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  1. 2 points
    As an author, most of my characters tend to some shade of gray but I must recognize that there are those who are truly evil. They exist in life and so they should exist in fiction. The man or woman next to you may not be able to act in a logical, rational, moral manner. They might be a sociopath, a psychopath, a malignant narcissist. These people are found everywhere — they might be in our government, they might be our nasty next door neighbor. The thing is we should not be afraid to include them in our writing. Evil is real. It should be noted that many of these people do not see themselves as evil (though some do not recognize the concept) but feel justified in what they do. The narcissist can convince himself of the rightness of his actions. That makes him no less wrong, no less evil. It is difficult, I think, for a ‘normal’ person to recognize this. It is hard to see it, often, in our daily lives, and it is hard for us to get into that alien mind set and write convincingly of it. I know I tend to shy away from that sort of thing. Trying to think like a psychopath is hard and actually succeeding at it is scary! Fortunately, most people are reasonably normal and their failings tend to be petty — they are thoroughly gray.
  2. 2 points
    I follow something similar to katfireblade. The rules are different for each world I create. For example, in a current WIP, you can trace the same name through the different nations/cultures through its different spellings. Taliah means lake daughter (tal is lake) the iah ending is girl offspring in the root language of some cultures. The next culture over on the map, however, would drop the h. In a more distant culture the name might look entirely different but have a similar sound, or it might look similar but sound different. The goal is to have a logic behind the conventions and to be consistent.
  3. 2 points
    I'mma be the odd man out and say I'm all about not using real life names unless my piece is firmly grounded in history and/or modern day. This is another world, not ours, and if I run across a character named "Steve" as the reader, I will be supremely unimpressed. The way I see it, they should have different names, because they have entirely different histories from ours, with different important names (heroes, kings, gods), and different languages. It doesn't mean names don't have rules, though, and they change for me from world to world. I usually start most of my worlds with a little bit of basic language building. This is easy, just reduce your alphabet by a few letters, decide on a few common word patterns in the spelling (ou ie, gh, jh, th, da, etc.), and boom, you have a language that looks just foreign enough with very little effort. Cribbing from existing languages is fine. Then I'll make a few simple words like "village," "town," "city," "fortress," "ocean," "desert"...you get the idea. Then I'll add by need--if I want to call a place "The Dark Fortress" (fortress = dois), I'll make a word for "dark" (niann). It could be Dois Niann or Niann Dois or Doinias, whatever combination best serves my needs. But if every place that has a fortress has a "doi" somewhere in the name, readers will pick up on that pattern. Characters are much the same. I'll pick out a name meaning (magical flower) and I'll make just the words I need for that name. They'll become cannon in the language, but from there I'll also convert them. I'll pick out the words (oursu = magic, uimi = flower), then squish them together in various ways (oursuimi, suimi, uimoursu, uimirsu, usuimi) until I come up with something pleasing to the eye and that feels like the character (Usuimi). When I don't have a language (and often when I do), I'll make up some rules. The easiest is how a name ends. In Spanish, for example, a female name might end in "A" (Roberta) while a male one will end in "O" (Roberto). With this in mind I'll pick a handful of suffixes for either gender, then stick to them. Another, as someone else said, is to do the "son of/daughter of" modifier, and you can pick whatever modifier you want. I came up with names like: Chymu ga Momoino – Chy Sakinsu ga Payosu – Saki Maigi ga Suyau – Mai Ttwuiw un Ttongeun – Ttwui Motaim un Waimot – Mot Hyutus un Koluss – Hyu There's a lot of rules with these names. First, female names end in vowels, male in consonants, always. The only exception is nicknames, which can end any way whatsoever for any gender. Then there's the way people are addressed. To strangers you are always your last name, so if you were looking at the first name on the list, a stranger would call her "ga Momoino" or, more literally, "daughter of Momoino" out of respect (women are traced through mothers, males through fathers). More informal situations--family get-togethers that include distant relatives, work environments where people have known each other for years, etc.; anything that is closer than acquaintance but not close enough to be a personal relationship--can be called by first name; so to those people she would be "Chymu." To those closest to her--deep friendships, closest family like parents, her lovers, etc.