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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blatant Randomness

I'm feeling amazingly uncreative today. The leftovers were good. (I cooked at Mom's yesterday.) I want to make firelizards, not prose! I can't draw men all that well, at least not comic-book-style-from-my-head. Brandon says their eyes are too big. Or their poses are too effeminate. Bad habits. I am a girl, therefore I spent most of my life drawing girls. I don't know how that happens. It's not like we sit and stare down our shirts to draw boobs. Or at least I don't. To each her own...

I bought way too much tofu miso soup, tea and short grain rice. I think I'm starting a Japanese diet. Brandon bought me a PSP game... the newest Kingdom Hearts! I'm excited. However, since I've continued to buy or receive new games over the last six years and haven't played hardly any of them because I was so busy working hard, I need to make a list and systematically finish them all. I kind of stalled out at Final Fantasy X-2. I think that's okay, because apparently most other people did, too! Not because it was difficult (please!). My FFX Tidus was pulling 99,999 on every hit before I finished the game. No, FFX-2 dress spheres make me cringe. I didn't want to turn off the animations for each change, because they were literally the only thing worth watching...

I watched the Avatar movie (Blue People, not Airbender) a few weeks ago, but not in good quality. I bought the extended edition and haven't watched it yet. Other than the generic, predictable plot and the fact that all the people are Fourkids-Popo blue, it's all right. I also feel like I've seen it before, and it was called Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest.

Now, I think I'll work on my drawing...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

7 Days... Phase Two: Fizzle!

I'm still naive enough to believe I'll kick it in gear and finish this new book on time. It's all just a matter of putting in the man hours. After all, I've got an entire 7 days to do this! Now, as for coherence, it may not be pretty! And that's fine. But the reality is this: I want to have this book ready to submit for publication within the first quarter-- or earlier!-- of next year. And another reality is that I'm starting to let myself worry about all those things I can't control right now that have nothing to do with my creative career paths. It's just the weight of the year pressing in all around me.

Now, I'm not one to get really, REALLY claustrophobic. In fact, as long as I can sit, stand, lie and do some exercise (not that I have been doing enough of that!) in my residence, I'm okay. My current place is a blessing at a time when so many things fell apart. I had been wondering if I was getting cabin fever, or too much stress, or too many creatures in this apartment breathing up all my air. Maybe I was just wanting to walk up to the sink without hitting my head on the ceiling... again! (Yes. Small apartment, tall tenant!)

Things that are inconveniences fall by the wayside when I'm busy with something that doesn't require my immediate left-brain input. Other than my infrequent writing, I hadn't done much that was really creative until tonight. I painted glass ornaments that I intend to sell to have some Christmas money. Every bit helps, especially since I haven't been able to find a certified job after the school system spat me out! Teaching was fun and a pain (and still a JOB!) all at once, and I still keep in touch with many of my students and zero co-workers.

Now, as a dreamer, I know the sky's no limit. I have so many great options laid before me, and a great opportunity to take creative chances that my logical left-brain would have prevented by saddling me under job after job after job. To satisfy that hemisphere of my brain, and the UI system, I'm still looking for employment. God'll get me through whatever comes my way, blessing or otherwise. I believe He's plopped me down in the middle of an exciting adventure, and told me that I'm on the right path now. God, after all, likes to tell stories, too.

And the best part is, for now, I'm finally able to grab onto the stuff of dreams!

If you've made it this far in my post, I'll reward you. I'll leave off on the sappy stuff and give you some real and weird options I've got on the table right now. Let me know what you think!

1. Tattoo Artist, complete with apprenticeship
2. Dollmaker and Creature Maker, the fanciful and scary types, not the bug-eyed, unrealistic staring little girls in fancy clothes. Creepy!
3. Graphic Novelist
4. Artist, fun genres
5. And of course... Published Novelist!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Phase Two: A Twilight Rant-- No One Is Safe!

