Progress – February 4, 2019

It was suggested to me last week that one of the reasons I might have been feeling so tired was because of the weather. I forget how cloudy days have such an effect. I made it a point to let more sunlight into my office and that certainly did help. I also reminded myself that I had to take better care of myself — I’d let that slip and I’m sure it also took it’s toll. As a result, I got a lot done even with my day job taking up extra time as it always does at the end of January.

So as soon as I started to get my energy back up, I got to work on the cover for Cirvel’s story, which I think will begin to run next week on my blog. It’s still in draft form, but I’ll have a cover reveal later this week. I also realized that I never finalized the cover for Walk the Path, the second part of Rivic’s story. So, I have that to be working on. Maybe getting it done will help invigorate me to get the edits done for Tangled Magic and Walk the Path. I’m about three quarters of the way through Tangled Magic, but I have found a big section that needs some help. Basically, I have Rivic leaving Cirvel’s chambers and having a fight with Nyree, chapter break, then Rivic is returning to Cirvel’s chambers. In rearranging scenes, I ended up butting these two up against each other. Something has to be fixed. I’m not sure what I want to do, if I just want to have a short transition or if I want to fill the space with another scene. The latter feels as if that’s the best option, but I worry about being able to balance the books. Yep, I’m glad that I’m writing them together.

I also had an experience were I looked out a window and saw something red hanging from a tree branch. It was merely a speck that I could barely see, but I wondered what it was. It was one of those moments when I felt a character invading. She told me it was a ribbon and now that it was red, she knew that her beloved was dead. Within 900 words, I suspected that I was writing the story about how the Plenelians came to hate magic. I’ve always wondered why. It’s been a question I’ve been pondering for nearly 30 years. Yes, a story I wrote that long ago featured the Plenelians, but I didn’t realize it at the time — it actually came in splitting the first draft of Rivic’s story (back when I’d been writing it for Nanowrimo) that I realized my character was a Plenelian. Yeah, if you’re confused, try being in my head for a while. *grin*

That story had now created over 3,000 words this week. Write it down while it flows.

I returned to work some on Elliot’s story when Cirvel’s slowed down. Since those two tie together, I have a feeling I’ve got to get them to work in conjunction. I found a huge hole in Elliot’s story — there’s a plot element from a long time ago when Elliot’s story was originally a romance (remember that time from 30 years ago I’d mentioned earlier — yeah, same dumb portion of my life, back when I believed in romance). Anyway, that aspect of the setting has got to go. I tried to keep it, but I find it interfering with the story I’m trying to tell now. I had to go have a chat with Cirvel about what he was trying to accomplish. That interview is going slowly; the man can be stubborn when he wants. However, I think I have what I need to know, but there’s going to be some rewriting on Elliot’s story to clean out the junk. And you know, I’m rewriting this whole damn book all because there is one scene I want to preserve from the defunct romance. One scene. I have almost the whole manuscript sitting in a drawer. How easy would it be to pull it out and just retype and publish that? Very. But I can’t get behind that story. I didn’t realize then that it was part of Cirvel’s story. I don’t want to tell it as a romance any more. I changed Elliot’s character completely. They really are no longer the same story.

Don’t worry, the original version of Quest for the Three Books was a romance too. That turned out much better because I took the awful romance out of it.

Okay, there is a part of me that misses the romance, back in that time of my life where I could believe in it. Why? For the sake of not running this blog too long, I will tell you tomorrow. How does that sound?

Great! Onward then.

I finished the edits for the audio for Oxygen and I got the audiobook cover done for that. I still need to make a correction before I upload the audio, but it’s a simple correction. I just need a moment to do that and start the upload.

Meanwhile, I’m back to recording Manifest the Magic and I’m hopeful I can salvage the voices I have already done. I merged in voices on the first chapter and I like the way it sounds.

I also finished another space painting this week. I hope to have more on that later this week too.

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week:  5,093 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,333 words.

Daily word goal reached for 177 days! Weekly word goal reached for 28 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  25,164 words for January , 3,851 for February so far.

Writing year to date total: 29,015 words

Drawing/painting last week: Finished a 9″x12″ painting that I want to incorporate into a larger painting. Also still working on that larger piece I started last week.

