Creative Blogger Award!

I have received an award nomination from Medieval Otaku! My thanks, sirrah. I am honored.

Creative. It’s a loaded word. I’ve often wondered what, exactly, it means. The dictionary definitions are, in this case, unhelpful. When I am called creative, it usually seems to be because I’ve synthesized things that I have absorbed into something related, but a little different. That’s pretty much all this blog is. There is nothing new here, really, just combinations of words expressing things that have come from my pondering of the external information to which I’ve been exposed. …Try to say that five times fast.

I think Tolkien’s idea of Sub-creation is fitting. I am a subcreative blogger and as such I am happy to accept this award! There are some rules involved:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • Share 5 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers and add their links.
  • Notify the bloggers you included.
  • Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do!

Oh boy. Five facts. MedievalOtaku chose to focus his facts, concentrating on his alcohol preferences. I will follow suit and focus on my own drug of choice: writing. Read on, if you can pass the gatekeeper.

A visualization of my muse. Watch your fingers.

A visualization of my muse. Watch your fingers.

Factoid 1: Universal

Everything I write arises from the same universe. That universe has been in my head since early childhood and over that time it has expanded and clarified itself, but it is otherwise largely unchanged. If I am capable of writing in another universe (I’m not sure that I am,) I am not interested in doing so. This may be why I don’t write fanfiction despite the fact that I love geeking out over various fandoms.

Also, the universe is so vast that I am capable of finding something to draw on in order to tell almost any kind of story.

Factoid 2: Guardian

My relationship to my internal universe, and therefore to my writing, is not and has never been one of creator or owner. For, while there are certain creator-like privileges I have, such as being outside the timeline, my role is fairly passive. A dear cousin of mine recently told me that I had “disassociated,” and perhaps she is right. I still consider myself responsible for what I write (I know that, on some level, it all comes from me) but the process is distanced from my conscious self.

I am the one who decides what stories to tell, how to frame them, and how to communicate them as effectively as possible. The stories themselves, though, seem to well up and spill over. They are not consciously constructed. …if you think this is getting weird, just wait.

Factoid 3: Characters

They’re, by and large, a rowdy bunch. Like the universe they come from, any control I have over them and their creation is largely subconscious. I can nudge them this way and that, but as often as not they will simply laugh in my face and do whatever they please.

Since I started writing seriously, around the age of 12, I do not recall ever constructing a character, not even a bit-parter. They either walk into my head and start introducing themselves, or else they show up on paper and I learn about them as I go along. Their existences are linked to how I process information. I can sometimes see what train of thought formed the roots of a character, or what external influence shaped them, but I never set out to build them.

Sometimes these characters even react to things going on in my real life (I have one that loves to snark at movies, and all of them are very reactive to music). I’ve said this before, but please don’t call the folks in white coats. I’m really not delusional. My characters will vouch for me. ;)

Having such independent characters means being frequently surprised. I have had a character display signs of a genetic disorder I didn’t (consciously) know existed until I began to research some of her symptoms, and another character recently displayed a form of PTSD that I didn’t know about until, again, I began to research what was happening to her. Fun times.

Factoid 4: Plot? What plot?

Yeah. This goes hand-in-hand with the character thing. Because, you see, it is difficult to plot a story when the characters are apt to do whatever the heck they want to at any time. I generally have a basic arc in mind (that the characters have shown me) but that’s it.

Instead, I let things flow then come back and figure out how to frame them in a way that makes a functional story. It’s about as hard as it sounds, but I am getting better at it. In other words, I don’t set out to tell a certain story, or to communicate something particular. I wind up discovering what the story is and discovering what it is communicating to me as I go along. It’s fun and addictive and I am not at all joking when I call writing my drug of choice!

Now, I know that I do have agendas as a writer. I will not deny that. I feel that non-sexual relationships and love are too-little explored in popular fiction. I feel that stereotyping is a huge problem in literature as in life. And most of all, I want to write the sorts of stories I would enjoy reading! I am sure all of these things feed into my inspiration. But it is not nearly as deliberate as some people think.

Here let me state that I am not trying to shirk responsibility for what I write. I am responsible for every word I let loose on the world (God have mercy!). But this is how I relate to my writing; what the process feels like to me.

