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

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For Old Times’ Sake

I’ve got to write and post more often… Bad, bad me…

At first, I thought I’d only get involved in the fanfiction exchange as a beta-reader, but since I’ve been kind of stuck in my original story, I decided to take part in it, for old times’ sake.

The story has to be at least 1,500 words, no maximum, and I have a month to write it. This sounds pretty easy… except I haven’t written a fanfic for about 10 years. Plus the one I have to write has to be un-canon.

Now, you could argue that any fanfiction is un-canon… which is true, in a way. But I’m so not going there now… lol.

So, I had an outline about an hour after getting the prompt. Now to write it… What if I can’t? What if I can, but it’s not good? Believe it or not, it’s my first time taking part in a fanfiction exchange. I’ve taken part in photomanipulation exchanges, so I know how it works, but still…

I’ve always believed that you write for yourself first. Here, you have to take someone else’s wishes into account.

I’m already more than 4,000 words into it, not that the word count means anything, and I’m not stuck (yet? *crossing fingers… and toes… so it won’t happen*). The story is flowing nicely… I’d forgotten how fun it can be to write a fanfiction, to make the characters you love yours if just for a few days. One of my friends goes back to writing fanfiction every time she’s stuck in her original story or she wants to hone her skill for the said original story… I think it’s not such a bad idea. Any thought?

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Say, say, say…

I was on Pinterest a few days ago, and there were all those “advice for a beginner writer” pins popping here and there – yes, I fess up, I searched “writing” once, to see where it would lead me… Well, it led me to a few strange posts, that’s for sure! lol

There was one that made me go “really???”, bordering on “are you kidding me???”… The post was about using “say” in dialogues. “Say” and no other verb like “ask”, “whisper”, “reply”… and so on. According to the author of the post, it wasn’t professional to use any other verb but “say”. And, I was like, “Is he/she serious?”

I don’t know if it isn’t professional to use anything other than “say”, but I know it would leave me braindead if I did use nothing else. I mean, I’m sorry, but I like words too much to simply ignore them.

If you say something, you don’t whisper it or you don’t shout it… Language has a word for every shade, every word is a nuance. If I used only a few, it would be like writing in black and white, when I want to write with every color I know!

Let’s see…

“I love you,” she whispered, so softly he had to get closer to hear her. It was a mistake. He could now smell the floral scent of the shampoo that made her hair so soft and feel the heat radiate from her body, which brought back the memories of the night they shared months ago.
versus
“I love you,” she said.

To me, the first is more effective than the latter. Because if she says it, then he can hear her fine and he doesn’t have to get closer… and I seriously don’t know what to write next. In my humble opinion, the scene lacks emotions. To get the same effect, the same meaning, I’d have to write:

“I love you,” she said in a whisper.

Which would do, too. I mean, I’m not averse to “say”. I use this verb. But not just…

What do you think, as a writer or a reader, or both?

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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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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Giving too much away…

It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.

– C.J. Cherryh

 

You know that feeling when you are merrily typing away and the words flow from your mind to your fingertips. You are in your happy bubble and it’s like nothing will be able to stop you and it feels like it’ll last forever. Of course, it never lasts forever – if you’re lucky, it goes on for an hour or two, then things slow down again – but the feeling is so exhilarating!

Then the creative flow trickles to a stop and you proof-read what you’ve just written… and that’s when you realize you’ve been giving away too much too soon. *insert a big – no, make it a HUGE – sigh here*

Yeah, it happens. It’s not always that easy to know, as you are writing, whether you’re giving too much away or not enough… That’s why going back to what I wrote is so important to me.

Oh, I’ve heard about published writers who say they never proof-read any of their writings and I’m sure you’ve heard about them too. They don’t use character sheets. They don’t have a storyline, with the plot and sub-plots nicely planned ahead… They just write and let the words tumble freely from their mind to the page, the story going one way, then another, as different sub-plots make their way into it…

Seriously, I don’t know if they are awesome or careless and sloppy writers. Most of them admit they don’t have any idea of how their story will end. And it’s true you can find as many good endings as bad ones.

Now they could all be big fat liars… Your guess is as good as mine. I know I wouldn’t want to be their editor. Too stressful, thank you. 😉

Anyways, I read and read again everything I write. Maybe I do it too much but, hey, that’s the control freak in me! So before I began adding to chapter 5, I read it again, and I realized that I may have been giving away a bit too much, too soon. So I cut a part of it.

That leads to my question: what do you do when you realize you’ve been giving too much away? I mean, do you delete the part that doesn’t belong there? Or do you cut it and paste it into another file? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Can you guess what I do? Come on, I know you can…

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