Changes and Shifts

Namine Sad - warplanes
Things change whether you want them to or not. I don't believe that everything changes drastically, like there's nothing consistent or reliable in the world. But everything does shift in some way over time. You hope that there will be good shifts. And sometimes, there are. But more often, it seems harder to tell.

I don’t suffer daily now the way I did when I was in school. I’m not constantly bullied or having to deal with terrifying fear of people’s ridicule. I mostly get to do what I want to do. Work on the things I love. Stay away from painful experiences. Leaving school was a necessary shift in my life. I know that for certain now. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I miss. Things I missed. They’d be over now, anyhow. High school is long gone. I’d be where I am now, regardless. But maybe not as far along. I guess it’s impossible to know that for certain, but I know myself pretty well. And I haven’t changed much.

Still, things have shifted in my life. (Just… very slowly.) I’ve been considering changes in my writing plans lately. I mentioned part of that here. I am getting closer and more open to the idea that Magic Inc. might be my first book. That story has actually been part of me the longest and the deepest. Maybe it makes sense. Maybe if I had known eleven years ago that I would be able to turn my secret fantasy world into a series then I wouldn’t have planned Dreaming in Shadow to be my first novel. But at that time, I was still in school, and the idea of sharing that world would have been terrifying. Sometimes, it still is.

But I love it. And I want to share it, even though it’s scary. Magic Inc. is wish fulfillment in a lot of ways. But it’s also the raw and real pain of a girl who often feels lost and alone. Who is bullied into feeling she can never be loved and accepted. And who, eventually, is shown that those fears were wrong. That she has a strength inside of her that makes her important in the world. That she belongs somewhere.

Dreaming in Shadow deals with a lot of those same things. But it was never as personal of a story for me. Oh, I always loved it. Depended on it. Poured my heart into it. Feared its end would break me. By no means do I feel like it is less important for me to put out there. It’s all just a matter of when.

But that’s not the only thing I’ve been thinking about. The past year and nine months, I’ve been working mostly on second drafts. I’ve been typing and revising Magic Inc., Dreaming in Shadow, and even some of Spun of Silver. And I’ve gotten so used to typing. I’ve started to (mostly) make notes in more organized Word files instead of scribbled in notebooks on my desk. And when I’ve occasionally gone back to writing by hand with The Town of Raindrops or Miss Masquerade it all feels so awkward. I used to love writing first drafts in notebooks. But it just doesn’t feel right anymore.

So, what do I do? The idea of writing out Magic Inc. Book Two and any future stories by hand makes me want to cringe. And I’ll be able to edit things more easily and quickly in Word. But I’m scared it won’t be the same. That I need that extra step to properly flesh things out. It worked so well for so long. But if I cling to something that isn’t working anymore, it might suck out the joy of writing new stories. I already feel honestly exhausted thinking about things continuing the way they have been.

I talked to Jill about it. I’d been meaning to for a while, and I finally mentioned it last time. What we both thought was to test it. Raindrops is only a few chapters in. If I start revising what I have now, then pick up the new stuff where I left off, I should be able to see if typing new stuff really works for me. So, that’s my plan for now. I’m still scared. Shifts, even good ones, can feel terrifying. But sometimes, you hold onto things that no longer work for too long, and when you finally let them go, you wonder why you waited. I feel like this might be one of those times. But I guess all we can do is wait and see.

Understanding Poetry

Lilies - fireflys_locket
I was talking about poetry on Twitter today. I thought I'd copy these thoughts over here since they started to reach blog-length.
~

Trying to understand poetry often leads me to frustration. I feel like my brain just can't comprehend it properly, like it's in another language. It makes me feel stupid, like... "I'm a writer, so I should get this!" I want to get this. But I don't. Still, occasionally, I try again. And while it loses me often, sometimes a certain line stands out with a reverberating truth.

I found a line like that today, that feels like it belongs at the beginning of the last book of Magic Inc. But then, I worry. Am I putting on too much by that if I rarely understand poetry, even the full piece the line is from? Is it too pretentious to use a line by a great poet to describe the end of a YA series that is created with love but probably deeply flawed?