Factoid 5: Process

Every writer has a process, and from what I can tell, no two are alike. Mine is heavily geared towards free-form followed by intensive and repeated editing. It doesn’t work for everybody.

At minimum, everything gets edited ten or fifteen times. My record for numbers of edits may come close to 100, but I stopped keeping count.

I have heard some people complain that editing deadens their writing. For me, the opposite is true. I think that my muse feeds on the editing process as much as on anything else because, when a piece is simply not coming together, repeated editing will bring about wonderful lightning-strikes of inspiration. Sometimes the edits are slight, tweaking a word here, or cutting something to tighten a paragraph. Sometimes they result in multiple-chapter-rewrites. It’s all good.

I love editing.

Now onto the awards!

BeKindRewrite – Yep, this one always seems to make it to my list. I love her writing and I love her thoughts on the process. Plus, she makes catchy songs about formatting manuscripts.

Bluewhimsywriting has been quiet for some time. It’s sad, but at least there is a backlog.

Dreaming of Other Realms – Has recently returned to her blog with renewed determination to continue writing fiction! I love the way her mind works.

Grimmella – A fascinating smattering of speculative-fiction things. She has a great aesthetic eye, and is delightfully opinionated.

Love the Badguy – because villains need love too.

Origamijoel – tessellation masks. I am in awe.

A Pilgrim in Narnia – This man’s discipline and range of communication are inspiring.

Res Studiorum et Ludorum – Has, I think, already received one of these, but it doesn’t matter. He shall have another. So say we all.

Technicolorlilypond – There are some people who have a completely unfair range of talents. This blogger is one of those people.

The Warden’s Walk – He has returned! Go forth to his blog and peruse his fiction, his reviews (I absolutely love his short-video reviews!) and other mysterious wanderings.

And that’s it, folks!

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About jubilare

Just another tree in the proverbial forest. Look! I have leaves! View all posts by jubilare

40 responses to “Creative Blogger Award!

  • Colleen

    This is awesome.

  • Chad R Smith

    You deserve this. Your blog is always one of my stops when catching up on blog reading

  • Deborah Makarios

    Always interesting to get an insight into someone else’s writing mind! I seem to be the exact opposite of you: plots walk into my mind but I often struggle with characters. So, naturally: jealous. :-)

    • jubilare

      I’m rather jealous of anybody who has Plot in their head. It’s a pain dealing with amorphous stories. But yeah, at least the character-stuff is easy!

      • Stephanie

        Funny, I was going to say the same to you – jealous that the characters seem to come so naturally, and shout so loudly for you. Mine seem to like to hide from me, and as a result the things I write often feel contrived. It’ll take several massive rewrites to figure out who they really are and what, by extension, happens.

        • jubilare

          I don’t find that yours feel contrived, though I know I am seeing them after a refining process (and you’re seeing mine after the same… first drafts are scary things). My characters are a noisy bunch, but then sometimes their whole universe “goes dark” and I can’t write a thing. Or sometimes I get hijacked and can’t work on what I want to be working on. It’s a little like being jerked around by water currents.

          I do wonder what underlying psychological causes there are for these differences in process. What switches are flipped that give us this or that type of relationship with our work.

  • Stephanie

    “I feel that non-sexual relationships and love are too-little explored in popular fiction.”

    Yes. A thousand times yes. This is why I love shows like Sherlock and Merlin, and despise (yet pity) those immature fans who see eros where there is philia. It’s like we’ve raised an entire generation to be completely unaware that there are different kinds of love and that deeper love does not have to mean “more romantic.” Of course all the controversial stuff of gender/sexual confusion feeds into that. Oy.

    • jubilare

      “This is why I love shows like Sherlock and Merlin” Yes! And yes about misguided slash-fic. I mean, I know that for some people it’s all in fun, and I have friends who enjoy it and even who write it, but I find it disturbing… not because it’s sexual (I love a well-done romance) but because it’s violates the actual relationship portrayed. As humans, we need different kinds of loves, and different kinds of relationships, and I think we need them in our stories, too.

      It’s not just one generation, either, now. I think we’ve got several going that have the same misconception.

      I’ve been watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and re-reading the manga. I don’t know whether or not you’re familiar with it? That series has such a range of relationships. Familial (both good and bad), friendships, partnerships, romantic relationships, and even frenimies. Even the villains have complex and in some ways beautiful relationships. And there’s probably not a #$#$% one of them that doesn’t have sexualized fanfic. I’m wanting to do a post geeking about the series, and I’ve been looking for images to include. …I’ve seen some things I really could have lived without. Seriously, people. No. Just, No.