--she would be "Chy." Any use of names in this book will tell a reader instantly how close two characters are as well as hinting at social structures and social mores. Readers will also be able to peg rude or rebellious characters very quickly, as they'll flaunt and break these rules. I've also used modifiers to denote castes. Or "castes," since it denoted a complicated mix of wealth, status, and job. The names would look something like this: "Il-Aizahs." The dash was put in for the reader, to let them know it's safe to ignore the first part of the name and concentrate on the suffix. With the dash it looks like two names conjoined instead of a single one with an all too common prefix. In this case, "Il-" denotes a soldier status, and it's one of the few prefixes that can be gained and lost in a lifetime. "Aj-" is only given to kings, "Eni-" is food based (farmers, grocers, bakers, and the like), merchants can be "Ira-" or "Ir-," "Ir-" must be bestowed and denotes the merchant is trustworthy, craftsmen are "Ani-," and so on. I love leaving nifty breadcrumbs for astute readers to follow, and breaking the patterns sometimes to denote something special or have an reader question why. Even those who don't will generally pick up on some basic rules unconsciously, and those rules will "ring true" for them, making the world seem more real and complex. Here I have months of the year: Fukaas Uzuaas Uaxiaas Sirikaas Niaas Riaraas Sekikaas Vexikekaas Uiuaas Xaaraas Ihoaas Sasaas Zenisaas Iu Here I have clan names: Hohniinas Ajahlzi Vlexiinas Ajahlzi Rahliinas Ajahlzi Tixaliinas Ajahlzi Yoltiinas Ajahlzi Isliinas Ajahlzi Xoziinas Ajahlzi And here I have deity names: Arturus Malixa Ixiana Enkin Aloxin Vilja Ziriukixian See the patterns? Note the exceptions? I also have a story in which the name "Alise" is common; so much so that when my MC has a glamour cast on her to disguise her as another woman (against her will), no one thinks it's unusual she also already shares a name with the woman she's replacing. I even put in points in the book where she will turn in a village when her name is called only to see a child running home or a shopkeeper respond. In that world the name "Alise" is as common as "Sarah" is here. This requires some literary juggling (Alise-goose-girl or Alise-my-wife depending on who is being referred to in scenes where the other MC must talk of both), but it was a really fun challenge. And the common name is also key to her character, that the MC is ordinary, a nobody, not even deserving of a unique name. So...yeah, I have a lot of fun with character names I guess is what I'm saying. 🙂
  4. 2 points
    Start a new WIP every time you get a new idea. You don't want to forget anything.
  5. 2 points
    I wrote words! New total: 60.213 words as of August 24th. Goal ACHIEVED!!
  6. 2 points
    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's offered advice in this thread. I appreciate it and I read every one of your posts. @katfireblade thanks for the book recommendations! And an update: I started reading Writing Down the Bones (Natalie Goldberg). I have spent a lot of time the past few months taking inventory of many other areas of my life and organising (or pruning the dead wood as necessary.) I have also started an exercise of freewriting for 2 mins as a simple daily practice and so far it is working. 🙂
  7. 2 points
    I think an "ends justify the means" mentality works well for grey protagonists. You can sympathise with their goals while hating their methods. Depending on their severity, these characters could vary from heroes, to anti-heroes, to outright villains if their methods are vile enough. The more heroic versions of them can have a very Robin Hood vibe when their goals are to help others. While I love characters like this, I don't really have any. When writing, I tend to lean towards semi-Noblebright themeing. The closest I have is a noir-like PI who cheats, lies to, and sometimes even (temporarily) brainwashes people to get what she wants. I don't really write much with her, though. For a villain, even if they're completely despicable, giving them something good they care about gives them the layers you're talking about. A villain can try to kill the hero all they want, but if they go out of their way to keep children safe, there's gonna be some greyness there. @Penguinball I love the sound of a villain who tries her best to be an actually good mother. I feel like villainous parents never have that as a redeeming quality even if they are supposed to be sympathetic.
