Its CAT LOVE between two CATS~

 

I got nuthin today…

I’ve been busily working on Shaxia, though. So there’s that! 

 

Here’s a snippet:

 

Daharn would have climbed the wall if he could find any kind of hand hold.

“Nyxa!” Hasabi huffed as she came barreling out the door after. “Get back here and put on your panties!”

The toddler cackled from around the bend. Hasabi was soon out of sight as well.

 

 

yeah… that’s Natan’s offspring for sure. :)

Sorry sorry

I haven’t had anything to say on Fridays last few weeks because I ran out of my queued posts and NANOWRIMO started :)

I’m halfway through the month, a little over halfway through the goal, and I think I’m halfway mark on the story. 

 

Have an excerpt:

 

Vathion waited.

He tried to wait patiently.

Daharn put a hand on his knee to make him stop twitching and shaking the tree branch they were hiding in. As Scheerahis had described, the spider-walkers were moving in a circle around the base building. There were about ten Carken playing in the mud. One of them was riding a spider-walker, waving his tentacles and yodeling. If there had been any Hyphokos out listening for signs of Shaxin or Gilon, they wouldn’t have heard a thing.

The Holy Grail

The one thing all writers should strive for is an original Voice; something that sets them apart from all other books.

Think about how when you listen to the radio, a lot of the songs sound very similar, but if a song comes on that you’ve never heard before, you know by the voice of the singer and the way the music was put together that this song is by Dave Matthews or Nickleback. You can just _tell_ the difference.

That’s what voice is in writing as well.

How to get there, though…

My journey towards that wasn’t a plotted, thought-out adventure, but more of an accident that I stumbled into. I think a good first step is to write.

Write. Write! WRITE!

Participate in Nanowrimo, not just for the sake of having something written, but because it lets you cut down the walls of your inner editor and just be _yourself_ on the page. Tell the story how you want to, rather than how you think someone else wants to read it.

Also keep in mind that unless you want your narrator to be a character in the story as well, you need to be nearly invisible. That’s not entirely possible. Your perceptions and opinions will be present in the book regardless of how much you think you stripped out. There is no way to be entirely unbiased, but that’s also part of your voice. The trick is to be a voice that adds to the story, rather than distracts from it.

Your voice cannot overwhelm the character’s voices. The story, in the end, is theirs, even if you’re technically the one telling it.

Also, do your research. Look at what’s been done before. If you want to write a non-fiction book, you’re not just going to make up stuff, right? You’re going to go out and read all the histories and studies previously done on the subject and come to conclusions of your own, based on the information you’ve gathered. How this applies to writing is that you need to read books in the genre you want to write. You need to look at how many other Fairytale Retellings there are and consider how you will make yours stand out. Why would anyone read your version of Beauty and the Beast over someone else’s when essentially they are the same as the original version. Unless you’re going back further than Disney’s version and starting from the source then recasting it in a modern setting.

This applies even if you’re writing about a completely original world. For example, Epic Fantasy. You need to generally know the tradition the genre comes from (Tolkien), what sets it apart from any other fantasy (a lot of walking), and where it has gone since then (from dragons being evil to dragons being talking friendly mounts like in PERN, and Dwarves having no women to Terry Pratchett’s version in which they just don’t go broadcasting their gender on a normal basis so everyone just assumes all Dwarves are men because they’re all hairy).

Then you need to research how to write. You need to know the rules to know how to properly break them. I’m going to be honest and admit that I never really studied how to sentences. My scores in grade school English classes were abysmal, partially because I didn’t care about school and I was bored, but also because the structure of sentences doesn’t interest me. Sentence structure is important, but should be co-pilot when it comes to getting your ideas across.

I can get away with having a word missing from that sentence in the paragraph above because it’s humorous and also adds to my point. Doing things like that all the time, however, is just going to annoy your readers because they have to work too hard to understand you.

