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I've done it.
92000 words.

Looking back, it wasn't even that hard. It seemed long, but now that it's over, I miss the guys already. I keep wanting to plan the next chapter, write the next scene, and feel disappointed when I realise I can't. It's done. That story is over.

It needs editing, of course. That's for when I'll be back from New Zealand. Hopefully, by then, I'll have written another book. :) I can see myself doing it again. And again. And again!
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That's it, my last day was last thursday. It was very moving. I've been in a half daze since.
We rehearsed all day at the theatre on sunday. That didn't help at all. I feel cut off from reality. I suppose I just need to find a rhythm (a healthy one, please).

I've kept writing: my manuscript is at 46507 words now. That's a lot, for me. And it's now that I'm getting scared by the scale of the project -- not so much the word count by itself, but by the themes. Fatherhood. Gender fluidity. Homosexuality. That's a effin' lot. Most of the time, thankfully, I don't even see the themes. I just think of the story, which is really what I should focus on. But since I've stopped working, the enormity of the themes is affecting me. Meh.

I'll kick myself in the butt and feel better in a couple of days, hopefully.


Sep. 19th, 2010 07:19 pm
tefnut: (Daniel Jackson)
I re-read Try again last night (one of my SG-1 fanfics). It brought some thoughts on some of my writing faults.

I'm guilty of taking shortcuts. By which I mean, I've got this story in my head -- fine. With scenes, and actions, and feelings. Still fine. It's pretty clear in my head, and even months afterwards, I understand why I've written what I have, because I *remember* the story. But I don't write the interstices. The links between the scenes, or the inner thoughts of the characters.

The inner thoughts in particular. It's like I'm afraid of going in their head, and showing what I find there. It's a shame, considering that's what writing does best: send the reader straight into the character's head, and have him experience the character's feelings from deep within. I don't do that. It's taboo.

But what am I afraid of?
Shocking the reader? Why? If I don't give the reader reasons to feel the story, why should he keep reading?
Shocking myself? Well, yes. Possibly. The noggin', it is twisted. I can deal with it, though.
Being true to the character? Being false to him? Because, it's my thoughts, my limited understanding of the character. I could be either very right or very wrong. I'll never know. I would hate being wrong, especially to my original characters.
Being boring? I have to accept that not everything is action, action, action. The inner life of the characters is interesting, too.
Afraid of telling, not showing? That's a biggie. Still not too sure of the difference, or when telling is beneficial to the story.

These shortcuts, they're big. It's not just taking exit A instead of exit B. It's folding the map to jump directly from Highway 01 to Town 36, like in this King's short story I can't remember the name of. I really need to take the scenic route, even if I end up wasting fuel.
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I've had this idea for a novel for a few months now. It just started with a character having to deal with a *change* (didn't know what, except it was supernatural), and his father being involved, somehow. I had a daydream where they would fight enemies in a parking, exchange gun shots, steal a car, and go away.

I've been thinking of that idea a bit more, last week, and came up with a very basic plot. Still kinda blurry. I had a big problem with the antagonist's motivation. Fortunately, as an exercise, I wrote a fake conversation between her and one of her henchmen. That allowed me to understand her, as well as my henchman who's turning out to be a very interesting guy.

Overall, I decided it was taking shape, and no matter how big the plot holes, it was time to start writing.

Boy oh. This "writing a sex scene" bit must have had a bad influence on me. The first scene finds my young male protagonist in a dark alley with his boyfriend. They're, uh, a bit naughty, but don't want to get caught. I wanted to convey a sense of urgency and danger. Then something clicked.

There were two elements I took for granted: it was meant to be an urban fantasy, and my protagonist was gay. In my original setting, he's very at ease with his sexual identity, and is rather open about it. Now... that scene in the alley... Midway through, I realised it had to take place in the Victorian era. More difficult, so more fun, and it means that Donovan's homosexuality becomes a *problem*, not just a sexual preference. Oh, it also means I have to rethink half of the plot and most of the setting.

So, back to the drawing board. I'm quite fascinated with how this story is building up. I suspect there might be a few false starts with this one...

Read more... )
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I can't remember whether I've linked that post here or not already. I'm going through the "Learn Writing with Uncle Jim" thread at AbsoluteWrite, and it's awfully interesting.

I'd like to keep track of one post, in particular:
How to write sex scenes by HapiSofi
As he/she says, most of these principles can also apply to fight scenes. That's where it comes in handy for me, as, hmm, sex scenes? Let's not go there. Yet.
tefnut: (spike)
Word count as of today: 17529.

Interesting. When I started this story, I thought I could use my (smallish) experience in writing fanfiction to help me forward.

Turns out, it's a whole different animal. I have created *minor* original characters in the past, and loved the process. But this time, I can't fall back on *major* characters I already know in order to define the relationships between them and the new characters.

