Two Months Already…

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

-Maya Angelou

I can’t believe I haven’t updated for two months…

If you think I haven’t written a word for as long as I haven’t updated this blog, you may be right… depends on what you consider writing, really.

October, or when Fall is still sweet and warm enough and the colors vibrant… To me, October has been a source of inspiration for years. But not this year. I was busy with all sorts of family… er… things.

But… I still had an idea for another story. Looks like being on my feet from 7 am to midnight most days can’t stop my tired brain from being creative. We’ll see if I can outline a whole story, with plot(s) and sub-plots, believable characters and all… It may just end up in the “beginning-of-an-idea-for-a-new-story cemetery” (another name for one of the folders on my computer). *shrugs*

About the story I’ve been co-writing, I’ve been thinking of how to flesh it out a little bit, especially the “background”.

Well, writing this post has helped me realize that though I haven’t been writing per se, I’ve still been creative.

 

© AnneT

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Inspirational…

It is never too late to be what you might have been.

-George Eliot

Isn’t it true?

I know it’s the kind of quotes you can find on about anything – you may have it on a magnet, on your fridge. It’s been overused and abused for so long that we don’t really pay attention to its meaning anymore…

We’ve read the words so many times… how many of us have thought of living them instead?

 

© AnneT

Do You Read?

I haven’t had much time to write lately – yeah, I know, life has been getting in the way again… But I’ve been thinking about my story – a lot! -, which is good in my opinion. I’ve been fleshing out the characters, the places and the world they all belong to in my mind. I’ve been writing down all my different ideas…

So all in all, I can’t say I haven’t been creative at all.

Here the weather has been kind of hot lately. Summer has always been more of a season to read than to write.

So, I thought I would ask you what kind of stories you like to read – anyone? 😀

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It Feels Incredible…

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

-Maya Angelou

I took part in a fanfiction exchange, remember? Well, the deadline was yesterday, and I’m proud to tell you that I did finish writing my story on time. Woo-hoo! I am also proud to say that it’s a lot longer than I’d expected when I began writing – almost 14 000 words… It may not look like that many words to you, but I hadn’t written that much in such a short period of time in a long, looooooong time.

So, yeah, it feels good.

I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself, but at first, I really thought I’d better not get involved… I mean, I wondered whether I’d be able to imagine an outline, develop it and finish writing the story in time. What if I got stuck and I was unable to meet the deadline? If I can’t finish a stupid chapter, much less a story… how can I trust myself to be able to write a whole story in a month – even if the said story could have been only 1 500 words long, since it was the minimum required.

But I did get involved, and I DID IT! And it feels very good to know that I still have it in me.

Which makes me wonder – how do you feel when you finish writing a story? First, I always feel the need to take a deep breath – seriously, you’d believe I’ve been holding my breath ever since I started writing/typing the very first word. lol. I also feel proud and happy… and a little sad too. Proud and happy that I have done it, and sad that I now have to say goodbye to the characters and places I created.

Of course, since I’m talking about a fanfiction here, I didn’t create the characters and places. Still, I felt sad. I don’t like goodbyes. But then again, I had to write an un-canon pairing, and I’ve always felt uneasy about that because except for this time.

I. Had. A. Blast!

So the 14 000 words story could have well been four or five times that word count… but I had a deadline, and of course, I have to write my original story. And now I’ve just finished a story, I’m comforted in the idea that I can finish the one that really matters to me…

And you know what makes it even better? I wrote this story for a friend; it is a gift. There’s nothing like a gift that comes from your heart and mind/soul.

 

© AnneT

art artistic blank book

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Falling in love again…

I’ve thought of another reason why I need to re-read what I’ve already written before I start writing again. It always takes me so much time to go back to a story that I need to get reacquainted with the story and the characters. I need to fall in love with them all over again. If it doesn’t happen? If the magic doesn’t work anymore? Well, I must admit it’s happened before… a few times. I just couldn’t keep on writing. Actually, I could have, but it would have been uninspired and mechanical. No good.

