sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 1)
I decided what I'm going to do with that "short thing" from last week: I'm going to cut off its tail & make it into the kind of short story they taught us to write in school (i.e. doesn't need to get to the HEA or HFN, but the status quo at the end needs to be different from that at the beginning, and the conflict/crisis which happens in the middle needs to be resolved). And then I'm going to post it here. Possibly sometime soon(ish) ;-)

Right then: tea & typing up I guess!
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (Default)
The pirates continue to gain more story, albeit in a rather uneven manner. I'm not managing the "write every day" thing right now, mostly due to tiredness.

Real life handed me a bit of inspiration late last week, and I think I may've got a short story out of it. It's currently trying to outgrow its designation as "short" though, so I'm not too sure about what to do with it.

The pirates should end up around 10-12k words, or at least I expect the first draft will be about that length. I'll be happy with it being around 10k. I don't think there's really enough story there for more than that. No idea what I'll do with it after, except practice my editing & revising, lol.

I'd like to get back to my farmers (Cariad) after I've finished with the pirates, and see how I cope with developing that. I definitely need more than one file of notes on it - one for things which need to happen in the plot, and one for things I need to add in / change / make clearer when I revise it.

And of course, if I didn't have enough stories jostling for space already, today while I was rushed-off-my-feet-busy, an idea I had several years ago suddenly germinated and started shouting for attention... one more for the "Ideas" file I think :-)
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 2)
I think I came fully out of the closet about liking m/m romance today at work... I've hinted before, but then we were discussing Downtown Abbey and D said to me "No gay sex this week though," and I replied with "yeah, but I re-read one of my favourite books, and then got talking online about inviting Woman's Hour to our gay-sex-writers meet-up next year."

I know it's rather over-simplifying things, but... hmm.

(and before anyone asks: it's a pretty accepting workplace)
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (Default)
Not real-life pirates, thank goodness! Fictional ones are bad enough... though their story's got up to about 3,900 words now. I have a vague idea of aiming for about 500 words a day. Seems quite paltry compared to most writers' goals, but I keep reminding myself that *some* is better than *none*... and 500 seems to be a comfortable amount for me, especially since I'm mostly writing longhand then typing it up later.

In the rest of life, I'm busy with my usual work-baking-living routine, with extra gardening whenever we can fit it in. Autumn is the time for making decisions about how we want the garden to be for the next year, and using last year as a guide we've got a month to get stuff done before the frosts get too frequent and the days too short ...and this year we mustn't make the mistake of leaving the parsnips in the ground too long! Last year we said "oh, we'll get them up next weekend" sometime around the start of December and it wasn't until mid-February that the ground was soft enough again to accomplish the task.

Rambling about gardening in my writing journal? Tut tut ;-)
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 2)
..is now sitting at about 2,900 words. Yay! And I met another character I didn't know I would. It's quite fun in some ways, this writing without much clue of the plot. There I was, thinking that the pirate captain was just going to go up on deck and have thinky-thoughts while manning the helm, and he starts bantering with the helmsman about the weather!

And now it seems I have to figure out a sea battle. One ship (two-master, so not ludicrously Hollywood-large - believeable that she is a merchant ship the pirates 'acquired') versus at least half a dozen small (but fast and heavily laden with men) sloops... So while I'm out & about today I'll have to figure out how on earth my pirates are going to win.
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 2)
I added another 500 or so words to it, so it's coming along (slowly, but that's due to lack of time rather than lack of inspiration). I should probably learn to touch-type, then perhaps I could get stuff done a bit quicker...

Anyhow, I'm being very strict with myself: no editing or re-reading until it's finished! It's been a while since I set myself up with a such a vague outline (they meet, stuff happens, they end up together) so I really want to find out what happens. If I start re-reading I'll get bogged down in the minutiae of how it happens and never find out the end...

Aha!

Sep. 26th, 2010 04:49 pm
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 1)
Don't know about you, but I tend to think about my stories while I'm driving (commuting etc.). I know, not the best place to do it as there's nowhere/way to record my thoughts, conclusions, etc. but it's the kind of thinking that I can very, very easily drop straight out of. Kind of important when driving, that one ;-) Of course, it does mean that occasionally other motorists give me funny looks for suddenly cheering and/or drumming a celebratory tattoo on the steering wheel, but to be honest there's not usually many of them about! There certainly weren't any about when I was busy thinking about Vienna on the way home from the weekly shop last Thursday.

