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It's a lovely, soft rainy day. I slept well enough - still having trouble accepting that I do need to go to bed at night. Having responsibilities sucks. I want to stay up all night reading and let someone else handle the mornings. Lately it's felt like all the thoughts are happening in my brain all at once and it's hard to focus on just one to get it out.

I received Down Among The Sticks And Bones on Friday, and I'm so excited. Every Heart A Doorway is... everything. DAtSaB doesn't have to be everything, it just being is enough. But I'm putting off reading it a bit, because I want to clean out my brain some. I also found my misplaced copy of Steering The Craft, which is one of those truly great books on writing. Which is... I've hit this point, where a lot of writing advice just isn't helpful. I may not have gone anywhere career-wise, but in writing theory it feels like I'm well beyond that entry level journeyman advice. So things like Steering the Craft, Get To Work Hurley, Wonderbook, and the occasional twitter thread are precious. You know now that I write that I see how it times in - how the need for more higher level craft insights has driven me to meta, lore, and analysis. The ruthless breaking down of stories, laser focused cause and effect. And let me tell you, Dark Souls and it's relatives are a GOLDMINE for that. I could speculate that it had something to do with how we have to dig for basically ALL the story in the Souls games, but nah.

So yeah, it goes like this: long form Dark Souls lore/analysis videos are great to play to fall asleep - yo Bloodborne is just as good/even better! - ongoing Themes of cosmic horror in my life(if Cthulhu himself arose out of the lake I'd be like 'sure fine it's just another Tuesday around here') - tumblr memes - oh hey this one book is really awesome(EVERYONE READ WINTER TIDE OKAY?!) - I kinda want to write in this vein - ...might as well read Lovecraft now.

I haven't actually, not in any focused way, and I've just been in that mood for awhile so why not? His stuff is fairly short and readable surprisingly. I think there might be a lesson in there, about about how his mythos as he wrote it wasn't that well suited to longer forms, as well as how to craft short stories. And I mean, he was so good at harnessing readers' imaginations that his works seem so much more then they actually are? (Hardly anyone talks about the craft aspect, which is interesting. And well, standard disclaimer here about how he was an actual trainwreck, but that's not what I'm here for today.) (I read something recently about how he encouraged others to take his mythos and run? There are conflicting reports, but I am Intrigued.)

The thing about actually reading Lovecraft's stories is while I am aware that the narrative is pushing me to be repulsed, disgusted, etc, what I actually feel for the characters is sympathy. To use The Dunwich Horror as an example, since it's the freshest in my mind - I can't find it in myself to be unsettled by a disabled woman and her eccentric farmer father? or the woman's heavily autistic-coded son? Ultimately the 'spooky/scary other' falls completely flat for me, doing so so much as to upset the entire tea cart of the story. It's a bit of a quirk of the writing style, that the bigotry can be attributed wholly to the narrator(something that is not helped, confusingly enough, by the Wilbur being a self insert. wtf lovecraft.) 

The result of ignoring the narrator's opinions is it then reads as a tragedy of the complications of raising half-human children, and of not fitting the social mold. Our only solid source of for the Whateleys' motivations is the questionable translations of a child's diary. Looking at it that way makes monsters of the stuffy old white men of academia that we're being fed as the heroes. It's kind of amazing that it can so easily be read that way, and explains some of the longevity of Lovecraft's mythos. It's an interesting exercise in itself to view the story through both the lens of the author, and on its own. Death of the author and all that. 

I'm not sure if I got out all my thoughts about this. It's taken a long time to write this entry, due to my brain just being a bad brain in general. I feel like my knowledge and understanding of this whole subject is much less sophisticated then it could be. Here is a link to The Dunwich Horror, in case one might want to read it for themselves.

