Apr. 13th, 2015 03:29 pm
tamchronin: (Hermione - brown nosing know it all)
I suck and should never have aspired to call myself an author.
tamchronin: (Szark - lessons)
When I heard that it took David Eddings seven years to write Pawn of Prophecy (Belgariad #1) I have to admit I scoffed a little bit. "I could do that in my sleep!"

Okay, so I'm stupid.

It's taking me about that long, and longer, to write Elemental. Part of my world building included writing a novella.

Sure, a LOT has happened in that time, but if I can make this a full time career at some point I won't be able to make excuses.

My World of Warcraft subscription is running out and isn't going to be renewed. No more "obligation" to play just because I'm playing a fee for access on a regular basis. Writing is the priority.

Okay, my job is actually the priority since I kinda need that to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads, but...writing before gaming.

I want the second draft of Elemental to be done by next Sunday. That's my goal.

I can do this.

I will do this.

This is what I want to do with my life.
tamchronin: (Hermione - brown nosing know it all)
As soon as I got that last post out of my system, I felt like I could get back to editing Elemental.

Ten minutes later, no.

Ten minutes after that, maybe.

After that, back to no.

Come on!!!

This is maddening. Seriously maddening. I'm going insane, here.

I've heard that I'll always be my own worst critic, but holy crap. If I can't get over this, no one will ever be able to prove me right. Or wrong. Or anything.

Uh...maybe I shouldn't go looking for bad reviews for Lauren's books, so I don't scare myself away from ever wanting to write ever again. That, uh, may have been a thing...a few minutes ago...a thing that made me decide to not edit today... u_u Well, shit. If I can't handle bad reviews for a friend's books, how will I survive a bad review of my own? GAH!

Must. Write. Anyway.
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Time)
Finished my second draft of the first chapter of Elemental the other day.

The second chapter is looming over me, staring at me and taunting me, telling me to just give up and play video games because I'll never be a good enough writer to make that chapter worth reading.

And then there's book 2 in the Lightbringer series that came out today. Delivered straight to my Kindle. And it's taunting me even worse, telling me I could just sit back and read all day instead of working on my own stories.

Dammit, I've been reading for the last two months. I need to stop that long enough to get some writing done or I'll never be a success!

This chapter is hard. And it sucks. And editing/revising/rewriting is taking so much time that I'm wondering if it's even worth it to try to get published. And why am I working on Elemental when it's probably the least likely to get published? Oh, sure, I love it, but it's first person, and it's...flawed. There are...things. Things that are wrong with it. And there's gender issues and sexual identity issues that are never fully resolved. And it's glorious and I love it, but I'm scared it won't get published so I should work on something with a little more promise. Something a bit more normal.

But...Agrad is my hero. And I adore Krecek to little bitty pieces. And I want to give them a chance.

Aw, crud. I'm scared.

And I'm going to keep editing. Revising. Rewriting. Whatever.
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Unicorn dream)
...and I just want to relax. :(

Everything has been getting so hectic, and it feels like I don't have time to breathe. I've been spending all my free time reading a series of books a friend recommended, which means I haven't gotten any writing done. I mean, you have to read to write. That's given. It's like saying you have to swim to dive in the Olympics. Big duh there.

And until a month ago, I hadn't been spending nearly enough time reading. Now that I'm caught up on that series, I want to write again. But I keep getting distracted by so many other things! It might be time to weed my Facebook list a bit, especially from all the political crap I've got on my feed.

I'll poke at it later. For now, I should sit down and write. Er, edit. Well, rewrite. My second draft is shiny, but it's just taking too long.
tamchronin: (I am a leaf on the wind - Firefly)
Updating in little bits and reposts and pics here and there gets addictive. Facebook sees me more often than any other site, and not only for work. It's easy to sit there and let it all scroll past and share just that little tidbit that matters, or doesn't matter, or that word of wisdom you found at the bottom of your last bottle of beer.

When I sit down to write, and have time to do so, I try to put the energy into storytelling. When I have a random thought, it ends up in story notes, or up on Facebook.