      • Stephanie

        Exactly!

        No, I haven’t seen any Fullmetal Alchemist, but it’s on my list. I just borrowed a drive with a bunch of anime from my bro-in-law but he only had regular FMA on it, not Brotherhood, and as he informed me, Brotherhood is closer to the manga. I’m sure he has it on his other drive, though, and I can get it from him next week.

          • Stephanie

            So I recently saw a video that relates to this conversation. It’s made by Rhett and Link (have we talked about them before?), two of my favorite YouTubers. They’ve been best friends since first grade and they have a great brotherly chemistry, but despite the fact they are both happily married with children, many of their fans still “ship” them.

            They finally responded with this video:

    • jubilare

      Replying here because the cascade is squishing things.

      ROTFL! Oh, that’s fantastic. Love it so very much! You have not, in fact, introduced me to these two yet (at least, I think I would remember) but you have now, so all is well.

      It makes me more than a little angry that people would ship real live people in the fanfic sense. It’s one thing to hope that friend A will get together with friend B because they seem compatible. It’s one thing to ship fictional characters who make no sense together (it may be irritating, but at least they’re fictional and a lot of people do it for sheer amusement), but shipping real folks like that is very disturbing. Stalkery and violating. >_<

      For full disclosure, like most people I ship (not in the sense of writing fan-fiction, just in the sense of rooting for) fictional couples that make sense (Royai!). Emphasis on "fictional" and "make sense." ;)

      Every time I think about this, I get the sinking feeling that one of the first ships that will come from my books will be the main brothers. I'd like to think better of people than that, but then there's a sizable segment of the Supernatural fandom there to crush my faith in humanity. *sighs* And yet if I let things like that scare me away from writing strong platonic or filial bonds, then I’m giving into the culture and people will still write slash because people write slash about everything.

      *shakes fist* arrgh!

      • Stephanie

        Oh yeah, I’ll ship as all get out when it makes sense. Sometimes even maybe when it doesn’t make sense technically, but does emotionally. Like the Doctor and Rose – he’s obvi way too old for her, or for any of his companions. But still…it’s just…meant to be? Perhaps if you count Time Lord years like you count dog or cat years, then he’s still relatively the same age???

        There is something very heartbreakingly wrong with this world. I mean, we knew that already, but it’s all the more tragically obvious when people start slashing siblings. I suspect those people have not had good sibling relationships of their own (or good friendships for that matter) to be incapable of understanding and appreciating the true nature of the thing.

        I’ll have to send you some of my favorite Rhett and Link vids in the next email. : )

        • jubilare

          Chemistry is hard to fight. And let’s face it, Tenant and Piper have some fantastic on-screen chemistry. ;)

          TvTropes, with it’s love of the witty, has some great names for Shipping Tropes. Regardless of their meaning (some are disturbing, though not as many as one might expect), some of them just crack me up: Abandon Shipping, Cargo Ship, Die for Our Ship, Launcher of a Thousand Ships, Shipper on Deck, Ship-to-Ship Combat, Ship Tease, Starboarding… and then of course there are the less official ones in the Ship Yard with beauties like the Aircraft Carrier, Anti-Ship Missile (I will gladly launch a few of those when I can, not that they’re really effective), Battle Cruiser, Bismarck, Canoneer (Lololol!), Shark (attacks sunken ships), Champion Ship, Express Shipping, Going Down with the Ship, Grand Admiral, Pearl Harbor, Shipping Costs, Sir Francis Drake, Viking Funeral… it’s nearly endless, and often hilarious. ;)

          “There is something very heartbreakingly wrong with this world.” Aye, there is. And you’re right that at least some of the people who go for such ships are very damaged. I’ve met a few. I’ve also met people who really aren’t damaged (at least not in that way) but who either don’t care or see nothing wrong with that kind of shipping because “it’s fiction.” …in some ways I find that even more disturbing because it says something about our culture as a whole. We’re so sexualized that just about anything is “ok” so long as it’s supposedly “sexy.” I remember feeling like the odd-girl-out in college when watching a film with my friends that involved adultery that’s “justified” because the adulterers are “in love.” Apparently I was supposed to root for the adulterous lovers. I didn’t, and everyone (except one other friend who felt the same as I did) thought I was weird or prudish. That’s what we’re dealing with. A culture that wants us to view sexual love as the best kind of love, and as an overwhelming force that somehow excuses all bad behavior. I love Lewis’s take:

          Yay!

