Archive for August, 2021

The Climax Conundrum

Oh, squiders. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I always get all squirrelly when I reach the climax of a novel. It’s extremely frustrating, because I’m so close to being done, but sitting down and actually working, getting more than a few hundred words in a go, is nigh impossible.

You’d think it’d get easier over time.

So far, it does not.

Anyway, I’ve reached that point in World’s Edge. A couple of weeks late. I should build a few extra weeks into the ends of all my schedules to deal with climax focus issues but I never do.

This climax is a little trickier than usual, you see.

If you recall, every time I do Nanowrimo (at least recently), I try something new. The raw creative energy that accompanies Nano is a great time to try something that might not otherwise get done (and also, serious projects sometimes do not hold up well under the “quantity over quality” mentality). The new thing for 2019, when I did World’s Edge, was writing from a non-protagonist viewpoint.

You know, think the Sherlock Holmes books, where Watson is telling the story but Sherlock is (mostly) doing the work.

This hasn’t been too bad, in the long run, because it hasn’t been hard to give my viewpoint character (and it is single viewpoint, another thing I’ve never done in a work of this length) her own character arcs and conflicts to go alongside the protagonist’s arcs.

But now, in the climax, I’ve run into some issues. It feels disingenuous to just have my viewpoint character follow the protagonist around and narrate what she (the protagonist) is doing. At the same time, my viewpoint character absolutely cannot resolve the main plot because she’s not a main player in it.

So I’m struggling with keeping my viewpoint character active in the climax of a story that’s not fully her own.

No wonder I’m only getting a few hundred words at a time.

That said, I am almost done with this draft, and then I’ll do what I do with all my first drafts…let it sit for a bit and then recruit a couple of betas to see if it’s fixable. Most things are fixable–I find I can’t get anywhere near a climax if the story isn’t mostly working–so I’m not too worried.

This is probably the only post for this week, my dear squiders. I’ve got some intensive leadership training this weekend (and some questions I have not yet answered for said training), and I’ve got to prepare and pack and all that jazz.

But fingers crossed that by the time I’m back here next week, the draft is done and we can move on to new and exciting waters.

(It’s a joke because World’s Edge takes place on a boat.)

Pondering a Series Bible

I’ve heard about series bibles before, but I’ve never really considered making one. A series bible, for those unfamiliar with the terminology, is a document where you keep all your information relating to a series, such as character information, worldbuilding, plot summaries, etc.

If you’ve been here for a while, you know I don’t tend to write series. In fact, aside from my trilogy and the Fractured World universe, I’ve never written multiple stories in the same universe (aside from little scenes here and there for my own edification). So while series bibles have sounded interesting, they’ve never seemed like they would be much use to me.

However, today I was working on one of those little scenes I mentioned above. These are little vignettes related to the main story that aren’t meant for any specific except to help me flesh out character and worldbuilding. Most of them are backstory, though some of them are scenes from alternate points of view. But, anyway, I was working on one related to the trilogy, since I’m still running it through the critique marathon and will be working on it again shortly.

And I ran into some issues where I couldn’t remember some of my worldbuilding. Or if I’d done that particular worldbuilding.

And then I had to do said worldbuilding, which slowed down the process, and made more work of random little scenes than I wanted.

So maybe it wouldn’t hurt to consolidate all my notes in one place, where I can find everything when I need it. I mean, I do this for individual books, so it makes sense to move all the stuff from the whole trilogy into one place, right? Or copy it over, maybe, so the information is still in place for the individual book and I don’t have to dig through everything to find it.

Have you guys used a series bible? How many stories are necessary in a world before you start up a bible? What do you use?

(In the interest of full transparency, I do have a bible for the Fractured World stories. Because the Fractured World is designed to have multiple authors telling stories in it, I made a governing document so that everyone’s worldbuilding is consistent.)

Being Limber

I’ve been so excited for this week, squiders. The small, mobile ones are back in school (cross your fingers) and I have hours to myself every day to Do Things. And I thought I was going to be so productive! Writing, drawing, editing, you name it, it was getting done.

But here it is Thursday, and I haven’t written at all, I’ve drawn and inked (and half colored) a single picture, and I’m not really sure what I’ve done with the rest of my time.

(I am on top of the critiquing marathon, so that’s something, at least.)

Like today! Today got off to such a great start. I got up and started this blog post, then took both small, mobile ones to their respective schools. And then I picked something up from one of the schools, and ran errands at Target…

…at which point I realized I was 15 minutes late for my blood donation appointment.

I think a lot of it might be because my spouse has been like, oh, great, now you can fertilize the lawn and call the concrete company and clean the kitchen and figure out the doctor and so on and so forth. And I feel like I need to do his stuff, since he asked, but I also resent his taking up all my time with awful chores that were his in the first place because he’s the one with the skills that match those (talking on the phone makes me anxious), so I just mess around and nothing’s getting done.

I realize, of course, that if I would just do things and not stress out about them, things would get done.


As you might imagine, I’ve been a bit high strung this week due to the difference in preconceived ideas of how the week was going to go versus how it has gone. But it is what it is, and instead of stressing about it, I’ve got to adapt.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. As the meme goes.