Audio: I spent 6 hours editing and recording audio.

Advertisements

Progress – November 19, 2018

Another week done. I really, really, really can’t believe we’re nearing the end of this year so quickly.

My son came home from college over the weekend. It’s good to have him back; the house feels full again. I’ve been torturing him about branding/logos. We’ve been working mine over. He’s currently told me to “go sleep on it” so I can give our developments some space and I can review them accurately with fresh eyes. He’s right, but dang it, I’m too much of a bulldog. Once I get into something, I like to get it done. Otherwise, I’m likely to be bored and not come back. I know myself all too well. But, I’ll hope he can keep me on task now.

He’s become such an amazing adult. Both my boys are. And yes, it’s hard to believe they are both full blown adults now. They still feel like my young babies. It’s weird. *grin*

I have so much to get done over the next few weeks. There’s a special promotion deal I’m going to be in during December — more on this later. I also have 1, maybe 2 shows to do in December. Just for these two things alone I have quite a list. But there’s so much more I want to get in before December hits. Hence why getting the branding/logos done are so important; I have a lot of things to get set up before the end of the year. I’m really trying to breathe about several things in my life, but this mostly.

Continue reading

Ideas in weird places

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas.

While I can’t speak for other writers, I know that generally something (anything) sparks a character to start speaking to me. The ones that stick are typically very loud and won’t leave me alone. They tell me their story.

But that’s how the stories get started. Sometimes the more important plot elements of the story come from different places. I never know where I will get inspired.

Here are some examples and a little bit about what they roused:

Continue reading

Heading Out

The energy must give you permission

I heard several profound things at Anime Oasis in Boise, Idaho, last week.

One panel I attended was on cosplay characterization. Now, cosplay is not something I do though my son loves to dress up in costume (also different than true cosplay where you not only look like the character but act as them too). I thought it might be interesting to see different people’s takes on getting into character. It might provide me insight into designing my own characters.

I wasn’t disappointed.

There were several things that I “knew” in the back of my mind, but that I hadn’t ever really put into practice. A lot of that comes from writing about heroic characters, I’m sure.

Now the actor who cosplays as Jack Sparrow was on the panel, answering questions as Jack Sparrow. He has attended several cons as Jack and does not break character, except for maybe when he actually met Johnny Depp. For the panel, they had a stretch of ten minutes or so where the actor removed his Jack Sparrow wig and answered questions as himself.

He said probably the most profound things I’d heard at the convention.

He asked the audience how many people liked to cosplay because they believed they were the character. Not only did no one want to respond, but everyone kind of looked around as if not sure if he’d lost his marbles.

I whispered to my son, “Does it count if we’re writing, not cosplaying?”

Then “Jack” announced that a character was not a person, but rather an idea. While I could see where he was going with this, it was also something I felt. He continued to say that you needed to have permission to access the energy of that idea.

I wonder if anyone felt as in agreement with that thought than me. I wonder how many people thought that cosplay was nothing but dressing up and pretending.

I have spoken about how my stories have an energy to them, a life of their own, and I’ve probably even mentioned it for my characters. Even Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic mentions how she didn’t listen to one story and it went to another writer. But the idea that you have to have permission from the energy to gain access to the idea really made me stop and think.

Does some permission come easier than others?

Loki’s novellas are very easy for me to tell, but yes, he came to me and started talking to me. I was receptive and he kept going. Believe me when I say that I’m not trying to think things up with his novellas; I’m always in too much of a hurry to get things down. He talks, I transcribe. But his energy is not always available to me. I feel it when he withdraws and when he wants me to focus on his story.

All of Sacred Knight and Onesong have been huge stories which feel bigger than me sometimes. I know I have to just keep treading with one foot in front of the other and not think about the whole picture. Yet, I also remember a time when I didn’t have permission to tell this story. It took years for me to get back to it.

Dragons of Wellsdeep is another that I don’t always have permission to write. As is Stonecharmer — in fact, it was only earlier today that I felt like getting back to it. Am I now ready to access another part of the story. Did something happen in my life which unlocked something I need for the story. Is it an odd sort of gamification that goes on? Did I earn a trophy that lets me pass to the next level?

