Friday, December 30, 2011

Dipping ones toes into freelancing, or, passive income would be cool!

Earlier this month I contemplated joining Hubpages and writing silly articles about Asian pop music to see if I could make any money through AdSense. Obviously, not going to be the main source of income in my life, nor do I want it to be. I'm cool with that. It would just be kinda cool to make some passive income.

Well, yesterday I launched my first hubs, and woke up today to find most of them bahleeted for "duplicate content". Oh. That's nice. Thanks guys. I had two more waiting to be finished and published, and so far so good. These are opinion pieces, so I damn well dare them to tell me that they're not ~okay~. (Although funnily enough, one of them has been losing points. This site, I swear. I may get too frustrated to continue much longer as it is.)

Anyway, my first two "real" hubs apparently are The Top 10 Ayumi Hamasaki Songs and Top 10 J-pop Female Idols of the 70s and 80s. If you're into music and curious at all about Japanese pop music (and you are, trust me, you are) you should definitely check them out. ;)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Reads 2011 Blog Hop

EDIT: I have no idea what happened to the formatting in this post. I've tried fixing it multiple times now and nothing's changed. Oh well~

Over at the The Bathroom Monologues, John is encouraging bloggers to write about the best books they read in 2011. Okay!

2011 was the year I kinda-sorta got back into reading. After high school and college, I just never, as in really rarely, read books for pleasure. It just kinda stopped and wasn't a priority anymore. Reading is also a huge emotional investment for me and I just didn't have the spoons to spare until about 2010. Last year I read a total of three books for pleasure - Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami. And that was more novels that I had read for pleasure in a half year than in all of college combined.

This year was much better, with the first few months languishing in unemployment and the rest doing so much travel for the job I eventually got. I had a lot of time to read. In total I read eight books this year, most of them huge fantasy tomes from one or two series. For those I just picked my favorite of the series I read this year to talk about.

1. Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey
Also read: Kushiel's Scion

It's pretty safe to say by now that the Kushiel's Legacy series is one of my favorites ever, even after a really rocky start with Kushiel's Dart, the first in the series. And although it took me over a year to get around to reading the next two novels, it was a well-worth wait. The novel here in particular is the best I've read so far, the last of the first trilogy in the series. Watching Ph├ędre's journey from love to loss again, being divinely sent into the bowels of Hell to save her nemesis's son, traveling into the heart of Africa to learn the Name of God and then off to the English Channel to save her childhood friend was thrilling and moving unlike most books I've read, in fantasy or otherwise. Even though I affectionately call this series "The BDSM Porn Novels" they really are much more than that. Setting aside Carey's inability to jump into a story, some irksome style choices, and taking way, WAY too long to explain the history and religious systems (and I'm a religion scholar, so damn yo) it's a great fantasy series that I totally recommend to those with a strong sexual kink stomach. I've started reading the next trilogy in the series, and it's okay so far. But I have a feeling this one will be my favorite out of them all.

2. A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin
Also read: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Feast For Crows

I make it no secret that I think Martin is a pretty horrible writer with incredibly problematic situations in his novels, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them at all. I must if I've read them all up to the latest installment. I bought the first novel on a whim in a Japanese English Bookstore in Nagoya   I watched the show alongside reading the first book, and it was the merits of the show that kept me reading the series even though I raged at the crappy writing more than once, and in public, no less. (Look, I don't give a crap if people are dying all willy-nilly because you're a Badass Up In Here, but when women are getting raped every single page because LOL IT'S WAR your penis-privilege is showing.) Anyway, this novel is the best of the series thus far. So much drives the plot forward, and on more than one occasion I had a OH NO YOU DIDN'T moment. (Mostly, the epilogue. Hoshit. Red Wedding? Not so much. It was written horribly and anticlimatic.) Also it has the best cover. So yeah.

3. All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

This is especially poignant considering McCaffrey's death recently. I used to be a big fan of hers when I was a bb author in middle school, and I picked this up, one of the few early Pern novels I had yet to read, at the airport before blasting off for Japan. It's very McCaffrey. It's a good thing I had read the previous novels because there are SO MANY CHARACTERS with little to no development that, had I not known any of them, it would've been awful.  The story is kinda interesting. I had read the novels before and the couple after, but not this one in-between, so it answered a few questions I had during The Skies of Pern years ago. There isn't much to say about this novel. It was a short read, not the best one, but very nostalgic for me nonetheless. I will be damn glad to never read anything about the basic-ass Jaxom again, though. (Also, it's really weird to realize years later that F'lar is abusing Lessa, but hey who cares right. ~It's from another time*)

4. After Dark by Haruki Murakami

Another airport pickup. The premise of this seemed interesting, but Murakami is a HUGE hit or miss for me. And this was a miss. Again. I just can't get into his style, thanks. This book was just too weird even for me. I had no idea what he was doing or why and I am honestly okay with being ~left in the dark~ ohohoho. Whatever, I only read it because I'm a Japanese Studies graduate and to weeaboos he is the only author to ever happen in Japan. Actually, I really liked the Chinese prostitute/love hotel subplot, and the Denny's bickering was hilarious at times, but the whole thing with the MC's sister and..whatever...the hell...was going on with that (it was never explained) was enough to drive me away from this novel. So, this is probably the worst novel I read in 2011. But it's still on the best list because I didn't read that many different things. :(

Hopefully with my new Kindle Fire I can read more than 8 novels this year, ha. I usually read one in 2 weeks - month, so here's to 12! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Weekly Writing Check-In: Christmas Squee Post~

All  I wanted for Christmas was a Kindle Fire and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

I got both!

First, obligatory YAAAAY about another Fairy Boy game that I will not be able to finish before I leave for Japan again. Playing so much Zelda is good for my imagination because it makes me want to write lots of fantastical stuff. Booyeah.

But nobody cares about my feelings for blonde boys in tights swinging swords and getting collagen lip injections. You care about my feelings for the Kindle Fire.

I've only played with it off and on all day - and by "played with it" I mean adding a app, syncing up my twitter and email, and buying one book, Amy Tan's novella "Rules for Virgins". But thus far it's super shiny, very bright, and OMFG I will have so much fun. Too bad you have to like, spend money for some stuff on it.

Tonight I'm ordering this fantastic sleeve and an equally fantastic bigger sleeve for it tonight. I have to order them tonight to make sure I get them in before I go back to Japan. As soon as I finish reading the two paperbacks I have with me I'll start delving more into the books on the Kindle. I figure that will be around February-ish. Until then I'll have fun with the wireless capabilities in places where my little laptop is just too much to use.

So, that all said, any good kindle recs? I'm particularly looking for writing-centered books at the moment, including grammar books and self-marketing. The freer the better.

Merry Christmas! It's certainly merry here~

Friday, December 23, 2011

Why I don't write Young Adult Fiction

I'm in the wrong business.
Wow, I made that title sound cranky.

To say that YA fiction has been growing in popularity in recent years would be an understatement. Everywhere bookshelves are expanding to include "teen titles" and a vast majority of the author blogs I follow are those of YA authors. (The others seem to mostly be writers of erotic gay fiction. Oh my.) While all of this seems to have happened behind my back, it would be disingenuous for me to say that I don't see the main reasons why this trend may be occurring. But this blog post isn't about analyzing why YA has become so popular - this is about me going BLAAAAAAAH I don't write YA~

When I was "middle grade" age, I wrote about teenagers. When I was a teenager I wrote about college students. When I was a college student I wrote about late-twenty-somethings. Now that I'm a twenty-something I tend to write about characters still older than me, all the way up to middle age. Heck, some of my favorite characters I write are elderly. But there's nary a teen and even fewer kids. (In fact, most of my characters don't even want kids or work around them.) And the themes are definitely not young adult oriented, although certainly I wouldn't mind if "young adults" read them and connected to them in their own way.

