Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Writerly Survey

I found this survey from Creative A over at *Headdesk* ages and ages ago, and it was so interesting and writerly that I figured I'd try it out. (About time it got posted, too; this thing's been burning a hole in my post list for the longest time. Lots of answers to change.)

1) What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The last thing I wrote would be... well... I wouldn't call it necessarily a short story, but at the same time, it kinda is... see, it's a letter, but there's kind of a story between the lines. Hard to explain, really, and it's something that is definitely drafty, but I think I'll end up fixing it up for... something. The only good thing I've gotten from my "honors" language arts program in two years, actually--it's from a class prompt.
The first thing I wrote that *I* still have is my crappy 20-something-k novella. It's technically an accomplishment, because I finished it. But at the same time, it sucks. Now, my mom probably has my handwriting practice sheets from kindergarten somewhere. If I toss a story, she saves it... that's kind of how things work at my house.

2) Write poetry?

Only for a class, and then very reluctantly. I don't like poetry. I don't like rhymes, and my free verse pretty much sucks. The poems I like invariably end up classified as "suckish" by anyone I show them to. I don't mind so much, though; I prefer prose.

3) Angsty poetry?

Nope. Well, I don't think so. Maybe sometimes if the assignment was a sad topic. But I'm not one to write about my personal life, and I like to think I don't angst too much about things other than myself. Although, some of my earlier prose writing is packed with layer upon layer of melodrama, which may conceal angst.

I mean, I'm sure I've written angst before, but I'm not exactly sure how to identify my own writing as such.

4) Favorite genre of writing?

Fantasy. I love to worldbuild and I love magic and supernatural things. About 95% of my stories are fantasy, 2.5% are science fiction, and the rest is what I term "realistic fiction," by which I mean it takes place on Earth with no paranormal elements.

5) Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

On the page, I'd have to say The Summoner, a lady who never summoned anything, talked in a weird accent, and never actually moved the plot forward. She's annoying because she's flat and crappily drawn, which bugs me. (She also inhabits that crappy novella of mine...)

Off the page, I've got two. They're twins, fraternal, brother and sister, and they never go away. I've pretty much decided I'll never be able to write their story because I don't know what it is. They just pop up everywhere. They've been in so many plots it's not funny. And they never rest. It's like it's their life's goal to force me to write nothing but the crap they shove down my throat for the rest of my life.

6) Best plot you’ve ever created?

I don't create plots. Plots require endings. ...well... Actually, I had this really complicated plot once for a book called THE RISE OF THE PHOENIX, which I'm semi-proud of because it was so complicated and yet I planned it from beginning to end. I never did write it, though. (And never will, because I was, like, nine at the time, and it sucks.)

I've never really plotted anything I liked, to be honest. The one time I wrote with a full outline, the stupid thing morphed beyond recognition within 2k.
7) Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

Eh... heh... I hardly ever get far enough to make the twists plot. I mean the plots twist. I guess I'd say the one in FOUR VISIONS where one of the four "victims" of this one thing turns out to be working with the runners of the thing.

Ah! Hah! Look at the vague!

8 ) How often do you get writer’s block?

I no longer believe in writer's block. I have issues from time to time as far as starting things goes. Sometimes I don't know what's going to happen next, but even those don't develop into full-fledged blocks. I can spend up to an hour and a half trying to start a writing session, though, during which time I may try out a good three dozen versions of a sentence or paragraph.

But I don't believe in writer's block. It's possible to break a block by forcing yourself to write, even if you'll have to edit the crap out of it later. (This is DESPITE what the *cough*slackers*cough* in my creative writing class claim.)

9) Write fan fiction?

Used to. I started out writing original stuff, switched to fan fiction for awhile, then switched back to my own stuff. I still fantasize about fan fiction if my own stuff is going really badly, but I haven't written any for a good five, six years.

Funnily enough, I never really wrote fanfics about books. It was always focused around video games. Huh. I wonder what that says about me...

10) Do you type or write by hand?

I write longhand if I can't get to a computer, but I still firmly believe that my best stuff comes from the keyboard. I type a lot faster than I write longhand, and I usually feel freer to make little experimental side-trips when I type because I don't feel like I run the danger of forgetting what's supposed to happen in the end.

11) Do you save everything you write?

Yes. Occasionally I toss something, but for the most part it all gets saved somewhere. I have yet to lose something due to computer crashes, though, which is really just dumb luck. I came (-) this close to losing a 30k draft due to file corruption, but I still have the draft because I just so happened to print the thing right before it corrupted. Dumb luck, indeed.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?

Absolutely. I jump from project to project, and old projects come back as often as new ones come in. It's rather annoying, actually.

The most memorable project, I think, came from a WIP I can't think of a suitable title for. Let's call it NORTHERN for now. I'd completely forgotten about it. One day I was daydreaming some scene about a guy about to be killed when this little girl runs in and gives herself up to save his life. Much to my surprise, when the guy yelled at her to stop (like it would make any difference at that point), the name he called her was the name of the female MC in NORTHERN. Of course, everything had changed in the story, but it was essentially the same project.

13) What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

Ah, right now I think it's that opening scene from THIRTEENTH HELL. I really love Jaina, the main character. She has a sense of humor that I really enjoy, though it's not over-the-top. Rather, it's a bit dry at times. But she calls the guy who kidnaps her "Muffin." I still crack up over that, even though it's a bit... well... meh.

14) What’s everyone else’s favorite story you’ve written?

Um, that would have to be my failed NaNo from 2009, I think, for the sole reason that it's pretty much the only thing I've shown to anyone else over the last year or two, where I think my writing has improved the most. (That would be the 30k lost to corruption, for what it's worth.)

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

No. I hate romance, and I get enough of the angsty teen drama in my life (I'm currently a teen, and all my friends are teens, and the people at my school are so loud one can't help but hear everyone else's angst in the halls and things) that I don't want to write it. That's not to say I never write angst, but it's not of the "my life sucks so much everyone hates me no one understands me" variety. (I get enough of that in my head and at school, thanks much.)

16) What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

Wild areas, definitely. I don't get to write those sorts of places much, though, because I rarely get to scenes in stories and such that take place outside of a settled area. Also, I'm sure I don't do such places justice when I do write about them.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?

I'm working very hard to ignore my lovely SNI (Shiny New Idea) and focus on my pretty-well-but-not-quite-completely-developed SEVENTH MAGIC project, but I'm failing. I'm trying not to get sucked into working on two projects at once, but... at the same time, I think it might be an interesting exercise to try out.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Nope. I've been nominated for a school-related writing award, but those results won't come until this September or so.

