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Category Archives: Personal Notes

How did you start writing?

Asked on Quora earlier today.

When I was seven my teacher had a bunch of lined paper on her desk. I use to grab handfuls of it and staple it together at the edges. I had a beautiful orange marker to write stories about mermaids and nymphs playing with me in the back yard. I guess I never got over that wonder of the unseen.

I still write about mermaids, griffins, and monsters. Each story is a little scene into something amazing. Something wonderful. And I have always wanted to share those scenes with others. Now I get to!

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2017 in On Writing, Personal Notes

 

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The Walk of Shame

February has been the WORST month for writing since… well since I first got this new job. Even on the months that I had bronchitis and whooping cough I managed to write more than this month.

Total word count for Feb 2017: 4006

There are four days left. Four days to try and redeem myself, to try and push through this lethargy and get writing again. And I think I know what it is, what’s “blocking” me. It’s this novel. I’m getting toward the end where I have to re-read everything and make sure the plot stays consistent, and the grammar isn’t HORRIBLE. I have 17 of 22 chapters finished, and the last few chapters I’m just filling in the spaces that I didn’t write on the first run through. So I’m almost there.

The endings are always the worst. I have had to push myself to complete the ending of every single book that I’ve ever finished. Even the short stories have issues. Something about the completion of a book, the final words being put on the screen, that scares me. I mean all those little pieces I didn’t write on the first pass, I didn’t write them for a reason. They didn’t come as easy for me as the rest. They interrupted the flow of words. And now I have to face those spots and tackle them. And when I’m done I have to let go, send it to an editor, and maybe…maybe…PUBLISH IT!

But first I have to finish it. I want book one, at least the first run, done in the next two weeks. I only have five chapters, there is no reason I should’t be able to do a chapter every other day. TWO WEEKS CRISSY! That’s all you have! Get writing!

Then book two, which currently has 9 of 28 chapters finished. that one is going to take some reworking to get into the right order, and make sure everything makes sense, and timelines are good. After finishing the first nine chapters I realized I had a bunch of time that wasn’t accounted for, and that the main character, Sybel, isn’t shown learning about her powers, or growing. It was more just assumed. Which doesn’t work. Show don’t tell. So I added some chapters, plot points, and character development for not only Sybel but all the people around her. Fleshed out the world a bit.

I love this new series. I want to put it out there and start sharing it with everyone. I just need to get my butt in the chair and finish it.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in On Writing, Personal Notes

 

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Thankful

It’s 2am the morning after Thanksgiving. I have left over turkey in the fridge, and my children are all safe and sound in their homes. It was a beautiful day with family, and I am forever grateful for it.

Thanksgiving is an odd holiday who’s origins aren’t exactly pleasant. I know a lot of people choose to not celebrate it, and I can understand why, but I think today, above all days, I was thankful for something approaching normal.

For the last few months things have been ugly in many places. Friends and family fighting and bickering over politics, a subject that use to be taboo. Even disowning, or refusing to speak to each other because they didn’t agree with each other. I know a few people have cut me out for similar reasons, which made me sad.

So having a family tradition were we sit together, enjoy good food, and talk about the pleasant things in life was an invaluable experience. We remembered that we had each other, no matter what happened outside the walls of our home. We could rely on one another, and be there for each other. We could be thankful for having that hope. Even in the darkest times you need that lamp post that guides you through the dark. Some visible sign that helps you keep on the path you choose for yourself.

I don’t know what the future holds. But I hold onto the light, and try to hope for a better tomorrow.

I am grateful for the people I hold dear, and hopeful for the future because I know there are so many of us out there who just want the best for our fellow humans. Even if we can’t always agree what “the best” is.

Maybe I’m a bit naive. Maybe I’m simplifying things. But the world has become very complicated in some ways, and a little simplification can help us understand our part in it all. I am one of 7 billion people in the world. My path is my own, and I can’t let anyone else choose it for me. Nor can my small thread make a huge impact on the billions around me. At least not yet.