Lots of writers do stuff like this. And I'll admit, at times, I've rolled my eyes at it. Mostly because they use lines that I can't understand, and I feel like they are bragging to their audience. A well placed quote can be a beautiful addition to a story. But I worry about being called a fraud. Especially because I can't defend myself. I don't understand poetry. But does that mean I shouldn't share a line of poetry that struck a chord in me?

I don't know.

I even used to write poetry when I was young, but I left it behind for several reasons. Basically, I was tired of people expecting it from me. Like, I should be able to do it on cue. I created work that held no meaning for me, because it made people notice me. For something good. And that was so, so rare in my childhood. My Lilies poem always makes me feel strange. It was published, and I didn't understand why. What made people think it was so special? It wasn't entirely created out of a need to be noticed. There was something there. But it was like I had somehow tapped into a way to make poetry that impressed people, even if I didn't like it. And that was the result.

What I liked writing were lyrics. I was making up songs and singing them into a tape recorder back as far as I can remember. They often weren't very good, but hey, I was young. And I loved it. The reason why I write about singers so much is that I wanted to be one. Before I stared writing (fan)fiction, I wanted to be a singer. But I had no talent in singing, just as I had no talent for ballet or figure skating (my other two vocational interests as a child). So, I was left just imagining it in the stories I told myself. The stories that keep me alive through bullying and self-hatred. The stories that became Magic Inc.

And it all comes back to that.

The funny thing about writing is that you can be anything. You can write your wildest dreams and make them feel real. I get the chance to be everything I wanted to be. Though when it comes to writing myself, I've chosen to write reality, too. Jane is too scared to sing, even though she loves it. Does she conquer that fear? Sort of. It depends on how you look at it. You'll have to read to find out. She certainly never steps out boldly, the way I'd wished I could. The way Sarah Sparks, or even Jenny, does. But through them, I can live dreams, too.

But back to poetry. I guess I've resented it for so long because I was able to create it and still not able to understand it. I confused myself with my own words. So poetry felt put on and fake. Like everyone only pretended to get it, not just me. And when I read it, whether as it is or used as a quote, I remember that feeling. The memories of that is what echoes in me. It reminds me of a time when I faked who I was. Something I stay far away from now.

When a poem manages to feel real and clear to me, I feel almost awed. And I want to share that. But then, I remember that I don't really understand poetry. And I don't want to be fake. So, I move away from it. But if I pretend this line doesn't mean something to me, that's fake, too. Isn't it? So, I typed the line into my notes. Maybe by the time I reach the end of Magic Inc. I'll feel brave enough to use it.

The Right Reasons

Ron/Hermione Book Kiss - aivlis88
I haven't written an entry in a while. I've been kind of busy. Probably not in comparison to anyone reading this, but enough to tire me out. I'm just about finished with what very limited Christmas shopping I was able to do this year, and I'm seriously ready to go into some kind of introvert hibernation. Just me and my books and games and writing. Oh, and music, because my quest in actually owning the music I listen to was aided greatly by online Black Friday sales. (Also there have been incredible sales for anime and manga here, if that's something that interests you.) But back to what I was saying, I've been wearing myself out, and I need a break. I'm behind on so very many things, partially due to my September/October breakdown, and I just want to stay home and do more of those things and less going out, which often exhausts me for days afterward.

But the one thing that has picked up during this tiring time is reading. I think I've read more books this year than I've ever read in a year before (even if you disregard the couple of manga I threw in there). It decimates the past two years that I've been keeping track of. in fact, I've read more this year than those two years combined. I know 25 books isn't much compared to some people, but I feel pretty proud of myself anyhow. And I've mostly read books I really enjoyed, too. I've rated all but two books as four or five stars. I actually can't believe how lucky I've been to find so many amazing books. And the two books competing for my attention now seem likely to hit four or five stars, too. I've also been really wanting to reread some of my favorite series soon, but I'm hoping GoodReads adds an option to count rereads for challenges and such first.