  8. 1 point
    A thread for all those short and sweet story premises/ideas you may have discarded or don't have time to write. Your lump of clay may turn into gold for someone else, or can just kick-start their own imagination, so dump'em right here. :) I'll start with these five ideas: When people die they turn into mythological creatures (maybe depending on what they were like in life). A psychic medical examiner can see flashes a dead person’s every day-life when cutting them open. One day they realise they’re examining something very peculiar. The body looks human, but their every-day life doesn't look at all familiar to the M.E.. A character realises they’re in a very familiar and worn-out plot. Knowing how it will end they do everything to de-rail it. A job coach accepts a higher paying job in a different town, but the clients are not what she’s used to. Neither are the job openings in town. Or the town itself. When a strange fossil is dug up on the border between two warring countries they both start to worship it, but they come up with two very different myths. A poor scholar realises that both myths have elements of truth, and if combined the ancient creature will rise to rule. But that might not be the best idea ever. (Sorry if any of them is familiar to a book/movie already out there. I seem to be bad at keeping up with the current stuff these days.)
  9. 1 point
    Funnily enough I was literally just thinking about something like this. I have a tropical snake who requires much more heating support in the winter. Some snakes survive winter just fine, but she'd die within hours if she got too cold. I'm sure she'd appreciate having a self-heating mechanism. 🙂 Makes me think dragons would have to be a transplant species, if you will. There are snakes indigenous to cooler climates, of course, but if they need heating support to survive during the winter, they probably didn't come from that climate.
  10. 1 point
    I woooould have voted for The Star Mirror, 'cause I'm a sucker for blood gods and alike. But for the most nanoable, I went with Lion Hamlet Mermaids. 'Cause it sounds pretty badass, but it also gives very good guidelines for what you can make happen next or jump to if you're stuck somewhere during nano. Also, because Hamlet underwater. I'd watch that live.
  11. 1 point
    Thank you to everyone that participated in our challenge this year! The following numbers are based on the TOTALS everyone reached throughout each month, including those who only checked in once or twice throughout the six months. I will be making a separate post for the participants who reached their individual goals each month, since that's what the prizes from Paperweight Editorial ( @JayLee ) are based on (I believe). If you signed up to participate in a month during the challenge but did not check in with any word counts, you were not included on this list. @airrica: 102,596 words @Anthony Lockwood: 23,644 words @C_M_Clark: 3,611 words @CrabbyMaiden: 242,435 words @dahj_the_bison: 15,000 words @DaVinci: 199,861 words @dragonhavn: 16,928 words @EdelBeeRocker: 11,815 words @Elena: 93,996 words @EliBrightwood: 17,100 words @Emskie-Wings: 278,259 words @fenn: 15,603 words @Fluffypoodel: 13,456 words @jdvollans: 50,221 words @Jedi Knight Muse: 74,599 words @lorneytunes: 126,159 words @Mynoris: 115,078 words @Penguinball: 35,369 words @Pinchofmagic: 96,372 words @RKM: 9,767 words @roadmagician: 12,901 words @Rohierim: 51,729 words @Sheepy-Pie: 24,581 words @Storycollector: 13,890 words @taintedhero: 1,055 words @Tangwystle: 170,294 words @tllbrinkley: 27,500 words @TricksterShi: 105,421 words @Tigtogiba34: 31,777 words @TwistedRiver: 300 words @Storycollector: 25,617 words @Sam: 147,705 words @M.N. Lanthier: 15,983 words @ZillieR00: 15,008 words Together we wrote 223,904 words in August! Togethe, we wrote 3,798,319 words total from March 1st to August 31st On average, we wrote 20,643 words per day from March 1st to August 31st
  12. 1 point
