wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
In case anyone is curious about how the thumbnail sketches work for me and what kinds of things I'm looking at, beneath the cut are a few things that I've done/thought about since doing this storyboard.

A bit of waffling )
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
in which there is no snippet.

But I felt like I needed to report in about creativity, even if I have a lack of creation to share.

That is not to say that I've done nothing--I've sketched some--but I have spent more time thinking and being and accepting. A while back, I posted about my frustration with how stories come to me, wishing I could change the way my brain works.  Thanks to everyone who commented on that entry. I fell down a rabbithole and didn't follow up with people. I regret that. It seems silly to go back to it now, but I appreciate that people chimed in.

Anyhow, I haven't had new revelations, per se, but I've decided I need to be more flexible. I need to accept that sometimes the plan must be ditched; I have to roll with what I'm capable of when a hole swallows me whole or Some Big Thing knocks me off track.  I may not have the brain cells to write at certain times, but I can draw. So instead of clinging to some idea that I must write Just Because, I need to quickly (gracefully) switch gears.  It will save me time, guilt, and needless waffly-wallowing.

We are looking at a move, which means lots of packing, running around, planning and executing plans, in addition to vet visits, renewing my passport, attending a plethora of social engagements, and baking for charities. This is not the time to come down hard on myself for not being able to produce some tangible evidence of my creative spirit.

And this is enough of that. G'night, LJ. :P 
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: paper flames)
Thanks to a comment by [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume, I remembered some more of what I wanted to post.  My brain disappointed me by not forking over the info without an external prompt.

3.  I have a very morbid mind. Every time I'm walking or riding my bike in a wooded area and come across bits of clothing or shoes, I always imagine there is a murder victim nearby. The worst is when the articles belong to children.  I try to stop myself--and have gotten better the past couple of weeks because there are a lot of lost/discarded clothes*--but I always have to do a quick search to make sure there really isn't an undiscovered corpse in the bushes or beneath the ferns. I don't want to find a dead body, but I always think it would be better to find it and alert the authorities, who can contact the family and end their agonizing over the Unknown.

4. Some people name packrat** tendencies "having a magpie mind." A magpie mind is poetic and evokes lovely images for me, but I can't claim to have one because I don't just collect the shiny. No, I'm more like the rat, packing things--any and everything--away for its someday potential. That is why I've decided to collect the dryer lint that no one else can be bothered to take from the machine.***  There are lots of things you can do with dryer lint.  I may end up giving it to the birds, but at least I'll feel like I'm doing something useful with it, transforming my irritation at people's sloth into positive action.

* To date, I've seen not only expected things like gloves, hats, scarves, but a rubber boot, jackets, sweaters, socks, button-down shirt, pants, a skirt...

* Actually, packrats collect shiny stuff, too. :P

***I'm still appalled at how beastly people act when they are living in a community. I'm not the world's neatest person, but you can bet your bottom dollar that as soon as I'm part of a collective, I make an effort!  Not so for a lot of the others residing here. I can't believe they are so thoughtless with their own property in their own homes; yet here, they feel free to leave things a mess and disregard anyone else's needs, comfort, or safety. Very bizarre.

Re: the music I was listening to while making this post, Soëlie started doing her bobbing baby dance when the Pearl Jam song came on.  It took me back to the days when I was a little girl, sitting with my mom, grandmother, and eldest sister in said sister's room, listening to the version of  Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers.  I loved to cry to that song.  In looking up a YouTube link, I found a Spanish version that reminded me of my first trip to Jaurez on a mission trip to an orphanage when I heard some then-popular USA song on the radio playing in Spanish. It opened my teenage mind to the way things cross borders--not just food!--and cultures appropriate and transform them for their own.  And it is not just USA entertainment exported elsewhere. Did you know the Schwarzenegger film True Lies was a French film first?  One without all the over-the-top effects. :P 

wayfaringwordhack: (I heart you)
Thank you ever so much to those who responded to my last post.  Each and everyone of you gave such good advice that will help me through the writing doldrums.

In fact, mulling over what everyone said, I came to realize that I what I really need is an attitude adjustment...

Right here, right now, there is a disconnect, a strident dissonance, in what I'm saying I want and what I'm doing to get it. [livejournal.com profile] mindseas compared story love to getting struck by lightning, and I told her that while I too want that lightning, instead of getting out and chasing the storm, I'm hunkered down in a house bristling with lightning rods. I should've added that I'm standing on tires, too.

This is not confined to my writing. It is me, all of me.  I feel pretty useless these days, adrift and without purpose, unable to contribute. I guess a bit of that seeped through because, in chat, [livejournal.com profile] frigg told me my post was depressing.

So, yeah, time to adjust that ol' attitude and get to the heart of a few matters...
wayfaringwordhack: (shroom sweet shroom)
Yesterday, at lunch, a swallow flew into the house.

