Tag Archive | crafty of writing

A Blog Post: Phone Writing

I am starting this blog post on my phone.

I’ve been doing a lot more of that in the last year — a phone is less of a pain in the ass to pull out on a short bus ride (10 minutes, one end of campus to the other) than a tablet-with-keyboard. It’s easier if I have two or three minutes standing in line. It makes writing at stoplights a possibility, and it’s a lot easier to be surreptitious about writing on a phone in a meeting than it is with a tablet or laptop.

It’s also slow compared to writing on a keyboard, even as I get better at it, and it’s interesting, because I compose my thoughts as I type, so composing to a slower typing speed has taken more adjustment than the tiny keyboard.  Continue reading

A brief blog post rambling on about audience and writing

I’ve been thinking about audience lately.

(Hi, Audience!)

So some of what I’ve been thinking is how things like Rin & Girey started out as this entirely self-indulgent story, and how now it’s one of my most in-depth worlds (Addergoole/Fae Apoc is THE most in depth, but that’s because of the serials) (Then again, Reiassan has a conlang and Fae Apoc only has a few con letters).

And you know “I am not the audience for this” is totally fine, and I have to remember that.  (Like one time I left romance out of an entire storyline because one person had said they didn’t want romance, and then it turned out they didn’t even read that story…)

And that’s a weird balance.

Like, I am not sure I will ever be comfortable just writing things because I want to see them. A thing here and there, sure.  But not like, as a rule.

On the other hand, I have to remember that I can’t please all of the people all of the time, and that trying is likely to just give me a migraine and make me cry.

I don’t have any real conclusions here yet, just thinking about that balance.  It can’t always be bondage catgirls in space; it also can’t always be ace aro mysteries with pretty magic.  I’d get bored, and so would y’all.

…Speaking of bored, how do niche authors keep from getting bored?  Money?

I’m not Impressionable at all… Oh, am I? 👾

We went to see Kong this weekend!

I found that I honestly really, really enjoyed the movie.

True, there were moments where the direction just failed on the dialogue, and there were some um, kinda uncomfortable choices made in the movie, and even though there were two women on the island, it totally completely utterly failed the Bechdel test, but I honestly didn’t go to it looking for depth or amazing dialogue.

I went looking for giant monsters.

And I was rewarded with giant monsters and pretty Tom Hiddleston and John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson acting their asses off, and really really good effects, and… giant monsters.

Also, as long as you accepted that you were watching a kaiju movie, the plot was pretty good, too.

And now I’m all excited to write more Fae Apoc in the apocalypse, because I’ve always imagined there being giant monsters there – not just dragons, who have always existed in fae apoc, but other creatures that came with the returned gods or were created with them. And I want to look more at the way that Ellehem (Where the gods went) actually works…

…all because I watched a giant sad ape and some skull-crawlers.

Which is pretty awesome, all things considered. I’m thinking about Escape from Rochester, which is a project I did for Camp Nano a few years back (longer than I’d thought, when I went looking), whose tagline is something like “8 billion people are about to die. Raven cares about 32 of them.” I was honestly trying to kill off a character a day as they escaped Rochester in the middle of the faerie apocalypse. I had trouble making the characters someone anyone would care about for a lot of it, but I was only doing like 1000 words a day. I think that requires something like 3x that amount…

Anyway, distracted, how much cooler would that be with rampaging giant monsters? I mean, really. Thud-thud footsteps shaking the earth and the bus bouncing and…


Yeah. I really like giant monsters, okay?

Okay so BIG MONSTERS and that was Kong and … there will probably be some monster stories in my future, maybe that ought to be on the Patreon theme poll.

But then I re-read The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff while I was sick (and since). I’m pretty sure I read this for the first time just about when I started writing the Aunt Family, because there are definite similarities. Eseme gave it to me, because she’d bought it and found some of the themes unpleasant. I’ve re-read it more times than I can count.

