Writing Requires *Writing*

It seems pretty obvious, but something that I’ve learned in the course of being a writer is that I actually have to sit down and, you know, write. 

There are so many stories that I’ve made up in my head. I think on average most of my day is spent thinking about stories. Thinking about characters. Imagining a million different scenarios in which my characters hurt, love, anguish, relish… But at the end of the day all the story making in my head doesn’t mean much if it’s not put to paper, or typed into a computer.

Ultimately, that’s my greatest weakness as a writer — I don’t get half as much writing done as I get thinking done. Which of course is important, if you want a story that makes sense and isn’t just a bunch of jumbled ideas jotted down somewhere. But all the same, the first step is getting out of your own head and making the imaginings physical.

I think on some level it’s this fear that the stories in my head are very important and dear to me and putting them out there is opening them (and myself) up to scrutiny. It’s oddly intimate, crafting characters and making stories around them. Even more so when other people get to read them; it’s like having a ton of strangers in your mind.

Step by step. I still have plenty of time to get to where I want to be.

3.17

Being a writer with anxiety is such a surreal experience. On one hand, objectively you know that your work is good quality and is likely not as terrible as you think it is. On the other, every single worry you have about not being good enough tends to override what you know about your own […]

Picking a Genre

I’ve spent a lot of time writing (or plotting, since I do a lot of that, too) a lot of different things. All for the same genre though? Mm. Not entirely.

I always used to think, back when I was a young(er) writer, that people only ever wrote one genre ever. That there was a one genre for every writer, like there was a one love for every person. You picked that one, and that was it. You were stuck there.

Ironically enough, I now believe that there’s no such thing as a ‘one genre’ (or even such thing as a one love but that’s another conversation entirely) for every writer — at least not for me.

I’ve gotten the opportunity to write a lot of different stories since picking up writing again. I’ve found that I don’t have a one genre I like above all others. I like the versatility of being able to slide between one type of story and another without feeling like I’m in some sort of a rut or like I’m being confined. I sometimes wonder if that will end up hindering me in the future when I get to the point of being published, not having a specific place where my writing belongs and stays, but the idea of mobility I guess… is more comforting than terrifying, oddly. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that, being a writer requires being a reader, and there’s no one genre that I stick to when I’m reading, either, and I’ve built this collection of ‘ideals’ for each genre that I want to explore in my own writing.

I suppose while I’m still stretching out my baby writer legs, that’s not such a bad thing. Who knows. Maybe I’ll end up being a multi-genre writer.

Benefits of Role Playing

I’ve been role playing, or RPing, for about three years now. For anyone who’s not familiar, it’s a type of collaborative writing, where one person writes the point of view of one character or set of characters, and another person writes the point of view of another character or set of characters. The writing is done in a back-and-forth way, with each reply being a reaction and furtherance of the last.

A lot of times, role playing is like another form of fan fiction (self explanatory, fiction written by fans of a published work, using the original characters in stories either set in canon or alternate universes. Fun stuff.) It’s relaxing, it’s a great way to engage in fandom, and most of all, it’s a wonderful tool to help budding writers.

  1. Learning to Write on the Fly 
    I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a terrible habit of editing while I write. Now, a general re-read of previously written material is good when you’re picking back up from the previous day’s writing. Doing complete editing and re-writing when you’ve barely gotten out of the first chapter? You don’t really get anywhere with habits like that (trust me, I know.) One of the great things about role playing, is that it teaches you to just write. Get it on the paper. Push it out. The story can’t continue until you do, after all, considering your partner won’t have any material to go off of if you sit at your desk staring at a document. Forever.
  2. Plotting 
    Plotting is something that I struggle with sometimes, because I’m always sure of where I want a story to go, but rarely ever certain of how I’m going to get there. What will be interesting? What twists and turns will/should the story take? What struggles should I give my characters and how will they develop from beginning to end?Role playing, being a collaborative effort, forces you to actively think about your character’s actions, the setting, the other characters, and how those interact to get from point A to B — and then C, D, and E. I’ve plotted out… I’d say a decent sixty plus role plays, some with original characters and some not. It’s made it exceedingly easier for me to plot in my own solo writing, especially now that I ghost write and have to pop out a new short story or two every week.
    And speaking of original characters-
  3. Role Playing Encourages Character Creation
    I had never been more enthusiastic about writing my own characters than after I had gotten used to writing other people’s characters. Which… sounds strange when you think about it, but it’s true. A lot of times a role play requires an original character, whether for plot reasons or simply because you need a character that the others don’t necessarily fit. The more you toy with original characters, the more you just get used to it and start enjoying – eventually getting to a point where creating your own characters with their own backgrounds and stories becomes second nature.
  4. Practice!
    Let’s face it. As with traditional fan fiction, we can’t get our role plays (unless they’re original in their entirety) published. Aside from those few lucky people who’ve managed to turn their fan fiction into best sellers – no matter how… questionably – it’s not likely. But, that doesn’t mean that role playing is entirely useless. It’s still writing, and one of the cardinal things about being a writer is that you have to, you know, write. Practice makes improvement, and role playing is a great way to improve. The more you write, the more you see what works within your writing and what doesn’t. It also gives you consistent insight to other people’s writing – what things work for your partner’s writing and what doesn’t? What about their writing do you want to have in your own? Is there anything you notice you’re doing that they’re not that makes the difference between ‘well that was ok’ and ‘wow, I’d read that again?’ and vice versa?
  5. Exploration
    I have written so many genres role playing it’s hard to keep track. Anything from pure self-indulgent smut to things about sirens and dragons, to science fiction, to vampire stories, to slice of life to slow-burn angsty romance… The list goes on (and continues to grow.) It’s all sitting on my computer in neat little files, written all pretty and ready either for revisions or replies or to be re-worked elsewhere. There are very few genres I haven’t written for or at least tried yet (pretty sure I haven’t tackled historical fiction, but there’s always a first time for everything.)
    Point is, role playing is a good way to test the waters and see what genres you like, which ones you’re good at, and which ones you want to improve in. I’ve come to find that I’m not all that great at western-themed writing, but I excel at fantasy.
    It’s all about getting your hands in, well, anything and everything and see how you do.