Wherever you are, and whatever is happening in your life, I hope you find that light to help you down the path of your own life. A lifeline to keep you afloat even when the world is trying to pull you under. And I hope you find a way to see the good in those around you, even when you disagree.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2016 in Personal Notes

 

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Numbers

This is a data post. Some of you have found the numbers interesting. For me the numbers are more about accountability to myself. If I’m doing better than last year I am hopeful. If not then I think I need to get my butt in gear and work harder.

graphSo here is the graph of each month for the last four years.

So far, this year, I have written 131k. May and June were my best months so far. That’s because I started writing The Half Blood Sorceress novels in May. Every time I start a new story, especially a series like this, the words just flow so fast and so free that I end up with three thousand words in less then a couple hours. I love it! That is always my favorite part of writing, the first bloom of an idea.

June was the month I had in between jobs where all I did was write, so of course I wrote a lot that month. A little bit less than May, which I was surprised about. Still, I wrote more in May and June than any other month except NaNoWriMo.

Then July I started the new job and my writing tanked. Not entirely surprising. I was physically and emotionally exhausted for the first few weeks of training. Then I started easing into the new job and had to figure out scheduling. Now I’m back into the swing of things with writing and balancing everything else and….my schedule is changing this weekend.

I’ve got a month and a half to figure out how to balance my schedule and writing with the rest of my life before this years NaNoWriMo. I really don’t want this to be the first year I fail NaNo in five years. I haven’t even figured out which project to write for this years NaNo. Will I do book two and three of The Half Blood Sorceress, or will I do a few more books in The Eternal Tapestry?

On average, after all of this, I wrote about 5-600 words a day. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but enough to chip away at the next series and get them ready for publishing.
As for the Bradbury Challenge which I started at the beginning of the year…I’ve completed ten short stories this year. That’s a little more than one short story a month. The trouble with short stories I’ve found is I keep getting shiny new object syndrome. I start working on a short story, then loose interest and go onto the next one. I have quite a number of short stories started but never completed, and a couple that I completed but decided to completely rewrite because they were terrible. But that doesn’t stop Shiny Syndrome from happening.

I love all the stories I come up with, even though I can see that a lot of them are terrible ideas. The terrible ones usually sit in an unaccessed file waiting for a day when they might jump-start a new idea. But then there are all of the stories that are good, publishable stories that I want to put out there some day, but fail to complete for whatever reason. I think I need to find a way to conquer my Shiny Syndrome in order to do that.

Worse, I have a lot of novels also slowly being worked on. Several of them are over 10k words. I have over 740k words written, and only 360k published. That’s a huge gap of incomplete works that I need to finish.

So….the next month and a half will go to figuring out my schedule, and hopefully finishing some of these short stories. NoNoWriMo is going to completing a novel or two in either the Eternal Tapestry world, or the Half Blood Sorceress series. Either way it’s 50k words into a new series and that will help me get the novels finished, and published, in the coming year.

I’ve got a long way to go, and I want to get back to writing 2k a day so that I can eventually get all the stories out of my head and onto the page. Of course then I’ll just have to dream up some new stories, won’t I?

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2016 in Personal Notes

 

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Pax Prime

I guess the are calling it Pax West now, instead of Prime. I had a ticket for yesterday, and managed to get a few hours to go to some of the booths. But this was mostly Gregg’s chance to go connect with all the other creators. He wore his armor, stood on a dragon, and road a t-rex for Arc. It was pretty amazing. Wish I could have enjoyed it with him. Maybe next year.

I did see a number of games I can’t wait to play.

West of Loathing has to be my favorite so far. they took Kingdom of Loathing, made it single player and gave it a graphics interface. Same stick figure style, same rediculouse skills and crafting system. Even more awesome!

Eco just looked beautiful! I didn’t get a chance to play, but from what I was watching on screen it was a complete little planet that you were able to manipulate and watch the eco system change.It was developed to help students learn about ecosystems, and has a $500 price tag for 100 keys per year for five years for a school. I’d like to know if/how this works in a class.

An absolutly beautiful co-op game called The Rabbit and the Owl. The lighting and art for this are just amazing.

A fun little builder game called Project Highrise.

