Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 31 May 2017

Honestly thought it was already June earlier today. But I completely forgot that May was the month with thirty-one days, not June.

Things I worked on last week:
  • Chapter 10 of something: 1641 words
  • Some short narrative I'm currently titling "Third Time's the Charm:" 622 words
Word count for this week: 2263 words

I also am doing a lot of pre-writing stuff (for the first time ever) on a new project (that is as private as the "super secret sequel" that I've been working on for a while). There's no word count yet, but a lot of scene/chapter synopses going on. And rewriting The Blighted Earth into my new bright cyan notebook just for personal reasons (that I'll get into in a bit).

What am I working on?

Those mentioned above. "Third Time's the Charm" is likely going to be posted on here in the coming weeks. Or not, considering that the subject matter is rather dark. Okay, really dark, and I'm questioning my mental health a little as to why I'm writing it. But... eh. I could always delete it from the blog if I change my mind.

As for the new project I'm doing outside of my usual impulsive writing habits and plotting for the first time, I'm actually liking it more than I thought I would. The Blighted Earth is going into handwritten form, which is a huge reason why I dont really have anything to show for at the moment.

In other words, I didn't really work on it this week. Ha...

How do I feel about the process?

For "Third Time's the Charm," I'm actually really nervous about writing this and later having the intent of posting it here later. I like to keep things positive and cheery as much as possible, but as my brain is at the moment, once there's this thought or idea trapped in there, it's never going to leave once I let it out somehow. Does it mean the writing will be good? Not necessarily. It just means that my mind's in some space right now and it won't budge its feet like a petulant, tantruming child until I give it what it wants (and later rescinding whatever means of abatement I used without it knowing).

Like that poem/not poem thing I wrote a while ago about red lights and driving off of a freeway. Yeah, that kind of space my mind's occupying. But a lot darker. Fun stuff all around.

As for the new project, it's going to be another anonymous online posting of stuff. I'm just doing it for the practice and exercise of planning scenes out before I write. I can't say I've gone full-on Plotter in this case since there's a lot of holes in the outline that I'll fill with the actual writing. What I'm hoping is that I'll have more direction of where the story goes if I do it this way, which I've struggled with reining in for a while. I've just gotten fed up and I've decided to try to do something about it.

And with handwriting The Blighted Earth, I'm liking the decision to do it this way. Since it's written in first person, it's easier to get into the character of Alir as if I'm writing the story as a personal acount from him, in a way. Like a memoir of sorts. Typing things out leaves me in a bit of a disconnect, and I find it's easier for me to write in third person like this. Handwriting feels more personal, like I'm inside the page instead of observing the words appear magically on a screen.

In regards to writing in general, I'm rather pleased with the pace I'm going at, despite having a lower word count to what I had the week prior. I'm still trying to readjust my sleeping schedule to the summer to writing during the cold nights instead of the sweltering days. I've learned pretty early on that it's easier for me to write when everyone else is slumbering, though I have no idea why.

What am I reading?

Last week, I've gotten a bit further into The Magician's Nephew. I also finally got a more up-to-date copy of Sarah Covault's narrative about Mary, Queen of Scotts attending high school and am reading that little by little as well.

What else am I doing?

My piano teacher finally came back from Denmark a few days ago, so I'm working on practicing the songs I've been assigned. I'm also still working on Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu. It's getting easier to play bit by bit, but still grossly under tempo. But it's progress at least.

I'm also trying to learn ASL again. Now that I have the time, I might as well, right?

Oh yeah, that's also another thing I have interest with: codes and languages. Last summer, I taught myself Morse code. And a little bit of Esperanto. I've known a bit of ASL for a while now, and have wanted to further my knowledge by taking classes. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to take any again, so I'm just brushing up what I know and trying to teach myself more.

(I secretly do all these things because I keep hoping that I've got some hidden talent or that I'm good at something somewhere. I don't think I found it yet.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 24 May 2017

Things I worked on last week:
  • Chapter 9 of that story's sequel: 4279 words
  • Chapter 10 of that same story's sequel: 413 words
  • "As the Winds Blow" prologue: 255 words
Total word count for the week: 4947 words

What am I working on?

Same things as above. I'll also try my hand at try to get back into continuing The Blighted Earth. The muse isn't there at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it'll come to me once I settle back into my normal sleeping schedule. A.K.A. Sleep during the day and type during the night. My brain works best when the sun's not out for some reason.