I half-remembered something about swallows and the weather and wondered if it might not mean a storm was coming.

After putting Soëlie down for the night, I heard the first distant peals of thunder. I did not have high hopes for a storm; we so rarely get good ones.  But louder and closer got the thunder, and lightning began to illuminate the night sky, flashing through my windows like strobe lights.

It was already 10:00 p.m. and I didn't know if I felt like going through the effort of making myself supper.  However, the thought of sitting at the top of the stairs in the courtyard and watching the storm was appealing enough for me to gather a hard-boiled egg, a piece of blue cheese and bread, and a fromage blanc onto a tray and head outside.

The night was oh-so-silent at first. No wind, no birds, no voices, no cars.  Then another flash of lightning and a woman on one of the canal boats exclaimed, "Oh!" in wonderment.  All I saw as the echo of light across the cloud blanket, my view of the sky constricted by my own house, a two-story garage, and an abandoned pub. As if the woman's cry had broken an imposed silence, other noises filled the night: the rustle of trees, the skitter-patter of raindrops hitting the baked clay and slate shingles of the surrounding buildings like the approach of a thousand mice.

A fine rain began to fall, but I wanted to see the sky, to revel in the forks of lightning and the thunder's booming.  I went downstairs, listening for cries from inside to show that Soëlie was disturbed, but she slept on. The view on the south side of my house was no good; the storm was raging over Sancerre, northwest.  I walked around, back through my yard, in the dark, not wanting to wander out into the light and civilization of the lamp-lit street.  Houses continued to block my view and I wanted badly to bundle Soëlie into the car and chase the storm.  I resisted, watching the flashes and searing forks from the darkened passageway between my house and the next.  

My stormgazing disturbed one of my neighbors, though, who, not understanding what I was doing--and not bothering to ask--assumed I was spying on him. I pointedly tipped my head to the sky, trying to make him understand, but he stood in the street, staring at me, shoulders squared in defiant menace. I ignored him, preferring the drama in the sky, and he went back in his house, only to appear at the door not a minute later, checking to see if I was still there.  When still I refused to move, to thwart me, he turned off the lights in his house, making me feel like some kind of creep.  

I stretched and tried not to let it bother me, not going back inside until the rain got a little harder, using that as an excuse to leave my post so he would not think his stupidity was correct.

The music of the thunder and the rain kept me company as I read in the bath, and when I went to bed, I opened the windows, the better to hear the storm.  I was afraid the thunder would wake Soëlie, but she never budged. (When she did wake to pee at 2am, I could hear music coming softly from the defiant neighbor's house; he often puts his music on too loud during the day, his friends rev their motorcycles obnoxiously before taking off from his house at all hours of the night, and he certainly thought that I was passive-aggressively protesting  his noise when all I cared about was the storm.)

This morning, a fine drizzle was still falling, gaining strength with each hour. The autumn-cool air energized me with a feeling of needing to get things done, an instinctive desire to settle my nest before winter's arrival.  I vowed to be productive, to heed nature's message, but then mugginess set in, pressing all my good intentions out of me with its weight.

Instead of productivity, I decided to look up the superstition about swallows in the house. Turns out people believe that to be a harbinger of death. It is the sight of swallows flying low that is supposed to herald rain.  The window the fellow above flew through is on the third floor.  

I then decided to Google my middle name.  A search years ago told me "Nari" means different things from one language to the next, but the meaning that always stuck with me was "thunder" from Japanese. (That too depends on the site; I also saw: "gentle child," "Loud burst of noise from bells,"  and "Thunder bolt")

Babynamesworld had this to say: The Japanese name Nari may be written with the character for "do; change; make". Other possibilities include the character for "to be", or the characters for "vegetable; greens" (na) and "pear tree" (ri).

A name of Italian origin for boys, says one site, meaning "cheerful."

Another site says: It is also from the Sanskrit meaning "woman" (pronounced with long vowels 'a' and 'i'--My pronunciation is nah-ree). Nari is the name of a daughter of Mount Meru.

I spent time with the Meru people in Kenya.  They gave me the name Makena, "the happy one."

But back to thunder.   My mother always called me Thunderhead when I was small.  It was a bit for my temper, perhaps, and maybe due to Nari's meaning, but mostly it was because I could always hear the thunder before anyone else.  "Storm's coming," I would say, looking up at the hot, blue Texas sky, and the storm always came.

wayfaringwordhack: (footprint in the sand)

I used to think I had a mind like a steel trap.  Now I wonder if it is not more like a barbed wire fence: Loosely strung, rusted, full of spaces to let thoughts pass, but still capable of snagging and holding on to things and causing harm.


On my country walks, I like to indulge in woolgathering, but not like these fences, snatching wool from passersby, hoarding and disguising their barbs under pearls of fleece.

Or do I?  

