Tag: conundrum

When?

When does not-writing become a thing of “because I don’t feel like it” instead of “because I have a thousand other things that have to be done”?

When does my brain stop making excuses and get itself together and get my body in front of the keyboard?

When is “tired” no longer a valid excuse for not getting things done (things besides writing)?

When will I learn that I can’t do everything I’d like to, not and give each thing the attention and focus it deserves?

When will real-life have-to’s stop interfering with my writing time? (Looking at you, last-minute work meeting on my day off.)

When will I finally beat my tendency for procrastination? (Which eventually becomes active self-sabotage.)

When will people finally understand that “I can’t, I have writing to do” does not mean “Sure, I’m not doing anything anyway”?

When will my brain finally give me an outline for The Fall, so the actual writing part feels less like wandering around with a blindfold on?

When will I finally overcome this stupid mental block/laziness and sit in my chair and actually WRITE?

When?

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When Fiction Mimics Reality

This morning, I finished reading one of the books for my American Women Writers class, The Coquette, by Hannah W. Foster.

the coquette
(I do not own this image.)

Have you read this book?  I had never even heard of it before seeing the reading list for this class. It was written in the very late 1700s, and is about a woman trying to choose between two men: a minister who wants to marry her, and a rake. She ends up alienating the minister, who marries someone else, and so does the rake. However, she ends up pregnant from an affair with him, and dies alone in childbirth. The tale is told in a series of letters between the characters, giving a good view of the characters true emotions.

And here’s where I had a problem with this story, because some of the letters are written from the rake’s point of view, and he’s a complete and total jerk, who refuses to take responsibility for his own actions.

He makes a concerted effort to come between Eliza and her other suitor. When that relationship goes down in flames, he marries a heiress, and says she can’t blame him for his actions, because she knew how he was. What? He pursues Eliza unmercifully, and when she eventually gives in, he blames her and loses all respect for her. The pregnancy is all her fault. When his wife finds out and leaves him, and he loses everything, still he doesn’t want to accept blame. He does seem remorseful after Eliza dies, but still doesn’t really own up to his faults.

I enjoyed the book somewhat, but this character drove me mad. Deliberately hurtful, selfish, greedy…everything was her fault, even though she repeatedly rebuffed him. When tragedy struck, he still wasn’t fully ready to accept blame. I found him entirely unlikable and criminal.

And to be honest, his attitude and behavior is quite reminiscent of some of the prevailing attitudes in society today.  That girl in the provocative clothing who was the victim of sexual harassment, abuse, and/or rape?  That was all her fault, for dressing like that.

What?

Since when are people not responsible for their own actions, including hurting other people?

Pleasure Reading vs Required Reading

This week, I’m on Spring Break, so technically I shouldn’t be doing homework. And I’m not doing a lot, but I’m doing some. Working on an essay for grad school. Outlining the short story that is my final paper in my capstone English class. Reading.

Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?

Here’s what I’m supposed to be reading this week:

  1. simplify, by Bill Hybels (for my monthly reading goal):  10 pages a day
  2. Against All Things Ending, by Stephen R. Donaldson (monthly goal):  30 pages a day
  3. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (for school):  35 pages a day
  4. The Coquette, by Hannah W. Foster (for school):  20% on 5 days
  5. 2 chapters in Connected:  living in the Light of the Trinity, by Sam Alberry (for school)
  6. 2 chapters and the introduction in Truth Decay:  Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism, by Douglas R. Groothius (for school)
  7. The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, by Jeff Strand (reading to review)

You see my problem? I love to read. I’m a quick reader. But….I’m where I’m supposed to be on #1 and #4. I intend to catch up on #3 and #2 today, and start #5. That leaves me #6 and #7 for…sometime.

Sigh.

 

Currently…

Not much going on around here except work and school. Finals are next week, so….(Good news is that Spring Break follows, so yay!)

I’m currently still reading Fatal Revenant, by Stephen R. Donaldson, plus a faith-based book. About to start The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever.

Currently writing assignments for school, one of which is a re-telling of Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market from a goblin’s point-of-view.

Also trying to finish up watching the newest episode of The Walking Dead. I have 15 minutes left. Please don’t tell me what happens…

So. School. Work. Rinse. Repeat. That’s pretty much it for me.

Series, Interrupted

How do you feel about starting a series of books…in the middle? Or at least, not at the beginning? I don’t mean deliberately, I mean you find a book that looks completely amazing, you buy it and start reading, and then you realize it’s part of a series…and not the first book.

What do you do?

Throw it down in disgust and walk away forever?

Keep reading, on the assumption that you’ll figure out what happened before?

Stop, buy and read the previous books in the series, and then read your enchanting new love?

(Is there some other option/reaction I haven’t mentioned?)

I won’t purposefully start reading in the middle of a series. Are you kidding me? And not get the whole story? And, generally, I try to ensure that whatever fabulous new book I’ve stumbled across and been intrigued by is not in the middle of a series. But it has happened. Occasionally. Recently. Like last week.

I started reading Suddenly Spellbound by Erica Lucke Dean to review it, and then realized it was not the first book in the series. Since I was reading it for something other than pure enjoyment, I kept reading, but the bits of backstory and mentions of past shenanigans bothered me, because I didn’t know the details of what had happened.

