Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Rant (Creative title, no?)

Do you know one of the hardest things for me, personally, as a writer is? Actually, it is probably linked more to my personality, and being an introvert, but it does have something to do with writing so I'll use it as a blogpost here.

One of the hardest things for me. Any guesses? No, it isn't having trouble sticking to a story and finishing it. Nor is it editing, though that is a difficult thing.

Okay, here it is: Talking to people about my stories. Not just the usual dread that comes with someone asking, "So, what's your story about?", but actually really talking about a story.
There are actually a few levels to this, so I'll go ahead and get started explaining.

For the first level, I merely wish to make a point that I deliberately don't talk about certain stories at times. When I'm writing a rough draft in particular. There are a few reasons for this... One simply being that I don't want to create expectations for the story that are going to either give away plot twists, or put unneeded pressure on me because as I'm writing, I'll be thinking, "Oh, I said that it is going to be like this, and I said this was going to happen, and I said... so I have to make sure that happens...". Of course, pressure can be good at times (I typically work best under pressure, in fact), but other times, not so much.

Second level; I truly have trouble talking about stories with people, both because I'm just clumsy at explaining things about stories in general (even ones that are not my own), and because I'm afraid it could reflect negatively on how people view me. Yes, I know. If you're reading this, and you're fairly well acquainted with me, you know that I rarely worry about what people think of me. I'll go to Wal-mart in a ninja outfit, or some other costume or weird get-up, if I feel so inclined. And I actually take enjoyment in people giving me strange looks and/or laughing at me.
But, when it comes to my stories, I do worry. I'll say it right here; in my most recent, and better, stories, the main characters have fairly major issues (mostly emotionally), and the story in general leans toward being more on the dark side. Not dark as in "There-is-no-hope-in-the-world,-and-you're-going-to-want-to-kill-yourself-after-you-read-this" kind of dark; I make a point of giving my stories happy endings, but they aren't predominately light-hearted, happy fluffy stories.

Right. The third level, and the one I'm most having trouble with today, is actually having someone I can talk about my stories with. Don't get me wrong, I have online friends who are quite helpful when it comes to stories, and I'm very grateful to have them. But sometimes, I want to talk and rant about my stories to someone who is right in front of me, in person. Someone who won't think I'm crazy when I talk about the storyline running away from me without so much as a, "May I?", or about characters refusing to listen and in fact doing the opposite of what I want them to. I've gotten very strange looks from people after stating that my characters are being annoying, and received questions of, "You created them, you can just *make* them behave!" or "Why don't you plan out your stories more before you write? Then things wouldn't get away from you so much!"
( Just for the record, the answers to those two questions are 1) Though I created the charries, that by no stretch of the imagination means that they always do what I want them to, and 2) I have tried totally mapping out a story, and the results have been a. Story withering and death, b. Forced, unnatural, and stiff sounding prose, and c. Outline being forgotten and/or completely ignored. )
And, probably most importantly, this person has to be willing to listen to my ranting/repetitive enthusing and complaining/and brainstorming. Of course, a major plus is that while they're voluntarily listening to this, they're not thinking I'm completely off my rocker because of what I write about, or how I talk about my charries and stories.

So... there is my rant. As I said, today especially I am wishing that someone I regularly see, in person, was story rant-able. It is times like these that I wish I weren't the only serious fiction writer in my house. Typically, I'm rather spiffed that I alone get the title of "Writer of the House".

Well, I feel much better now, after ranting. Points to anyone who read this whole ramble-y, complaining post. I promise such posts as these will be rare. =P

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fine Line of Writing Foreign Characters

One of the novels I am currently editing, Faerlocher, has several foreign characters, ranging from British to Japanese. And, I'm finding that there is a very fine line in writing their dialogue to reflect their background.

One character, a dragon named Loch, is British. His is probably the easiest for me to write, as I read and watch many British movies and TV shows. The most important thing for me there is to drop in some English sayings, then I just mention that his accent is British. Because everyone knows what a British accent sounds like!

