Tag Archives: muse

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!


New years, nightsticks, and tropes

New years have never been a big thing for me. Time rolls on, and January 1st isn’t much different from December 31st. There was a funny moment where my housemate, having made other plans, discovered that, instead of spending New Year’s Eve with my family, I would be staying home, as I was sick. She felt bad, at first, saddened by the thought of me ringing in the New Year all alone.

I nearly laughed. Then I proceeded to explain that it was not nearly as sad as she feared. In fact, being sick, I had spent about a week not sleeping well, and I was hopeful that I would be able to get a decent night’s worth. I had a supper of wonderful Korean dumpling soup (forget chicken noodle) and went to bed at 8PM. I slept like a ten-ton boulder. It was wonderful!

I don’t know what it is about New Years Eve that fails to thrill me. I guess I get my fireworks fix on the 4th of July, I’m not much of a drinker, I don’t like champagne… maybe it is because my family never made much of it?

Or maybe it is that I am a cynic when it comes to “fresh starts.” I shouldn’t be, I know that landmarks help some people. But I can make a landmark any time I please. I can say “enough, I am changing this part of my life right now,” and the start of a new year, or the end of an old one, doesn’t seem to make a difference for me.

But something has been building over the Christmas season, for me, and it spilled out on the first day of 2015. It’s still going. That thing is inspiration. My muse has sunken it’s wicked, pointy teeth deep into my arm and shows no sign, at present, of letting go.

Ah, the double-edged sword of inspiration. It is a great feeling, it gets my sluggish work moving. But it also leaves me raw and open to those voices that plague most writers, the whispers of “your work is crap.”

So far, they are just whispers. I shut them out. Eventually, they will be shouts, and I will have to struggle through this, again. But until that time, manuscript-ho!

As sometimes happens, regardless of the state of my muse, I’ve been digging into TVtropes.org in search of answers to questions about the tropes contained within my own work. I like to be aware of such things, and to keep them in mind as I write. In digging, I have discovered something… interesting.

Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing is up for debate.

If you have spent any time on TVtropes, you know that tropes are ubiquitous. They are all around you, all the time, and not just in fiction. Chances are, you, yourself, embody some tropes, or are at least touched by them. In a round about way, this is why tropes exist in the first place.

I keep searching for the “main” tropes for my main characters. You know, their main defining characteristic? Their archetype? I find, instead, tropes that touch them, but constantly miss the mark. Either this means that I have done a good job in creating well-rounded characters, or that I have, instead, created characters that are so off the beaten path that, for most people, they aren’t relateable. …yes, for any non-writers reading, this is the sort of idiocy that keeps writers up at night.

I know there are a lot of characters out there who defy/subvert/invert/play with tropes. I’m not suggesting that I am creating anything ground-breaking, here. I am more interested in figuring out why, even before I had a good understanding of tropes, I created a cast of characters who largely defy them. Does it have to do with my hatred of firm categories? Or my need to defy expectations? Quite probably… but often, those things create tropes of their own. I will continue to ponder.

Also, on a sort of side-note, I recently found an answer to a question that came up two years ago in my writing. One of my characters picked up a nightstick as a favored weapon. He still hasn’t put it down, but I now know where, in the tortuous caverns of my subconscious, he found the thing. I recently re-watched Terminator I and II with my brother. It turns out that in the latter, one Sarah Connor, picks up a nightstick and runs with it. The image of her gripping the side-handle, the weapon tucked, at the ready, against her arm, was like a light-bulb going off in my brain. I don’t know about you other writers out there, but I absolutely love it when I discover these connections.

Enough pointless rambling and crazy linkage. I would love to hear what any of you think about your own writing processes and how you analyze (or if you even analyze) your characters and plot.

May 2015 be a good year, for all of us.


Authorcide

Just a tidbit for today. I think my characters are trying to kill me.

Last night, no less than five character and plot points resolved themselves in my head. While I was driving.

My fellow authors might know the “grab your notebook” impulse that took hold of me, but I was good! No writing while driving. I kept my hands on the wheel. On a good day, my brain has a hard time holding onto three ideas for more than a few minutes. I reduced the thoughts to their essentials and repeated them to myself.

When I reached my destination, the first thing I did was open my notebook and pen. By that time I only remembered four of the points.

In the wee hours of this morning I woke to a tornado warning. In the distance, I could faintly hear the sirens. I dragged my quilt into the closet and sat with my dog. Asher, my gray cat, was cool and calm, so I wasn’t greatly concerned.

And there, in the closet, in the middle of a tornado warning with wind and rain driving against the house, I remembered the fifth point.

Maybe I am too blasé about tornadoes. I left my refuge and got my notebook.


%d bloggers like this: