Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reading Queen

I wrote something on Thursday.

That's it. No other writing. Not even really pondering of writing. Yet, for some reason, while sitting outside on the porch, listening to the wind chimes Hubby got me, I was inspired. I wrote another writing prompt out of "A Writer's Book of Days" until my wrist hurt and my fingers cramped up. Kept me only about forty minutes and three journal pages.

Still, it was something. I should praise that for all its worth. Especially considering how long this slump has been. I don't know what caused my love of writing to recede, but I still don't even have the drive to think about writing. I don't get my normal pain of guilt or itch of inactivity if I go without writing. On the plus side, I also haven't gotten cranky and agitated due to my lack of writing. I'd much rather sit on my porch, people watch, read my book, listen to my chimes, and enjoy the warmth. I'm just soaking it all in. Maybe I'll wring it all out of my head later, but right now, my brain is just sponging everything; hopefully.

In the meantime, Hubby did sort of decide on a new surname for Chayse. He narrowed it down to five names. He also feels that Neo-Gambit - Ryder - won't go by a last name. He'll simply be Ryder. Considering the fact that I kept Gambit's criminal background, I could see Ryder dropping his last name to avoid being tracked. So, Hubby's thinking that the couple just agreed to give Chayse his mother's surname. Right now we're really focused on Foster. However, even though Emily Foster sounds awesome and is really calling out to us, I feel it's a bit too on the money. A woman named Foster opened an orphanage?

Then again, names have meaning in literature, so maybe the nod to the connection between the name and the calling isn't so bad?

Anyway, that's the extent of my writing this week. I did read Hello to my writing group last week. Fantasy is definitely my wheel-house, because even my psuedo-supernatural, slice-of-life, slightly-exaggerated anecdote got sort of lack-luster reviews aside from "nice twist at the end." And then we talked about the paranormal for a little bit before moving on to the next person.

I never seem to get much of a reaction out of that group unless I'm writing something set in a fantasy world. Although, oddly enough, about six months ago they asked me why I only wrote fantasy and fanfiction when I could "write like that" - in reference to my heartbreaking story of a man realizing his ailing wife was slipping from him.

On the flipside of my frozen state, it seems Ronoxym is on a writing frenzy. Nearly every time I talk to him he has something new he's working on. Granted, he only gets a couple paragraphs to a couple pages in before the next shiny story idea catches his attention, but at least he's writing. More than what I'm doing. Maybe we share a Muse, which is why we work so well together. However, sharing her means that only one of us could be in the mood to write at a time. Lame.

Anyway, he even asked if I was still into reworking/finishing Please, Let Me Explain. I was kind of like "doi" so maybe that means he's going back through my edits to try to figure the rework out too. It would be cool if I could continue reading that at group.

In the meantime, I have my writing practices. And since the next two practices I have combined are still less than 1000 words, I figured I would type them both up for your reading pleasure.

This first one is largely inspired by a friend and former coworker of mine. I took some creative liberties to follow where the character was taking me, but my friend is definitely the core inspiration.

"Fire Personified"

This second one is beyond quick: about 250 words. I was stuck on another writing prompt that is a really cool phrase, but too abstract for me to come up with a story concept. I might have this issue a lot with Judy Reeves' prompts. In the end, I just wrote whatever came to mind until I had filled the page. It's more of a thought experiment than an actual tale, but it's something down on paper.

"Thought Experiment: Now"
On DeviantArt           On FictionPress

So, if I wasn't writing, what was I doing for the majority of the week? Well, as I mentioned, I've been on my porch enjoying the weather. I've also been reading like a boss. Appropriate, considering the reading challenge I'm currently undertaking.

"Half Bad" by Sally Green was definitely a slow go for me. The fact that the entire story was broken down into six parts was the first oddity. They aren't even parts. They don't seem to coincide with the typical Three-Act storyline. They were basically six giant chapters that were then broken down into smaller chapters. And the fact that some of those chapters weren't even a page long was the other oddity that threw me off. The final thing that made me wonder if I could make it through was her use of second-person narrative to make the reader Nathan. There were just too many things that seemed different about this story. Makes Green a unique author, though.

Well, I powered through because the synopsis was intriguing enough. Plus, I don't like quitting on books. I'm glad, too. Part Two is about a third of the book, and it's all Nathan's flashback on how he ended up in a cage. It's also, thankfully, in first person. I was able to really connect with Nathan then. Again, my empathy allows me to connect more with a character when THEY are telling me their story, as opposed to the reader trying to tell me this is my story.

The first chapter - and ONLY the first chapter - of Part Three was back in second, and I groaned. I didn't know if I could handle the past being in first person and the present in second. I wasn't sure I could handle jumping back and forth between "you are Nathan" and "Nathan is telling you his story." Thankfully, since that one last chapter, the rest of the story is both first-person, and present. I mean that literally, it's written in present tense. It's also written in sort of short, choppy sentences: "I don't sleep well. It's not cold. There's no wind, not a breath. The clouds are still. There's no rain."

Nathan admits that he's not intelligent at all, and he's illiterate. So his sentences are simplistic. Life is what it is. He realizes that - for the most part - he has to live in the present. He can't dwell on the past because he can't change it. He can't focus too much on the future, because he might not have one. Sally Green takes that character trait and translates it to how Nathan talks. How he tells his story. He's direct. He's to the point. He doesn't have much time to explain something with long, flowery words. He tells you what's happening while it still is.

I really, REALLY got into this story once I was in first-person narrative. A week into reading this story, and I only have 41 pages left to go. If I didn't have chores and errands to do last night, I might have finished off the book. I'm basically reading a part a day, a few chapters at a time.

When I read the first part I wondered how the heck could anyone read two more books written like this. Now that I'm almost done, I know I have to find the other two. The writing is still odd to me, but now I'm invested in Nathan. I'm even invested in his jailer. I'm loving the wizarding world that Green created. It doesn't hurt that I could try to use some of it to help me get re-inspired for "Glitches" purposes.

In fact, sorry guys, but I gotta jet. I have a couple more chapters left. I need to finish them. Then I need to find another story to finish June with. Since I have such a head-start, I think I might pick up "Atlas Shrugged" next. I think that will be my "outside comfort level" book.... Still not sure where to put "Half Bad"on the list, though....

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