...is very little.
I vary wildly between plotting and pantsing, and while I like both for various reasons, sometimes I still struggle. I pantsed Gabrys because it wasn't supposed to be anything more than ~600 words of fluff for the A-Z Challenge. That it turned into over 20k words was a bit of a shock for all concerned. And I used to pants most of my stuff, particularly the NaNo events, because November has a bad habit of being insanely busy at very short notice.
But at the same time, I do like having a plan. I planned out both Kirill novels in full (although it still ended up allowing for a little wiggle room), but that was an odd experience — a kind of dreaming out the story that allowed me to take the plot, turn it and examine it from every angle until I found the right approach, and then write its outline down for actual writing. It felt odd and constricting at the time, and it was difficult to force myself to sit and write what I'd already 'written' in my head... but when it came to writing Reconstruction, it turned out to be beneficial: I'd got to chapter five, keeled over from a variety of reasons, and left it for a couple of years. Eventually I decided to finish it for Camp NaNo, dug out the notebook I'd written it in (harder than you'd think.... took a while) and, with my carefully-plotted notes, worked through and finished it.
It is, to date, my only Camp NaNo win. Me and Camp NaNo don't get on.
I don't think I'd have finished at all if it wasn't for my meticulous notes, but when an extra scene presented itself, I could still add it in because it worked in context.
So I know plotting works — particularly if there's a big gap between plotting it and writing it, because plotting it then writing it feels like a massive effort in redundancy... which is, perhaps, why I'm not a good plotter.
Either way, it's Camp NaNo again, so I'm trying to plot out my story. It's... not going well. The main character told me his name quite happily, he even named his business, but I feel like writing might actually propel me along the plot line better than plotting is.
But without a plot to write, I feel paralysed. It doesn't help I don't have the space or time to sit and dream out the plot like I did with Kirill, because without going into too much detail, that amount of time and quiet isn't not really an option any more. Honestly, any sort of writing at all is difficult these days. I'm trying to edit Gabrys and... yeah, it's not going well, and all I want is something half-decent to bind myself, but actually being able to sit uninterrupted and work on it simply ain't happening.
Sooooo I don't know. Do I sit with half a plot and start writing to see where it takes me? Or do I try to work through it properly?
Who the fuck knows? It's only four days into the damn event, right? *groan*
There's something irritating about the way when you upload the file to Amazon, it says "no spelling erors."
Because it didn't notice Sigil had somehow lost half the damn opening speech marks, did it??
So I've just had to correct that and re-upload the file, and now I have to check the others too.
I'd love to know what happened there. I just hope it doesn't happen again.
I finished editing Gabrys's Gods Only Know What and I think it works better for the changes, particularly one section that worked, but a little crudely. I think that particular change works better and is actually a little more disturbing for being, well, less disturbing.
That sounds a little more weird than it really should.
I sent it off to a beta reader who'd read the initial version, but I've not heard back and I'm not wholly expecting to if I'm honest. I mostly did it for bookbinding purposes — yes, I bind books, although I lack the time and space to do it properly: the best I've managed recently was a small stab-bound sketchbook a couple of years ago — so whether I actually do anything with it beyond that is in the air. It's been sat around long enough, longer won't kill it or me.
One of the side effects from finishing this round of editing is it finally kickstarted me to write, albeit a little sporadically. I'm particularly happy that I managed to write a new chapter to the first arc of Radial, something I started years ago and lacked the impetus to continue given it's now spanning three or four main arcs and various short stories. I need to figure out how that's going, and again, whether that sees the light of day is anyone's guess. It's... not romantic. In the slightest. Alex and Milos loathe one another in this arc, even if they end up together (this really is not a spoiler given that 1. the storylines are all over the place already and 2. no one is ever gonna read it so who the fuck cares?)
The main problem is the day job has started taking up a lot of time. In the region of between 40-60 hours a week sort of time. It doesn't leave much time to actually write, given I have all the fun of being a full-time carer and also looking after the pets on top of it all. Which means, of course, this is the only time I get that itch in my fingers to write... probably because I have no time to write... or read or play video games — currently on Far Cry: New Dawn, Far Cry 5 being a game I somehow wrote an entire sub-narrative about in my head during many, many hours of playthrough.
I have managed to snag a few episodes of The Umbrella Academy though, which I love (so far; Gerard Way's stories have a bad habit of becoming incredibly sad). Gotta take the enjoyment where I can I guess, since I don't get much of it these days.
...Haven't I used that as a title before?
I've been a quiet lately, mostly because I've had the Horrific 'Flu (tm) that's given me a still-lingering cough, ridiculously bad sneezes and regular thumping headaches. Not really conducive to doing very much. Annnnd honestly I still feel like a poorly-reanimated corpse, which is proving fun.
BUT! Despite all that, I've finally got off my backside and started editing (again) the story occasionally known as Gabrys, and occasionally as The Prince's Last Whatever The Hell It Was. ...It needs a better name. I think it's working better for it, although who actually knows? It's slow going though, especially as some chapters needed at least half of them rewriting, which means braining, which is proving awkward with the headaches and having to fit it in between work.
