Tag Archive | inspiration

ROW80 Check-in: October 10th

Third check-in of the round already (I missed the first, unfortunately)! I still don’t have much to report – I’ve been doing fairly fine with my work on writing here. So far on my goals this week, I’m almost done with the one entry and have outlined two. Since I don’t have much to report yet, I’ll just talk about what the experience in general has been like so far.

The beginning of this is kind of suffering, to be honest. Getting myself to write and stay positive about it is an up-hill battle. I’ve been dealing with a lot emotionally, and the slump is really making it hard for me to write, so I really keep winding up having to make myself pick up my pen and get writing for this. I know for a fact that once I get into the system of this I will be able to enjoy it fully – it’s just a matter of keeping things running and sticking to trying to get comfortable with writing again after so long.

All in all, I have been having a lot of trouble, but I’ve been reaching my goals and getting further into the story to the point where I’m planning parts that I’m rather excited about. It’s a little hard keeping writing at the point where things haven’t picked up much steam yet, but I have to push through this development phase while I push through the “getting used to writing again” phase, so I can fully enjoy the fresher, newer parts of the story once I get in the program of things.

How is writing going for everyone, and if you’re participating, how about ROW80?

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July: Currently Reading

As I’ve said multiple times before, I’ve been meaning to catch up on my reading and get into the habit of reading more often, since I already have several books here that I’ve been planning to read and lists upon lists of books I want to read. I tend to read fairly fast, my biggest problem seems to be picking up the book on a regular basis so that can add up – I’ve been working on reading one book since April (which I wound up only reading 70-some pages of during that month, and somewhere between200 and 300 of it in my free time during May, with about 20 or so pages in-between Camp NaNoWriMo escapades last month) and when I’ve managed to pick it up I tend to get really into it and read quite a bit, but I never seem to be able to pick it up again soon and make significant progress.

That’s what this is for. I’m going to give you guys a report on what I’m currently reading now, at the beginning of the month, with titles, current page counts and a few thoughts, and at the end of the month, I’ll give another report – be it with pride, shame, or neither – to show what progress I’ve made, if any at all. I don’t expect to make a whole lot of progress, but I’m hoping to finally finish the one I’ve been reading since April and hopefully start one or two more.

In terms of novels, my ‘currently reading’:

‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker

Currently on page 400 out of 450

I’ve been reading Dracula since sometime during April. I really do adore the book, it’s entertaining and inspired me to get back into writing through journal entry format – I just really have trouble picking it back up after I put it down and why. It’s really a matter of picking it up and starting. If I’m able to pick it up once or twice between a few days, I’ll probably be able to finally finish the book, which I’ll admit, at the moment, I’m liking a lot better than any interpretation of the book I’ve seen before, although that’s admittedly, not many.

‘The Salem Branch’ by Lara Parker

Currently on page 166 out of 334

I don’t remember when I started reading The Salem Branch – not too long after I first bought the book, unlike most of the books I have lately. I’m enjoying it a bit, especially since I got it during my withdrawal from the series it’s based on (the original Dark Shadows soap opera, which I was only able to see the portion of the series on Netflix at the time). Now that I’ve burnt through all of my DVDs and will probably have some time before I can buy the next set of DVDs of the series, I’ll probably be making progress on this as well.

As for the non-fiction books I’m reading, I’ve been slowly making progress on ‘Making Comics’ by Scott McCloud (119/272 for page count) while I work on my comic. It’s fairly helpful, at least in getting inspired to work on it, and while I’m not drawing ‘noir comics’, Shawn Martinbrough’s ‘How to Draw Noir Comics’ (finished for the most part, still need to read the example comic it’s got left in the back) has a lot of good techniques and insight on the process of comics.

I’m not quite aiming to finish those two this month as much as I’m aiming to finish the fiction – at the very least, Making Comics is one I’m just trying to read through when I hit a dry spell for inspiration on trying to work on my comic and to get ideas on techniques to use, and I’m not very sure on when I’ll be up for reading the comic example to consider How To Draw Noir Comics completed.