Good News!

My first story for my newest client got approved!

I admit, I had begun to get a little worried. The usual turn around on approval is typically 24 hours (this one ended up being a little over 48.) Being my first assignment with this new client, I had fingers and toes crossed on things going well..

I wish I could share a portion of it on here, but with ghost writing there’s pretty strict rules on distribution, so I’ll have to be content knowing that I liked my story and the person receiving it liked it, too. I was quite proud, considering it was something that I wouldn’t have written on my own time for myself, but it ended up turning out really well.

Now, I get to move on to a second assignment. 🙂

Writer Things: A Million Notebooks

I finally got around to organizing my work space today, which included being reminded that I own more notebooks than I probably should:

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That’s not even including all of them; I had a few more that I found after pulling these ones out of the notebook drawer in my desk. The intention was to make sure that, as I suspected, all of the books had ideas and writing in them (fun fact, they do, so at least they’re getting use) and to organize them according to content. Unfortunately for me, that’s proven impossible, since no notebook (aside from the little black one on the left) actually has a designated story/purpose/function. I can probably blame that on the fact that I take my notebooks where I go depending on which one I just so happen to grab at the time. Hooray, convenience.

On the plus side, I can at least say that I’ve rediscovered some old writing and ideas that I can probably put to use in the coming months. Downside is, I’m compulsive enough to buy another set of notebooks before these ones are completely used up.

Oops.

🙂

Siren Call

The ocean rocks the hull of The Deimos, to, fro, in a lullaby that’d put a baby to sleep. She’s certainly a beautiful ship. Her masts and pale sails rise above the wooden deck, like they’re reaching for the stars and heavens above them. The figurehead at her bow juts out proudly in the form of woman, naked from her middle up and the body of a fish where legs should be.

Not far away from The Deimos, a creature watches the rocking ship with high reaching masts and beautiful mermaid decorating her bow. Perching on a jut of rocks that peek just so from the waters’ depths, sits something like the creature on the bow of that ship. A woman, naked from the waist up. Long tendrils of blonde hair flow down and cover her bared breasts. A thick, powerful tail curves out from her waist and the fin dips into the soft ocean waves, in, out, matching the rhythm of the waves.

She is beautiful, like the mermaid on the bow. In the dark cover of the night, her body curves from supple breasts to supple hips, her hair in waves the ocean would envy. Her skin, it’s smooth, unblemished from scars or sun. Droplets of water role down her pink flesh to a tail with scales that look like jewels, glimmering green and blue iridescently. Her beauty hides her danger – and the darkness hides her true nature – and she uses it to her advantage like the predator she is.

There’s a movement on the deck of The Deimos, and she smirks.

Her mouth is full of pointed teeth.

The siren watches the deck, pearlescent eyes keen on the man who moves about it. He’s tall, wrapped in hard bands of muscle. She’s had her eyes on him as she’s tracked The Deimos for weeks and knows he’s lonely and misses the woman he left back home. It’s a weight that hangs heavy on his heart every time she sings for him, calls to him, tempts him, meddles his mind so that strays to places of impurity. It’ll be just one more night before he jumps for her, and her long awaited meal will have been worth the wait.

She stretches, arms raised over her head. A line of moonlight peeks through the clouds, catching on her wrist. The light shows a sliver of green flesh, rotted, but in the next second the cloud covers the moon again, her skin is smooth and beautiful, and she settles back comfortably.

Her mouth opens, reveals those teeth, and the siren begins to sing.

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