Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Waiting Game

Now PlayingTrocadero - First Wave and Good Fight (Red Vs. Blue OST)


In the months between Ataraxia and Millennium Girl, I became very fixated with jumping onto another project rather quickly. I did this mostly because I'd come to accept that no amount of editing could make Ataraxia publishable. That is unless I scraped the whole thing and rewrote 90% of it. But it was mostly because I felt anxious and weird and desperate now that I had no WIP.

So I'd start up something, close it, start up with it again, ignore it for a couple of days, then start up again. I gave up this somewhere near the end of September. Because Ataraxia was finished right in the beginning of that month, I didn't really have to wait long for NaNo. October was a busy month for me. In addition to essays, I had a couple of short stories due for my workshop class. (The first draft of The Way Out Is Through was to be turned in October 11, if I remember correctly).

I worked on them whilst looking forward to finally winning NaNoWriMo. I was a college freshman/junior (lolcredits) rather than high school senior (or freshmen, if we're going back to the ancient times), so clearly I had more self-discipline and time.

Because I'd spent such a long time thinking about this particular story, I thought it'd be pretty easy. In fact, I had most of the mythology down, as well as the major plot points. I was looking forward to getting to know the world and characters.

Then November came around and I fucking tanked it. I don't even remember properly breaking 20k words. And seeing how Redemption ended NaNo at 40k, Ataraxia at 30k, and this last few weeks I discovered my 10k-a-week ability, I should have come to the realization the story wasn't working for me. What other reason could there be? I wasn't crazy busy--not more than usual--and 20k a month is just...odd for me. Really odd.

I needed the break desperately, but I didn't want to accept it. Even after tanking NaNo I went around trying to write snippets of other stories, edit Ataraxia, do some world building, listen to great music to get inspired, all that stuff.

But I also needed to learn to let go. Anne and Jane, Jacob and Arkana, Hitomi and Nikki, Isadora and Luna, Amber and Miranda...they've been in my head for a couple of years now. Sometimes I try and imagine what it'd be like to return to them and write a line of dialogue or two. But it never works.

Sonya and Caesar were with me for a year before I started working on their novel. I occasionally saw Wendy and Yuki a couple of months before they wandered into Millennium Girl, but the idea of Lilith came to me about three weeks or less before I started her novel. Clearly, I needed that break.

So all in all, it was about four months before I started work on something new. (And actually stuck to it).

But those four months? Torture. It was like I was twelve years old again, struggling with a million projects, thinking I'd never finish anything. Which is a stupid thought that hits me no matter what I finish. Even at that age, when I was done with The Night Kingdom, I thought I'd never be able to do it again. Then I wrote my largest novel yet and still thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime-thing. So guess what? Neither of my recent COMPLETED manuscripts assure me that I'll actually finish anything else. In that period between September 2013 and January 2014, I was constantly anxious and terrified.

And it's not like I didn't write! I wrote three short stories and who knows how many blog posts, not to mention the essays and detailed critiques I produced during the semester. But it's like I needed to be working on a novel or I'd feel like a failure forever.

So now, at the end of Millennium Girl, that anxiety has returned. I got my mom to print all 400something pages at her work and then got it bound at Office Depot. Now it's in a paper bag, hanging out in the middle of the apartment. I'm not allowed to touch it for four to six weeks. And this waiting is driving. Me. Insane.

All I can think about is how much it sucks, how the prose is emotionless, how limited my vocabulary is, how the characters are one dimensional, and how much of a cop-out that stupid fucking ending was, and GHAAAA.

There are only two things keeping me from giving up on it: 1) I already made my mom print the whole thing out and 2) I'm legitimately terrified I'm going to keep abandoning projects because they're "just not good enough." And it's like...no shit they're not good enough. They're first drafts written by a spacey teenager. The only way they'll improve is if I actually have some faith and work on them.

That doesn't mean I don't know when to move on. I know moving on from all the other novels was ultimately beneficial to me. But I don't want to overdo it either. I can't give up all the time, especially when I don't honestly have something else to work on.