Maybe I catch inspiration like that speared leaf, snagging it out of my surroundings, only to let it dry and crumple while I find the time and inclination to make something of it, until one day, the leaf is a dessicated skeleton, the inspiration no more than a faint memory.

If Don McLean's moss growing fat on a rolling stone was a negative thing, I wonder how lichen growing thick on a rusted line compares.  Maybe, if want to work my creative process into this comparison, it would be best to side with the Ancient school of thought who viewed the accumulation of moss as a good thing. Like seeded oysters, those clusters of lichen might be steadily absorbing rain rich with elements and dust just gritty enough to grow a story that will spark my enthusiasm. I'd like to hope so...

This post seems to have a melancholy bent. Strange, for I feel not melancholic at all...
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
 J and I have been dreaming and scheming about his future posting as an embassy guard. This is important and not so important.  In the quirky way of the French administration, the Powers that Be ask each employee where they would like to be stationed, requiring said employee to choose three destinations. Then, when it comes time to fill a post, the employee's wishes are (usually) summarily dismissed and the employee is offered another country/continent/hemisphere entirely.  If the employee turns down the offer, his or her name goes to the bottom of the posting list, so unless the assignment is reallllllly bad or dangerous, one does not say no.

So, for our three countries, even though we probably won't get any of them, we've still been thinking. Soëlie does not have US nationality simply because I'm American, so if it is possible*, we wouldn't mind a stint in New York to help her get the requisite 3yrs-before-18th-birthday stay time in the States to obtain her dual citizenship. The other US opening is in Washington, but bleh...neither of us want to go there.

In trying to decide another country, I visited this site to see what parts of the world are still unbeknownst to me.  I did this map years ago, before our world trip, but now it has a little more color.

create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

I've visited 27 countries, which only equals 12%!!!

Still vast tracts of unexplored territory there. I like the sound of "-stan" countries like Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan (Afghanistan and Pakistan not so much). Czechoslovakia was my favorite country name ever. Too bad it doesn't exist any longer. Zimbabwe is another fun one. Consonance aside, though, Indonesia would be good money-wise, location-wise, and, for Julien, spearfishing-wise. I wouldn't mind Turkey for the history...

How about you? Where would you go for four years?

*We've heard that a US posting is not likely for us because I'm American. Something about the French gov't not wanting their employees possibly developing compromised, conflicting loyalties.
wayfaringwordhack: (moi)
Many people keep the names of their children, spouses, and various family members "secret" on their blogs, only referring to their loved ones by nicknames. For those of you who do, why do you do it? For those who don't, why not?

Also, what are your thoughts on photos of children on the Internet? Locked post, fodder for all, or not at all?

*just wondering if Little Bean will someday be known as _________ or if he/she will simply graduate to Sprout*
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
Last day for the meme, and the question is:

30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

I'm not going to tag anyone.  Rather, I'd like to see a variety of people pick up the challenge of writing about writing.  If you are interested, the questions are under the cut.

All you have to do is answer one question per day, starting July 1.

Writing about writing )
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

I was about to answer "a lot," but I guess it truly depends on where I am in a story and how I'm feeling about the tale at that moment. There are times when I am obsessed by the characters, the world, the plot, and I have a hard time concentrating on anything else.  This state just comes upon me, but it is more easily reached when I've been writing consistently.

Sometimes, though, I do my daily writing, but my my mind is not obsessed with what I'm doing. I'd consider that I'm a healthier individual while in this state (because I am more open to and concerned about others--it is easier to have a conversation with me, frex), but I don't like it. In fact, I feel there is something wrong with me and wish the random ideas and snippets were more present. 

Then there are times that I have to literally say to myself, "Ok, you have this problem; think about it."  And from there I tackle it. 

I guess, though, my response could have honestly remained "a lot;" even when I'm not actively writing, I'm thinking that either I should be or I would like to be.

As of the IRL part of this question....hmmm, I would say that I'm more influenced by things in real life that find their way into my fiction and my characters' lives.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there's nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

Yes, Tatterdemalion, my narrator for The Bitter River, is mute. He is an orphan who was found on the banks of a river by an archeologist and was raised in her household by a linguist.  Even though Tatter can't talk, he is very bright and can understand several languages. He loves words and the power they have over people. He communicates through sign language, but these signs are a made-up invention of the family he finds himself in, so he doesn't have much conversation or interaction with strangers.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

Yes and no.  In The Traveler's Daughter, Bria's character is very much informed by her looks. She basically should have been given to another people to raise, a people who resembles her more closely, but her goddess had other ideas for her.  Hence she has a childhood and adolescence along The Ugly Duckling lines.

In To Be Undone, characters have different physiques according to their castes, but apart from a minor thing, appearance doesn't play a major role.

