Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Show Aftermath

I’m freeeeeeee ahahahahaha

No, I had a great time. All the shows went really well, I had fun, I love everyone, and all that jazz.

Here’s a picture of me in my Act 2 costume (after joy has been brought into our lives):

(Half the braid is not my hair, har. Never done a show with a dedicated hair person before.)

(Also, the costume room/green room/hair & make-up room happens to be the preschool downstairs.)

Rumor says the fall production will be a play, or at least more of a play than the musical reviews we’ve done the last three years (two years of Christmas on Broadway, and then Forbidden Broadway last year which I noped out on), so fingers crossed.

Completing a show is kind of like completing a novel.

I feel like I’ve talked about this before, but I can’t find it, so we’re here again. I’ll explain.

A novel takes a ton of work. It’s several tens of thousands of words. It’s mentally taxing. It’s emotionally draining. It takes a lot of time.

And when it’s over there’s a bit of a period of…depression, almost. Like something huge is missing from your life, especially if it was something you’d been working on for a long time or had unexpected difficulties. And it can be hard to move to the next project, or to get out of your funk.

I’ve found shows are like that too. It’s not as bad with the current theater company, since we only rehearse a few times a week until the end (that last week of rehearsal/shows I spent 45 hours working on the show), but especially back in high school and college, when rehearsal was often every day for at least a few hours, usually for three months, the show ending was very, very jarring.

(And it does depend on novels, too. I’ve found that if I’m working on multiple things, there’s less of a weird period when I finish something up. Or if the writing was fairly smooth, in the great scheme of things.)

What do you think, squiders? Is it hard when you finish up something big? Or is it a relief to be able to move on to new things?

(As an added complication, my husband was in the hospital all weekend unexpectedly, so I split my time between the hospital and the show. It’s honestly mostly a relief to have that all over.)

Ugh, this month. Almost March, though. Just another week.

WriYe and the Love of Writing

Ugh, squiders, nothing is getting done around here. I mean, I suspected my productivity would drop off precipitously while I’m caregiving for my spouse, but when you add on that yesterday was a virtual day, it has meant that I have had everyone, the whole time, since last Thursday.

(I’ve complained about virtual days before, but essentially the larger, mobile one’s school, whenever the district declares a delayed start, throws in the towel and is essentially like IT’S YOUR TURN TO TEACH YOUR CHILD, SUCKER. The school closes, but sends home a ton of work for each child to do, and you’ve got to wrangle your child into doing six hours of work when there’s invariably snow on the ground.)

(I don’t know that the spouse has ever been home for one before, but I think he hates them even more than me, ha.)

(Seriously, screw whoever came up with this plan.)

Also, my plans for the month have been slightly thrown off anyway because I’d like to try and get a mentor through Author Mentor Match, which is happening on Feb 13. I need a variety of submission things (which I have for the most part), including a synopsis, which I do not. So I’m reading back through the manuscript to remind myself what happens when.

(The trick is to not get sucked back into books 2 and 3 after I finish book 1.)

I’m going to submit the first book of my high fantasy trilogy that I have been working on forever, because despite my re-writing three times, it continues to not quite be there. And I’m hoping a mentor might offer some good tips for getting it that last step.

(I’m leaving a couple of notes here, because re-reading it, I do see what the issue is. It’s that the first…seven chapters don’t feel terribly connected to each other. More like related vignettes than anything, with threads of main plot/relationships connecting them. I suspect this is because the first part of the book covers about five or six months of time. I’ve tried to compress the timeline previously, but have always run into issues because there does need to be time for certain plot and character elements to be believable. Once we get past that bit it’s fine.)

ANYWAY ON TO THE PROMPTS

Why do you love writing?

That’s a very interesting question, really. I love my stories. I love taking abstract thoughts and weaving them into something complex. I love creating characters and seeing what they do.

Do you always love writing?

I mean, yeah, I’d say so. For the most part. There have been periods where everything feels awful and I am depressed about my skills, but I’d never actually stop. I might say I will, but I won’t.

What do you do when you (gasp) don’t?

Oh, huh, this is kind of part of the last question. Sometimes I take a break, and work on something else creative, like drawing/sketching, or sewing, or costuming, or scrapbooking. Sometimes I switch projects, or spend some time working to determine why something isn’t working (which may require having someone else at something, or doing more research). Sometimes I take a week off and play copious amounts of video games. It kind of depends on what’s going on, both with writing and life in general.

