October 29th, 2020
Anonymous asked:Speaking of writing, I've asked you before about a story I've had in my head for almost 15 years. So now the problem is, every time I try to write it, I stop around the same part. I was watching a videoclips and had an idea for a fan fiction of my own story, inspired by Medusa's story. I just had this crazy idea of writing that instead. I feel like, since I've tried to write this story so many times before, I need some sort of break from it, and this might give me what I'm looking for. +
+ If I always get stuck around the same part, maybe that isn't working. Of course, I could just change that part. But what if rewriting the whole story, still with the same main characters, is what I'm missing? What if I could finish it this time, for a change? What if that's the push that I'm needing, and it'll actually become much better than the original? I can always, after all, write the original later if I want!
PS. I'm actually thinking of giving it a good, happy ending, when the original had a really bad one and was full of angst. I'll forever be in love with the idea of the original story, but with what's going in the world and my own state of mind, I just need to feel excited for this story again and an happy ending seems fitting. We need happy, hopeful things!
This is a tricky question because there are a number of things you need to consider.
BUT about five years later, after I’d moved on to a different series in a different genre (urban fantasy), I started watching The 100, and really was jonesing for the science fiction fix again. And there was an intersection with my original Gaia theory story. See they’re both set in a nearish future, before humanity has found the key to traveling the great distances of space. So, I decided to do a Bellarke fic of my own story, but I’d make it a PREQUEL. So as it developed, that colonial empire turned out to be the deciding factor in the destruction of the earth, leaving humanity behind in a solar system without the ability to find a habitable planet. It became a post apocalypse story like The 100. And I gave our heroes a little weird ship that was biomechanically engineered with slime/sludge life form found in the Kuiper asteroid belt. BOOM. My story came together. Something about the more intimate setting of a space freighter, the race to save the ship, and the fanfic romance combined with the setting of my previous book made it all happen.
I still actually have the original story waiting to be revised. Now it turns out that the colonial empire sent out A DOZEN colony ships with new damaging technology, and it was the mass launching that poisoned the earth. They killed the earth and then tried to steal with accessible planets. Mythos (the original story) is ONE of the planets they landed on. Each colony ship will have developed it’s own culture based on the guiding colonial beliefs, so when they land on their planets, they will all have completely different stories.
So taking that original, stalled story, and considering a new direction, has set me off on enough stories probably to last me for decades. Well. Look at that.
All in all, I say go ahead. Try the medusa angle. Maybe that’s what this story needs to move forward. And if it turns into something completely different, that’s okay. You’ll learn from writing the new story and may be able to go back to the old one afterwards and fix what was wrong with it.
Good luck and happy writing.
Anonymous asked:Is it ok to not write everyday? Is it ok to just take a week off or something? Is it ok to not force yourself to write?
Yes it is okay to take a day off or a week off or even, who knows? a month off or more.
The concept that writers must write every day or they’re not real writers is, I believe, a rule that someone came up with, I’m not sure who was first, and told other that was the hard and fast rule. “Writers write.” And while that’s true, writers do write and that’s what makes them writers, that doesn’t mean that you are only a writer while you’re actively writing. Some people write every day because they build a comfortable writing practice into their day. Some people can’t stop writing, like a compulsion. Some people are weekend writers. Some people keep notebooks with them where ever they go. Some people only write when they have a story to tell or when it’s vacation or when there’s a challenge or an assignment they have to write.
I, personally, am a rather compulsive writer. I need to write, not in order to call myself a writer or to keep my stories going, but for my mental health. I have been keeping a journal for thirty five years. Almost daily. There are periods where that slows down and I write less. Often because I’m writing somewhere else, like on a blog, or writing in school, or writing poetry, or writing analysis of a favorite tv show. There are other times when I set myself a daily wordcount for writing fiction. Over the years that has gone from 300 words a day to 3000 words a day. Let me be honest. Neither is right for me. 300 makes me feel like my progress is too slow and 3000 exhausts me, but I sometimes have to do it for work deadlines for weeks at a time. And let me tell you... when I hit my deadline, I just STOP writing for a while. I rest. I recover. I binge watch tv shows in bed.
And the truth is that while a daily writing practice is necessary for SOME writers, it isn’t necessary, wanted or possible for EVERY writer.
The thing about being a writer is that we ALL have different writing processes, and those writing processes can change throughout our lives.
Life is hard and chaotic and unruly, whether we’re talking about external responsibilities or your own health and mental well being. Sometimes we have to redistribute our energies.
I have gone through long stretches of time where I do NOT write. I don’t particularly like it and it starts to make me anxious if I don’t write for too long, but taking a break doesn’t mean you’re not a writer.
Particularly in this current writing climate when lots of people do nanowrimo and binge-write hard for a short period of time. If you write like that, without conditioning yourself to write that much daily, you are at risk of burnout. Believe me. This is my 15th year. I didn’t understand at first why I couldn’t write after doing nano, but now I get it.
Your brain and your creativity and your body all need to rest sometimes. Just because you’re sitting in front of a computer, sedentary, does not mean that you are not expending a great deal of energy. Learn to pace yourself. If that means not pushing to binge so hard, then so be it. If that means to take a rest after you write for awhile, to let your brain settle or let the story settle, then that’s okay too.
