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  1. 4 points
    All right, so apparently I missed the boat on laughing about this back in June, but in case anyone else is as out of touch as me...here, have a laugh! So, apparently 20,000 Christians petitioned Netflix to cancel the Good Omens TV series (based on a book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) because, well, of course they did. 🙄 Apparently according to some particularly clueless folks, ye olde great creator somehow created humor but is devoid of having any himself. The funny? The show only airs on Amazon Prime. The truly funny? Nextflix's response: And Amazon Prime's thoughts?: All I have to say is it's a good thing these people don't read manga, because hooo-boy, the depictions of Christianity there would make their nose hairs curl. I'm just saying (below cut): Heh heh heh.
  2. 3 points
    I wrote words! (the last of them!) Today's date: August 10, 2019 Words to add: [1,125] words New total: [12,585] words  Michael succumbed to her giggles. “We have a long journey ahead of us,” he squeezed her hand. “To boldly go …” “… where no man has gone before.” Kira finished. That's all folks! This novel, "Tipping Point" is now finished weighing in at 155,000 words.
  3. 3 points
    Strong Female Characters--what does that even mean, right? I mean, everyone seems to have a different idea on it, at least, if published works are anything to go by. And then there's the issue of woman's place in fantasy world. If you're fully "historically accurate" (and I'll explain the quotes in a bit) you run the risk of making women basically useless. But if you don't and your work receives any attention at all from the outside world, or even if it just makes a the beta-reading stage, you know some jackass will pipe up about how it's just unbelievable that woman would do insert just about any profession outside of popping out brats and cleaning houses here . I mean, giant fire-breathing lizards are okay, and there's no issues at all imagining a society that can live exclusively in tree tops or underwater but three dimensional women not defined by their reproductive system is just that step too far. I mean, women do anything useful? How stupid is that! ....for those who might not know me, that is a seriously healthy dose of viscous, acidic, dripping sarcasm right there. Careful of the puddles on the floor, they'll take your toes off. To answer those horrible people and--more importantly--get some amazing ideas for your stories, I thought I'd post some of the more outstanding links I've found. Please, by all means, make this a thread; I'd love to see what you guys have! These articles are a direct response to all those myopic and ill informed people who insist that placing women, PoC, or LGBT characters (or any other -ism for that matter), is historically inaccurate because they didn't learn about it in their high school history class. Therefore, if you do include it in your books, it must be because you want to meet some sort of "social justice warrior" quota and push your terrible "liberal agenda" in everyone's faces and...oh my god, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. These articles take the time to give real history in a way we never learned in high school or even college, deeply referenced, and just chock full of surprises. 'We Have Always Fought': Challenging the 'Women, Cattle and Slaves' Narrative If you haven't read this amazing article, you're missing out. It's well-written, passionate, thoroughly researched, and utterly amazing, and it's not just me saying that. This bad boy won a Hugo Award. Credentials aside, it's a great place to start, even if you never read farther than the part about the scaly, cannibalistic llamas. I have been known to reference scaly llamas from time to time, and not always in conjunction with women's history. Her llama scenario may be the most well-explained example of confirmation bias I've ever seen, outlining how nothing more than the correct cultural attitude is needed to render millions of people virtually invisible. As good as the entire article is, it mainly talks about what choices we make when creating a narrative and how and why we might make different ones. If you read nothing else in it, read about the cannibalistic llamas. That's maybe six paragraphs long and is the very first thing she tackles. PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical Just like the last article, this one talks about different ways to write about women in history, but she gives some fascinating concrete examples. For instance, did you know a former Chinese prostitute turned pirate commanded over 1800 ships and 80,000 men, took on the British navy, and retired happily on her ill-gotten gains? Or that in modern Meghalaya all property and power go through through the matriarchal lines while men there are the suffragettes? She also touches on other minorities that are assumed not to exist, mentioning such things as the inferred romance between Alexander the Great and Hephaestion, or that no less than three Knights of the Round Table are canonically Middle Eastern, or that black Africans had a significant presence in Europe during the Renaissance era. And she links positively everything. If you want copiously-linked research to start your narrative or get some unique ideas, this article is your baby. Writing Women Characters Into Epic Fantasy Without Quotas This article also gives amazing world-and-character building ideas for your female characters using real life examples that cover everything from politics to medicine to tradespeople to warriors to the sex trade. (Hey, did you know in one country only women engaged in the merchant trade?) When necessary, it explains how culture and attitudes have changed from ancient times until now and shows how modern and unusual our Victorian/1950s ideas of gender roles actually are. It also points out quite deftly that, just like today, what was writ in law was not the final word but was often circumvented by either technical loopholes or just plain ignoring the law. So, just like today, just because a (female) person was told not to do a thing, it doesn't mean that they didn't do it. The other two articles are excellent and great for whetting your appetite to know more, but this one is the full monty. It can get a little dry, but it is thorough, well-researched, and can give you a place to start no matter what you choose to write. And while it's not the linkfest of the previous article, references are copiously given. Badass of the Week You mean, you haven't found this website yet? Oh, you're in for a treat! This is a blog that researches people who did extraordinary things, the kinds that might be mistaken for action movie heroes. Some are fictional (I swear I saw Darth Vader listed), some are animals, and even a few weapons are listed, but most are real, historical people, and a nice chunk of them are women. You have people history forgot to mention, such as Julie D'Aubigny, who...oh, I'm just going to quote the website; there is no way to paraphrase this: Heh. Then there was Kamla Devi, a 54 year old mother in India who was attacked by a tiger and fought it off with nothing more than a sickle. Rukhsana Kauser turned her living room into a scene from Rambo when she machine-gunned down six very dangerous terrorists who were beating her parents; to get the gun she had to first attack six men armed with machine guns with nothing more than a hatchet and big brass ovaries. There was Leigh Ann Hester, an American MP who was the first woman to earn a silver star since WWII. There is the quite impressive Cloelia the Hostage, a teenage Roman girl who had been ransomed off and was none too happy about it. Her response was to slip her bonds, free about a dozen other imprisoned girls, and successfully escape, and later when the king demanded her head be brought to him just casually got on a horse and rode back to give him a piece of her mind. And who can overlook Blenda, yet another badass teenage girl? This one who slaughtered an entire invading Viking army with nothing but wits, farm implements, and a butt-ton of mead. If you need some story ides or just a pick-me-up because the world is feeling extra-terrible today, I highly recommend this blog. I might make a second post later with awesome article links exploring the actual creation of "Strong Female Characters" and tropes to look out for.