          • Stephanie

            “OK because it’s fiction”? That burns me. Stories are emotional stimulants, and emotion is primarily what makes people make decisions. That’s why every salesman, politician, con artist, dictator, cult leader, uses stories. (And good guys do, too, of course : ))

            Stories like the movie you mention are like marketing, except instead of selling a product, they are selling a philosophy. Those people rooted for the adulterers because the story made them feel like rooting for the adulterers. How much more easily will they be swayed by their emotions when real life makes them feel (much more strongly) like cheating on their own spouses? They will then make any justification to give into that emotion, just as they did while watching the movie. “They have a right to be happy,” indeed.

            So maybe I should take another look at my acceptance of the Doctor/Rose ship, haha.

          • jubilare

            I agree with this absolutely. Stories have immense power, especially if we accept them without examination (and sometimes even when we do). It’s one of the things that made me want to write (wow, that makes me sound like a megalomaniac!), so that I can push back against the narratives that I believe to be false narratives.

            Would you mind if I post on this and quote you a bit? I may also post some of the bastardized Shakespeare as memes because they’re fantastic. ^_^

            Lol! Maybe, but that’s one strange thing about speculative fiction. It presents us with questions we don’t have to ask (in the same way at least) in real life. How does one count the age of a Time Lord?

  • Raewyn Hewitt

    Firstly your muse is awesome! Really nice to share in your creative process. I have a similar problem with characters – the constructs never work, and on the few attempts I’ve tried they have always taken on a life of their own. However I find uncovering their story is the most fun part of writing – the least part is trying to corral them into behaving in the bigger story picture. :)

    • jubilare

      I’m glad you like it! It’s a growly, mean, toothy, furball of doom, but it gets the job done.
      At least the constructs came to life! I fear I would end up with automata, but maybe they would flesh themselves out, too.
      Corraling is challenging. I think I am getting better at it. The key, at least for mine, is to hold out the carrot of whatever they happen to want: “if you can make it to this part in the story, then this will happen!” Understandably, this works less well for characters who die later in the story. :P

  • medievalotaku

    This reminds me a little of how I write. Lately, I’ve created outlines for stories and tried to be rigid, but I’m exploring the more free form method again. And, I’ve also had characters warn me when some event in the plot is stupid, which always turns out true upon review. :)

    • jubilare

      I truly believe that there are many ways to go about good writing. I wonder, sometimes, if I am right in not fighting the method that feels most natural to me, but then again, the greater danger of burnout threatens if I try and pursue a method that doesn’t give me the same level of joy.

  • Mary

    This is just a devious ploy to get me posting again isn’t it?!!? Well…I’ll see what I can do. (And thank you!)

  • Stephanie

    Post and quote away! I’m riled enough to post about it myself, but don’t have the time, so yours would be much appreciated.

    This also relates back to our convo on “Fallen Writer” – at what point does the villain become so relatable that readers start rooting for him?

    • jubilare

      Thanks! And if you have time, take some notes to rile yourself up again later enough to post on it. ;)

      Very true. I’m not sure I could tackle all that connectivity in a readable post, but it does bring up the whole issue of Draco in Leather Pants (sometimes TvTrope trope-names physically hurt). Maybe a series is in order. ;)

      • Stephanie

        It could be an excellent series.

        …It’s been so long since I’ve posted a real blog.

        …I’m silently chuckling at “Draco in Leather Pants.”

        • jubilare

          It’s hard not to chuckle at it, even out loud. ;)

          Being a Sephiroth fan (not on the “oh he’s so pretty” group, but because he’s actually a very interesting, sympathetic, and terrifying, antagonist) the trope images for Draco in Leather Pants cracks me up to no end. The first time I saw a cutesy Sephiroth, I really had no idea what I was looking at.

  • Info You Never Knew You Wanted to Know |

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    […] a billion years ago, I got nominated by both Jubilare and Medieval Otaku for a so-called “Creative Blogger Award.” Perhaps it’s time I […]

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