Addendum: thoughts on the Call of Cthulhu. My audiobook tells me that I've been pronouncing R'lyeh wrong this entire time(audio, btw, is an excellent format for these stories.) My original above thoughts stand, about perspective and how Lovecraft's stories are like prisms, and you can get something totally different with how you turn it. It was a bit amusing that it seemed like he was deliberately padding for wordcount by repeating plot points over and over again, and I got the impression that he didn't really know meanings of all of the big words he used - I wonder how many readers do? "an angle which was acute, but behaved as if it were obtuse." is still objectively hilarious.

Sort of confluence of all this is a story idea, something I'm pondering for an attempt at July's Camp Nano. It's definitely more of a gothic story, the cosmic horror stuff got mushed in there because *gestures upwards* I don't brain good in the summer though, and camp nanos have never gone well for me, on top of potential business, so we'll see if it happens.

8tracks playlist of the week - sounds nice in stormy weather and "It was so dark that it was even hard to hear"
anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
Still feels like my head is stuffed with cotton batting. I can hardly even stand the thought of cotton batting. I can hardly think. But tomorrow? Tomorrow is going to suck and I need to get my wordcount in today. I will not come this close and not win, that is not an acceptable possibility. But everything is cotton and I just want to sleep.

I hope this is enough. I hope that I'll have enough time and brain power to finish tomorrow.

anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
Just finished my second cup of coffee today, and I'm only now starting to feel somewhere in the neighborhood of aware. I slept over nine hours last time and woke up sore. All I did yesterday was sit at a table at a holistic expo, granted I got up at 7am and only have five hours of sleep the night before.

After noon I was ready to hide in a corner, so of course I had to tend to the table pretty much by myself. Mom said it was the lights that wore me out, and maybe it was, but all I know is I was having serious trouble hearing and it was stressing me out.

I did bring my laptop, and I did write a little - around 1k - there. I did more when I got home, and found the #NaNoHouseCup in full swing. I've got a lot further to go today, and I have to make real progress today because I won't have tomorrow evening. But all I really want to do is play Dragon Age. Later, I keep telling myself. Later.

anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
I did it. I'm caught up. It's been a wild couple of days getting to this point, but here I am. I think I proved something to myself - that I really can do this. I really can't write this much in a day, and it's not a struggle. Because while it took time, it wasn't that terrible a struggle - for the most part the words flowed. The characters lived and breathed.

I started yesterday at 7k behind and with prior appointments. I packed up and ended up typing away in the back corner of a Chuck E Cheese, which I believe tops my two previous contenders for Weirdest Place To Write - the dressing room of a hot yoga studio, and the middle of a psychic shop(with bonus chihuahua lap buddy.) My only internet connection was my phone, but how exactly do I pass up Sailor Moon themed sprints? I don't. I wrote like 3k there.

(Dinner was pho, because St Cloud has a place and the Red Robin STILL isn't open. They haven't even finished with the tyvek. Then we dropped by Barnes & Noble. I got two drinks at Starbucks because the tired barista made the wrong drink at first, and I don't turn down free caffeine/sugar.)

Today it snowed. Gentle little white flakes all day, gathering just a thin layer over the ground. I slept well and woke up before the dogs started nagging at me for once, though the muscles of my left chest are still sore. Wish I knew why. In the afternoon I sat down and gave myself over to writing sprints on Twitter - the NaNoHouseCup is another one. Nothing like fighting for the glory of Hufflepuff! I wrote another 7k, and really settled into who the characters were and what the world they lived in entailed.

Really what helped was reaching the point where I gave no more fucks. The realization, which I have to make anew every time, that I don't have to answer to anyone about anything. These characters had have the kind of relationship I want them to have. It doesn't have to be framed in a sexual way - it came be the sort of sweet and close interaction that I've always wanted from books. I can build whatever sort of world I want, change scenes when I feel like, and infodump to my heart's content - fuck the narrative police. They don't get to read it anyway.

At some point I realized that these characters now live beyond 50k words, that they live beyond a single story. It's more like 'The Ongoing Adventures', which is going to be musing.

I think, I've come to a point where I need to give up trying so hard. I just need to write, for me. No for the outline, not for the story, not for the market or for any audience. That hasn't been working. That's what I mean when I say I want to quit writing. I don't want to quit these worlds, these characters, playing with the elements of their mythology. I want to quit the stress and disappointment. The loneliness. How can I be so lonely, with so many people in my head?

It's time that I get some sleep.

anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
After a few blah days when life just wouldn't give me a break about it, I finally got a chance to sit down and work on my NaNo. Writing is magical, because even though I sat here for all of it I still don't have a clear idea how I wrote 6k words. But I did, and I'm much closer to actually being caught up.

It snowed today. The first snow of the season. It finally feels like November, like we can actually considering thanksgiving and stuff now. It's been very windy too, and the wind at night is like a lullaby.

Yesterday we had a new fridge delivered. Finally! Food that is cold, and a light to go with it! I'm so happy that I can have hot pockets on hand again.

anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
The thing about writing is there's this thing that happens, where I don't have any fucking clue what's going on with the direction the story has taken, but I'll still deeply impressed.

Apparently my murder mystery/worldbuilding exercise is actually a story about a stubborn young woman becoming a goddess. Now I have the bones of something I'm actually interested in, which means I might actually get to 50k words this month. I managed to write 2k today, even though I didn't start until nearly midnight.

anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
Somehow I wrote nearly 4,000 words today. I'm not sure how, and I have no clear idea of what I wrote. Stuff. The characters doing things. But I'm closer to actually getting caught up, so that's something. Many thanks to the official NaNo Sprints twitter - once again I would not make it through without them, and apparently fighting for the honor of Hufflepuff can do amazing things for my wordcount.

It's still a bit weird, being three hours off 'normal'. There are whole twitter feeds I don't see anymore.

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. I ended up listening to the first four, or five, or six? episodes of the Black Tapes Podcast. It's exactly the sort of creepy shit I love. Reminds me of the X-files and the Twilight Zone, and of late nights listening to Coast to Coast. I love it, but it did creep me out. I've have a lower tolerance for creepy stuff since the time I got so sleep deprived while watching Marble Hornets that I had hallucinations.

So I got a late start today, my brain elsewhere in creepy land and distracted. Apparently Rita injured Chai. I worry about my red boy. I hope he's ok. I hate that I'm gone from him so much.

anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
The writing of this... thing(it's not truly a novel. I'm not sure what it is.) is going much better. Still behind, but I'm getting into the hang of pantsing again. I spent most of the day at the psychic shop, with Peanut the Chihuahua curled on my chest and nothing better to do then somehow spend 2k words on the main character walking around the outside of the fortress. Worldbuilding. Worldbuilding is good. Maybe I'll come out of this NaNo with the bones of something interesting. Catching up is still doable. I should at least try to remain positive.

Went to an oracle card class yesterday. Mom is determined to play matchmaker between me and her friend's son. It makes it awkward. She claims to understand that neither of us is looking for any kind of relationship beyond friends to hang with, but I don't think she really does. I feel like she's not listening to me - not respecting my wants or understanding my needs.

Housesitting this weekend. I really hope I can get caught up, though I suppose if I only got caught up in my sleep again then that's alright. I just have to remember - no more video games until I get caught up.

anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
Insert badly drawn gold star with 'not as much of a failure as you could have been' labeled over it in comic sans.

Though really, it's not that bad. I'm back on track, I think. I can't see the track - it's not the track I planned. But that's the danger of not having anybody around to have told me, a month ago, 'you don't sound excited about this story'. I guess I get both the planning and the pantsing badges this year, because while I planned it turns out I'm going to have to pants the heck out of this sucker.

We writers are all, at heart, Mark Watney. Surviving on potatoes. “I guess you could call it a 'failure', but I prefer the term 'learning experience'.”

(I'm tired of learning experiences.)

