opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Anxiety-filled writing session last night. One those--write a line. Squint at it. Delete it. Re-write it word for word. Re-write it word for word except exchange "bobbing" for "floating". Tilt head, frown, and wonder if the "bobbing" in the same sentence as "bubbles" is a)beautiful alliteration, b)off-rhythm and weird, c)crap-- kind of nights.

Ended up with an advancement of two or three paragraphs. Me and the glaciers, man. Slow as shit, and disappearing. Ugh
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
The Panics hit me hard today. I'm at the early-draft point where the story seems huge and tangled and flawed and a re-hash of all my ruts. I am running around the den, flailing like Lucy from the Peanuts while Moe, Schroeder-like, plays piano Mass Effect 3 or something.
opera142: (crayons)
This week's writing issues:

1. So much abstraction and navel-gazing. So many paragraphs blathering on and on about sin and goodness and guilt and temptation. 1793* called and they want their moralizing novels back.

Also why so much pluperfect tense? And the modal verbs. I sound like Ric Flair when I moan "Oh God" during edits. I am a better writer than "should", "could", and "would". My use of "ought" however is a sign of genius.

2. The prose lacks umami. Don't know what the literary equivalent is so I'm calling it umami. The basic taste sensation that's sorta meaty, sorta savory and all about complexity. To abuse the food metaphor further, think about a really good spaghetti sauce. Garlic, basil and oregano are perceptable, but what really, really makes the sauce great is how all the flavors blend; the whole is rich, heady, savory. Right now, my prose is four hundred tiny hot fudge sundaes. Yummy, sure. On the sentence level, some of the lines are my best writing ever. Gobble, gobble. However, after the fourth or fifth bite, even though they're super yummy, they also come off as one-note-ish, uncomplex and uninvolving.

3. Part of the above comes from, I hope, my self-challenge to write longer sentences. Oh, the sprawling, wandering messes I've written. Some are terrific, believe it or not. Balls awesome. Musical, clear, clever. I can't believe I pulled them off. The thing, though, is that well-done long sentences are such complete thoughts. What needed to be said, was. Every speck of it. And, I find it difficult to build the next sentence because nothing is wanting from the last.

4. Expansion. Geez brain. Every sentence I write seems to open an entire scene that wants to be written-- the more sidetrack-y the better. Seriously, a character reflects on a roadtrip and the WHOLE DAMN TRIP wanted to be written about-- the driver's obsession with his CB radio, the assface riding shotgun, the sleeping dude, the passing scenery. I wanted a two or three sentence fond memory, my brain was like how about some total recall. Doubly annoying is the story itself is already flashback, fond memory, navel-gazing heavy. Quit writing more. Just make what's there more meaningful and active.

5. I'm writing for myself. Not in the selfish sense (or rather, the most obviously selfish sense like here's the unedited, ungrammar checked guide to my fetishes and story buttons), but in the

a)I'm making shit up when it suits me. I'm trying to be diligent about dates and PPVs and other verifiable crap. But with other stuff, I'm doing what I want. I doubt the character was brought up as religious as I'm making his past. The wrestling business does not operate like I'm protraying it. Let's hope some people aren't the dicks I'm writing them as.

b)I won't call this autobiographical, but there is A LOT of me in this. I'm counting on the whole What Seems Baldly Obvious To Me Is Nothing No One Else Will Catch Onto, but meh, I still feel stupidly exposed.

c) is tediously Operafic even without the point above. My current MO seems to be Let's See If I Can Turn Even The Most UnOpera Story Into a Totally By Opera story. Sometimes I worry that all my little writing projects within a story (write long sentences, write ugly characters, write characters no one would expect me to write) isn't just a self-deluding cover-up to avoid acknowledging that all I write is the same, snarky-smarky, dismal stories over and over.

*Take that, 1999 fic.

The Panics

Aug. 26th, 2011 05:32 pm
opera142: (crayons)
The Panics are rising. My most recent way of keeping them at bay -- this is not a first draft concern-- isn't valid anymore, as I'm in editing mode. So, I'm listing them with the hopes of leaving them here so that I can have a decent run during my writing session tomorrow.

