wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
This week was a total wash for me on the writing front.

The ten actual words I did manage are contained herein:

She held out her hand and opened it. An egg-shaped stone lay upon her palm, watery blue with a faceted red sphere near its larger end. A glimmer. All the girls shifted forward for a better view. They knew what mineralized sresree eggs were supposed to look like, but Lelo supposed none of them had never seen a real one either.

Um, yay me?


Sadly I do not foresee more productivity in my near future.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
I feel like I had a pretty mediocre week. I have been brainstorming, but not very efficiently it would seem, about the religious beliefs of my island dwellers. I think they tend toward an animistic worldview, but I don't want to copy existing practices and ideas. There must be some overlap, of course, but I haven't found what makes the beliefs unique to this people.

I have also been pondering whether or not to give more info on how the magic in this world works. One of my POV characters is actually attending a class, but I had previously written it in a way where she got in trouble and kicked out of class before any real information was exchanged. I then got to thinking that a) this messes up my timing [something else is happening simultaneously, and if she gets kicked out too early, it can't plausibly effect the other event]; b) I was not taking advantage of an opportunity to bring the world more fully to life.

What are your thoughts? Do you like to see/learn how magic works in fantasy stories?

Anyhow, this is a rough little snippet that assumes Lelo stays in class long enough to learn a little something:

“One piece of feldspar is not necessarily like another. Your eye may not see these differences, but your ear must hear them. With your songsacs will come this ability. When you sing to the land, it is best to have some idea of what will answer you. This shows respect to the earth’s spirit, but it also keeps you safe.”

Here it comes, Lelo thought, another lecture about the dangers of sresoqo. But instead of telling her favorite story of how an iasree had sung a chasm open beneath her own feet and plummeted into the bowels of the earth, never to be found again, Elamie pulled something out of a pouch tied at her waist.

wayfaringwordhack: (writing: food for thought)
In a recent entry, I bemoaned the rigidity of my writing brain. I talked about using a different POV to convey info, but I wasn't clear because I don't want to bore people with specifics. What I meant to say was this:

Ramble, ramble, thoughts a-bramble )

Any thoughts?
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
This week, I spent the greater part of my writing time pondering worldbuilding issues, notably the religious beliefs of one of my  main societies. I still haven't finetuned it all, but I've had some ideas that will make the characters' actions and thoughts more consistent, understandable, and, hopefully, believable.

Forcing myself to think this issue through has also had the added benefit of helping explain why my characters have not abandoned ship when their home is under attack. In the past, I always went with the idea (in my own mind) that most people prefer the known to the unknown and are willing to stay in a bad situation out of fear and surety of their status in the world, even if that world is going to hell. That didn't sit well with all readers, however.  Now I have a plan to bring up differing points of view and solutions to the problem.  I'm sure the story will be stronger for it because it doesn't make this so cut-and-dried, black and white, and the characters won't be passive-without-cause.

These thoughts fostered the following, off-the-cuff, straight-from-the-brain-before-I-forget sentences:

    “It was to be a secret, but I see Srila has ways of prying into affairs that don’t--”

    “Enough.” Srila slapped the railing and may have, just maybe, sang a bit of power into the word. “I have the right of the stone. I called the council. For my own reasons. If Ario wishes to address us, she can wait. But since it seems her news is about abandoning our home, it is even more vital you hear me out before making a rash decision.”

In other creative news, I did a little sketch this morning, playing with my style idea for the kids' book, that I'm not dissatisfied with. If I can kick this headache that is sinking its claws into my brain, I just might work on it some more this afternoon.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: book)
[livejournal.com profile] asakiyume tagged me for a 7-7-7-7 challenge, but as per her suggestion to not stress about tagging seven people, I'm dropping the final 7.  If you are a writer and want to play along, please feel free!

The Game

Go to the 7th page of a work in progress, go 7 lines down, post the next 7 lines, then challenge 7 other writers to do the same.

I feel like I've shared this before, way back when, as a snippet.  Dunno, but this is what you get when I follow the directions:

What was she going to do now? Paoala was her last hope. No one else was willing to sneak behind the council. All those who had been had given up on her long ago. She lowered her head into her hands.

“I’ll fetch a bedservant,” Rosa said, “and chocolate. Shall I?”

Sex. Chocolate. Two iasree-approved solutions to the pain. Yes, orgasm brought temporary relief, as did chocolate, something in its composition soothing and cheering iasrees more markedly than it did any of the songless; but neither sex nor chocolate cured. Neither gave lasting relief. They were only slightly better than useless.

This read as 7 lines in my MS, but this window shows it as 6. Who knows how many it will be when I hit *post.*

So, [livejournal.com profile] frigg, I know you are working on something at the moment...
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: scrabble - novel)
So, snippet.  Yes, I got a bit of writing done while we were gone.

