of what I write for NaNoWriMo, while this feels like a proper draft of something. I haven't re-read it for a while but there were moments it really made me sad or really made me happy and most importantly consistently had me excited. It was also the first in that cycle to actually heavily feature fairies and goblins, since book 7 was more about humans and the first two had unique supernatural entities bothering my protagonists. And I like fairies and goblins. No, really?

Just like it was nice and refreshing to have them around, it's also refreshing to be working on Book 5. I know aside from Book 8 my most recent work was a clean redraft of Book 1, but I still feel like I really missed Ally. And Book 5 (which  may have a more awesome title than it did before this week) is surprisingly easy to work on.

I sometimes worry, when I'm not writing something in particular, that I will forget how to "do" the characters. Because to me in a way every bit of dialogue and the actions are me acting out the story. But because I have a terrible poker face and mild stage fright, I act it out on the page instead. That way it's a one man show with me doing all the characters, and while I have a puppet on every hand and foot, I have to give them all a different voice because otherwise people will just see a load of socks with buttons for eyes.

Ally is one of those characters where I felt, while I wasn't working on her, that her voice was so distinct in the stuff I had written before, surely it must be hard for me to recreate that! She was my most ridiculously decorated sock puppet, and it would be so easy to ham it up to the image she presents and to forget the subtleties I try to put in her character. She could just be the clumsy one, the one who runs her mouth off without thinking. What if the character I wrote in Concrete Faery only works in that context?

Somehow though I think I managed to find the same tone of blind panic, supreme confidence, crippling shyness and unstoppable mouth that I had so much fun writing the first time. My only fear about this story was not the plot: Ally's stories are never about the plot... But not being able to carry the plot on the awkward back of this character. It's a story where I have a concept and I can throw Ally at it and the story just appears around the character.

Anyway, I'll stop there, but I shall try and remember this blog because it is good for me to ramble on somewhere, mostly because otherwise the wrong person asks an innocent question and gets all of this thrown in their face without me even stopping for a breath while explaining it. HERE you get punctuation. Lucky you!