19) What are your five favorite words?

Baleful, obfuscate, fate*, moor, echolocation.

*This is strictly due to sound. I despise fate in real life and literature. Too often, people take it as an excuse for just sitting back and doing nothing and letting stuff happen to them because "it's FATE this has to turn out this way." Ugh. Cry me a bloody angsty river already.

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Rachael, I think, from FOUR VISIONS. I didn't realize how much she acted like me (or, at least, the parts of me that I consciously recognize) until someone mentioned that she seemed a lot like me. I definitely wasn't going for that, though, and that aspect of the character really bugs me.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

They appear, usually with a name, with a personality fully formed. I rarely have to try to explore my characters. The problems with characters that I run into stem from the fact that their dimensions don't always translate properly onto the page.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Yes. Almost always. Most of my favorite stories came from dreams. DREAMERS did, and NORTHERN, and TIMELINE*, and a good many others that haven't gotten titles or anything yet.

*I actually don't remember what this project is. This answer has been preserved from when I first wrote this post manymany months ago. Go figure.

23) Do you favor happy endings?

I wouldn't know. I never get to the end. Usually, the stuff I finish ends well for the "good guys." I don't think I've ever written anything that ends badly for the protagonist(s).

Oh. Well. Maybe I have. A short story ends with the death of the POV character. But I don't really think of either character from that particular story to be any sort of "good guy" or "protagonist" because, well, they're both vampires. And I hate vampires. But they demanded I write their story, so... ugh.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Not consciously. I'm one of those freaks who can pound out perfect spelling and grammar without thinking about it. I catch almost every typo. This doesn't really affect my writing speed. I like it, because editing for grammar drives me nuts. I have friends who think I'm obligated to check their grammar, and friends who give me stuff and ask me to check grammar, and while I don't mind helping friends out, grammar checking is tedious and thankless and no one seems to implement even half of what I correct anyway. It'd be doubly annoying if I had to do it on my own stuff.

25) Does music help you write?

Yes. Until recently, I couldn't write while listening to music with lyrics, but now I can listen to any song and still be able to write. The problem with lyric music now is that sometimes I'd rather sing than write, and it sort of tends to show.

Oh, but an exception to the past lyric music rule: about three years ago, I think, I got the idea for SEVENTH MAGIC* and the soundtrack for Wicked within the same week, and proceeded to listen to Wicked while writing SEVENTH MAGIC, especially the song "No Good Deed." Now, I can't listen to a song from Wicked without feeling a certain measure of guilt for not yet having finished SEVENTH MAGIC. Sheesh. How many times can I plug in my own book's title?

*The very first idea, which bears only a vague resemblance to the current incarnation.

26) Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops in your head.

I've got several I can think of. Here goes.

1. He was... cute, I guess, but not the kind girls go all giggly over.

2. Death hurts. A lot. I should know--I've done it three times. Died, I mean.

3. I picked the legwarmer up with metal tongs, because there was no way I wanted to touch a possessed object with my bare hands.

4. Biker-looking guy. Pink, green polka-dotted, possessed legwarmer. A toy poodle named Blitzkrieg. Yes, this was going to be one of "those" cases.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's Just a Question of Clarity!

Clarity--or, rather, the lack thereof--really bugs me.

Now, since this is a writing blog, I will briefly assert that this post was inspired by writing.

And now, since I try to be more honest than that, I will admit that it was actually inspired by romanized Japanese. Oh, but, hey! That is, technically, writing, as it is, technically, written down, right? Right??

Clarity is something that some pieces of writing lack, to great effect. Other pieces lack the same, to a less-than-stellar effect. I'd like to wax philosophical on this, but the fact is, clarity is something I don't really get. I think that, for writers, clarity is something you can really only monitor and adjust the levels of through an outside reader's eyes. After all, as the writer, you know--or should know--the basics of everything you put on the page. Armed with that knowledge, the writer cannot always see--in fact, hardly ever sees--places where the clarity is lacking.

So, the moral of that is: beta/outside readers are ABSOLUTEly essential to understandable WRITE-ing.

No. No subliminal messages in this post. What, what, you think I'm that clever? (You could, of course, answer this in the affirmative. I won't complain!)

Just a small, token rant on what inspired this post: romanized Japanese.

First off, why wouldn't you at least learn the phonetic alphabet, if you wanted to learn Japanese? This makes no sense to me. It's like... like... eating cake intravenously. I mean, what's the point? How much of the culture can you really absorb, if you won't even learn the writing? Even the most reluctant, hard-headed, stubborn idiots in my first-level Japanese class picked up on the phonetic writing system in, like, a month, so any normal person should be able to do the same.

Second, if you are going to romanize any writing you do, why not do so in such a way that people reading can use to, say, learn the proper spelling of the words you use? Granted, this is only problematic when you consider elongated "o"s and "tsu" with a dakuten, but...

Well, I suppose, if you're not trying to teach a part of the language to people, it doesn't really matter what romanization system you use, but...

See, there are two ways to elongate the "o" sound: using the character represented by "u," and using the character represented by "o." Sometimes, the word can be completely changed by switching the elongation method. But, there are two ways I've seen to romanize Japanese words that do not allow a person to be sure of which way it goes.

Example One: one system indicates elongation by putting a line over the "o" (I have no idea how to write this on Blogger, or I'd put a better rendering).

Example Two: one system indicates elongation by putting an "oo", with no distinction between the "u" and the "o" method of elongation.

In both cases, a student of Japanese wishing to know how to render the word in kana can, at most, be reasonably sure of the elongation method.

For the "tsu" with a dakuten, the sound is pretty much always represented as "zu," which is identical to the representation for a completely different character.

Right. See what I mean about clarity?

...this has been a rant by example.

Monday, August 30, 2010

...Did *What* Now??

Picture this: You just watched a teacher you really, really dislike transform into a cobra the size of an apartment building. It is now trying to eat you. So, you turn on your heels and run. So far, natural response, right?

Now, your phone rings.

Do you: A) keep running; B) chuck the phone at the snake, hoping it'll decide it likes phone innards better than people guts; or C) answer the phone?

Well, if you tend towards the saner, smarter end of humanity, you probably picked either A or B. Only an idiot would pick C, right? I mean, avoiding the giant snake-monster would probably take precedence over answering the cell.

Apparently not everyone thinks so, because the character in the show I just ever-so-subtly described answered the probably non-lethal phone.