How do I feel about the process?

Really excited since I'm back to my "normal" writing habits. School takes a lot out my ability to write, and since it's a priority, I've had to allow myself the irritation of doing schoolwork instead of writing. Lately, I've been handwriting what I've been working on more than typing them. Partially because I got an unfortunately placed paper cut on the tip of my pinky, right where the finger would make contact with the keys (why does something so little bother me so much?); partially because the "newness" has been helping me creativity-wise somehow. I even bought a new notebook solely to write one story in.

What am I reading?

Surprisingly, not a whole lot. Though I have made dents in Les Mis and The Magician's Nephew. I am checking back on the blogs every once in a while to see if there's anything new to read. I'm a bit sad that there isn't much now that it's not really an obligation.

What else am I doing?

Piano practicing in general has been put on hold because of this gosh-darned paper cut. At the very least, I did get to watch Moana when my family rented it over the weekend. It was nice, and there were some songs that were okay; but I couldn't really bring myself to enjoy it all that much. But then again, movie or television watching isn't really my thing. I wonder why?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 17 May 2017

Just because the semester is officially over for me, doesn't mean that I'm going to stop writing. These posts are helping me to stay accountable, so I guess this is now a part of my weekly routine from now on.

Things I worked on last week:

Nothing. Unless you want to count all the physics formulas that I wrote down to study for my finals.

What am I working on?

Now that my summer has begun, I can write as much as my heart desires. I'm going to work on that personal project that I've started before the semester started (which shall not be named) and that novel I've been working on that I've conceptualized because of the semester (The Blighted Earth). After I'm done with those, I'm going to have a crack at finishing that "As the Winds Blow" story that I've got as a bit of a shorter companion piece to The Blighted Earth. Or work on that Wild West fantasy idea that's running around in my head for a good month now.

Needless to say, I've got a lot of things I want to work on. At least I don't have to worry about classes and homework at the time being.

How do I feel about the process?

*clears throat* Woooooooo! Summer! Yeah! Let's get this writing started!

Even though I'm starting off this summer with a bit of a deficit in productivity due to trying and later getting burnt out from to catch up in my physics class, I can breathe a huge sigh of relief and get that finals-week jitters out of me. Because of this, I've finally been able to think of other things other than nuclear physics and the the different kinds of particles that can eject from a radioactive substance. Like earlier this morning after my shower, I was able to come up with an explanation behind the "big baddie" in that one plot I was working on for a while. I already knew his character and his background and everything. And I know it's fantasy and that it often doesn't follow the same rules of the world when it's magical.

But I wanted a reason behind it. "Because magic" isn't a good enough reason for me, personally. And now that I don't have to worry about studying anymore, I finally found that reason.

It's still a bit "because magic," but at least it's got a little more believeable. Maybe.

What am I reading?

Same as last week: Les Mis and The Magician's Nephew. I'll probably add more to that list in the coming weeks.

What else am I doing?

I'm still challenging myself by learning Fantasie Impromptu on the piano. I've got the first few measures, somewhat. Baby steps. Baby steps.

As for piano lessons themselves, they're going to be on hold for a bit as I wait for my piano teacher to come back from Denmark. Likely after recording a grade-A album no less. So cool.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Character Outline Development Thing - Mr. Mortimer

A character I'm thinking of being the central one in the weird idea for another novel I want to try my hand on working on. I'm likely not going to use a lot of this information, or I'm going to end up changing a lot of the minor details of his backstory as I actually get into writing the plot.

(I'm posting this here to prevent losing it for my portfolio later)

Full name: Preston William Mortimer
Alias: Mr. Mortimer, "The Grim Reaper"
Age: A few decades after 100, he thinks
Date of birth: Wintertime, a while ago
Current location: Hestworth (fantasy place inspired by American Wild West)
Gender: Male

Thursday, May 11, 2017

My Brain is Weird

It's already a given fact in my family that I have a rather... peculiar imagination. "Active" for people outside of my family. "Over-active" if one were to look into it too closely.