I got some beautiful art from Super Sky Sisters and Wandersong. And an amazing poster from Basement, a game in which you’re building a drug lab in your moms basement. Ya, that’s a thing.

I know I missed out on a lot of stuff, but what little I did catch was pretty awesome.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Personal Notes

 

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Dragons? Where?

I’ve been really busy the last few weeks plotting and writing the first few chapters of my new series: “The Half-Blood Sorceress.”

I am so excited about this series! I first got the idea back at NorWesCon in the art gallery. I found an artist that had absolutely magnificent work. I mean he does paintings for several of the big publishers, he was that good. And at the bottom of his display was one loan painting. I overheard him talking to someone else about how he just had to paint that one night, even if it hadn’t found a home yet, be he was sure that the right author would come along to give it a story.

“You could write that, you know,” Gregg said.

“No, that covers too awesome for me,” I said, and kept walking.

Three feet down the hall and I looked up at him and said “You suck!”

“See,” he said, “told you that you had a story for that picture.”

Not a story, as it turns out. A whole SERIES! All based on this one painting, or rather the girl depicted there.

Of course, I asked the artist how much it would cost for me to use that as the cover… As it turns out, WAY more than I can afford at the moment. However, this painting is the one I need for book six, so there is still a chance I could do it. I just have to get writing, and see how things work out.

So what is this story about? A half-blood sorceress? What does that even mean?

Well that’s coming, but today I’m going to tell you a little bit about the world. First: a map. I’ve been working on it on and off for a while, but the world has no name yet. I would absolutely love my readers to name this world for me. And no, I won’t be naming it Mappy McMapface, sorry.

Dragon MapWhat should you know about this world? Here there be dragons! Four of them, in fact.

Nyasama – Earth dragon
Anulaer – Air dragon
Ningirsu – Water dragon
Alshadu – Fire dragon

Together, the four dragons created the world, then slept in various places around the new planet. Every now and then the dragons wake and travel about the planet they created in human form, interacting, causing mischief, or doing something extraordinary.

This book isn’t about the dragons, though they do have an influence on the world at large. No, the first book is about Sybel. She finds herself in an awful place in time, watching the mother she loved waste away, and then learning a horrible secret that thrusts her out into a world filled with magic and darkness that she did not know existed.

I am currently seeing how the first book goes. I’m already 14k into the initial writing, and loving the way it’s going. I want to write one book a month, with a month for editing, formatting, etc. I just have to see how I can handle it since I’ve never pushed myself to do something this massive before. I’m only looking at 50k words per book, but I haven’t even gotten a third of the way into this one so I have no idea if that estimate will fly right out the window.

All I know is, I love this world. I love the characters. And I love the story. I’m more passionate about this story than I have been about anything in a couple of years. I want to see it live, and I want others to love it too.

So look for more snippets about the world, and maybe some snippets from the actual novel soon.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Personal Notes, Stories

 

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Adaptation

Gregg is asleep on the couch behind me, and Raymond is bed. I’m sitting here at my computer trying to clear my thoughts so I can write a little more before bed.

Some days are like today. My brain starts racing, filled with all the things I need and want to do, unable to focus on one thing. Unable to decide what the best course of action is to take. So I came here to talk a bit, and try to order my thoughts.

Gregg calls it my “Rapunzel syndrome.” (Don’t look that up, the actual Rapunzel syndrome isn’t pretty, and google has pictures. I made that mistake.)

He calls it that because for the majority of my life I was, for all intense and purposes, locked in a tower. As a child we lived thirty miles from town and I only had my siblings to hang out with. I chose not to spend time with them usually because we didn’t get along, so I would spend hours each day high up in a tree, or out wandering in the woods. At school I’d retreat to the library during every recess and break to read, or browse the books. Even in high school when I did have a few friends they were sure to point out when I made social fopas. I spent most of my teens not speaking because I knew if I asked a question, or said something it would revival how inept I was.

Then I got married and of the fifteen years I was married I spent the majority of it at home with the kids. I did go out much, and if I did it was usually with the husband and the kids to go shopping. I went to church for a year or two, but only to sit in a pew and listen to the sermon, then run back home to care for the children.