    This post is for those participants who participated throughout the entire six months and passed their goals for those individual months. @airrica 20,361/20,000 words in July @Anthony Lockwood 10,51/10,000 words in April 5,140/5,000 words in May @CrabbyMaiden 242,435/10,000 words in March @Elena 16,733/15,000 words in March 21,847/20,000 words in April 23,126/15,000 words in May 16,042/15,000 words in June @Emskie-Wings 34,334/30,000 words in March 50,613/50,000 words in April 36,075/35,000 words in May 37,261/30,000 words in June 53,472/45,000 words in July 66,504/60,000 words in August @Jedi Knight Muse 21,453/7,000 words in August @lorneytunes 25,265/25,000 words in March 25,117/25,000 words in May 28,430/25,000 words in June 25,189/25,000 words in July @Mynoris 15,855/15,000 words in March 78,965/15000 words in June @Penguinball 16,981/15,000 words in March 5,000/5,000 words in May @Pinchofmagic 43,362/40,000 in April @roadmagician 10,000/5,000 words in March 12,152/10,000 words in June @Romancegirl 9,979/5,000 words in March @Sheepy-Pie 16,994/15,000 words in March @Storycollector 11,727/10,000 words in March @Tangwystle 122,232/65,000 words in April @tllbrinkley 27,500/25000 words in March @TricksterShi 22,000/20,000 words in July 7,165/5,000 words in August @Sam 37,889/25,000 words in June 57,358/45,000 words in July 52,458/40,000 in August I think/hope I did this right! The information for prizes from Paperweight Editorial ( @JayLee ) can be found here. You can see the spreadsheet for the challenge here. If you think you should be on the list, please send me a PM. This was based on those who reached their goals that they signed up for during the challenge. It's possible that I missed someone!
  13. 1 point
    As silly as it sounds, sometimes switching up the font I'm using really helps. If I can find one that looks silly or like actual handwriting or if it has a similar vibe to what I want to write, sometimes that helps. I have mild dyslexia, so switching to the dyslexia font helps because of how the letters are tilted. Once I put it in an "official" font like Times or Verdana or Palatino I find I switch to editing mode. And sometimes switching to notebook and pen helps. Being at a computer for the day job and writing is sometimes too much and a notebook can go anywhere. The change in medium, and even scenery, shuts up my editor because my handwriting is messy by default, so I never expect anything handwritten to be edited until it gets transferred to the computer.
  14. 1 point
    Kids works perfectly then, since it's urban fantasy. I always describe this story as a mix between Percy Jackson, the Raven Cycle, and the Mabinogi. I also prefer the connotations of kids, since to me at least it conveys a more chaotic energy. I've been thinking over the magician thing since Losebow mentioned it, but I'm still stuck. While I agree that "magician" does bring to mind a stage magician to some people, all other magic titles have implications that don't fit. Like, witch is either evil or essentially a magical herbalist, mage feels like it belongs in an RPG. The closest is wizard, which doesn't work since it implies a wisdom Brienne definitely lacks and she would shirk it for so many reasons (including the male implications and the fact that most wizards in Welsh myth range from neutral to evil). I chose magician in the first place because it's an umbrella term that covers all magic users without being inaccurate, though it just occurred to me that Brienne would 100% learn stage magic too. If you know any terms that fit well given everything above, I would be more than happy to hear them. The reason for Kieran's stay may be a bit complicated to share in just the blurb, but working in some information about Kieran himself shouldn't be too hard. That's a very good point. I think your paragraph there is much better, though I may change it just for flow reasons. Oh god it's so frustrating when that happens! Caerwen Chronicles is still kind of in pre-draft 1 stage, so I'll change that to better reflect what will happen once I figure it out myself. As for the bigger threat, I also didn't know what it was when I wrote the blurb (I knew I needed one for at least two character's arcs, though). Now I do know who she is, so thank you for reminding me to update the blurb with more accurate details.
  15. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: August 31, 2019 Words to add: [636] words New total: [28,133] words I did not reach goal but considering I exceeded last month's goal by 20k, I'll call it even. Grand total 231,251 words since March 1st (not including editing time). Oooph. “Just keep me upright until we get to the coffee.”
  16. 1 point
    I wrote words! New total: 66.504 words as of August 31st. The last total of this month and the challenge
  17. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 31, 2019Words to add: 7165 wordsNew total: 7165 words
  18. 1 point
    If you don't want to write an Everyman, then make sure your character is extremely unique and likeable! Special heritage, more powerful and better looking than everyone else - Make sure they stand out! Bonus points if everyone loves them, despite their bland personality.
