Writers confessions, Part 2

I’m on a roll, and I want to keep going, but I figure I should really break these up instead of having 1 ginormous post…

DA4GOOZVoAEJnUp

MC Chronicles — I will make these about my current WIP, which is still unnamed. It’ll come to me eventually. I’d rather get the content down than worry over a title.

11) MCs name? My MC is named Charyl (no last name yet, if ever…) No real deeper meaning. I somehow came up with it for my Skyrim character, and I like it. (It’s better than my MMO chars, which are usually Tamishu/Tamichu.)

12) New protag? Probably her best friend, Halyna.

13) Gender swap MC? Well. It would be a bit weirder for me, as that would make it my first gay character. Because yes, a secondary plot line in this story is Charyl’s relationship with her mentor, and yes, it is a very confusing relationship on both sides. I’m still trying to decide how much of what should be part of it.

14) MC favorite character? I mean… I don’t hate her. She’s cool. But I think her mentor is probably my favorite.

15) Who sees MC as the villain? Probably the REAL villain of the story! Which is a bad box to put the poor guy in, but honestly, he’s just a good excuse for (1) Charyl to discover nepotism and corruption, (2) have a traumatic incident to push her closer to her mentor, and (3) be the bad guy for how Halyna sees Charyl’s problems.

16) What makes MC worth reading about? She’s smart, and not afraid to flaunt it. But she’s also not afraid to admit when she doesn’t know something (at least academically speaking). But for all her intellectual abilities, her personal life is a bit of a wreck, and she’s trying to stumble through it the best that she can, and I think that makes her relatable.

17) Death of most important person to MC? I think it’s a toss up at this point whether or not she would go on the warpath or just shut down completely. I mean, it’s definitely the proverbial straw, it’s just, which way does the camel’s back break? And where it’s undecided now, I have planned out for her to make some pretty tough decisions, so I’m leaning more towards down the warpath.

Writers confessions, Part 1

DA4GOOZVoAEJnUp

I found this fun thing on Twitter. I think you’re supposed to answer each question in a single tweet, and just tweetstorm the whole frakkin’ thing, but… that’s a lot of effort. So, as a fan of list-posts all the way back to my Xanga / MySpace days, I’ll answer these here…! Or, at least the first half. These are getting a bit lengthy…

  1. How old? I mean… I remember writing short stories when I was 6? 7? And by short I mean, like, a handful of sentences. Kid stories, yaknow? So, pretty much the literal definition of “as long as I can remember.” But I didn’t really take writing seriously until sometime in high school, maybe 14 or 15. And even then it was off and on, and I’m just in an “on again” phase.
  2. First story? I’m pretty sure it was either a ghost story or a princess story. I also remember writing some crazy thing about a cat eating the solar system for school… My first “real” story though was probably a lame MS&T knock-off. Sorry, Tad! :S
  3. First motivation? Hmm, this is a tough one. What I feel now, and what I’ve felt for a number of years, is that sometimes I’ll just get ideas stuck in my head, and they’ll turn and tumble around and grow and shape themselves, until finally there is too much of them to stay neat & compact (relatively speaking) inside my head, and I have to set them down on paper (or .. word processor.) It’s only recently that I’ve really stopped to reflect on my normally analytical mind (I work in accounting, I majored in physics, you see where this is going) finding just desire and joy in doing creative things like writing.
  4. If I had to stop writing? Bleh! Probably die or explode. No, really, I would probably have a mental explosion. There is something incredibly therapeutic about writing. I mean, I recently started keeping a journal again, and that has been incredibly helpful. I think it’s the logical part of my mind asserting itself. If I’m just thinking about things, my ideas stay rather loft and unformed. But by writing them down, I’m forcing them into a structure and to have cohesion.
  5. Most active WIPs? Uh. Like… 1. Maybe 2. I’ve found I’m not particularly good about hopping between WIPs.
  6. New genre! Can I go for the generic “literature”? I guess I’ve never written a pure horror work before, I could try that.
  7. Weirdest search? Definitely looking up information about how lethal injections are performed. What’s the general procedure. What types of drugs are used. About how long the whole thing takes. The whole story was pretty much flashbacks. A snippet in the present, when the execution is occurring, and the significant other reflecting on “how did we get here?”
  8. Backups??? I mean, technically all my work is on an external HD, so if my main computer fails, that’s still safe. But yes, I do have a backup of that as of a few months ago. Which reminds me, I should really do that again…
  9. Missed anything b/c of writing? No, not terribly. I am frequently back from lunch 5-10 minutes late because I’ll be in the middle of writing out an idea, and not want to stop / lose it.
  10. Weird place to write? Well… I did some character-building while I was on a conference call a month or so ago. 😀 But I pretty much write either sitting on my couch, or at the table in the sunroom… Oh, or at one of the picnic tables at work. Pretty much nature is my preferred surrounding.

