Things I worked on last week (and for clarity's sake, I'm labelling the ones I've been tinkering with):
- "Mirror" Chapter 14: 764
- "Mirror" Chapter 13: 1890 (completed)
- "Magic" Chapter 1: 850
- "Death series pt. 3" Chapter 1 and 2: 6025
- She Ruled the Darkness: planning stages
What am I working on?
As it appears, I'm working on three things at the same time. The "Mirror, Magic, Death" stuff has been in existence for a while. I'm finally bringing that death trilogy thing I've been working on to a close and put it behind me. Parts 1 and 2 ended with 19 chapters, not including the epilogues, so I'm learning that my "magic number" is around 19 for a plot/arc. At least for this one. Part 1 was around 100k words, and I regret every moment of it because I had no idea what I was doing, hahaha. Part two was more succinct and planned-out, so that ended at around 75k words. I'm thinking part 3 will end up more of the same.
Or it might not. I've long accepted that I'm not so much a plotter, but I appreciate the practice of reigning myself in to prevent the myriad of non-sequiturs and fillers I tend to go into sometimes. As for the "Mirror" project, that's more of an act of whimsy and amusement since it's a plot in non-chronological order, only held together by themes and ideas that make sense to how I think. How did the main character get into this mess? Why? When? It's chaotic and I love it, and it's certainly just for my own personal fun since it makes little sense to others.
The "Magic" project, however, is more traditional like the "Death series" stuff, but I'm taking what I've learned from that and applying it here. In addition, it's pretty much the same setting and plot as the "Mirror" project, but more reader-friendly. Lessons I've learned from the "death series" thing: A little outlining won't hurt you, quality over quantity, adverbs aren't really your friends, keep note of what's been done in the plot already and what's been accomplished to not get lost, etc. There were too many subplots I lost track of in the "death series" that I had to do a lot of backtracking while I was writing, making the going very, very slow. This time, I'm applying that with the "Magic" project thing.
Finally, I've been jotting out ideas for "She Ruled the Darkness." In my train of thought (which to no one's surprise is an actual train I imagine in my head), the main character sits next to me and says "Hey, I've got a crazy story to tell you." Much like Alir in my previous project "The Blighted Earth" (which I will finish someday, likely after my "mirror, magic, death" stuff is completed), I had to ask myself, "Who are you?"
Except in her case, it was more along the lines of, "Who the heck are you and why are you smiling at me? Who do you think you are?!"
Alir's was more of a pleasant, though somewhat strained, interview. Hers was... something else. She gave me some titles or ideas to think about, however. "She Ruled the Darkness" is my tentative title for it, and "She Held the Sky" is likely going to be a sequel.
And note to self: "Mirror, Magic, Death" might make another good title for another future project.
How do I feel about the process?
Now that I'm much more stable and back to something akin to normalcy, I'm feeling very optimistic and happy about writing again. The words are still taking a while to get to me, but that's quite alright. I remember reading somewhere that you have your whole life until your first published book to work on it. It's when you're working on the next one where you're on a time crunch.
Or something like that. Can't remember the exact quote or who said it. It's been years.
Despite my optimism, I'm once again apprehensive about writing. My mother's challenged me with wanting to write that first novel, and like most people, disappointing Mother is UNACCEPTABLE. What if it's not good enough? What if my idea's not worth the time? What if no one wants to read a book by someone who has no degree in English or something? Then again, there is no story of success that didn't have that fear of failure. I'm most certainly going to fail, but I want to be that someone who learns from it and keeps going. Time will tell me if that will ring true.
What am I reading?
I've finally got my hands on Stephen King's The Gunslinger. To be quite honest, I've never been very interested in anything by Stephen King except that On Writing memoir. Horror isn't a genre that I find appealing. Fantasy and westerns however, yes, 100% yes. I'm probably one of the few people that has heard little-to-nothing about The Dark Tower other than that it's got something to do with a character that's reminiscent of the gun-slinging cowboys of the westerns I liked to watch with my dad as a child. So, technically, I'm a blank slate coming into this series. I've gotten a few pages into the book, and I'm really liking it so far. There's a sense of mystery surrounding the characters and the setting that drives me forward, and I can't quite pinpoint why.
In addition to reading fiction, I also picked up Essays in the Art of Writing by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Writing of the Short Story by Lewis Worthington Smith. Yes, they're rather dated books, but I'm hoping that they have any information about writing that I can glean and apply to my own writing to help me. I've still got that book, On Writing, that I bought for my creative writing class, and it's inspired me to continue looking for resources of a similar nature. Of course, writing is as subjective in "good and bad" as the other arts, so sometimes it just boils down to the instinct of the writer. However, as new as I am to seriously writing stories meant for others (since I've done it on-and-off and for a tiny audience since I was eight or something and the seriousness was only until I reached eighteen-ish), I will take any advice I can get.
What else am I doing?
As I wait for my turn to be in the Radiology Techology program in Moorpark, I'm searching around for a job. I'd be lying if I said that a good contributor to my frustration and depression in the past few months wasn't from the constant streams of "No" and "We don't have a position available for you at this time" and just plain radio silence whilst job hunting. Other than writing, I've been spending time with my other hobbies: crocheting/knitting, playing the piano, recording and editing videos of my friends and I dorking in a videogame... Things like that.