Predicting the Story

One of the interesting things about being a writer is you begin to understand how other writers think and as a result you can often figure out where a story is going. I was watching ‘The Bates Motel’ with my mom last night and I kept saying character’s dialogue a moment before they did. She thought it was the funniest thing in the world, which I think had to do with the late hour.

I remember when I was younger I thought I’d make a great detective because I could usually figure out “who done it.” It wasn’t until later that I realized that I wasn’t figuring it out because of the clues so much as by how the characters were presented and how they interacted with each other and who I would have made the killer. 

As a result of understanding the writer’s mind many of our family and friends will marvel at our powers of observation. But there’s a bit of a downside to it as well. It becomes so much harder to be surprised by a story, though on the bright side it’s so much more rewarding when the writer does pull the wool over your eyes. I think it should also inspire us, as writers, to not be too predictable. We should strive to think outside the box, don’t always go with your first idea–or your first ten–we want to surprise and delight ourselves as much as our audience. Learn to get off the beaten path and off road it, because that’s where all the surprised are.

P.S. I did not expect this blog post to go this way. I was just going to write about how funny I thought my mom’s reaction to my foretelling of the movie were XD

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Searching for Truth Through Fantasy: Madeleine L’Engle

This is something I came across the other day that I thought I’d share. It’s a talk Madeleine L’Engle gave discussing fantasy and how it point to truth. She also discusses her faith. I have great respect for the woman, she knows how to be real.

Very Post New Year

Sad. I haven’t written a blog since before the New Year. I hope everyone is having a great New Year. Personally I’m working on my editing this year. I finished the first draft of my NaNoWriMo story and now it’s time to tear it apart and develop it more. It definitely needs lots of work. I tend to write my first draft with limited planning, so that my first draft is almost like an outline. The second draft is where I figure out more about the plot, the characters and the themes of the story. For me I have to write it before it’s real. I have a hard time outlining, because I don’t know what’s going to happen until I write it. This makes for a pretty messy first draft. Hence my focus for the year is editing. I’ve gotten quite good at writing first drafts, but now I need to learn to get those second and third drafts out and polish the story. 

I hope everyone is meeting their writing goals and any other goals they may have made.

Happy New Year, very belated.

Happy Post Christmas!

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Happy Post Christmas everyone! I hope you had a lovely holiday. 

Mine was great. My favorite gift has to be the Lord of the Rings Lego set I was given. It’s awesome! It’s the pirate ship from the Return of the King, I’m still working on putting it together, it’s quite the job. Some might say I’m too old for Legos, but I’m a writer and a Lord  of the Rings fanatic, so never too old! 

My favorite gift I gave was the Christmas story I wrote and recorded for my nieces. This is the second year I’ve done it and I’m hoping to make it a tradition. It was difficult to buckle down and write another story after NaNoWriMo, especially since I’m not quite done with that story yet. But it was worth it. And now I can get back to my NaNo story. My goal is to finish it by the New Year and spend 2014 editing it. Please feel free to give me a kick if I get off track. 

What goals have everyone else set for the coming year? I intend to make it my editing year, while possibly working on a story on the side. But I really want to make editing my focus, because it’s always been a weak area for me. I need to finish stories and then edit them, not finish them and let them collect virtual dust on my computer.

I wish myself and everyone else the best of luck with their new years goals.

Happy New Year

~~Lady of the Pen~~

NaNoWriMo Debriefing

ImageDespite what you probably think–since I haven’t posted a blog in over a month–NaNoWriMo did not kill me, though it tried its darndest. It was tough one and didn’t give me much time to write anything else. But it was super rewarding and I’m quite happy with what I got out of it this year. I see a lot of potential for the story and am actually excited to start editing it instead of wanting hide the story, in the darkest draw I possess, in the vain hope that it will turn into a pretty, rainbow colored, epic that will become the next bestseller, on its own. (Did that sentence make sense to anyone else?…Oh well it was fun to write.) 

I did learn a lot this year and like a good parent I can see the many flaws in my story, but I love it anyway. And it does need a lot of work. I made it to 50,000 words, but I still haven’t quite finished the first draft. Once I do I will get to deal with my inconsistencies and plot holes. 

Wish me luck!

I will try to update the blog more regularly again.

Merry Christmas Season!

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Influences

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I believe that many of a writer’s greatest influences come from their childhood, especially those who write fiction. For me it started with my mom reading to me. She read “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” to me–and did a great Gollum voice. I read many books on my own as well and was especially fond of Tamora Pierce’s books when I was young, I remember being excited that girls could be cool too and have adventures.