Anywho, I had breakfast with my step-mom today. There's some evil badness there from my past, and from being a pretty messed-up teenager while my dad was dating and then married to someone not really ready to handle any of that. We really haven't gotten along well, and sometimes in a spectacular manner. Today went really well, though. Today I genuinely liked hanging out with her, and I think I'd like to do that again. I'm starting to understand her better, and that helps a lot. I think there are a few times I'd like to go back in time and smack the person I used to be, so I don't blame her so much for having such a hard time. We were raised *weird* when I was

Eh. It's a minor miracle I ended up not killing myself as a teenager, between the depression and the abuse. If I can wind up somewhere closer to normal, and at least able to function in society, it's a huge victory. I'll take that.

I'll always be weird. I just hope that it's not a *harmful* sort of weird. Or, at least one that Anakin can recover from, eventually. x_x And one that doesn't wind up with me being found a week later under a pile of crap I've "collected", being devoured by my 72 cats.


Setting that thought aside, we're going to try to head up north tomorrow to see snow. There was a storm last weekend, and apparently most of the snow melted this week, but we're not sure when we'll get another chance. Some snowy goodness is better than none at all. The weather just doesn't like my work schedule. That's all.

Okay, I *need* to finish The Arcane Wars soon. I still don't think it will ever be published, but I know a few people who would love to get some more background for Elemental...or just more story, period. I adore Krecek and Aral to itty bitty bits and pieces in this one, and Naran is *adorable*. So, yeah, must finish.

On that note, I think I've rambled enough. Work tonight is going to be insane, I'm sure. Some of the clients we have on my shift cater to party animals, so I'm going to need to put in as much relaxing as I can before it starts! Ciao for now!
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Unicorn dream)
...and I mostly watched anime in my spare time the last few days. I finished both Negima and Princess Tutu. They were both really good, and Princess Tutu gave me a few things to think about as far as writing goes. I think I might be ready to tackle the end of Elemental, now.

There are some stories that inspire you to "fix" them, either through fanfic or by making a similar situation in your own world and going from there. There are some stories that inspire you to expand them by writing side stories and fanfic about characters that just didn't get the time they deserved. And then there are stories that inspire you to find your own story and just run with it. I'm not sure yet if Princess Tutu is the first or the last for me, but it's one of those two. The last two episodes made me really itch to start writing. Immediately.

I hope the feeling carries on. So, here's to our muses, wherever they're hiding. :D
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Musical nerdery)
No, not you. My new laptop.

I can work on her. I can write (though I don't have the full version of Office, so my Word has ads...I'll remedy that once I've got her paid off.) I can watch Blu-ray disks (but the only one I own right now is Megamind.) I can attend meetings. And I can sit outside on those nicer days while I do that.

This is the first laptop I've ever owned that is not a hand-me-down from a family member. I can't tell you how good that makes me feel. I don't have to rely on someone else right now. I don't have to ask, to beg, to await permission or cooperation. It's mine. My decision, my responsibility, no wear marks, no anything that isn't mine from step one all the way to when I'm done with it.

I don't have to be locked away and isolated while I do things on my computer anymore. It's a very good feeling.

In other news, I had a TB/X plot bunny hop up to me. I don't have people to talk to about it anymore, though. I might let Seishirou-san feed it to the Tree...I have enough dark and twisted story on my hands.


Aug. 10th, 2011 03:30 pm
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Useless)
Okay, I'm stuck on Elemental right now. Not *horribly* stuck, just stuck enough that I think I need a break. Instead of taking a total break from writing this time, I'm going to work on fanfic.

If I don't get any requests, I'll probably work on either Smoke and Mirrors or Riding the Wave. If there's a fanfic of mine you're dying to see me put out a chapter of, speak up. This is not a common occurrence anymore. lol
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Time)
I'm four or five (at most) chapters from the end of Elemental.

The scene I'm writing right now is something that hit me a couple of weeks ago, and it disturbs me. Serious, heebie-jeebie, skin crawling disturbing. Something I almost wouldn't believe my main character capable of doing, except it's part of his grand plan to save the world.

I love it SO much.

But yeah, seriously, disturbed by it.
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Unicorn dream)
I'm tired today. No, not sleepy. I couldn't go back to sleep if I tried.

Just tired. Weary, I suppose.

A few days ago my aunt asked if she could read Elemental when I was finished writing, before I get around to editing.