I think the easiest way for me to explain why I always write about characters older than me (or more my age, as I get older) can be best described through something I read a few months ago on another blog. I don't remember who said it or where exactly, but I do remember what this author said. They said, the paraphrase, that they wrote and read YA because "adults are jaded, cranky, and haunted by their pasts. Teens are full of potential and optimism about the lives ahead of them. That's to say, adults hang on to what 'could have been' and that's depressing." I'm the exact opposite in my thinking in this manner. I find adults way more fascinating than teens or children. I feel like I've read "first love", "first heartbreak", "first job" and "firstfirstfirst" so many times (not to mention, already lived it) that it all runs together. While these topics are certainly big in our society, and inevitably shape who we are, I feel like it really gives older adults and their experiences the epic shaft. Yes, most of my characters are on their third serious relationship, working the corporate ladder, getting a mortgage, and staying awake at night thinking about how "the world ahead of them" and optimism and potential are all utter bullshit. They are mirrors of what a lot of current adults want an escape from, but I find them fascinating.

My characters usually start their stories doing their thing, living their routines, mumbling about stuff, and then wake up one day to find that everything they had established for themselves has come into question...or has been thrown out the window entirely. In our (western, American to be more specific) society we're pretty much taught that our lives end at 30, and all growing, learning, and feeling ends with our metabolism. Only "young people" get to experience new exciting things in the world, damnit. I like to read and write stories that challenge this thinking and remind us that life is always going, always changing, and even though we may become bitter and cynical that any positive change is still possible, even if sometimes unlikely.

There's also the fact that I enjoy writing romance and erotica, and that's not as fun to write with inexperienced teens, thanks. I prefer my romantic characters to be experienced and confident in themselves. Things are still changing, but I get to skip all that first time angst.

So, what about you? Do you prefer YA or adult fiction or don't care? And if you do prefer one or the other, why is that? WHY?!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fun With Maps: Now...where do those homes go?

Yesterday I shared my floor plans for one of my novels and yeah, that was fun. Today I'm talking about another facet of setting, and that's where, well, the story actually takes place. (Or, where the houses and apartments that yesterday's floor plans represent actually go.)

The CROSS// series takes place in a fictional, alternate universe version of San Francisco. This pretty much means that I base as much as I can on the actual city (without ever calling it by name, to boot) but don't feel bad about taking creative liberties when I need to. I've never lived in the city, and I've never spent more than a few (really, really intense and exhausting) days in nor nearby it, but damn if I haven't been spending most of my research time on San Francisco and its geography and culture. I think the only thing I research more for this series is the American military. And that one's just really confusing most of the time.

One thing I've been focusing on a lot lately is figuring out where exactly in San Francisco my characters live. Now, I started writing like a dumbass before figuring all this out, and then I decided about a year ago that I actually did care. So I had all these "rules" I had for myself - so-and-so lives downtown, so-and-so lives in an affluent single-family neighborhood, so-and-so lives near the university (where is the university omg), and so-and-so lives in an abandoned warehouse on the water - and was determined to stay with while also coming up with logical neighborhoods for everyone to live in. This week I finally sat down and wrote it out on the hand-dandy map I printed out and took a picture of above. While doing this I found out that in reality my characters really can't afford the neighborhoods they live in, and hey! I don't care! In my fictional version the cost of living is slightly cheaper! Oh, and I have an entirely fictional military district in the middle of downtown. Yeah, I'm sure that's totally feasible. (That would be "M-Town" on the map.) Also, damn if Devon doesn't move a whole damn lot in the series.

I originally wanted to buy an actual to-scale map with labelled neighborhoods and streets while I was in SFO last week, but the only one I found was almost ten dollars! LOL~~ So yea, I just printed a crappy one off from the internet.

So, readers, you ever go to this extreme before? Tell me about your fictional Detroit. Even better, tell me about your fictional Portland, because even though I've lived in Oregon my whole life (minus this past year) I know like, nothing about it. You could totally fool me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fun With Maps: Homegrown Homes

 I'm the type of person who cares a lot about logical placement. Even when I was a kid watching sitcoms on TV I always wondered how those bedrooms managed to logically fit in those house facades...then I learned that they were all TV sets, and oh. I spend hours planning out my action scenes to make sure that they make logical sense.

Thus it's no surprise that I draw floor plans of my characters' houses / apartments / businesses / general hang out spots.

I have a pretty good memory, but even I struggle with figuring out how exactly one hallway flows into the next or if there's a door between the bedroom and the bathroom. And I care a lot that it makes sense. I doubt any reader would ever pay attention, but I do. I care a looooot.

Two years ago I bought a graph notebook to draw me up some floor plans. The first couple of apartments I laid out were super basic and simple and, well, easy to do. Then I attempted houses and spent anywhere between 2 - 3 hours realizing that the format I had in my head made no sense logically. Not a fun moment. But I persevered, and with minor changes I managed to come up with logical floor plans that still matched what I had already written in my scenes.

I totally recommend trying this out to authors who have lots of scenes that take place in the same locations over and over again. It helps a lot with choreographing characters and offers just a general sense of direction when writing scenes. Plus, it's fun! Then again, I play Sims 3 all day and enjoy decorating homes more than anything else. Sooo there you go.

I've included a couple of sketches here for you to get a sense of what I'm talking about. I usually include some notes about the location in the negative space if I have any. Also, the ones I have here are new versions transplanted from older notebooks. The "originals" have coloring so I also know what color the furniture is.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Self-publishing? Please don't do this...

(NOTE: Leaving the 2 Truths & a Lie Game open for another day or so! Go check it out~)

Yesterday I went to the local independent bookstore in my...county...(sigh) and, of course, they have a "Local Authors" section. Since I come from a pretty small area, most of the books were self-published and contained mostly of poetry, guidebooks, and the occasional original novel. Seeing as how I am going into self-publishing myself,  I decided to see how stereotypical any of these books were.

Each book I opened was riddled with errors, awkward sentences, and in the case of one guidebook on nature trails, had mismatched captions. Oops.

If you've been following me for any number of months now, then you know that I'm a huge supporter of self-publishing. That said, a lot of the stereotypes that show self-published authors as being inexperienced, naive, and quick to jump the gun are not completely far-fetched. Aside from all the face-palm worthy errors I saw yesterday, there was also the horrible clipart + Comic Sans covers and spiral-bound novels - all costing at least fifteen dollars. The whole table was, while very encouraging to local authors, also a big flag of what probably not to do while self-publishing.

1) EDIT. Hello! Personal editing, betas, hiring professionals...all of this comes back to who you are and your brand. Yes, you as an author offering your books up for purchase, are a brand. Without a house to oversee your project every step of the way it's doubly up to you to do your own editing (including constantly studying grammar and writing trends) and to get others to help you.

2) Design. We're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but we do. While getting the perfect picture may not be feasible, it's still in your power, if you're overseeing the design and giving the okay of your jacket, to make sure the font is readable and placed in an appropriate place. If you just suck at design, then it may be time to bring in a professional or even a friend with a background in design.

3) Pricing. This is a lot harder to mediate when it comes to print, because you have to pay for your own costs incurred, but I saw a couple of original fiction books yesterday, less than 300 pages, selling for over $20 - paperback. I wouldn't pay that much for an author I love in paperback, let alone a total unknown that didn't even edit.