I spent a lot of time in our woods surrounded by massive big leaf maples that could easily be a part of Middle Earth or some other grand fantasy realm. This was the perfect place to create an active imagination. I played countless imaginary games with my next door neighbors in those woods and later on, when they moved away, I walked the woods alone, with a machete and acted out stories in my head. I remember trying to write a couple of stories when I was 12 or 13, they were total ripoffs of Lord of the Rings and quickly died, though they’re entertaining to read now. I didn’t truly get into writing until I was 15. By then I knew I could no longer play imaginary games. I still tried from time to time, because I hated to let that part of my childhood go, but I’d quickly become bored. I couldn’t do it any longer and I mourned that loss and that’s when I turned to writing. I started a bad fantasy novel about a dutiful street guard, a mischievous thief, and a mysterious elven warrior and her flying tiger and their quest to save the kingdom of Dragoon from a deadly manmade plague. And 40,000 words and a year later I actually finished it. Since then I’ve continued writing pretty regularly. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for five years and written several short stories. But all my writing traces back to my childhood and my mom reading me Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and playing games in the woods. I believe that most writers write because they fell deeply in love with books as a child and they’re not willing to put that world of imagination aside. Maybe we can no longer loose ourselves in imaginary worlds like we could as children, but we can still try through the words we write and the stories we create.

Where do you Write?

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Where do you write? I’m curious where different people do their best writing.

Personally, I do my best writing when I go to my favorite local coffee shop and bookstore. I find the action of going somewhere to write helps put me in the right mindset to actually get some writing done. Another perk is that I associate going to write with rewards, such as coffee and lovely cinnamon pull-aparts. The disadvantage is that after awhile I get to know the people at the coffee shop so well that I end up chatting with them for hours instead of writing–but hey, we’re usually talking about books and writing, so at least we’re on subject 😉 But even with the distractions that pop up while I’m there, I still love going to write there and when I do write I usually get a lot done. I can write at home, but I find myself getting distracted and surfing the net or watching Tv more often than not. Come November I’ll be spending all my free time at the coffee shop, pounding out my word count for the day, but it will also force me to write at home more, since I have to write consistently everyday or else risk falling behind.

But I do do my best writing when I go out and find just the right atmosphere, not just any old coffee shop will do: It has to be the right size so that I can people watch, but not be completely distracted by their conversations; It has to have good music or else I will get annoyed and won’t be able to get into my writing; It also needs the right atmosphere, one that promotes comfort and creativity. So once I find a coffee shop I like, I’m extremely loyal.

So now that I’ve ranted about my preferred writing conditions, I’d be interested in hears what some other people’s are.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

How Many Punks Can You Fit Into Speculative Fiction?

Alright does anyone else find the volume of Cyberpunk Derivatives intimidating? I’m well versed in Steampunk and am quite a fan of the genre, but today I decided to look up what Dieselpunk was, because I wasn’t familiar with it. I soon discovered that it’s a genre that takes its inspiration from the 1920s-1950s, much in the same way that Steampunk takes much of its inspiration from the Victorian era. I also learned that ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’ is considered dieselpunk, which up until this point I’d considered some strange steampunk hybrid. Well I’ve been set straight there. OO! And ‘The Rucketeer’ falls under this genre too! Great old movie, if you haven’t seen it ^^

From there I discovered that there is also Biopunk! which gets into genetic engineering. So it ends up the tv show Dark Angel falls under this genre. I’m still trying to figure out if there are other stipulations that have to be met,or if having your genetic makeup tampered with is enough to make you Biopunk.

Then there are all these other subgenres! There’s Decopunk which is like Dieselpunk except it’s sleeker, while Dieselpunk is grittier.

And there’s Nanopunk which is like Biopunk but with nanotechnology.

There’s Splatterpunk, which discribes starkly gory horror films. Once again I’m not certain if there’s more needed than excessive amounts of blood to make something Splatterpunk.

There’s Stonepunk which takes place in the stone age. I couldn’t imagine how this one worked until Wikipedia mentioned the Flintstones and then it all made sense.

We’ve also got Clockpunk, which seems to be identical to Steampunk, but focuses on the clocks instead of the steam…yeah.

There’s also Teslapunk, which focused on advanced electrical technology in a setting similar to the Industrial age. I guess it often has to do with clean energy that has been lost or hidden.

There’s Atompunk and Nowpunk which I didn’t get into.

There’s also Elfpunk! Now that brings up some interesting imagery. I guess it’s a subgenre of Urban Fantasy where elves, faires and the like are placed in an urban setting vs. their traditional rural. And there’s Mythpunk! Which at this point I really don’t care how it’s different from Elfpunk.

I meant for this to just be a brief rant on the many “punk” genres, but it ended up as an exercise to get it all sorted out in my brain. Anyway as you can see there are a lot of subgenres here, my goodness!

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Contest

I just discovered a writing contest hosted by the Writer’s Digest, http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/science-fiction-writing-competition, it’s for Sci Fi and Fantasy. I have a Sci Fi story that needs to be polished, that I’m planning on submitting. I need to start sending stories into the wide world. I have till September to make my story pretty, so I will do my best to make it so.