I don't have a world already set up for me, with its rules, its conventions, its special vocabulary. I have to imagine the places, the houses, the villages. Create families. A history, an economy. That in itself is a slow process.

But the most difficult part? My story has to stand for itself. It's not part of a n-years long show. There's no past history between the reader (writer, too) and the characters. So I have to learn to love or hate them. I have to make it so the reader feel for them, too. I'm not sure I'm ready for it.

I'm not saying that writing fanfic is easier. Because, well, you *have* to understand and respect rules, and fit in a world you haven't created, and jump inside the head of characters who aren't your babies. The difficulties are similar, just, mostly, reversed. I was used to them. No such familiarity now, anymore. I make my own rules. :o

This new freedom thing is scary and exciting. :)
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Oh hey, you know that moment when the main character of a book / movie enters the spooky house, with a spooky music running in the background, and doesn't turn the light on but comes in while tripping over bloody cadavers?
When anybody with an ounce of sanity would run away in the other direction?

I'm having one of these moments. There's my MC, Jenny, and she's running after a child, only she's starting to realise it's not a child but a ghost. And what is she supposed to do now?

I need her to go forward (for the all-hail-the-plot, you know), but she's a bit spooked right now. Can't blame the poor woman, really. I know I would run the hell away from there. She might just do that, too. She's yelling at me for putting her in that situation in the first place, and let me tell you, you don't want to see her when she's angry.

Gosh and that was actually a scene I had planned out. For all I know, this story is going to end up about fluffy ghost bunnies from Mars being harbingers of the Apocalypse.
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Where a science fiction writer explains his views on fanfic.

I found this passage very interesting:

Writers sometimes speak of their characters running away from them, taking on a life of their own. They say that these characters — drawn from real people in our lives and mixed up with our own imagination — are autonomous pieces of themselves. It's a short leap from there to mystical nonsense about protecting our notional, fictional children from grubby fans who'd set them to screwing each other or bowing and scraping before some thinly veiled version of the fanfic writer herself.

There's something to the idea of the autonomous character. Big chunks of our wetware are devoted to simulating other people, trying to figure out if we are likely to fight or fondle them. It's unsurprising that when you ask your brain to model some other person, it rises to the task. But that's exactly what happens to a reader when you hand your book over to him: he simulates your characters in his head, trying to interpret that character's actions through his own lens.

I've experienced the phenomenon he mentions, about characters taking a life of their own; both with original characters, and (to a lesser extent) with fanfic ones. We bring them to life. They grow on the paper, in turn surprising us, disappointing us, feeling us with pride. I understand how bad some authors can feel about their children being stolen. Yet, once the story is out, the characters are like grown up. They don't need the author anymore. So what if a fanfic writer wants to have a chat with them for a while? :-)

tefnut: (Default)
Meeep. So far, I've only been able to write 500 words a day. Which means, if I want to write a novel (around 100 000 words), it will take me roughly four months to finish the first draft.
Gaaaah. I need a faster brain.
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Reply to this meme by yelling "Words!" and I will give you five words that remind me of you. Then post them in your LJ and explain what they mean to you.

[livejournal.com profile] silverjackal Words that remind me of you: writing, army, running, England, and Star Gate (one word).

And you're right, it reminds me of me, too! )

tefnut: (Default)
I've been lurking on www.absolutewrite.com/forums/ for the past few days. It is a fantastic resource.

Now, see, I'm trying one of their methods: the BIC (Butt-In-Chair). What does it mean? Basically, I have to sit at my computer for two hours everyday and write write write.

What's not allowed: doing the laundry or washing the dishes in a fit of despair; plotting the story; researching technical info on the web (arghh, here goes my favourite procrastination trick); posting on livejournal or anywhere else, for that matter. Just write.

If the words don't come, stare at the blank screen.

So I did that yesterday. Ahem. I tried, anyway. I managed two one-hour sessions, which, for my first day, is all right I think. I did a lot of staring. Blank screens are fascinating little things, aren't they?

But I wrote, too. A lot, a lot, a lot. Unfortunately I deleted almost as much. Total of the day: 300 words. Boy am I slow. It's like I'm afraid I'll break my story if I choose the wrong word at that stage. It's stupid.

I'm about to try again, right now. My goal? 2 hours, 800 words. We'll see.
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I've been stumbling upon a very neat site while researching writing exercises.

Simon Haynes is a sci-fi author, and he provides tips and tools on his website.

The first one is FreeMind, an open-source mind-mapping software:
It's like having an infinite whiteboard with marker pens that don't stink and give you headaches. Bliss. I enjoy using it to go from broad ideas to accurate details without going bonkers in the process. It's also nice to explore different hypothesis, organise the plot, and so on.

My only beef so far is that it doesn't do hyperlinks, so when I paste a reference to a document on the web, I can't just click on the link to go back to it. No big deal.

