writing

February was a productive month for words, March not so much. I hit a point in the story (about two-thirds through) where I needed to resolve a bunch of plot questions and character matters before I proceeded with further scenes. Now I have more of a roadmap to the climax, but there are still blanks for the action scenes. I don't know how to write a chase scene or a fight scene, especially with exotic weaponry. There are a few loose ends to weave in, too. I'm working on mapping out the scenes some more before I write them, because I'm mostly a planner. I've also had the cold that wouldn't die, and a general lack of energy. John suggested maybe doing a month next year in Albuquerque. Rentals are doable for us- thanks inflated software pay! That sounds pretty awesome to me if I can swing it with my workplace.

I'll be doing April Camp NaNo. Yay! I'm in a cabin with two pro writers and I anticipate some writing and plenty of cheering along on my part. 

I'm getting back on the writing wagon-horse-thing slowly. The manuscript is at 50k. If you had told me that I could do it, I'd agree that it was possible but doubtful I could spend more time on yet another solitary hobby. Well, I want this story done justice. I have a small word count goal this month, though, because I'm working on some book recommendations on a deadline and am playing Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii U because I enjoy getting slaughtered by alien squirrel-kittens and sauropods when I try to place observational probes. It's eating almost all of my writing time. The other eater of time is a persistent fatigue dealing with my health and medications.

Five days ago, I wrote over a thousand words in a sitting. When I started working on my story, I could get four or five hundred words per hour. I have almost doubled that if I am properly prepared and undistracted. It’s quite a rush to have that much improvement, even if it’s dreck. I think of it as a skeleton, I will rearrange it later.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is November. The rules are as follows: come up with a new story idea and write 50k words about it in a month, comprising a novel. That’s a lot of writing. I’ve seen people beg off their social lives or other commitments to make this happen, and sometimes I feel like they were due that alone time! Friends have raved to me about NaNo teaching them discipline and project management. There are some great support networks out there.

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I’ve been making music, playing games, writing games, programming tools, and writing stories since I realized I could. Not all at the same time. For years it was music, then games and music, and now writing. For a while, I feared myself a creative dilettante. I assure myself that music is something I can get back to. I tell myself I’ve made some interesting music already whether I do go back to it or not. I don’t need an identity as ‘a composer’ or ‘a writer’ because I have already made music and written some stories and they have made me and a few others feel things. I still get neurotic about it, though.

For writing class, I'm trying my hand at a fantasy short story, starring a country's armed forces holding the line against shadow horrors while the civilians evacuate. I don't know whether the idea is worthy of expansion or what it would feature besides combat, nightmares, and people attempting to cope. I think it's a worthwhile exercise, though. Just like science fiction, there's world-building and infilling. The suspension of disbelief can be pretty delicate- can I convince you that there are horrible monsters coming from the south magnetic pole to ravage humanity and destroying what's in their paths? Would you believe that the people living closest to the pole have a mix of customs not seen in our world? Is using arquebuses with female representation in the army too much of a stretch? The science fiction I write is about predictions for our world, the fantasy about less likely possibilities for any world.

I started my new writing class, Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, yesterday. I had a good experience with the Writing Short Stories class I took with the same instructor, Nils Osmar, and I figured some new  perspectives and other people's creativity would be inspiring. The class is full of people who haven't written much even though it says it's for all levels. Demographics are college-aged to middle-aged individuals with almost equal gender representation. I've noticed White, Asian, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern students. I'm excited about people being beginners because it encourages Shoshin, a Zen concept that means 'beginner's mind.' We are eager to learn more and open to new ideas. Unfortunately there are lots of preconceptions about writing that filter down to the general populace that will restrict us. I hope to see raw ideas and foreign contortions of concepts.

Like many people, I look at a lot of websites and consume a great deal of content. On a typical day, I visit most of the following:

The past winter I took a writing class for short stories, and I found it rewarding. I had not written fiction in fifteen years, and I was unsure whether I'd enjoy another solitary hobby.  The experience has been rewarding afterwards, albeit in fits and starts. I had a story I wanted to flesh out, and there are plenty of sticky points in the plot I have not tackled. I have another story I'm thinking of expanding beyond four hundred words. They're both science fiction romance, or will be once I get more into them. The idea is to have fun and write something I can look at and say "yeah, that's kind of cool". My ambitions lie in finishing projects, the bigger the better. I have no deadline because I'm just doing this for me, but I try to set aside some time a few days a week to devote to books.

I have never fancied myself a writer. I loved writing when I was young, and I have always loved reading. As I aged, I stopped writing fiction. My internal editor and censor was too loud to squeeze much out. I would have plenty of stories in my head, but I would only jot down notes and use them as inspiration for the pen-and-paper/LARP games I was involved in. Writing is a craft that requires plenty of dedication and practice. Since I have so many hobbies, I've never thought I'd have the energy to give writing my stories. However, I recently had an idea that learning to write could improve my communication.

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