And I have been making some progress with things like writing. I've now revised 26 of 34 chapters of Magic Inc. - versus 7 of (probably) 37 of Dreaming in Shadow. And it's making me really consider going back on my plans to release Dreaming in Shadow first. But I keep wondering why that is. Is it because I really think Magic Inc. should be my first published novel now, or am I just desperate to release something so that I don't feel like such a fake? So that I don't get so sick with jealousy every time I see a writer announce a new book or "brag" about their NaNo success? There's a part of me that knows I have to go at my own pace, but there's another part that says I should have finished something by now. That I'm not a "real" writer until I do. Which is crazy, because there are plenty of talented writers who never publish. And I probably would have published Dreaming in Shadow by now if I weren't working on four other stories and endless outlines at the same time, but I have absolutely no desire to give my multi-story workstyle up. It keeps me always excited about something, instead of dragging through one thing at a time.

So, maybe I will end up publishing Magic Inc. Book One first. But if I do, it has to be for the right reasons. Otherwise, I'm not really staying true to my vision. And that's one of those things I never want to betray. I have to do things my way, at my pace, and with all my heart and soul. Even if that means I have to wait another year or two to release my first novel.

Important Opinions Quiz

Lovely Reflection - amethystia
I found this old quiz saved in a Word file recently. It was funny to see how my feelings on things have changed since late 2006. In a lot of ways, they haven't changed much. I was already heading in the direction of being truer to myself at that time. But there were still things I hesitated on then. So, if you're interested, read my new answers and spread this quiz around. And uh, try not to be offended by my views if they don't match yours. Trust me, I used to be way more forceful with my views, which benefited no one.

Read more...Collapse )

Obsessions That Break You Open

Release Me - soporifical
I've been missing again. Turns out, the depressive state from last entry turned into an extreme anxiety crash after a relative's long visit. I don't feel much like going into the exact triggers because talking about that stuff is what worked me up in the first place. I tried to hold it in. I tried to just move past it. It would have been nice to have a calender year without an anxiety crash or tragedy. But I couldn't do it. It had to come out. And maybe if I hadn't tried so hard to hold it in, it wouldn't have been as bad. But I'm always scared now that if let my emotions free I'll crash like this everytime. And I couldn't handle that.

As it often happens, my held-in emotions found a temporary outlet in an obsession. This time it was book. A beautiful, lovely, tragic book. It was one that stood out to me instantly when I first ran across it online. It called out to me, begging for me to buy it. So, I did. Then it settled into a spot in the stacks with my other books to be read. And stayed quiet for a couple of years. I knew I'd love it. I also knew it would hurt me. As with many things, I waited for the exact right moment. Or the exact wrong moment. But no, I can't regret any of this.

I noticed a friend was reading the book on Goodreads; that was the reminder. Then she rated it five stars. I liked the update, and added it to my To-Read list. Then we started talking about it. I finished the book I was currently reading (Harry, A History - finally!) and started Forbidden. Our company was still around at the time. I hid in my room and read. And obsessed. Every word hit against my heart, shaking the held-in emotions. It was painful and blissful at the same time. It hurt so good.

Then the company left, and I hesitated to read the last hundred or so pages. I'd known from the start that this book would be one of those beautifully sad ones. The ones I call Lovely Despair. But after the company was gone, I could feel my guard slipping down. My exhaustion was leaking through. All of the depression I'd felt through August had been amplified by incidents during the company's visit, but I had to stay stable. I had to survive. Once they were gone, I was crumbling. I finally read through to the end. And I was broken open with grief.

I sobbed. And sobbed. And all the things that had built up inside me came rushing out. I couldn't control it. I listened to a fanmix, my obsession still strong. Looked up stuff on Tumblr. Tried to make it only about the book. But it wasn't. The obsession had protected me for a while, but as it always goes, that obsession broke me open in the end. And I couldn't avoid the pain and the panic anymore.

My Mom stayed home from work. I had flashbacks of my breakdown in 2010. I felt like those times had never actually ended. That they had stretched all through these years, and I had just been living in an illusion. Panic attacks are almost the worst thing in the world because they convince you they are the worst thing in the world. That the world is ending. That you can't breathe. That you're bleeding to death. Even when you aren't.

The panic came in waves. When I started to go under, my thoughts automatically started back on the book and that grief. I guess that pain at least seemed safer than my real fears, though I always ended up back in my own pain. As part of my recovery, Jill suggested writing a piece of fanfiction for the book. I did. It helped some. I also wrote a book review. I even started a fanmix of my own.

