Archive for October, 2014


NaNoWriMo?

This is the first year in the past like, 3 or 4 that I haven’t outright committed to doing NaNoWriMo. I keep going back and forth. I have a novel I need to finish by December 31st (Gray Morning). I am still in The Real LJ Idol Competition, though things have gotten tight now that there’s about 60 contestants left (out of a starting total of like…280?). I am working nearly full-time. I have a five year old with special needs. A divorce to plan and prepare for, and a free online writing course that starts tomorrow, of all days.

I kind of want to just…write something purely without doing ANY preparation. Gray Morning and The Stellar Challenge both require so much work, for two entirely different reasons. Gray Morning is on its second official draft, I’ve written large chunks of it out of order, and I need to piece it all together/fill in the gaps (which is probably around 20-30k worth of words, maybe more). I have a good idea for the plot arc of it, I know the major events, it’s just…filling in those gaps and rounding everything out.

The Stellar Challenge is still on draft one, and very, very slow going, because it requires a lot of forethought and planning. Each Planet focuses on a specific Challenger. Once each Planet is complete, there’s a “(Character) Story,” that explains how the Challenger came to do the Challenge, in the first place. Like how they died, why they think they need to go on a redemption quest, etc. I realized just yesterday that the book’s true Main Character is Saito — who is possibly one of the grossest characters I’ve ever written.

I’m doing an abridged version of his Planet Chapters (Saturn) for Idol — where he essentially breaks the cycle of his own Limbo/Hell and finally, finally earns a fate other than the one he’s been experiencing for the past however long. But he has to do it by preventing another Challenger from falling into the same traps he has for the past however many (I’m thinking at least 100) attempts at the Challenge himself. Saito is supposed to be forced to redo the Challenge forever and ever for all eternity; but after so many repeated attempts, he starts to remember his past attempts. He’s resigned himself to his fate, but he sees a lot of promise in Jordan — a young teenager who killed himself in a murder-suicide (with his mother as his victim). So when he sees Jordan falling for a trap that’s been set for Saito at least one hundred times before, well…

It should be interesting to write. But I have worked the past 5 nights (and, in fact, have only briefly napped today after getting out of work at 8am), and I’m exhausted, and it’s difficult to write something like this. I am not unemployed anymore; I don’t have the time to dedicate to the writing and the LJI competition like I used to, and it kills me.

So adding a NaNo project on top of these two novels (which are my closest to “completion”) just seems kind of… silly. I have a couple of other words that aren’t as well developed, but I’ve at least started all of them or have completed shorter, rougher drafts of them. And honestly, if I do NaNo, I want to do something fresh and new with characters I don’t know like the back of my hand or with a universe I haven’t done all the worldbuilding for, etc.

But like, I can’t seem to come up with anything? I dunno. It’s been a struggle. I’m sure on November 1st, I’ll find myself opening a new document and titling it NaNoWriMo14 and just… going with it. But until then, I keep going back and forth.

The start of my LJI entry, if you’re curious:


Saito stood at the threshold of the train, his lips pressed tightly together and his jaw clenched.

Saturn.

He had made it to Saturn.

“Dude, are you going to get off the train or what?” Jordan’s grating voice asked.

Saito’s jaw clenched further, and he took one step off the train and moved out of the teenager’s way. He didn’t look at the boy, instead averting his eyes from him as much as possible. Megumi followed Jordan off the train, her tight, black dress seemingly tighter and more revealing in the odd, overcast lighting of the gaseous planet.

Saito looked away from her, too.

He might not remember all the details, but one too many trips back to the Start had broken the amnesiatic effect of death. He remembered his mistakes. Remembered the promise of Redemption, and how he was to fail at it, every time, as punishment for his crimes.

But this was the first time he had made it to Saturn since his first trip.

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LJ Idol

In this kooky online writing competition I’m in, we have a deadline on Monday. I work third shift’s (midnight to 8am), have a small child with autism, and not a whole lot of free time as a result.

I’ve been kicking around this piece for the past three days. It’s heavily based on one of my novels. If I’m completely honest, it’s me, disguising the Gray Morning universe as much as possible, changing character names/titles etc so that it reads like it’s based in the US, and so that people might not have their eyes roll into the back of their heads.

Except my antagonist, Mitchel, is so clearly himself. The protagonist of the scene, Amelia, is clearly herself, as well, but in the book she’s a minor character; her role is huge, but her screen time is very understated. Mitchel? Well, he’s been the focus of an Idol piece or two, and how his actions and words have a huge impact on my novel’s protagonist, Savin. He’s been deconstructed in a piece or two of meta I’ve written for the competition, as well.

I don’t want people to recognize him, but I do. I don’t want people to go “Oh, she’s writing that *%$#)*% novel again,” and back out of the entry. Not to mention, the topics this go around (we had to pick one out of a group of 5) are so open-ended and up to interpretation, and the voters have been favoring the very literal, very close interpretations this season. For people like me who sometimes view the topics abstractly, it’s been a challenge boxing myself in, a little.