  19. 1 point
    Today's date: 28.08.2019 Words to add: 548 New total: 2012 words
  20. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 26, 2019Words to add: [926] wordsNew total: [50,590] words
  21. 1 point
    *looks at her own desk* Oh, the clutter thing resonates with me 😄 Priming is a good cue - I never really needed it to get creative before, but reading your lines about priming, I realized that I do most of my dayjob editing on the same laptop and at the same desk that I use for writing ('coz I'm in home office 4 days a week). I might have accidentally primed myself the wrong way - oops. It never occured to me before even though it's so obvious - my brain probably thinks it's time to edit and critique whenever I sit down at my desk. That was a real eye opener, thanks a lot!
  22. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: August 23, 2019 Words to add: [171] words New total: [20,513] words
  23. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 24, 2019Words to add: [1,684] wordsNew total: [49,664] words
  24. 1 point
    Today's date: 24.08.2019 Words to add: 599 New total: 1464 words
  25. 1 point
    I edited words! Today's date: August 23rd Words to add: [8,250] words New total: [8,824] words
  26. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: August 21, 2019 Words to add: [288] words New total: [19,977] words
  27. 1 point
    So far, I've tried stuffing my inner editor full of chocolate, but that's only affected my waist line. I do free writing when I'm staring at a blank page. Usually nonsense like 'I am sitting here in my office. I'm going to start writing the story any second now. Oh wait did I take anything out for dinner? Never mind, that can wait. Yes, writing, writing is good'. Flow of thought that gets the blood in my fingers moving. And then I can jump into the story. The first few paragraphs might be a bit choppy, but I'll get into it within a few minutes. Pre-writing rituals are useful. Clean up my desk (I attract clutter easily), get a drink, close the door, put on writing music. Logging off social media so I don't get distracted is also helpful. Prime yourself to active creative mode. If I'm going back to a piece I already started I will do some light editing as I read what I last wrote, maybe that can be a compromise for your brain, like 'you get FIVE paragraphs and then its creativity time'. Silencing the inner critic is hard. I don't have all the answers, but its either like ripping off a bandaid and doing it anyway, or baby steps (I can write one paragraph, that's not so hard).
  28. 1 point
    I wrote words! Today's date: August 20, 2019 Words to add: [119] words New total: [19,689] words
  29. 1 point
    @SecretRock I'm not sure how exactly it will play out, I think the mother character is a bit twisted. She thinks she is doing her best, and had a genuine desire to do well, but doesn't understand that her methods are abusive and emotionally manipulative. One potential ending is for the mother to betray her blood God at the end, to save her adopted daughter's life, but I am working through if that will work out thematically, I don't want to have her shitty behavior forgiven for one gesture of good will.
  30. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 21, 2019Words to add: [3,027] wordsNew total: [42,228] words
  31. 1 point
    I edited words! Today's date: August 17, 2019 Word equivalent to add: [22.96] min x 1000 words / hr = [383] words New total: [19,246] words I wrote words! (some went into the story!) Today's date: August 18, 2019 Words to add: [82] words New total: [19,328] words
  32. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 19, 2019Words to add: [6,022] wordsNew total: [36,092] words
  33. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 19, 2019New total: [8,000] words
  34. 1 point
    I wrote words!Today's date: August 18, 2019Words to add: [5,174] wordsNew total: [30,070] words
  35. 1 point
    I wrote words! New total: 49.996 as of August 17th.
  36. 1 point
    So, instead of working on book 2 of my series this month, I have basically been working on editing my first book since July 27th, when my editor turned in their proposed suggestions. I work on my book for about 2hr/day, at least 5 days a week. This is my first writing challenge with you guys, so I will admit that I haven't been keeping track as closely as I should have. However, being the 16th of this month, I'd say I've easily done 20hrs of editing/uploading/promoting so far this month which would have equaled 20k words... let's call it 15k! My goal is 25k, but I'm not stopping yet! In fact, I hope to still put 25k words into book 2 before August is up!
