kayqy: Aaaaaaaaaah! (aaah)
Today I met James A. Owen, author of Here There Be Dragons, when he spoke at our local library. This wasn't the first time I'd heard him speak— I also saw him at Phoenix Comicon last summer. But that just made today even more exciting, for multiple reasons.

For one thing, even though he gave essentially the same inspiring life story speech, it was still uplifting to hear. (He has apparently now made this speech into a book/pdf, which you can find a link to on his website.) There were details I'd forgotten, a few things he added, and even the stuff I remembered was better the second time round, if only because I could think about it in more depth. Also, the small group made it so much more personable; the kid in the front row that lamented not winning the raffle for a signed copy and made grabby hands at the art Owen showed us was treated with the same interest as people with "real" questions, and went home with the posterboard dragon that Owen sketched as a reward for his persistence, rather than getting lost in the crowd.

Another exciting thing (always a winner): when I first heard his speech in Phoenix, I was stunned to hear him name a semi-obscure book on my bookshelf at home as a key turning point in his life. It's just mindboggling to think of a book I picked up at a thrift store on a whim as being the same book that changed someone's life. So after the panel at Phoenix, I went up and talked to him about it, and today I brought that book for him to sign for me. And as we talked, I mentioned Phoenix, and he remembered me. :D

And finally, to top the whole shebang off, in his speech he talked about how Wendy and Richard Pini of Elfquest fame inspired him as a teen to self-publish his own comics; he went to a convention to talk to them, and told them that he would be back next year as their peer. So when it was time for me to take my signed books and go, I said, "I better go work on my novel so I can come back as one of your peers." And he smiled and shook my hand, and I made it to the parking lot before I started bouncing: half-delighted that I had the nerve to say it, half-about to throw up thinking that now I have to follow through.

I'm telling ya, if this doesn't motivate me to get done, I'll......

......keep going until I find something that does.

Positive power, yeah. o/
kayqy: Teito peruses the stacks... with INTENT. (greeneyes)
Well, since I started this self-declared writing challenge, I've gotten just over 8000 words, and am halfway (?) through chapter 5. Feels like I may be falling behind, but it's hard to say when my goal is just "finish". Either way, I'm not giving up.

I am, however, temporarily reprioritizing some things. Family's church is taking eyeglasses to Colombia this weekend (or at least the kits to make them), and I'm trying to sew as many cases for them as I can before they go. So far I've sewn about 60, and we've cut the fabric for about a bajillion more. Between that, and today being Memorial Day, I've spent the day cleaning, cooking, sewing, and being with my family. Which got me thinking about how those tend to be the "housewifely/womanly" skills that get looked down upon and disparaged as not being "real work". Even though no one who ever has to do any of those would deny that they took a lot of work to do (even just being with the family, sometimes). Or skill and talent to do well. Even so, they're very rarely considered a "valid" use of one's time and energy, and those who focus on it are "wasting" themselves.

It's as if, back when the feminist movement started, they took the argument that "a woman's place is taking care of the home because that's all they're capable of," and only took the counterargument halfway. Yes, women are capable of more things, or at least other things, and no one should be limited in their choices due to gender. But instead of arguing that the ability to do all the work needed to care for a home and family was proof that they could do things outside the home, too, or something similar, they seemed to try to build themselves up by demeaning the jobs expected of them, making themselves seem more important by making such "chores" seem less important, unworthy of their attention. "I've got better things to do than clean house all day." But these things are important, no matter who does them, and necessary, and no one really needs to be ashamed of having to or choosing to do them.

If I were writing a dissertation or something, I could probably spend ten to twenty pages extrapolating how this relates to this or that breakdown of the family or society in general, but, well, "I've got better things to do."
kayqy: Aaaaaaaaaah! (aaah)
And here we go! Not going to update here every day, but I figured I should at least record the beginning:

Day 1 (yesterday):

Total WC: 1729
Plot Progress: Finished Ch. 1, barely started 2 (Vester's intro)
Greatest Hurdle: I want to say it was the eight hours I spent working/distracted by noisy teens and watching the same angsty drama movie twice, but really it was the yellow notebook that got me. This is a purple story, I can't write a purple story in a yellow notebook!
Unexpected Twist: Brain suddenly decided that Paori is not an orphan, but the illegitimate son of the high priest and the main human antagonist. Which is a better explanation for why said priest takes so much interest in him than some, but... seriously, brain?
Favorite/Random Line: "With his senses of vision and gravity once more working together, he tentatively turned his head to one side."
kayqy: Awesomeness on a stick (pocky)
GUYS I DID IT.