So this is mostly just an update to say, I'm not dead even if I feel like it.
And that this round of editing is very almost proving fun. But only very almost.
Writer's block is so much fun. Not only does it affect my ability to actually write anything fiction-wise, but I'd thought out what I was going to write here but on the sight of the text block my brain went blank, replacing all my thoughts with the words to Fall Out Boy's Irresistible.
It was, possibly, about writer's block — writer's anxiety, more like — that I'd been intending on writing about anyway. It's a vicious circle: the more you stare blankly at the blank page, the blanker your mind becomes and the more nervous you get. I am back, again, to the point where faced with a blank document my hands start to shake, which is always so much fun.
Oh, there go the lyrics to I Don't Know How But They Found Us' Choke, which is, incidentally, a fantastic song. The whole EP it's on is great, and would be inspiring if I could actually, you know, string a sentence together.
That said, I did actually write something recently. Although, by recently, I do mean in March of 2018 which, for me, is recent because I've still got Alex and Milos's first arc unfinished from around nine years ago. I will finish it eventually. I'd meant to publish it — insert hollow laughter here — but I'm pretty sure there's zero market for those two, no matter how much I love them. The relationship is far too fucked up, and with far too much baggage on both sides.
Although, in my head right now, Alex keeps getting distracted by how red Milos's tongue looks against his lavender-grey skin and all the uses it can be put to, so at least they remain interesting after all this time, even if it is just for me. I wouldn't mind, but that particularly intrusive Alex-ism came while I was trying to figure something out about a totally different story I was failing to write.
Ultimately, I find I do better with prompts and, sometimes, with rigid frameworks. In said March of 2018, I saw by chance a last call for a competition that asked for a 500-word story based on the image of a streetlight. I completed it, even with edits (more hollow laughter), with time and a couple of words to spare, but couldn't bring myself to submit it.
Since I know no one reads this, I figure I might as well post it here. Surprisingly, I did enjoy writing it, and I enjoyed the challenge of it too, despite it being very out my comfort zone in so, so many ways. It's also cliché and derivative, which is one of the reasons I didn't submit, but eh. It's not like I'm doing anything with it here, right?
I finished a short story. It clocks in at around 8,000 words and I hadn't actually really wanted to write it, but the character insisted. Plus, I started it in the middle of NaNoWriMo as a desperate attempt to finish so it's been hanging around.
I finally got over my scruples and finished it tonight. Unpleasant, but satisfying.
Maybe. Maybe not. You can learn something from even the stupidest of endeavours.
Unrelated, but I did manage to claw my way through NaNoWriMo. I even finished a day early and bought myself some Warhammer miniatures as a reward.
Weirdest thing is, I'm still writing that short story I started, which was unexpected...
Actually now a little ahead, in fact.
Not that I have a problem with finishing things or anything, but my NaNo this year consists of two separate stories. Of the second and larger one, I currently have four chapters and a separate short story on the go all at once. Although to be fair, one of the chapters is on the theory that when I get bored it's more fun to write sex. There's also a dead body still to be found in one, possibly an attempted murder in another, general horror at a character's poor decisions (and a character's initiation) in the third (which is also involving sexn and the fun of being called dominus in bed, which I didn't expect one character to enjoy so much) and another murder and cursing (not figuratively) to build up to in the fourth. The short story is about avenging further murders.
Will I get any of these finished by the 1st December?
...actually being on target for NaNoWriMo.
Only another 3,000 words to go!
Way, way back in the dim recesses of ... 2014, was it? When I stupidly thought writing was a great thing to try to sell, anyway ... I started out by releasing a book free on Cyber Monday. I figured that everyone spends so much money on these big-sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday that people deserved a little freebie now and then.
And of course it was a roaring success! Oh, wait, no, that wasn't me. Nah, it was a dismal failure, I think it was downloaded maybe 8 times and no one said a word about it even after they downloaded it. 'Cause people only download stuff 'cause it's free, not because they actually want it.
I know I'm guilty of it.
Well I tried it the next year too, and got maybe 10 downloads and total silence.
Annnnnd 2016 was shit in many, many ways and did a fantastic job of exacerbating the rampaging depression, and I don't remember much of 2017 other than it was a bit like 2018, but older.
So I figured that this year maybe I'll do it again. I don't know why. Apparently I'm a fucking glutton for punishment, who knows. But basically everything that's even moderately finished is now free for a bit, even all the shit that's totally unedited. (Me, procrastinating NaNoWriMo? Never.) It might even get me off my arse enough to finish a couple of the other semi-unfinished things, since NNWM is going so spectacularly well this year that I'm writing two stories at once. What's a couple more to the list?
(That said I've been wanting to finish writing about Maddeson for a while, because he's irritating me now.)
Let's marvel at the futility of both the season and this, eh?
Asexual, aromantic, and transmasc non-binary. No, I have no idea how I ended up writing romance either.