I’ll be honest and say it, even if I’m ashamed to say I’ve been a quitter far too many times, already.

I’m glad re-reading did the trick this time. I have too many unfinished stories in my drawers/computer folders as it is. They kinda look at me with their dead eyes giving me a reproachful look when I open one of the said folders. I can almost hear the characters’ voices echoing from the past, calling me back… It’s scary! I “gave birth” to them and I just stopped loving them. What kind of a “mother” does it make me? lol

Of course, I won’t get rid of any of them. I can’t. It wouldn’t be right. That’s not just how I am. And I may come back to one or more of them, in the future. Who knows? Maybe, one day, one of the voices calling will bring me back to its world and I’ll start writing it again.

But not this time, I won’t be a quitter. I know that the more you write, the easier it is to write. And thanks to my blogs and to my story, I’m experiencing it again.

Have you ever fallen out of love with a story or a character?

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Last Goodbye

If you read my blog post entitled Down memory lane, you know I was once a fanfiction author – a Harry Potter fanfiction author, I must add because I’ve never written any other. I guess all the mysteries and possibilities of the Potterverse did it for me. *insert shrug here* And you know too that the fanfiction site where I published my stories back then (12 to 10 years ago) was about to shut down. (And of course, if you didn’t know any of this, now you do. lol)

Well, HPFF, as we called it, officially closed down on Saturday, April 28th.

On that day, most of the friends I made on this site and I decided to go down memory lane together. Like me, most of them haven’t written fanfictions for years now (though I must admit I still love to read one every now and then), but HPFF was the place we met, the place most of us discovered about fanfictions (and learned to speak the fanfiction terminology).

We became friends 11 – 12 years ago, and only a few of us have ever met in real life. We live in the United States, in France, in the United Kingdom, in Ireland, in Australia, in Canada, in India… And all those years since then, we’ve been in touch. Sometimes we don’t chat for a few months, sometimes we do it every day.  Some were very young 12 years ago (13 or 14 years old). And yet… we were all serious about our writing skills, we all wanted to hone them, so we weren’t just supportive, we also provided constructive criticism to each other. And I’ve never written so much as I wrote back then.

It took meeting those nerds, like me, those incredibly creative minds to turn me into a more confident writer. Especially in English.

One of my friends told me, a few days ago: “I never knew English wasn’t your first language until way, way later in our friendship! I remember being amused that you were better at English than I was.” She was being modest – she’s better than I was/am in English. It’s her first language! But still, it’s one of the best compliments that have ever been given to me. Back then – and still now – I have many doubts and I wonder whether I’m good enough to write a whole original fiction in English.

Now you probably wonder why I don’t write in French. Well, I do, at times. But this story I have to write in English because my co-writer/fiance can’t write in French. It’s as simple as that.

So, you see why my friend’s compliment on my English was important to me, just as I’ve started writing again.

But back to the subject of my post… Even though we’ve been keeping in touch, like I said, most of us stopped writing fanfictions or stopped writing, period, and the creative energies have been running low. Or lower. But now we can talk about our original fictions, and I’m sure any of us could find a beta-reader anytime, just like in the good old days.

That day of reminiscing was wonderful and all those creative minds together again… well, it made me inspired to keep on writing. And it brought back the memories and the need to write fanfictions again. They are great if you want to hone your skills because you’re playing in someone else’s sandbox, in someone else’s universe, and you know it so well it makes things easier – and harder too because you have to stay true to canon.

So, yeah… I think I’ll take part in the fanfic exchange we’ve been talking about, just for old time’s sake.

The more writing, the better.

So long, HPFF. It’ll live on in every one of the authors who ever published there.