I want to see other self-published authors succeed just as much as I want to succeed at it myself...which is why all the tough love today. There definitely is a stigma against self-publishing out there and these are a lot of the main reasons why. Obviously I do not know these authors, but I get the sinking feeling that a lot of these errors and issues are a result of jumping the gun to get published as quickly as possible. I love you, authors, but no story is awesome enough that it doesn't need some good editing and further attention paid to it - and no story anymore deserves the horror that is Comic Sans.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2 Truths & A Lie: Writer's Edition

Damn straight the Truths are orange.
Meme time! Well, maybe it's a meme. I think things only turn into memes for real if people actually repeat them...or something.

Anyway, the other night I was watching a movie in which the characters were playing Two Truths And a Lie. And after years and years of playing that game as an icebreaker, most people are able to tell what my lie is. So I thought today, for the first of five blog posts this week, I would play Two Truths And a Lie - Writer's Edition!

The rules are simple. I'll post three "facts" about my writing life. Two of them are true, and one of them is a lie. I'm asking ~you~ to comment which one you think is the lie. First person to get it right will get a fun shout-out in the next entry!

1) I have one of "those" drawers. You know, the drawer where all the crap I wrote years ago went. I don't just mean stories from when I was a kid that was never meant for publication, but stories that were...meant for publication. The total amount of stories in there? 12 full novels I can't bring myself to look at again.

2) I'm not really a notebook person. I know most authors are totally into notebooks upon notebooks of, well, notes, but that's never been me. I'm purely digital. And notes? I only write them down if I think I'm likely to forget, which isn't often.

3) I think I'm the one author with a cat who DOESN'T get "help" from the cat. She's totally disinterested in my laptop. It actually makes me kind of sad. I want my kitty to help me write. :(

Dare you :P

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Writing Check-In: Who am I and why am I still awake.

I'm back in America for the holidays. I also have laryngitis.

Coupled with intense jet-lag, it's been a rough weekend. I have managed to get some writing done, however. Only a little bit though. Tried to get more writing done before this blog post, but I've spent the past hour sitting here nodding off to sleep and driving myself nuts.

I'm hoping to do a bit of fun and do a post every day this week. Part of the reason I want to do this is because here in America I've found a bunch of my old notebooks I'm transferring and would maaaaybe like to share. The trick is finding the damn energy to do it right now. Because this post as it is took me about one hour to type up because I. Am. So. Sleepy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Writing Check-In: Yeaaaah sure.

I feel like I got a lot accomplished this week, but in reality I don't think I got much done at all. I think I feel as such because I opened up my programs a lot - and I got a lot of preparations done...and I was very productive in other, non-writing areas. But I didn't get much actually accomplished.

I'm really trying to push myself to finish this chapter in Revenge, but even though it's a scene I was looking forward to writing I feel like I'm forcing myself...which is never a good sign, so I'm taking it easy. I've also started my Hubpages project, and although not published yet it's coming together great. I also bought a license for Scrivener today using my Nanowrimo promo code and am looking forward to using it.

So I did get a lot done. But I just don't have much to show for it yet. Plus this Friday I'm going to America for Christmas so there are all those preparations as well. Next time I write this update I'll be in my cozy log cabin in the Oregon woods with a big fluffy cat merfin' about crap next to me.

But first I gotta make it through this week. I hope to have the first installment of my Hubpages finished before I leave and publish them by the end of the weekend. I also better have this chapter finished as well. Blah. I  need more time in my day. Or more energy. It doesn't help I do all my writing late at night before bed, so when I need to sleep...well, I gotta sleep.

Which is what I'm off to do now. Good night, Blogosphere!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I can't believe it's time to think about this ALREADY.

(no picture today because I'm on the little netbook and it can't handle that shiznit.)

They've just announced over on the Nanowrimo forums the coming of Camp Nanowrimo in 2012, for the months of June and August.

1) Yay! I was hoping it was happening again thsi year!
2) Hm. No July. (because of too many tech difficulties this year, apparently.)

Actually, this works for me. Well, August will again anyway. And I'm sure to continue writing CROSS//Process like I started writing last Camp (and had a lot of fun doing because it was different while being the same familiar territory of past Nano ventures.) June will, however, be totally up in the air cause I have no idea if I'll be settled back into my American life already since I'm moving at the very beginning of May. If I'm still at home I'm sure I can do it, if I'm in the midst of moving and trying to find a job...I may have to pass this next year. But I waaaant to.

Of course, I also have the editing to do. Since I have a publishing date goal of 2013 then I really need to get this thing edited and off to betas. Sigh. Such is the writing life. Maybe I can get this edited and off by the time camp comes so I can do that while I wait. Yay!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"One-Pass Manuscript Revision", or, something cool I found on the internetz.

Whilst surfing the great Nano divide of "omg why are you posting" and "omg why am I reading this" on the forums I stumbled upon a link that somebody posted called "One-Pass Manuscript Revision". In it the author, Holly Lisle, shares her process of revising her entire first draft in one go. Well, it's quite the promise, so of course I decided to check it out!

Her process is very "physical", meaning it requires notebooks, binders, and completely decimated forests from printing out your manuscript. Since this is completely infeasible for me, especially here abroad where I don't have the room for such things, let alone access to any printers (let's talk about what a pain in the arse that is sometimes), I decided to focus on Part 2 of her process, which lists all of the things to check for in any given scene. Since during my recent edits I often sit here going "uuuuh now what should I check for" I find most of these suggestions pretty invaluable. Some things, like timing and placement, I already keep meticulous track of, but others such as listing what the conflict in each scene is and how it contributes to your themes is a good reminder.  Of course, there are some things towards the end that kinda make me roll my eyes, such as GETTING RID OF EVERY INSTANCE OF "TO BE" EVER and essentially replacing every "was", "were", and "is" with either purple prose or...I don't even know...but overall I think there's a lot of good advice. I would still suggest that inexperienced authors, especially those who are not as familiar with editing yet, try not to do their entire revisions in one sitting, however.

Also, re-reading once again how most mainstream novels are expected to be between 90-125k words long reminds me that I am writing the right genre. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I had to tell one of my epic fantasies in only 125k words, man. Also, today I began reading "Kushiel's Scion" by Jacqueline Carey (yay birthday presents!) and it's nearly 1000 pages long - I wouldn't have it any other way~

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekly Writing Check-In: Wow, it's been a while since I did one of these!

These gals have the right idea.
And thus here we are, staring down yet another December.

I actually like December. It's finally decently cold sometimes, Christmas!, vacations (I leave for America in less than two weeks! Wee!), and Nano is over so I can stop obsessing over making my daily goals. Which means I totally lose track of my daily goals. Whooooops.

I took the past couple of days off but went back into writing today. Finally finished another scene! As for the editing, it has to be put off another week anyway because this week is my monthly business trip and I can't do any adequate editing on my little laptop. Writing? Okay. Editing? Good luck. And to top it off I'm starting another (reading) book this week so there goes even more time.

Also doesn't "help" (and yet totally does) that I've started playing Sims 3 again. Like any game/computer game, it's something that comes in phases before going away again. And right now I'm in a Sims 3 phase. I'm not even a normal Sims 3 player,  I guess. I don't make random Sims to play with, nope, I have to make all my novel sims. And take lots of screenshots. Some that don't even make sense, or some that are events that haven't happened yet that I use for inspiration and reference later on. It's basically a big, expensive storyboard.

And plus it's fun to see characters that will never hook up just kinda fall all over each other because the game mechanics think that's what supposed to happen.

But writing in general has been slow today. I got a scene that I was dragging with done at dinner tonight. As some of you may recall,  I write all my scenes in order. And I'm really trying to finish this chapter so I can get on to the next one which is SUPER FUN and I am SOOOO looking forward to it, seriously. It's got a couple of scenes I've been hankering to write for years now. And it's coming. Oh god it's coming.