It was so nice to creep out of bed at dawn, walk through the muggy fog* to a secluded spot and just think words and story. One morning I sat beneath eucalyptus trees, with all sorts of birds disappearing into the thick haze around me. The next day, Junebug woke up early, so I took him with me by the pool and wrote under date palms, heavy with fruit, while he pranced around with his shorts on his head. The last day I retreated to a worker's shelter in an olive grove.

(sorry for the crap photo; took it with my laptop)
Every time we go to Anafora, J says the kids and I should live full-time there, and for such lovely mornings, I would almost consider it.

Anyhow, a snippet to prove I didn't just go lounge around in the pool and sit under date palms sipping fresh juices:

Elamie nodded once. “Precisely. Iasrees have a gift, but not a gift free of cost. Not a gift that can be used without learning and application. The bite of a sresree may confer upon us the power of extraordinary song, but it does not give the ability to master the elements. Control is not innate. It must be aquired.”

Lelo clenched her fists in her lap. That, that was what Elamie had said? The same thing she said at least ten times per class, every class?  “About time you teach us mastery, then,” she muttered under her breath.  “Start simple, something like waking earthstars, and work your way to simili creation.”

Looking at this out of context makes it seem very heavy on the invented word side, but this is something like chapter 5 of the book, so the reader should either know or have a good inkling by now of what these words mean.

And I also had a great** idea of giving some parts of a scene to another POV character. This will give me a chance to show things from a fresh perspective, hopefully adding to the reader's understanding of both the characters and the world. My brain is truly and finally tiptoeing into Storyworld.

* Anafora is on the desert road to Alexandria and not that close to the river or the greenness of the delta, but misty mornings are not rare.

** This was also sort of a "d'oh!" thought, something that could have occurred to me a loooooong time ago. That just doesn't seem to be the way my brain works, though. It's very hard for me to move beyond an initial way of seeing things. And I don't like that. It is a very rigid and frustration-making way to be. I wonder if I could do some kind of exercises to loosen up the mind and teach it to shuffle things and try out possibilities before latching so strongly on to one. Anyone have any ideas?
wayfaringwordhack: (art: energized)
No surprise here that last night was a pretty crap night. I fell asleep a little after 11, only to be startled out of bed by our bawab calling on the interphone to say J had forgotten his scooter outside. I was so sleep fuddled that I didn't know where J was--he was in bed--and told the bawab that I had no idea when he'd be home.

Then Junebug woke up at 2:15, then 3:30, maybe because of the vaccination he got yesterday. At 5:15, I could have sworn I heard someone ringing our doorbell. I checked, but no one was there. I fed the cats and stumbled back to bed.

5:45 and my eyes popped open, my brain saying, Hey, aren't you supposed to be writing?

I told the brain to shut up and go back to sleep because Junebug didn't need me yet. The brain started thinking story, though, so I got of bed and had my best writing morning yet.

Everyone slept in, and I was able to finish up the chapter. Well, finished all of it but one page before the peace was no more (completed it a little bit later).  I don't know that rising early has become routine for me, but my body seems to be helping the brain in making it happen.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
...on a Monday morning, not a first and certainly not a last.

I spent yesterday with friends that Sprout and I made during her dance classes last year. I taught the moms to make sourdough bread while the girls played, then we all supped on Egyptian moussaka and Indian curry potatoes and Indian bread.* Between all the baking and tidying and visiting, I didn't have the oomph to post last night.

So! This was a good week, overall. I got my Baron Frankenstein** groove on and hacked and stitched until I have a chapter three that pretty much does what I want it to.

Snippet this way )

*One mom is Egyptian and the other Indian, and they brought the food so I wouldn't have to cook.

**"Frankenstein" is the name of the game for this chapter. Depressingly, I found an entry about it, dating back to April 14...2013!
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: book)
Why is it that any time I make a plan, I can be sure something will come along to scuttle it?

Four days ago, I started on my quest to write early mornings. Since then, I've succeeded exactly 1.5 times. The first day I already wrote about. The second morning was a wash because Junebug had a fever* that kept both of us up late, so I was too tired to get out of bed early. The third morning was better, the most successful of them all, and a good indication of how things might go if I can ever get on a roll with this plan.

This morning was a no-go, again due to interrupted sleep: Sprout waking me because she was thirsty and then repeatedly dealing with Junebug's fever.

I have managed to finish chapters one and two and quite like the flow between them. Now I'm starting on chapter three, which is the block I just couldn't get past last time I was writing.  This time around, I'm just going to keep writing until I hit upon something I like. If I write thousands of throw-away words in the meantime, so be it.

