Monday, August 8, 2016

Right, so maybe I've been doing this thing...

I should be writing.

You all know this.

I know this.

Instead, I've been doing something else. I've been painting and I've been playing Pokemon. Yes, I do have a full time job (a couple actually), and I'm getting a real kick out of playing a game. Admittedly, a bunch of people at work are playing too, so it's fun to get the poke reports during breaks and lunches (you know, between the secret missions and all that).

More amazing than me having a blast playing a silly game and "wasting" my time is this: I'm writing more too.

Like for real. It's funny right, I spend more time doing a thing that takes time away from the writing thing and the end result is more writing? BWahhhh?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and sometimes, it's good to just have fun. For real. Like everything in life isn't about advancing the careers. And what I really didn't expect was that slowing down to play a game would help out my word count, but there it is.

So, that's my word of wisdom for the week: have fun!

Also, I have a winner to announce!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Challenge

Here we are, running headlong into another month which means it's time for another installment of Insecure Writer's Support Group. Stop on by the Ninja Captain's blog and say hi or jump on the linky. This month's co hosts are Tamara Narayan,Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders!

More and more, my words are dogged by doubt.

Well, I mean, that’s unfair. My words were always filled with doubt, but now I can see where those doubts come from: now I know the shape of them.

It’s a funny thing that by the time you know enough about writing, you know to be careful with it, when really, when we’re writing our early drafts what we really need is to be wildly carefree. We need to throw our words around, send them where we will, experiment with the emotions of a scene.

But you’ve heard all this before, and this probably isn’t helping except to reaffirm that these feelings we have are real and other people have them too.

So here’s something new. A challenge. Are you still with me?

I’m always talking about learning how to not compare myself to others? How when I compare myself to others, I only disappoint myself? Well, there’s someone else I keep comparing myself to, and it drives me nuts. I keep comparing myself to me. I compare my rough drafts to my finished novels. I compare my scenes on paper to the ones in my head. And the most annoying thing about comparing myself to me is that I always find myself wanting.

Like I did a good job back then, but that ain’t happening again. I’m convinced the thing that makes the stuff suck between the idea and the words is that the idea and the words pass through me, like I’m some filter of suckage.

Of course the rough draft isn’t going to be anything like a polished published novel. Why do I even compare them? It’s like I forgot all those intermediate steps I took to make it all the way to the end.

Of course my ideas aren’t going to translate perfectly to the scenes in the novels. Those scenes are just guideposts anyways.

So I need to challenge myself to stop comparing me to me. No big deal. This should be totally easy.

Spoiler alert: Totally not easy!

Also, did I mention I'm running a little giveaway for my book? Just comment on this link (FB link) for a chance to win an eCopy of Acne Asthma and other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Olympics and Summer

w00t! How's everyone's summer? Mine's been interesting. And I think that's the nicest thing I can say about it so far. On the plus side, I've been to some museums, got to tour other cities (for all the wrong reasons, but you know, lemons become lemonade), and I've been working on my art.

I'm pretty excited about the upcoming Olympics. And to celebrate the upcoming Olympic games, I'm doing a blog tour for my book, Of Pens And Swords, as the main character, Cyra, desperately wants to go to the Olympics.

Go check out Elsie's blog and Katie's blog. Don't forget to enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of my first title!

And before I go, What events are everyone gearing up for? I, for one, cannot wait for the equestrian competition to start!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Under Paintings

I don't know how, but I've managed to survive to another Insecure Writer's Blog Post! It was a narrow thing on my part, I assure you. So if you haven't heard of the Insecure Writers support Group, head on over to the Ninja Captain, hop on the Linky and say "Howdy" to this month's cohosts Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, Madeline Mora-Summonte , LK Hill, Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott! .

This month, I'm insecure about not having masterpieces fall from my finger tips. I know, I know, I need to give myself some credit because just the writing of a first draft is both hard and important. It's actually been slowing me down as I write, this need to have everything perfect as it hit's the page, but then I remember: this is a first draft.

Say it with me folks: First Drafts have permission to suck.

You know what doesn't have permission to suck? The final draft.