Want an example. In ninth grade I was sitting with my friends eating lunch when a girl came over to sit with us. I didn’t know her, no one seemed inclined to introduce us, so I just asked “what’s your name?” Everyone else was mortified. I just wanted to know the name of the girl I was talking to, but apparently I said it in the wrong way. Years later when my husband would take me places he NEVER introduced me to anyone, and I would mostly not say anything because I just didn’t know what I was suppose to say. How did you introduce yourself to someone you didn’t know? I would try now and then, but usually without success. One time he took me over to his sisters (a sister he hadn’t seen in a decade, and I never met) and sat there and talked with her for thirty minutes without acknowledging my existence. I finally said “You must be (name), I’m Crissy.” She gave me a cold look and said “No, my name is (X).” and she hated me ever since. The name I said was only slightly different than her actual name, but apparently some people get really offended if you get their name wrong. Or maybe she was just looking for a reason to hate me. Doesn’t matter. The point is I’m awkward, and I know it.

My social experience is…almost nonexistent. I didn’t start feeling like I could handle actual conversations, especially with strangers, until I got my first “real” job. I was 30 years old. And even then it took months for me to finally get to the point where I thought I could have a conversation without blushing, fumbling, or saying something completely stupid. (I still say stupid stuff now but I no longer care, so that’s a plus.)

So, basically locked in a tower for thirty years of my life. I didn’t grow up learning to deal with everyday things like other people. I don’t know basic social ques, or have the ability to filter out multiple imputes like other people. I don’t even understand half the things going on when I’m in a large crowd of people.

Gregg called it my Rapunzel Syndrome, and explained it beautifully to me a couple days ago.

When I get into a situation that has a lot of new input (a new store, lots of new people, a new event) my brain goes into sensory overload and I don’t know where to focus my attention, or what to do. Other people do this without thinking, and don’t understand my dilemma, so it causes some social awkwardness. The easiest solution for me to fix this is to focus on one thing. Usually that one thing is Gregg. I go to him, put my hand in his, lean against him, listen to the sound of his voice, and it usually calms the circuits in my brain that are on overload and I’m able to try again.

But Gregg isn’t always there. In fact this anxiety has made it difficult for me to do new things, go new places, try new experiences because I know with new things there comes the overwhelming anxiety that makes me want to run back to my car. My car is safe, familiar, and I can turn the music on and focus on it. But then I’m in the car and not in the event.

So two days ago Gregg tells me his new theory on why my brain short circuits when we go out some times and he says “take out your phone and start looking at Reddit.”

“No,” I said. “I don’t want to be on Reddit while I’m shopping.”

“Trust me,” he said.

So I did it. I pulled out my phone, slid open the screen, and tapped the Reddit app. Less than a minute later the racing thoughts in my head were dulled by the funny GIF, and the interesting news article on the front page of Reddit. I was safe, I was home.

And I felt a little sick of myself. After all, I was trying to have  a nice outing with my boyfriend and there I was reading Reddit to keep my brain from overloading. Couldn’t I even go Christmas shopping without having a melt down? Horsefeathers!

But he was right. I needed something new to help order my thoughts, something that would give me a little freedom from the house so that I could go new places and try new things. And apparently my phone is it. It’s sad to say that I am more addicted to my phone than I ever was before, but at the same time my phone gives me freedom from my underdeveloped mind that I never had.

Anxiety sucks. Being the closest thing to a shut in without being a shut in SUCKS! For a few years all I did was go to work, go home, go to sleep, then go back to work. If it wasn’t for Gregg I’d probably still be doing that. But at least now I have a little adventure, and I try a little more each day.

Maybe that’s why I love to write fantasy so much. For those brief moments I get to go anywhere I want, and see anything I can imagine. I fly on the backs of Griffins, and dive deep into the sea with mermaids. There are airships, and castles floating above the clouds. And all of it is right in my mind.

I hope to keep growing, and be a little less like Rapunzel every day.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Commentary, Personal Notes

 

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