  37. 1 point
    I edited words! Today's date: August 15, 2019 Word equivalent to add: [53.51] min x 1000 words / hr = [892] words New total: [17,686] words Today's date: August 16, 2019 Word equivalent to add: [70.63] min x 1000 words / hr = [1,177] words New total: [18,863] words
  38. 1 point
    I had a couple of days of awful, all-consuming writer's block, but now I'm finally breaking out of it, even if just a little. What I mean is, I wrote words!Today's date: August 16, 2019Words to add: [304] wordsNew total: [22,135] words
  39. 1 point
    I edited words! Today's date: August 14, 2019 Word equivalent to add: [54.48] min x 1000 words / hr = [908] words New total: [16,794] words
  40. 1 point
    I edited words! Today's date: August 13, 2019 Word equivalent to add: [42.66] min x 1000 words / hr = [711] words New total: [15,886] words
  41. 1 point
    I was in a similar situation, though not quite to the extent that you're in. I was still creating - I wrote role play posts, I created role play characters, I came up with role playing plots for the Star Wars forum role play I ran. I did stuff for school that required being creative. I took photos. But...my novel writing was suffering. I was putting so much time into writing those characters and posts and such for role playing (which, play-by-post role play and novel writing may both be writing, but in my head it's very different...especially since in this case I was writing in the Star Wars universe, so it was essentially fan fiction, which meant going to a different part of my creative brain since it wasn't my own world I was playing in) that even though I was still writing and still trying to write my own stories and participating in NaNo, I just wasn't feeling it any more. For a while I felt like I had forgotten how to write. Like I went so long without really working on a novel length story that it just fell out of my brain. So when my Star Wars role play finally closed, I decided to "retire" from role playing. I missed writing, I missed having a community of writers to chat with about writing, to brainstorm with, to make friends with, and get feedback from. So I decided that I wanted to create that community for myself, because even though there's tons of writing Facebook and forums out there that are focused on writing/fantasy writing, I was finding it harder to immerse myself into their communities and be part of them because they were so big and it was kind of overwhelming to try and be included in things and not feel left out or like that weird newbie who wasn't already part of the cliques that seemed to have formed. I'd created tons of writing groups in the past, and they all closed for various reasons (mostly due to people going MIA/losing interest but also due to me just not putting a ton of effort into trying to keep them going, for different reasons), and this time it was going to be different. I wanted to really put the effort in this time. So I ended up creating Worldsmyths. Having the community has really helped. I've finished the drafts to two novels because of it. The tl;dr version of all that is that for me, just having a community to vent to and brainstorm with and discuss things with has really helped. The writing challenges, in particular, I think, have helped. So maybe start off with that - write some short stories, either just for yourself or for the site or both - and use that as a way to ease yourself back into things, even if they're just character exploration stories and nothing that you're really going to do anything with. Maybe that would help you get to the point of being ready to write a novel.
  42. 1 point
    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!
  43. 1 point
    When I had to give up writing for a few months, I eased myself back into it afterwards. I write short stories, vignettes, character sketches. They're less daunting than novels just by being so much shorter. Less planning and thinking has to go into them. I can't say it will be the same for you, but I find that I feel less obliged to share short stories than novels, so you don't have to worry about getting straight back into the flow. You can take your time easing up to writing novels again. If you really want to work on your novel, just doing the outline or just writing the scenes you're really excited about can help. They're less pressure and use different skills than writing the whole thing. They may feel disjointed or not work properly when you actually get around to writing the novel entirely, but that's what rewriting's for. That's all the advice I really have, but congrats on getting help for yourself. I know it can be difficult. I hope the meds work out for you.
  44. 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.