At this point, I totally missed everything the person on the other line said, because in my head I was going, "What the blazingflyingdefecating flying trout is this?" This thought took pretty much the entire phone conversation to complete, because, being opposed to cussing on general principle, I can't just think "What the ****?" and be done with it.

Who in their right minds takes the phone over avoiding death by cobra stomach acid?

This sort of idiocy jars me out of the story, whether it be a movie, TV show, or book. Well, I have yet to see something on such a giant-snake scale in a book, but I imagine an occurence like that would cause me to hurl the offending book against the wall, or the ceiling, thus ruining the popcorn stuff and sending asbestos raining down on my head, which would not be a good thing. (But again I digress. Ooh! Bug!)

How does everyone else react to illogical character reactions? Does it result in a blank screen or a dented wall? Or are you more forgiving than I am?

Or, in this phone-centric age, would it actually be more natural to pick the phone over the snake? Honestly, I'm not entirely sure I'd be surprised if this were the case.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Culture Shock

I've been in Oregon the last ten days or so, visiting my dad and his side of the family, and it's been quite an... interesting experience.

My family is the one poor family in two generations of hard workers and extremely wealthy, successful people on my dad's side. (This has a lot to do with the state of my dad's work ethic, but that's not the point here.) So I've grown up with the mindset that money is something to be put towards bills and food.

So I come to Oregon, and suddenly I'm thrust into this "culture" where people commonly spend upwards of $30 on a meal for two people.

My grandpa's a retired doctor. I have no clue what my aunts and uncles do, but they're all just as well off as my grandpa is, at least compared to my own family's financial state. Also, they're all very close. My cousins are real buddy-buddy with each other. (Not with me--my family has never been close to my extended family on my dad's side, mostly because of horror stories he's apparently told about my mother, none of which are true.)

I have never felt so uncomfortable.

These people have no problem spending money. Save three cents a gallon on gas if you've got a Safeway card? Oh, no, that's fine, it's just three cents. Leave a $20 tip? No problem. Spend over $100 on books in one day (something I have always wanted to do)? Pocket change.

This whole mindset of "price doesn't matter" is so completely alien to me. When I go to restaurants, particularly if someone else is paying, I get the cheapest thing possible. Here, the restaurants we've gone to, the cheapest thing is $14. This actually causes me physical discomfort. (Really, it does. I swear.)

And this has made me realize why I hate politics. Politics is the rich man's pasttime, in my world. People who don't make enough money to pay mortgage on a regular basis quite frankly don't have the time to listen to all the mudslinging people do in Washington that passes as political talk. Politics make people unpleasant and argumentative. There are a grand total of three people in my dad's side of the family who don't give a crap about politics, and they are me, my mom, and my sister. (Used to be my brother, too, but he's been corrupted recently.)

Right. I realize this is somewhat ranty, but I can connect this to writing! Really!

I will probably never be able to write well in the point of view of someone who doesn't care that they're paying $14 for chicken and dumplings. The whole idea of that rich-guy mindset is just so alien to me that I'd feel like a complete poser if I tried to capture that worldview through writing.

Anyone else feel that way about certain mindsets? Or am I just a freak? (Both options are equally possible, I assure you...)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nothing's As Expected, Apparently

Today, I officially finished my evil, evil Frankenstein essays. They are DONE. And the last one, I'm pretty sure, is going to get a big, fat F.

This is not me bemoaning my perceived lack of writing talent. (Well, actually, that's part of it, but we'll just pretend that's not the case for the sake of argument.) This is me realizing that the theme I argued in that essay is probably not an "accepted AP answer."

Let me share an anecdote. I'm sure it's not angsty or anything...


Third quarter, last year, we had a block period in English class to read a really interesting article by Annie Dillard and write an analytic essay response to it. I enjoyed the essay. It was about babies.

Ha! Despite the fact that my Google-fu sucks, after twenty minutes of fruitless searching, I finally remember a name from the text, and I have it: it appears to be an excerpt from Dillard's book For the Time Being, and was (as far as I recall/was able to Google-find) used at some point in an AP English test.

Anyway, to make things short, the excerpt is in the viewpoint of someone who is certainly not a nurse. This person describes a part of some obstetrics ward like a kind of assembly line, and just basically treats the whole thing like some giant baby factory.

The accepted AP answer for this is: nurses are disillusioned about babies. Without this, one cannot hope to get more than, like, a 3 on this essay, because if you don't get exactly this answer, you have gotten the wrong answer.

My answer? The narrator is disillusioned about babies. Why? Because all the imagery that is supposed to make us think nurses don't like babies after being around them so much is in the narrator's point of view. Thus, the narrator's view of the world colors the text, not a nurse's. (It is made very clear in several places that the narrator is not a nurse.)

I know that I got my answer partly because I view literature through the lens of a writer. And I was "wrong," because I got the "wrong" answer, because I do not get the right AP answers. I get the answers I think make more sense in the context of the fiction-y things that are happening in the text. Like the little issue of who's actually got the point of view.

But, had I written that in a proper AP exam, I would not have scored well.

Does this strike anyone else as, like, wrong?? English is all about analyzing stuff. How does a person analyze something incorrectly? Analysis is, practically by definition, individual to each person, with infinite variations colored by each person's life experiences. So how can you say that a person's analysis is "wrong"?

I encounter this in the whole AP English curriculum quite often. It gets me quite annoyed. But of course the English teachers think it's perfectly natural.

So, really, does anyone else feel this way, or is my whole view of analysis completely "wrong"? I'd hate to labor under the delusion that I'm in any way correct, or anything...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Not As Evil As All That, Really

I'd intended to post my backlogged rant on clarity today, but something happened that I have to comment on.

I have, officially, found a book I hate on principle more than Twilight.

(Gasp! Impossible! Surely you jest!)

No. It's true.

The book?


And not entirely (but, admittedly, partly) because I had to read it for school.

Modern interpretations of Frankenstein's monster, I think, tend to portray him as an unintelligent beast who can do naught but murder. (At least, that's my experience, although sometimes this is a bit skewed for comedic purposes.) I feel that such portrayals do the poor thing a great disservice.

For one, he taught himself to talk, and read, without any healthy human interaction.

This book sickens and disgusts me for one very powerful (in my mind) reason: the absolute bigotry.

People judge this poor monster because of his looks. Frankenstein himself, upon seeing the monster (he never even gets a name!) is sickened by the guy's ugliness. It's his own fault for making the poor creature all out-of-proper-human-proportion and ugly. It's not like the monster had any say in the matter.