Research how others have written certain types of scenes. Like action sequences, or epic descriptions of scenery that aren’t eye-wateringly boring. Find authors you think did it well and study how they did it. Salvatore does amazing fight-scenes. His secret is short sentences with a tight POV focus on one character. Mercedes Lackey does heart-breaking scenes exceptionally well. She does this by drawing readers into the character by making them relatable first, then following with the angst.

So do your research.

Your voice can also add to the story as the narrator, such as Douglass Adams and Terry Pratchett do, but there’s more to it than just being amusing by yourself. You can be funny in the narration by arguing with in-world gods, but again, don’t overpower your characters. Terry Pratchett for example is humorous, but his characters are _angry_. Legit. Low-key fury simmers beneath every word written on every page of his books, because Terry Pratchett is angry. He’s angry at rampant injustice and angry at stupid people who rule the world with their BS and lies. That’s his Voice. That’s the message he wants you, his audience, to hear.

Douglass Adams is angry about bureaucracy and BS that goes on in government. His characters have a rollicking good time roaming the universe, but you still hear him screaming about the system.

Anne McCaffery was determined to smash empathy and understanding of our fellow human beings into our heads with her words.

Mercedes Lackey believes in equality and that it is achievable without magic.

These attitudes are their Voice. Their way of weaving that into the story itself, behind the scenes, is what gives their work a depth and originality you notice as a reader even if it’s not consciously.

Plot Building

There are different methods of doing it others have discussed at great length; from the 3-Act, to character-driven, or events-driven. If you want more info on the nuances of each, I’d suggest listening to the Writing Excuses Podcast.

My plots don’t really confine themselves to definitive and easy labels. The most I can say about my plots are that they’re character-driven for the most part? I have elements where horrible things happen and they aren’t any one person’s fault, but all everyone else can do is just watch the dumpster fire roll down a steep hill and into a petting zoo. 

Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) splits people into Plotters or Pantsers. I’ve discovered I’m more of a Pantser. As in, writing by the seat of them. If my plots fit into any kind of structure, it’s mostly a happy accident at the end.

When I begin a new project, I start by asking “What If?” This is Phase 1, as mentioned in my Phases of Writing Post.

I have another post where I talked about Creativity, so I won’t go into that at length here. I usually pick several and smash them together. For example:

  • What if there was a world where wishes came true?
  • What if a girl ended up switched into a guy’s body?
  • What if no one can tell the difference?

As it is now, the above example doesn’t have a clear ending other than maybe she gets her body back, but what then? Is that worthy of being the end of the book?

  • What if the guy whose body she is in Wished to end the world?

There we go. Now she has to remain engaged in the story past getting her body back. This addition will usually get me another 80,000 words, at which point, I’ll have to begin doing my rereading process to remove anything that no longer fits from when I first began the story.

I also look for places where I skipped scenes and begin writing those. By this point, I’ve got an ending in mind, which I will begin bending the plot towards. As I said before, I’m a Pantser, so I let my characters have some free reign to avoid the plot if they want, although doing so doesn’t always end well for them. Interesting diversions will stay in the book, whereas things that don’t serve any real purpose except for being neat will eventually be cut. (Refer to Cutting Darlings, which I’ll probably write about later.)

Once I’ve got 3/4ths of a story together is when I begin savagely destroying scenes that don’t fit the direction I want to go. This also ties into the Separating Scenes topic… which I’ll also write eventually.

In the end, I aim for Murphy’s Law. If things can go poorly, I’ll make sure that they do. You can have a plot without conflict. Coffee Shop AU’s are still popular. However, they’re hardly satisfying if there was no original trauma for the character to escape from.

And traumatizing my characters gives me life.

Recently, I bashed out the chapter by chapter plot for Shaxia. I did that by beginning with the ending. I know where I want the ending. Then decided that I needed more tension at the beginning.