I hope your February is off to a good start, squiders!

The Fickleness of Creativity

Ah, squiders. Life, amirite?

If you recall, back in May we had a fairly traumatic experience (I didn’t specify at the time, but it involved guns and schools. An unfortunately American phenomena that has personally affected me three times in my life, the first and the third times almost exactly 20 years apart.) and I…shut down. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t even read.

I did manage to get back working on nonfiction projects after a few weeks–my Skillshare classes, my nonfiction books and workbooks–but fiction took a lot longer.

Well, now, facing a major medical issue (surgery on that tomorrow)–it’s not me, but a member of my immediate family–I’ve found its the opposite. The fiction work is going great. I’m making great progress on my scifi horror novella. (I should give it a title.) But nonfiction?

Yeaaaaaah, nope. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. I got Writing Around Life out, as scheduled (and, believe me, I understand the irony) but I haven’t touched the next one (How to Write Multiple Projects at the Same Time: A Quick, Easy Guide to Project Management and its related workbook) or started on the slides for my next SkillShare class (about setting and achieving writing goals).

There’s still time. And there’s deadlines, which is always helpful. But man, there is no motivation there.

(I wonder if the fiction would be going as well if I were editing instead of writing. Probably not. Different sections of the brain and whatnot.)

But, hey, I know it will be okay. This too shall pass, and it’s okay to take time when you need it.

Fingers crossed that all goes well tomorrow. I’ll see you on Tuesday.

So Which Story Won?

If you recall, squiders, I said I had four stories that were sitting in the incomplete first draft stage, and that I hate having unfinished drafts and it was a goal of mine to get them all done sometime this year.

They are, in order that I started them:

  • The sequel to City of Hope and Ruin, being co-written with Siri, like the first book (at about 18K, but may need serious revisions on the beginning once we finalize the plot)
  • The changeling novel that I’m using to take How to Think Sideways (a writing course by Holly Lisle that I bought forever ago and have never gotten all the way through) (at about 5K)
  • The scifi horror novella I started for Seven-Day Novel in August (at ~20K)
  • World’s Edge, my Nano novel (at ~55K)

In a perfect world, they will all get done in a timely fashion, and I will be able to move onto other or new projects.

But experience has taught me that I cannot write more than one major work at a time (unless they’re wildly different, such as nonfiction and fiction, or a collection of shorts and a novel, or editing one and writing another, etc.), so I cannot work on them all at once.

And I picked the scifi horror novella to work on first.

Why?

A couple of different reasons. One, it’s the shortest, at a projected 30K, so it’s mostly done (admittedly I have already written 5K on it this month). Second, I didn’t stop working on it because it was having problems, but because Nano rolled up and I needed to switch to another project.

And three, it feels really solid. I read back through it, and I really like the story. I’ve never written a dedicated novella before (I either go full novel or hang out around 10-12K) but I’m digging the length. It feels really natural to me.

So, fingers crossed, I’ll have the novella’s first draft done by the end of the month, and then I can peruse the other options for February and beyond.

(That being said, I’m not sure the CoHaR sequel will ever be my primary project. Since it’s co-written, I don’t have full control over when I can work on it, and from my experience with CoHaR and the sequel so far, there’s periods of intense work on my part followed by periods of no or little effort on my side.)

Other things are also going well thus far; the fifth of the Writer’s Motivation books is up for pre-sale (this one is Writing Around Life). I, after much finagling, got a secret gallery up here on the website for when I start submitting my picture book to agents. I’ve written two short stories this month, and looked at the shorts I wrote for the flash fiction class last year to see if they are worth trying to get published.

Of course, there’s still the medical issue to deal with; that’ll come to a head next Thursday. I think I may post a Landsquid that day for my own sanity, but maybe not.

How is January going for you, squiders? Getting what you wanted to done?

WriYe and 2020

Morning, squiders! (Now evening cuz our Internet crapped out all day.) If you were around last year, you’ll know I kept pretty active in an online community known as WriYe (Writing Year, formally NaNoWriYe when I joined waaaaay back in 2006). Each year, you pick a word count goal for the entire year, and the community provides companionship, challenges, and a host of other motivators to help you get there.

It worked so well last year (I wrote 110K with a goal of 75K) that I’m doing it again this year. So you’ll continue to see a blog post a month dedicated to whatever the topic of the month is.

What’s your WriYe Word Count goal for 2020? Why did you chose it?