Writing progress

I first started writing when I was in elementary school. I can safely say I’ve been writing for over 20 years now, off and on. I’ve always enjoyed creative writing. I don’t mind writing essays, particularly if the topic interests me (see the entire rest of my blog…), but it’s always been especially hard if the topic is not interesting.

I remember when I was little, my dad worked for Alltel in the IT department, and we had two computers in the house for literally as long as I can remember. (I have vague memories of DOS, and Windows 3.1.) I believe it was after I got Windows 95 on my computer, that my dad also installed a word processor on it, Word Perfect. And I wrote a short story about a ghost in it.

Before that, I’d hand-written little stories, about a princess and a unicorn, about dinosaurs… I remember a school assignment, I think it was dealing with size and ranking words, like big, bigger, biggest, etc., where I took up wayyyyy more paper than I was supposed to writing about a cat that somehow got to be the size of the solar system. Yeah, I wish I could remember the detail on that one a little more.

I remember the very first dream I ever wrote down, or pieces of it anyway. I was probably pre-teen aged, so sometime in middle school. I was walking on the bike path near my dad’s house, and these giant playing cards, a la Alice in Wonderland, pulled me into the woods and told them I had to help them defeat the Yeerks, from the young adult book series Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. And I remember being in a department store, hiding from the Yeerks, and accidentally finding this wormhole, which was really how they were getting to Earth.

I’ve also always had vivid dreams. Some of them have just been dreams, but some of them have evolved into much bigger ideas for stories that desire telling. I had a dream in high school about a vortex that would come down out of a cloud, and suck people up into it, and then retreat into the cloud. And then it would do it again, but bigger, and get more people. And nobody could see that it was harmful except me. Another dream I had was much more dystopian. A group of evil scientists that specialized in genetic engineering were able to take over the world. Some of us were kept alive, possibly for future experimenting. I made friends with one of the elite guards, who had been genetically modified, and he helped me escape. (That one turned kind of weird, because I was sharing bits of it with friends at the time, and they were all, “oh oh put me in your story!”)

A few weeks ago, I had another vivid dream that I wrote down. It had a setting (that I have to flesh out a bit more), some interesting social dynamics (living in a commune-like place), conflict at a high level, and my favorite, magic. But most importantly, it had an ending. An ending that I absolutely love. So, I wrote my dream all out, and I can already tell there are parts that are going to get chopped, and of course tons of stuff needs to be added. But this idea would not leave my head after I originally wrote it down. I kept turning it over and over, thinking about how to approach [x] conflict, how to introduce [y] information, how the magic in the world works, etc.

So I sat down and started writing. I am currently at 4,926 words, and I only have the first two scenes done.

I’m not giving myself a length minimum or maximum. I don’t want to box myself in. I just want to see where this goes, and how long it takes to get there.

I brought the first scene to my writing group on Tuesday. I was pretty nervous about it. I haven’t brought a ton of stuff to read, mostly because I’m not convinced most of it is any good. But the second scene has the two protagonists discussing theoretical magic, and I get a bit science-nerdy. And there’s a bit of that in the first scene, so I really wanted to make sure that it wasn’t some totally boring blathering that people were going to gloss over.

Turns out, it wasn’t. I got some really positive responses to it as a whole! And lots of people saying they really wanted to see where this goes. So that’s very exciting 🙂

And without giving too much away, I’m going to leave you with the almost unanimously agreed upon favorite sentence, by, to my surprise, many people’s favorite character (I mean, I’m glad people like him already, he’s going to really throw a wrench in things later, so that’s going to be totally fun):

“This is exactly the kind of new-agey throw-you-in-the-deep-end kind of bullshit we argued against before letting him start teaching the Advanced track, and he thinks he can get away with it anyway?”