No, not my cool professor aunt who is married to a Jewish man and is very open-minded and exposed to a lot of really cool ideas all the time and made an antibiotic strain of flesh-eating bacteria a few summers ago. (Destroyed at the end of the class, of course.)

My other aunt.

The waitress who lives in southern Idaho and is, as of late, a very devout follower of the LDS church. She reads crime novels, mystery, suspense, and romance. Sure, she was raised in California, and before she got married a second time she lived a VERY wild lifestyle. She's always been very cool and very fun, and always very pretty.

I just don't know how she'll react to this story.

See, the main character in Elemental has a very fluid and flexible gender identity and sexual orientation.

The majority of LDS people are struggling against accepting those sorts of concepts, as I'm sure most people who read this will know. I grew up Mormon, until I was nine years old. I went back a few times, until I prayed about it and realized that the way the church is right now, I can't be a part of it. While I was Mormon I felt constantly drained and pulled apart. When I realized I was bi in high school I was not going to any church, but when I went back to the LDS church afterward it was very hard.

I suffered from depression. The LDS church added to that depression, because I could not pray away my attraction to women no matter how hard I tried, and how much I believed.

That will always be the biggest thing I took away from going to that church. The times I flirted with suicide because I wanted to kiss my best friend. The times in my first semester of college that I thought if I wrote my suicide note eloquently enough, that would show them. That they would suffer as I was suffering. That their inability to accept me for who I was would be driven home if I could only bring myself to die to let them know.

A few years ago my mom's second cousin killed himself because he was gay and Mormon. She reminded me of that when I told her I wasn't sure if I should show Elemental to my aunt. On top of that there were rumors that my mom's cousin, who was like a second mother to me when I was little, may have been a lesbian. She never got married, and she had a roommate for years that may or may not have been her girlfriend. I can't ask her about it, because she's dead now as well.

But maybe, maybe, maybe it will have been enough that my aunt can read my novel with an open mind. I know my family loves me, no matter what my choices have been. I know my family loves me, and that they are proud of me, and that they want me to succeed. They're amazing people, full of spirit and faith, even if I just can't agree with the particular church they have put their faith in.

I'll send her a copy when I'm done and I suppose I'll just have to wait and see. There's a lot of fear wrapped up around this, but I suppose since I write about non-traditional relationships all the time they're (the Mormon half of my family) bound to find out eventually, and I just have to trust them to make up their own minds.
tamchronin: (Satoshi)
Two fanfic updates today. I'll add them both to MediaMiner later, but for now they're up on other sites.

Anyone excited about what Sakura is dealing with after being kidnapped can now go read up on to see the start of her ordeal:
Zettai Daijobu

Saya has a heart to heart with Akira, and then with Hikaru:
Riding the Wave

A headache I've had the last three days threw me off, since I'd wanted to do this update yesterday. It's here at last, and I'm going to *hope* it doesn't take me so long to update fanfics again.
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Unicorn dream)
Elemental is at just over 60,000 words, and I'm trying to start a war. I think it will run another 15k-20k words, and I want to flesh out a few things once I'm done putting the story down "on paper". I need to finish writing down what all the holidays are, and maybe draw a map because the one in my head is still a little fuzzy.

I know what will happen at the end. I mostly know how to get everyone from point A to point B at this point, but I've still got a few hazy areas.

I love this story. I can't wait 'till it's in the shape of a book I'd love to read. It's close. But it's not there yet.

Friday was the boyfriend's birthday. We went on a road trip, which was a lot of fun. It gave me a few ideas for other novels, especially the Fae ones. Jalireth grew up in Tucson after he turned 9, and driving around Arizona gives me a feel for what he'd have seen better than sitting in my air conditioned apartment in the middle of the city does. One thing about writing: you can't write if all you do is sit behind a desk and stare at a computer. If you don't engage your own five senses, how can you make your reader feel like all five of theirs are engaged? =P

We've got clouds rolling in. It might storm tonight. It might not. It would be really cool if it does.

I hope more writing will happen later. For now my head hurts just a bit too much to keep going.
tamchronin: (Satoshi)
For years Elemental has been my baby. I love the story and the characters in it far more than anything else I've ever written, even after all this time. I want it to work, but the last chapter I wrote for it was painful. It hit while my ten-year relationship with Anakin's dad was grinding to a devastating halt, and the desert setting hauntingly reflected my emotional state at the time.