I'm starting to feel somewhat better now, but I'm still really shaky. I'm scared something will happen, and I'll crash back down again. Panic Disorder is such that you find yourself panicking at the thought of panicking. And I have a psychiatrist appointment coming up to worry over. He sometimes makes me feel worse. Often, really.

It took weeks to recover. But here I am, trying to get back to normal. But it's hard. I find myself still obsessing over my beloved Forbidden, which has earned a place in my heart forever. But I have to be careful how long I let myself stay there. Because it's still painful. Because I'm still struggling.

An obsession can help you or it can hurt you. Or it can hurt you to help you. That's what I think this one did. This book would have made me love it and feel pain from it whenever I decided to read it. But I read it now. Why? Because I needed to be broken open. Maybe. It's hard to say that when you're still struggling, still recovering. But I think that's why. It was also helpful to have someone to talk to who had read it and loved it quite recently. Funny how I started out thinking I was reading it now to support her. It ended up being the other way around.

Summer Grays

Namine Sad - warplanes
I've fallen into another summer depressive state. Usually, this happens near the beginning around my birthday because that prompts the examining of the past and thinking about the future. This time, it was a different catalyst, but the results were the same. I feel totally cut off and unimportant to the world. That, although some things have changed, I'm still basically in the same situation as nine years ago when I first left school. The way I normally feel has certainly improved some from those first few years. But I'm still never happy. I'm still really alone. I haven't had anything good enough happen in my life to even begin to balance all of the pain I've been through. And I know there are people who have been through way worse. Things I wouldn't have survived. But knowing that did nothing to prevent the pain and the panic and the isolation I felt. That I still feel, even if I now try to push it aside as much as I can.

Besides my Mom and Jill (my therapist), I don't have any support most of the time. My friends have all moved on with their lives. They have other friendships and relationships and jobs, even kids. I not only miss them; I feel jealous. They have a place in the world. And I don't. I feel totally useless. Even with writing, I'm still so far from anything being ready to be published and put out there. And there's no guarantee that anyone will connect to my stories or even read them. I've been trying so hard to focus on getting writing done and even taking somewhat better care of myself, but if I can still fall into feeling this bad... is there really a point to trying?

Sorry if this is a depressing read. But what good is a journal if you only write about the good stuff? I'm all about honesty, especially when it comes to expressing how you really feel. So, here it is. This is where I'm at.

Hopefully, it won't be for long...

Goals Aren't Everything

Pretty Penelo - ryfee
I've been so missing from here lately. You can't really blame me. I've been hard at work on other things. But the halfway point of the year is quickly approaching, and I find myself thinking about a lot of things. Seemed like the right time to make a little update.

My birthday wasn't the colossal disaster it often has been. And just before that, I managed to finish my big cleaning project that I'd been slowly working on for over a year and really focusing on for months. I'm still getting used to it being finished. Sometimes, when I'm sitting around watching stuff on YouTube, I sill get this twitch of guilt that says, "You should be cleaning!" I'm not sure how long it will take until that goes away.

Meanwhile, don't think that means I've just been watching YouTube all the time since I've been done. Well, I've certainly done a lot of that, but I've also been writing quite a bit. While I was focusing on cleaning, it was really hard to switch that focus over to writing. I'd started to think cleaning had become my life, and I no longer felt like a writer. But since I've been finished, everything is flowing nicely again. And it took hardly any time at all to go back to normal. That was such a relief. I always worry when I don't write for a while that it will never come back. That seems crazy, because I can't really survive without creating; it's that much a part of me. But for an anxious person, that's all the more reason to be scared.

But writing's been fine. Maybe better than fine. I reached a milestone last week. I've revised 20 chapters of Magic Inc. so far. Those chapters will still have an editing phase to go through once I've completed the second draft, but I really think most of the chapters I've revised are 90% done. The revision flows so perfectly most of the time, and writing Magic Inc. is now one of my favorite things to do. It just feels right. And there's really only one one bad thing about that...