* It doesn't seem to be anything serious, just teething
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: paper flames)
I've decided I'm going to try to write in the mornings, when Junebug wakes me for a nursing session. This usually happens around 5:30 or 6, and I try to fall back asleep afterwards. The plan is to let him go back to sleep but stay up myself and write while the house is still quiet and distraction-free.  I've been trying to write at night, and my insomnia is having a heyday. Story-making is not conducive to the calm thoughts and empty(ish) mind I need to fall asleep.

This morning, I woke up by myself at exactly 5:30, expecting to hear Junebug. Nothing. So, silly me, instead of just getting up, I dozed until he cried at 6:20. I nursed him and put him back to bed around 6:40, but Sprout got up. :-<  She was pretty good about leaving me alone but didn't give me the 100% solitude and calm I craved.  Then of course Junebug got up at 7:30.

My first try wasn't a success, but I'm aiming for an early night and a second go in the morning.
wayfaringwordhack: (critters: Maki World Domination)
Another week of writing on Witherwilds.  I finished my edits of chapter two and doubled back to work on chapter one. Most of the week I felt stymied by "this is not good enough" fears and did more staring at the page than writing.

I finally found an opening idea that appealed to me and summoned my courage to commit words to paper, convincing the silly Perfectionist Brain that there is little likelihood of perfection right now and "serviceable" will suffice.

So, I give you words, far from perfect, but perfectly serviceable:

Srila had duty on the Songwall just before sunrise, so the melodies she hummed to her plants did not involve her songsacs, just simple power-less tunes she sometimes crooned to her daughter. Moving through the jungle on her terrace, she startled a pair of night monkeys who were gorging themselves at the fruit platter Lelo had left out for them. The monkeys hooted in displeasure and scampered up the trunk of her coconut palm. From there, they flung themselves into a mango tree growing next to the iemodi, their bodies black comets that blotted out the stars.

* I have no monkey icons, so have a lemur instead.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: scrabble - novel)
Hold on to your hats, folks. You are going to get an actual writing snippet this Sunday.

Thanks to excessive prodding and no little abuse encourgagement from [livejournal.com profile] frigg, I have dusted off my Witherwilds file, as you may have gathered from my post on insomnia.

About two years have lapsed since I worked on this project, so there is quite a bit of dust to clear off files and out of the corners of my mind.

My plan is to proceed with the rewriting of the opening of book 1, hopefully reach a stage where old stuff can still stand, and then turn my attention to completing book 2.  But more than anything, more than setting goals, lofty or otherwise, the plan is to keep working on it.

Sola’li slipped out of the courtesy lodge before dawn and smiled to find Open City engulfed in mist. She could not have planned a more perfect help to her morning’s business. Patting the low bun she wore in hopes of being mistaken for a songless woman, she peered up and down the street. Overly cautious was better than caught. Movement across the way made her pause, hand still to her hair. She shifted deeper into the shadow of the lintel.

I also finished draft two of my nonfiction picture book.

Oh, and I made Junebug a pair of shorts. 
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: scrabble - novel)
I've been fighting insomnia* for the last hour, to no avail. So instead of tossing and turning in frustration, let me ask you a question, O Great Hivemind of Fellow Writers!

When you've left a project fallow for an extended amount of time, how do you get back into it?

Do you dive in right where you left off, with no priming of the pump, working purely from memory with what and where you think you need to go?

Do you reread the prose you wrote and pick it up from there? All of it or just a scene or two?

Do you peruse notes and outlines first to get the juices flowing?

Something else entirely?

On another writing-related note, do those of you who are known for (or personally feel you have the knack of) writing relatable characters put yourselves in the characters' skin when writing? Do you visualize yourself as the character interacting with the story world? Can you put your finger on what you do?

This sort of roleplaying does not come naturally to me, and I constantly find myself distracted and pulled out of the "game" by my own wandering thoughts, leading me to the conclusion that this technique "just isn't me." I'd like to persist, though, and try to master it because I WANT to write characters that readers love to love and love to hate. Such roleplaying might be a good way to accomplish that.

I also wonder if I have a hard time doing it because I lack empathy on some level. Before I lead you to think I'm some kind of heartless monster, let me clarify by saying that I do feel for others and am able to understand their feelings. But it is easier when their situation is not connected to mine. When I'm involved, I'm too often concerned with and overwhelmed by Self. I usually have to have some distance before I can see the other side's point/feelings in a confrontation. especially when I myself have strong feelings or a sense of rightness. Are those of you who are better character writers, so to speak, more immediately empathic, perhaps?