But not only can I see it so clearly with my writing, but with my painting as well. As I’ve been thinking of this concept over the week of having to have permission to access the energy, I recalled writing at one point that I hadn’t really painted a whole lot since my mother’s death. I literally had a series of paintings that downloaded to my brain that day. I have not been able to paint them up. And since then, I’ve hardly painted. I feel as if I did have permission to see these scenes, given to me at a very trying moment, and I rejected them. Is it possible that the energy as a whole revoked it’s permission toward my painting?

Could this be the same reason I couldn’t write for several years (as I mentioned above)?

Yes, I can see it.

I remember feeling so distraught and lonely when I couldn’t write. It hurt. A friend told me I needed to grieve and I did. Once I felt myself healing from that, my writing came back. This wasn’t overnight, none of it. It was a long road.

I would like to avoid taking that long path with my painting. I do want to paint, as much as I wanted to write when I literally couldn’t. Yes, this feels similar. But now I know that I need to respect the energy and have it’s permission.

I don’t what this means, either for the short term or the long term, only that I do have a new respect for the artistic process both as a writer and a painter. Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be more to come.

What the cat dragged in

I write in the dark, which means that I like to write without planning out the entire story.

For the longest time, I was convinced that I was the only person who wrote like us. It seemed like everybody else had plot outlines and character sheets and notes and research. I seem to be the only one who likes to write the story and then go back and have the elements that I needed. I like to discover the story as I went to log.

I can’t tell you the amount of relief that I felt when I discovered that there were other writers, as well as a term, a couple of them actually, for those who like to write into the dark. Discovery writers, is another term. Pantster, yet another. My preferences would have to be writing into the dark, or discovery writer.

But that does bring up a good question: what do you do when you need to know certain elements of the story?

I was thinking about this as I was driving to work. I like to take the country roads, mostly so that I can think, talk to myself, and be in my Zen head at 50 miles per hour rather than 80 miles per hour. I’m not insane. So as I was driving along enjoying the country morning, I got to thinking about what I need to do in the next Sacred Knight book.

That’s when, of course, the little voice had to pop up, “Aren’t you writing this story into the dark? Shouldn’t you be discovering this as you write, instead of pre-planning this?”

I spent enough time with my cynical voice to know it when I hear it. If it’s snarky, and sounds little bit like Dragzel, it’s my critical voice.

I instantly found myself replying back, out loud, “I’m just throwing things into the hopper to let it walk around in my subconscious. I don’t need to make firm plans. I’m just mulling it over. Then we’ll see what the cat actually spits out.”

A lot of times as I’m driving and thinking about things, I do have great ideas. It is one of the reasons why I dictate while I drive. Don’t judge me. I know you talk to yourself, or sing to the radio. Same diff.

But yes, in some ways mulling things over is equivalent to plotting things out. Although, I would put forth one major difference. When the scene decides to arrive to discovery writer, it comes full force, the complete scene, meaning: narrative, dialogue, setting, the whole shebang. While I can’t say it’s completely true, I would say that people who plot their stories would only get a certain elements, such as just an action, needed in order to craft the scene. I’m not saying that one way of writing is better than another. I’m merely saying that there are differences, and I think those differences are and how the scenes land in our head. I would even say, that in truth, writers are really a combination of both at all times. Even when you’re plotting, you don’t know what’s going to happen until you make the decision to make it part of the plot.

I personally would rather get the writing down then have to think things up. Because what I’m thinking things up, I am forcing the story and I’m losing energy out of it. But that’s merely my thoughts about that.

So, I know that when I get the right scene for the story that I’m been mulling over, it will come complete and perfect. At least in my head. What actually arrives down on the page will not be as perfect as it is in my head. It never is. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to mulling things over.

A few thoughts today

The Three Books cover new small 041817

I’m currently working on the audio for the third chapter of The Three Books. While I was listening to it, I felt a little overwhelmed at how important this chapter was to the whole story, though it certainly doesn’t seem this way. This chapter, this one chapter which doesn’t seem to have much relevance, becomes so important in the fourth and fifth books.

I really couldn’t have planned it this way.

Prince of the Ruined Land cover small

Maybe it’s striking me because of where I’m at in the fifth book (tentatively titled The Missing Thread) where Dragzel becomes so important to the story. Yes, if you are reading

Continue reading