I chose 100K for this year, for a couple of different reasons. One, I breezed through 75K last year (though, admittedly, that included Nano, and I don’t know if I’ll be participating this year yet). Two, I have four unfinished drafts that need finishing, and I hate having unfinished drafts sitting around. We’re probably looking at close to 200K to finish said drafts, so I hope I’m actually aiming a little low.

Three, part of my education-themed year is writing to try out new stuff and new techniques (as well as just practicing), so I wanted to have room for that as well.

What are your plans for the year? What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

We’ve talked about this already this month, but I would like to take time this year to learn and grow, and focus more on craft than publishing and marketing (though no doubt some of that will still leak in).

Bonus:

What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

Uhhhh? Hm. Writing-wise? Hard to say. I’m, in general, looking forward to my projects for the year (except that Changeling story needs a major overhaul of some sort so I’m more interested in it. Dragons, maybe.) and am tentatively optimistic about everything.

Non-writing wise, we’ve got a couple of cool trips planned out (well, one is unplanned, but I’m working on it. It is approximately the same amount of time to drive from my house to Oregon, Minnesota, or Tennessee, which has helped the decision-making part of this not at all). The small, mobile ones will both be in school full-time come the fall, as well. That is both exciting and terrifying.

But who knows what’s to come? It could literally be anything. But fingers crossed for good things.

How about you, squider? What are your plans/things you’re looking forward to in 2020?

Announcing Of Metal and Magic, Compendium One

First, in terms of logistics, I wanted to let you know that I’m taking next week off (I mean, there is the off chance I will draw a landsquid and post it, but I’m not making any promises).

Anyway, I wanted to let you know about a new anthology that I’ve got a story in! This was a lot to fun to do–it’s a shared universe, which you guys know I love. And the compendium is neat because it mixes short stories with “historical” documents and the beginnings of longer stories to come.

Here’s the description:

Forged from the abyss by the elder gods, the history of Soria spans over 10,000 years. In this time, the people of the world have seen bloody wars, the rise and fall of divine empires, pitched struggles between dragons and unicorns—the very children of the gods who created men. Though the seed of civilization was planted on the continent of Elitor, people crossed the wide oceans to other lands, and to divergent evolutions. Today the world revolves around two great powers: Telsemar in the east, and Drumnaught in the west. It is from the dusty volumes in the duty halls of these cities’ grand depositories, that we look back on the tumultuous history of Soria and the tales of Metal and Magic

It’s available here: ( paperback | Kindle )

If you don’t hear from me otherwise, I hope you have a lovely whatever you celebrate (or just a nice week), and I’ll see you right before we roll over into the new year (goodness!).

Picking a Theme Going Forward

It’s that time of year when everyone gives up on the current year and starts looking at the next one. (Which I totally get. I’ve got four days til Winter Break and then all Hell breaks loose.) So, of course, there’s been emails and blog posts and whatnot, all about how best to select your goals and make 2020 your best year, and all sorts of niceties.

But I did read one that I found interesting. It was over at Writer Unboxed, and the idea was that, instead of making resolutions and whatnot, you choose a one-word theme for the year, and have your goals stem off of that.

It’s an interesting idea, certainly. And while I hesitate to start doing my year-end wrap-up and move onto 2020 (though I will admit that I have made my active project list for 2020 already), I found that a theme popped into my head almost immediately.

Education.

Admittedly, I am often taking classes and trying to expand my skills, but there’s a lot I want to focus on in that direction in the near future.

  • I plan to read the writing books I’ve been accumulating and take a few online courses in areas I feel less confident in.
  • There’s the programming and, if it feels like that’s not going to work in the long run, UX/UI classes. (Or both, I suppose, to see which is a better fit.)
  • I’d like to focus on improving my art skills, especially if the picture book thing gets rolling for real. I’ve been accumulating new supplies that I need to learn how to and practice using.
  • I would really love to write some cozy mysteries. Outside of scifi/fantasy, they’re my favorite thing to read. Mysteries have always felt so…out of reach, but I would like to give them a try.

There’s probably other things that I’m not remembering right now. But those are the main ones, anyway.

I guess, now that I’ve identified my theme, the idea is that goals will kind of automatically flow from it, once I get there. (I am not there yet. I feel like, if I make my goals for January or 2020 as a whole now, I’m going to mentally write off the rest of December, which I’m not prepared to do yet. We’ll see how we feel come Friday and Winter Break.)

What do you think about identifying a yearly theme, squiders? Do you have one you’ve selected for 2020?