Going back to the drawing board I dug out the piece of my project that I actually enjoyed - the piece of worldbuilding that had me excited(weather magic! on a grand scale!), and the structure of my main characters and how they interacted with each other. I've ditched the murder mystery. It wasn't interesting me. Now the magic super-storm is center stage, and where it goes from here? I have no idea. All I've got is a super storm, a stubborn weather mage, and an ancient mountain god bumming around for no apparent reason. I'll figure it out. At least the words are moving.

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I have to keep reminding myself that taking a few days off here and there is fine. I more than make up for them with high-yield days, and there's no point to beating oneself against a plot tangle that's far better sorted with just time.

Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k book has been amazingly helpful for my writing in general. Deep outlining a head of time does catch many of the plot tangles that trip me up. I just lost track of time and didn't sort out this NaNo's plot well enough, so this lost time is all on me.

I'm discovering that I'm finding it awkward to write about my characters' eating - mostly regular meals, and especially breakfast. Because I'm in such a bad place with that right now. Some days the line between me and my characters is very thin, and I know what's something I have to work past.

The truth is, I guess, that I'm just not enjoying this story at all and I don't know what to do about it.

I spent the weekend housesitting. I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't get more writing done. I slept, a lot. Maybe I needed sleep.

anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
Some days are effortless, others are like mythological tasks. Today was the later. When will I learn that my family will never respect my writing time? We went grocery shopping today, and of course it's never a clean process. So once again I didn't get to writing until late, after exhaustion and a migraine set in. Still I didn't do so bad, considering I spent much of my writing time falling asleep while sitting up.

Advice - take care of your hands. Paraffin dips are A++.

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Today was a wash. Went to visit Grandma, which always leaves me sick both physically and emotionally. It's not a good place to be. (In the last year I've learned that Grandma is not safe or a source of love.) It ate the entire day - got home late, and with a migraine. I just couldn't make anything come out.

Advice - it's hard to remember, but some days the body counts exceeds your word count and that's okay.


NaNo Day 2

Nov. 2nd, 2015 06:07 pm
anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
I'm getting the hang of this writing thing again. It went more smoothly then I expected, and the story isn't rushing along as I feared. We're not even to the murder mystery part of it, though it's only partly a murder mystery at all. It's also an exploration of a worldsetting, a story of beauty and the beast, and a tale about coming home.

Advice - embrace detail. Adverbs are your friend. If you don't have the exact word for something then describe it. Use the closest word you have. (Maybe you'll find something even better that way.) Tell a story within the story - stories have power, for you and the reader and the characters within the story as well. Letting your characters tell each other stories is how you find out what the story you really want to tell is.

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I'm out of practice with writing. I had the vague idea to spend a few days writing shorts leading up to November, but I had that idea on like October 29th or something. It's been so long since I did any real writing - a year actually. Go figure. So it was a slow start. But I made word count so I can't really complain.

Advice - do not fear exposition or info dumps. Just get all that worldbuilding out there. Pretending you are a scholar of your world, writing the guides and histories. There is much editing between this first draft and publication so go all out. Embrace prologues.

1,722 / 50,000
anindigomind: screenshot of true-form Midna from Hyrule Warriors (Default)
Halloween is crawling to an end and NaNo is looming ahead and I have no words for how tired I am. I am just exhausted and have been all day - got plenty of sleep, eating as well as i ever do, etc. Just... tired. And disappointed in myself because I had nothing in me to enjoy Halloween, my favoritest holiday.

It’s lonely here. My mom asked if I’d be available to hand out candy, like she doesn’t know that I know absolutely no one here and have no where to go. NaNo is going to be lonely too, because the local group sucks. Everyone is still there on the internet, but I miss being able to go places and just existing around other people.

I feel like the answer to 'whats up with you lately' has been nothing but a pity party for awhile now. I hate sounding like a pity party. I just want to enjoy stuff again.


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Jean T

September 2017



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