  4. 2 points
    Glad to read that you decided to keep going! Anyway, a little encouragement can never hurt, so I'm going to post what I was about to post anyway 🙂 While I get the frustration of playing in someone else's sandbox and having to do so much research to get all the facts right, I think you might be running into perfectionism issues nevertheless - there's absolutely no need to get everything right in the first draft, and it's totally fine to add a note to yourself, skip a description you can't write down without further research, and fill it in while you're editing. Keep going! And since "running into a block at chapter 19 of ~30" heavily reminded me of it, I'm going to post a Neil Gaiman NaNo peptalk from 2007:
  5. 2 points
    I've been there, several times (and I'm in a similar situation even right now). I guess like with almost everything when it comes to writing, it boils down to finding out what works for you. For quite a long time, I felt so empty inside that I couldn't think of anything worth writing down, my creativity was completely gone and even thinking about writing goals made me more depressed because it made me feel like a failure. Looking back, I was severely depressed during that time, and not writing was the right thing to do back then - setting even mininal writing goals would have just been additional pressure at the time, and deciding to pause writing for a while was what felt right. I've also had phases of depression that weren't quite as severe, and writing actually helped during those times - a goal was what I needed at that time to keep me going. I never worked towards wordcount goals except for NaNoWriMo, I'd rather set myself a goal like "work on my WIPs for at least 30 minutes a day" - which could be anything from brainstorming, to plotting, worldbuilding, writing or editing. I've read a blog post (that I can't find anymore, by an author I don't remember...) that dealt with writing and depression. The author said that what worked for her was setting a minimal wordcount goal of 200 words per day - and that goal wasn't just about writing, it was more about fighting depression, because those 200 words every day were proof to herself that she was stronger than depression, and that depression could make writing harder, but depression couldn't take writing completely away from her. She compared it to 200 middle fingers that she'd hold up towards her depression every day by writing those 200 words. 😄 In addition, I have a page in my writer's journal where I wrote down why I write and what it is that I love about writing and creating stories. When I lack motivation, reading that page sometimes helps to remind me of what I love about writing, and to spark some motivation to get me going. I hope you feel better soon, and find a way to deal with it that feels good for you - I'm sure your inspiration will come back as soon as you feel better!
  6. 2 points
    Okay, pretty sure someone else could use these, as I am not a zombie story writer. Three ideas, though third could be connected to second. 1) Post zombie outbreak, most all cities are wastelands. Few military outposts of non-infected remain. Outpost receives morse code message from inside deserted city of survivors. Sends two teams to investigate, and locate survivors. One member runs into stray cat, is scratched, but no adverse effects noted. (Have uber advanced, portable diagnostic system for zombie virus at this point). Teams get cornered by zombie hordes, get to safe place, but all are infected. Can't go back to base, so all decide to "end it" with bullet to head to prevent becoming zombies. All do so, some time later, member that got scratched by cat wakes up. Note: They've shot themselves in the head, they're all military and know how to do a kill shot, should not be waking up. Is able to return to base, and is medically isolated b/c of story, and admitting having been infected. Not showing any signs of zombification, tests positive for "mutated" strain of zombie virus. Turns out cats infected with virus mutate the virus into a non-lethal form to humans, also mutates cat into a higher intelligent animal. Reproduce more quickly than humans, so intelligence is passed on to later litters faster. Cats are survivors sending out distress signal. 2) Ghost town in middle of nowhere. Went bust when a plague hit town, and then there was a crash at the train station that effectively "hermetically" sealed the station and everyone inside. Caretaker and family live in/near town, and make sure the seal on station doesn't break open. Couple has two children, one older son, and one younger daughter. Daughter had pet fat black cat that follows her around everywhere. Daughter has "psychic" abilities, and knows something bad is going to happen soon. Developer comes, and wants to buy town and turn it into an attraction. Daughter warns, bad idea, but father sells, and developer starts tearing stuff down. Breaks seal on train station turning loose zombies that were sealed inside in process. 3) Old west mining town, two sisters, and one sister's boyfriend flee zombie plague that has struck town. Either miners dug too deep and released an ancient virus/bacteria or witch's curse. Take your pick. Manage to trick all the zombie town folk to gather into train station, and seal it with a rail car crash into station. Then escape. (Can see how this would relate back to 2). Do with them as you will.
  7. 1 point
    I wrote words! New total: 38.939 words as of August 13th.