If I’d been reading just for me, I would have gone with either option one or three above. I would not have kept reading, because not knowing drives me up the wall.

So, what would you have done?

 

How Many Stories at a Time?

Just out of curiosity, how many projects can you work on at a time? (Not physically simultaneously, just, you know, during the same general time frame.) I’ve read about people with more than one WIP at a time, and the idea is slightly…mind-boggling to me.

I’m editing one project, Witches, and writing Siren Song. But…I still have The Fall rattling around back in there, and then there’s that new Camelot/King Arthur/Guinevere story the Muse wants to play with….Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, my writing goals are not very intense right now. If I get in a couple of 500-word sessions a week, I call it a good week (the habit is what’s important to me right now, after an extremely extended hiatus from writing.). I also don’t want to lose the emotion I have for those other two stories. Not when holding on to my motivation has been so tricky anyway.

The idea I’m currently considering:  continue editing Witches of course, to the tune of about 5 chapters a week. (This is just really a pass to change it from 3rd-person POV to multiple 1st-person, not an in-depth revision.) Continue writing (at least) two 500-word sessions on Siren Song a week. One session with The Fall. And one with the Camelot story. Every week. To facilitate this, I would also want to actually outline all three stories before starting to write the other two. I don’t have any sort of outline for Siren Song, so this would undoubtedly be beneficial in that regard.

Is this insanity?  Has anyone tried writing multiple stories like this at the same time?

Admission of Guilt

Okay. I admit it:  I’m not happy with Witches because it’s written in third-person POV, not first-person (which is what I’ve been writing in for years now).  I admit it.  Happy?  It actually doesn’t make me happy (and yet it does. Both at the same time. I may have some identity issues.).  Changing third-person to first-person is not the hardest thing I can imagine revision-wise. (I’m not saying it’s easy, just “not the hardest”.) However…doing alternating first-person view points well (and clearly) can be tricky. And I need about six POV characters to tell this story fully.

Six.

That’s a lot of character voices to keep straight. Not to mention, formatting the manuscript so as not to confuse readers. Because, like juggling six viewpoint characters isn’t enough, they’re also going to be in different countries, which will be need-to-know info. That won’t be difficult at all.

Ha. Ha.

To be fair, most of the book will be in Kahleena’s or Bali’s POV, a good chunk will be in either Casimir’s or Julien’s POV, and the rest will be in Siobhan’s and Eodin’s. So, I need to make it clear at the beginning of each chapter where we are and whose head we’re in.  I’m going to re-start this revision with that in mind and keep on keeping-on.

Suggestions are welcome.

Winning Against Inertia

I’ve started working on the revision for Witches.  Which means I’ve done two chapters so far.  It’s…interesting.  The first few chapters are pretty clean, actually. I’m altering my old voice to my new voice, but I usually write first-person these days, and this story is in third-person…which is a bit of a challenge for me.  If I didn’t need multiple viewpoint characters to tell this story, I would definitely be changing the POV as well.  But I don’t think a story written from the viewpoints of at least four characters would work that well in first-person.  (Plus, that’s pretty confusing.)

So.  Two chapters down, 67 to go.

I’m considering the idea of graduate school when I finish my bachelor’s degree next December.  My school offers an online master’s degree in journalism, which is intriguing to me.  I believe words have power.  And journalism, or at least this degree, can help me to use them.  So.  Mulling that over a lot.

I also got some writing done today on Siren Song.  Win!  I broke the inertia all the way around today.  It’s been a good day.

Editing Stumbling Block

So, I’m almost finished with my first read-through of Witches (the third version). I’m not making many notes as I go, though. Nowhere as many as I thought I’d make. It’s not that the draft is clean. Far from it. It’s that the entire draft feels wrong.

What do I mean by that? I still love the characters and the story, but the POV and voice are far different from what I write now, and, as a result, this draft feels…I don’t know, clunky, distant, impersonal? Now I have to decide if I should continue on with the HTRYN process, or go back and update the voice and POV with what I know now.

This story was the first one I ever started to write, and even if it doesn’t ever see the light of day, I would like a version that I’m happy with. I am not happy with this version.

Thoughts?

Too Good to Be True

So, I started revisions on Witches on Sunday, using HTRYN.  I haven’t touched this story in years, and, in fact, have actually forgotten large chunks of it, so reading it has been an experience. In the first lesson of HTRYN, you’re looking for places the characters, story, or world went wrong (or places they went right). I remember the first time I used it to revise a story:  I had red ink all over the pages, with notations of things. This time…the first few chapters have a few scattered marks, but the rest of the 20 chapters I’ve read so far have nothing. Nothing.

This concerns me. Oh, the story isn’t perfect, not by any means. But it’s written in a far different voice and POV than I use now, and that is what bothers me. It feels off, but not wrong. I’ve found a few “wrong” things: like a couple of details that don’t mesh well with the worldbuilding, but the story/plot itself seems to be sound. So…

I still have a lot more reading (and lessons) to get through, but as it stands now, the main thing seems to be that I’m going to have to fix the voice. I’m not as worried about that as I probably should be, because I would fix that a chapter at a time, which isn’t an overwhelming idea.

I have zero experience with this result from revisions. Anyone have any thoughts?