In no particular order:

Too many metaphors and similes? I'm a raccoon of ineptness pawing through the garbage can of picturesque speech. Hundreds of metaphors lay dying in fields of text like so many civil war cosplayers cos-paying the ultimate price on a fairgrounds Gettysberg. Yeah.

The voice of the story, the "twang" I like to call it, went wonky. At first, it was so honey-on-biscuits. Now, it's overworked, overbaked Perkins muffin. Where did the lovely not-drawl go?

Is AJ coming off as holier-than-thou? Judgemental? willing to blame everyone but himself?

Too much internal dialogue/flashbacks, which also means too much telling instead of showing?

Is this a story, or am I trying to gussy up a slice of life? Ugh.


Apr. 19th, 2011 07:48 pm
opera142: (crayons)
Okay, kinda almost over my bout of writing panics. Had a horrific run of nasty self-talk during the drive home from my last writing meet-up. The worst part of it is, it was triggered by correcting a bad sentence. I found a clunky run, I fixed it then proceeded to trash myself for the mistake.

I took the weekend off. Read a terrible novel, ate a snickerdoodle (sounds like a vulgar British term), caught up on roughly 45 billion hours of TiVo'd wrestling. LOL, Matt Hardy stands between Abyss and Bully Ray so he looks skinny, and RVD stole my "Girls, girls. You're both pretty" line. Also tried to play with Sophie and Mazy who are still in the OMG THAT LADY IS BACK! BENEATH THE COUCH! IT'S OUR ONLY HOPE! stage.

The only writing-based work I did was create a list of everything I didn't like about the draft I'm revising and everything that makes me doubt the quality of the writing. It's a big list, but at least it's clearly defined goals with minimum nasty talk.
opera142: (whee)
Writing is going so well right now.

The Nano project just keeps chugging along, and I'm actually managing the Panics for once. The biggest boost is that I'm actually trying to help myself through the process. My normal drafting process used involved me leaving fairly nasty all-caps notes to myself in the bad patches of my draft. FIX THIS!!!! SHOW DON'T TELL. UGH TERRIBLE WRITING!!! After years of dreading opening .docs half-composed in YELLING AT MYSELF, I finally figured out I could leave constructive crit. So now I leave notes like USED "THAT" TWICE, FIND THE TELLING DETAIL, ADD SOME DIALOGUE TO THIN OUT THE BLOCK O TEXT.

Not only am I little kinder on myself, but it gives me a project to consider (figuring out how to recast the sentence without the second "That") instead of directionless complaining.

Another helpful idea came from "M". We were talking writing during word war break, and I mentioned how I hate putting crappy descriptions and cliches into my writing, and she said, "I know you won't let yourself leave it while editing. You'll change it." That was an incredible AHA moment for me. For once I got praised for choosing to edit, rather than having edited. Not that either is a bad thing, but man, it was hearing tha its' not the first run of writing that matters, but what you finally end up with.

That notion is what allowing me to power through Nano. I know that I won't end up with a readable draft. It will be closer to crazy-detailed outline than first draft. I'm super-okay with that. I will edit the cliched hell out of it come real first draft time.

Surprisingly word wars have been beneficial too. I was leery/reluctant to do them, just because it seemed to artlessly text dumpy. And they are, but they go quick and the force me to keep typing when usually, I'd go ACK!*stop*. They keep me on the horse. Also, there's something esteem-building about pounding on the keys. When I can't find the right word, normally I fret and stop and audition words and get frustrated because the perfect one is eluding me. In word wars, I type them all out, and there must be something the act of typing them out that smothers the drama I attach to trying to find perfect word; either I find the word I want in typing out dark, shadowy, unlit, darkened, in rapid session or I get bored and fluttered off to finish the rest of the sentence, plus I get to leave a note like FIND A "DARK" WORD THAT IMPLIES UNKNOWN/SCARY PLACE, which adds to the word count.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Writing panics of the day:

a)When writing 3rd person POV, I spend way too much editing energy on fretting over whether a character's name or his/her pronoun works better in each use.

b)I've been working on the re-write of a placeholder paragraph for a week now. UGH. It's missing that one image or idea or idk-what that makes it CLICK. It feels unwhole somehow, like there's a gap in the logic.

c)Setting/background noise is giving me no end of hand-wringing. Sometimes I feel like my characters are yakking away on an empty stage. Othertimes, I feel like the story is way too cluttered. I guess it's a matter of finding/including the right details rather than a certain percentage, but UGH. Setting has always been my weak spot, and most writing how-to books just talk about the big picture stuff and authenticity. Which matter, but do not help me much with this particular story's setting problems.