Wasn't expecting today to be a break, but hey, I won't complain. ^.^ Of course, the challenge clearly expects me to start nanowrimo tomorrow. But I can't wait until November, so I decided to do the next best thing: make my own challenge.

Freedom for Muses will go from May 20 to July 4. That gives me about 6 weeks, with an extra weekend thrown in; more than NaNo's 30 days, but I'm not just going for a piddling 50K. I've scaled that wall plenty of times before. No, I am going to FINISH. Only if I can honestly write "The End" by July 4 will I consider myself to have won.

Not sure if I'll keep up the updates here or not; if I do, it'll likely just be quick progress reports or really interesting teasers I want to share. Progress will likely be measured in some funky combination of WC and plot progression.

Planning to spend the rest of this week getting all my procrastination out of the way making sure everything's ready to get started Friday. Gotta make sure my laptop's still working, for one....
kayqy: Teito peruses the stacks... with INTENT. (greeneyes)
Today is about making an outline of what plot I have so far, or at least figuring out what big questions I'll likely be answering in said plot.

This is a pretty good exercise for me at this point... I hope. The outline I came up with earlier starts out fairly detailed at the beginning: I have a decent idea of what the MCs do up to a certain point. But then it gets vaguer and takes a very sharp turn into .....STUFF. (No, seriously, I wrote that.) I mean, I know at some point they make their way down to the ruins, meet an archaeologist/historian, learn some big important plot points, but I'm not sure what those points are, or what they do with them after (beyond "SAVE THE WORLD DUH")—

*takes a moment for brain to go off on a tangent about Powerful Being Existing Outside Of Time who falls and repents and thus winds up struggling against itself in various times and places* o.O (I blame Diane Duane, frankly.) Uh. Right. Anyway.

So, my big problem at the moment is more or less connecting the epic strokes of the gods and demons with the actions of the little people on their little continent. What are the demons trying to accomplish, and why? Why does the Lady choose these three boys to work through? What's special about them? (And why am I having so much trouble with the plausibility of gods working through imperfect humans when I fully believe it of my own— OH HAI THERE, OBVIOUSNESS. I need to stop thinking of my God as some Deist figure that just sits back and watches without interacting! Just because it's like the polar opposite of the popular epic fantasy trope of gods literally popping out of everywhere to save the day *coughWebercough* doesn't mean it's better!) Epiphany, woo! \o/

Okay, so remember that the Lady cares about her creation individually and as a whole, and the demons are mainly against the world because they're against her. Though there may be something else strategic in there, too, we shall see.

Half an outline and a major epiphany (not to mention a shiny tangent), I think I'm good for the night!
kayqy: Oyasumi~ (oyasumi)
I've had trouble writing female characters for a long time, and often prefer writing male MCs. I've dismissed it as a tendency for my female characters to feel too much like Mary Sues, but I think now that this is either inaccurate or lazy, or both. And it seems like I'm creating fewer and fewer female characters lately. (Not that I need an equal gender ratio, but when my reason for making a character male is because female feels too "flimsy"....) So I'm going to go back to the basics, list some of my favorite female characters and heroes, figure out what I love about them, and then..... match it up against my subconscious objections to writing female characters, I guess?

This may wind up with me on the couch, headshrinking myself, but hopefully I won't have to delve too far into the sociopolitical mire. We shall see. (Oh, and there be spoilers ahead, though I'll try to be careful.)

We'll see just how feminist a blogpost about women can be. Or can't, maybe. )

I could ramble on about stereotypes, and fallacies and expectations, and books I read as a child, but I'm really tired, and I semi-promised not to get into sociopolitical carp. And I'm really tired.
kayqy: Teito peruses the stacks... with INTENT. (greeneyes)
So.... two weeks before I fell off the "post a week" wagon. Oops. But I shall not give up, nor shall I whine angstily about lack of motivation or audience!

(Audience: *breathes huge sigh of relief* Crickets: *are thwarted in their attempt to chirp*)

Instead, I shall write.... A LIST.

(Crickets: *chirp eagerly*)

Not just any list! An epic list! A list of all the stories and 'verses that I must write, that I want to write, and that I will probably never write no matter how imploringly the plotbunnies stare at me!