I’m going to go into closing this with a quick apology for getting this posted a bit late (it was intended to be posted yesterday) and if the ending seems a tid-bit rushed. I’m a bit spacey right now, having some trouble fully concentrating on this, but I really want to get it done and posted so that I can have this up as inspiration for me to keep reading, plus for the sake of possibly getting some opinions on what I’m currently reading and answers to my end-of-the-post-questions.

What are you currently reading, and how is that going for you? Are you generally a fast, slow, or average reader?

Camp NaNoWriMo Week Three

Word count: 45,406 and counting

Week three is at it’s end and, while not necessarily keeping directly on my schedule, Camp NaNoWriMo has been going wonderfully for me. I’ve been making good progress with my story and writing, and currently have over 30 entries for my WIP done. As I’ve said a few times before, this run with the story has been so much more fun for me than the previous attempts at getting out a full draft. I’m much more confident about this version and, come November, when it should be done, I’m going to put it away for a week or two before I go back and review the entries. In reviewing them, I’ll have my handy dandy notebook where I’ll do an overview of basically what I touched base on in each one that I’d like to be kept in the final draft, add in what I want to be put in there, make any changes I need/add any new entries or parts of the plot, basically make an outline for the rewriting through looking at my mess of a first draft from this NaNo-season.

What I’ve loved the most about this experience in general, aside from the writing itself, is being able to share what I’ve been able to do and my new developments. Participating in the wordsprints and interacting with other people doing these types of events, being able to experience the whole thing with others. My lovie and I have been working at this together, and talking to him about the whole mess has been one of the best parts of it. I’m not too sure where he is in terms of word-count, but regardless of that, being able to enjoy Camp NaNoWriMo with him and the sort of ‘community’ of people participating has been amazing.

As for the most enjoyable parts of the writing, I’m not sure exactly what I’d pick. Perhaps the way I can get into character so easily, the way I can explore him so much easier through these journal entries and give him a very prominent voice while doing so, or the way I can come up with an idea on the fly to write about when nothing in particular that I’ve planned ahead for is going on and make something of it just to get those words in and getting something a lot better than I expected out of it. Maybe it’s the progress on the story in general, or, more in particular, the character development (developing characters has always been one of my favourite parts of writing – I love getting to know my characters and sort of see what I can come up with for them, starting out with one idea and as I write and go through the development of the story and it’s draft, wind up with something completely different than I thought).

This story is basically a sort of warm-up for the series itself – the one I’m writing now isn’t exactly intended to be published. I guess you could call it a bonus, an exploration of the character before things really start up. It’s a way to get the ball running and leading up to a good place to start the first book I have planned for the series. What I’m thinking I’ll do is, when I’m working through the final draft for this, post it gradually on here to not only get feedback to help me as I go but make this sort of ‘bonus’ available to what could be potential readers of the series. Not only would it be a good way to figure out my writing style and get into my characters, it’d also be a fun way to get people’s opinions on it and see if anyone likes it.

Thankfully, I’m not making all of the developments here – what I plan to do is to  use this as an opportunity to learn about who my characters are and what situation they’re in at the beginning of the series. While I intend to make this the best I can make it, I’m trying to really save the best for what happens after, for the stories that will follow and will – hopefully – be published one day. For now, it’s just a dream and a goal, but I’m doing everything I can to work towards it. That just happens to be participating in events like these – I have other projects that I need to get done, and those projects will be a big focus of mine outside of these events.

In other words, the first drafts for each of these stories will more than likely be (mostly) written during NaNoWriMo events. I enjoy these types of events so much, they help keep me inspired and get everything down quick without going back to edit and basically help me through the process of getting a first draft down. I’ve been thinking on these things often this past week, and (at least at the moment) this is what the plan for the future is. I’m unbelievably excited to make more progress on this current project I’m working on now and see where it goes, but I’m sure that by the end of November, I’ll probably want to take a bit of a “kinda-sorta” break from it and focus on other projects while I edit and rewrite.

I’m planning on writing 2k every day for the rest of the month, with the exception of today and the day after I hit 50k (if it’s before the very end of the month). I want to have at least 40 entries done by the end of the month, so I need to really buckle down and get what I can done. I’d like to take a break next month, but if I don’t get at least 40 entries done in June, I’ll have to cut out the break and keep working hard towards that in July.

For this last week of Camp NaNoWriMo coming up, I’m planning on trying to wrap it up with a big event in the draft so I can have an exciting finish to the month to come back to at the beginning of August. As of now, I’m not too sure what it’ll be, but I’ll be able to come up with something soon. I have a few things in mind. Whether or not they’ll be positive or negative for my main character, we’ll have to see… but knowing me, it’ll probably be something that has a pretty negative effect on it. Looking forward to it!

What do you plan on doing for this last week of Camp NaNoWriMo? How has the event been going for you so far?

Camp NaNoWriMo Week Two

Word-count: 33,875 and counting

It’s Saturday morning and week two is slowly coming to a close. The chirping of birds is practically all I hear aside from the tapping of my keys, my nose is cold and red, my ankles are covered in strange bug bites. I have been having a bit of trouble writing every day this week like I’ve wanted to, and phasing back into a schedule, but today is going to be my little fix for that.

I just finished up an entry to my current novel that I’m working on here, and clocked in my current word-count. This particular entry was taking me a while, and I’m glad it’s over, so that when the next wordsprints start up on my twitter feed, I’ll be able to jump into a new entry and new scene that I don’t have very planned out aside from making it something important and potentially plot-effecting. Thinking about it is exciting, but I’m going to let that build up until the sprints start. Until then, I’ll be working on other things – this post, my current side project, maybe even reading.

Week three is going to be exciting, I think. I’m nearing 40k – that’s really shocking me. Looking at the counter and my progress on the website, however, I’m not satisfied – it’s not steadily improving. I’ve been missing out on writing at all some days, and others, I only write a little, not enough to update on. I’m trying to get back to my entry-a-day thing, so that I can finish at least 40 -45 entries before the month’s end. I’m going to be trying to make a steady and fair amount of progress daily, even on my birthday (tomorrow), and find whatever ways possible to keep the writing fun and exciting.

When July comes, I’ll write a few entries, maybe one or two per week, but focus mainly on reading and drawing throughout the week with writing more prominent on the weekends. Towards the end of next month, I’ll probably start steadily writing more entries to get prepped for the beginning of the next session of Camp NaNoWriMo, in August, which I’ll be continuing this current novel for (adding 50k new words, though, of course!), and after that’s done, I’ll probably flip back to the July ‘schedule’ until November comes around. I’ll still be keeping up with trying to write a blog entry or two per week, and maybe working on short stories, but I’m thinking my other two projects, my big one that I worked on for Script Frenzy and my current side one, will probably take the reins more in-between NaNoWriMo months and after November, which is when I’m hoping to finish this novel’s draft up.

I’ll probably leave it be for a bit, and a few months later, come back to it and work out editing notes, get down a sort of timeline to work from to rearrange and reference during rewrites and during the writing of the rest of the series, so that when working on another book in the series, I don’t have to pull out the full draft and search through it, but rather just look at my timeline/detailed summaries for personal reference. I’m not sure what all I’ll be working on aside from this current project and blog-posts in terms of actually getting writing done, and that is a bit scary to think about – with all of that time in-between 2012 NaNo season’s end and 2013 NaNo season’s beginning, which is when writing will probably take control again, I’m not sure what I’ll be writing to keep myself sharp.

Aside from my planning for the future after NaNoWriMo season for 2012 is over, things have been going fairly well. I’m hoping to improve on all of the things that have been hindering me along the way during week two, and get back on schedule today.

How has week two been treating you? Any problems, or anything opposite of that?

Camp NaNoWriMo: My Plans and ‘Supplies’

I’ve already mentioned a few times before that I’m going to be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this June. I’ve never participated in either of the Camp NaNo’s before, and I’ve only participated in November’s NaNo once, which I wound up giving up on. This year will be different – I’ve got time, goals, rewards, and inspiration. I’m building up more and more excitement for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I plan to go through with this. I’m outside now as I write, sitting on my porch and enjoying the fresh air – something I’m sure I’ll be doing during most of my writing sessions during ‘camp’.

My project this year is the same one I tried to go through with last time, and the same I’ve began several unfinished drafts on, even completing one of them. None of them quite had the right spark – and after a while of immersing myself in a different project along with reading up on the craft of writing a lot more, I’ve figured out how to make it work for me much better. The plot’s being twisted around and recreated, new twists have been added, and I’ve gotten heaps of ideas for new character development, something that was missing from the older drafts (despite my absolute love of it – my characters and their relationships as a whole are some of my favourite parts of writing). Instead of sticking to the same old story that I usually try to tell, I’m starting at the same place and allowing myself to branch out to whole different levels of the story. It is, as I mentioned in a previous post, a continuation of an edited version of a short story I posted on here a while ago, The Angels.

This may not be the final draft, but I have a feeling it will be the best version yet – complete with new dimensions to old characters, and a plot much more fun to get into than before. I am 100% sure that when this draft is finished, it’ll take tons of revising and rewriting to make it into really something, but that’s not really the point – you can’t edit a blank page, and if you don’t start with anything, you won’t end with anything either. NaNoWriMo is a tool to get a draft started/finished, not a tool to complete a polished, ready-for-publishing novel, after all. Now, without further ado, my supplies for camp:

  • A few pre-written entries to the novel

I’ve been doing some pre-NaNo writing, to get the ball rolling on my story so that when the event actually begins, I’ll be past the opening and ready to delve into new and exciting dimensions of a story that I’ve been through several times. My project is going to be written in journal entry format, seeing as it’s one of my favourite formats to both read and write in. It’s a blast getting into my character’s head and it’s a way to make the story very personal – it’s not just his story, it’s his thoughts and his emotions weaved into it on a different level. Journal format isn’t right for everyone, but for me, it makes writing the story much more enjoyable, and that’s what matters at this point – I have to enjoy writing it as much as possible to be able to get things down so quickly.

For camp, I’ve decided to try out a software made for journals, called ‘The Journal’. It’s working very nicely for me – it took a little bit to get used to (which was another reason I started doing some pre-NaNo writing, in order to get used to the program) but it’s easy to get in the hang of and use. Since I’m writing in journal entry format, I’ve created a category for my NaNoWriMo novel and am using the journal features that the program was primarily made for. It logs each entry per day (which I will have to change the dates when I save the draft as a whole, but it is useful) and has a little calendar that you can manage and click through to each entry on, even allowing you to add onto days that have already passed or start entries for days that have yet to come, which is also useful for novel-writing in some ways. It saves your entries periodically, and also has a ‘save as’ feature under the export file section where you can save each entry (or even the entire thing) as a different file-type (I go with .rtf’s for the time being while I just save an extra copy of my work).

Dropbox is how I manage to keep all of my files backed up and in-order. I haven’t had it for long, but it’s a great help – if you save a file in the dropbox folder, it will store a copy of it on your account online and on every computer, phone, etc you have connected to your Dropbox account. It also allows for easier sharing of files and folders. This is where I save my extra .rtf copies of my entries for my novel, in it’s own little folder in my Dropbox. Not only is it easy to use, it’s very useful and helps you keep your files on-hand as easily as possible! I suggest it to anyone who wants to keep their files safe and sound and would like to be able to access their files not only from any computer or phone that they have the program on, but anywhere so long as they can get online and into their account.

  • Drinks and snacks

While I’m not much of one for snacks, I love to have a drink while I write. Coffee, sweet tea, green tea, Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb, anything I like, I’ll drink it while I write. It helps keep me comfortable and energized, and the occasional snack is great too. As I write this, I’m sipping on some very, very sweet tea, expecting a little bit of supper in an hour, which will be around the end of a pre-writing session. I’ll also probably go to Starbucks every now and then like I did during November to enjoy some of their delicious little snacks and a mocha while I write (this usually helps me get a lot of work done – going out into a different environment specifically to write both gives me some fresh air and a change of setting, along with motivation!).

  • A friend to participate with

This June, both my sweetheart and I will be participating. Having someone else to participate with is actually very exciting for me – especially since we’re going to be sitting down and powering through some writing sessions together. We have our goals set for our days and will both work towards them together until we both reach the minimum word count goal we’ve set, meaning that if one of us has hit that goal but the other hasn’t, both of us keep writing regardless until the other has. Not only does that encourage writing more than our daily goal when it happens, it also has some motivation for the other person to get their draft down faster (again, as NaNo is a tool for getting things down, not getting a polished, publishable draft, getting the story down quick is a goal for most) since the other person will continue to work despite hitting their daily goal. We’ve also decided that after we both hit our goal, we’ll discuss the work we got done today and whatever problems we encountered/things we discovered during the process.

  • Rewards

I guess this kind of ties in with the last two here, but I have worked out a rewards system for the month. Every Sunday, if we’ve hit at least our minimum goal in weekly word counts, we’ll be able to watch a movie together to relax for a little while. The movies are generally less serious ones and moreso ways to relax and get a laugh after a week of hard work. We’ve also both chosen something to get the other when we finish writing these drafts, which might not necessarily be during NaNoWriMo, but still provides incentive to keep writing. Another reward I’m planning on giving myself is being able to read a little bit once I’m finished with my goal for the day.

  • Twitter/this blog

Yes, they’re distractions – but being able to escape and get distracted every now and then is okay, especially when you’re doing a lot of work around the time. Not only will tweeting and blogging document the experience and how it’s going, it allows me to reach out to others who are experiencing/have experienced the same event before. One of the most enjoyable parts of NaNoWriMo is, to me, learning about other people’s points of view on the event and how it’s gone/going for them.

Daily word count goal for weekdays: 2,000 words

Daily word count goal for weekends: 840 words

Are you going to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are your goals and “supplies”? And for everyone in general, what have you been working on lately in terms of your writing, and how’s that going?

Script Frenzy 2012, week two: The inner editor, nightmares, and exploring the project

Page count: 50 pages and counting

I’ve seen a lot of talk about week two, what it seems to do to people. A slow of inspiration, loss of confidence in their skills to see it through to the end… but this past week, for me, it’s still been flowing finely. I’ve been able to get quite a few pages more than usual in per day on the good ones, and I’ve gotten myself a bit ahead. My work has gone to a sort of slow, however, and I’ve been putting myself on 3 pages per day, usually right around night time. My inner editor has started trying to force it’s way through, and there’s that little barrier I broke down at the beginning building itself up again, a little barrier in my head that gives me doubts. One that fights the risks of taking on a project and leaves the door unlocked for the inner editor to come around a little too early for my tastes.

I had a nightmare last night, something horrible and terrifying. I spent a good deal of the morning looking up almost everything I could remember about it in a dream dictionary, each and every little detail I could find, and while I’m not one for dream analyzing, the terror from it was enough to get me to. I found that most of the details were involved with a positive change in life, a fear of not being good enough, things that seem to line up with an amazing change in my life that has come with Script Frenzy: writing more and writing regularly, which has inspired a lot of positive change. Recovery from something I’ve been experiencing for years, long enough for me to wonder how I’ll live when it’s gone, and I guess it is kind of scary thinking about it, although it feels marvelous. Most of the meanings I found lined up with how I’m feeling, the way life has been going, and some of the other things are quite personal, so while I won’t detail them here, they did line up correctly as well, which may have just been an odd coincidence.

The dream resembled nightmares I had often when I was very young, the main difference being my age in it and the fact that it ended with the words “32 PAGES UNTIL DEATH” on my computer screen. I’ve always had a fear of never finishing projects, and since I was little, I’ve had a bad habit of abandoning them. I’m thinking my subconscious is a little wary of my love for the project I’ve been working on this month, something I’ve been trying to build up in my head since around Thanksgiving. I’m balancing my life with it well, and while I do run into little bumps of stress on this road, I’m very confident in this project and I know I will finish it. I have a lot of faith in it, but I’m becoming doubtful of it as always, and this doubt was fairly specifically last night before I went to bed. Hopefully, Script Frenzy 2012 will help me through these problems I have and help me become a better writer, script or not.

While I’ll have to get to work and prove to myself that I can do this, the script has been going well. I’m getting to know my characters and the way they act more, experimenting with how they react to different things, basically learning more and more about them each page and (hopefully) breathing more life into them as I go. They’re each developing their own senses of humor, their own ways of responding to stress and irritation, some even gaining their own ways of wording things before the process of going back and re-wording their dialogue to fit their speaking styles. I’ve found that one of them used to write what they refer to as marvelous stories, and another has it in their nature to worry and dote over others. My antagonist’s plans are being set into motion, and the main characters are learning more about what other things that aren’t quite natural could be lurking in the forests around them.

I’m having a blast exploring my world, getting to know my characters, figuring out the little details of the story as I go. Winging it comes with a lot of doubt sometimes, but it brings freedom, too. I’m definitely going to try to do more of this, maybe combined with a wee bit more planning on what the actual stories will be about next time, and I’ll hopefully be trying more and more new techniques to see how things work out. Soon, I’m going to be buying something to keep all of my visual records for the story in – character and setting designs, drawings that will create the foundings of this world I’m creating, the visuals that will hopefully help me bring my story to something more than a writer and artist’s distant dream.

I’m absolutely loving Script Frenzy 2012, my first participation in the event, despite the bumps in the road! How is everyone else participating holding up? If you’re not participating in Script Frenzy, are you working on something else – if so, what is it?

Script Frenzy 2012, week one: Inspiration, misbehaving characters, and self-sailing

Page Count: 19 pages and counting

The first week of April is coming to a close now, and I’m still pretty confident. My script is a bubbling pile of inspiration, covered in scribbles and doodles, filled with scenes that I need to re-arrange and slim down, and the beauty of it is, I don’t really mind right now. I’m having loads of fun, and just getting the plot down in all of it’s winging-it glory. I’m battling my inner editor and whacking it over the head with a stick, but I’m repressing it enough to not go back, scribble all over things and rewrite them in white-out pens over the black mass of scribbles. I know that I’ll be typing out my script and wondering what the hell I was thinking when I wrote this here and let this happen over there and left this idea off somewhere else, but that’s the fun of it. I’m just letting my pen vomit my ideas all over a page, and I regret nothing. This way of doing things is very inspiring, honestly – letting the inspiration flow and take me everywhere it wants to is getting more work done than I usually do when forcing everything into the direction I already decided. A breath of fresh air, I suppose?

That being said, I did have a few plans for my characters – but some of them are already giving me the ol’ “fuck you!” and doing something completely different. I’d had a little bit of romance planned for much later in the series I’m working on for the main character with someone who hasn’t been introduced yet, however, the chemistry between them and another character is growing with every little word I write. I don’t really mind it – it just shocks me how letting my inspiration guide me and my characters do whatever is working so far! All I did was add a little bit of dialogue to reference to the internet phenomenon most of us have probably participated in at least once before, shipping, a tiny little joke that I intended to go no where, and within a few lines, my exact thoughts were, as follows:

What have I done?! It’s sailing itself! This ship, it’s sailing itself!

Regardless of fuzzy tummy feelings, though, these silly geese have a lot longer to go before it’ll even be acceptable to give them an actual romance, and right now, they have a famous legend to encounter – the Black Dog, or rather, something based off of it. The script I’m working on is a fantasy-based setting that is based off of several different places and time periods in terms of environment, government, architecture, culture, and folklore, telling the story of a fresh-out-of-training soldier with a lot to hide, nothing to lose, and how their life changes throughout several different stories, ranging from action to drama, and essentially goes through a lot of good, a lot of bad, and a lot of plot-rich things hidden in even the most seemingly irrelevant pieces of their life when they wind up being carted off to war at the worst possible time.

As horrific as that may sound, I’m having a lot of fun with it, and the message I want to convey especially – people walking in and out of your life, lessons learned from them, etc – is something that I will admit means a lot to me. I’m enjoying the attempting action scenes, the plot development, and the character development, especially. Hopefully, when it’s done, it’ll come out to be a blend of action and plot that I can work with. It’s to be a graphic novel, webcomic (this is the most likely one), or maybe an animation if I sharpen my skills there, and I’m planning on putting as much work into this as possible. This won’t be a project that I give up on so easily.

The biggest problems I’m really facing with Script Frenzy right now are writing enough to make my hands ache (something I don’t really let get in my way too much) and falling behind in my reading, which I definitely plan on fixing this weekend. Hopefully, I can make good progress with both this month. This week’s-almost-done update being finished, I should get to working on writing a little bit before my nephew comes over for me and my mom to babysit him.

How is your script going so far if you’re participating this year, and what are you writing your script about? I’d love to hear from everyone!