  45. 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. ☺️
  46. 1 point
    I wish I had better advice for you but honestly I'm in a really similar spot. I usually have several plot lines of self-indulgent stories I tell myself but its like my imagination is far away, its hard to picture my characters and setting. And I haven't touched any of my crafts in WEEKS. My creativity well is really, really dry. I've been watching my mental health, I don't THINK I'm depressed, but I'm certainly not 100% the way I was this time last year, where I had my highest word count ever. I'm trying a different, non-hormonal medication starting next week, so I'll see if that shakes me up. As for tips? I can suggest writing prompts, low pressure mindset of 'I'll answer this prompt and throw it out later if I want to', just to practice and get the fingers moving. Free form, flow of thought answers, 500 words a day, just to get the mind going. And reading, go back and read your favourite book. Try to think of why you like it, and maybe try writing some things similar. Just like... cool scenes. Anything, just to keep writing.
  47. 1 point
    Thank you! And the duo you're envisioning sound like a lot of fun!
  48. 1 point
    This is good advice. But not necessarily the way it was intended. Usually it's seen as write the things you know from reality. Don't use things you have no experience with. Now, that is terribly unhelpful to fantasy and sci-fi writers who, by definition, have to write about things that we have no experience with since they don't exist, or don't exist yet. But we can still use this as a useful catch-phrase for writing, at least in a first draft. So here it goes: Write What You Know. You have a story idea in your head. Write that down because you know you have the idea. Don't worry about things that you don't know yet. If you haven't decided what technology your world has, or how big the country is that your story takes place in, don't sweat it. Write what you do know. Keep that pen, or those fingers, writing the things that you already have in your head. Write them until you don't have any of those things left. Then you can worry about sorting out the other stuff. I know this approach isn't for everyone, and that's fine. But, for me, I often get caught up in trying to make things make sense immediately, or trying to write things in order. But when there's something in my head further down the road in my story, I need to remember to write it down while I know it, or else I might forget it. Losing ideas can really set us back, so we should write what we know when we know it. Even if it has to be fixed later, or even tossed out entirely. Because if we don't write what we know, and fixate on what we don't know, we might actually be making more work for ourselves. Just a thought.
  49. 1 point
    I really like this, Mynoris, and it gave me the image that writing really is like a puzzle. Early, you see the pieces that fit together because of strong details, and then you have the ones that are more indistinct. They need to be in the puzzle eventually, but you don't have to worry about them immediately. It's so easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about all the pieces at the same time, and a lot of those indistinct pieces will get clearer the more I write and they will eventually find a good place. And like Tangwystle said, strenghts (the stuff you do know) can be really powerful bits that will shadow weaknesses. The passion you have for certain areas of your story, that joy will shine through for the reader and make it more interesting to read. Just because something is a staple trope in a particular genre, like riding horses, doing something completely different can be really fun. Example: I wanted to write about pirates because there are aspects of them I find really interesting. However, I know nothing about old ships/boats, and the research is just way too massive for me (i.e. I don't have the proper passion about the minute details of a ship). So I made my characters descendants of pirates who settled down on land, but they still live by the code and steal/pirate stuff in their own way. That way I can explore the things that do intrigue me about pirates (their independence, lawlessness, irreverence, kinship, lingo and democracy... along with some awesome coats and hats!) without having to spend years and years reading about ships. I just need to spend enough time on them for some in-world history, and can avoid that whole scrubbing the deck and careening and eat moldy hardtack biscuits...
  50. 1 point
    I think about something an artist friend taught me. There was this really good manga artist we were discussing. I was lamenting my inability to draw and she pointed out that the artist (I can't remember who now sorry) can't draw hands. I was stunned, but she started showing me more of the art. Very often hands were left cut out of the scene or obscured by angles, and when they weren't the character had gloves on. Gloves are easier to draw than hands, at least for that artist. So, when people say, write what you know, I kind of think about it from that perspective of focusing the reader's attention on the elements that are strongest for you, be that science, magic, character, or plot. For example, a lot of fantasy writers have never ridden a horse. They may not know that it's important at the end of the day to brush your horse down and check its hooves for debris that may have gotten lodged between shoe and hoof. But, that doesn't matter because they just leave that part and sort of gloss over the horses as a mode of transportation. When you focus on writing something you know about, you can pull a reader in by sharing with them the thing that is most interesting to you about your writing. It won't appeal to every reader, but it will appeal to many. At least, that's been my experience.
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