But why do I feel so anxious? I finished Ataraxia, I finished Millennium Girl. They're both over 100k words long and I finished the latter way faster than the former. (Granted, I didn't stop in the middle of it to work on something else or had college applications/classes on the way but still)

It makes me anxious to have back burner projects. Or to think about all the stories I haven't told yet that are just knocking around in my head. But I need to calm down. Lose myself in some reading, maybe go back to a few video games, or start running again.

It's also like I don't even know what the hell kind of writer I am. I say I don't rely on inspiration, but clearly if I didn't, I'd have a hell of a lot more stories done. But if I did, I would have never finished anything in the first place. Is there some annoying balance in there? It's also not even lack of love. I love all my characters--even the unwritten ones. That still doesn't mean I'll finish--or hell, start--their stories.

And worst of all, if I am a hack right now, the only hope I have is that I'll get better. In the far....far, far, far, far, FAR future.

AND I AM TOO IMPATIENT DX. I know, I know, It's not a race, it's a marathon. No one gives a shit if you published at nineteen or twenty-eight or forty or eighty-three. It's not about other people. It's about me. I want to be published and established by the time I'm in my mid twenties. Why? I have no clue. It's not like I'm incapable of seeing myself as a middle-age woman. It's not like I don't know this kind of thing takes forever. So why the impatience?

I'd blame my age, but I really need to stop trying to rationalize everything with "well...I am eighteen."

I don't know how the editing process for Millennium Girl is going to go. I have this distinct fear that I'm going to want to give up on it before summer's even over.

I'm making a promise; I'm going to give it my all. Because even if it goes nowhere, I need to learn to stick to one project and see it through to the end. That used to mean finish a first draft, but since we've established that's only the beginning, I'm setting a new goal.

I'm not making a promise to calm down because, well, it ain't gonna happen. Still, I'll try to remind myself to take things slowly.

New ideas will come. They always do. >_> Just...gotta...stop...obsessing...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Novel Completed!

Now Playing: Hiroyuki Sawano - E.M.A and Rittai Kidou (Shingeki No Kyojin OST)

Title: Millennium Girl
Genre: Urban fantasy
Protagonist: Lilith Fay* Fontaine
Started: January 9, 2014
Finished: June 17, 2014
Word count: 110k words (15 chapters, 405 Word pages)


*throws confetti*

Quick background: This idea started out during Winter Break, mostly since I finished Beyond Two Souls. I think I mentioned this before, but there's a scene near the end of the game that stuck with me. Just as Jodi's struggling through this chaotic area (trying to be vague so not to spoil) she starts changing through different stages of her life, from a young woman to a small child. This gave me the idea for an immortal character who could revert to different ages (and I ended up thinking about the Doctor's regeneration when considering limitations).

Then a few weeks later I found this picture: Rain by Omen2501 on DeviantArt**

And even though Lilith doesn't entirely look like the girl in the artwork anymore, I couldn't stop thinking about her. It was very strange and kind of sudden. But I'm glad she found me.

Couple of things:
  • I've discovered I could hypothetically be an above average drafter. When I concentrated continuously, I managed to write 10k words a week, and wrote more in two months than I did in the entire semester. 
    • So the question is, WHERE THE HELL was this speed ability during the last two NaNo's? D:<
  • I am horrible at endings >_> I'm probably rewriting that part like a thousand times.
  • I also have to rewrite the beginning, but at least that's a bit easier and I know exactly how to fix it.
    • Done! It added about 2k words, which I just factored into the word count here. I can do the fancy printing and shinny red pen attack now. (Well, after a few weeks.)
  • If there's a will, there's a way >_> I managed to work in multiple fight scenes, free falling, explosions, and one motorcycle chase. 
    • Had to resist senseless product placement here >_> But if it gets published, the scene is still there, the line hasn't been discontinued, and anyone is wondering, Lilith uses a yellow Suzuki GSX-R600. 
    • (In my defense, this song--DOA by Aimee Blackschleger--made me do it. I couldn't listen to it and not write in a motorcycle scene).
  • I am incapable of properly figuring out chapter lengths. Gha!
  • I'm also kind of terrible at fleshing out my side characters. They feel whole and complete to me, but duh, I'm the writer. I don't think readers will see what I see.
  • I'm questioning the last chapter. It starts off a bit abstract, which could be understandable due to the circumstances, but might not really have a big impact.
    • Also this part got build up...a lot. And I'm 99% certain it would disappoint people.
  • OH. And I seriously have to stop using fire and electricity as pain metaphors @_@ There are a million ways to hurt in this world, after all.
This was surprisingly fun, despite the pain. Last night was particularly stressing. After spending an all-nighter getting to the climax, I hit a block. I never know how to end these damn books! At around 10 am yesterday, I decided to take a nap. Some six hours later I woke up and went to work despite being still a bit disoriented. I didn't get far >_>

