For the first time since the election, I dreamed a story that just begs to be told. The characters and the setting will need work, like they always do when it’s a story based on a dream, and dream plots might as well get tossed out entirely and replaced with something coherent.
But I have a story idea, and I’m excited about it. I’d almost forgotten what this feels like.
I’m coming off my writing hiatus to do NaNoWriMo this year. I seriously contemplated skipping the year, since writing anything is hard in this mood and I have no outline or fiction that I want to write. But that’s simply an excuse not to write, and I’ve had enough of those this year.
So I’ll be doing NaNo. Expect regular progress updates, though I don’t think I’ll have standard blog articles in me.
Who knows? Maybe this will be just the push I need to start writing again for real.
I’ve been pretty silent, lately. I had sort of hoped to just fade without explanation, but recently someone reached out with a concerned message.
So here we are. Sorry to make anyone worry, guys. I’m on a writing hiatus. I realized that the writing had stopped being fun at all, and was not only pure work but torturous work, and that I needed to step back and find the joy again. Recharge my batteries. Whatever.
There’s a lot of crap going on in the world right now, some seriously frightening crap, and it’s hard not to be depressed all the time as a queer person living in America with anxiety and depression. The air is toxic and sometimes just breathing feels like too much work.
So I’m off trying to find my joy. I’ll be back at the LATEST for Nanowrimo, my favorite holiday season, hopefully feeling fresh and energetic.
I’ve been struggling all week with the second story in my Patreon project series. The first draft of the story didn’t make much sense so I had to rewrite two of the middle scenes. I outlined a solution, I even wrote out the scenes, but I was very unhappy with it and I didn’t know why. Yesterday morning, I realized what the problem is. The story now makes sense, but it’s yet another story where a queer character (in this case, a young lesbian) gets screwed over by life.
But… but… I wanted this story to have a happy ending.
People who know me know that I tend to gravitate toward horror and gritty realism. I love film noir. I hate the American cliche of happy endings to everything. I don’t think that life is full of happy endings and I don’t want my fiction to be full of happy endings either.
This tends to butt heads with the facts that I write fiction with LGBTQ+ characters and that living as a queer person in this country is hard enough without all of your fiction being a huge bummer. I don’t want my characters to always have happy endings, because that isn’t realistic. But I don’t want my characters to always have tragic endings, because I primarily write LGBTQ+ characters and there is enough tragedy in queer life already. So I struggle, and sometimes I wish I was a straight person writing generic straight fiction who didn’t have to think about all these things.
In good news, in the draft I wrote this morning, I think I’ve finally managed to strike the tone I wanted.
Holiday weekends and holiday weeks are always hard. In good news, I got to spend a lot of time with my family! In bad news, I didn’t get very much writing done.
The first story in the short story series is Done with a capital “D,” though I’ll probably give it one final read before I launch the project. The second story is a bit more problematic. I’ve discovered that it needs quite a bit of work as I’m reading it through, which is kind of discouraging, but I plan on plugging away at that this coming week.
As with everything writing-related, things tend to take longer than I think they will. It’s taken me about two weeks to get one story from drafted to what I consider reader ready. That said: the first of the Tattoo Magic stories is reader ready and off to my proofreader (Jared). I’ve also spent a good amount of time putting work into my Patreon page. It’s not live yet, but I want it to be ready for launch when I need it.
One down, three to go until launch!
This week, I did both macro and micro revisions to what I think will be the first story in the Tattoo Magic Patreon Project. It’s off to my beta reader (Jared, of course) for first impressions and comments. Once I get three or four of these finished I’ll be ready to launch the project.
Finishing this first story is a huge accomplishment. This story gave me no end of trouble. I eventually had to go back and research some really basic things, like the purpose of short stories, to figure out where it was going wrong. I owe a special thanks to my friend Julius for kicking me into gear for finally fixing the myriad of problems in the story. Right now, I’m quite happy with it.
I’m working on cleaning up short stories for my Patreon project. At this point I have one story that is pretty much good to go, and another story that I’m in the macroediting stage of. The one that is finished, I’m not sure where in the story arc I’m going to place it. Right now it’s the first story, but I’m not sure that it really fits in that location, though for continuity reasons it needs to go before some other stories. I think the second story might make a better first story, but that one needs some serious work.
I also launched a writer page on Facebook and did some Patreon research. So far, this getting up early to work on writing thing is really working for me.
Sometimes I feel like I’m doing this writing thing backwards. Right now, I’m reading through the short stories I’ve drafted and I’m creating outlines for them.
But don’t you outline first, you ask? For a novel, yes. It just has too many moving parts and if I purely try to discovery write, I will get lost in the weeds and bogged down. But with short stories, I usually just have the idea that I want to do, the character that I want to explore, and run with it. That’s why short stories are fun for me.
Maybe the reason I love short stories is that I’m an outliner by necessity for novels, but in my heart I’m a discovery writer. I tried outlining with short stories, but I discover so much about my characters as I’m writing them, which invariably changes the outline because their decisions have to make sense for them. And there’s a lot less room to get lost in a short story. A couple characters, a single or at most two desires… I can keep all the moving parts in mind at once.
But this means my first draft of short stories tend to meander. And so revision is mostly tightening them up, centering them on the desire and what they need to do to get there and what is or is not getting met. This is particularly true of the story I’m revising right now for my Patreon project. It’s a lovely atmospheric bit of writing… but it doesn’t do what short stories need to do. As I’m reading it and outlining it, I realize I’m going to have to entirely gut and redo the middle.
Such is the writer life.
I’ve started writing regularly again.
I’ve started writing regularly again.
I think that should be enough of a progress update in and of itself, but in the spirit of getting back to my old habits, I composed, edited, and posted a poem on my website here. That really got me missing creativity. Not guilting myself about how I should be writing but aren’t, but missing the creative process.
I’ve started writing in the mornings. Since then, I entered two hand-written stories into Scrivener and started to create a Patreon. I’m also thinking about launching a Facebook writer page so that I don’t unnecessarily spam friends with writing stuff. I counted my stories for the Patreon short story arc and I’m up to eight.
Editing will begin next week. Once I have a few of these good to go, I’ll launch my Patreon and have myself a project. Finally. But it will be out of excitement rather than obligation, and that’s the best feeling in the world.