  8. 1 point
    I edited words! Today's date: August 12, 2019 Word equivalent to add: [83.97] min x 1000 words / hr = [1,400] words New total: [15,175] words
  9. 1 point
    This is perhaps my favorite piece of writing advice ever. Every time I read it, it gives me such hope. This is normal. This too shall pass. It's wonderful. 🙂
  10. 1 point
    I edited words! Today's date: August 11, 2019 Word equivalent to add: [71] min x 1000 words / hr = [1,125] words New total: [13,768] words 
  11. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 10, 2019Words to add: [1,953] wordsNew total: [20,395] words (Detailed outlining counts for the purpose of this challenge, right? Because that's what over a half of today's word count is for me.)
  12. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 9, 2019Words to add: [2,012] wordsNew total: [18,442] words
  13. 1 point
    Today's date: 08.08.2019Words to add: 865 wordsNew total: 20937 words (based off total achieved in April)
  14. 1 point
    I wrote words! (and my computer crapped out) Today's date: August 6, 2019 Words to add: [719] words New total: [8,172] words  I wrote words! Today's date: August 7, 2019 Words to add: [1,375] words New total: [9,547] words  “Here, this notebook contains the numbers, protocols, and other information. Take a look at this printout then destroy it.” 
  15. 1 point
    All of the above. In the trilogy I'm working on, I have long planned a line of dialogue that a certain character would say to the MC during the climax of book 3, and it is a repeat of something the MC says to that character in book 1. The line of dialogue is representative of how that character has changed over the course of the story. When the MC says it to him in book 1, he doesn't understand it. By the end of book 3, he does understand it. Another one occurred to me after I had written both scenes and realized I missed an opportunity to make life more difficult for the MC. In the earlier scene, I had the MC purchase a horse, and the guy who sells him the horse tells him: “Don’t run ‘er unless you have to. She’ll give ya ‘er best if ya ask it, but she been too long pullin’ a plow.” In the later scene, the MC is riding along the edge of the woods, keeping off the main road to avoid pursuit. Thunder rumbles in the sky, but then he hears a rumble that isn't thunder, which spooks the horse. He then hears a roar of pain or anger from deeper in the woods and his horse bolts. When I originally wrote it, nothing went wrong. The MC held on for dear life as the horse ran and he eventually got her back under control. Yawn. I realized later that I needed to rewrite it. The MC isn't an experienced rider, so he isn't likely to keep his seat on an out of control horse. So I decided that he would fall from the horse and break his arm. Thanks to his curse he heals quickly, but it's an opportunity for me to inflict a little pain/adversity on him. This I consider a micro arc because the guy told the MC not to run her, the implication being that the horse couldn't take it. The irony is that the horse ends up being just find and it's the MC who gets hurt. That irony, assuming the reader picks up on it, is the satisfying bit. I guess this could be considered foreshadowing, but it's really not much of a plot point. It's just these two connected moments. Now the roar, that absolutely is foreshadowing. There are other references to it later in the story, but it is written off as a bear. It's not a bear, but that won't really be understood until early in book 3. There's another that involves one of the MC's quirks, which is fiddling with the buttons on his coat. I guess that could be considered a running gag, as defined by the link Sam posted. That wasn't planned. It just happened as I wrote.
  16. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 7, 2019Words to add: [6280] wordsNew total: [13,638] words I have no idea what's happening, but hey, whatever this sorcery is, it sure makes up for complete lack of writing on the day before.
  17. 1 point
    I would have pronounced it Mee-as-mah - lucky strike by a none-native speaker, yay 😄 I can shed some light on this - it actually even makes a lot of sense when you're familiar with the old German alphabet. "ß" sounds like the "s" sound in English language (because German "s" sounds like English "z", and German "z" sounds more like "ts" - so those letters are already taken by other sounds). The "sharp" pronounciation (English "s") was written as the combination "sz" for a long time. In the old alphabet, "s" looked like "f" missing the horizontal stroke, and "z" looked a bit like "3", so "ß" is really just those two letters merged into one. It is even named exactly that - when spelling a word, "ß" is literally named "s-z".
  18. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 5, 2019Words to add: [880] wordsNew total: [7,358] words
  19. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: August 4, 2019 Words to add: [1,631] words New total: [5,946] words “What the ****?” Guy stared at the sword protruding from his companion’s chest. “You definitely ain’t no Beatrix,” he turned his head just in time to intersect the paperweight with his face.
  20. 1 point
    For me, interacting with similar things to the projects helps me come up with ideas and get my writing flowing. Books or shows of a similar genre, hanging out in places that remind me of the theme or premise, that sort of thing. I also daydream while listening to music. Sometimes the lyrics inspire ideas, whether I take them literally or not. Unfortunately, I don't often write those ideas down and I forget them really fast, ;;.
  21. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: August 2, 2019 Words to add: [1,409] words New total: [2,809] words “Mistake number one, its Missus. The ring should have been a big tip-off.”
  22. 1 point
    I wrote words!New total: [21,737] words
  23. 1 point
    Total words for July: 50,221.
  24. 1 point
    I went and submitted for this month's. Hope you all enjoy it! https://worldsmyths.com/library/short-stories/black-gold-r76/
  25. 1 point
    528 words / day * 31 days = 16,678 words. Too low. Put me down for an even 40,000 words. Here's five words: "Your story will be awesome!"