Further, everyone treats him like a monster because of his looks. The one person who shows him kindness is the old blind man, and this because he is, indeed, blind. Frankenstein's creation is a very articulate, intelligent, kind person while talking with this man, which shows the potential he has in the world, if only people would ignore his ugly outer shell.

The worst part, of course, is that this view is presented as "good." Walton, who opens and closes the story through his letters to his sister, is enchanted by Frankenstein, describing him in terms that nowadays would have earned him the label "homosexual," and completely shares his view that the creature is a monster.

And then, the monster is remorseful that he caused his creator such suffering. And Walton still views him as a monster.

The monster should feel terrible remorse over killing people, and feel compassion for the suffering he inflicted on Frankenstein, but he treats Frankenstein like some martyr. The guy caused his own troubles by rejecting completely what he, in his pride and stupidity, created in the first place. The monster has no reason to revere Frankenstein, or call him--and I quote--"the select specimen of all that is worthy of love and admiration among men."

This whole thing makes me realize why I hate classics so much--they're filled with bigotry. I know that was simply the mindset of the times, but I simply can't stand books filled with misogyny and xenophobia when those things are presented as right and proper.

Ahem. And this concludes my indignant tirade against all things classic, but especially Frankenstein.

And, to you, Mr. Frankenstein: You are a poopy-face.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Goals. Goals? What Goals?


This is me in panic mode. Because I have only--

Wait, why is my computer clock stuck in February 2006?

Ahem. Sorry for the derail. Went to my handy calendar to check the date, and my computer is apparently not just a good twelve hours behind; it's a whole four years, six months, eight days, and twelve hours behind.

Not sure how that happened.

Ahem. Back to your regularly scheduled panicking.

I am panicking because I have only thirteen days left until school starts, and less than a week before my out-of-state vacation ends, and I reallyreallyreally need to get those Frankenstein essays done before Friday. And I haven't even finished the freaking book yet.

Ah, well. It's my own fault if I don't finish. Doesn't keep me from panicking, but keeps me from being too depressed. (Don't ask how. I have no clue. I'm just a freakish alienbrain like that.)

And now I don't remember why I started writing this blog post in the first place. This happens to me a lot, when writing, I think.

Ooh! I should blog about that!

Oh, right. I decided on my project for SeptNo, and will probably begin writing it before then. Meh. It's an unofficial NaNo-type challenge, after all, so I can just go with, "If I write 50k total on it in September, it still counts!"

Unless I finish it, in which case I count it anyway. Muahaha! I haz ebil laff!!!

What, me, slap-happy? Nah, can't be. I'm too awake to be tired.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Just PRETEND This Title Is Witty and Goal-Oriented

So, previously, I talked about goals, and the differences between ones that help you and ones that hinder you. So, now I'll take the time to be shamelessly egocentric. ('Cause, y'know, I've never been shamelessly egocentric before, or anything like that...) Ahem.

I'm in an... er... "honors" language arts program at my high school. I completely despise the program, and the teacher, but there are two very, very, very good reasons why I haven't dropped out. And there's one not-so-great reason, but hey--nobody's perfect, amirite?

1.) I really want the endorsement I get for finishing the thing. I mean, it's not like the national program--baccalaureate something-or-other, I think?--but it just sounds cool. I get an endorsement on my transcript! Awesomesauce! (Note: "Awesomesauce," or the use thereof, is a sure sign I've been spending too much time over at AW.)

2.) I refuse to quit things. I hate quitting things. I do that enough with my writing projects. Plus, the only time I quit something really BIG (a school musical), I felt horrible about myself afterwards. But mostly I don't want to be like Traitorboy, who quit the program and is now forever doomed to be tormented by those who remained.

3.) I really, really, REALLY want to do the big senior project. One, the teacher lets seniors have time to, say, work on writing (the theoretical focus of the class) instead of wasting their time with pointless "literary discussions." Two, I'm going to prove, once and for all, the thing I came so close to proving last year (twice): it is PERFECTLY POSSIBLE to write a whole freaking novel for the senior projects. Yes. Yes, it is. And I will prove this. And yes, this is petty, but I am proud to be petty if it means I finish a novel.

Anyway, the focus of this post is in the senior project. Sorry for the derail. I derail quite often, in case you can't tell from previous posts.

So. I decided, for the sake of getting the teacher off my back, to plan the steps of my project ahead of time. This is not something I do very often. It doesn't help much, so, uh... Well, anyway, I worked out a project plan, going up to December. And I thought I'd post these goals here, so that any loyal blog minions that might be lying around with nothing better to do can go ahead and poke me incessantly should I stray from this project plan and neglect these goals.

Heh, this is going to be a long post. Oh, well.

1. Plan project for SeptNo.
2. Write at least one short story.
3. Research at least ten agents and/or agencies.
4. Begin list of agents to query.
5. Blog. Weekly. At the least.

1. Participate in SeptNo. 50k FTW.
2. Revise last month's short story.
3. Research at least ten more agents and/or agencies.
4. Update list of agents to query.
5. Blog weekly at least.

Hm... y'know, I think I'll leave it at that for now. Around the end of September, I'll post a progress update. Or, at the least, I'll post the next two month's goals.

What? Me? Actually work on August's goals in a timely manner? Surely you can't be serious.

...somehow, a lack of AW smilies detracts from any sort of smiley effect one might attach to a post. Ah, woe...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And.... GOOOAAAL!!!

Yes, well, I spent a good half-hour last night trying to come up with something witty to call this post, and I got nuthin'. So, you get this title. Sorry muchly.

So, goals. Goals are shiny. Goals can really help writers, I think, because they can give a person a concrete place to aim for, and a way to measure progress and thereby think he or she is doing something right.

Let me call attention to the key word up there: concrete.

Certain "goals" are not actually goals, but hopeless wishes. A goal--one that can actually benefit the goal-setter--is something that you, personally--"you" being the "goal-setter"--has the ability to attain without regard for outside influences that directly impact the fulfilling of the goal.

So, a "workable" goal, for writing, would be: I will write twelve chapters this month. A non-workable one would be: I will become able to support myself through my writing and give up my day job.

Why is the second one unworkable? Because, quite frankly, the odds of being able to make a complete living off of writing are about the size of a quark. Or, like, one-millionth in 4,866,723,609,127 times infinity. Probably less. (Naturally, these odds only apply if you actually write, which is another post in and of itself.)

Setting unrealistic goals for yourself is only going to hinder you. So, set goals you have a chance of completing. Stuff that relies on you doing it (ignoring possibilities of illness or whatnot), and not on some happy miracle deciding to settle on you (like the above example, and winning the lottery or whatever).