There IS a danger, when you stop writing, that you will fall off the writing habit and stop writing. You have to recognize that.
Sometimes it’s harder to get started writing again than it is to just keep writing, oh, 300 words a day, or a journal, or character outlines in a notebook. Just like being an athlete, if you stop exercising, and stop playing, you lose your muscles, the habit slips away, and in order to get back into top form, you have to work out again, build those muscles up, condition yourself to the marathon of writing a novel or the football season or the olympics or whatever sports metaphor rocks your boat. Wait. Don’t ask me about sports. Bad analogy for me... but GOOD analogy for writing.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BRAIN AS A WRITER THE WAY AN ATHLETE TAKES CARE OF THEIR BODY AS AN ATHLETE. It’s your tool. And writing is hard work. If you STOP stop writing, you have to build it back up again. But if you take a rest day now and then, or BUILD time off into your writing schedule, or take a vacation, that doesn’t mean you’re not a writer.
It means you’re a writer who is filling the well, taking a rest, gaining experience so you have something to write about, mulling over your next story, giving your mind some air so you can go back and revise, going on vacation, taking in some content via movies or books so you can check out how other storytellers work, or you know... you’re a writer who is living their life, because you’re not JUST a writer, you’re also a person.
So in short. Yes writer’s write, but how they write looks different for everyone. It’s okay to take writing breaks. You get to figure out what your writing practice looks like. There are no universal rules for what a writer is or does. Each writer needs to learn their own writing process and how it works for them. If someone tells you you HAVE to write a certain way, don’t listen to them. If someone offers you a suggestion for what works for their writing, listen to them, check it out, see if it also works for you or if it doesn’t fit your process.
Revising WIPs for Diversity
I am worried about inclusiveness in my story. I've had these characters in my head for more than 10 years, maybe even 15. When I created them I was a child. As I grew up, I started "upgrading" my story & making it much more fitting to my age now, an adult. However, I don't have much inclusiveness in it. It's in a high fantasy world. The main character is bisexual, & his ex-boyfriend has darker skin. But other than that... I'm having a hard time changing the characters from what I imagined them.
This is a good and complicated question. I’m glad you asked.
There are problems here, and I think you’re finding you’re confronting them but you can’t quite identify them.
The thing about inclusiveness, about adding diversity to your work, is that it can’t really be solved by surface changes like-- oh this character is black now, all better. BECAUSE diversity is actually about more than just the color of a character’s skin.
Diversity is about differences of life experience, culture, mindset, history, perspective, values. It’s about recognizing that the world is not just one, standard existence, but a multiplicity.
We are in a time now that is *changing* the way we understand people and identity.
You started this story when you were a child and didn’t recognize all these complexities, and to tell the truth, society itself didn’t really recognize them at a larger level. There’s a reason why you as a kid didn’t see them.
Because our culture as a whole has identified white people as the default people. Specifically white, middle/upperclass, christian, able bodied, straight, cis men as the default person. ANYTHING you have other than that has to be identified, otherwise, we assume they are the default person.
The HERO is always this default person until we define them as otherwise, female, Black, poor, atheist, deaf. Oh look. There’s a new character who has a distinctly different experience than our default person. And you then have to WRITE them with that experience in mind, or you’re just writing the default person in a mask that is only skin deep.
So what I’m trying to tell you is that it’s not really diversity if you just change the color of your character’s skin without letting it reflect upon who they are as a person. And then how that affects your story. You can’t JUST make someone in a wheel chair without changing their part of the story on a fundamental level, don’t you think? If you switch your character from non stated but assumed Christianity to Judaism... how does that affect your story or character? And if it doesn’t, well lets say it’s irrelevant to the story, then how do you share that bit of background of the character, make it authentic and not seem as if you’re just checking boxes on the diversity list? Do you even know enough about Judaism to write them fairly or will you just toss in some yiddish-- “Oy, what a shmuck!” and leave it at that? Ok well maybe your fantasy world doesn’t have Jewish people. Fair enough.
But now I need to question your world building. Is everyone in your book of the same culture? Are there different races, religions, creeds, classes, ethnicity? If there aren’t, why not? Are you writing a world where no one travels? Where there’s an oppressive force that requires everyone to worship the same gods? Even JRR Tolkien had multiple races, languages, belief systems and cultures. I say “even” because Tolkien is often taken as the “whiteness model” of fantasy. The British/northern European ideal.
You might be attached to the way your characters look. You’re also probably attached to the world view that white is the default. We all are, frankly. The first novel I wrote I made it about a blonde white woman from the Bronx, where I am from, where blonde white women are few and far between. And I didn’t address how this white woman lived in The Bronx surrounded by mostly brown Latinx people. To be honest, I think I had internalized that concept of white people being the default, of ALL books being about the white experience and that was just how you write a story. If I were to rewrite that book now, I would make her Latina. I could keep the main story the way it was, but switching her to Latina would require a hefty rewrite as her character, experiences, understanding, perspective and the way she looked at herself and her world would be different.