  26. 1 point
    Oh, I forgot (sorry for the double post). Shake up your brain. And this will sound silly, but I mean it. Wear socks on your hands. Walk backwards, or navigate your home with your eyes closed. Eat with your off hand. Brush your teeth with it. Try writing with it. Shake up your routines and start doing things in a different order every day. Go shopping on a different day. Stand on your head (or drape yourself upside down on a couch) and study the world around you. Take a different way home and don't hurry. Wear a piece of tape on the end of your nose. Anything that can shake you out of old patterns of thinking will help. Also remember things you liked doing as a kid that you never do now--jumping rope, watching the moon, playing in a bubble bath, going roller skating or on long walks, whatever. Then go do them. That one is weird, it's like rediscovering a person you lost. But if nothing else, I highly recommend doing tasks with your off hand--that actually had been proven to help creativity and even depression. No joke.
  27. 1 point
    Oh yeah, for years. I felt scraped dry and thin, rattling around all hollow. What got me out of it? The first thing I did--and that you unfortunately might have to do--is suck. Badly. I went through a period where I wondered if I'd lost my ability completely, because everything I was banging out was truly terrible. Not, "I'm an artist and hypercritical of my stuff by default, even when it's pretty good" terrible, no, it was "I wrote better than this at age nine" terrible. Even looking back with fresh eyes on what I did during that period, I still think I sucked. I stank so bad they could smell me in Taiwan. Please also keep in mind I stopped writing for literal years, and it sounds like you've only lost a few months, so you might be more in practice than me and have a lot easier time. But part of what tripped me up was exactly what you're describing, no motivation, no ideas, high levels of depression, and a terminal case of something that was less writer's block than it was writer's blah. I was forcing words on the page, hammering and chipping them out of a brain that didn't want to cooperate, and that's what kept causing the stink. But I hammered at it, a little something every day--and by "little" I mean some days three sentences was all I could manage--skipping only the days where I hated myself and my writing so bad that doing so might have done more damage than good. And I wrote about what-the-frick-ever, without caring about churning out an actual finished story. In fact, that was important--I was reteaching my brain to play, and that it was safe and okay to do so. I sometimes suspect I was also doing a little brain rewiring, though I have nothing to base that on. So, if it happens to you, forgive yourself. Hammer through, because your brain recalls. It's all in there, how much you enjoy it, all the talent and creativity and desire, it's just currently on a bad alternator. The more you chip away at it, the more you're repairing that alternator, and there comes a day where you turn the key and your creative car starts smooth as silk. The other thing I did was read. I actually reread old favorites. I picked up Anne McCaffrey and flew the skies of Pern. I reread about the fading talent of pensing in Green Sky, the plight of the Erdlings banished underground, and glided around in a shuba. I wandered around with vampires that had been transformed to immortality by the venom of angels on an alternate earth, and engaged in a war between shifters, humans, and the emotionless psychics who wanted to enslave them on another. Anything that reminded me of why I picked up a pen in the first place was what I indulged in. And anything that sparked an idea--you know, the: I'd like to write a character like that; I want to write about that situation and put my own spin on it; I could totally write that better than this author; why did they drop this subplot, I want to go finish it; that ending was stupid, I can rewrite this and end it properly--I'd sit down and do. No holds barred. This can also work with TV, video games, and other media. I got an entire horror story out of Sophia the First, a saccharine-sweet princess show aimed at five year olds. 🤣 You could also try writing other things just to get the brain juices flowing, like forum posts, blog posts, formulating long answers in comments sections (just don't check for replies or you'll lose your mind), stuff like that. On other things I have used at other times in my life to get creative juices flowing: The Creative Whack Pack The Artist's Way Workbook (you may or may not need to get the associated book, I didn't) Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (left/right thinking has been debunked and this is for drawing, but some of the exercises are cool nonetheless) Writing the Breakout Novel (and associated Workbook, well worth getting both) Everything but possibly the Whack Pack can be found at a local library. And hands down the best lessons in writing, creating, and shifting my thinking I ever took was Holly Lisle's How to Think Sideways class. It looks like she's giving away some lessons free, so you can try before you buy to see if you like her style of teaching (and hey, free stuff!). I never regretted the money I spent on the classes and I'm not typically a joiner. Caveat--the classes I took cost a hella lot more now than they used to. I mean, astronomically, so only do it if you were leaning towards something like this anyway. If not, check out some of her stand alone books; they cost like ten bucks and are just as good. Heh. This wasn't offered last time, but she does have a new book/course called Writing When Your Life Has Just Exploded: A Step-by-Step Class in Getting Your Writing Back on Track After Disaster. To put that in context, in her first lesson she shared with us how she discovered her husband had been molesting her children, left him and filed to divorce his ass, only to have this very rich man try to rip her life to pieces by telling everyone they knew she divorced him just so she could get her hands on his money. And a lot of people believed it. So she knows about writing through some shit. It costs 14 bucks, and I think I'm gonna give it a go myself. I can let you know what it's like if you want. That's about all I can think of. Good luck; it will get better. Just give it some time, and don't pressure yourself too hard. ☺️
  28. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 27, 2019] Words to add: [1,692] words New total: [44,256] words “Will lose,” Kira gently corrected. “Our past is everyone else’s future. We have decades to figure out how to ease the loss to our loved ones. For us time became flexible.”
  29. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 26, 2019] Words to add: [1,617] words Today's date: [July 27, 2019] Words to add: [1,172] words
  30. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 26, 2019] Words to add: [1,700] words New total: [42,564] words When he turned around, everyone had his or her hand in the air. Even Gamma aped the behavior of her primitive cousins.
  31. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 25, 2019] Words to add: [2,403] words New total: [40,864] words Seraph II would never fly.
  32. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 23, 2019] Words to add: [1,331] words New total: [37,221] words Erika laughed with the rest of the group. “Sure, they stop you if you try to play it in a guitar shop but not in a piano store.”
