NaNoWriMo Begins!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Participant Banner (space-themed)

Today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2016! I can hardly believe it’s time for this madness already, but I’m excited all the same. This post is scheduled, but I will have started my writing project (whatever it turns out to have been; I never choose my NaNo project more than a couple of days ahead of time, sometimes not ’til late on Halloween) just after the midnight bell last night.

This will be my eighth year doing NaNoWriMo, which just seems incredible to me. (Even if I figure in the last six years – and twelve projects – of Camp NaNoWriMo as well.) I will be trying, once again, for at least 100k instead of the standard 50k, split between two projects this year as I did last year.

I haven’t decided for sure yet – of course – but I think this year’s novel will be a supernatural romance. That genre suspicion is all I’ve figured out thus far. . . (And for my second project, I’ll try and add 50k to an existing ‘verse – it’s almost 300k and counting, but there’s a lot more yet in its outline to cover.)

I won’t be posting updates here – this is it, although I might talk abut it again in December when everything is wrapped up – but if you’re interested, I will be posting a weekly update with my progress (and that of the rest of the Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society who are participating) every Tuesday over on the Ferret blog, starting with a bit about each of our projects and thoughts on this year’s NaNo today! You can also find me on the NaNo site proper here – feel free to add me as a buddy if you’re participating too!

Happy NaNo-ing!

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Writing as Escape

Writing as escape is something very familiar to me, and it is a comfortable sort of escape, at least in my book.

I’ve been told that I seem to process everything I feel or experience through my writing – I suspect that goes doubly for when the things I have been experiencing (or putting myself through, even if unintentionally) are making me feel like hell on toast.

Some of the worst times in my life, I have retreated to creating new worlds and characters, or playing within existing ones. (Now that means fanfiction – mostly – once upon a time it mostly meant playing out what was basically live-action fanfiction, sometimes convincing other people to play out the storylines I created with me.) It gives me something else to focus on – distraction! – or work through, or both.

When I’m stressed out or have too many things clamouring to be handled (this past week presents a fairly minor example of that, for me, unfortunately) I will start yearning back to my keyboard and pen. Even if the stories are difficult or if I have something I’m too stuck on to be quite as passionate about writing, that represents problems I can solve and a world at my own direction to lose myself in. Continue reading

Plot? What Plot? (Fanfiction Specific Genres)

I started this collection with one of my very favourite fanfiction-specific genres to write. (Hurt/Comfort.) I’m continuing it with one that I rarely write – not necessarily because I don’t like it, but honestly because once I begin I tend to fail in the execution.

PWP is a pretty simple concept – it stands for Plot? What Plot? and is basically used to signify this story was written for the smut it contains. (I sometimes see the acronym broken down as Porn Without Plot as well.) A PWP story is one that was written, generally, with no other goal than to show two (or more) characters having sex. (Possibly incorporating various kinks.)

Where I generally fail is not at writing smut, but at writing smut with no plot or background story. I don’t really mind – personally I find stories with plot/background included far more interesting than straight-up PWPs the majority of the time – but that’s typically how it works for me. I don’t really try to write PWP stories any more. When I did it was typically in my ‘you should write what everyone expects’ phase. (Oh, the bumpy road of being a baby writer. A journey I’ve talked about a little here.) Continue reading

Introduction to the Music Shuffle Challenge

Photo credit epicfireworks; permissions: CC BY 2.0.

March has been incredibly busy for me – partly because of a writing project I undertake every March (which I’m going to talk about here) and largely because of much more boring and horrible nonsense (which I shan’t mention again).

March is Music Shuffle Month for me – a challenge I established for myself in 2010.

Music Shuffles are one of my favourite writing challenges in and of themselves, actually! They’re great for people like me who enjoy writing to prompts, but also like being able to go off and follow however the idea branched with no idea how it related to a prompt. Of course, I also love music (and having a large music collection makes this challenge even more fun and/or unpredictable).

I don’t, however, run the challenge the way I originally found it. I tried that once and decided some of the rules needed to be shifted a little to make it more workable for me. So here are the rules as I use them!

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Romance as a Genre (Original Fiction vs. Fanfiction)

I was drawn into a discussion about reading (and writing) genres recently, and it made me think (of course). The line my thoughts wandered off to the most strongly, however, was romance – it’s never been a genre that captivated my attention for long, personally.

(If I am reading a novel that is pure romance, I tend to get bored. Or sometimes the characters just aggravate me. Or I just . . . can’t get caught by the story.)

When I read novels with a romance element, they often need something else happening to keep my attention – that’s a personal thing, not a slight on the genre – so when I do, I tend to read paranormal romance, or mysteries a romantic subplot, etc. The romance can be a heavy part of the plot, but I have to have something else unfolding to tangle out as well. This is almost certainly due to the most common executions of novels in the genre, rather than an artefact of the genre itself.

I am also very, very sensitive to fremdschämen (even/especially on the behalf of fictional characters) and embarrassing or silly situations seem to be something of a staple of the romance genre, unfortunately. If I read a confrontation that makes me want to hide my face and shove the book under a pillow, I may be discouraged from enjoying the story.

All those things might make one think – not unreasonably – that romance doesn’t feature very prominently in my own writing. That assumption would be drastically incorrect – there is almost always at least some thread of love or romance. Sometimes it is close friends, siblings, etc. not always a romantic love, but those kinds of personal interactions draw me as being incredibly interesting (some of the most intense of human emotion and expression bloom from the centre of love).

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I’ll never be a writer

But I’m never going to be a writer

No, I really did say that. For years.

Feel free to take a moment to laugh. I’ll just be over here dropping my head against my work table with a loud, hollow ‘thunk’ and watching my dog freak out and my cats re-index my level of insanity. It’s fun.

(If you are familiar with me at all, including just reading almost any randomly-chosen paragraph from this blog, you are entirely justified in any laughter this post prompts.)

Yes. I did indeed deny that I could ever be a writer. Not because I had anything against it – far from it! I was such a voracious reader (my mother first called me a bibliophage when I was six, and I adored the title, the idea of devouring books, and continue to do so now) and I loved the idea of being an author.

I just didn’t think I could ever do it. Not because of the things that daunt me now – or, mostly not – but because I really did think that I was not capable of coming up with ideas, much less putting them into anything coherent, much less on any kind of regular basis.

For reference, as of the publication of this post, I have written some form of fiction every single day for 2,215 days*, I have participated in seven National Novel Writing Months (and every session of Camp NaNo to date – ten), and written fanfiction for a rather alarming seventy-eight fandoms.

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When Ideas Strike

Of course, when you’ve chased down an idea, you’re usually ready for it – at least in the basics of having pen and paper, or a keyboard, or whatever method you prefer to record your writings by. I don’t know, human ingenuity on the topic of recording the written word is pretty extensive. Maybe you use granite and a set of chisels for your writing. (If you do, more power to you and I am very impressed – also, how do you edit?) Whichever method, if you were hunting an idea, you were prepared to write it.

When an idea chases you down, however, it can be far from such convenience to retain it for later use, much less express it coherently afterwards.
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