The basis of this piece? Mitchel is undergoing an interrogation for the murder of Jasper (Jazz) Callahan — except, of course, the names are changed. Jasper is the Emperor of their particular world; Mitchel is his second-in-command, in a way. So I changed it from their world to the US; Mitchel is Vice President, Jazz President. Amelia is head of the Secret Service and is doing the interrogation herself.

Mitchel’s motivations are varied. He wants power. He wants control. He believes that Jazz never should have been handed this position — that Jazz is effortlessly perfect (and here is my topic connection — Mitchel believes that Jazz is a man of “shibusa,” though if you know Jazz’s character, you realize this is just a projection on Mitchel’s part), and therefore, shouldn’t have it.

There’s also a jealousy component — Jazz fell in love with Savin and married him, and not Mitchel, who Jazz had known first, longer, and just as intimately.

But in the interrogation scene I’m writing, I’m essentially doing it from Mitchel’s POV. I am deep inside his head; using his syntax and his word choice and just general state of mind. He is in control. He is lethal. He believes he isn’t going to end up charged with anything, though he is under arrest.

And seeing outside of his very narrow view point (me me me) and his own perceptions of himself (I am perfect and great and smarter than the rest of the world) is so difficult, I’m having trouble seeing what will trip him up. Because Amelia will get him to falter. She WILL get that confession. And she WILL secure the ability to indict Mitchel for treason.

But getting it down on paper when I am so deep in Mitchel’s POV is difficult.

I guess this is why I don’t write in first person. It’s hard, working so close to a fictional person’s brain. And I’m not even writing in first! It’s in third! But to write like how he speaks, I have to strip away that extra layer of distance.

Characters, man.

It’s the little things…

Life’s been insane. I started working almost full-time at a local convenience store chain. Escaped my abuser’s home (and yes, I came to terms with the fact that it was abuse, in the past year).

In that time, I’ve been writing. I’ve been competing, too. Remember that writing competition on LJ I waxed poetic about? Well, season 9 started back in… March?

It’s still going.

We’re like three weeks or so away from reaching the top 50.

And I am clawing my way into that coveted range of people. My true goal is Top 25.

In the past year, I’ve split up my Tomorrow Trilogy into three separate books, each with their own separate story lines and casts. Gray Morning is still titled that — Gray Morning. Ryan (previously Ryin) has his own world to play in, and so does Jordine and the Hooban race.

I’ve written several new short stories I intend to try and push out into the world.

And my erotica writing has, sadly, ground to a halt. I intend to resume it, and I’m editing all five pieces for Say What You Want to publish as a single book — but I am debating on adding another “bonus” chapter to the end. My muses want to, and I think it might benefit the story if I did, but finding the energy to write that much unabashed smut right now is difficult.

My life, right now, is so much better than it was a year ago. And while I’m not writing as much as I used to, I’m still writing, and I’m piecing together a new draft for Gray Morning. Behold, a little of what I have cobbled together, today:


“Where were you?” Savin growled once the door shut behind him. “The Empire’s been fucking falling apart –”

“I know,” Jazz murmured, frowning.

“They think you’re dead!” Savin shouted, throwing his keys down on the little stand beside his door. He tugged off his jacket and tossed it aside, storming past Jazz once he slipped his shoes off his feet.

“I know,” Jazz whispered, his voice quiet and subdued.

“They think I did it!” Savin turned sharply on his heel, running his fingers through his hair. “Do you know how long it took for them to let me go back to my job? Fucking Amelia kept an eye on me for at least a month — I almost got fired — I –” He cut himself off, noticing the look on Jazz’s face.

“Do you blame them?” Jazz asked, his back nearly to the door, his lip caught underneath his teeth. “You did tell them what happened, right?”

Savin paused, the anger having been sucked from his lungs. He frowned and looked away from Jazz. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “They only wanted to know where you were — and since I didn’t know…”

Jazz nodded, still chewing on his bottom lip as he turned his gaze towards the floor. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I just — I couldn’t do it anymore.”

“I don’t care,” Savin said, turning on his heel and waving his hand dismissively in the air. He kept talking as he moved towards his bedroom, tugging his top over his shoulders as he walked. “I really fucking don’t, okay? You left, and my life nearly fucking fell apart, and I don’t give a shit anymore.”

He slammed his bathroom door behind him and shed the rest of his clothes. He needed a shower. Needed to get away and just forget that Jazz was even there. In his apartment. Alive. And apparently no worse for wear, even after the past six months, and —

Savin shut off the water and tugged his jeans back over his waist. Anger filled him again, and he marched out of the bathroom, arms folded over his bare chest. “Where the fuck where you, anyway?” he snapped, his nails digging into his upper arms. “You’re the fucking Emperor — how could you just abandon your whole fucking Empire like that?”

Jazz flinched, his back still to the front door. His face flushed and he kept his eyes low. “I thought it would be in good hands,” he said, fidgeting.