  33. 1 point
    In Caerellí Chronicles, Kieran goes from mostly hating himself, feeling out of place, and acting very devil may care, to having a significant amount of self-esteem, a whole bunch of friends and family, and actually planning and looking forward to the future. As for the world, the tear in the Veil lets more magic into Earth, and in Annwn the nobles and king become a lot less self centred, and the humans and Annuvians bridge the rift that had formed between their communities. The changes to the world aren't major, really. The whole society being undermined sounds like a very dramatic and fun change to have though.
  34. 1 point
    I'll sign up for 5k for August. I start school then too, but 5k should be doable 😄
  35. 1 point
    I have been doing a lot of writing last month. I just forgot about checking in with this site. I want to sign up for 7k words this month.
  36. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 19, 2019] Words to add: [1,836] words New total: [31,344] words GOAL ACHIEVED! “I like the way it handles. They weren’t ready for full automatic return fire.”
  37. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 18, 2019] Words to add: [2,187] words New total: [29,508] words “I HATE YOU!” she screamed at the glistening rings slowing to a stop above her.
  38. 1 point
    I wrote words! (just a few) Today's date: [July 17, 2019] Words to add: [543] words New total: [27,321] words “Be patient,” she told the monkey after placing the cage on the table in the computer room.
  39. 1 point
    Why did you start writing? That's...a good question. I have no idea. I've been doing it forever, and the only time I can really recall not doing it I was pre-literate. But I was still making up stories. I'm thinking it came from being alone so much when I was small--I had a single mom who was always at work, and when she came home she had to do all the chores and other home-stuff so there wasn't a lot of time to just sit down and be with her kid. She tells me I was always fine playing quietly by myself and I could do so for hours. She said she'd sometimes listen at the door as I was playing with my toys and just marvel at the stuff I'd make up. The only thing I recall I recall from my earliest days of writing was pressure. Mom really took to the idea that I wanted to write, just like her, and I felt obliged to do it even when I didn't feel like it. If writing was simple for me I suppose I would have just quit then, but it never was. What keeps you writing now? Necessity. I mean, I did quit writing, for a long time. And I reveled in having my free time back. I also fell apart mentally. This passage from Robert Heinlein's The Cat Who Walked Through Walls perfectly sums up writing for me. The first time I read it I about died laughing, because he'd described my entire writing experience to a T. Of course the passage is much longer and I've cut pretty much all of the best bits--it goes on for a couple of pages--but this is the part I always think of when conversations like this come up: And that's about the size of it. He captured it, that driving, clawing need to write, even when you hate it, even when you'd rather be doing something else, even when it takes up your time and ruins your social life and drives you absolutely bonkers. It is very much like an unwelcome addiction. I mean, don't get me wrong, like any addiction it comes with it's own pleasures. I love my worlds and my characters, the glow I get when read back on my work and go "damn, this is actually quite good" or I get into an old story I haven't touched in a while and look up an hour later and realize it couldn't have been as bad as I thought because I just lost track of time reading it and now I want to know what happens next. Writing and doing it well is like casting a magic spell, you can ensorcell and entice, glamour and even change the world around you. You can literally transform the people who read your work with the wave of a literary wand, often temporarily, but sometimes permanently. And that's just amazing. But damn, the drawbacks can be just as great. To write well you have to be willing to dig deep, tear open parts of you that you'd rather not see, to bleed vulnerability onto the page, and then to cast the diary of yourself into the wide world where there's a hundred percent chance people--some or all--will tear you to ribbons. It's easy to tell yourself that haters gonna hate, harder to deal with it when it actually happens. And the pounding, clawing need to write can be it's own happy little hell, especially when I'm stuck, or suffering writer's block, or too depressed or stressed to write because now I have all this pent up need and no way to get it out. It's crazy-making. Plus the actual act of writing can be So. Damned. Tedious. I laughed so hard at Heinlein's description of writing; it was nice to know I wasn't alone in this madness. What do you do on the days when that feeling fades, to stay motivated? I don't always. Sometimes what I need most is a break, so I take one. I'll binge-watch TV or play video games or go hang out with friends and just recharge my batteries and lower my stress meter. However, when that's gone on to long or I really need to write something, anything, I'll often start flipping through old work. I'll try to decide what mood I'm in, dig up some unfinished story, and start chipping away at whatever section I became stuck on. The drawback to this is it can sidetrack me far longer than I meant to be, but at this point I've placed my importance on getting back in the habit of writing daily and not squeezing my way to a finished product. The act of writing alone is an accomplishment and whether I progress quickly through one manuscript or slowly through many, progress is still progress. I might change that up later, but for now it's working pretty well. :) I'm also trying to start reading more again. I did the adult excuse of "I'm too busy to read" for a very long time. Of course I wasn't--I still watched TV and played video games and hung out on the internet--but it felt like I was too busy at the time. So now I've been making time for it. Reading helps recharge my creative batteries and spurs me to write. I also try to forgive myself the times I can't write. I've found being too hard on myself creates a nasty cycle--I can't write so I get mad at myself, which stresses me out and makes me feel guilty, which then frazzles me so much I can't write so I get mad at myself, which...you get the idea. These days I try to be a little gentler with myself. There is nothing I feel like doing everyday, not cooking, not sex, not even feeding the cats (though I do anyway), so it stands to reason I won't always want to write, and that's okay, as long as I don't turn a legit day off into prolonged procrastination. Still balancing that last bit, but it's coming along.
