Always Changing

Hello, hello!  As I mentioned in last week’s post, I was planning on starting a new novel in order to respark my writing passion.  I started it on Saturday and have worked on it regularly since then.  I admit that I’m still not up to my usual word count per day yet, but whenever I open the file, I’m filled with the desire to move forward instead of dread.  That’s a win!  But, as I noticed with my last novel attempt, this novel has its own flow and wants to create its own routine.  I don’t remember having to adapt to new writing habits with every new short story I wrote, but apparently novels are different beasts entirely and each one is going to require special treatment.  Today, I wanted to ramble a bit about how my routine has changed with this novel compared to the other two of which I have (at least) completed first drafts.

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When you sit down to start a new novel and everything is perfect, then the novel decides your previous routine isn’t good enough…

My first novel was written completely in pantser mode.  Music from my iTunes (which basically runs the gamut of styles) played in the background for almost every writing session.  When I hit snags, I usually figured everything out after random bursts of subconscious ideas.  And in the end, the first draft was an unreadable mess that took another year or longer to clean up.  It was fun.  It was hard.  It was draining.  But I got it done with plenty of help from my Stonecoast mentors and compadres.  Honestly, if I hadn’t had help and people telling me that I had to finish it, I don’t think I would’ve been able to keep going.

The second novel that I actually finished (I started one between them, but got stuck halfway through because I stepped too far outside of my comfort zone), was wildly different.  I had the first half plotted out and knew where it would end, but switched to pantser mode to connect the beginning and end.  It was written mostly in silence because music distracted me.  When I got stuck, I’d actively plot things out in my head, but rarely thought about it otherwise unless I was working on it.  I wrote it in about seven months, a record for me, with little help.  Only a handful of people have actually seen any of it.  But when I read it to start revisions, I was surprised that it made sense and flowed as well as it does.  It still needs a lot of work, but I’m happy with how it turned out with that routine.

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When you’re down and don’t want to do anything, but the new novel idea won’t leave you alone.

Again, I started and stopped a novel before deciding to switch to my novel-in-progress.  I was in a position where I didn’t want to write anything when this idea started pestering me.  I’ve got the major plot points figured out and there hasn’t been a night that’s passed by without me laying awake in bed plotting out the next scene.  It’s a little scary to think I might be turning into a plotter on this one.  I’ve tried writing with iTunes and in silence, but neither feels quite right, so I’m going to try my CDs (my teenage anthems sprinkled with some more recent music) next.  I’ve also had the urge to find reference pictures for my characters, which is something completely new for me.  I never needed pictures of my characters before, so part of me thinks I’m just looking for excuses to feed my need for eye candy, but I’m going with the flow and looking for some.  Granted, this is just the beginning of the process.  I might revert to pantser mode later on.  But the new process feels right so far.

Hiro from Nocturnal Bloodlust is basically Jyou (one of my protagonists).

Maybe I’ve just been refining my technique with each new novel or maybe my routine really will have to change with each new novel.  Either way, I’m just happy to be enjoying writing again.  It’s been a while since I could say that.  What about you?  Do you notice changes in your writing routine between each novel/story?  Or have you found something that works consistently for you?  Share your thoughts, comments, questions, or whatever here or on my social media pages!

A Month of Giving Thanks (Part Two)

Hello again!  It’s already been a week since my last post?  I suppose time flies when you’re having fun.  Or maybe it’s just because I’m getting older.  I swear I don’t remember the days going by so fast when I was a kid.  Anyway, enough rambling.  A new week means another chance to share more things I’m grateful for!  As I said last time, feel free to join me.

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“A Break in Reality” by Xetobyte

1. The Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing.  If you’ve perused previous posts, you’ve probably noticed my affection for this program.  I mean, come on.  It’s the first academic setting where I actually felt like I belonged instead of it simply being a stepping stone to my next life goal.  Of course I’m thankful for it and all of the people associated with it.  I highly suggest applying if you’re a writer.

2. Pretty Asian males.  If you know me at all, you knew this was coming sooner or later!  I’m entirely comfortable admitting that I like eye candy, preferably Japanese and in a dress (but not always in one).  If you don’t like it, that’s fine.  Most of the males I stalk are musicians, so they are also ear candy.  A couple of samples:

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Hizaki (Jupiter) and Kaya (Femme Fatale)!
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Hiro (Nocturnal Bloodlust) and Sono (Matenrou Opera)!

3. Music in general.  If there’s one thing in life that has kept me (relatively) sane, it’s music.  Yeah, as a kid, I went with the flow (aka listened to the things my friends were listening to), but I eventually came into my own.  I still remember flipping through radio stations once when I was bored and coming across Zip-Lock by Lit.  That was the beginning of my punk days.  The first time I broke away from what everyone else in my world was listening to.  It was so freeing.  My tastes have fluctuated a lot since then, so I now listen to an eclectic selection.  It keeps me going, so who cares what everyone else is doing?

4. Technology.  Without it, I’d not only be confined to one spot all the time, I’d also probably be dead.  When you require help for something as simple as breathing, you learn to appreciate the machines that help you out.  Wheelchairs, ventilators, patient lifts, and all of that delightful stuff is what I’m talking about.  Sure, TVs and cars and radios and all that are fan-freaking-tastic, but right now I mean all of the stuff that helps to make life more or less normal for folks like me.

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We’ve come a long way.

5. Stuffed animals.  I know it’s weird for a nearly 30-year-old to admit her love of plushies, but I adore them.  They’re soft and cuddly and cute.  Their beady eyes are next-level creepy, like they’re staring into your soul and getting ready to eat it.  You should know by now that I’m strange.  Don’t act so surprised.  But yes, stuffed animals rock!

I think that’s all for today.  See you next week!