I wrote a little over 2,000 words yesterday, and I'm still behind by a lot! I'm sort of resigned to the fact that I may not make the deadline in time. Or I may have a Zen moment and type and finish it all in a day!

I spent way too many days writing nothing at all for whatever reason, both listed in my Procrastination Confessional and not. This tells me that if I just write every day like a good WriMo, I would not only be caught up, but very much ahead or finished by now!

Now, what I do know is that I really like the NaNoWriMo format. For someone who intends to get published in the near future, I find the one-month rough draft to be a priceless attempt. Mainly, I like the tight deadline because it prevents me from rambling... much... and procrastinating... a lot. I could easily-- exhaustingly-- get most of my entire series completed in rough draft by the end of next year! (Though I'll probably space it out a bit more!)

Editing will be an experience, especially since I know I'm gearing the work toward a YA audience. I was worried about watering down the content for a younger audience and then did some research. In the higher and lower age groups for YA, I noticed a lot of violence as their conflict. Even Twilight had blood and gore, and that was to my "chagrin" and I'll be over my initial shock in "(insert fraction here) of a second." Gaaaaaah!

If so many of my pet peeves are activated by a highly successful novel series like Twilight, and it still sells wildly, and spawns movies that bring Taylor Lautner's abs and cute baby face to the world, I guess I could learn something about the subject matter and storytelling devices rather than Stephenie Meyer's insistence at not cutting out her "darling" phrases.

I forgive you, Stephenie Meyer, for how New Moon upset me. And for your insistence upon "chagrin" and "(fraction) of a second." I'm still working on letting go of Jacob, though. I called that one, and I'm still mad. Not that Bella deserved him... Stupid Renesme. :) There, a fangirl moment. Brought to you by off-brand Fruity Pebbles and cheese and crackers for breakfast.

I do love and anticipate Bella's suffering in the last movie. Ever since Kristy stuck Twilight under my nose one boring day and I ended up buying all four books and hating that I loved reading them all, I have waited for the long days during which Bella will suffer. *sigh*

I also love that the books are a quick, easy read. Even when a story isn't in first-person POV, they seem to sell easily when someone doesn't have to sit with a thesaurus to understand it. I don't like word-heaviness for the sake of word-heaviness. Blah! Among Anne Rice, T.H. White's The Once and Future King, and Michael Moorcock's Elric series, and some points in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders series, I own plenty of books for which it is perfectly acceptable to possess and utilize an extensive vocabulary and highly-structured grammar.

But as horrible as it sounds, I don't have the time or attention span to muddle through Anne Rice's deeply self-conscious writing style. (Yes, Louis. We know you're sad. We know you miss your humanity! For crying out loud! We don't care anymore that you shuffle your feet intentionally when you walk-- even though you can move silently-- so you can feel more human!!!) I love her dearly, still, for she helped me through those angsty, morbid, years of my life when I had all the time and freed-up attention span in the world. (I read Interview with the Vampire at 12.)

But all the other books I mentioned, I crave. I have read and re-read those many times. That's what I want to infuse my books with. (Yes, Grammar Nazis of the World. I ended in a preposition!) Re-read-ability. Meaning no matter how heavy or light the writing is, the world and characters are engaging enough to keep a reader coming back. For sequels. For re-reads while anticipating sequels. To buy the graphic novels and the action figures. (One can hope!)

I think I mentioned one time that those Twilight books are an amazing fad. That, unlike Harry Potter, they'll fizzle out into an "I love the 2000s" special one day. (Or whenever they were first published.) Be that as it may, my dear Brandon made an insightful comment that went something along the lines of this: "Yeah, but she's set for life. I bet you wouldn't mind a ten-year fad for your books!"

Touche, Brandon. And touche, Stephenie Meyer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Phase Two: Getting Back On Track

I wrote over three thousand words on my novel today. (Okay. It's after midnight. I did this yesterday!) I've still got a whole lot more to play catch up. Once I muddle through the very-loosely-planned stuff that is heavily insinuated in the first book I wrote (now the sequel of this one!), then I should be able to breeze through the action-packed and equally (verbally) sparse climax and closing.