And NOW I want to write a novel about the Aunt Family, too. I’m not exactly sure where such a thing would start, my thoughts about Cat’s Mystery and writing a YA novel with Stone as the love interest aside, or what the plot would be, or any of those things – but every time I re-read Enchantment Emporium, I want to write more of it.

[personal profile] inventrix comments from time to time that I’m very impressionable, and I suppose since it’s been said so many times it’s probably true… *cough* That is. There’s definitely a truth to it. And one of the ways I love being impressionable is the way that taking in media can get me writing again on something completely different. If I want to change my writing voice up a bit, I read an author with a very strong voice. If I want to be inspired, I pick up something with a strong story ([personal profile] rix_scaedu‘s fiction does this to me, too!). Heathens has turned out to be the perfect song to get me writing early-era Boom.

I guess I should watch more monster movies…

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An attempt at First Person

I am trying writing in first person by re-writing bits of extant stuff. I couldn’t think of anything to do, so I did part of Monday’s Edally

The dining hall wasn’t silent, but it might as well have been. There was the House Monitor to one side of me, my friends to the other, and a small gang of Bitrani boys in front of me; nothing else in the room mattered at the moment.

“There’s no fight.” Darnio talked around the lie slowly. “We were talking to Saydrie. Things got heated.”

The House Monitor looked doubtful. “I don’t suppose you want to tell me why?” No, of course they didn’t.

“He’s a ra-” Maybe they did. But the Bitrani that spoke up was silenced by his friends. Maybe they just liked to touch each other. I didn’t shudder, but I wanted to.

“We were having a political disagreement?” Darnio’s lies were getting less and less believable. “It just got a little out of hand.”

Was the House Monitor really going to believe that? I hadn’t gotten this whole thing right up to the edge of a fight to have her believe his manufactured stories.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1029461.html. You can comment here or there.

Nano (or other writing!) prep: Track your Words

I was going to write up a post of links to word trackers, but this site has lots of the widgets.

Do you track your wordcount? When you’re doing nano, do you use their site exclusively, or do you keep your words somewhere else? A widget tracker? A spreadsheet? What about when you’re not doing nano?

I like tracking things. I like tracking things a lot.

My current monthly wordcount chart looks like:

some other charts and tables of mine visible here.

It was modified in part from Svenja Gosen’s awesome sheets, which I seriously recommend you check out.

While that’s where I started, there are a few other sites that look good for spreadsheet templates:

This one actually looks nice, though the page itself is a bit iffy.
Nidonocu’s site is a few years out of date, but their (2009) tracker includes a calculation for words per minute, which is interesting.
The Sprint Shack (follow them on twitter if you like wordsprints!) has a very stripped down words/day whole year tracking spreadsheet
Here’s another whole-year tracker.
Justin McLachlan’s makes good use of conditional formatting, showing you % complete and +/- goal numbers.
This form is so stripped down as to barely be worth the bother, but the tips are kind of interesting.
And this Nano Report Card has some nice journalling stuff, rather similar in concept to Svenja Gosen’s but with a less pretty interface and more journalling. (“Primary Writing Location?” “Morale?”)
This one comes with a big thermometer-like bar showing progress!

There are probably more; I only went through two pages of google results. <.<

Tracking is, I think, very individual. What do you want out of your tracking (if you want it?)

Do you know of other tracking resources – or even other SORTS of tracking resources? Let me know!

Bonus link: this page has some generators and some other interesting stuff as well as spreadsheet links.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/991072.html. You can comment here or there.

Nano (or other writing!) prep: Good name sites

So, you’re writing something! Good, good, that’s always a good first step no wait.

So, you’re planning on writing something! (or pantsing, in which case come back to this post in November, or whenever you write it 😉

You probably have characters, and they probably need names.

(I got through two very long chapters of a theoretical serial without naming the characters, once. I’m pretty sure the Finder is just named Finder by now).

