cat_rood: (insane asylum)
Okay, so in a continuation of this post. There are a few manifestations that I forgot/was uncomfortable with pointing out just yet.

Now, I'm in a better place and can expound upon them. So, back under a cut we go:

Other Manifestations )



I hope these help someone out in their writing or even in meat-space while trying to understand someone with an issue like I've described. Again, always open for questions.
cat_rood: (insane asylum)
Over on Tumblr, I follow one called FuckYeahCharacterDevelopment. Recently, someone asked about writing a character with physical/mental disabilities. So, I put in my hat, offering my services to talk about my own disabilities and talking about raising a child with disabilities of their own.

However, I wanted to get some things out and about. This is a resource open to anyone to ask about. And under the cut:

My disabilities )




Mental disorders affect everyone differently. The things I've described above may not manifest in someone with the exact same diagnosis as myself. If you're going to be writing someone with any of these, please keep in mind that they come in a wide range of symptoms and reasons. Please, do your research. Don't be afraid to ask, either. I'm willing to answer as much as I can. :)
cat_rood: (Dragon Voices)
How often do you write about a major point that is important to one character but not to others?

On my first run through, I tend to hammer home the point. Then, I go back and make it a lot more subtle. However, I do know it's there. Some poor people have to read it.

Anyway.

It's something that I've been noticing. People complain about it. I do it all the time. And no, I don't like being hit over the head with something. But, how do you make it more subtle? Well, editing is one way.

And the best way, really.

So, how often do you do it? Even on a second run through, I've got to prod and poke and really work through it.

Nooooow, how often do you say these things?
cat_rood: (Wonder)
No, I'm not talking about a rundown bar in Mos Eisley where Han Solo shot first, I'm talking about the internet.

Since I have your geek attention, I hope you'll continue along to the end.

Anyway, the internet is a huge time sink. Don't believe me. Ohohoho. Ye of little faith. Allow me to show you: Zooborns. So, when you're done squeeing about the adorable baby animals of all kinds (and seriously, watch the stick insect hatch. It's all sorts of grossly fascinating.) come back here. No, go ahead, I'll wait.

...

*hums Jeopardy music*

Back? Okay, good. See, the internet is a huge time sink and a horrible distraction to just about everyone who uses it. I know, I know. If I had self-control, then I'd get far more things done. Really?

Baby Sloth in a onesie

... *paints nails*

Back again? See? Distracting isn't it? However, unplugging also isn't an answer in my case. Why? Well, because my children's teachers all know to contact me by email, if they need me fast. Why? Because I'm more likely to answer email than the phone. (That's a personal quirk: I hate the phone. Hate it.)

Also distracting? Housework, children... a furry overlord who needs all my attention - and my lap - right now and why aren't I either feeding, loving or catering to him right now? Perhaps all three! Yes, he will be satisfied with all three.

Mostly, though, the internet is my big distraction. This is why I don't get a lot of writing done. No, really, I blame the internet and all its entertainment.

However, there are a few things that are nice. Being able to Google how to write a query letter or looking up Preditors and Editors or any number of a hundred thousand other things that a writer needs is very time saving and more than a little anxiety easing.

Anyway, sometimes I feel like I need that Wookie companion to give me a good shove in the right direction. But Greedo still didn't shoot first, I don't care how many times Lucas edits the film. Han Solo was a jerk - a redeemable jerk but still a jerk - who shot to save his own skin. It's part of what made his coming back at the end such a big deal.

So. There.
cat_rood: (Rules)
So, I've been trying something different with a story of mine. It's called, for now, "Secret Societies" because that's what it's about. I'm original, I know.

The big thing that's different with it, however, is that I'm writing it long hand. That's right. Completely long hand with no computer, no spell checker, no grammar checker, nothing. Just me, a pen and a notebook.

One of the big advantages of this is that I can write in a lot more places than normal. I don't have to worry about internet connection, power, or anything else. I can simply sit down and work on it wherever and whenever I want.

I spend a lot of time on buses/waiting on buses/rides. Writing in a notebook allows me to use that time to my advantage and get some writing done. It isn't fast, at least as not as fast as typing is, and it takes a bit longer to get into the groove. Also, I only hit in short bursts when I have the time.

Writing long hand has its advantages. One, it's very portable and its easier to haul around the countryside when I have places to go and time to sit around. Two, I'm never without my writing. I have it with me and I can work on it whenever.

Honestly, I've been working on it for a while and there's only about 6700 words there, but it's coming along.