In the first book I ever wrote in high school, (giving me the fledgling forms of two of my favorite characters! Thank goodness they grew up with me!) I was a control freak in planning. But then again, I was hand-writing most of my stories. Over and over! (I thought we had a computer back then... Why wasn't I using it? I'm sure there was a reason.) When Mom and Dad got me an electric typewriter and ink and blessed, glorious corrector ribbon, I extended and typed out this book. More than once. Now it's sitting on the top shelf over my little desk, in a purple binder with a Goosebumps folder holding all the loose pages of type-written paper.

My path to becoming a storyteller has been circular. I believe it is significant that I have returned to the dream career I had given up to do the logical career. I always have been a planner and a dreamer. Maybe the path is becoming straighter, linear now because I'm not bouncing back from the logical things into the risky dreams. We'll see!

Unfortunately for my timeline, the lead-in content about my main character and his world is very important to me and for the second book. I don't like backtracking on stuff like this. I like to flesh it out while it's fresh and while it matters. In the last book I finished, I had a few chapters with one-sentence descriptions on what should take place, just so I could get to the more interesting parts at the end of the book. This forced me to go in and work on the squishy, mundane stuff after the catharsis of the story's end.

In the end, it didn't hurt much, but I'm sure I cut all that last minute garbage out and fleshed it out in an interesting way-- a few edits down the road! If it couldn't keep my attention in the creation process, then it apparently wasn't necessary. Something better came along that actually moved the story. I'm hoping that I don't feel the need to do chapter sketches in my current novel. I hope I've grown as a storyteller, at least enough to keep my attention!

After all, if I want to jump around in the story to get to the "good" parts, then something's lacking. For momentum's sake, the whole thing should be good!

And now, the good rambler needs her sleep. Tomorrow is another wonderful day to reach a writing goal!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Should I Panic Yet???

I'm not a big panicker. Honestly. I am also not a decisively extensive procrastinator. It seems like crap just happens, just like all the NaNoWriMo participants said. On the days that I write, I get a lot done. On the days that I don't, obviously nothing gets done. I need to work toward more of the former and less of the latter. Unfortunately for me, I know that I work extremely well under pressure while performing several different tasks, creative or otherwise. Since I know this, I think my subconscious wants to challenge it by finding at least two other major activities for me to focus on, activities like starting a business and making an inventory of items for sale. So I won't panic just yet. I may even still win this thing, for spite if nothing else.

On a side note: Being a "Creative" wreaks havoc on my sanity. Telling stories takes equal parts dreamer, creative, and crazy. I contemplate the worlds and characters as if they are real regarding events and reactions. This is key to telling stories that ring true! If you don't believe in the good guys and the bad guys, you're just providing a hollow list of events with characters who are just doing what you tell them.

I think all the people in my head play Rock-Paper-Scissors throughout the day to see who runs the show! Susan once told me that all my characters are just facets of my personality, which is true and comforting and... scary! I guess I knew this all along, because I am very attached to them all, even the villains. The good news is that if I ever dissociate into split personalities, she says she'll at least know them all!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Phase Two: Procrastination Confessional

I found the following ways to avoid completing this novel on time:

