Posts Tagged ‘WriYe’

WriYe and Experience

Happy Wednesday, squiders! My week’s off to a pretty good start–getting a ton written, which feels amazing. I’m really enjoying my 7DN novella, which is a scifi horror story about a falling apart space station. Also finishing up a story for an anthology. But I’ve written more this week than some months this year already.

Anyway, new month, new WriYe blog prompt.

We’ve all heard “Write What You Know”. What do you think? Truth or fallacy?

I wrote a blog post about this back in 2016 while I was working on the blog tour for the release of City of Hope and Ruin. That post is here. But basically, I think this idiom is one that’s not very well understood. People take it very literally, like, “I am a college student, so my characters must also be college students” or “I have never jumped out of a plane and so my character can’t either.”

Which is wrong, sorry.

“Write What You Know” means that you should pull from your own life where applicable to help make the situations and characters in your book feel more realistic. You may not have faced down a dragon, but you’ve been scared before. You may not have lost a child, but you’ve been sad before.

So, yes, I think it’s true. But I do think you need to understand what it’s really saying.

Bonus:
Do you write what you know?

I mean, I write 95% speculative fiction, so, kind of?

Going back to what I said above, I try to make the feelings and tone throughout my stories as realistic as I can by drawing on my own feelings and experiences, which is really the best you can do, I think.

Luckily, there are not really evil mechanical people or haunted space stations or immortal archnemeses to deal with in my life, for which I am eternally grateful.

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WriYe and Zombies

Still going strong over at WriYe, though I am a little behind on my word count for the year, but not so badly that a couple strong months won’t catch me up.

So on to this month’s blog prompt. Along with the monthly challenges (this month’s genre stretch looks fun–epistolary + Gothic romance), there’s also certain months set aside for certain types of stories. May was mermaids (MerMay) and July is apparently zombies.

(I haven’t done either. May was, well, May, and I am not a zombie person.)

Zombies are a July tradition here at WriYe. Do you have a writing tradition of your own? How did it come about?

I don’t really have writing traditions. I used to, but as I began to write more regularly I couldn’t be sure of being in the right spot at a particular time, and I’ve learned to be more fluid in my plans.

I used to do Nanowrimo religiously–did it for nine years straight–but with the small, mobile ones in the picture, it’s been harder to devote the time to the challenge. I’ve only committed myself to it once in the past seven years, though I am tempted to try again this year. We’ll have to see how we’re doing/where we are when November rolls around.

And I suppose there were other monthly challenges as well. April Fools in April, though that one has gone defunct. Camp in April and July, though I am less committed to that than a normal Nano. (I also find it’s less helpful in terms of dragging you along in a creative stupor.) But this particular brand of challenge has grown less useful over the years.

Other than that, I don’t think I have any.

Bonus:
Tell us about your favorite non writing traditions!

My family has an Easter tradition known as the Egg War. And I am notoriously terrible at it. I’ve won twice in my life. The small, mobile ones have almost caught up to my record at this point.

The Egg War takes place after all the Easter eggs have been found. These are real eggs, hard-boiled and dyed. The eggs are laid out in open egg cartons, and everyone selects an egg. You then partner up and proceed to smack the eggs together (there is a particular way to hold the egg, and you hit “points” or “butts” together).

Last egg standing wins, and there’s typically prizes for first and second place. We do two rounds every year, and if you win the first round you can’t win the second, though you’re still allowed to play if you would like.

(My problem is that I’ve never figured out how to tell if an egg is structurally sound or not. Shape doesn’t seem to have much to do with it, nor does placement of wax decorations on the shell. If you can find one where the air bubble is on the side rather than one of the edges, you’re on the right track, but I don’t know how you tell that just by looking.)

Anyway, I love the Egg War even though I am godawful at it. And I appreciate it because it’s one of the few traditions that we still do from my childhood with my extended family.

Do you have writing or otherwise awesome traditions, squiders? I’d love to hear them!

WriYe and Pen Names

Man, this week, squiders. The small, mobile ones have summer camps at the museum/zoo, which are conveniently next to each other, but are inconveniently an hour drive from our house. So I either have to stay here all day (and I have the smaller one for half the day, because she’s not old enough for full day), or I have to drive up, drop one, drive home, drive back, drop the other, get both, and then drive home again.