  40. 1 point
    I get a lot of ideas from the stories around me. It's often something I think is cool in worldbuilding, or a dropped plot thread, or a story that veered left when I swore it would go right, or a concept or character, or a stupid ending, or something of that nature. It's any concept my brain seizes and goes "Ooh! Playground!" I also have rolling desktop wallpapers (changes about every 20 minutes) that I use to keep me in the story mood. I collect art from online, anything that sparks ides or lights the "Ooh! Playground!" part of my brain and turn them into wallpapers. I also keep on the lookout for real life stories, of the true or untrue variety. Cryptozoology figures big in several books that need monsters, I have pulled from myths of every land to populate my stories with unique ghosts or demon-like critters, and even the black-eyed children make a cameo in one. A real life harrowing tale of being trapped in a rockslide or entering an enemy village could easily find itself converted to a fantasy journey or battle, and I have never forgotten reading about the experiences of a real life runaway. Her story has colored my characters all my life. This is actually very sound advice. I was in a writing class with an actual published, popular author, and one of the things she taught us was how to find our "muse." For her, her muse was an image in her mind, a little blue bird. When she needed ideas she would do a mental trick of "shunting" it to the bird--that is, the back of her mind--to percolate. Then she'd go do something else. When an idea needed her attention she'd get an image of her little bird, only instead of being blue it would have turned red. The little bird was basically her subconscious, and she found a way to tune into it without getting so distracted she missed things, no matter what was happening in her life.. She'd also have simple conversations with it, answering "no" or "closer" or "almost there" as ideas were presented. It was a pretty fascinating trick, and everyone in the class loved it.
  41. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 16, 2019] Words to add: [1,737] words New total: [26,778] words " I think we’ve done enough damage for the day.”
  42. 1 point
    I (finally) wrote words! Today's date: [July 15, 2019] Words to add: [1784] words New total: [1784] words Some of these words are from yesterday, but I didn't keep track. So here we go, grand total.
  43. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: [July 15, 2019] Words to add: [2,039] words New total: [25,041] words “Under normal circumstances, I would tell you that there was nothing to worry about, send you on your way before calling my friends in high places.”
  44. 1 point
    My motivation for writing is I just like it. Always have. I won't say it's always easy, and I jump around from project to project, and sometime I'm too tired to even try, but I want to write because I get that urge to create something. I like making things up, and I like experimenting with setting and characters, and I don't have the patience to draw a comic. On days when I don't feel up to it, it's usually because I'm feeling burned out or swamped by things in my life. Waiting for the other things to pass or switching project helps most of the time. I once heard that referred to as "mental crop rotation". Different projects would use different energies, so when you come back to it, you'll be refreshed and ready to go.
  45. 1 point
    Ares in Wonder Woman bugged me so much! It was otherwise a pretty fun film and the audience probably didn't notice or care, but whyyyy. And Set(?) in that bad remake of The Mummy with Tom Cruise. Loki gets this portrayal too. (Tricksters, man, you set off the Apocalypse like, one time and everybody's hating...)
  46. 1 point
    *waves* Been meaning to pop back in for a while. And all it took was avoiding homework in a class where I'm learning such fascinating things as "How to use the Start Menu in Windows 10" and "How to save a file in Word." Holy croakers, shoot me now. *headdesk* Tolkien is a pain in the tuchas, and I say this as a massive Tolkien fangirl. The problem I found with his books is that to understand and enjoy them properly you have to have already read them. I'm not kidding. I picked his stuff up at thirteen and read the first book in LoTR through sheer cussedness. Despite enjoying some of it, it was a slog trying to get through it, and more than once I found the best way forward was to just let go parts that confused me (this is okay as many of the events stand alone, and the least confusing bits are those with bigger plot arcs). I hit book two and the story took flight, and book two and three I chewed through in no time flat and with no issues. And I enjoyed them so much I decided to re-read the first book. And suddenly the first book was fun. I chewed through it with the same vigor and enjoyment of books two and three and, better yet, I understood everything. I was no longer confused. Tolkien was a fantastic builder of worlds, histories, and languages. He was in many way a superb storyteller, and I think allowances can be made that he was basically blazing new ground with the tales he chose to tell. However, that said, one of his biggest flaws as a writer is knowing his world so well that he forgets to introduce the audience to it properly. Or, since he was one of a rare breed of writer in that era (sci-fi and fantasy did exist but was not common and were usually just classified as regular fiction) maybe he didn't know how. And that lack causes his books to be dense and quite hard to read upon first picking them up. I highly recommend doing so as it is well worth all the effort--what he does he does well and aspiring authors can learn a lot from him. But I'm never going to blame anyone for not making it through his tomes; most people read for fun and it takes a while for the fun to kick in with his stuff. On this, I'd say the thing I'm sick of is marketing departments. That's how books are done now--a marketing department will first declare if they think they can successfully market a book, and to what audience. If they say they can, only then will a company agree to go forward with publishing or even agree to take a serious look at the manuscript. All these YA, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy look-alike plots (and goodness knows all three genres are so similar on tropes and plot points that sometimes the only way to tell the difference is how the book cover is kitted out) are that way because the marketing department knows these plots will sell, and so they'll saturate the market with them looking for every last dime. Remember when zombies were everywhere for a while, and vampires before that? I mean, more everywhere than they are now. Yeah, you can thank marketing departments. Though I will caveat my own personal preference with--gods save me from first person POV. It's so ubiquitous now that almost any book you pick up has it, and there's even a growing snobbery against other POVs (especially omniscient). In some books it is absolutely the right route to take, but I can't tell you how many books I've read where the plot is going on somewhere else but the reader isn't allowed to follow it because we're forced to sit on a single person's shoulder and peer through their hair. Again, it doesn't seem to be what's best for the book that's important so much as what sells. Off topic fun fact time! 