Here, have another screenshot of Japanese Catholic high school girls being utterly ridiculous.

Five minutes later, I discovered custom posing. NICE KNOWIN' U ALL.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 30: The End..cept not really.

It's officially December 1st here on my side of the Pacific, which means another Nanowrimo has come and gone. I'm quite proud of what has gone on this year in terms of my writing. Not only did I get to meet some great people sharing this common venture, but I blasted my old personal record. See my super hot stats below!

Total Words Written: 67,339
Average Per Day: 2,244
Pages: 125 (single spaced, 12pt TNR)

Absolutely nothing shabby about that - another chunk has been cut into CROSS//Revenge and I couldn't be happier. Well, I could be happier. I didn't get to write ANY naughty scenes within the entirety off November. Heck, two of the main characters never even interacted this year! (Although they will meet up again quite soon.) Actually, funny story - I've been ranting about no naughty scenes all month, and then the moment midnight hits two of my characters about to get it on. You will be all relieved to know that, yes, I just kept writing until I finished the scene. I earned it, damnit!

This draft is far from over. As a combination with last year's Nano, I have well over 120,000 words, and I feel like the first half of the novel is just now coming to a close. It's right on track to matching CROSS//Rebirth in length, which is surprising me since less actually happens in this story, heh. There are SO many secondary characters that I'm worried readers are going to get confused. Most of them pop up throughout the course of the book over and over, but you know, less is more~

I'm giving myself the rest of the week to keep writing. Don't know about next week yet since it's my business trip and writing is easier than editing during that. But I do need to get back to editing Rebirth if I want to stay on schedule for 2013 release.

Whew. This was the easiest Nano for me yet. It's amazing how much I can get done when I don't have homework!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 27: 60k+ done.

Day #: 27
Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 60,009
Total # of Pages: 113

Not only did I manage to break 60k today, but I also wrote over 4k words which I'm preeeetty sure is a record for me. Yeah, I wrote a lot today. Wrote before going to sleep last night, wrote at the local write-in today, and then wrote some more when I got home. It reaaaallly helps that I finally plowed through that "boring" scene and am finally getting to the meatier stuff. I also realized today that my two FMCs only had one interaction in the very first scene and, about 200 pages into this manuscript, still haven't spoken to or seen each other since. Damn plot lines dividing!

My next goal is 65k before the end of the month. Pretty sure I can do it. I really wanted to write 70k this year for nano but it's not gonna happen after the stomach flu last week. Oh well, can't complain!

Also, that stats page cap is freaking me out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 25: Validated

So the validator's been up for a couple of days but I haven't used it because I've been a horrible combination of too busy and too sick to care (which is also where the writing went.)But I did validate tonight and lololol the site always gives me 200 more words than Word does.

So, yup. That's officially 5/5 Nanos won now!

Back to writing before bed - November isn't over yet~

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pern's Progenitor Dies: RIP Anne McCaffrey, 1926 - 2011

She had badass tastes in animals tbqh.
I'm going to take a break from talking about Nano today to talk about something else entirely - something pretty important to me that I didn't even know was important to me until today.

As most of you have probably heard by now, acclaimed and groundbreaking science-fiction / fantasy (ssh! don't tell her I said that second one!) author Anne McCaffrey has died of a "massive stroke" at the age of 85. I consider Anne to be one of my greatest influences as an author, even though over the years I've found most of her works I once read incredibly problematic if not sometimes outright unbearable as a queer feminist. But when it comes to memorials we're wont to focus on the good, the proud, and the mighty. So here it is.

Even though I recently no longer "enjoy" her works (although I still read many out of nostalgia and habit), to say that Anne McCaffrey had a profound influence on me is a grand understatement. I stumbled into the attic one day during sixth grade, nosing around in my mother's old book collection (in the midst of all my grandmother's lulzy harlequins) and found this super-60s-rific book called "Dragonflight". And there were a lot of others there too, but since that's the one that started them all, well... (Should also note that Patricia A. McKillip's "The Riddlemaster of Hed" trilogy was up there as well, but I've always found that series to just be...trite. And weird, man.)

Anyway, I asked my mom about them and she said that they were her favorite books as a kid. Today when I told her the news she said she was remembering how she first picked up "Dragonflight" at a convenience store on a road trip to Indiana from California with her family back in the 60s. My mother was so into these books that she wrote fanmail to Anne (and got a letter back with a PICTURE that she's since lost, of course) and wrote super shitty fanfiction when she wasn't listening to her BFF's Star Trek porn. She also made all her husbands read the series over the years. Oh, and she's now a fantasy / science-fiction librarian (well, she's a children's librarian who also happily runs those sections) because of Anne McCaffrey. She was kind of a big deal to my mother.

So I read them. I've always loved fantasy and hey DRAGONS ARE COOL, and women authors are even cooler. I read through them all very fast. Yes, all of them. The original trilogy, followed by the "Harper Hall" trilogy (those blow btw), followed by all the other singular books over the years minus a couple I've never gotten around to read. And they're some of the only books I've reread. (I've  never even reread Harry Potter, so there you go.) Not only did I read them, but when I started reading them I recommended them to my reading-minded classmates as well and soon everyone who made reading a hobby in my tiny class (so, you know, all five of us) were reading Anne's works, even if not limited to the Pern series. I have distinct memories of sixth grade bus rides and Language Arts classes and a lot of us talking about lulzy Pern crap.

This was when I was starting to get into writing my own original fiction, and what I was reading at the time heavily influenced my ideas - and since I was reading Anne's books, it followed that I was writing fantasy in a similar vein to hers. And I can't lie...when I was reading "All The Weyrs of Pern" for the first time earlier this year, I recognized a lot of my writing style still in hers. Quick summarizing sentences, snappy dialogue, and men and women who just wanna get down and party under the sheets with each other (well maybe that last one is more me than her, but I'm totally telling you guys she was the one who made me start writing smut. My first love scenes were Anne's, even though they're righteously horrible rofl). Obviously I've developed my own unique style that's all my own since then, but the roots are very "McCaffrey". It's why even though now I don't really associate with her content, I still can't deny she's had the heaviest influence on me over any other author, with Philip Pullman coming in a distant second.

Over the past few years she's more or less disappeared from writing (doing mostly behind the scenes outlining) while her son Todd McCaffrey has taken over the universe. My mother isn't a big fan of his and I admittedly have never tried him. I don't know if I'll ever finish the "series" any time soon. In my world Pern is pretty much the first six books since that's what I had as a kid and that's where my imagination took hold. I never saw eye to eye with her on a lot of things...she was very anti fanfiction (say whut. WHUT. I don't even like writing/reading fanfiction but damn gurl.) and very vehement that she wrote super srs science-fiction. (Yeah k. You keep telling yourself that about your DARGONZ Anne). But when I saw today that she died I knew it was gonna have a weird impact on me. And it has. It's like seeing a piece of your imagination die. Anne McCaffrey defined being a female fantasy author for me when I was first realizing that was the path I wanted to take in my life. She gave me the courage to write my own fiction, to explore creatures and lands that no one else knew, and to write some fucking smut. (I write better love scenes than she does though, just FYI. Also: more lesbians.) And even though all those books were years ago, it's so weird to know that she's not around anymore.

This probably sounds silly, but when I was looking for images of her I saw a lot of fanart and "real art" of her with her dragons, and it made me tear-up. Not for her, but for all of us authors (particular fantasy) authors who live with whole worlds inside our heads that only we ever visit. For a lot of us we use writing to escape the real world and to go where we control what happens, even if for a short time. Seeing those pictures made me hope that one day, when my life is also over, maybe I can finally see these worlds I've seen in my head for so long for myself. It was very comforting.

