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Stuff, brain in pain - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Stuff, brain in pain
I thought I'd get over my writing frustration by drawing for awhile. I succeeded in reminding myself that there are things I'm much, much worse at (not to mention less patient about) than writing. :p It is, however, kind of fun to have my fingertips all covered with Conté crayon blurs, and I copied almost half of someone's self-portrait in the upside down "Right Side of the Brain" way before my left brain said, "Enough of this nonsense already. It's a pointless shape." (To which my right brain said, "Turn it over, idiot, it actually looks like what I'm copying," but my left brain countered with, "Yeah, so prove that you actually learned something from this exercise." And my right brain failed miserably at applying the lessons learned, so my left brain just raised its metaphoric eyebrow and told me to put the crayons away again.) I went over to http://artpad.art.com/artpad/painter/ to mess around there, but if I can't draw with my fingers in actual control, you can imagine trying to do so with a mouse and no ability to erase! Nonetheless, great fun.

I think that speedwriting long projects may just not suit the way I write. I can speedwrite short things (the hour-fics) which may eventually end up working into a whole piece eventually, often in a much-altered form. ("Monsters" is going to be the beginning of a long fic about The Prank, but James is taking over Elizabeth's POV, and with some alterations "A Trick of the Firelight" is the beginning of a major turning point in Shifts, though the form of that story requires that I put it all in Remus's POV. Doorway, the fifth Open/Close drabble, will probably be in there in one form or another as well.) But just starting to write alone and saying, "Two thousand words a day or bust" may not be my best approach, unless it's something I'm totally passionate about, in which case the two thousand will probably come anyway, at least every other day. And I'm really not good with the concept of a first draft. I'm much better with turning out clean prose in the first place.

Which of course is why I never finish anything and I'm broke. Which is why I should take more overtime at work instead of breaking my brain trying to figure out how to cash in on my writing. I should let it be what it is. Maybe I should try something non-genre, or at least set in the real world®, so that I'm not obsessed with wondering if my world works at all. I know the real world doesn't work, but people accept its feasibility anyway.

Shrug. I'll go back and do my NaNo backstory, but I'm not going to fret too much about word count. I'm just going to try and love these people. I like one of them. Too bad she's the villain (she gets redeemed in the end, but mostly what she's doing at the moment is randomly killing people and corrupting youth). Or maybe I should write about people I already like, old characters I haven't played with for awhile.

I'm really not very fussed about it. It was an experiment to see if playing a game could break my patterns. I started writing in a game (Odyssey of the Mind--scripts to spec, competitive), and I thought it might be the ticket. I think the ticket is actually getting an idea I'm excited about.

I feel a bit...: blah blah

3 comments or Leave a comment
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: November 12th, 2004 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure the real world is all it's cracked up to be - at least not as the subject of fiction. You do write children brilliantly (oops, that might be a comment to a later entry) and I think you're a terrific fantasy author. My 10 yo son absolutely devours Magic Tree House books, and has recently discovered the Secrets of Droom. Both my 10 yo and 14 yo like Terry Pratchett, E. Nesbitt, Edgar Eager, Susan Cooper, Lewis, Tolkein & JKR, of course. They both love your writing, too! I'd like to think that I have taught them the difference between junk food reading (like that Underpants bloke) and reading that's a bit better, and that they aren't over influenced by what is popular. Regardless, it seems that Fantasy is filling a big need in today's child's life.

You're a fab writer when you love the story and KNOW the characters and the setting like the back of your hand. I'm willing to bet you fell in love with the Lucas-verse and Potter-verse before you began writing -- that's what inspired you to right, right?

I think you have a whole world locked up inside you, but you (from what I've read of your writing, that is) seem to need to love it and know it first. Perhaps creating the world and the people - a world and people that you are just crazy about - is the step you need to take. Didn't it take JKR something like seven years to invent the Potter-verse before she began putting pen to paper?

I agree that simply sitting down to write anything (something we were always forced to do in college and high school writing classes) isn't all that effective. There needs to be a spark first.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 12th, 2004 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes, I was madly in love with Star Wars from my first viewing in 1977, and I'd loved it for six years before I started even tentatively writing it. Harry Potter just bowled me over on first reading, despite being resistant to it (which is saying something; I can be a teensy bit stubborn about these things). I wrote that within a year, I think (starting, bizarrely, with a story about Lily and Petunia), though it took me a little bit to find a fandom home. (:thanks heaven for the Quill:)

I think the reason I like my villain best is that I know her story and it's been part of me for awhile, though I never, for some reason, could quite make it work. I think it's because the story I told myself was her backstory, and it's dark and depressing and fairly horrible. But I "met" her cowering at the turrets of a castle, the woman who'd raised her dead on a throne, the man who was her father figure (and has now become her father) telling her that she would have to kill him to gain the trust of the enemies below, who were there to rescue her. Rescue her from what? She doesn't know. She only knows that this is the only home she understands, and these people have killed everyone she loves just to take her away from it. That her father and the queen really are, um, not exceptionally nice--the queen is a murderous harpy along the Bellatrix Lestrange line, honestly--isn't something she has personal experience with. So that one, I know. The rest of the people around her as she first plans and the wreaks her vengeance only appeared to me as a faceless invading army, because I was seeing through her eyes. It was only much later that I realized she and Maren (my protagonist) were in the same story.
idleleaves From: idleleaves Date: November 12th, 2004 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
But just starting to write alone and saying, "Two thousand words a day or bust" may not be my best approach, unless it's something I'm totally passionate about, in which case the two thousand will probably come anyway, at least every other day. And I'm really not good with the concept of a first draft. I'm much better with turning out clean prose in the first place.

Amen. <3 That's how I operate, too. I set myself some word limits to try and up my productivity during November, and I'm utterly failing at all of them. =) Wish I had more discipline, though.

First drafts are overrated.
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