😄 Swords aren't heavy. In fact, most medieval swords were so light that a child could lift them. Could probably use them too if the length didn't make them too unwieldy for a half-pint frame. Most weighed less than 4 lbs (1.8 kg), making them actually quite light--which makes sense considering the length of time swordsmen had to wield the things in pitched battle. In fact, even heavy bastard swords were often only around 3 lbs (1.6 kg). And what about exceptions like those enormous two-handed swords? Those were about 6 lbs (3 kg). That would take a little muscle and endurance to swing around for long periods of time, true, but yes, a woman can wield that. The really weighty swords did exist, but they were showpieces, not items meant to be used in serious warfare. And, seriously, at the 8-9 lbs (3.6-4 kg), I could have picked up and held, even waved around, the showpiece swords when I was ten. Heh. The things you have to learn when saddling a slip of a thing with a bastard sword that her five year old child finds first. In an urban fantasy, because yes, my heroine will totally be bringing a knife to a gun fight. Oh geez, reminds me of Dies the Fire by SM Stirling. All electricity and gunpowder inexplicably stops working, society inevitably breaks down, and suddenly...rape. All. The. Rape. I mean, I'm not sure this man could write a full chapter without mentioning at least one poor girl getting used, if not actually showcasing the event. It got to the point that I wondered if it was an author fetish. And frankly, it never made sense to me. It didn't add to the story at all, nor was it a large plot point, just a reoccurring one. You could just tell that the author thought that the only thing that stood between men and mass rape was laws, and once those were gone men would just...go feral. To every male on this forum, I apologize on behalf of this author. I shouldn't have to, but man he has a low view of his own sex. I can't seem to find a spoiler or similar tag to hide part of the post--if it exists someone point me to it and I'll try to edit the rest of this so only folks who want to see it can. I'm afraid I don't have exactly what you're looking for (I'd love recommendations on that too), but I think I have some ideas that are closer. And I love recommending stuff, so.... 🙂 Okay, books/series to check out... Karavans, the first book of the Karavans series by Jennifer Robinson I'm still making my way through the first book, but so far the plot follows pretty closely one family who have put their entire life in a wagon and are trying to flee to another country to escape a despotic king and a war. By the summary, despite any world-changing events going on around them, the story is pretty tightly woven to the man, his pregnant wife, and their two teenage kids. White Cat, the first of the Curse Workers series by Holly Black This is more an alternate modern earth. Everyone here wears gloves because all magic happens by touch--an ungloved hand in this world is the equivalent of a gun leveled at one's head in our world. And because doing magic is a crime, of course crime families have grown around "curse working," that is, utilizing magic for selfish purposes. The main character is Cassel, a teenage con artist with no magic born to a magical mob family. The entire series follows his life closely as he unravels a web of secrets and lies in his family and solves the mystery of the disappearance of his best friend. The Pillars of the World, first of the Tir Alainn series by Anne Bishop If you want stories tightly woven to family and as often dealing with ordinary situations as extraordinary ones, Anne Bishop is your girl every time. Though the blurb reads like an epic fantasy, the plot is tightly bound to Ari and her family and friends, following her life as she tries to navigate the witch hunts, fae of uncertain temperament, and a culture increasingly unfriendly to those who follow the wrong religion or born into the wrong bodies. Sebastian, first of the Ephemera series, also by Anne Bishop If you don't mind a heavy dose of romance (this series has the heaviest dose of romance of any fantasy I have read and could probably be considered a cross-genre book, but is light on sex), I highly recommend this series for the world building alone. Plus, the series reads like a song feels. Ephemera is a shattered land, and the only way to get from one country to another is magical "bridges" that link them. However, slipping accidentally between worlds is supremely easy--too easy. Each person "resonates" with a different place, and that resonance could change if someone becomes depressed, or violent, or happy. If a five year old child resonates with a different land than their parents, they could find themselves in another part of the world with no way back home. And Ephemera has monsters, like the Incubus Sebastian, darker sorts who may not be evil, but whom often get pushed into evil lands or driven there by the suspicion and hatred of others. The series follows the family of workers who help maintain the bridges, keep stability, and can even create new lands for the dispossessed to go. Oftentimes key points of the story happen at a dinner table over a meal. Like other recommendations, while there are world moving events in the background, we see them dealt with through the lens of one tight-knit family. But, if you read nothing else of Anne Bishop, I highly recommend the novella The Voice, also part of the Ephemera series but able to be read as a stand-alone piece. This is simply the story of one small village and the practice of "sorrow eating." It follows two girls and how they grow up and is very bound to friendship and compassion, and the damned thing made me cry. Not much does. Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums, all part of the Harper Hall series by Anne McCafferey This is more Science Fantasy than straight fantasy, but it counts. 