Rest in peace, Anne. Thank you for all you've done for me. Have the best fucking mating flight of your life - get that bronze, gurl.Also pretty sure the dragons mourn louder for you than they did for Robinton, just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 22: Why write when there's TV?

Day #: 22
Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 53,085
Total # of Pages: 100

Awww yeah, it's procrastination time! That moment has finally caught up to me. When I'd rather watch TV shows than do my writing. Well, not really .But I wanna watch TV because it's cold, I'm still a little sick, and thus wrapping myself up in my futon and sweats and sitting in the dark watching crime dramas and lesbian melodramas is the only acceptable thing to do with my downtime.




(in other news, hooray 100 pages!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 21: Still going, minus the infection.

Day #: 21
Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 52,057
Total # of Pages: 99

As you can see, I am still writing. I have dedicated the month of November to working on this manuscript so I might as well use it, right? Even if I feel like I'm floundering during some hours I know I want to get as much done as I can this month before it's back to editing next month and I wish I could write more.

I ended up taking the day off yesterday because I caught the 24hour flu. Not fun, and I ended up taking today off from work (which you know, for me, means srs bsnss) but I was clear headed enough this evening to get some writing done. I'm kinda annoyed, because I've been whining about wanting to write an "action scene" for so long, and now I'm in the middle of one and I'm too grody feeling to go through with it. Such is life.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 19: A Winner Is Me

oh, hey.

So today.

At about 11:55 PM.

I punched into the nano site...

55,043 words.

*cue awesome music and such*



 I know I should be more excited than this, but I think I may be getting a cold, which is killing my party times right now. Not much to do about that. But I am happy! I would be happier if my 50000th word was not "had", however.   At least I managed to cross the threshold while writing a flashback sex scene. FINALLY, GRATUITY.

 I will keep going throughout November, though. November is my write write write month. My goal tonight is to finish up this scene so I have a place to start off for the write-in I'm going to tomorrow. I don't think I will be very popular there, though...


Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 18: Picking up again

Day #: 18
Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 47012
Amount to 50k Goal: 2988
Total # of Pages: 89
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: i don't think there's gonna be anymore this nano...

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: I am my own hilarious topic.

omg do you see that countdown.

My goal is to be finished by this time tomorrow.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 17: STUFF

Day #: 17
Words Written Today:
1988 (loooool)
Total Words Written: 45,010
Amount to 50k Goal: 4990
Total # of Pages: 86
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: killin' myself here.
Drive: typetypetypetype.

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: [RESOLVED] Stats Page/Word Count Update Problem? [Updated 11.16.2011 9:22 PM EST] HEY YOU SEE THAT DEAD HORSE OVER THERE? YOU SHOULD BEAT IT.


I just wrote the most bizarre characterization scene I have ever writtten.

Characters that should not be crying are crying and characters that should not be putting out are putting out.

What's going on with this manuscript. idek.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 16: The Stats Counter is serious business.

Day #: 16
Words Written Today:
1999 (loooool)
Total Words Written: 43,022
Amount to 50k Goal: 6978
Total # of Pages: 79
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: -_________-
Drive: That scene nearly killed me.

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: Overachiever's Distress Thread Is this me? I don't even know.

I got stuck on the last scene for the 16th and barely made it, only to find out that the stats page at the site is all facked up right now anyway. Oh well.

A new monster has made its way into my apartment, determined to prevent me from getting any serious writing done: the cold. Yeah, it's cold here now. I'm too cheap to turn on the heater and for the most part it doesn't bother me so long as I stayed bundled up, but, you know, extremities! Luckily I don't need my (freezing) feet to type but I do need the hands. Thankfully when I type a lot they heat up - and plus my laptop is well, on and warm - so it's not bad, but tell that to my feet who are annoyed that my hands are not as cold as they are. I think it's time to bust out the blanket and throw it over my poor feetsies. They aren't happy~

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 15: Halfway~

Day #: 15
Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 41,023
Amount to 50k Goal: 8977
Total # of Pages: 79
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: it's in the outlines omg~
Drive: I really wanna  finish this scene~

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: Things in an office building you could shoot with a gun and make explode: Go! omfg.

I'm thinking 2k a day will be the norm this week. Writing 3k is just not feasible because I just don't have the time to do it, and that's cool. I do have to, you know, eat and shower somewhere in there. Oh and work. And and the commute. Always that pesky commute.

My outline is now way behind what I'll get to by the end of November, but at least I'll never run out of things to write about. Also, in slightly related news, my blog has just capped 20,000 page views. Not too shabby.

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWrimo 2011, Day 14: 2 looks like 3 sometimes, okay...

Day #: 14
Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 39,056
Amount to 50k Goal: 10,944
Total # of Pages: 75
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: OH WE'RE GETTIN' THERE~
Drive: Please with myself that I managed to show and not tell somewhere.

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: Bored of writing sex scenes. Is this real life?
Only 2k today, and I'm cool with that. Had to do some other things with the 14th that cut into time writing the extra 1k. Oh well! I'm so far ahead at this point that I can spare it without much thought. I do plan to cross 40k tonight though!

I also have my excerpt up on the site. It blows, just like we all know it should.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaNoWrimo 2011, Day 13: When things pick up speed again

Day #: 13

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 37,019
Amount to 50k Goal: 12,981
Total # of Pages: 71
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: Somebody thought about it...
Drive: Ready to punch all my characters and shitty writing tbh.

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: Grammer Complaint Because it's important that, as authors, we inform other authors how much we're technically better than them.

First of all, I just updated to the most recent Firefox and my eyes are all confused. And I'm still ignoring Scrivener although, now that I think about it, it'll probably be a really great tool to use for writing my upcoming Hubpages starting next month.

Writing is coming along as usual. Back in full force today. Most of you I know are already done, so congrats to you!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Days 8-12: well oops.

Day #: 8-12

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 34,034 (ahahaha)
Amount to 50k Goal: 15,966
Total # of Pages: 66
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: WHY DO I PROMISE MYSELF THESE THINGS D:
Drive: Renewed

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: not today, sorry kids.

Woah, I disappeared for almost a whole week! Well, I didn't really "disappear". I was still "here". Kinda. Nanowrimo still happened in my life (as you can see from my *cough*impressive*cough* wordcount) but I wasn't able to blog about it because I was on my monthly business trip...and although I get internet at my hotel, my little computer just can't handle working on a 60 page document AND loading blogger crap. It just doesn't happen. And obviously the novel took precedence over blogging. Who knew!

But yes, I still managed to write 3k a day, which is quite a feat! Especially with the tiny slow as hell computer and - gasp - TV! So much Law & Order. So little time to read the Japanese subtitles and feel good about myself. (FUN FACT: the kanji for "cause of death" in Japanese is literally 'death problem". I had fun with that.) I did, however, take a nice and well deserved break with no writing at all today (Saturday). It's now Sunday though, but I'm counting "today" until I go to bed. Writing resumes tomorrow, right here with my big laptop and my cold as ice apartment.

In other news, I've downloaded the free trial of Scrivener and am giving it a whirl. Tried the tutorial but it's so boring I quit after ten minutes. I'll try again tomorrow when I'm actually not nodding off to sleep. I'm mostly interested in compiling the research materials - I have no need for a new processor and thus far am not impressed with how the "compiling" works. But I'm a stubborn woman who's been doing the same hat with Word(backwhenitwasWordpad) since 1999. It would take Scrivener moving a mountain to convince me to use it as a word processor.

And now, bed!

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 7: Self-Doubt settles in..

Day #: 7

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 22,073
Amount to 50k Goal: 27,927
Total # of Pages: 42
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: :(
Drive: Overly-Critical

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: to and too because you enjoy seeing people be horrible to each other.