There's nothing physiologically wrong with my brain, according to my neurologist. I get these strange migraines where my five senses get messed around with like smelling scents that aren't there or my tongue going numb or my writing from my left hand is a lot neater than the writing with my dominant right hand... just without the actual pain of a migraine. I get a long-lasting—but minor—headache, pain-wise, but that's it. But after having a CT scan of my brain and listening to the lovely buzzing sounds from the inside of an MRI machine, the doctor said there's nothing really wrong with the wrinkled mass of flesh hiding inside the calcium-rich dome that is my skull. I just need to watch my magnesium intake (which I've already had to do after getting diagnosed with PAC from my cardiologist).

There were a few therapists and psychologists that told me otherwise, diagnosing me as clinically depressed. Sure, that might have an effect on the "intricate" workings of my imagination. Then again, it might not.

Growing up, my mother loved to collect those porcelain china dolls. I hated them. I also hated the fact that, since she didn't have space in her room to keep them, she placed them on the shelf of my bedroom. For a while, these dolls didn't bother me. Yeah, they were kinda pretty. Yeah, I saw the appeal in keeping them.

Would I have stuck them in my eight-year-old daughter's room? Oh heck no!

At night, under the dim amber glow of a nightlight, their glass eyes would catch just enough light to glow a little. I would watch them stare at me as I slept. It made me so uncomfortable, I had to turn them to face the wall so I wouldn't see their faces.

Well... that ended up being worse since I had a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night. And being a groggy mess upon waking from interrupted sleep, my paranoid brain would then assume they turned around on their own, forgetting that I was the one who turned them around. My heart rate would speed up, adrenaline pumped into me, waking me further. When that happens, reason returns to me, then I go back to sleep.

My mother worked night shifts, so I couldn't just "run to Mommy" when I got scared in the middle of the night. And my dad was all the way on the other end of the dark, unlit hall. I was more afraid of the dark than those dolls, so I just learned to live with them.

I guess my experience with these dolls then leaked the tiny paranoia I ended up having with my stuffed animals. I used to sleep with them on my bed. I have no idea what happened, but I ended up thinking that they would get jealous that I would sleep with only one of them in my arms; so to prevent this I just shoved them into my closet so I wouldn't see them.

Okay, so you might be thinking, "Jodee, it's perfectly normal for a kid to think like that."

You know what's not normal? I do these "peculiar things" even in my adulthood.

I'm no longer afraid of the dark, but I do get these moments where anything flat and circular all of a sudden becomes "secret eyes" staring at me. Like the screws holding the plate covering my light switch. Or the circular logo on my fan. Or the clock. Or the buttons of my jacket. If it happened all the time, I would probably check myself back into a mental institution; but it doesn't so I just brush it off and go about my day. Or I play peek-a-boo with them if I'm certain I'm alone. It makes me feel better.

Or like when music is being played. Like at a party or some kind of school fundraiser or whatever, I purposefully force myself to walk off-beat of the music. I don't know why, I just do it. I feel uncomfortable when I'm walking to the rhythm of music for some reason. You'd think the opposite would be the case for me, considering that I've been introduced to music theory in elementary school and continue to play the piano even to this day. Performance-wise? Yeah, rhythm is very important to me and it irks me when people don't know how to clap on 2 and 4 instead of 1 and 3 with a song that's so obviously common-time. Walking is just... no. I walk to the beat of my own drum, not from whatever song's being played, thank you very much.

I have a few more of these strange things I do, but they're rather minor compared to the big ones like the circles and the music. Idiosyncrasies, if you will. Like my first step onto a set of stairs needs to be from my left foot or it just feels wrong. When eating ice cream, servings have to be in either one or three scoops; never two. I dunno why.

Stuff like that makes me, at times, feel like I'm crazy. But I've learned to just accept it as something tiny and carry on. I do have this tiny fear that if I do bring it up to a psychiatrist they will have me diagnosed with something else; but considering how little it's affecting my day-to-day functions, it's likely they won't.

My family may call it my brain being weird.

I like to call it "the spice of life."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 10 May 2017

Things I worked on last week:
  • Chapter 9 of that project: 1253 words (currently at 1491)
It's slow going, but at least it wasn't as bad as last week.

What am I working on?

Considering that it's finals week, probably not a lot. Or, if it looks like my grade for physics is going to hold up, then probably a whole bunch. If the latter ends up being the case, then I'm going to try to work on everything that isn't finished: The Blighted Earth, its companion piece As the Winds Blow (I'm trying to find a decent title), the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story that I started a while ago, the idea I've been hesitating to get started on, and maybe complete that "In Medias Res" experiment since I've gotten a bit of inspiration for it recently.