1. Compose recipe for Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits. Complete Trial Run 1, 2 and 3.
2. Watch American Dad with Ryan and Melody.
3. Begin plans for new Dungeons and Dragons campaign. (Yes, really!)
4. Outline brainstorming options for starting a small business. Whatever will I sell in my storefront and online???
5. Clean 3 weeks of dirty laundry.
6. Eat Japanese Steakhouse food.
7. Scoop cat litter... twice!
8. Paint a mural on future niece or nephew's wall.
9. Organize my tea on a shelf.
10. Go to Jungle Jim's.
11. Purchase and begin watching Dragonball GT. (Also yes, really. I wasn't even that fond of GT...)
12. Research traditional Japanese eating habits.
13. Stare back at The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
14. Go shoe-shopping with Brandon.
15. Stop at two hobby shops during the same trip listed in items 6, 11, 14, and 16 and buy things I don't need.
16. Buy a girly pink d20 dice set for Melody.
17. Re-evaluate zombie contingency plan at the apartment to account for zombie pile-up. (Molotov cocktails to burn 'em up after reinforcing porch pillars with steel. Duh!)
18. Briefly contemplate attendance at a bee-keeping seminar. (I'm sorta allergic!)
19. Watch anime and movies I've seen many times, especially if I also own the up-to-date or completed manga series.
20. Vaccuum, sweep, strip beds and clean sheets and blankets.
21. Watch Melody take an online class during my business-planning time.
22. Proof-read this entire list for proper tense of action.
23. And finally... Type up a really long list of things that keep me from finishing the book!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Phase Two: What's the Counter Say About Her Word-Count-Level?

Yes, it is indeed OVER 9,000! Finally, I have a legitimate reason to say that. Now, I do believe that I'm a bit sleepy and slightly, well, off after clocking a word count close to two thousand tonight. (After a LONG afternoon of base-painting a mural for my future niece or nephew.) That'll account for the crazies that I'm feeling right now.

Apparently, my pep talks are getting a little over-dramatic, too. (Be inspired, Rebekah! Be VERY inspired!)

Writing is all about the euphoria of using horrible posture that will ruin my back and wrists to create something that will ruin my anonymity!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Phase Two: Complications!

I'm officially behind now, at only 7,423 words toward my 50,000 words goal! It is to be expected, what with my H'ween party and my Indiana trip and attention-seeking company. Oops, no excuses!! I'm back on track with writing today, but far from my up-to-speed NaNoWriMo writing goal!

I'm going to put in a concerted effort to play catch-up today. I have done about 1,000 so far today. I don't have any pressing plans today, so my laptop is going with me everywhere but the bathroom today! I may pull off the panic-miracle known as 13,280 words to be wonderfully caught up today, or I may snap and giggle profusely until someone shakes me. Or both. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Phase Two, Day 2: Write the Thing

If planning is the procrastination stage, then I'm okay so far. I'm at 6,122 words right now. I've got a decent lead at this point, but it's mostly because I've not got much of an exciting life. I'm visiting in Indiana with my friend Susan right now, and she has been informed that I'm not to nap or sleep until I've got a decent word count-- every day!

Tomorrow, I'll do better! But I've stopped for today at a point that will be easy to slip back into tomorrow. So far, I haven't written all drivel. It's sort of coherent at least. Since I ditched completion of a full outline, I'll be regretting it soon. Tomorrow, after I reach my word count, I'm going to type in my possible chapter headings and numbers, with maybe a note on what could happen in the chapter. At least this way I'll have a bit of guidance for potential writer's block.

I don't find it particularly effective to dwell on what I haven't finished. The characters are pretty much ingrained in me, because most of them are in my previous book. I pull other character's traits out of... thin air. Then I throw situations at the characters and see how they react. It can be fun or annoying depending on how what I WANT my characters to do differs from what they WOULD do! Major continuity conundrums ensue.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Next Step: Writing the Novel...

Well, the first day of NaNoWriMo is today. I logged over 4,900 words on my first day of writing and may do more this evening. Some of the writing is just the outline and chapter titles I came up with, but I made some headway. I never finished my full planning of the novel due to our Halloween party and loads of company-- company that took a while leaving.

Despite my lack of novel planning, I'm still really tired. I'm going up to my friend Susan's house today to spend the vacation week. It should be relaxing and productive. I hope I can stave off the procrastination demon tonight and tomorrow! And all month!

I guess I've got a strong start. I hope it means I'll work quickly and finish early. If worse comes to worst, I'll at least have a word cushion for rough days. I'm feeling stressed and frantic, but it doesn't have anything to do with today. November is a really difficult month for NaNoWriMo on my end, but I'll manage well, I believe.