Dreaming in Shadow. The revision process is so night and day between my two main projects. For now, it stands at 20 revised chapters of Magic Inc. and (almost) 5 of Dreaming in Shadow. Dreaming in Shadow for a long time was the project I could always turn to. The one that felt right. The story destined to be my first novel. And I still want it to be my first release. But working on the second draft is painful. The structure of the early parts is ten years old now, and there's so much to fix. It's exhausting and emotionally draining. I actually do think the revision is turning out nicely so far. Possibly even more polished than Magic Inc. But it's dragging on and on, because it's painful, and I don't have the strength for it most of the time.

I'm holding on to hope that it won't continue to be this bad. That once I've moved onto the more recent writing, it will become less stressful and draining. The oldest writing in Magic Inc. is only four years old versus ten years for Dreaming in Shadow. That's a pretty big difference. Not to mention that I planned out Book One of Magic Inc. a lot longer before I started it. And I've learned that tends to work better for me.

I started to think about goals last week. How far things have come since the beginning of the year, and where things should go next. I actually finished cleaning, which part of me still doesn't believe. And I'm one book away from my little reading goal, which means I've read as many books as I did last year in half the time. (I finished Allegiant today, but I'm not ready to talk about it yet...) Writing is going really well again. So, I started daydreaming. What was a goal I could I reasonably accomplish by the end of the year?

I think could could finish revising Magic Inc. Book One. There are 14 chapters left and about double the weeks left in the year. If I only worked on that story, I could probably finish, and depending on how editing goes, have the story completely done by the end of the year. I could release it early in 2015, and finally, be a published novelist. I honestly think that is a reasonable goal based on what I think I could actually accomplish.

But I'm not going to do that. Why? Because I would hate it. I would hate being confined to one story, even the one I'm enjoying the most. Making a goal like that would drain the life out of me. I like freedom. I like being able to follow my inspiration wherever it wants to take me. That, to me, is what following your passion is about. Not making grand goals and pushing yourself to reach them. But following your heart and soul as they guide you through your bliss. You may disagree, and that's okay. How you follow your passion is up to you. But as I've said before, I am so done with trying to force writing out of me. And yet, it keeps flowing. Just the way it wants to.

Didn't want to be your ghost...

Yuna Breathless - badlydrawnicons
I haven't been writing. That happens. This time, it's because I've been devoting so much time to cleaning and organizing, which has been both physically and emotionally exhausting. I've found old notebooks, old journals, old pictures. I've felt myself falling back in time 10-11 years in seconds. I've also been playing Final Fantasy X HD, when I was playing the original game for the first time exactly 10 years ago. Sometimes, I find myself so deeply involved with the game that I start forgetting where I am. All of this is very bittersweet. It hurts. But it hurts so good. My heart is all over the place, and my head's thoroughly confused. I'm going back to old thought patterns, scolding myself like I used to.

Then, I breathe and remember it's 2014. That stuff's all behind me. (For better or worse.) And I like my life now. I love myself now. Yes, I'm still very lonely. But other than that, I'm doing exactly what I love to do. What I'm meant to do. If I keep to the path I'm travelling, I just need someone to share it with for everything to eventually be perfect. Still, I'm almost 25. And I don't feel like it. I feel younger than I did when I was a teenager. I am myself than ever, but am I really an adult? I'm dreading May, like every year. I'm trying to tell myself it can't be worse than turning  21 was. When I'm really not sure.

Ah, I can't wait until this cleaning is done. I want that mess far, far behind me. But there will still be lots to look through. This whole year might be dedicated more to revisiting the past than shaping the future. I don't know if that's good. But it has to be done. I just wish I could drop out of time completely for a while, to recover. But I feel like I'm haunting my own memories as much as they're haunting me.

My Writing Process

Purple Flower Book - colorvary










I was tagged by my friend, LK Hunsaker, to join this writing process chain. I love answering questions and talking about writing, so I happily joined in! Just be forewarned; this may get long.

LK Hunsaker is the author of many books, including The gallery, which was released last year. I actually reviewed The gallery here earlier this year. You can also read about her writing process here. LK has been a big inspiration for me ever since I met her in 2011. She's given me hope that I actually can finish and release my own books.

Onto the questions!