But I keep getting the two confused in my head, so I'm trying to remind myself that my first drafts are like under paintings. Sometimes, in painting, you sort of sketch out the form of what you're going to paint in muted colors. It's to give you a road map for when you're really slinging the paint around.

Here's one of my recent paintings with it's underpainting.
This is me not being finished
And this is me being finished.

So yeah, I need to pull back a little bit and judge my first draft by the standards of a first draft.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The funny thing about writing...

People may or may not know this about me, but I love playing Halo. I'm a big fan (right up until the whole not getting split screen time, 343!). When I first started playing, I had also been playing a game called Fable. Now, I LOVE Fable, and I LOVE Halo.

But these two games have rapidly diverging systems.

With Fable, you get to spend your time developing how you level your character, so at the end, you are a uniquley you version of yourself. As you level, the challenges become less challenging because you become more powerful. Miss a mission early in the game and it's a cake walk later.

See, in Halo, you never level up. Never. You occassionally get cooler more badass toys, but you never level up.

The game never makes your character better. The difficulty never gets easier. In fact, the game doesn't really change (some levels are stupid easy, and some levels are ridiculously hard). But the truth is, the only thing that gets better in playing Halo is the player. The game still requires that you make good choices in the moment and that you stick to proven tactics until an elite with a force sword warms your spine through your bellybutton.

Writing is a lot more like Halo.

I used to think it was more like Fable, but it's clear to me that's not how it works. You can "level up" as a writer, but that's not going to save you from reaching into the cliche chum bucket. it's not going to help you rid your work of purple prose. Sometimes, the goal of an edit is to make it to the next save point before you die, so the next time you die, you're a little closer to the target.

One big frustrating thing about writing is that you can have success that's followed by not success. You can be rejected after you've "published well." It's pretty terrifying, but that's just the way it is, so maybe it's time to get back out there and write!

For those of you interested in winning a free ecopy of Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon, pay attention: all next month there will be opportunities to win my ebook as I go around celebrating the release of my second book Of Pens and Swords!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sequels, the lament

I love sequels. I love getting to take those characters out on another hair-brained adventure. It's the nature of us as humans to crave very strongly the "Same but Different" feel that a really good sequel is supposed to give you. I love sequels.

Right up until the moment I'm the one writing it.

With sequels, part of the problem is that we've been training to write the first book in a series, not the last book or the middle book. One thing we have going for us is that there are some really amazing sequels out there:

The Empire Strikes Back

and, umm, you know, that other sequel...

Okay, I'm gonna level with you, there are very few sequels that make me happy that I'm dealing with a sequel. There's something about sequels that make me tremble in fear. Largely, the biggest fear is that people lose their ability to tell stories. For instance, the reboot of StarTrek: the absolute pinnacle of the movie (for tension purposes) happens 15 minutes before the end, and then Spock goes and punches out Khan. *sigh* And this is a common problem in sequels. The actual beats are misinterpreted by the very people in charge of making the sequel. And I live in fear that I'm also making those mistakes.

Of course, the real problem with writing a sequel is This Song!

(That's what we do in Hollywood)

(And everybody knows that the sequel isn't quite as good...)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Great things get in my way: Insecure about getting it done

There's this thing that gets in my way sometimes.

When people are inspired by something, they often move to produce work to honor it, or mimic it, or anything, but they are inspired to produce.

When I see something that touches my soul, it washes me out in a sea of ennui. For days afterwards, I'm in a funk because I want to make something that touches people the way I've been touched. I want to give people an experience, but right after I've had one, I'm paralyzed by the enormity of what I'm trying to do. It feels like, in those moments, that I'll never manage to do something as beautiful/meaningful/inspiring/hopeful/touching.

I admit this is the leftover dregs of that inner voice. It's there in the background saying nasty things like "See that, you'll never make anything that good." I hate that it exists, and I really hate that I can't exterminate it. I see this as one of my greatest personal failings. People talk about how they are able to destroy this voice inside them, that they can shut it up. Mine has a loudspeaker and access to the house speakers.

So what about you? Does your nasty voice compare you to what's going on around you? Does it get in the way of your ability to create?

Remember to hop around and go visit the Ninja Captain and  his cohosts Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner!