It’s been a struggle, and it’s still a struggle

Though I’m managing to write something each day, I’m starting to be dissatisfied with what I produce. I am at the point with my ongoing projects where I need to sit down and figure out where the story is going and how all the pieces fit together, and that kind of thinking can’t really be done in the 45 minutes to an hour that I have to write in the morning. Or at least, I haven’t found myself able to do it so far. Maybe I haven’t tried hard enough.

This week’s writing has been mostly posts to my blog. Yesterday wasn’t really a journal entry so much as a…prose poem, maybe? I don’t know. It wasn’t great. I wrote it at the end of the day, having put off writing till the last minute even though I know that’s a bad idea.

I did write a tiny little fan fiction story last Thursday that I liked. Then there are two blog posts that are almost-but-not-quite process posts, allowed into my word count on technicalities, and two actual journal posts.

Today is the last day of Writing Week Four. This process post doesn’t go into my word count. I will have to figure out something to write for today. I’d kind of like to just write a scene, something descriptive. A vignette. Just need to figure out the topic.

Writing Week Five will just be January 29-31, and then I will start on February’s Week One. February is a perfect month this year–look at a calendar, it is beautiful–so I’ll have four seven-day writing weeks that start with Sunday the 1st. I’m looking forward to it; it’ll be a fresh start, and it’ll be interesting to see how writing weeks that start on Sunday compare to writing weeks that start on Thursday.

Once February is over, March will mess everything up again. Alas.

A coworker told me that this past Monday was shown (through science!) to be the most depressing day of the year. It’s the day when, statistically, people falter with their New Years’ resolutions, and the weather is also generally bad (in North America). Monday was the day I posted about going to Little River Falls…I’d like to revisit that post, because I feel like the bits I wrote while I was actually at the falls are strikingly superior to the stuff I wrote the next day to fill the spaces between those bits. So I did end up going to work feeling dissatisfied that day, and the weather was dreary, and I was grouchy. There might be something to that study.

Things can only get better from there, right?

NaNoWriMo approacheth

Two days till NaNoWriMo. I am going to participate this year, and this time I will actually keep writing all month, instead of stopping after a week, or whatever it was I did last year.

The rules dictate that I can’t have written any of this work beforehand, so I can’t continue any of my old stories. It’s good to have a clean slate, but for awhile I wasn’t sure I’d be able to think of something to write about.

However, an interesting concept came to me recently. It touches on personal privacy issues and the paranormal. The story will take place a couple generations from now, so things will still be recognizable, but there will be plenty of new technology.

Even if this has been done before, it’s never been done by me, so I think it will be worth doing even if I can’t publish it.

Having a concept is all well and good, but the characters are paramount. Right now I’m seeing two principal characters, a teenager and a younger sibling, and I’m thinking they’re being raised by a single father who has become very overprotective since divorcing his wife, who is an abusive alcoholic. I haven’t figured out the kids’ genders yet, but right now I’m leaning towards the idea of both of them as girls.

I’m considering using my old AMRN character, Natalie “Byron” Ryan, for the teenage daughter, but I haven’t decided yet. This would actually be somewhat convenient, because the closest character I’ve played to how I envison the girls’ father is Bill Anderson, who was Byron’s self-appointed guardian. However, I don’t want to trap myself within old story ideas–this is going to be something new and different. (The teenage daughter will not have high levels of Spiritia ;P)

I’m also not sure from whose perspective I will write. It’s tempting to write from the father’s perspective, because his motivations are key and I feel the urge to explain them, but ultimately I think it will be best to have the father represent a circumstance rather than act as protagonist. With the teenage daughter I have the perfect foil for both the reaction to the father’s actions and the realization of the phenomena surrounding the younger sister…

I do think I’ll stick to third person, though, because a teenage girl’s perspective would be tiring to write (and read).

A lesson learned; or, an exercise in paranoid obsessive-compulsion

Eric Burns reminded me today that National Novel Writing Month is coming. (NaNoWriMo, a truncation worthy of the Japanese language!)

So. Should I do it?

I am really, really upset over losing what little I wrote about Tilya and the Mazarins. I mean, there is an infinitesimal chance that the demo guys will rake through the rubble and pluck out my hard drive, and that my writing will still be on it. But ultimately, it’s probably best to just accept that it’s lost. And the thing is, it didn’t have to be.

I was publishing the book online. It was readily available. It could have been Google-cached, or stored on the Internet Archive.

But I got skittish. I didn’t want the blog to be the “first publication” of the book, because I “might” try to get it published, and people familiar with the publishing world indicated that publishers don’t like sloppy seconds.

In other words, I wanted to protect the publishing rights for something I hadn’t even written yet.

There’s a cliche for that sort of thing, you know. It involves chickens.

If I’d left it public, I’d still have it. And you know, just because I’ve “published” it doesn’t mean a publisher won’t still be interested. There are many people who’ve been published because of their blogs.

What all this is boiling down to is: should I once again attempt a serious writing project, I will do it publicly, on a blog. Rather than bank on something that may or may not happen in the distant future, I will share my work immediately, and get feedback, and ensure that if this house burns down with all my stuff in it, at least what I’ve written will survive.