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What are you working on at the moment?
I'm mainly working on the second drafts of two books, Dreaming in Shadow & Magic Inc. Book One. I've written a lot about Dreaming in Shadow here, but since then, I've finished the first draft. The second draft is coming along well, but it has been a lot of work! On the other hand, Magic Inc.'s second draft has flowed easily most of way through. I've still put a ton of time and effort into it, and I'm currently much further along with it than Dreaming in Shadow, even though I'm planning to release DiS first. These stories are both incredibly close to my heart, and they've gotten me through really hard times. There's a part of me still scared to reach the point where I send these extremely personal stories out into the world, but I'm trying to focus on the excitement of writing and sharing the gift of these stories with other people.

On the side, I'm also working on finishing the very end of the first draft of Miss Masquerade, and the beginning of my newest story, The Town of Raindrops. And then, there are literally a hundred other stories in my head, all in this same same universe. No, seriously, you should see my story list. And those are just the ones with titles. Sometimes, I feel like I have a curse of abundance, because I'll never be able to write all these stories in my lifetime.

How does your work differ from others in the genre?
That's an interesting question. There's a lot of YA Fantasy/Romance out there. And I certainly find they tend to focus more on the characters, much like I do, than Adult Fantasy. So, I feel like I'll fit pretty well into that genre. But I do think my plans to include a lot of real teen and young adult issues are something different. A lot of my books will deal with bullying, anxiety, depression, and sexuality, among other issues. I hope to eventually show a variety of characters, and cover some things that professional publishing seems to shy away from. I want to give a voice to those who struggle with feeling different and misunderstood. These are some lofty goals, and to be honest, I'm quite nervous I won't ever reach them. But I believe I was given these stories for a reason, so I will do my absolute best to give them life.

Why do you write what you do?
I've always focused on fantasy, because that's where my soul dreams. I see (and write) magic as a manifestation of strong emotions. My emotions have always been extreme and passionate. Writing characters with the ability to effect the world with their thoughts and energy is an amazing release for me. When it comes to the relationships, I'm just a hopeless romantic. I write about soulmates because I really believe they exist. That doesn't mean everything will be perfect all the time or that those relationships don't take work. And well, there has to be a story to tell, right? Throw magic in with that, and things can get extremely complicated. Still, I believe everyone has person made for them out there, so that's what I write.

How does your writing process work?
I touched on this a bit in my previous entry, but I'll go more in depth here. Way more.

Usually, a new story idea comes to me through a dream or listening to some new music. Occasionally, I get an idea from watching or reading other stories. Recently, I've expanded into finding myself getting attached to sims I've made up personal stories for during the playing of The Sims 2 and turning them into real characters. Whichever way it comes to me, I'm often totally obsessed with a new idea when it comes to me. Well, first, I think, 'Another story idea? How on Earth am I going to be able to get to another new story?' Then, I obsess over how much I love it, and how much I absolutely need to write it. And I struggle with the desire to drop everything else and start the story right away. But I don't, because I've learned that rarely works out for me. So, I just obsess quietly about this new idea, and watch as it blossoms almost by itself. I feel very guided during this time and the rest of the planning stages. It's like the story and characters know themselves completely, and I'm just getting to know them along the way.

Once the obsessive stage is over, that idea joins the rest in waiting. By this time, I usually have a title and main character names. The next stage might sound odd, but it's collecting a soundtrack. Music is intrinsically tied to my writing process. As I gather, sort, and listen to music on my computer, I create a very light outline of the book by linking songs with scenes of the book. This process takes years. The book grows with random progress as new scenes comes to me, mostly through the music. Once I have a large selection of music on the soundtrack, and the book has had plenty of time to grow, I start to think about the next stage.

For a lot the books that I'm currently writing, I went straight from the light music soundtrack outline to the writing stage. I hated the idea of forcing myself to outline my stories, when I already knew them so well. However, last year, I finally got over my resentment and started making more full outlines. This came from anxiety that I'd never have enough drive to write another full book after I'd finished the three I was working on. I did a full outline for The Town of Raindrops, which convinced me that the story really was ready for its first draft, and I really could make it happen. I also have a nearly finished outline for Magic Inc. Book Two, and I've started a few for other stories.