Good lord, it's here.

The self-doubt.

I don't necessarily go through this during every nano, or even every draft - but this one is taking a lot of that right now. I've been reading what I write as I go along and just, wow. There is a lot of dialogue. And since it's a first fly-by draft it's utter, UTTER crap. Obviously that's what first-drafts are for, but that doesn't mean seeing yourself type your authorisms over and over doesn't make you groan about the editing to come.

This  story in general has been giving me some problems. The main one is that this is a "transitional" novel that sets up the one after it in the series. I can't skip the events in this novel because the third novel will make no sense without it. And it's way too much to combine with the next novel. It's actually not the plot that so much has the's mostly just...there's something missing. You know. That "missing" element. It's like there's one overarching plot point that I don't have yet that I DESPERATELY need. It's been coming along and getting better, and I know where the series will be at the end. But I always know where I'm going. It's the getting there part that's a pain in the ass for me.

My main problem is that there isn't many action scenes in this novel, and they're all spread pretty far apart. I don't mind that much, except for the first novel had a lot more driving action in it. This one is mostly a revenge-chase plot as opposed to Magical Item Collecting While Bad Guys Fight You For Them plot. S'how it goes. Everything will work out, but right now I'm just like...blah. I  just gotta keep pushing on and hopefully that Missing Thing will pop out sooner rather than later. 'Cause right now even I'm a little bored with what's going on. (I think it's because all the juicy stuff happens in the second half of the novel and this nano finished up the first half. Also, one of my antagonists is having a mid-life crisis all of a sudden and doesn't wanna antagonize anymore.) I think my worry is mostly that, as it is, if a reader comes otu of the first book and then reads this one, they'll think "wow, this is so boring compared to the first one". Like I said, I'll figure it out, but that doesn't mean I won't freak out about it first.

Yay! Also, business trip this week! I hope I get writing done =(

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 6: 20k feels more momentus than 25k does.

Day #: 6

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 19,188
Amount to 50k Goal: 30,812
Total # of Pages: 37
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: :(
Drive: Average

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: #Occupy Nano - A Brief Manifesto y hallo thar.

No Check-In this week, because I don't need to do one! I've been checking in every damn day!

For some reason I get way more excited about breaking 20k words than I do 25k. Maybe it's because 20 has that nice round 0 in it. 25 is half of 50 but it doesn't seem as cool to pass. Then again I consider every increment of 10k as pretty damn celebratory this month since my goal is way beyond 50k. (I think I may be shooting for 75k this year, although I'm not holding myself to it. It will depend on how writing during my business trip this week goes.)

I've been thinking lately about how I'm going to be making money (with my writing, no less) come next spring when I leave my current day job and move back to America. One thing I've been thinking about is starting some Hubpages and focusing on affiliate marketing. Obviously that's something that takes a while to build up so you're actually making money that puts a dent in bills, so that's why I'm thinking of starting next month when the Nano pressure is off. I'm probably going to start with music hubs, especially specific ones like Japanese artists. Basically, anything I'm pretty sure I know what the hell I am talking about. Woo!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 5: Write-Ins are the most unproductive events ever.

Day #: 5

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 16,004
Amount to 50k Goal: 33,996
Total # of Pages: 31
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: 1 (still, I need to step it up.)
Drive: In denial

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: Please give me a very bad disease. Just for the title alone.

(Somebody contact my mother and tell her to stop calling me right before midnight. Seriously.)

Today I went to the write-in Nagoya hosted at Mondo Lounge. I'm impressed with myself for being able to find it on the first try without getting lost at all! I was the second person there  but more people came later, and the ML brought brownies~ There was also popcorn...and wine, but I wasn't in the mood so I passed on that.

I got  a whopping 500 words done in the two hours I stayed. Mostly because you know, when you get a bunch of people together, we're going to talk. A lot. Or at least in my case I'm going to listen if I'm not talking. And it didn't help that I had no idea what I was trying to do with the scene I was on.

Back to my regularly scheduled writing. Still aiming for 3k a day. And I have the next two days off. Easy peasy...right?

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 4: "HIIII IT'S MOM :D"

Day #: 4

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 13,002
Amount to 50k Goal: 36,998
Total # of Pages: 26
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: 1 (still, I need to step it up.)
Drive: Back on track.

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: 300 Ways To Say Said Said-bookisms wank? YES PLEASE. (Also, new dare for all you nanoers...have a character "ejaculate" some dialogue. Please?)

As you can see, I got caught up to my goal! (Apparently my goal is 3k a day this year. Who knew?) Almost didn't though. At 11:15 my mother called me on Skype and it was almost the end of the world as we know it. But I got to see my kitty and that's totally worth it, right? RIGHT?

I broke 13k at 11:58. Lord.

Tomorrow is the one write-in I'm attending this year in Nagoya. I've never been to the place where it's at before, but when you've lived in Japan three times you get pretty savvy at finding places. (Especially when part of your job is...aimlessly following maps trying to find places.) Luckily the place is a used English book store and they have a website in English with glorious directions in English (although I'm pretty savvy at Japanese directions now.) The ML said something about baked goods and uuuuh yes please. Hope they don't mind me showing up with all my shopping goods because any trip to Nagoya means two things 1) CD shop + 100 yen store and 2) POKEMON CENTER OMG. Especially since I just got paid last week and haven't done much yet. So expect tomorrow's post to be all about the write-in!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 3: Type-blocked

Day #: 3

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 9017
Amount to 50k Goal: 40,983
Total # of Pages: Two lines onto 18.
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: 1
Drive: Frustrated

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: Funny Things Which Happened To You During Sex (NSFW OBVIOUSLY and no I didn't add my own even though I have a pretty spectacular one. With my luck somebody I know is lurking there and my handle is my name trolololol.)

As you can see I did not meet my 10k goal for the third.  (I barely made 9k! Seriously I hit it ten minutes before midnight). This is because I had to go to bed early last night for an ~early~ staff meeting today, and then afterwards I took a nap until it was time to go to work. Then I didn't get back until 9:40 pm and had to cook dinner...well, you see~

Not too worried though. I'm at a pretty interesting part so I should be able to bam out another 1k tonight without much problem (and hopefully more). Right now everyone's having a reunion with their ex-girlfriend (yes, singular) which is always Super Happy Funtimes.

I am getting a bit strained with my soundtrack music thus far this year. Been listening to a lot of Akina Nakamori and while she's absolutely amazing, I made the mistake of listening to her latin-pop album first today and almost couldn't concentrate over all the erratic (and horrible) beats. Oh dear.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 2: You want a backrub? Lol no. Get back to writing.

Day #: 2

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 7035
Amount to 50k Goal: 42,975
Total # of Pages: 13.75
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: 1 (in total now!)
Drive: Tired

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic: So how do you flirt with a girl? idk, why don't you come ask me??

Blah. Well, I'm tired, what can I say? Even though I know what I want to write I'm still sitting here yawning because of my (once again!) whacked out sleep schedule. Tomorrow will be even worse as I have to get up early for a staff meeting in the morning. But that's how it goes. Hoping to reach 9k by bedtime but I'll be happy with 8k.

Nothing exciting has happened yet, if you don't count the alluded-to sex. But there's nothing omgyay! so I don't really count it. :( Actually, this whole installment doesn't have anything graphic in it. Just lots and lots of tension and teasing. My goal is to have the reader throw their book at the wall when it''s over while screaming "WHY HAVEN'T THEY JUST DONE IT ALREADY MAN?!" Yessss. Yesss I am evil~

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 1: 1667 Words Go By Quickly

Wow, that's a lot of numbers in that title.

Here, have some more!