But, on the other hand, I have two characters who are Japanese, named Cheri and Faerlo. For them, I can't just say something along the lines of, "They spoke in Japanese accents". Why? Because very few people in the US know what a Japanese accent sounds like! And if they do, it is doubtful they have such a grasp of it that they'd be able to hear it in a book. Also, since it is a different language entirely, there is the whole sentence structure thing to deal with.
What I don't want to do, is make it painful to read their dialogue. I remember times I have read books that completely spelled out a person's accent in their dialogue. I remember both liking, and disliking it, as it tended to confuse me. So in my novel, I don't want to have Faerlo say something like, "Milk-u refrigerator-o inside-i is-i." That sentence structure is taken exactly from how the Japanese would structure it ("Miruku wa reizoko no naka desu."), and Japanese do tend to stick some vowels after syllables/words that don't end in a vowel. But to read a sentence like that in a book? It'd look a bit weird, and probably be confusing to read.

Along those lines, I also have a German faerie named "Sage". I could write her dialogue, "Da meelk ees een da reefreegahrator." or somesuch. But again, that looks like it'd be a pain in the neck to read. Not to mention, there is a lot more pressure if I wrote it like that. A lot more room for error.

So how to balance it out? How to get across that the character has an accent, without simply stating that they have an accent once, when they first meet the main character, while not making things confusing to read? Honestly, I'm still finding that out. Any pointers in that area would be welcome! And once I get it figured out, perhaps I shall make another blog post about it.

Until next time!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Progress and Points of Interest

Well now, look at that. I'm posting here again! Hurray!

All right. Story related updates are as follows:
I finished chapter four of Nightmare yesterday. I don't believe I've said much, if anything, about this story yet... It is actually rather complicated. A couple different storylines mushed together.
It's a Fantasy, set in modern times. The main character, Cashmere, is a child counselor. She has recently completed her training, and taken up her first patient; a five-year-old girl named Jodi.
Very soon, Cashmere finds that there is much more going on than just "speech impairments and emotional and behavioral problems". Cashmere is pulled into a supernatural battle, between two far from normal girls, and a whole other aspect concerning her own past and fears, which haunt her in unnervingly real nightmares which seem somehow connected with little Jodi.

Well, that's a very rough sum-up, anyways. I'm horrible with synopsis, but ah well.

Aside from Nightmare, I've been editing and revamping Faerlocher, which is a novel containing dragons, faeries, an overly imaginative girl named Annebelle, and a troublesome boy named Harvey. And I've been puttering around editing and fixing Unmasked, which is the story I wrote for 3-Day-Novel.

I've also been struggling to not be distracted by another clamoring story idea that has recently risen. Ah, the horrors of writing.

Stories aside, my praying mantis' egg sac hatched, and I now have baby praying mantises! They're adorable! Of course, my first worry upon seeing them was, "What on earth am I going to feed them?", as the smallest cricket I've seen is twice the size of these little critters. After Googling the question, however, I found that you can feed them hamburger! So, I'm trying that. We'll see if it works!

I also decided to get my nose pierced. Which hurt horribly, and I wouldn't do it again, given the chance.

I'm continuing work on playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano. I've completed the first and second movements, and can play them without the sheet music, and am currently halfway through the third page of the third movement. The third movement is probably the hardest piece I've played, mostly because it is so fast, and I'm having trouble finding patterns in the music to help me remember it.

And... that's about it!

Until next time!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

August 15th

Post title look familiar? Believe it or not, that was the last time I posted on this blog! Why? Because I've been eaten by a giant mutant snail? Because I've been frightfully busy getting published?

Sadly, no. No, the real reason is much less exciting, and actually, a bit embarrassing. I completely and utterly forgot I had started this blog!

I know, rather a "fail" moment, right?

Ah well. I'm back to revive things! And, and update is in order.

First off, I'm not working on Avesolitus anymore. No, it wasn't working very well, and I've decided to let it rest for a while. Instead, I'm working on Nightmare, which is a working title. I'm on the fourth chapter, and it is going much more smoothly than Avesolitus.

Second, the Three Day Novel went well! I wrote Unmasked, which turned out quite a bit better than I thought it had, though still needs major work. It ended at about 30,000 words. I also finished Raven; Book Two, during NaNoWriMo, which wrapped up at about 45,000 words.

So, this year, I've written three novels:
Fusion through the Flood
Raven; Book Two

It's been a pretty good year! Though not as good as the last, when I wrote four new books... Ah well.

I've gotten several more story ideas. Yeah. Like I need the distraction right now. And have entered a contest that, should I win, would mean consideration of publication, and $800! Nice, right? Those results are announced on the nineteenth, so, of course, I'm eagerly awaiting that date.

And... Well, that about wraps up the updating writing-wise!

Watch out for another post soon!