I then focused on the pieces in the middle that I knew I wanted to happen and asked myself if they were Darlings that needed killing. Some of them got killed, others got promoted and fleshed out.

I connected the dots with some broad strokes and BOOM. Outline done.

Now its a matter of writing the scenes, but they’re loose enough that I can still find surprises for my Pantsing self.

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Phases of Writing

Currently I have multiple projects I’m working on. Well, this is more of a thing that’s always going on, rather than just something that happened recently.

My projects go through a few phases.

Phase 1: Zero-Draft

This is the version of the story in which I do what I want, regardless of whether it makes any sense. This can happen during NANOWRIMO, or not, depending on whether I have ideas or not. In this draft, I write all the fun stuff I had the ideas to write about, skipping anything that may have been boring, and just enjoy the process of writing. This draft looks like crap thrown against the wall and includes not just the stuff that stuck, but whatever slid down and piled up in a stinking mess on the floor.

Phase 2: First Pass

In this phase, I begin by leaving my Zero Draft alone for a while, then coming back to it after a few months to do a reread. I figure out the parts I liked and mark them for keeping and ruthlessly delete whatever is just stupid. This is the version that actually sees the light of day. I’ve got a few people I allow to read this version and they give me feedback. At this time, I specifically ask my alpha-readers to ignore grammar and such, since if a scene is no good and needs to be cut, there’s no point in making sure the commas are in the right place.

Phase 3: First Draft

After some brainstorming, I’ll begin combing out tangles and adding more things to flesh out the setting and characters. Again, since this is a Drafting phase, I continue to write whatever makes me excited, rather than sticking entirely to what might or might not make sense for the story as a whole. This allows me to remain entertained and interested in the story, and to discover new things I might not have done otherwise. It’s this phase where my characters really start talking to me and taking over the story.

Phase 4: Second Pass

Hopefully by the end of First Draft, I have an ending. It may not be the perfect ending, but it’s an ending of some kind, making it a full draft that I can seriously start massaging into better shape. This is where I really take out the pruning shears and begin cutting stuff. At this point, anything can get removed, from characters, to entire plot lines. I also start cleaning up the flow of information that the characters get, making sure they don’t jump to the right answer before they’re supposed to. It’s here that I make sure that I challenge the characters and rewrite scenes to create more obstacles.

Phase 5: Second Draft

By now, I’m pretty set on what the story is going to be about, so I start editing for grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. I’m still on the look-out for scenes that could flow better if something were changed/added/removed. I go so far as to read each sentence out loud to see if it’s too long for the emotion I’m attempting to evoke in the scene. I’ll let my beta readers have a go at the manuscript at this point and make changes based on their feedback.

Phase 6: Chopping Block

I decide, roughly, how many words long I want this story to be. Then I reread the story again for the purpose of cutting words. Usually, my Second Draft is around 160,000 words. I try to keep my end products around 110,000 words. I find that’s long enough for me to get all my plot threads wrapped up sufficiently. Anything that I like but doesn’t belong, I’ve got a special file I put them in. Maybe those ideas will get used later (probably not but it makes me feel better about deleting the scene). I look for places where conversations can be combined, or information could be revealed elsewhere. Then I give it back to my beta readers and ask their thoughts.

Phase 7: Polishing

Now I dedicate an entire reread to looking for grammar and typos. Any changes I make at this point are usually small-scale, consisting of rewording things for clarity.

I do that a few more times until I’m sick of looking at the thing.

July-nowrimo

I unofficially did a Nanowrimo in June, called it my April one on the CampNanowrimo site. And now I’m officially doing a July Nanowrimo. I’m already 5k into it. Totally got inspired by an anime called Arata the Legend, which is kind of a reverse Fushigi Yuugi, written by the same person who did Fushigi Yuugi. Lol. All the men are even more ridiculously pretty. But the main character annoys me a little, although he’s showing some development.