I've been setting goals lately. Writing goals. Which I now think I may save for another post. Because this one seems to be getting a little long.

And, for no particular reason at all...

If you find yourself at a crossroads, and bad guys are coming for you in three directions, take them out for ice cream. Bad guys are notorious for their severe ice cream allergies.

Next time: More shiny, shiny goals!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Refreshed and Ready for Another Go

What, no posts since May? Oh, shame on me. Shame.

Well, looking back on my last post, can I just say: bitter much? Yes, life sucks, but it's much more bearable when it's both fun *and* sucky.

Right. So, the blog has undergone many changes. All aesthetic, of course. (Me? Make a useful change? Pssh. As if.) The most dramatic, naturally, is--or will be--this rule:

No. More. Whiny. Posts.

So, loyal blog minions (*cough*if you exist*cough*) feel free to poke me mercilessly if I break this rule.

This post would be longer, but this computer I'm using is missing both the left shift and the "A" key, and is driving me nuts. Will have more patience tomorrow.

Also tomorrow: Goals! Shiny, shiny goals.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Summer. Yay.

Well, looks like I survived AP. Somehow.

And look, school's ended. I'm so happy. Now I get to spend my summer resting! ...not.

So, what happened to summer vacation being... y'know... a vacation? I have craptons of homework for AP English and AP Chemistry. Thank heavens AP Calc and AP Government decided not to invade my summer. Not that it makes much of a difference. I'm looking at, at the very least, a good 50 hours of homework, probably more, because it looks like I'll need to do extra review for the chem assignment since I last took a chem class two years ago.

What? Me? Complain? Never...

Although, happy things do happen. For one, looks like I'll get to host a Japanese exchange student long-term (a few months, anyway) next year. Very, very excited about that, even if it means I have to help my mom clean the entire house this summer. Plus, I may be getting an online Japanese penpal this summer.

...too bad my email program won't seem to display Japanese characters. Not sure if it's the computer or the program, but so far I haven't been able to figure it out.

Also, this is the Writing Summer. College essays, many. Short stories, hopefully many. Novels, hopefully at least one. I'm setting aside the first hour or three of my mornings for writing. We'll see how well that works out.

Because, you know, the best-laid plans...

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Well, that weird analogy from the other day about bad dialogue got me thinking.

I'd say I'm at least semi-decent at dialogue. At the very least, I can recognize the really, really bad stuff (I think) and I know that mine isn't quite that bad. But I could be wrong, which would frankly suck.

Anyway. I thought I'd share a few thoughts on what, to me, can drag dialogue down.

1. The classic "As You Know, Bob" line. Most of the time, these lines seem to really jump out, but sometimes they're very subtle. (I totally had an example of a subtle line until just now... I hate when that happens!)

Non-subtle: "Hello, Bob. It is I, your brother, who has been missing for over five thousand years."

Subtle...ish: ... ... I still got nothing. Maybe these lines aren't subtle. But I swear I had an example for this one...

2. Lack of contractions. Of course, this mostly applies to native speakers of a language, as you wouldn't expect a language student to necessarily contract things. But someone who grew up in, say, the US (because that's the only sort of English I know, heh) probably wouldn't say:

"I will go there now. Do not follow me. I cannot protect you."

(Okay, to be fair, I doubt anyone would say the above like that, but... ahem. Moving on.)

3. Talking like a textbook.

I'm on the staff of my school's literary magazine, and we've got this twenty-page story in there (these are regular sized pages, twelve-point font--it's a freaking novella). Overall, it's a great story, with a pretty unique take on the whole "zombie pandemic" theme. But... the dialogue is not that great.

Why? Because the people talk like they're narrating.

It's hard to describe. I think the biggest thing that struck me was that a lot of the characters use parallelism. Not that I'm dissing parallelism. Actually, I think it really bolsters writing. But I, for one, don't hear people on the street using it. (Maybe that's because I'm in high school, where the average IQ is roughly that of swamp gas, but... we'll look over that for now.)

Of course, if it weren't dialogue, it would be amazing writing. Try this: think of your favorite passage of narration. Or just any passage of narration you think is well-written. Can you imagine a person saying that passage in a casual conversation? (Ignoring, of course, the topic of said passage.) It would probably sound off. (Well, maybe not if it's in first person, but even so...)

4. ... ... ...nah, that's it.

Soo.... yeah. Dialogue. It's really hard. (Actually, writing this, I'm starting to worry maybe all my dialogue *does* sound awful...) But I don't think a bad dialogue writer can't improve. There's always room for improvement.

At the least, I hope I've given you something to think about. If not, I obviously haven't done my job. ('Cause I ALWAYS do *that*...)

Emphasizing words is fun...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Viruses, How I Loathe Thee...


It seems that Vista Smart Security 2010 is a virus of some sort. Malware. Is there a difference? Anyway, I kind of guessed, because I'd had a virus once before that was all like "ZOMG!!! U gotz spywarez!!! Buy this nao n killz it!!!" Also, I couldn't find the so-called program anywhere, and I figured if it was legit, I could remove it. Also, the "scan" it runs claims there's a virus in an excellent program I bought new and installed ages ago, which I've never had problems with.


Ah, well. Viruses stink, what can I say? Like dialogue.

Bad dialogue is like a virus. It can look as legit as it wants, but all it does is weigh down the story.

I take pride in finding odd analogies for things.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oh, the Menagerie...


Can't live with 'em. Can't live without 'em. Can't write anything with 'em, either. I've got one cat wailing in the background while simultaneously knocking over anything that makes an audible crash. The other cat thinks I'm some sort of chair and tries to sit on my arms every five minutes, which impedes my typing progress. The dog whines every two-point-eight-six-five nanoseconds because she thinks there's room on the computer chair for her. Finally, the four rats make this horrendous racket as they grapple for possession of a single lab block (food).

Because it's not like there's, I dunno, seven other pieces of food in the dish.

Although, what with being sick and having no way to write on my personal computer, thus being forced to work on the Internet computer with all its distractions, the pets are hardly the worst.

My computer is officially out of commission until I can get that bleeping Vista Smart Security 2010 crap off. I'm not even connected to the Internet and it pops up every minute or so, warning me about supposed spyware infections. Maybe my computer IS infected, but, hey! No Internet connection. According to the VSS2010 program, practically the whole world is monitoring my computer usage.