ETA: It does Hyperlinks, actually. Ctrl-K is your friend. Shame on me!

The second one is yWriter, and is a free software written by Simon Haynes.
The article that references it : http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter.html

Oh boy. This program rocks my world, and I've only explored a small portion of its possibilities. It makes it so easy to find the scenes you're working on, and which characters are in which scenes, at what location... You can fill all sorts of details, like for example at what time the scene starts, when it ends, if particular objects are being used...

I find it a lot more practical than my standard word processor. I've just finished a short fiction. I had made a rather major change (as in, gotten rid of one character) at one point, and forgotten to fix all the scenes to reflect that change. I was able to find my ghost character very easily. I was also able to rewrite scenes to explore new avenues, while keeping the old ones and mark them as "unused" so they wouldn't appear in the printed version.

Cool stuff, really.

300 words

Jun. 19th, 2006 08:32 pm
tefnut: (Default)
I've written a bit (300 words) of my new monster of a fanfic. It's not much, and it's a lot. The passage includes a description I wasn't comfortable writing.
Why was it difficult? )

Also, today was my first day at work after two weeks of sick leave. I'm not working with the children anymore, which is a relief, as honestly I'm a wreck. On the minus side, I have to look for another job. Oh well.
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John Hewitt’s Writing Update 06/13/06
Today’s Writing Prompt

Write out an idea for a play, screenplay or television show. You don’t have to create a complete scenario, but sketch out your ideas and see what you can come up with.
My thoughts on this exercise )
tefnut: (Default)
Huh. Having a wee bit of a problem here.
One of the original characters from my new fanfic is growing a backbone. Great, fine, will you say. Except that she's not meant to! She's supposed to be a nice little coward, completely dependent on the others. And now I write that, I realise that, of course, she can't be that weak. It wouldn't make sense. Grrrmpfh.

So, I've now got in hands a minor character who writes herself better than her author would. I'm miffed! And also strangely proud.
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John Hewitt’s Writing Update 06/12/06
Today's writing prompt
Write a description of what you believe would be the ideal restaurant, pub, bar or other meeting place. Write the description as if the place actually exists and you are a visitor or regular there.

Read more... )

Ooooh, that exercise brought up nice memories... This description isn't completely accurate, but it's based on a pub I used to go to. It's been bought back by someone who's changed it into a clean, trendy place. Yuck.
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"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone."
The Twilight Zone

I went for a run this morning. I hadn't gone for months (make that, one year) because my running shoes were too tight. Yesterday I bought a new pair, and oh boy does half a size make a difference.

I was happy to rediscover lost sensations: the rolling of my muscles; the freshness of the forest in the morning, just before my body started to warm up to the effort (after which freshness was only a memory); my confusion at crossroads because I was going to fast, despite that I'd walked this path one hundred times before (that's a fact I'll probably use in a story, at some point).

And then, when the knees stopped hurting and the speed was good, I entered the Twilight Zone.

Writing in the Zone )
tefnut: (Peaceful)
Bad me! The fanfic isn't going to write itself, is it?
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Update, a couple of hours later... I've finally managed to gather enough courage to work on my fanfic. The problem isn't I can't write. In fact, I've been writing a lot those last few days. In a notebook. So I need to type everything, and that's why I'm procrastinating. It feels a bit like doing the laundry...

I can be forgiven. Here's a sorry sample of what my drafts look like. And that was on a good day.

So here's what I typed today. Comments welcome, especially if you spot some grammar mistakes.
Read more... )
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I've been thinking a lot about what is a story recently.
After reading posts on plotting, especially this one by [livejournal.com profile] penknife, and writing one myself, I realised I was always using the same four concepts.

confused )
So: conflict < plot < story < narrative.

I'm not sure about that and I might be completely wrong. In which case please feel free to enlighten me!

What's the point of all of this? I think it might be helpful, when analyzing one's fiction (or someone else's, when one is a beta-editor), to find out where are the weak/strong points of it and where they are located on this scale. Is the story lacking in plot, or is there something wrong with the narrative? Is the author good at organising various plots into a coherent story? Are the conflicts believable?

Anyway, I'll try to keep this structure in mind while writing my next story (the One Big Bad Meanie New Bitch of a Story, that is). Hopefully it will kick me into producing some narrative!
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My brain is back, my lungs are gone. I preferred fever to the cough. Tomorrow I'll have to go back to work, but I don't feel even remotely ready.

The good thing is that I'm able to write again (between two coughing fits, that is). I've alpha-read my bitch of a fanfic, and am about to start a new one. The hell with gen, this one will be slashy! I also have a drabble bunny hoping around, I'll have to catch it sometime this afternoon.

Here's a bit of the new fanfiction I've just started. By the look of things, it will be a 40 000-word monster. Be afraid, be very afraid!
Completely unedited sample -- you've been warned. )