Day #: 1

Words Written Today:
Total Words Written: 3552
Amount to 50k Goal: 46,448
Total # of Pages: 6.5
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes: 1 (kinda)
Drive: Stable

Today's Hilarious Forum Topic?! Acceptable in some cases? (or, "This is really serious, you guys. Time to rage quit reading and give arbitrary reasons I've over thought.")*

So far so good for Nano. I always start off pretty strong though, but I've got a LOT  of downtime this week so I hope to keep it up for at least the first week here. The reason why I didn't do so well last year when I was unemployed is because...well, it was a rough time in my head.  And every other time I've done this before was during college. So I have some hope for being really productive this year!

Thus far I've finished one scene (that started with a lesbian sex dream and ended with frantic phone calls in a public restroom and am almost done with a second. I hope to finish both the current scene I'm on and reach 5k by the time I go to bed tonight. I've been cosmically blessed with some really solid ideas of where to finally take this particular book and I'm stoked to just keep writing. However, this is my first time ever fighting the "inner editor". Probably because I've been so deep in editing these past few months. I keep looking at some things I write and think "ew. I'm gonna hate myself later when I'm editing this hot mess." But I remind myself that it's the first absolute draft and thus it will massively suck. Yay!

How y'all doin?

*You all can take "?!" from my cold dead hands. Also I can't take the interrobang seriously even if I do usually root for the underdog.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekly Writing Check-In: Countdown to Productivity

Well I dunno about you folks, but I'm ready for Nanowrimo. I mean by this time next week I'll be whining about how I ~dun wanna~ and ~dun have time~ but you know, I'll get it done and I'll feel pretty awesome by the end of the month.

That said, Nanowrimo finally has their buddy system up working again, so you should add me! My profile is here. Looking forward to seeing you over at the Nano side!

I've spent the past couple of days eating dinner in ~restaurants~ and getting a little outlining done for Nano, so I'm not, you know, freaking out more about what scene to do next instead of writing. I'm pretty happy with where it's going so far in terms of plot and character development and am pretty happy that I'm not as worried as I was at this point last week. I was kinda thrown for a loop, however, when I went over a scene and realized that...two of my characters are going to interact in a way that I was NOT expecting to happen until the next book in the series. I tried everything I could to make them, well, not do that little nasty (it's pretty tame, okay. OKAY?) and still have it be believable, but yeah, I couldn't come up with a way. I finally just accepted that, hey, my characters wanna make out a little. It's cool. Gonna totally SCREW UP their interactions for the rest of the novel, but my job as author is kinda to diffuse that, now isn't it...

Otherwise, I'm wrapping up October some last minute editing. Word and I are currently having a great grammar check disagreement: it says Chapter 6 of Rebirth is 5 percent passive, and I'm saying it's 100 percent bullshit. I don't even know where it's getting these supposed passive sentences from, except from maybe dialogue and idc about that.

skfjdkjlkfa I am ready to write on the Mother Ship here. And that is always a good feeling.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Technicalities, Vol 3: Who are you? Why are you in my novel?

All of this is true. Well, not the dress. Or the hair.
Over at Published In A Year, "The East Coaster" wrote an entry about how she gets to know her characters. I of course chimed in with a comment and, being me, attempted to write a freakin' dissertation because my process is as weird as my obsession with Pikachu. Soooooo I decided to move my rear over to my own dang blog and sort my thoughts out.

I have always been a character author. This means that I come up with characters and their relationships to each other first, plot second. (Usually the plot is fleshed out by the characters...not the other way around.) First and foremost I am writing about how my characters get through the plot, not what actually happens and how it affects everyone else. I often write about saving the world/universe, but I write it from a very personal level. The entire world/universe may hang in the balance~, but you don't care about Earth surviving as much as you care about so-and-so finally confessing their love to so-and-so...while Earth crumbles in the background. How romantic!

So my novels and stories come from the characters that come to me. Usually when a story starts out for me, all of the main characters arrive at the same time. This includes the way they look, sound, and probably even who they like and don't like amongst the other characters. Very rarely have I come up with a secondary character of my own effort later who ended up being just as important as the initial main characters, although this has definitely happened.

How do I "get to know them"? Well, as I wrote in the comment on the other side of Blogger, my brain is always going. I'm never just NOT thinking about something. But of course there's only so much worry I can allot in one day, so all the other time my brain is in "novel mode". It's really kinda scary and ridiculous, but it's how it's been my entire conscience life so I don't know anything else. When I'm not thinking about the "real" world I'm thinking my novels. And I'm not even always necessarily thinking about plot or logistics (although that's definitely popping up from time to time). Usually I'm thinking about my characters and how they would react in the most mundane of situations.

(warning: incoming "wow, you're sad".)

Tonight after work I went to a local cafe on the way home to get dinner. As I sat there playing my DS (um, Pokemon, of course) and waiting for my food and...being hyper aware of the Creeper Man in the corner staring at me while his girlfriend slept in the seat beside brain, for the most fleeting moment, imagined that two of my characters were in that cafe booth instead and mumbling about Creeper Man. In the span of five seconds these two characters had a dialogue in my brain of what I was thinking: "Ugh, that guy is so creepy, isn't he." "Yes, he's kinda weird. Why is he staring at us?" "Ugh so gross. I wonder which one of us he's staring at?" "Both of us. He's imagining us having sex." "He probably wouldn't if I didn't look like such a dyke." "Hell he's probably wishing he could get his girlfriend there to have a threesome." "Hey, by the way, next time your lesbian friends want to have an orgy, give me more than a two hour warning." "Where the hell did that come from?" "I'm just sayin'." "You're actually not saying anything."

And then my food arrived and all I could think was om nom nom nom.

But in the span of those few seconds I learned a lot about my characters. (Well, I actually knew most of that already about them, but you get my point.) Probably the most valuable thing I learned is that one of them needs a bigger advanced warning for orgies. Duly noted.

I've written before about how I talk to myself all the time to work out dialogue but this is different. This is just flat out pretending. The dialogue thing is done on purpose as part of my writing job. The sitting in a cafe and pretending that my characters are sharing my experience while I omnisciently mess with their feelings just happens naturally. I can't say if this is "normal" at all. But as I said before, it's how my brain has worked since I was about ten, so there.

What about you all? Do you just have a bunch of people living vicariously through you or do you take the more ~normal~ routes of writing up characters sheets and writing out scenes to get to know your characters?

(I'ma go to bed now and go to sleep while thinking up nonsensically boring and mundane scenes with my characters in them. Odds are they'll be trying to sleep too. Man, my life.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I always need more to do. Always.

Anyone who has known me for oh, more than a few months knows that I'm always coming up with new projects that I want to explore, even if it seems like I'll never have the time to do them. And most of the time they do kinda fizzle out, whether from a lack of my interest or other people's. That all said, I'm getting another idea but am not sure what I want to do with it yet.

I have an idea for a writing blogfest that would center around writing scenes about relationships of various pairings, mostly because that's the sort of situation I enjoy writing the most. It would also give authors a fun chance to maybe write some romance out of their usual comfort zones. Of course there would be prizes (even though I'm not sure what yet) but I would probably need a co-host and other judges and all that jazz. So if anyone is interested, let me know, and if anyone else has been thinking of hosting a blogfest with whatever topic let me know too! I once participated in a  couple with my old defunct blog and they were rather fun. I've been looking to join a couple recently as well, but either they don't pique my interest or I don't find out about them until they're half over. Oops.

IN OTHER NEWS....Nano starts one week from today! I've decided, for the first time ever, to chronicle my progress every day. If nothing else it'll be a good kick in the pants.  I've even come up with the format I'll be using, although if I have time/the drive I'll make another Nano related section for it. Maybe. We'll see~

Anyway, here's the template I'll be using for blog posts in November!