Nov. 21st, 2009 11:21 am
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
The most wretched realization to a writer: continuity error

Le sigh. Six lousy pages of porn, and I managed a continuity error. One so big it requires a major re-imagining of the ending--- the ending I already once totally gutted and re-wrote from the blank page up. Third time's the charm, right? Right? Tell, me right?

Onto to draft # 27 or something.
opera142: (whee)
While fiddling with couple of paragraphs that weren't working AT ALL, I corrected a seemingly minor line of dialogue, and CLICK, the whole scene just snapped into place. Almost freaky how suddenly what lines worked and which needed to go were so obvious. I like when writing does this.


Oct. 22nd, 2009 11:36 pm
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Still struggling with The Ending That Won't Magically Pop Out Of My Brain Fully Edited And Awesome. My usual work-around, Pick At The Rest of the Story Until My Self Esteem Bleeds, feels unsatisfying for some unknowable reason.

The trouble is, I'm frustrated with all my sentences. Stunted, grotesque abominations! My phrases, they dangle as tackily as over-sized novelty earings on a bingo hall matron. I blame the pride I took earlier when I thought hey, I'm thinking at sentence-level, instead of word by word.

I wish to break free from the bonds of S-V-O. I want rhythm. I want melody. I want music, and all I gots is THUD.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
I realized today that the timespan between me thinking OMG, I have an awesome idea! and then compiling mental lists of why the idea sucks/is unwritable/is beyond any skills I'll ever have is about 10 minutes.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
I'm frustrated with the opener of a story I'm working on. It goes against two common bits of writing advice: start the story as late as possible, and, don't describe the usual order of business.

The starting the story as late as possible advice has always given me trouble. Exactly when is that? I understand the basic concept. I don't need 18 pages of backstory/history about a character to care whether or not he/she has a gun to his/her head. But-- and this is where my confusions starts-- I do want some connection, some understanding of their dilemma, some clues about why this gun-pointing is more dramatic and interesting than the pages of generic gun-pointing available for me to read about in the newspaper.

Fanfiction has a few built-in shortcuts (we know the characters, we know their alignments and habits and motivations and backstories), except with wrestlefic, that's not always the case. There's a difference between backstage!Hunter and arena!Hunter, and his current TV alignment (heel, face, tweener) isn't necessarily the alignment he's going to have in any given fic. Even though I have my pre-set notions of characters, I go into fics willing to be told who is the protag and who is the antag and what their deals are.

Some story time is necessary to do that, so I get confused/fretty over this late-starting business. I don't trust myself usually to judge what's necessary and what's me being in love with the backstory. I like the mundane and the everyday and the emotional baggage character's lug around with them. Provided it's well-written and lively, I'm happy to read it. And because I like to read it, I write it.

A lot my stories begin in a similar manner: introspection by the POV character, then another character shows up to cause trouble. The current fret-causing fic begins that way. In one draft, it takes 8 paragraphs for the troublemaker to show; in another he shows up in paragraph 3. Neither feel right, and while the obvious answer is Write Draft #3, I want to think on the problem first, not just write in the dark.
opera142: (crayons)
Giant Hail storm today! Everyone stopped helping the needy and watched chunks of ice dent our cars. The PT escaped dents. It did not escape branches. My rear windsheild wiper is busted :( Better than the glass itself though.

This happened around 9:30 this morning, and when I left at 11, a dent-repair company had already left card on everyone's windows. In a crisis, auto-repair shops mobilize!
opera142: (bleach)
When I start finding meaning in goddamn U2 songs, it's time to quit dwelling on shit.


opera142: (Default)

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