Names with Meaning
Behind The Name is the most accurate, comprehensive name site I’ve found.
Think Baby Names is also pretty good.
20,000 Names has nice lists: “Dark” Names. “Weather” Names. And so on.
Want to name a character appropriately for a historical American era?
the Social Security Database goes back to 1879 with the top names for each year.
Via [personal profile] anke: “In case anyone wants to name someone from Germany, www.beliebte-vornamen.de has lists of the most popular baby names from 1890 to the present. just pick the birth year and see
And here’s a huge resource on historically accurate names: The SCA’s name articles
A Name-suggester site (“I like this name.” “Try these names.”) via [personal profile] meridian_rose

If you can still get your hands on a phone book, that’s a great way to pick out surnames.

Or check out Wikipedia’s lists of most common surnames by location.

Names with no Meaning
Fourteen Minutes has a lovely random-name-sound generator
Springhole has several name generators
Seventh Sanctum is like the granddaddy of name generators
Chaotic Shiny has quite a few name generators, too.
This one’s new to me (Mithril & Mages) but makes some fun names.
Serendipity Generators via [personal profile] meridian_rose

A list of Naming resources via [personal profile] meridian_rose

Baby Name Wizard, via [personal profile] inventrix and Cal’s long and useful discussion on Behind the Name and Baby name Wizard.

There! Now that all your male characters are no longer named Jack (or maybe that’s just my problem), you’re ready to go.

Well, I mean, your characters are ready to go…

…well, at least they have names.

Know any more great sites? Let me know!

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Worldbuilding error-correction: Learning from the Master

I’ve been re-reading The Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett, in part because I just found it in a used book store when cluudle visited Ithaca.

And in this re-read, I discovered that Pratchett had very cleverly explained all of the storyline divergences in Discworld in one tidy plot device.

There are many chronological inconsistencies on the Disc. Creatures and contraptions from a hundred different time periods exist side by side. This is how it’s always been… or is it?… -the Discworld Compendium

This is brilliant. The Discworld books were written over such a large span of time, inconsistencies (or things that the writer just didn’t like anymore) were bound to sneak in. In one fell swoop, Pratchett wrote a wonderful, readable book, and made any and all consistency errors canon.

Love it!

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Tropes I like Reading (& Writing) in no particular order

Inspired by cluudle‘s post here, written in 3 minutes so probably not nearly a complete list, and much of it will not be a surprise to anyone.

Capture the flag and all variations.
Enemy prisoner, unwilling captive, angry slave
And of course the stockholm
Princess that doesn’t fit in.
Warrior princess
Warrior people <.<
Animal people
Feral people.
A top who isn’t quite.
Corrupt society and the slow fixing/surviving it
domineering society/adults/powerful people
eugenics (as a story theme!)
Gender swapping
New World
World under the normal world
Portal fantasy
Finding Kin
Taking a clever stand against authority
Unlikely romance
uneven power roles
Thick chewy worldbuilding
Especially world-building in post-post-apoc real-world
rebuilt societies
prepared people
colonization of new worlds
Alien interactions

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The Mom Test and “Tell me About Your Story.” (A blog post)

I’m working on two stories right now – one for Mobbing Midnight, an anthology of Crow stories, and one for Queers Destroy Sci-Fi. Both are in draft form, and I’m flailing a bit about both, as is normal.

And then I got on the phone with my mom. I was telling her about Crow Cage, my story for Mobbing Midnight… and I started to find places, just reviewing the story in my mind, where my Mom would say “I don’t get it.”

And going from there, I was able to feel the points where the story needed to improve, and feel excited about it again. So: The Mom Test. Will someone mostly unfamiliar with my writing and the way I think be able to “get” this story, and, if not, how can I improve it?

And then I was talking to cluudle about Scaling the Ivory Tower, my submission for QDSF. She said “tell me about your story.”

I thought about it. I hemmed and hawed. And then I laid out an outline of what I WANTED the story to be. Again: clarification, brightening, new energy. I knew what I was missing, and I knew how it could get better.

Do you have a similar trick when you’re stuck? Have you ever tried talking the story out with a friend – or a stranger – to get past the “what do I do now?” stage?

Mobbing Midnight’s Kickstarter is almost to 10%!

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