I am so, so sick of driving the same stretch of road.

And I’ve had to go back, because I have been sick. Apparently I have contracted tonsillitis from goodness knows where, and so I have had to go to the doctor’s, to make sure my tonsils don’t need to be removed. Yay.

(It’s excellent timing, as I’m supposed to be teaching songs to kids next week and can barely talk at the moment. Yay. I am so thrilled.)

But enough about that. Ugh, seriously.

Though I realize we’re most of the way through June, here’s the WriYe blog prompt for the month.

Real name vs pen name? Is one better than the other? Why or why not?

This is a question I struggle with all the time. Should I write under a pen name? Should I have multiple pen names for different genres? For adult stuff versus kid stuff?

It’s actually a subject I routinely bring up in discussions with other writers, who are probably all sick of me asking.

I’ve heard arguments both ways. Your real name is easily to maintain legally, if someone’s pirating you. Pen names help separate your real life from your public life. Using one name lets you show the breadth of your work, whereas using pen names lets you target specific reader groups so they know they’re going to get something they like.

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and to be honest, still have no clue. Right now I figure I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Bonus:
Which would you use? Real or pen name? Why?

Well, I do use my real name right now. It is nice and alliterative (I had another writer at a conference ask me if it were real once), and it’s also nicely gender neutral, which can be a plus when writing speculative fiction.

But I am still on the fence.

Next week I should have more time, squiders, so I’ll see you then!

WriYe and Life

Another month, and I’m still keeping up with WriYe, which may be a miracle. April was really good from a productivity standpoint, and I’m almost done with revising the nonfiction books (and writing the parts I didn’t blog) and creating the workbooks. Hopefully we’ll have more or the same here in May.

That said, on to the prompts for the month.

Life is busy, sometimes often insane. How do you find the time to write within your life?

I laughed since, you know, this is literally one of the nonfiction books I’ve been working on (the second to last one I revised, in fact).

But basically, it comes down to the fact that you have to make time for writing. You can normally fit some in, no matter what else is going on, whether you’re using diction while you’re breastfeeding or getting up early or dedicating one night a week as writing time. You’ll have to sacrifice something, but that might just be television time or a little bit of sleep.

That being said, there are times when you just don’t have the mental capacity to write on top of everything else, and it is okay to accept that and try writing again later when your circumstances have changed.

Me personally, I write while the small, mobile ones are at school, and I can normally make one or two writing group meetings a month, where writing can also occur. And one day each weekend I normally get up an hour early and get something done.

Bonus:
How do you deal with procrastination? What are your favorite tips/tricks to stay on track?

Ahahahahahaha I am the worst procrastinator. The current issue is games on my phone (and the dreaded podcasts, but mostly the games). I deal with this by using an app called Forest that locks out your phone for a specific amount of time (that you set), and if you successfully leave your phone alone, you get a bush or tree for your forest (more time gets more impressive plants). I also purposefully leave my phone in a different room where it’s out of sight, out of mind.

And if I do need a mental break, I’ll try to remember to set a timer before I get the phone or dive into the Internet, so the break doesn’t get out of control.

Hope April was good for you too, squiders! I’m in the middle of 50 million books and need to start finishing some (and stop starting new ones).

WriYe and Writing

New month, squiders, new blog circle questions over at WriYe.

Why did you start writing?

That is quite the question, if you think about it too hard. What do we count as “writing” in this case? Do we count the very first project I wrote back when I was eight? Do we count my fake atlases of made-up places, or the stories I made up for my cousins and I to role-play?

Or do we count with my grown-up writing, when I decided this was something I wanted to make a priority, that I wanted to improve my craft and perhaps put some stories out for people aside from close friends and family to see?

I wrote as a child because I wanted to copy my mother, because I had games and shows and movies that I loved and wanted more stories from, and since they didn’t exist I had to make them up myself. As an adult, I write because I love stories, and I like to see where they go. There is something very satisfying about coming up with a place and characters and getting them through to an ending.

But as to why I started writing–I can’t recall. Storytelling has always been something I did, though writing was just one avenue until I became an adult and it became harder to get people to play pretend with me. And now it’s so tied to my vision of myself I don’t know what I’d do if I stopped. Tell stories some other way, I guess, maybe through pictures or games.

Bonus:
How has your writing improved since you first started? What would you still like to improve?

I hope I’ve improved in ALL ways since I started (with the Seven Special Princesses when I was 8). I know I’m still not fantastic at tension, and I always have to remember to add in description (so it usually goes in in revision, ah well). But I think there’s always room for improvement, that you can always be a better writer, no matter where you are in your writing journey.

(That being said, I also think there’s some good, even if you’re just starting out. While many of my early projects are pretty cringeworthy, there are some good ideas in there.)

Happy April, squiders! It’s starting to really, truly feel like spring. Got big plans?

WriYe and Editing

First of all, fantastic news, squiders! They found my journal/workbook class for me! Hallelujah! Words can describe how happy I am about this development. (Now to get on it.)

It’s editing month at WriYe (probably to line up with NaNoEdMo–National Novel Editing Month–is that still a thing? I’ve been in the online monthly challenge community for so long I can’t keep track anymore.) and so this month’s blog circle questions have to do with that.

(While, technically, revision is the process of changing story elements–writing new scenes, removing old ones, changing character arcs, etc.–and editing is technically stuff like fixing punctuation, grammar, and the fact that the character’s eye color went from hazel to brown on page 15, we’re going to follow general convention and equate editing to “the act of changing a story, hopefully for the better.”)

Describe your editing process. What is your biggest challenge in editing? 

I think I’ve talked about my editing process in great detail before here on the blog, but if I haven’t, essentially I do several months of analytical work, looking at plot and character arcs, which scenes are essential and which are not working, if there’s characters that should be removed or combined, if there’s confusing parts or if a prop comes out of nowhere or if some aspect of worldbuilding is falling apart.

And THEN I outline the story, put each scene on a color-coded note card, and start the revision/rewriting process.

That typically gets rid of the major issues, and if the story still needs some work, it’s mostly minor things.

Bonus:
Tell us about your ideal critique partner. What do you look for in a critique partner?

Ha! If we’re going for ideal, someone who reads the chapter/story quickly, who points out things that are good along with the things that are bad, and someone who can look at a chapter as part of a larger story and make insightful comments on character and story arcs. Oh, and someone who is into your writing and loves to get it.

But I’ll take what I can get. If I get feedback eventually and it’s at all insightful, I consider it a win. 😛

Happy Thursday, squiders! I hope you didn’t get bomb cycloned yesterday like I did. (But all the trees are still upright and we didn’t go without power overnight, so it wasn’t terrible.)

WriYe and Romance

Afternoon, squiders. WriYe’s going well so far. I’m still remembering to check in, and through the challenges I’ve finished my serial story (which I’ve worked on almost every month since January 2009! It’s insane to think that it’s done), wrote a 4K short story, and started revisiting some of my universes which will help with longer projects moving forward (I wrote a Shards verse drabble this morning, which was very enjoyable and came really easily).

But now it’s February, which means there’s a new prompt up for the blog circle, so let’s get to it.

Is romance necessary in all fiction? Why or why not?

I wouldn’t say romance is a necessity. It can be nice, or it can be terrible (in the case where it’s forced in, or comes out of nowhere, or is just really badly written). I don’t mind romance, but I do think it needs to be done well and serve a purpose.

But a necessity? Nah. I’m perfectly happy to read about a group of friends, or siblings, or cousins, or any other relationship. It doesn’t need to be romantic in nature. And to have all stories rely on romance is, frankly, a little unrealistic and uninteresting. Some people don’t like romance, and plenty of people get through life without it showing up every time something exciting happens.

Bonus:

If you do have romance in your fiction, tell us about your favorite pairings. Why are they your favorite?

I am not great at romance (I suspect because I’m not a romantic person myself), but if I had to pick, I think Syvil/Chism from my story For Justice in the To Rule the Stars anthology (which you guys might remember me mentioning under its working premise, which was space princesses) is probably my favorite romantic couple that I’ve written.

Don’t tell any of the other couples, I guess.

Despite including romance in a lot of my stories, it doesn’t come naturally to me in most cases. I often have to go back through in the editing stage and add in things like significant looks, and feelings, and things along those lines. It’s a known issue.

What do you think about romance, squiders? Essential to a well-rounded story?