I toyed with scrapping the whole project after how stilted and choppy the last chapter was, especially after one of my best friends pointed out how Agrad was frustratingly complacent and never initiated anything. Instead he just reacts to everything going on around him, much like I was afraid to take any actions in my own situation at the time. I felt like my main character had betrayed me, and I needed to write from another point of view to salvage the story and the world I was still so in love with.

It didn't work. I was relating events in detail that aren't interesting until you know the story. It sucked the life out of what I'd written before, and when I went back to look at it again it was choppy and left out details that could have made the world come to life.

The last three days I've been rereading the original first-person narrative I started so long ago, and I realized that it's still good. It's in need of a LOT of editing, but I can salvage this. It's not as bad as I was afraid it was, if I can just let go of some of the ideas I had of who Agrad is based on how I wanted to see myself at the time, and what I thought a sympathetic character would be. So I'm rolling up my sleeves and writing like I haven't been able to in what feels like forever. I've put in over 2,000 words today, words I actually feel good about for a change, and I'm not finished yet. I don't want to play video games. I don't want to watch TV. I don't want to knit.

I do want to write. And I am.

And it feels good.
tamchronin: (Szark - lessons)
I poked at Elemental (third person POV) a little last night, but I still haven't been able to write past toddler Agrad screaming suddenly and interrupting his parents. It might be time to open something else, because I remember I was always the most prolific when I had several writing projects going on at once, instead of trying to concentrate on just one at a time.

I think it's time to start writing short stories more frequently, and give in to the occasional urge to do fanfic. I don't know why I gave up on a technique that obviously worked for me for so long. I suppose I thought that if I wanted to write "for real" instead of "just" fanfic I had to set aside a lot of what made writing fun. And if I sucked all the fun out of writing, it's no wonder I've had a block for so many years.

Any writing prompts or exercises are welcome. I might not use them, but I might. I'm going to try to make this fun again.
tamchronin: (I am a leaf on the wind - Firefly)
Okay, it's not so much changing my mind as changing how my mind works. I tend toward more analytical thought the first half of the day, and more creative thought about an hour before I want to go to bed. If I give in to the creative urge, I usually end up setting sleep aside a while.

The window of opportunity for creative expression didn't used to be so small, but I don't know what happened to change it all around really. Was it the time of day? 10pm is when I used to be at my most creative, even if I'd just woken up. I'd usually spend a lot of time during the day reading or doing other things where I take in information and just think, and then I'd enjoy a creative spree when I got that out of my system.

Lately work is interfering with that, just when I started to get it back. I've got the most *time* to write in the mornings when I have a day off, or when I work in the evening. So, how can I change how I think? I know there was a time when I could do a one-shot fanfic within an hour of waking up with the right prompt. Same thing with continuing a WIP, if I left off somewhere that was easy to pick up again. Does anyone have any ideas how to make that happen again?

It might be a matter of just writing. Blogging, stream of consciousness, just putting words on paper until my creativity waves the white flag and gives in. It seems slightly inefficient right now, but in the long term it might help. But, does anybody have any shortcuts?


Oct. 10th, 2008 12:11 pm
tamchronin: (I am a leaf on the wind - Firefly)
In my latest story, Elemental, I just followed a 5,000 word chapter with one that's not even 1,500 words. It's barely a scene, let alone a chapter, but it feels right to end it there.

I'm not sure if I'll keep the current format for chapters. Right now, they're parts...and they're just "part one" and "part two". No chapter titles or anything, though I'm trying to make the first lines of each chapter memorable. Just a little something that will stand out and differentiate one from another.

The second chapter doesn't have much "can't put it down" feel to it, though, IMO. I'm not sure what to do with it. After the praise I got for the first chapter, I'm worried about how it will be received. On the other hand, the first chapter ends with a tragedy and a fair bit of tension, and I think I need this chapter to balance that one.

I suppose I'll have to write the third chapter with a little more movement, but not too much. I have to build it back up to an interesting pace without making the second chapter look completely out of place.

Has anyone else run into something like this while they're writing? Does it pan out for you, or do you go back later and think you should tack on the short chapter to something larger?