I'm so, so chuffed I got that time & figured out the niggles that've been bothering me. It's all back-story stuff, so I doubt it'll get more than a passing mention in the text itself, but like all back-story, it's kind of essential in helping to understand the character(s). In this case, K.

I've known since the first moment these boys appeared in my brain that K was pretty much alone in the world - he lives off an inheritance, so has no need for work (and therefore no work-friends), and all his friends from the past - even the ones who actually do love him dearly & care about him - are pretty much swamped with their own lives. I had an inkling that his inheritance was from his uncle, but what I couldn't figure out was where the hell his parents were. Because I knew they were alive - and that he knew they're alive. Any time I tried to think around the idea of him being an orphan, and that being the reason for their lack of existence in his life, the answer came back very strongly "No." I also failed to get anywhere with the possibility of him having been removed from their care by an external authority e.g. social services : no, nothing like that.

And then, last Thursday, I hit upon the answer - they're abroad. They moved abroad for work reasons when K was quite young, and for one reason and another, he didn't go with them and was brought up by his uncle. I think his parents originally planned to either come back after a year or two at most, or for him to move out & live with them at some point, but it just ...never happened.

*happy sigh* So glad I worked/found that lot out. It makes quite a few things clearer for me, in terms of what happens during the story I'm writing :-)
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 1)
...when disparate parts of the internet come together to give you a prod.

This morning I read a post on Behind Ballet (the blog of The Australian Ballet) entitled The inexplicable need to dance. Written by a member of the company, it opened with a famous quote: “I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance” and expanded on that theme, encompassing other passions and the role of balance rather than succumbing to an all-consuming passion.

All very interesting, I thought, as I sat down to write a shopping list & drove into town, but do I have any kind of passion like that? Have I killed off any hope of that sort of thing by making consistently sensible decisions throughout my schooling etc.?

I might have started to feel a bit down about the whole thing, if I hadn't sat down on my return and read Jessewave's blog, which today featured "Oh no! The dreaded Writer's Block!" written by Victor J. Banis as part of the "Ins & Outs of M/M Romance" series which is on-going over there.

That post kind of made my day. I've been struggling to find time to even think about writing recently, but the number of times I went "I do that!", "I know!" and "OMG I'm glad I'm not the only one!" made me realise: I have found my 'inexplicable need'. It is to write; to tell stories. I may be years off being in a position to sell my stories, but I am a writer.

One thing which, for me, really linked Victor's post to the one about ballet was this:
"Jonathan Kellerman has a character in one of his novels remark that when an aspiring student says he wants to be a writer, he knows there is no hope for him, but when he says he wants to write, there is at least a slight hope."
I don't think I want to write: I think I need to. Otherwise I'm just a person who hears voices of made-up people in her head...
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (starfruit)
I'm not quite sure what I've been busy doing - other than working, reading and resting that is. The reading did get me thinking though... but I'll save that for another post, perhaps. It's liable to get long...

Oh yes! That's what else I've been doing! Trying (note emphasis) to write. or rather, I've written several beginnings, notes on a fair few middles, and even worked out some endings. I blame Jessewave, myself. Well, and me & others who went "fun writing competition? Sounds fab, bring it on!" What I didn't realise in my intial enthusiasm was that a) silly/funny is very hard to even come up with, let alone write, when you're feeling down (and I've been feeling very down in recent weeks); and b) the kind of storylines and character development my brain likes to devise is a bit bloody difficult to squish into no more than 3000 words.

So what with everything turning to overly-long angst, I've been finding it a mite difficult. And even with the deadline having been extended I'll likely be working on it right up to the last minute. At least I've got a first draft now (70 words over the limit), and I've printed it out, so all I need now is to find my stash of red pens from when I was teaching and I'm ready for the next stage!

I did give myself a reward for getting as far as a completed first draft (I know, most of the writers on my f'list will be going "3000 words? couple of afternoons' work! What's she on about?"). A couple of weeks ago I won a copy of Sean Kennedy's Wings of Equity (in one of jessewave's regular 'free book' draws) and I'd been holding out on reading it until I'd got something written...

..It was marvellous. So much so that I plan on getting myself a paperback copy of it as soon as I can afford it (i.e. not right now when husband's birthday is looming).