Apart from having a physical type clear in my mind, I couldn't tell you what most of my characters in Witherwilds look like. Shocking, I know.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
Questions and answers under the cut because there are so many. None of them are long, however. I've not been feeling loquacious of late.

Days 20-26 )
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Someone from Witherwilds. She evolved from a one-dimensional meanie into someone with real depth once I got her to break down and talk to me. She likely is going to be getting her own POV in books 2 and 3. I'm not going to give more of an in-depth answer than that.  I like keeping certain ideas to myself so as not to ruin or influence reader reactions, and my betas follow my blog, so...
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
18. Favorite antagonist and why!

I don't particularly like writing antagonists. I guess because of that, they don't often figure among my favorite characters. That my stories don't often have the "recommended" protag/antagonist dynamic* makes it a doubly hard-to-answer question. 
I guess I would say Behrouz of To Be Undone. He is willing to do pretty reprehensible things in order to bring about a change that is for the ultimate good of all. I think a lot of people in life go wrong in this way. They have good intentions, but they become monsters in trying to bring about the change they desire. It makes him comprehensible to me in ways that other antagonists are not (frex, Valsidire in The Traveler's Daughter, who acts out of hunger for power).

* I'm referring to the writing advice that states that the antagonist stands directly in the protag's way and the antagonist deliberately and step-by-step thwarts the protag's advance or achievement. 
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
17. Favorite protagonist and why!

I feel like I've already answered this question on Day 11 because Mirco is a main character/protag. What makes him a favorite is, yes, I find his head easy to get into, but more than that, I like the contrast of him, his self-delusion or, if you will, his dishonesty with himself and others. I like the possibility of what he can do for the storyworld with his unique perspective. He is a strong-minded character, but he still has his flaws.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? ;)

I do. I'm not sure how I do with them, actually. I don't think it is my forte, that's for sure. But then relationships, romantic or otherwise, are part of characterization, and I'm not up to par with that aspect of the craft.

I guess you could say I'm willing to go all the way because I have done. But not between the romantically-involved.  There has to be a reason for me to show a love/sex scene. I don't have a problem with doing it, but I doubt I will ever take the details too far. I don't have a story line/character arc that demands that in any of my present WIPs. 
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

I admire any and everyone who has the creativity, patience, tenacity and temerity to commit their novels* to paper/hard drive and then spend the necessary time and effort to get those paper/screen versions to match the vision that inspired them to write their story in the first place.

* Sorry short story writers, but the short is more easily committed and therefore requires less investment.  Note, I'm not saying "easily" in that it is easy to do well. 
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
13. What's your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

I would have to say the cultures--yes, plural--from To Be Undone. Each culture is very different and very connected to its place in the world. It is interesting to play with the rigidity and beliefs of each society that Phayn, the heroine, encounters.

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

The overall form of the world is dictated by the story, ie what I need to happen for the story to develop as I see it.  Frex, in The Traveler's Daughter, I wanted two continents connected by an isthmus to show the relation between the lands and inhabitants. Twin goddesses are the respective creators and patrons of these lands, yet they are still different. In To Be Undone, I took the idea of story informing world even further and there are geological differences that reflect a caste system. In Witherwilds, I had to plan two geographical features to incorporate for the plot to make sense.

So, yeah, plot is a big deal for me when designing a world. I plan on mapping out some floor plans, cities, etc. (something I don't normally do), but haven't done it yet. 

To see the maps that I have, you can check out the links in my Day 12 post.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it you'd like to share?

Hmmm. I’ve loved all the universes I’ve worked with because I love places, love going to new ones, discovering things about old ones. Maybe because I seem to have a wayfaring gene. But where did I do the best job in building my own world???

Setting has always been important to me, the creation of it more so. Each of my creations have a soft-spot in my heart.

With the planet of Trillix, in The Traveler’s Daughter, I was less adventurous with what I invented. I had a lot of fun with my map of the storyworld, but I just scratched the surface of what "place" entails. I also chose the route of being influenced by actual cultures and worlds. But because it was my first novel, I am still fond of that place and it seems very real to me.

With Shamindor, of To Be Undone, I let the world inform the story and really created some unusual things and concepts. Here and here are two different views of it. However, I haven't spent enough time there, and the things that make the storyworld different also make it challenging to write. Very challenging. I do look forward to going back to it, though, and getting to know it better.

Witherwilds is the world that I have tried to make 100% my own, even down to creating languages and writing systems (though I am still working on Soqoli) for the two principle cultures. Funnily enough, I didn’t start with a map as I did in my other worlds. I have the rough geography in mind because climate informs culture, but I feel that the places are more well-rounded because I’ve had to think them through from the ground up without modeling them on those existing in our world. I still have lots of things to figure out and that excites me. I love the discovery and planning processes, and because I'm doing them so intensely on this project, I believe I'm probably doing the best job with it.


wayfaringwordhack: (Default)

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