Friday, December 11, 2015

Trying To Stay In The Writing Mood

Have I mentioned that the last six or seven weeks of the year are just a production black hole in regards to writing? Because I feel this needs to be said yet again. Between getting ready - and traveling - for Thanksgiving, and crocheting Christmas gifts while getting ready for Christmas, and the hectic hours at work, and the exhaustion of trying to get everything done while time seems to go by in double time.... well, there's really no time for writing.

Heck, I didn't even realize that I missed my update until today. I'm so good at this, aren't I?

Again, I am grateful that I joined the bi-weekly local writing group. Sure, we still don't seem to accomplish too much; I was yet again the only one who brought anything to read, and no one seems to have problems they need help tackling. However, it is the only time I pause life long enough to even think about writing. Two hours every other week. It's not much, but it's better than my writing hibernation I go into between October and February.

Sad to say, I'm still in that disappearing act for Writers’ Huddle. Knowing that I have a large backlog of posts to read, and potentially comment on, has kept me off the forum for MONTHS. When I finally have the time to just sit and read again I'm going to have about 18hrs worth on that forum...

As for the local writing group, as I mentioned, I was the only one who read anything again. I attempted to read off the new bit that I sent to Ronoxym for Please, Let Me Explain. I know that last time I stated that it was about four pages long, and we like people to keep their readings to about a page or two. However, I noticed that most who read their prose have it set up traditionally: single spaced with indented paragraphs.

Since most online publications don't allow indented paragraphs, the standard has become single-spaced paragraphs, with a space in between them to indicate a new paragraph. With all those extra spacings, the bit I wrote hit four pages; without them, it was only two. Score. So, I generally had just about the max amount that we generally would like read aloud. Again, just for ease of absorption; it's hard to take in much more than two-pages worth.

Once again, I had some nice feedback. Keaton had a few notes, but it was mostly her complimenting my descriptions of some things. Her only real critique was my ad libbed description of the new character; something I'm waiting on Ron to give me feedback on. It was placeholder description, and so I took note of what Keaton thought better fit the actions he portrayed.

The other issue? "Please, Let Me Explain" is a companion - although mildly Alternate Universe - story of X-Future, which is based in the X-Men world. The X-Men world in and of itself - due to how long the comics have existed and the spin-offs it created - is long and complicated. Add in the fact that the X-Future game has taken on a sort of Soap Opera-like storytelling; adding more complexity. Sprinkle in one last layer of complications that Ron and I included in PLME. If you follow the story, it should be fairly easy to comprehend. If you go in cold like those ladies on Tuesday? I can completely understand why it was a bit hard to follow what was going on. I had to explain about four different events just to lead up to the segment of PLME that they heard, and then added a few more clarifications after the fact for minor things I forgot I had included.

Poor things. They tried so hard to help critique, but you could tell that they were lost. Now I'm really really hoping it's easier to know what's going on if you went from the beginning. I mean, even for people who have nothing to do with X-Future who are reading PLME; I hope we explain the X-Future happenings well enough that these readers still get what's going on.

We finished our meeting with all four of us having basically forty minutes of "free-writing" as we independently worked on the latest writing prompt. A practice for finding our writing voice. I'm fairly confident that I know what mine is, but it was fun to just sit and write, so I didn't care what the exercise was for. Turns out what I had originally pictured with the prompt is fairly different than what ended up on paper, so that was pretty cool. Kind of reminds me of the creation of Trish: originally designed to be Devon's love interest, only to end up despising him and hungry for his blood.

For the prompt we all agreed to jointly come up with a single character, and then we would each take the character on whatever journey we envision. The fun is to see where we each went with her. Thing is, somehow what we agreed upon got lost in translation, and instead of creating a character for us all to play with, we created an environment around the character.

Keaton suggested going with the five senses. I thought that meant we'd come up with how the character - which we agreed would be female - looked, the texture of her skin/clothes, how she smelled, the sound of her voice, and then take it inward a bit by coming up with what taste she had in her mouth. This should have created a picture of the character.

A stocky, 40-something, woman with course skin, a raspy voice, the smell of gasoline as her perfume, and the taste of slightly burnt grilled steak still lingering on her tongue gives off one image of the character and her possible story. A slender, 92-yr-old woman with loose, soft skin, a whisper of a voice, excessive perfume, and chalkiness in her mouth is a completely different image of both the woman and the story she'd tell.

That's the sort of thing I was expecting us to jointly build. Instead, we figured out what our character sees, hears, feels, smells, and tastes. So, the scene she's in. We can still come up with different stories because the scenes are so broad, so it will be fun to see where we go with it.

Our character sees ice breaking, hears bells chiming, feels satin, smells musky perfume, and tastes apple pie. I think Keaton said she had an older woman as her character - which is what I almost did too; switched to a young girl. Red said hers was middle-aged and a seductress. DFL wasn't feeling well, and so she left before we got to writing.

I've gotten a lot written in the last half-hour of the meeting, but not enough to finish. I'll attempt to finish up and have it posted for next week's update.

I also really want some free time to work on character builds more. Really get a nice profile written for all of my characters. I have Lia, Willow, Trish, and Amara pretty much figured out, but I also want to rework Connor and Natalie from my NaNo story from a few years back.

I'm hoping to have something to show you folks next week, and once again I'm also hoping to post at my actual update time.

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