Day #:
Words Written Today:
Total Words Written:
Amount to 50k Goal:
Total # of Pages:
Total # of Gratuitous Sex Scenes:

Obviously I may be adding more as stress mounts and I wonder how I'm gonna finish my fifth year of Nano. Well, I know the answer to that. More sex scenes. IT WORKED BEFORE (and some of them made the cut in the end anyway! I win!)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekly Writing Check-In: Sometimes Sleep Really Is More Important

Writing wise, absolutely nothing was accomplished this week.  I can blame my day job for that.  It was an hour-packed week, with full days and a whole lotta commuting all over the prefecture. My one-day weekend was spent restocking on food, cleaning, and I think a shower is gonna be shoved in there somewhere.  Of course, I did my appropriate amount of "OMFG I SHOULD WRITE" but I was so exhausted every damn day that I always crashed early and still felt like death even after 10 hours of sleep. But that week is over and now it's back to regular hour fun times! Great timing too, because Nano starts in a little over a week!

 One of the things I did this week to unwind was read through a lot of blogs and forums, like I usually do, but this week that (and watching movies) was all my brain could handle. Something I came across was the recent development of Amazon signing up authors at a place that is definitely not writing-topic centered. As anticipated, most of the comments centered around how this will just mean more people will self-publish fan-fiction because we all know it's still super easy for "real" authors to get published by the big names.

I'm used to reading this sort of thing - most people, especially those who aren't involved in writing/the publishing world, are understandably ignorant to what's going on in today's market. But that doesn't mean it's still not a massive headdesk moment (and not to mention, gut stabbing) to always read "Authors who self-publish just suck and their stuff is obviously drivel. ALL THE TIME. If it was any good a real publisher would pick it up!" Not only is this just not true, it also erases all the self-published authors who have chosen to forgo even submitting to agents/publishers in the first place for whatever reason.

Of course, that doesn't mean that a lot of self-published stuff isn't still...well, obviously not ready for publication. Part of our jobs as authors is to recognize when our work is not ready, or when WE'RE not ready, for world release. It's easy for us to fall into the trap of excitement and lofty ambitions, especially when it's sometimes super hard for us authors to get any sort of material validation for our works. But that's how it goes. It still does not also mean that there's a LOT of good self-published stuff out there. I know I'm looking forward to getting an E-reader at the end of this year so I can start reading my To Read list on the cheap.

Bleh. Now excuse me. I seriously have to try and finish this chapter in time for Nano. If I'm super good this week I may even get  more editing done! Like I said, folks, lofty ambitions!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Technicalities, Vol 2: Chronological Writing vs. Wait, That Doesn't Happen Yet!

This entry is just a snippet of a multi-part saga dealing with the technicalities behind writing. Posts and subsequent discussions focus on how we write.

First off, guess what, it'z mah birthday. Well, it is on this side of  the world anyway. Still a few hours left back in Amuhrrika. General praises of admiration for having made it this far without Darwinizing myself are always welcome. And presents. Or both.



Today's discussion is about in what order we write scenes.  Simply put, do you write all of your scenes in order (whether from an outline or as naturally as it feels) or do you write whatever damn scene you feel like writing at the time?

I am a strict chronological writer. Everything I write must be written in order. I've always been this way, from my very early days of playing around with fan-fiction. I mean, in my head, writing scenes out of order just is not done! *pearl clutch* On one hand I can understand the argument of "well, if you're blocked on this scene, just work on one that you are inspired for!" but I can't let you do that StarFox do that, man. I FEEL YUCKY AND DIRTY OKAY.

There is one scene that I've written completely out of order. Back in 2008 when I was working on the first half of Rebirth (I started writing it around Nano 2007) I was outlining the series, and there was a scene I REALLY wanted to write for Regress, the then final book of a planned trilogy. So I wrote it. And damn was it a good scene.

That scene is still planned.. But I will have to rewrite it, because the characters' motives in that emotionally charged scene have completely changed. Actually, one of the characters has completely changed, in direction and origin. So while the same things happen, the feeling and tone of the whole scene is different.

(Also, technically, I started writing Revenge before I even finished the first complete draft of Rebirth. But you know, Nano.)

This is why I don't write out of order. I'll end up having to rewrite later scenes anyway because of things always changing in the scenes before them. Plus, finally getting to write those scenes I'm all geared up for is like a super awesome reward for trudging through those scenes I struggled to finish before.

I mostly made this the topic today because I'm really bitter about finishing the scene I'm on. Yeah, I don't wanna.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Writing Check-In: Actually...writing?!

my magnum opus.
I was pretty flabbergasted a couple days ago when I realized that I had to like...write stuff. I mean, my brain is in editing and planning mode right now until Nano in a couple of weeks, so this whole notion of writing is like being told I'm actually expected to work when I go to work. I mean, what.

Since finishing Nano '10 I've barely touched my Revenge draft except to re-read and take notes for future plot plans. I did write like...a page somewhere over the past year, but it wasn't a very good page. After Nano '10 I still had to finished the first draft of Rebirth, start editing it, and there were some short story attempts in there too. OH and Camp, which was an entirely different story in the CROSS// series. So yes, this week I officially dusted off the chapter I left off on last year and realized...damnit, not only do I have to somehow finish this scene, but I also have to finish the chapter. How dare you ask me to write! Actually, I'm just annoyed because I have no idea what scene to write next yet. I barely know what I'm going to write during Nano as it is. Whine. Gripe. Moan.

Also always a good time killer is lurking on the Nano forums which finally have been given some new life with the new season. Of course, like somebody with a real love for self-punishment, I always read the rule and rebel forums to see what we're whining about this year. Everybody has their major gripe about Nano and this is mine:

While everybody knows what the "core" rule is (you must start a totally new story in November) the staff have always "welcomed" the ~cheaters~ who are not either 1) writing a traditional fictional novel or 2) starting a new story, but with the caveat that we acknowledge that we're not a part of the ~real nano spirit~ or can consider ourselves winners when we pass 50k before the 30th.

Which is, you know, utter bullshit.

There is nothing more extraordinary about starting a new draft from scratch and writing 50k than doing a WIP and writing 50k. The "spirit" of nano has always been about writing 50k in 30 months to me, with a lovely dose of community and squeeing and nail biting going on the other 23hours of the day we're not buckling down to write.

I also don't see what the difference is between somebody doing a WIP and a person starting a new story who is already working from an extremely detailed outline, where pretty much all they have to do is flesh it out with prose and dialogue. And with all the "tips" we see every Nano (write out contractions, be as purple and wordy as possible, etc) it seems like such a silly line to draw. Today I saw a staff member say that doing a WIP is not conducive to the creative abandon of Nano. Excuse me? Just because I didn't come up with my plot and characters until October 31st (and even if you're doing a new story, I feel like very few people go into Nano doing this anyway) doesn't mean that my creative juices aren't being pushed to their limits and I'm in the corner going "OMG BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY'RE GOING OR WHY THEY'RE IN THE CAR UGH".

In short, I love Nano, I love the communities I've found through it, I love that it makes me set aside whatever else I'm doing and work on that rough draft I've been neglecting, and I love when December 1st comes around and  I get to see that all my hard work has paid off and my writing career is on the right track. What I DON'T love is the head patting on rebels and saying "that's sweet, you're welcome here, but you don't really know about we're doing". It's especially distracting to us who don't live in a world where all novels are 50-90k. I write 300k epic novels. You expect me to write that much in a month? Maybe if I had Hermione Granger's time necklace thing. BUT I DON'T.

Anybody can start a novel. It takes a lot of dedication to actually finish one, which is what we WIPers are attempting.


/goes back to writing