So, what with all that, I've been forced to do most of my writing longhand, which really sucks, because my hands cramp really bad after the first few minutes and then it's a pain to keep going. At least I have this computer for the moment, since my mom's off at work. I *should* be at school, not missing important notes, but I'm sick. Ugh.

Oh, well. At least I've got a good project going. It's urban fantasy. Unfortunately, I'm worried that my protagonist is getting too cliche. She's kind of... well, a smart mouth. But she's so fun to write. I'm the type of person who wishes she could be witty all the time--or at least some of the time--so I get vicarious thrills from writing all of this character's awesome retorts.

She nicknames an antagonist "Muffin." If only for that reason, she is currently my favorite character.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Occupational Hazards

Whew! I'm back from a refreshing week of housesitting, armed with new lufferly insights! Now, now--don't all groan in excitement at once, you hear?

You hear about occupational hazards all the time. Researchers of deadly diseases might contract the diseases themselves. Zoo workers might get eaten by their charges. Writers might fall into despair and kill themselves because they're sure that "It's just not for us" is code for "u suck we all hate u go get a real job not writing this crap".

Housesitters also have occupational hazards. Besides the usual--burglars, housefires, alien abductions--you have certain dangers unique to particular houses. The hazard I faced this last week can be summed up in two words: Demon. Cat.

The people I was sitting for are old friends of my mom's. I've known them my whole life. They've always had criminal numbers of cats. Right now, it's four. Not that I mind--I've got two cats of my own, I'm not allergic, and three of the said four kitties definitely do not pose a significant threat to my health.

However, the fourth cat is Demon Cat. Also known as "Oni Neko," which is Japanese for "somebody put that cat in a freaking asylum because it's going to kill someone really soon."

The hair on the back of my neck prickled so much I thought I was getting allergic to cats after all. Practically every time I turned around, there *he* was. Demon Cat. Glaring at me with those evil yellow eyes of his. I was almost afraid to go to sleep at night, sure that I wouldn't wake up again. Or, if I did, it wouldn't be for long, because DC would be... well... eating me.

I did, indeed, survive. The cost was great. I may never get that patch of hair to grow back. But it was worth it. One word: FastInternet. Hah! I cheated. But it's one word. So there.

Hm... wit. Some people have it. Some don't. Haa...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

Okay, being on the Internet right now might not be the best of ideas. I just tried to spell "decisions" with first an initial "des" and then a "desc." Twice. Each. Ugh. The funny thing about being me is I never get to look back on stuff I wrote when I was really tired or typing really fast and giggle at some serendipitously hilarious typo I made because I catch a good 99.999999% of them.

And now I can't remember why I titled this "Decisions, Decisions." Dang, there I go with the almost-typoing again!

Oh, wait, now I remember. (Don't give groans of appreciation all at once, now, hear?)

So, I was planning out some maybe slightly witty-ish blog post in my head (as I try to do because I pretty much have no spontaneous wit section in my brain, woe is me) and an odd little discussion occurred. Yes. I started debating with the blog post that hadn't even been written yet. I wasn't even sure I was going to post tonight. But I digress.

Lilli: Blah blah (I don't remember what this part was, in case you can't tell) blah... I love Japanese grammar... blah... grammar... blah... drug of choice... blah...

Post: This is boring. Do I have to come into existence?

Lilli: If I want you to. Yes. Yes, you do.

Post: Shouldn't you be writing something else?

Lilli: (Here goes the Stare of Intimidation.) Like what?

Post: Two words: Urban. Fantasy.

Lilli: ...I have no idea what you're talking--

Post: You sound just like Jaina there.

Lilli: ...

Post: Remember? That one character you think is funny? The one you were giggling madly over while writing that scene today--

Lilli: Maybe I want to procrastinate.

Post: You always want to procrastinate.

Lilli: It's legitimate! I... I have a fear of commitment! And intimacy! Even when talking about a fictional story!

Post: You know those people on AW with finished books? (Awkward pause.) Yeah. Them. You could totally do that if you spent half the time you spend complaining about how you can't write on writing.

Lilli: Was that grammatically correct?

Post: I refuse to formulate until you start writing something productive. Other than me.

Lilli: ...I hate sentient posts. (Here goes the Glare of Ultimate Rabbit-Infested Doom.)

Bah. That wasn't exactly how it played out, but that's the gist. I've decided I'm going to write some more of my currently favored WIP. With breaks for random shows in Japanese.

Have I mentioned yet that I almost literally get high on learning new Japanese grammar constructs?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On Breaking Twilights...

...and other screwed-up titles.

Lots of people dislike Stephenie Meyer. I've been thinking lately. I think some of the hate might be jealousy, but a lot of it is that Twilight is crap.

I'm not going to get into it. Honestly, I'm sick of anti-Twilight ranting, both from other people and from me. Twilight has... a very, very few good points, I think. And Stephenie Meyer isn't necessarily a bad writer just because she churned out the Twilight books.

A list! List! List frenzy! I can has list? Hoo... I think I'm slap happy! ...does that need a hyphen?


A random Stephenie Meyer-related list of wonder! !! !!! !!!! (Enough with the freaking exclamation points. Sheesh.)

1. I actually like part of Twilight. Namely, the part between the "preface" and the part where Mr. Sparkly Melodrama Pants comes in. After that, I hate it. It just took me four books to figure that part out.

2. I loved The Host. And I still do. I love the characters and the idea, and I usually hate alien invasion stories.

3. Ergo, I think SMeyer is only a bad writer in terms of the Twilight books.

4. Why on earth was there ever any debate on who Obsessive Girl was going to end up with? Hm. Mr. Sparkly Pants vs. Mr. Angsty Werewolf. MAW was a convenient plot tool in the first book. OG is the female lead. Female leads don't fall in love with convenient plot tools.

5. I love the MAW's chapters in the fourth book. Or, rather, the titles. Freaking hilarious. I wish I had wit.

Seriously. Wit is nice. Wit makes people like you. If I had wit, my life would be perfect. [/scapegoat]

Is SMeyer ever going to write something else? I'd love to read another book like The Host.

On an unrelated note...

I'm so sick of getting new ideas. I just need to finish something. Stupid lack of self-discipline. Stupid Internet--it's such a distraction. Stupid scapegoating. [/scapegoat2]

I jump from project to project way too much. Who says I've got attention defi--ooh! Shiny!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


So, I've been doing some thinking lately. Life sucks. I've known this for a long time. I'm a pessimist. I've known this for awhile, too. Something I haven't really been able to believe, though, is that happiness is, at least partly, a choice.