Oh dear. Seems I've gone on a bit, haven't I? Oh well, back to sweetie-making-work now, then I can get tea underway and then figure out where I'm supposed to be going tomorrow on this training course for my day job...
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 1)
Please let me eat pick your brains!

When you have lots of ideas running round in your head, how do you tell the good ones from the bad?

OR

How do you beat a weak idea into shape so it turns into an actually-not-too-bad idea?

(Writers who aren't friends with me yet are also free to comment, I just don't think there'd be any reading!)
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 2)
If there's one thing I don't need right now, it's story ideas.

Writing-wise, I need to get sat down and just get on with writing one of other of the things I've got started. (Rest-of-life-wise, I have a huge big pile of Stuff that needs doing. Yes, I probably am partly using writing as a way of hiding from the Stuff *sigh*)

...so although I do appreciate my brain for being happy and coming up with story ideas, at the same time it's almost more frustrating than when I can't get anything started...

Ah well, I think I'll just have to blame Jessewave. It's her post about sports-themed m/m fiction that set off this particular idea.

Guess I'll just have to note down as much as I know so far and then forget about doing anything more about it until I have at least one other thing finished.
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (musketeer 1)
In my latest story, one of the protags is called Kevin Jones. Shortly after meeting, the other guy referred to him as "Kevin-gorgeous-stranger-I-met-in-a-bar Jones". So now, every time I start to type "Kevin"... yep, you guessed it!

On the one hand, this amuses me greatly; on the other I kind of wish I could remember how to turn off the auto-complete as I never use it so it just ends up confusing me.

Thoughts

Jun. 8th, 2010 08:02 pm
sandra_lindsey: me sitting in the garden with daffodils (reading)
I've just read Victor J Banis's excellent post on How to write M/M fiction (or rather just: How to Write), over at jessewave's blog, and it really got me thinking.

Firstly, he mentions listening to music as being a way of improving your writing - at school, I dropped English as a subject as soon as I could (age 16) but continued with Music until 18, when I left for University. I have an A Level grade C in Music, and I'm a damn sight more proud of that than I am of the B's I got in Maths and Physics (yes, I'm old enough to have done A levels before these weirdo new AS/A2 thingys came in, and in the subjects I took, Music was the most traditional).
...Anyway, to put it succintly: I have a fairly good grounding in classical music. My immediate thought on reading Mr Banis's comments on music was "perhaps that's why I get so hung up about the rhythm of my writing?" because I do, especially if the characters are talking in bed (/on the floor/up against a wall/in a lift ;-)

Following on from that, I went back to the old question of why could I not wait to drop English? I've always been a fairly prolific reader (and, like many other people, reading books which were supposedly way too advanced for my age) and I'm fairly sure I first announced my intention to become a writer before I left infant school. This enthusiasm continued - and was encouraged - by my junior school teachers, but then... I've never been able to figure out what happened at secondary school. I have certain memories (like seeing the first book we would be studying and thinking "I stopped reading books like this when I was 7" - the previous year, our class had been deconstructing Tolkein poems and greek myths in an effort to improve our storytelling...).

Coming back to today, this sudden insight caused by the linking of writing to music made me stop and think about the teaching methods I experienced in the different subjects. One thing I always, always hated about english lessons was the way they would go "Here's a really good book/play/story" and then pull it to pieces so we could see how the author had done it... but in doing that, we (or at least: I) couldn't see what the author had done.

What I'm on about is the method used where the teacher says "This term we're studying Macbeth", so lesson 1 the class read through / listen to the first scene. And then - immediately - it starts getting analysed, and notes have to be added to the text, and discussions are demanded about why such-and-such a word was used instead of this-other-one... and actually, you're lucky if you even get to the end of scene 1 before this starts happening...

Contrast this with studying Brahms's Violin Concerto for A level music:
Lesson 1: play CD of Brahms's Violin Concerto. Discuss immediate reactions to the piece.
Lesson 2: play the 1st movement. Discuss use of contrasts, orchestration etc. Identify 1st theme and mark on the score.

Do you see what I mean?

Ok, yes, I know there's a time element involved, but if you let people experience the full extent of something first, before you analyse it, they will likely be far more tolerant to your picking it apart. AND - perhaps more importantly - they will be far more likely to come back to it as adults.

As both a reader and an aspiring writer, it really upsets me how few people will turn to a book for an evening's pleasure, and I really can't stop myself from blaming it on english teaching destroying the joy of reading.

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