Don't get me wrong. I love my word processors, and I love my technology, but there is something rather freeing about just having a pen and paper again.
cat_rood: (Arissia)
I'm reading a book called How NOT to Write a Novel. It's about avoiding some mistakes when writing/attempting to publish a novel. A bit of advice bothers me.

It's talking about unintended love interest in a story and how to avoid it. A subset of the "unintended love interest" is something they call "Alice in Lapland" and what they say about it is this:

Any undue interest in or physical contact with children will set off alarms. If you do not want your reader to think he is reading about a pedophile, dandling of children on knees should be kept to a minimum by fathers, and even more so by uncles. If your character is in any way associated with organized religion, whether he is a bishop, a minister, or the kindly old church caretaker with a twinkle in his eye, he should not even pull a child from a burning building.

Now, I understand that most of this book is tongue in cheek, but this bothers me. Have we become so reactionary that an affectionate, or truly caring, person cannot follow their instincts/natural inclinations without being suspected of something untoward?

Thoughts?
cat_rood: (Rules)
So, I was looking around, trying to find some sort of inspiration to write today. It's football and normally, I just knit, but maybe I should put words down, or do something? Maybe I should edit or... Well, the brain went into so many things that I should be doing that I'm losing sight of what needs to be done.

And trolling around the internet during a commercial break, I found a blog post, via several other blog posts that makes sense:

Just Make the Bed.

Sarah Ockler makes the point that making resolutions and having huge goals can be a good thing, but it can also be overwhelming and paralyzing. Don't stop making them, but if you do get overwhelmed, step back and just make the damned bed. A single, simple, little thing like sketching out a scene, writing a single sentence, editing a single paragraph can start taking out the overwhelmingness of the task before you.

I usually use this theory in other things in my life, but applying it to writing/creativity? For some reason it never occurred to me.

When I clean, I say "I'm going to fold this basket" and that inspires me to fold the next basket, to do the one side of the sink full of dishes, to sweep one thing. However, when I write or I work any of my hand crafts, I tend to only take the project as a whole rather than one small step at a time.

Meaning, I look at my shawl, I see everything not knitting a single row. I don't look at the Geisha and see stitching a single color, but the whole pattern. Which makes them very overwhelming. I do the same thing with writing. I look at the whole story, not the single plot point, or the single scene or the single character voice.

I need to work on that. I need to just write that single plot point, that single scene. Eventually, the whole will come, but doing the single one is the way to start.
cat_rood: (Rules)
Today, a friend posted on her blog about how she wanted to just delete her Facebook account. However, she didn't feel she could since a lot of small publishing houses want their authors to use it as a marketing tool.

Considering that Facebook has over 700 million users, that's a strong marketing tool.

However...

I've never made it a secret that I did not fare well while growing up. Not only was there bullying but there were other issues. The people I most do not want to reconnect with are those I went to high school with. Or any other school for that matter.

Here's where I get into a bit of a conundrum. Do I get an FB page, so that I can market any eventual novels/stories sold and run the risk of having to hear from not only people I went to high school with but my extended family - whom I do not have a good relationship with at all? Or, do I protect my privacy and refuse the FB page - possibly shooting myself in the foot - and use other tools on the web to market?

Honestly, I want nothing to do with Facebook. I don't want to deal with the eventual drama that will come with refusing to talk to former classmates and family on it. And honestly? I shouldn't have to. I have made my life away from them, and while most will most likely move on, there will be those....

Yes, I could write under a pseudonym. And I thought long and hard about it. I'm not going to change my name and hide because of past hurts. Yes, they all laughed and none seemed to care about my writing except to tell me that I'd always fail at it.* But that's been years. I'm older now. I've got children. I don't need their approval.**

But I also don't want to be tracked down. I want to live in the peace I've created for myself. It's been hard won, but it's mine - and by no means is it complete at all.

Do I disturb that, more than getting published already would, and sit on tenterhooks waiting for the past to come back and haunt me once again?*** Or do I run the risk of not getting published and protect myself?

I use the word protect, and I fully mean that. Protect. Whether the hurts are physical or emotional, protecting oneself has to be weighed with any snippets of fame that can be found.

Recently, several authors online have talked about women being threatened online.

Do I think that will happen? No. Is it a possibility? Yes. It's something that every author/blogger/anyone online has to worry about. And women more than men, apparently.

Will I do more research? Yes. I need to really go in and read more about Facebook and how it works and everything else, so that I can protect myself.

I don't want my fear to hold me back from getting published any more than it already has.

*Issues? I have them.
** Need? No. Want? Yes. We always want approval.
*** I have Issues. Lots of them. I know that. I'm currently working on them.
cat_rood: (Rules)
I'm noticing that as I write this story, my style is slightly changing. Not writing style so much but I've noticed that some of the conventions, the phrasing has changed. In other stories I've used it over and over again, but in this one, I'm more aware of that and I think that's making me a better writer.

