It’s been a busy couple of weeks.
I’ve been working a temp job that – thankfully – is based around answering the phones and so allows me a lot of freedom when it comes to what I do with the rest of my time.
I’ve been writing a lot.
Mostly, what I’ve been writing is blog posts for Urban Meliad and Syrens, plus doing some scribbling about the intersection of kink (topping, both from a dominant and a sadistic perspective), paganism (energy work, running a ritual), and singing (the process of being a musical instrument and the work that goes into making the best music you can make).
I’ve also been working on The Novel. It’s making me twitch – I’m at that point where you hate absolutely everything and don’t know where anything is going or why you started writing it in the first place (Nanowrimo calls this “week two”, iirc) – but I’m also starting to see tertiary characters popping up in places where it’s appropriate for them to be turning up… without my having actually made a point of writing them into the scene. Which tells me things are starting to take on a life of their own, even if only a little bit, and that gives me some hope. 🙂
Beyond that, I’m eying a couple of possible submission-venues for some of my poetry, and (YAY!) I sold an essay! 😀 (I’ll link to it – you bet I will – when it’s up on the site that bought it). If I can turn my rambling thoughts on kink/energy/voice into something more coherent, it may end up being sent their way as well. 🙂
September will see me returning to my usual routine (or what I’m trying to cultivate as my usual routine): physical stuff – like crafting, yoga, and errand-running – in the mornings, followed by writing, blogging, and email (gotta be careful with that one) in the afternoons, and social/relaxing/down-time/girlfriend stuff in the evenings. Wish me luck on sticking to my schedule. 🙂
Queer Femme writer Sassafras Lowrey talks about writing the dangerous stuff over on her blog.
This has me asking: What is “the dangerous stuff” in the story I’m trying to tell.
Mine is quite (QUITE) different from the story that Sasssafras is telling in her novel Roving Pack. My MC’s situation isn’t dangerous. Precarious, maybe, but not dangerous.
So I’m wondering: what are the “dangerous” stories I can tell about:
a city girl moving to the country (assumptions that people make about each other?)
a spend-thrift trying to get her finances under control (poverty; “self-medication”)
the class differences between “town” and “gown”
rebound relationships, binge drinking, and other stupid things that sound like a good idea at the time
small communities and dirty little secrets
different ways of defining “wealth” (or “abundance” as the case may be)
Keeping outdoor animals in an area with predators; the difference between livestock and pets (protecting that which you value?)
That’s what I’m thinking about right now.
Filed under prose, writing
So I’m working on a “novel”.
Or a manuscript that, with any luck, will wind up being a draft of a novel-length piece of fiction.
Right now I’m at a little over 21,000 words (so it’s quite early yet).
I’ve done nanowrimo a couple of times and I’m starting to get used to this idea that I’m capable of writing a story – maybe not, at this point, a story that is completely devoid of enormous, glaring plot-holes and pages and pages of slightly-to-realistic (read “full of Ums”) dialogue… but a story – that is longer than about 7,000 words.
Now I’m trying to get beyond just “ZOMG long!” and figure out exactly what the building blocks of a novel are. Like any other piece of writing, you can’t just put stuff in that goes nowhere and serves no purpose.
What I’m doing right now is… probably not the most (or even close to the most) efficient way of writing a novel. Yes, I have an outline and, therefore, a rough idea of what I want to happen in each “chapter”, but I’m also basically just nattering away, narating the day-to-day (or week-to-week) existence of my character as she tries to get her finances under control and reinvent her life from scratch.
My plan – or at least my hope – is that by writing her life down, I can eventually find the threads of the actual story and then edit like hell (cutting out the stuff that doesn’t build or support the story, adding new content that does) so that the story actually comes out and can start to shine.
Wish me luck!
 At this point, each chapter covers one month out of a year – the end product is going to be a little different, but that’s how I’m structuring it for now.
 I do know that the story is about finding belonging and chosen family when you start out as a complete outsider (both literally and figuratively); and I know that my characters challenges include a lot of “learned (sort of) helplessness” that she’s going to have to work to get over in order to find her power and her confidence.
Filed under prose, writing
Heading to another funeral tomorrow.
Wanted to link to a couple of useful posts.
First: Wren Doloro writes about Seven Ways to Write Every Day
Second: Through her post, I found How to Set SMART Writing Goals – which is about how to make good goals in general (are they relevant? Time-bound? Achievable? Stuff like that). It’s being applied to writing, here, but works for pretty much any situation. 🙂
Drive-by link to another Clarksworld article from Catherine M. Valente.
Voodoo Economics: How to Find Serenity in an Industry that Does Not Want You
The big thing I take away from this is:
[…]When I fear for my ability to keep working in the steel town I have chosen: publication was never the point. The point was the work, the book, the voodoo, the faith. The point was the sheer joy of creating something out of nothing, crystal out of gross matter. They will never really want what I have to give. My job, insofar as I have one, is to make what I have to give glow so brightly that they cannot turn away from it.
And that’s your job, too.
My job is to put words on the page, polish them until they are as beautiful as I can make them, and send them into the world. As long as I’m doing that, I’m doing my job.
If my job generates income… well, so much the better. But my job is to write down the words.
I just read Fade to White by Catherine M. Valente.
And I have realized something about myself.
I tend to avoid Bleak. Or, when I do write it, I tend to write it with a hopeful ending suggesting that things are actually getting better even if they aren’t entirely resolved yet.
And I think I understand why I do that now.
See… Writing is magic.
It’s magic for a whole wack of reasons from the historical (wait, you can actually tell me the words that someone else said in a different place and/or time… by looking at those funny little marks…? Woah…) to the literal (I’m a witch. I use writing in spell-craft all the time) to the figurative (stories are a way of showing the world the way we want it to be, or the way it is but that nobody wants to admit) and on and on.
I have just discovered that the reason Bleak freaks me out so much – the reason my girlfriend’s tales of terrifyingly distopian (and terrifyingly possible) near-futures get me so worked up and uncomfortable – is that writing makes it true.
For some part of me, imagining something thus gives it a little more power to become real.
Which is great if your working on a spell to get you the book-deal of your dreams.
But is not so great if you’re trying to write an interesting and gripping story when all you really want to do is have your characters be safe and live happily ever after.
Well, at least I know that now. Maybe I can work around it when I’m dealing with fiction? Here’s hoping.
Filed under prose, writing