🙂 Follows one girl's journey out of an abusive home and onto the path of her dreams. Everything is about her, from her first festival to her progress a a musician to her brand new blue boots, and it's a fun read. This is probably closest to what you wanted. The Catsworld Portal by Shirley Rosseau Murphy Set in the 50s, it follows a painter and a girl who can change into a cat. She comes from a hollow earth, where she was raised poor, sheltered, and hidden, only to find herself plunged into a world she had no capability to navigate. And that's before she finds her way above ground. Though drama and politics are exploding all around them, much of the book is varying forms of domestic, a showcase of two people just trying to have a life, one that keeps getting interrupted by powerful people with far too many ambitions. Also, despite some well used tropes, the author melds them into a highly unique book. The Truth About Unicorns by Bonnie Jones Reynolds Warning, this book ends like it's the first in a series, though if it it was the rest was never written. That said it is one of my favorite books ever. It's set somewhere between to 1920s-50s, and follows two people in a very small town, a farm girl and the town's rich son. Not to mention, the enigmatic tutor. The story is almost impossible to describe but reads like a slice of magic. I'm just gonna give you part of the synopsis: Why did Crazy Lizzy paint her body with strange symbols? Who stole Cass's newborn baby girl? Why did the round house have a windowless second story -- and no way to reach it? I'll add--what was it with the sound of bells? 🙂 The Apprentice by Deborah Talmadge-Bickmore I once gave this to someone and they handed it back to me, unimpressed, saying it felt cliched and tropey. I can't say they were completely wrong as the elements--evil sorceress, dark tower, mysterious apprentice, etc--have been hammered into the dirt over the past few decades. However, it was written in 1989, when the tropes were common but had not yet reached the point of flogging a dead equine. This is the story of Shayna, a young woman trying to navigate situations that are way over her head and she is ill prepared for. Most of the story takes place in kitchens and bedrooms and gardens, the entire thing highly domestic despite a whole lotta magic going on. But what I love about it, as a writer, is how flawed everyone is. The more you learn about Shayna's mother, the more you realize Shayna is deeply abused, despite the author never actually mentioning the fact. She's also been raised in almost utter isolation--in fact ,the entire cast of this story, including side and bit characters, is maybe six people at most--leaving her ill equipped to deal with anything outside of her position as a servant. She spends the book torn, conflicted, indecisive, afraid, and sometimes making decisions that are stupid or even self-destructive, and all her actions are almost textbook abuse victim. The apprentice also isn't much of a hero, often making amoral decisions and displaying a couple cases of truly questionable consent, and yet at the same time he is courageous, determined, and unwavering in his desire to protect others and right an old wrong. But what made me really fall in love with it was that, by the end of the book, despite wanting to see the baddie defeated in the worst way, I didn't hate her. She's a terrible person, and yet the more you learn why she's the way she is the more sympathy creeps in. I couldn't fully hate or like anyone in this book, everyone is an antihero, everyone is flawed and weak and so very human, and that can be such a rare thing to find. It is honestly not the best book I've ever read, but keep in mind this author only ever wrote two books. It's a solid offering for a beginning writer, and I've always been sorry this author wasn't given a platform on which to develop and grow. The City Not Long After by Pat Murphy I'm not sure if this is an epic journey or not, it feels too personal. It's a love letter to a city and it's counterculture, but it's also the journey of "girl," a young lady who was never given a name. She grew up with her mother in a post-apocalyptic environment, on a smallish farm, and stayed there happily until being friendly to the wrong strangers got everyone but her killed. She went seeking refuge in San Francisco, and the entire book, despite the war that surrounds them, is more the story of the survivors and their city of magic and ghosts. Plus, you get to enjoy a weaponless war, which is truly unique. Four and Twenty Blackbirds, first in the Eden Moore series by Cherie Priest I am so sad she abandoned this series because it is downright amazing. In many ways it's a typical urban fantasy, mysteries, magic powers and all, but the stories within feel a lot more personal than most UA books. Eden is a young black woman who can see ghosts, living in the deep South. The first story is tightly knit to her family, while another follows her as she survives a city undergoing a natural disaster. The images from that book still haunt me. This being set in the South, you never escape the ties of family and friends that define her life, even as the mysteries ramp up. I love this so much more than her Boneshaker series. Shades of Milk and Honey, first of the Glamourist series by Mary Robinette Kowal If you like books like Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre, you're probably on board for this. It's your typical journey of a young noblewoman of the 1800s, following her as she sorts out her marriage prospects and tries to keep her family from doing anything too abysmally stupid. The twist is that every young lady is expected to learn the art of glamour, and our heroine is a whiz at it. Jane, at 28 and unmarried--not to mention not very pretty (and of course it's against the rules to use glamour to make yourself prettier)--is resigned to dying a spinster...and is pretty okay with that, overall, until a spate of domestic troubles pushes her unexpectedly back into the game. Fair warning; it does have the slow, steady, meandering-on-a-country-day pace of books from that era.
  47. 1 point
  48. 1 point
    I don't know if this will stand, but it's not so bad that I feel a driving need to find a better start. I'm just trying to establish that the character is young, inexperienced, and eager. However, this is just the start of the frame; the actual story starts further in, so I don't want THAT start to be too overshadowed. The start of the inner story is:
  49. 1 point
    It's almost definitely a place holder. Writing the current version of the first chapter was pretty much just me getting to know the character and figuring out her way of thinking, the mood she's in at the beginning of the story and all that.
  50. 1 point
    I'm waffling on keeping this as the first few lines. I've got plans to expand it a bit, but I haven't had the time or energy to think my way around it. I wanted to evoke a sense of trepidation, mostly, and some juxtaposition. This middle book has more of a slower pace than book one and touches on some horror themes, but it also takes the theme of blood and turns it on its head for the reader. The story is built on the cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth. So blood itself isn't a bad connotation, its message whose meaning depends upon what part of the cycle it happens in. And I wanted the lines to present a full circle the reader can look back on when they've finished and realize what the clues meant. Or something. I've raked over this stuff so much I think I get what I mean but I'm not always sure it comes out coherent or right.
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