Now, this doesn't mean that this story won't need to be edited. God, I'd never say that. This story needs edited and expanded and worked on. (Though, the character progression of one character has made me very happy*.)

But, there was a certain way of writing something that was consistently pointed out in the last thing she read. Now, there are some times when that construction is needed. But, when I'm doing it over and over again, when there's no need for it, my beta reader simply highlighted it and I could almost feel the "AGAIN, CAT?" written there. It wasn't meant maliciously, just in a chiding "ORLY" kinda way. Because that's her (and my) sense of humor.

Or maybe that was my sense of humor in reading it.

The point of this is this:

Good beta readers/first readers/whatever you want to call them, will change how you write. Not in huge ways. Not in bad ways. They won't change the type of writer you are. They won't make you something you aren't. However, they will change how you write. Even on the first draft. The good advice they've given you previously will point out the things that you should be aware of the next time you pick up a plot, some characters and see what the hell happens.

The same thing with editors.

See, that's their jobs. That's what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to point these things out and make you better. Even if they aren't physically there with you, and even if they only do it once, if things stay with you and make you think, then they have not only done their jobs, but they've done it well.

I like that her advice has stuck with me. I like that it makes me think and makes me remember her advice from before. This will never mean I don't need an editor (I'm not Anne Rice, and never want to be) but it does mean that it's making me a better writer. Honestly, what more could a writer ask for?

So, this big long rambling post is really a great big thank you to someone. Why? Because her advice has stuck with me, and deserves the kudos. K. V. Taylor, thank you, for what you've done. You deserve all the good things that have come your way.

Ideas

Jan. 15th, 2011 12:55 pm
cat_rood: (Rules)
Normally, I don't talk about how I get ideas. See, I don't get ideas gradually. I get them in a full on flash. I'll get a fully formed scene, or words scrolling across my eyes like I'm writing them on a screen.

These days, I'm getting so many conflicting ideas, that I'm trying to coalesce some of them into something that will make some sort of sense.

I'm not having much luck with doing that, so this is probably going to be a rambling post.

Ideas currently clogging the brain pan )

So that's my writing ideas right now. Now for a challenge update.

- Cross Stitch: I'm still working on the wolf. It's filled in, even a bit more than what the picture shows. It's a bit slow going because it really is filling in the blanks.
- Knitting: Last night, I managed to drop like three stitches messing around with it. But, I think I fixed that this morning. It's measuring in at 9 3/4in/24.765cm. I usually work on it while the Roomie and I RP, when it becomes too dark to cross stitch. Or, if we're downstairs. Knitting is far more portable.

For now, I think I'm going to go work on some more character descriptions and see what plot really comes out and prods me in the head. For now, it's the best I can do.
cat_rood: (Rules)
I've decided I'm doing writing/creative challenges for 2011. So, this is going to be my master list of just what I've signed up for:

1:



Creative Every Day (thanks to [personal profile] finch for pointing it out!)

Now the rules state it doesn't have to be writing, but that's usually my outlet of choice. I'm going to try knitting this year, so, it's time to see about getting that done. Plus, part of my resolutions this year is to finish some cross stitch. Meaning, that I'm going to have to work on things. Plus, with a challenge, I tend to do better. I need to have something to work for. And people to beat. IDEK.

2: 750 words! I actually like this one. It's a small, reasonable goal that pretty much everyone can do. It's only 750 words a day, and that's less than an hour's work, unless I'm really struggling and I'm generally not. It's something to work for, and I have to keep going to get the badges that are offered as accomplishment, you see.

3: Get Your Words Out is a challenge where you sign up for a number (I signed up for 250k) to write over the course of the year. I have a lot of writing ahead of me, but it's possible. There's stories to be written and I need to be writing them. (thanks to [personal profile] kay_brooke!) The info post is here

4: I'll be doing NaNoWriMo again this November. Just like I do every year, because I'm a big old bunch of fail.

5: [community profile] origfic_bingo. Seriously, this helps with backstory and fleshing things out a bit and working around and through things. It's great for cleaning the brain pan out a little. And for getting the creative juices flowing.

I think that's all I'm doing. But gods only know. I might end up signing up for more. I know I'm going to be doing NaNoEdMo in March too. But that's not a challenge so much as a "dear god EDIT that thing!" for me.

Anyone have any others to suggest? I do better with challenges and reasons to be prodded in the Word Processor direction.
cat_rood: (Default)
So, 2011 is about 24 hours away. There are stories to be written and thoughts to have and editing to do.