However, it got me thinking something along the lines of “if I were to transport to an alternate world, I’d probably end up there buck naked. Because that’s how my luck is.” So that was the first scene I wrote. Now I’m pantsing my way through the Call to Adventure and discovering the magic system of the gods is based on music – which was an idea I’d had a while ago. I’ve got my Main Character Rhyan/Ryan Arinaster, and Adris Heartfeather. My Ryans are kind of like the Mazes from Maze Megaburst Space. Except no random switching between male and female forms. They’ve entirely switched locations though they look exactly the same (except for obvious sexual characteristics, such as y’know boobs).

That’s about all I’ve figured out about this story thusfar and I really should try to outline some more plot for it.

I really need to finish Faultline tho. It has promise as an interesting story as well. I even got nearly finished making a cover. Though I got frustrated with my inability to draw mechanical objects. Lol.

My July Nanowrimo needs a better name. Maybe something will pop up while I’m writing it.

Flu Season

I caught the flu from my dad. It’s only just started for me, and I’m supposed to work Monday-Wednesday this week.

I don’t know if Monday is happening. I already feel like rot, and I barely got over that head-cold thing I caught from Hamacon. :< Although, I may not have a choice about working Monday, given the usual Monday workload. I shall have to see how I feel.

 

In other news, I’ve been moving old posts from my LiveJournal and old website to this one. So if strange, old, and outdated posts pop up on my tumblr and twitter feed, that would be why. I’ll try to update with some new stuff to counteract the old news flood, but lately my life has consisted of nothing but work.

 

Nanowrimo is over and I won. I’ve begun editing at my Nanowrimo novel and removed many of the XXX rated stuff this afternoon. So that’s a start. Looking at the bones of this book, it may actually be worth publishing after all. The PROBLEM is that its like book 8 and I don’t have book 3 done yet. D’oh. I need to buckle down and get back to writing book 3. Good news is that I’m slightly more confident in the idea of not having as much in the way of action in book 3, especially if I can balance that with more memorable characters and interesting dialogue. Book 3 is supposed to be more political anyway, and it’s also got Scheerahis in it. He’s so cute! I can’t wait to introduce him to everyone!

I also realized that I need to figure out some way to get Ghost Talent going again, because that book was also very important to understanding some of what’s going on in this as-yet-unnamed Nanowrimo thing. And Faith on Silver Wings.

I also need to write something that isn’t Natan Fleet Show related. Just to have something else going. For the fun of it.

 

I held a baby for the first time ever Saturday night.

I know. 28 yrs old and female and I somehow managed to avoid babies.

I was at work and coworker brought her 12 week old twins in and I was just sitting there next to her, pondering the pros and cons of touching the babies at all and she just drops her daughter in my lap and is like “hold this” and I’m DEER IN HEADLIGHTS look and all my coworkers start giggling at me and I admitted my terrible secret of having never held a baby before… and coworker shrugged and went back to what she was doing.

I know theoretically how to hold babies. Don’t let their heads flop around and don’t drop them… But that was kinda shocking.

 

and I think I liked it. *sweatdrop*

I broke my streak!

 

I won Nanowrimo on an Even year!

And I even have a hint of a plot! I might be able to salvage this as NFS book 7 or something! :3

…it needs a title.

 

 

 

Summary:

Enki Smith was raised by humans, but the age old question of Nature vs. Nurture was always present. Could a varas ever be anything but a varas? To prove them wrong, Enki became a doctor, and decided to move to Frontier Station in order to open a clinic servicing not just humans, but anyone who wanted medical attention. One fated trip to a furniture store gave her the first real glimpse of the man of her dreams – literally. Having been plagued by dreams of a varas man she had never met, Enki knew the moment she saw Scheerahis that he was destined to be hers.

But knowledge of the future is always a double edged sword. While she knew of nearly every joy she would have with him, she also knew of his death. In order to save him, she must embrace her varas heritage to its fullest and push herself to the limits.