I tend towards the negative side. It's just my natural attitude. And I don't remember very often to try to be happy. That's just a foreign concept to me--either I'm happy or I'm not. I've never been good at trying to be happy. But being in this play has taught me something.

I had a bad experience with the previous show. There was just too much stress involved and I wasn't enjoying it because I really have a hard time respecting the director. He's not very effective, and that put a lot of stress on me because I have this tendency to worry about stuff I don't have control over--like whether we'd get the whole show blocked before opening night. The same thing happened with this show. I almost quit because of it. The only reason I didn't was because said director--and my relatively few friends in the theatre group--are really persuasive.

I hated doing this show, pretty much up until opening night. The final rehearsal, the day before the first performance, was great, however. And I didn't really get why at first, until I figured out that I'd been trying to like the show, because I missed enjoying theatre.

And there's the kicker. Once I realized that trying to like it helped, I tried to enjoy the performances. Guess what? It worked. I'm in love with the theatre again, and if only for that reason, sticking with the show was totally worth it.

So, I'm not promising results, but from now on I'm going to try to look on the bright side of things. Like I said, doing so is unnatural for me. But maybe if I do it long enough, it'll become a habit. And maybe by doing so, I'll become funny, and reading my blog will be slightly more fun than porcupine juggling.

Huh. Somehow I thought that would be wittier. Oh, well...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Day Away From Death

Whew. That was exciting. I just wrote a lovely little rant about my theatre woes. So glad I got that off my chest.

Long story short--this coming week I'll be at school from 7:30 to probably well past 10:30 due to both classes and the ever-so-lovely school play that I would love to quit. To put this in perspective, I usually go to sleep around 8:00 or earlier, and if I don't, I usually crash around 8:30. So that's just going to be lovely. On top of that, I'm getting sick.

But I am absolutely not complaining, because this is me being POSITIVE about the play. Because I am a POSITIVE person. And I am POSITIVE I will end up deathly ill or worse because of this stupid play that I stupidly allowed myself to be talked out of quitting by both my director and a few drama nerd friends. I miss being a drama nerd. My school's drama program has slowly but steadily sapped away my love of theatre. Likely, this will be the last school play I ever audition for. I totally just depressed myself.

Anyway, I'm really trying to be positive about things (hard to tell, huh?). It's kind of hard for me under normal circumstances, though, and I've felt miserable for the past two days. And I'm so not looking forward to this coming week. I'm only half-convinced I'm going to die from it, but that half is quite extremely convinced of it.

On a lighter note, my writing's going semi-okay-ish. I got an idea for a short story that I think I can actually handle writing, and I might just get around to it and the other two shorts I've been thinking about during all my off-stage time at the uber-long rehearsals coming up. Man, am I wordy.

I got pretty harsh in my review of some pieces submitted to the school's literary magazine, which I'm on the staff of. (That sentence sounds really awkward.) The funny thing is, though, it was only harsh because I was too tired to censor myself. Usually, I write down every strong point I see and only point out one or two of the weakest points. Today, going through the packet, I just wrote down every weak point. Every strong point, too, but I think I was a little too tired and frustrated to notice the points I usually would have. It didn't help that I hadn't taken my antidepressants yet. In retrospect, not the greatest idea, but to be fair, I was perfectly fine when I started on the packet. However, reading endless pages of grammar-mistake-laden prose can really fray my nerves, no matter how good said prose is when looking beyond the mechanics. Number one strong point in the pieces: good voice.

I also realized I get way more technical with my criticisms and praise with the lit mag submissions than anyone else does. Maybe it comes from having frequented writers' forums for the past, I dunno, four or five years, and obsessively reading writing articles. Too bad I didn't write as much as I read about writing. Then maybe I'd have a good-sized working portfolio.

I feel cynical. Man, I hate Sunday nights. Too close to Monday.

This rant has been brought to you by the letter I.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

On Outlines

A quick update: The water's back on, thankfully, though now the washing machine's totally broken. School continues to disrupt my plans for consistent posting. I have a major case of writing-phobia, which means I've hardly written anything since my JaNo story died at somewhere between 22k and 30k. And I still can't bring myself to write out of chronological order.

Lots of writers disagree on lots of points about writing. However, it seems the biggest debate of them all focus on the planning process, or lack thereof. I am speaking, of course, about Outlines vs. Winging It.

Now, I have nothing against either method. I've tried both. Neither has gotten me to finish a novel, of course, but both have gotten me past the 20k mark on separate projects, so I think I can work with both.

I like outlines. They're nice little guidelines to follow. This is the general path the story will follow. As far as I know, the biggest problem wingers have with outlines is that outlines theoretically "stifle creativity." I can see where some people might have problems in this way with outlines. If a person sticks too closely to the outline, without allowing it room to change or completely divert its path, the story can become stunted and unpalatable. However, the key word there is "allow." I had a lovely, well-thought-out outline for my 2009 NaNo project that went all the way from beginning to end. When I actually started writing, though, I replaced a major character, and then changed the nature of a setting, and it completely changed the story. I had to fix the outline. I did, up to a point. If I'd just stuck with the outline, I think the story would have suffered for it. But I allowed the story to change, and the outline with it.

I can also see where people who dislike winging projects come from. Having no structure can make things much more difficult than they need to be, especially for certain people with mild obsessive tendencies (like me). Winging it can be a good thing too, though, because it puts less pressure on following a set path and allows you to follow different avenues in the story, possibly leading to something that could seriously strengthen your story. My JaNo project proceeded as a winging project, though I had a sort of rough mental outline. At some point, a character disappeared. I hadn't intended her to disappear. Actually, it was sort of funny; one of the major characters was freaking out because that character (we'll call her K) wasn't around, and I was freaking out, too, because K wasn't supposed to leave. She was sort of like this glue I needed to hold the other characters to their sanity, and her disappearance caused all sorts of problems. But then I realized she'd been captured by a new character I'd never thought of before. Turned out he played an integral role in the overall storyline. Or will, actually, because I haven't finished it yet.

I've had good experiences with both methods. Personally, whether or not I use an outline depends on the project; some projects lend themselves more easily to my outlining style than others. My outlined projects are often the only projects with a definite ending--or hint of one, anyway.

My approach seems quite sensible to me, but then of course that's a natural response. Probably a person wouldn't think his or her own preferred method of doing something is insensible. It's almost like an ego thing, I'd think.

Gosh, I love writing...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wretched Water Worries


So, yesterday, the pipes at my house either froze or broke. We have absolutely no water.