I've got my Schedule all set and ready to go. I need to print it out and put it on my board.

I'm also working on some society stuff for a hidden society story. I'm not sure what the story will be about, but I've worked a little on it during December's Orig-Fic Bingo. Because that's the way my brain rolls.

I don't know what the new year will bring, but I'm determined to get KoO out to someone who might possibly see about publishing it. I know that sounds amazing doesn't it?

I also signed up for a writing challenge Get Your Words Out. I signed up for 250k because I know I can do that. That's actually pretty easy.

For now, I'm going to go live RP, and then maybe get some sleep. Doubt it though.

2010 wasn't bad. I'm ready for 2011.
cat_rood: (Rules)
I tend to read through books about writing. I like reading them. However, sometimes, they just boggle me. Following is an excerpt from the book The Elements of Storytelling by Peter Rubie:

An idea, however, is not a story. Shaping an idea into a story is the difficult part. In the same way that an artist needs a pencil sketch to begin an oil painting, or a chef a recipe to begin cooking a meal, a writer needs a synopsis that broadly sketches out in coherent terms the essential elements of his or her story from beginning to end.

The reason some writers affect disdain for such barebones plotting is that it's very hard to do. They seem to forget that, beyond style, what makes the great novelists and short story writers of the past great is their storytelling abilities. Writers who insist they just "let the muse take them where she will" are being intellectually lazy.


It goes on from there, but seriously "intellectually lazy"? What?

So, I write by the seat of my pants, mostly. But, I'll take being intellectually lazy. This book is a wash for me.
cat_rood: (Rules)
Today, as I'm sitting down to edit, I noticed something. I have a very specific way that I sit down to edit.

If I'm editing during the day, first I shower and dress. Then I fetch something to drink, turn on my music, light my scented candle, and do a quick run through of the internet. Finally I settle down to edit.

If I'm editing in the evening: I change into my jammies, light my scented candle, turn on the music, and settle in to edit.

There's a lot of clothing changes going on. And one constant is having something to drink, and music, but I'm pretty much a creature of habit.

How many other writers do this, I wonder?
cat_rood: (Rules)
One of the most important tools - in my mind - that a writer can have is a personal library. That personal library doesn't have to be huge (though most end up being so, in my experience) but I think you'll find as time goes on, you'll find more and more books to add to that collection that really are needed.

And, if you've chosen genre writing, you're going to find that your collection contains not only your chosen genre but many, many others that seemingly have no connection to your own chosen genre.

Why? Because no genre is exclusive. They all draw elements from each other. Westerns, romances, mysteries, thrillers, all of it takes elements from each other and twists it in different ways.

So, reading all other genres can actually enrich your writing, no matter what you want to write.

I, personally, like fantasy. But to write it, I need to understand military movements, how horses move, and their limitations. I need to understand everything from guns to swords, to armour, to catapults, castle defences, and... Well, I'm sure you get the idea.

Which means, I need to read a lot of history books. Reading fiction gives me inspiration. Reading... Again, I'm sure you understand.

Today, I got a new book in my library. I'm planning on sitting here, for at least part of the night, and reading some of it, while I enjoy Lara Croft, and maybe something to munch on.

Think about what books belong in your library, and try to think outside the box.
cat_rood: (Orion)
Friday, I finally finished the monstrosity that's been with me for the past several years. KoO's third draft is completely done. I'm working on the theory of leaving it be for a couple months and then I'll see about having it professionally edited.

It couldn't have been done at a better time. The next 3 weeks is massively busy with moving, packing, cleaning, and setting things up on the other end.

This time I've got is also going to be devoted to decide where to go from here.

According to this post there are two other stories I could touch, but right now, I'm not sure I want to touch either. I think I'm going to concentrate on Real Life for a while and get that straight.

Then, I'll decide. I have a lot of research and world building to do on another project lurking around the edges, and maybe I can work on that as something that's Not Writing, when I feel the urge.

So, the next few weeks look to be amazingly busy, and nerve racking. I'm not worried though. Not right now. That'll come next Sunday.
cat_rood: (Rules)
I've been very concentrated on packing and finishing this draft of KoO, but I haven't had my head in the sand. Things that happen on the internet still garner my attention.

Firstly, let me give you some background:

I've grown up in institutionalised sexism. Around here, even if a woman can hold her own, and can sometimes beat the men, she's considered less than, just for being a woman.

Never mind any accomplishments by women, ever. It's the "good old boy" network around here, plain and simple.

The clich├ęs about rednecks are epitomised by the people I live around every single day.