I joked around with my brother trying to come up with an answer, and though he's never read the book, he kept shouting "DON'T KILL HER. THINK OF THE SEQUELS. AND THE PREQUELS." It was amusing :P, but I still had to stay up till three a.m trying to think of an ending.

I came up with one, but it's probably not going to stick. We'll see. Hmmmm.

So despite sometimes having to write with an ice pack on my face (stupid wisdom teeth) and messing up my sleep schedule, I AM SO HAPPYYYY. Rewriting is going to be a bitch, but this one has more of a shot than Ataraxia ever did.

Twas rewarding :D And to celebrate, I ordered pizza and shared it with my brother.

Celebration pizza!
Now I'm going to go knock out for like ten thousand hours...

*Her last name is subject to change, since I'm not too sure about it. I gotta look up some nice old French last names for her.

**I guess this was kind of perfect in terms of inspiration, since the artist does a lot of covers for books, Rain included.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What does this even mean...?

Now Playing: Nobodyknows+ - Hero's Come Back

Inventive title, I know. But I was going to tweet about this when I came to the painful realization that I've been cluttering that up like mad.

I'm a little annoyed at the pacing and scene arrangement of Millennium Girl right now, but at least I'm not wallowing in despair like I was somewhere after one in the morning the other night. That, and this scene isn't coming out too bad.

But I'm a little disturbed at something. Despite the one established relationship of Yukiko and Wendy, there's no romance in this book. At least, not one involving my protagonist. And there's no explicit sex because...well, I guess there'd be no reason to write a tender love scene. (Also, I'd probably butcher it up).

And despite all this...

Lilith keeps getting naked ಠ_ಠ

And it's not for any reasons anyone would think of! More than half the time, there's not even any sexual subtext. (There is this scene, but this isn't the norm).

Why is this happening? How and when and why did I let it get to this?!


I'm being dumb. I'm just so nervous. *Hyperventilates*

Okay. Next post better have some good news. (HINT HINT FINISH THE BOOK ALREADY)

EDIT: I have decided to pretend this is actually a reference to Beowulf. Yeh.

Help T_T (Mostly just updates)

Now Playing: Heroes Del Silencio - Dias De Borrasca

Note: Picture heavy post >_> If anyone shown here finds this and dislikes the fact that I put pictures of them on my blog...lemme know. I shall delete them.

So yesterday, somewhere after four a.m, I was trying to find new and inventive ways to procrastinate and yet somehow stay awake. In an effort to avoid responsibility and ignore my crippling exhaustion, I started reading over my 2013's NaNo entry. And I found this genius piece of writing:
"Necalli is from Luziru, which resides within the empire," Shin explained, "They believe the Brothers were created by an all father who separated time and [oh god I forgot what happens here...double check really soon]."
...yeah, that's actually in the manuscript. I guess now I know why my world building is shit. I can't even remember it half the time. (Y'know, on top of awkwardly shoving it into the dialogue like ANYONE GIVES A SHIT. Even if it is being explained to a foreign character, this is still clumsy as hell).