Unfortunately, it’s just a fact of life that things don’t go according to plan most of the time, and you’ve just got to deal with it.

Be limber. Be flexible.

Normally over the summer I wake up early to write before everyone else gets up, but I can’t do that now unless I get up REALLY early. Which might still be a possibility. My first thought was to write as soon as the small, mobile ones were out, but that’s a really convenient errand time since I’m already out.

I might pick a time and try stopping what I’m doing and going then. Or just whenever I get home.

Anyway, it’ll get sorted, at least until the next schedule change, and then we’ll have to start all over again.

Oh well!

How’s your week going, squiders?

Thoughts On the Writing Journal

Well, it’s been about two months since I started my writing journal, and, as I know this is a recommended writing habit among writers, I thought it might help to hear how it’s going.

I’ve talked about it quite a bit lately, but in case you’ve missed it somehow, a writing journal is kind of like a normal journal, except you focus on writing-related things. A lot of people write a couple of pages in them first thing in the morning.

You can plot out bits of story, draw maps, keep track of bits and pieces that were interesting but don’t fit in what you’re currently writing, do backstory, etc.

I will admit to some trepidation about the idea, mostly because it’s on paper.

Story time!

A million years ago, I had a spiral-bound steno notebook that I used to take with me everywhere. I’d plot in it, write segments of stories in it, do worldbuilding, etc. Kind of like a writing journal, except I just kind of worked wherever and it wasn’t a consistent practice.

(Actually I had two. I still have one of them–I think–which is falling apart at this point and is covered with many, many years of Nano stickers.)

I used to keep it by my bed so I could write down dream ideas in it. One night, I had a dream that would eventually be turned into Shards. I woke up, and wrote down everything.

And the notebook went AWOL. I mean, I never saw it again. To this day, I have no idea where it could have gone. I thought we’d find it when we moved, that it would emerge from wherever it’d fallen or whatever, but nope.

It’s been over ten years since that notebook disappeared. I did go ahead and write Shards, obviously, but I’ve always felt that I missed something from the initial idea that would have been really neat.

(Not that I dislike Shards or its world at all! Just that I am aware that what I ended up with from the vague memory of the dream is not what I would have ended up with had I had access to my original notes.)

So the idea of having a notebook where important ideas are stored and which is not backed up elsewhere makes me a little anxious. But, on the other hand, I think much better on paper, and I have almost always plotted and worldbuilt on paper. There is something about drawing and writing things out by hand that gets my creativity flowing.

I will admit I am not using it consistently. I’ll go for a few days at a time then take a few days off, normally to catch up to where I’ve gotten idea-wise. But when I do use it…it’s amazing. Aside from the realization that I have been actively avoiding my main goal for the last five year, it’s just been great for figuring out the next bits on World’s Edge and working through other things.

So I guess I do recommend the practice, with the caveat that any really important things might be worth copying over to a back-up somewhere.

What do you think, squiders? Do you use a writing/creativity journal? What practices do you find work for you?

WriYe and Getting Started

Oof, squiders, sorry I’m flaky this week. My basement has flooded TWICE in THREE DAYS. At least we’ve figured out the problem this time, as opposed to two days ago when we thought we’d figured the problem out and were obviously wrong.

(God, we’d better be right this time.)

Did you know if you have a wet/dry vacuum you can just vacuum up water? For some reason this is very strange to me.


Normally I like to leave the WriYe prompts til a little later in the month, but man, this has been a week, and I’m too tired to figure things out otherwise.

Describe your writing beginnings. How did you get started?

I started writing when I was about eight, and mostly because my mother was a writer. Emulating her and all that. This is back in the olden days, when we had CorelWrites and WordPerfect and you had to know the key shortcuts to do things. Or sometimes I wrote on an electric typewriter.

I started, like many people, using my favorite things as a base, changing a character here, a premise there. I had some picture and puzzle books I made my own versions of, plus I made up roleplaying situations for me and my cousins to do based on my favorite shows and video games, and I made a fashion book based on the Wizard of Oz, and other bizarre creative things only children ever think of.

I mainly focused on roleplaying throughout my teens, aside from writing a few short stories and starting a dozen novels that never went anywhere. In college Nanowrimo started, and that’s when I switched more to writing from roleplaying.

What was your “a-ha” moment that made you realize this was something you wanted to pursue?

So I started doing Nanowrimo in 2003, which was fun! I really enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the friends I met through the event. But I mostly only wrote during November. I would finish my drafts slowly throughout the rest of the year (my last year I snuck off to a tea shop called The Tea Spot at least once a week, where I wrote and ate scones and also fancy chocolates) but it was just a hobby.

In 2006 we moved to California, where I knew no one. I didn’t have a job for the first few months and I was super, super depressed and isolated. I think I’ve told you guys this story before.

Anyway, I recognized that things were going poorly and decided that I needed to do something to keep me occupied, and I decided that I wanted to write full-time and maybe try to do something more formal with everything, so I joined a bunch of writing groups (some of which I still belong to today, including WriYe, actually) which gave me some much needed social interaction and got me going on something until I got a job and started to find my place in my new home.

And here we still are, I guess. Nothing big. Just a decision, once upon a time.

Anyway, pray for my basement, squiders. If nothing else, then for my state of mind.

See you next week!