How do I feel about the process?

I'm still trying to recover from the sudden hit of "I really hate writing right now" from last week. It's slow going, the words aren't coming as easily as they usually are (which wasn't easy in the first place), and the inspiration to write is coming in tiny droplets instead of a steady stream. But the fire of motivation got rekindled recently after having this "can do" attitude from trying to learn a piano piece that has eluded me for years, which I'll get into in a little bit.

What am I reading?

I didn't do much reading last week. But my reading list remains the same: Les Mis and The Magician's Nephew

What else am I doing?

Okay, so I mentioned just a few paragraphs ago that there was this piano piece that I've had the sheet music of for years already, but never got the chance to master it. Well... I got really frustrated with the sudden wall of "I can't do this" I've encountered with writing that I decided to continue to wallow in my misery and plunk around on my piano trying to learn a piece that I knew would anger me in its complexity.

Well... it was like my hands had this little epiphany moment. For some reason, I finally could understand the notes. I could read and play through the composition. Just... really slow. But it was a lot more than I used to be able to do.

That piece, my friends, is Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu. I'll put a link of someone performing it once I get back home. The computers in the library have no audio, so I can't choose a proper recording.

I just might hate myself for even trying. Or I might finally master this thing.

Funny how Chopin told his friend, "Once I'm dead, do not publish this."

And his friend was like, "lol, k" and published it after Chopin died.

None of that was a direct quote, of course. But it's essentially what happened. Oh, friends. Can't live without 'em, eh?

So, here begins my journey to accomplish something I thought was impossible. I'll probably have snippets of recording my process to learning this song over the summer.

And because of this, I was able to jot a bit more words last week compared to the week prior. Stuff happens.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Monthly Showcase - April 2017

Totally forgot this was a thing on my blog. Whoops. Better late than never, right?

While the month of April has been a time where I've written the most in a short amount of time, there hasn't been a great number of actual posts I've made on this blog. Most of it were projects for either myself or for the children at church. But still, there was a good number of things I worked on in April.

Word Count Wednesday - 3 May 2017

Things I worked on last week:
  • A part of chapter 9 for that one project I had: 238 words
Yup, that's it. Kinda disappointed in myself since I was just able to write thousands and thousands of words in just one week not too long ago.

What am I working on?

Hopefully, I'll find the motivation to try to write out anything. If that happens, likely continue working on chapter 9, and then The Blighted Earth. And those poems that are going to be due in the portfolio.

How do I feel about the process?

It's rare, but it happens. I hate writing right now, plain and simple. More often than not, I usually suffer from pitfalls that I can easily pull myself out of if I give myself a bit of time. But as I mentioned in a rant I posted recently, this time it's one of those rare occasions where I can't bring myself to work on anything imaginative because the urge to tear it all to pieces is there. If I were to give it some kind of weird personification of this feeling, it's like this gigantic dragon that's blocking the way to where I want to go, but all I've got to fight it is just a dinky little pen and a piece of paper. Pretty much all I can do at this point is just wait it out. At some point the dragon will fly away to somewhere else in my life and the call to write will beckon me like an old friend.

Or something to that effect.

What am I reading?

Unfortunately, my enjoyment of writing is affecting my enjoyment of reading, so I'm not really up to reading anything that's longer than a paragraphs.

What else am I doing?

A whole lot of nothing. Even trying to get myself to play a quick song on the piano is hard for me to do.

Hmm... Maybe it's my depression rearing it's ugly head again. Lack of enjoyment of things I love? That's a big symptom I used to suffer from when it got really bad. Okay, note to self: get out more. Don't stay in your room too much before it gets out of hand.

Well, it's either that or burnout. I'll get myself out of it eventually.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ranting About My Current Hatred

Right now, it feels like writing is just this on-again-off-again thing. In the month of April, I saw this huge swing of inspiration coming my way, the words came so easily and the ideas wouldn't cease. I wrote all them down so I wouldn't forget them later and put them into either my current projects or future ones. I guess it was the closest thing I've ever experienced to what people like to call "young love."

But then, that dreaded ending that is cliché to young love.