As stupid as the writing can be, I sort of liked where it was going:
     “She is the only woman at sea,” she began, a hazy look settling over her. “She’s sailed for decades, fending off against the mermaids that thirst for her flesh. She’s a giantess, hair like the fires of Folkvar and eyes the color of soil.”
     “Don’t wet your trousers, son,” Egil snorted, reaching for a bit of ale. “You make her sound like a goddess.”
     “It’s how some men have described her,” Anne added quickly, “The few she's spared-"
     “And no doubt brainwashed into singing her praise,” Necalli said.
     “No one who’s fought that mad bitch would praise her,” Egil grunted, “She’s about as pretty as I am and as worthy of reverence as a mermaid tearing out your skin with her teeth.”
     “Have you fought her?” Anne asked.
     “Of course. There’s only one true rival of the Bloodmoon, and that’s the Reaper.”
     “And there’s only true rival to our captain,” Shin said, “And that’s Jane herself.”
     “So I’ve heard,” Anne said, “They share a past, don't they?”
     The men exchanged a look, then grew silent. After a while, Necalli spoke. “He's never said. I doubt we’ll ever know more than legends.”
I wonder how it might have developed if I'd bothered to finish it. And fleshed out some characters. And their voices. And the world. And most of the first act.

I mean, I might. I really kind of wish I'd gotten to know Anne better. She's the kind of girl Lilith would have aspired to be. (Yes, the immortal woman of nearly one thousand years would have looked up to a fourteen year old >_> make of that what you will).

More random stuff:

1) I've been baking in addition to cleaning and reading--all effective ways to avoid Millennium Girl. And you know what? I made some kickass Chocolate Chip Muffins the other day despite being like two ingredients + paper liners short. So I guess if my writing career--or just this novel--crashes and burns, summer 2014 will forever be my great baking beginnings. Such fond memories...

2) A friend from FSU visited on Memorial Day weekend and took me, her cousin, and her cousin's friend out. I was soon reminded that I suck at eloquently speaking Spanish, but there are some really great people in this little city I never expect to meet. Great people who are willing to listen to me read an erotica out loud, and then promptly decide to investigate for themselves.

We bonded over music and books. These things DO HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE *flails* :D

3) I finally saw How To Train Your Dragon the other night, and had the amusing realization that it technically ends the same way Salvation, the unwritten sequel to my Redemption, would have ended. Heh. (Well, mine had a higher body count. Also, yeah, I know this is lame but it's not like I can geek out about this with anyone but myself)

I made sure to watch it with my family last Sunday since this week I'm probably going to see the sequel with a couple of friends. We went to the movies last Saturday, (Woo, Edge of Tomorrow!) and were reminded of the movie.

Ren proudly holding onto Toothless.
Hopefully we go back to this cinema. It was a bitch to find,
especially since Ren's GPS decided not to work, but it was totes worth it

4) Watching episode eight of Game of Thrones nearly drove me over the edge. And I read the books >_> It didn't stop me from tearing apart my shirt in a fit of frustration, followed by a pained NOOOOOOOOOO OH GOD I LOVED YOU SO MUCH...
I've had this shirt since I was twelve.
Who knew GOT would make me abuse it?

5) This one is actually not so random. It's midnight, but I refuse to stay up till 6:30 in the morning again so I'm wrapping things up here. I have to stop pulling all-nighters. I don't know if they're worthwhile because it's not like I write ten thousand words in one night. That, apparently, takes me about a week. At least, according to my back-ups. But I digress.

I have to push on before I lose what little spark I have left for this story. It's not that I don't enjoy writing it anymore, or that I somehow came to detest it. It's just that I'm suddenly a little too aware of its faults. Its many....many, many, many faults. Plot, grammar, prose, character, pacing, mythology, dialogue-ish faults.

First drafts suck. That's the way it's always been. And I know that.

But it's getting to be a little annoying having to repeat, you will fix this later, you will fix this later, you will fix this later every time I type a sentence. It's driving me crazy and discourages me for about twenty seconds. Which might not seem like a lot if it wasn't hitting me every time I came to a pause.

I'm not giving up, though. I'll finish this. Even if I fry my brain through the lack of sleep or end up eating too much crap that's bad for me >_>

Here's hoping next update's a good one :I
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.