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

And perhaps I should not be permitted to make blog posts when I'm sleep deprived. :P

*This is the resulf of discomfort--it's too hot--but also of writing. When my brain starts playing with words, sleep becomes elusive...
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: paper flames)
As predicted last Sunday, I got little done on the creative front this week. I did, however, have some ideas that I found worth jotting down concerning Witherwilds. Most notable among them was deciding what had caused a rift between two characters was not what I thought it was. I'm pleased with this new turn because it helps draw one of the POVs a little more clearly in my mind.

My hope this week is to get my art supplies set up in a way that I can work on my illustrations without always having to pack everything up once I've finished. Oh, and to actually start drawing again. :P

We'll see if Witherwilds continues to be chatty.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: food for thought)
Because, really, there is no snippet to share, just a brief summation of my week's work.

For this project, I am illustrating and writing up info on 12 critters; I've now researched 10, noting facts that could interest young readers. Heck, I found facts that interest me, too. :P  And good thing, that. Don't want the writer bored out of her gourd.

However, there are at least two creatures about which I've found very little to work with. :-<  Enough, perhaps, to keep them, but if I had alternatives, I might consider changing my line up... We'll see.

I don't know that I'll post a snippet next week because tomorrow we leave on a small trip to celebrate Junebug's first birthday.

A funny thing happened to me last night: While listening to the sportcasters talk about a rugby match that had just ended, I thought, "OK, game is over; time to write on Witherwilds."  Without realizing it, I had just been transported back to Mayotte, when I watched games several times per week and wrote pretty much everyday.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: monk)
I don't know if it is because I'm not in a writing headspace now (and haven't been for a more than a year now, I think), I'm having the hardest time getting this chapter right. It is the same one I've been going over and over, trying to find an opening that I like, that leads to a sequence of events that is all the things an introduction to a POV needs to be.

Instead of writing this week, I've been thinking a lot, hashing out fuzzy plot bits in hopes of gaining clarity for the opening. I've come up with some important stuff, but so far, the shape of the scene--what needs to be in it, what will interest and not overwhelm the readers--is still escaping me.

I finally had the idea of approaching it as if I plan to tell only Baxente's story, as if there are not four other POVs in the trilogy. I think I'm on to something and will try to pursue it more this week.

However, the Christmas season has begun, and we're doing advent with Sprout this year. I plan on posting every day (maybe) about what activity we are doing. So between doing the activities and other projects (like sewing), we'll see how much time I have make for writing.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: food for thought)
Hardly any crochet this week, didn't even touch my paints or pens, but I wrote a few words. Not many and none I'm in love with, so here is a plain-Jane snippet, simply to prove words were slung and a few stuck, however temporarily (said words follow after last week's snippet):

Read more... )

wayfaringwordhack: (writing: food for thought)
This week, I've been working away at the blanket. I'm now on the 6th (of 9) rows. I also finished my sketch and started applying color today. Despite my best intentions, I did not take photos while the light was good. I still have something to post though: Words!

I actually did a bit of writing this week.  Took me forever, but I got a few sentences, some of which are here below:

“What in the name of the Hexad am I doing?” he muttered, his hand tightening on the small cloth bag he carried.

“My question exactly,” said a voice near his bedroom door.

“Omusul!” Baxente whirled around, almost tripping over his walking staff. “What are you doing sneaking into my room in the middle of the night?“

“I could ask what you’re doing sneaking out of it, if I were in the habit of questioning my sovereign, that is.”

wayfaringwordhack: (writing: food for thought)
Whoops! Only remembered it was Sunday because of [livejournal.com profile] frigg's post. Time to post a little something before turning in.

Just tonight I did a couple of sketches of leaves. Nothing fancy, but it felt good to have pen in hand again.

And this afternoon, for some strange reason, I started thinking Witherwilds and had a couple of thoughts that I might be able to work in.  Whether these ideas turn into something useable or not, it just felt good to have the story occupy my brain again.  So, did some note-taking but no real writing.

I'll take what I can get.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: food for thought)
Another snippet from what I am coming to think of as a Frankenstein chapter. I am now trying to smooth three different starts together, and I still don't have an ending. It is a bit frustrating because at one point, I felt I had leaped ahead in my ability to do characterization, at long last stepping onto a new plateau. Sadly, the point and the plateau were precarious, for no sooner I had reached them, then I tumbled to the bottom of the dratted mesa again. Such is this writer's life. :P

“Straight east towards the Rain Gardens,” he recited, leaving the cover of the tree. “Four intersections, turn left.”

When he made the left turn, he found the Donkey Well in the middle of a small square, as he knew he would. Still, he could not stop a silly grin at the sight of it. His model said the well was there, and there it was. Along with a stench the likes of which he had never smelled in the Royal Stables.


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