"Mary Sue"

Jan. 21st, 2008 05:51 pm
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Shavra)
Actually, I'd like to open this up for discussion here.

"Honestly, as a writer and an avid reader all my life, I'm getting a bit bugged by the "Mary Sue/Gary Stu" in original fic bashing. It has become a witch hunt, I swear, where any character that fits the hero archetype is called that. Call them cliche, or cookie-cutter, or boring and predictable! That's what you're complaining about. "Mary Sue" is a fanfic faux pas, where the fanfic author has hijacked the story with their own idealized character, usually a self-insert with flaws glossed over. It really bugs me that any character that an author has sympathy with or a liking for has fallen under that umbrella."

reposted from:

And, to expand on the theme, I'll give an example about why I have grown to hate the label. There is a VERY good writer on my friends list who started writing a novel for NaNoWriMo the same year I wrote Twilight Dreaming. When I stopped my own writing frenzy and read what she had written, I was in love with the main character and with the world she had created. She confided that it was only about a quarter of the story, and I pouted and begged for more. We talked back and forth about writing over the next few months, and one of the things she said floored me. She had asked if her main character was a Mary Sue. She was so afraid that it was, that she'd eventually grown paralyzed by the idea and couldn't bring herself to write more of it.

The idea nearly paralyzed me too, to be honest. When she told me how the concept had grown to include original characters, I started jumping at shadows. Ahrianna from TD really had started out as an exploration of self. She shared my hair color and my unique view of my eyes. (It was an exercise in description on my part, to break apart the "brown hair, blue eyes" blah that could describe just about anyone.) I drew on my past experiences for her reactions at first, though soon enough she developed a personality of her own. So, was I doing the "good" thing of writing what I knew? Or was I doing the "bad" thing and creating another worthless Mary Sue?

It didn't make me a better writer, to start worrying about it. In fact, it was a huge contributing factor in my writer's block, the more I gave the idea credence. As far as I know, my friend abandoned her world entirely over the lurking shadow of "Mary Sue". In order to write these days, I have to remind myself that it's okay to associate with my character, to see things from their point of view, and not worry about being "too perfect". Especially in first person writing, you have to allow a bit of an idealized version of events be filtered by your character's point of view. Most people don't view themselves as the bad guy, and I believe readers will sympathize more with someone who share that view, even if they otherwise would not react to events in the same way. If your main character is being stupid, show the consequences after the fact, but feel free to present their idealized view in the present. It's okay even to be a little cliche, because a cliche becomes cliche when it is something that works. It's comfort food for the soul, like ice cream or chocolate. Your diet can't consist entirely of those things, but don't be afraid to add some for the enjoyment of it.

Well, that's my tl;dr view of the subject. I'd like to hear other views now. Is "Mary Sue" the literary equivalent of "your mother wears combat boots" or is it a valid critique? My mind is open, especially if it is something that may help me be a better writer.


Jan. 1st, 2008 02:30 pm
tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Satoshi's melting heart)
I rarely make resolutions, and I'm not really the sort of person to stick to them if I do.

Blah, whatever. I'm wishy-washy like that. It's a character flaw that people either ignore, sympathize with, or end up hating me over. hehe I'm thirty-something, and it's not going to change overnight just because the number changed at the end of the date to '08.

That said, I'm making a couple of resolutions this year. Well, three to be exact.

1. Spend at least half an hour cleaning every day. I've gotten lazy and started doing the whole "cleaning whenever things hit crisis status" thing the last few (ten or so) years. I used to be better than this. And, I know that once I catch up, I'll maybe need only 15 minutes a day to keep things maintained, even with a kid in the house.

2. Write something every day. Even if it's only 100 words, I must spend time working on my writing. No RPGs, no WoW, no nothing until I've put an effort into writing. Even if it's just fanfic some days...I MUST keep writing.

3. Get more WoW characters to 70...and, Blizz willing, at least one to 80. Yeah, this one will be the easiest, in a way. But, it also reminds me that all work and no play will make the other resolutions not worth doing. Balance, in all things.

edit: Okay, maybe half an hour is a little ambitious while my foot is still healing. Owie. Double owie. That was REALLY stupid of me. I should break it into segments or something, for a few weeks... ~sheepish grin~


tamchronin: coctail umbrella captioned "pretty but pretty useless" (Default)
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