My first draft stage is an incredibly important part of the process. This is how most of the story comes to be. I've heard other writers say that their first draft often varies greatly from the finished book. This has not been my experience in the slightest. The first draft is the core of my story. All the important parts of the plot have already been figured out in the soundtrack and/or outline stage, so all I have to do is write! HeH. I said that like it was easy. Not really the case. The first draft takes years for me to write, because it takes a lot out of me. Now's the time to bring the characters to life, to make sure I hit all the important parts of the plot in the right places, and to make sure I'm instilling emotion into the text. The writing, itself, might be messy and raw, but it has the heart of the story beating within it.

Then, comes the second draft. Phew. By the time I get here with a story, I'm exhausted. I finished three first drafts last year, and it was so hard. In some ways, finishing a first draft is kind of a bittersweet goodbye. Saying goodbye to the story that was yours and yours alone. My stories don't change their core in the second draft, but they do become something I'm writing with the intention to share. I always write for myself every step of the way, but I am starting to make sure what I want to say and show is actually what's coming across to readers. The second draft is a polished version of the story. The wording usually improves greatly over the first draft. I also take this time to expand sections that go by too fast, add details where they are lacking, and try to make explanations clearer. I don't often cut sections out as much as give them a overhaul, if needed. But really, the plot changes very little. It's the same story it always was, just with a new coat of paint.

I've yet to go beyond a second draft, but I expect the rest of the process to be going over the text at least a few times for mistakes and typos. Right now, I'm finishing the revision of each chapter without going back over it at all, so I know I'll have some editing to do when the second draft is finished. Then, it will be tweaking any parts that need it, and hopefully, gathering more friends and acquaintances to read and give opinions. After that, I'll need to get my dear friend, Mallory, to help me put together a cover. And the rest... we'll see when we get there!

~

If anyone wants to join this chain, let me know! I'll post your info down here.

Purple Flower Book - colorvary
Writing has been all over the place lately. Winter is usually a time where I'm more focused on planning out future stories than writing the ones I'm currently working on. Not sure why that is, but it usually works out, so I've been letting myself focus more on planning without stressing so much that I'm "not getting anything done". It's hard to measure success in the planning stages, which can leave me stressed. But this is still a vital part of writing. Not properly planning stories before I start them has usually led to bad results.

Speaking of that, between 8th grade and when I left school in 10th grade, I started maybe 5 or 6 original stories. Only 2 of those were successful. The rest got a few chapters in, then left me lost. Because although I usually had an ending and some major points figured out, I didn't know how to get from point to point. All of these stories had their connections to other stories, and I've always wanted to go back to them. I've since learned to let new ideas grow, usually for at least a few years, before I start writing them. This really works for me. Ideas just come to me over time. I let The Town of Raindrops grow, then I worked on an outline, and finally started writing it last year. I thought if I let these older stories sit, they'd start to grow, too. But they seem to be strangely stunted by being started too early, and they just aren't working the way newer stories do.

But I refused to just give up. And last year, I finally had a realization about one of those stunted stories that really brought it together. I thought that meant it was ready to go, so I recently started an outline for it. The outline for The Town of Raindrops came together in only two sessions. I had all the important things figured out, so I just had to fill them into chapter paragraphs to see if I had enough to write the story. And I did. However, this other story hasn't worked that way at all. I've spent 10 minutes or so here and there mostly staring at the Word file, only occasionally typing something. It's been very disheartening.

I mentioned my issue to a writer friend, and she suggested trying to write out a few bits of scenes to see if that triggered something. So, I did write out a scene not really knowing exactly how it was going to go, and I felt really good about it when it was done. That one scene didn't fix my outline problem, but it at least made me feel like I'd made some progress. We talked again about this story, and I started to wonder if the usual collect ideas, write an outline, and write the story from beginning to end plan is going to work this time. I've heard of writing out scenes as they come to you, which I've done in a few cases when I didn't want to forget the exact wording as it came to me, but it's not something I've really tried as a method for writing a whole story. The thought of writing out of order has my OCD kind of nervous. But LK said she's done it before and enjoyed it. And writing that one scene did feel good. Maybe that really is the approach to take with this outline resistant story. Maybe trying a different approach will be worth it for this one. Since the other way doesn't seem to be working, it's got to be worth a try, right?

This will probably just be another side project, so I don't know if I'll have much to say on it again soon, but wish me luck!