We've been hoping the pipes only froze, because if they broke we are in deep manure. See, fixing a broken pipe--and the only metal pipe we have left is buried underground--would cost roughly a thousand bucks, which we definitely don't have. All we can do is wait and see.

Needless to say, it's been really difficult dealing with the lack of water. My mom had me hauling in about a dozen buckets full of snow (at least, for the moment, we have about a foot of snow outside piled up from all the storms we've had over the past week or so...) to melt so we have water with which to flush the toilet. We had almost no drinking water whatsoever yesterday, which was an issue; my four rats went almost the entire day without water. Luckily, we had some frozen water bottles in the freezer, so when those thawed out we had at least a little.

Today, some friends from church are supposed to come over and bring us some bottled water. So things should be good, at least until we figure out if the pipes froze or broke.

Whew... writing about real-world worries is strangely exhausting. So now I'll touch a bit on some writing news.

Last night, I discovered something odd: I managed to use three examples of very obvious alliteration within 350 words of each other.

"bored beyond belief"
"seemingly solid surfaces"
"some semblance of sanity"

I really hate alliteration. I very rarely use it. My excuse for the above atrocities is that it was eleven at night and I was freaking out about whether or not I'd get my 2k done. Somehow I managed, and I also wrote 230 words about what's going to end up happening next, so I don't think I have to worry about running out of materials too soon.

Water trouble + alliteration = really tired Lilli.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Wordle Mania

I officially blame hope101 for this post. Without her amazing post about Wordle, I would never have discovered the procrastination-worthy fun of making word cloud things. (Note: I apologize for the linking frenzy. But the pages above are just so... linkable...)


Wordle: Dreamers

And that is the word cloud thing, made with Wordle, for my current WIP (work-in-progress). The working title is "Dreamers," until I find something I like better. Like "obfuscate." "Obfuscate" is a good word. Yes, it is.

Funnily enough, "that" did not feature as prominently as I expected that particular word to feature. That's odd. I use "that" altogether too often, at least that I know of. (Ha! Ha! See what I did there? I think that I'm clever...)

And in other writing news, I have discovered two wonderful little things--let's call them "feathers"--that I am putting away in my writer's toybox to use later in my WIP. Last night, I discovered, in the course of getting my WIP up to 14k, that certain little things happen in my stories that might have a chance of appearing later. Like demon-amoeba-in-a-jar. (No, I am not making that up. It's urban fantasy. Sort of.) And the natural leader of the little protagonist group going missing. Turns out she's been kidnapped by a crazy demon. Which will definitely affect the way future events turn out.

Woah. Like, seriously. I totally had not realized until just now how that character's absence would affect the other characters.

I so cannot WAIT to write that part! Too bad it's still a good 4 or 5k away... Sniff...

Wordle: Wordle Mania

And this one was made from the content of this post (excluding this paragraph). And now I know why "that" was missing from the first one: apparently, Wordle ignores the word "that," because it is a "common English word." Meh. Oh, well. We all know where "that"'s rightful place is!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Joys of the Writing Life

So far for 2010, I have managed to write around 2,000 words per day. Naturally, this makes me EXTREMELY happy.

NaNo was a really good idea for '09, and I can't wait for November of this year to roll around. In fact, it turned out so well (even though I failed miserably), I've decided to attempt a personal NaNo every other month in 2010, starting January. Conveniently, my "personal" NaNo schedule includes November, so I'll be doing the official NaNo this year, too.

For those not in the know: NaNo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Long story short: you write 50,000 words in 30 days, for about 1667 words a day.

I can write fast, as I discovered during NaNo. I can pound out 2k in an hour and a half, easy--assuming that I'm not having trouble stringing sentences together, which happens more than I'd like. Of course, the stuff I write doesn't turn out to be the best quality, but considering that the NaNo pace (for me) isn't different from my taking-the-time-to-consider-the-options pace, the first-draft quality of both turns out roughly the same.

So, NaNo taught me the value of backing up. Sometime around the seventeenth--I forget the exact date--I had a really bad writing day. Like, REALLY bad. It took me an hour to write a hundred words, and I ended up scrapping those. In desperation, since I had no idea where to take the plot next and I had not quite accepted the NaNoer's philosophy of "it doesn't have to make sense," I printed out what I had to show to my brother, who usually serves as my first reader, to get his take on it. Luckily, I had a good 2k extra words from better writing days in the past, so I'd still be on track if I didn't write that day. My computer had some problems when I took the flash drive out, but I thought nothing of it. My ONLY copy of the 30k or so words I'd written was on that flash drive.

The next day, I found that my file was corrupted.

I tried everything to fix it. I even downloaded some freeware off the Internet that promised to save the file (stupid, stupid, stupid--the freeware gave my computer a very annoying Trojan virus), though that didn't work. Nothing worked. If it weren't for the fact that I'd printed out everything I had up to that point, I'd have lost everything.

The whole thing upset me so much that I quit NaNo at that point. It didn't help that it fell right in the middle of my school play drama. So I completely failed NaNo in '09.

But I discovered something: when I set a regular writing schedule (as in words per day), my writing output increases dramatically. I'm less likely to put off writing, and when I write so many words a day, eventually I have to finish something. Thus, the personal NaNo goal was born.

At the moment, I'm somewhere between 12k and 14k in the novel I'm working on this month, and I haven't fallen behind even once. I like the story, I have a fair idea what's going to happen that should last me to at least 30k, and I also have some things that happened before the point I started the story at that I can work on if I hit a plot block once I run out of chronological material. (And it's saved to four different files in several different physical locations, so hopefully I won't lose it this time.) I AM going to "win" this personal NaNo, even if it kills me!

...well, maybe not quite. But it's the thought that counts.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Death Is Me -- Not

I did NOT die.

So, with school and everything, I started losing track of that wonderful little thing known as "time". Before I knew it, one week had gone by... then two weeks... and then there was a HUGE issue with the school musical, which somehow screwed with my schoolwork, health, and writing. Which reminds me, I have good writing news to share. Well, okay-ish news.

I am not dead, and I think I will try to resuscitate this lufferly little blog, but no promises. I am now going into the second semester of my junior year, and I need to prepare for two or three AP tests and the ACT while simultaneously dealing with craploads of schoolwork, idiotic classmates, and trying to keep to my newly made goal of 2,000 words per day.


Typing all that up has now made me very, very terrified. It so doesn't help that I already know the novel I'm working on now has to be trunked, as I don't have the skill to pull off its execution quite yet.

I should probably go write now. Le sigh...