(Crickets: ........ )

Oh, come on! *sniffs* Well, even if it's boring to everyone else, I am going to do it for myself. That way, five years from now, I can look back on this list and go, "Oh, yeah, I remember that story, lamest idea ever, no wonder it never went any— wait. That's brilliant."

EPIC LIST OF FUTURE LITERARY GREATNESS )

Not sure if I shall update this post as priorities change and new bunnies appear to gnaw holes in the old ones, or if I'll just periodically post the whole thing over again. (Not too often, I promise!)

(Crickets: *cheer*)

Oh, har de har, guys.
kayqy: Teito peruses the stacks... with INTENT. (greeneyes)
The other day I mentioned being stuck in the Mirey Middle of my current project. It's a tough place to be. You know that somewhere in the future, this story has the potential to be awesome, but all you see for miles and miles is pointless dreck. At this point, all you can do is slog on, but anything seems a better use of your time. That sewing project you've been putting off for months. Making a playlist for your next story.

That's where I was, all right. (Observant readers may have noticed that I used the past tense. Less observant readers, this parenthetical statement is for you.) But for all my procrastinating, I knew that the only way out was through. And so, Wednesday night, I made myself write. Just a little. A hundred words, I told myself, and I could go to bed without guilt.

A hundred words became four hundred. And somehow, in the midst of ridiculous dialogue about ranch dressing, an idea formed. Coalesced. An event that I knew needed to happen soon, but couldn't figure out how, came to life. And just the thought of getting to write this scene so filled me with shiny and squee that I fell in love with this story all over again. ^.^ And then, just to prove the moment of epiphany wasn't a fluke, I got another idea— this time, a subplot for the characters that need more to do in this story. The book, it comes together!

Now, this isn't to say that my slogging days are completely over. Epiphany #1 involves a concept/theme that I've not done more than toy with, and that will take a lot of effort to work in, and not just have it pop in and out of existence. Epiphany #2 involves relationship drama that I find awkward and painful, and I'll have to work hard not to just sitcom the problems away. So this isn't exactly the light at the end of the tunnel. But at least I've been reminded that this is a tunnel, and not an oubliette.


(In other news, my mood icons are terribly distracting. This post has taken twice as long as it should have because I can't stop staring at that adorable bouncing bunny. ^^;; )
kayqy: Aaaaaaaaaah! (aaah)
Last night, I wrote another prompt with my characters Pat and Hwan Ji. And I realized that, counting the newest prompt, I have written 46 prompts with these two over the past two years. Along with 3 different beginnings, and a smattering of notes, for a total of 21154 words.

.........Why is this not a novel yet?

Seriously, I need to do something with this thing before it reaches critical mass and collapses in on itself and becomes a plot black hole. It's already showing signs; my more recent prompts are starting to contradict some of the earlier ones. And I really love these characters, and their admittedly malleable plot/concept.

However.

They have competition.

There's last year's NaNo, Oddity Hall, which I also love, and would dearly like to finish. Ideally before the next NaNo. Unfortunately, I'm in the Mirey Middle, and while I'm still slogging away, it's very definitely slogging. :(

There's Mutelight, my sort-of-high fantasy involving a young priest who has lost his voice in a world where magic and miracles must be sung or spoken, a couple of boys that teach him to whistle, and the demons that want them dead. Or something. This one's only a handful of prompts/scenes so far, though it's asking to steal some ideas from the allegorical epic I'll probably never write. (Advice from the latest Writing Excuses podcast encourages me in this direction.) It's shiny and pretty, and all purple and blue and grey.... that last probably makes no sense to anyone but me. (PHJ is blue and black and green, while OH is ...orange, mostly.) It's up there in the competition for Next NaNo, which is coming upon me all too soon.

And then there's the new bunny that attacked me in the shower the other night, about a genie and the girl he's forced to protect. Little more than the concept, but new enough still that the OMG SHINY hasn't worn off yet. (It's a lovely golden color, even.)

And this is just what I've poked at in the past week. We won't even get into the various zombies, wizards, fairies, aliens, superheroes, children, and so on that are waiting their chance at my brain. (Yet.)

I may have to fall back on the old "dump-them-in-the-arena-and-see-who-survives" gladiator test. Though I've never actually used that test on stories....
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