What you need to do, IF you want to add diversity to your novel, is to do a major overhaul of your understanding of what it means to be human and how our differences and intersections shape our identity and experiences. That means a major overhaul of your story.
OR you could leave your story the way it is and don’t add diversity to what seems to be a complete story already, just to fit the times and concerns of the day, STILL do the work of overhauling your personal understanding of diversity, and then in the next book, build that diversity in from the bottom up.
Even if you leave the book with everyone looking the way they already do, you might try adding an AWARENESS of race, diversity, otherness, bias, bigotry, etc. White people ALSO move through this world with people who don’t look like them. Acting like white people don’t have any repercussions from living in this racist society is making a statement that not only is the white experience the default experience and the way things should be, but also racism is just a given and doesn’t need to be examined, since it only affects POC.
Any way you take it, it’s a lot of work. That’s because confronting your own biases, blindspots, assumptions and unspoken prejudices is HARD and takes constant work.
Finding a Writing/Work Balance
How do you conciliate writing with working a full time job outside of home?
Well, right now I work AT home, but I have in the past written while I worked out of home. So. HOW does one do it?
First you have to believe, really believe, that your writing is worthwhile, that YOU DOING YOUR WRITING is worthwhile. Just as worthwhile as earning a wage. You have to believe that writing is valuable in itself. That what you have to say is of worth. I personally believe that stories make us human, make life worth living, help us understand the world and even save the universe, so for me, it’s worth it. But it’s definitely something you have to decide for yourself or it just won’t be worth giving up valuable time to write. You might only need to love to write, or to enjoy yourself, or whatever works for you.
Then you have to commit to writing. That doesn’t mean you have to write every day like a job. But you do have to give it regular attention and, when you’re ready, commit to finishing something... unless you’re only doing it for yourself as a way to pass time or exercise your mind or something. But it definitely helps to FINISH. So commit to finishing.
Which probably means dedicating some time to writing. There are many ways to do this. You can binge write for a while long weekend. You can sign up for nanowrimo in November. You can write in a journal every morning. You can start a poetry blog where you post one poem a week. You can schedule in an hour every day to get down your novel. You can take all those hidden moments in your life, carry a note book, or use your smartphone, and WRITE while you’re waiting on line, during your lunch hour, picking up your kids, between two classes, before your appointments, an hour before you go to work, half an hour before going o sleep, while dinner is cooking in the oven. HOW the writing fits into your life is a factor of YOUR LIFE and where it works. Maybe you just need to stop watching an hour of tv and replace it with writing... IDK. That depends upon what you need.
Consider that writing is not JUST adding new words into a document. It is also taking notes. Doing research. Noticing dialogue. Developing story ideas. If you can get inspired from your life while working or commuting or anything, and can use that inspiration for your own writing, then even while you are at work, you are working on your writing. What’s that saying for capitalists? Always Be Selling?? Well. Always Be Writing. Even when there are no words involved. Make your life, including work, fertile ground for your writing. Writing is how you process your life and experiences and emotions and thoughts. So use your life and your job as part of that.
Sometimes I think writing while working a full time job is easier in some ways. Yes you have time constraints, but writing with a non related job can feel like a BREAK. Writing can be energizing because you it is different from your job and you use different brain muscles to get it done. It can be a relief. When I taught English, I actually used the student assignments I gave to inspire my own writing. Right now, my work/writing balance challenge is that I write for a living, so working on my own original work doesn’t give me a break. I’m still working that one out.
All in all, managing your time and energy to make room for writing is a commitment you make because you decide writing is more important than not writing. Even when you’re busy. Often, it’s busy people who get the most done, so finding fifteen minutes a day or thirty, or an hour just to make sure you write is possible. And if you’re relating with other people while you work, there’s always fertile ground for essays, stories, poems. Make your life, including work, part of your writing. The biggest hurdle is just committing to writing.
anonymous asked:Do you have any tips for doing nanowrimo for the first time? Or any tips in general?
I do actually. Kind of a lot of tips. But when I have a lot of things to say about something that people would need to take action on, I like to do bullet points to organize the information so it’s easier to digest.
Bullet point time.
If you want to do nanowrimo... which I do suggest even if it turns out not to work for you, it helps to start earlier. Like running a marathon, you need to train to be able to go the distance. There are lots of thing to do that can get you there. These are only some of them.
Oh okay. I have one more thing. I’ve been keeping writing boards over on pinterest. I have boards both to brainstorm my novels and for writing advice.
nanowrimo pinterest board
story ideas pinterest board
The Writer’s Life
Feel free to plunder and pillage my writing boards. Repin whatever you want. That’s what it’s there for as well as my own inspiration.
All my writing boards start with “to write” or most of them do. There is also “the writing life” and “kids and writing.” I have a lot of boards and a lot of pins.
Someone sent me this question over on tumblr, and since I answered it, I thought I'd reblog it here. If you have general questions writing or nanowrimo, feel free to ask me here, or send me asks on tumblr or ask me on twitter or instagram.
Wonderer, wanderer, warrior. Been around for a while. Got some stuff going on. Should probably get back to blogging. I mean....I didn't go away, I was just talking about science fiction for a while.