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Slow progress…

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

-Toni Morrison

My progress has been slow, slow, sloooooow…

First off, I’ve been spending a lot of time gardening. I’ve had to or some strange “jungle” would have started growing around the house. It’s that time of the year when you have to cut the grass for the first time – seriously, it’s been growing so fast thanks to the sun and the morning dew you can almost see it growing! -, weed the vegetable garden and the flower beds and get them tidy and ready, prune the rosebushes and everything needing to be pruned… It amounts to hours and hours spent breathing the nice warm spring air (here, the temperatures went from almost freezing to summerlike in twenty-four hours, from one day to the next – very odd and a little bit scary too). But it hasn’t been a waste of time. The rich air, the smells of the first flowers – there’s nothing like it to boost your creativity!

So, yeah, I’ve been progressing… but a tad slowlier than I thought I would.

In addition to all the gardening/fresh air, I wasn’t happy with what I’d written months ago, after all, so I’ve been re-writing almost all of it. Not all of it as in “from the beginning of chapter 1 to the end of chapter 5” – only chapter 5. I don’t know if my muse had deserted me the first time (it was probably vacationing in Hawaï, as far away from me as possible – that b*tch!) or if I’d tried too hard, maybe a little of both. The fact of the matter is I remember writing the first draft of chapter 5 without taking a look at the first four chapters beforehand – I had intended to do so after I finished it, which never happened. All I know is that when I re-read what I’d written back then, it sounded so… er… uninspired and mechanical.

Yeah, “uninspired and mechanical” are the right words to describe it. When has my writing become so dull, so uncreative?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not vain, I don’t think everything I write is always oh-so-perfect. If my writing was perfect, I’d have fans all over the world and more money than a sane person can spend in one lifetime. The truth is, I’ve always been afraid to lose my creativity – I’ve been a creative person since I was a child. I’ve always had to express my creativity in one way or another – if I don’t write, I draw, or I make photomanipulations, or I make jewelry, or I paint watercolors, and so on… So, in other words, with no creativity, I’m not me.

But I’m digressing again.

Concerning chapter 5, I knew at first that I had to cut out part of it (you know, the whole thing about giving away too much too soon). Then I decided the best thing to do was to start afresh. I didn’t delete the first draft – no, I saved the file to a folder and created a new file. There’s always something to learn from something you did wrong, right? I like to believe there is… Or why have I been keeping all those barely finished watercolor paintings over the years? lol

Anyways… I saved a copy of the not-so-good chapter (I’m trying to be positive here… ok, ok, it’s an understatement, I’m shamelessly trying to boost my confidence) and I started afresh. And, you know what? I’m kinda happy with what I’ve written so far. I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d have liked to, but I’ve been writing.

Every single day.

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To do or not to do

“No! Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

-Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Forgive a Star Wars fan… I couldn’t resist quoting Yoda!

It just sums up my feeling about what I’m doing.

So, yesterday, for the first time in months – a couple of years, maybe – I wrote during two hours and I didn’t just write a word here, another word there… I added almost three pages to a chapter! Woot woot!!!

The fact of the matter is, I’d been stuck in chapter 5 since like… forever! The two protagonists of the story had been stuck in a car for as long – so awkward! All the more so that she doesn’t know whether she should trust him. lol

Oh, by the way, I’m not writing this story alone. Years ago, I had a few ideas, the beginning of a framework for a new story, and I told my friend (now my fiance) about it as we were skyping. He’s always been so supportive, and true to this, he asked me the right questions and helped me add to the plot. And little by little, it started to look like this story was worth a shot. That’s when I asked him if he wanted to co-write it with me.

You can guess what his answer was. And he’s probably regretted it countless times.

The thing is, co-writing makes it both easier and harder to keep on track. Let me explain: it’s easier because we can share our ideas and discuss them, and it’s harder because… well, it’s not so easy to me when I’m not in control of the story. Does it make me a control freak? Maybe… but just a little. Right?

Well, I guess I should go back to my chapter – the protagonists are now on a small island, and they only have one rowboat… it wouldn’t do to have them stuck there for too long. 😉

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