To this end, every time I've stood up and said "no thanks" to condescending "Here let me get that for you, pretty little woman" or had an opinion that differed from what any of the men around were expressing, I've been called frigid, loud mouthed bitch, and worse. (Those that read my personal blog will know there are exceptions to this, but they are friends for a reason.)

It's something I've lived with every single day.

There, that's my background, beyond saying that I am a woman.

As a woman, and someone who prefers fantasy to romance, I've noticed a trend in fantasy and sci-fi that's always been there, and hasn't changed in the last 50 years.

Seemingly, to the sci-fi/fantasy community, I do not exist. Ask any magazine, or novel marketer, and they will say they are attempting to reach a demographic of "12-25 year old males." Why? Because that's who the "good old boy" networks are familiar and comfortable with.

The "good old boys" know that age group, because they used to be part of it. And if any women want to join their "club" then they too need to cater to that group.

It makes no sense. If women are good enough to write sci-fi/fantasy (Marion Zimmer Bradley, CJ Cherryh, Mercedes Lackey, Tanya Huff, Anne McCaffrey) and be published multiple times over, not only in short stories, but in novels, then why are we not good enough to read it?

Now, you may ask why I wrote the above paragraph. It's because the genre is going through some radical changes right now. Changes that are stirring up a lot, and putting itching powder in the highly tailored suits of the "good old boys".

I said before that the market has always been directed at 12-25year old boys. It's simple to tell that is the truth, just by looking at chicks in chainmail. That's just three small examples. Gleaned from Google. This one also came up.

It's indicative of a trend that's been around a long time. (Most recently, WoW) The fantasy genre uses objectified women to draw in their targeted demographic.

Except their targeted demographic isn't buying the magazines and the books. Women are. And if we never bought books with the art work, good women writers would never be bought either. (Sara Douglass, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and more MZB)

Recently, this subject was brought to a head, because Realms of Fantasy, a rather prominent sci-fi/fantasy magazine just relaunched themselves, under new ownership/management. And someone asked "More man-butt please." And, shockingly, the first cover of this newly relaunched magazine? Right back to the same old, same old. No one's really shocked, but a more than a few are disappointed.

I, personally, write a lot of fantasy. I like playing in new worlds, and deciding all the little things that make a world real. But I have to say, if any of my female protagonists ever ended up looking like them? I'd laugh my head off.

Back to sexism: The real fail here is the fact that when it's brought up some people don't "get it" on an epic scale. (My personal favourite is Clint Harris. He's such a winner. But I have to give mad props to Jim C Hines, who linked me to all of this.)

The same old arguments are being rehashed. "Well, if she were more polite."

No. We're tired of being polite. We've been polite, and all it's gotten us things like this. (Although, to combat that THIS is a thing of beauty.)

Polite hasn't gotten us anywhere. Now we're being loud. Are we willing to be patient, and wait to see the next cover of the magazine that started all this? Yes. We are. (Or at least I am. This cover has gone to print. Let's see what they do with the next one.) But there needs to be a shift in the way that the entire genre views not only the women in the stories, but the women in the real world that are actually buying the stories.

We exist, boys. Get over it.

Edit: Quick reminder: Jim Hines' auction to benefit NCADV ends at midnight EST July 23rd. The bid's up over $100 meaning that the winner gets an extra book thrown in, and it's for a good cause!

It's funny

Jul. 12th, 2009 12:15 pm
cat_rood: (Rules)
Lately, I know I've been lax about writing here, and writing in general, but I've been extremely busy.

I noticed something funny, however:

I've lived in this area for twenty years. There are places I went once and said "Oh, I'll go back" and... just never did. They weren't important, ya know?

These last couple of weeks, I've been desperately seeking out these places, and trying to get pictures of all of them, so that I can remember them when I've gone. I've been crisscrossing my county, attempting to see it all, and experience it all, so that I don't miss anything.

All of a sudden, I don't want to let it go, and don't want to lose it when I'm gone.

My brain brought up the fact that it's the same with my writing. I don't want to let it go. I don't want it to be behind me, even in the metaphorical sense. This is the reason that I keep procrastinating at getting it done.

Hello light bulb!

I need to get it done, but I'm afraid of finishing it, because that means moving on to something that I'm not sure I'm ready for.

Just like the move, it's terrifying me to actually get it done and move on. This move has so frightened me that I'm not sure it's the right thing to do. Eleventh hour doubts are not unusual, just annoying.

I'm taking a step back and reorganising. I need to. With packing and moving, and everything... It's been a rush, but I need to finish things. I need to finish packing, and finish KoO. Neither is going to be easy, but it still needs done.

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