To Live In A Moment

To Live In A Moment

At some point in the future, I hope that all of my labor will bear fruits from the seeds that I have sewn. That is what all of us creative types, parents, or people striving for more desire, right? While that time is what I aspire to, even now I find relevance in the present that I am living.

The light filtering through the window, then splashing across the room that I work in, which illuminates the pages I have filled within my spirals, or the exuberant laughter of a small child often accompanied with requests for a story or a jaunt through the woods, remind me that while one day I do hope to have been published many times over, as that is my ultimate goal, I also have other objectives outside of writing. So for now, I will enjoy the mediocrity that is being unknown, for this time and my daughter’s younger years, are only here for so long.

I do not have a fancy desk, but a small functional one, where I can be found at various times throughout any given day, typing away with a fervent flame of desire that courses through me to tell the stories that are woven into the fabric of my soul. I do not have high end devices, but a laptop that has served me well in the time that I have had it. Scattered notes are written throughout multiple notebooks, and someday I may have them readily available in the way that I have witnessed professional authors do. Right now though, I am reveling in my amateur status, because one day I hope to have the privilege of thinking back on it fondly, with the knowledge that the best is yet to come.

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I’ve Got My Outline, So Now What?

I’ve Got My Outline, So Now What?

The end of the first quarter of the year is approaching with haste, even though it feels like only yesterday we were putting the finishing touches on our resolutions for the year. My, how time does fly. So far this year, with writing at least, I’ve fared well. Between this blog and my other projects, I’ve accomplished a fair amount. As far as my novel goes, my outline is complete, and the first Camp NaNoWriMo session is just around the corner with only a few weeks away.

With the outline in hand, I’ve been researching in preparation to dive deep into the heads of the characters I plan to portray. For this novel and series in particular, I am not writing Own Voice, which is intimidating. There will be Own Voice rep in it, but it will not exclusively come from the main character, who is a far cry from who I am. Still, I adore this MC, as well as every other single one in this series, and so I plan to do right by each one of them.

Within the next few weeks, I will be inhaling more novels, information, and hopefully some rest, as I continue to plan for Camp NaNoWriMo. At this point, I would like to hit 50K if possible, or write until the manuscript is complete. Whether or not my time or life will allow that, will be better determined throughout the course of April. The minimum goal I plan to set is 30K though. I’d like to write at least 1K a day, and then if I need to, complete the manuscript in May. As of right now, that is where I’m at in the writing process of what will hopefully be my debut novel.

With that being said, throughout the course of April, some Friday writing posts will include updates on my progress throughout Camp NaNo, what I’m learning from it, etc.

So, that’s about it for today. This post is a bit more informal than what I normally write, but NaNoWriMo is just that, so I figured I’d follow suit.

If you’re reading this, are you participating in Camp NaNo? Have you heard of it? Let me know down below in the comments if you like. Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

T.J.

The Intersection of Diversity and Willful Ignorance

Though not the only instance where something of this nature has occurred, recently on Twitter there was an author, a woman who identifies as queer, who chose to explain to people why she felt that as a writer she could take creative liberty with facts about a transgender person’s life. As is expected, I and other people reacted with shock, anger, and dismay. I cannot speak for anyone else outside of myself, however, the chain of events that led up to this cannot be placed solely on the author, though it would be easy to scapegoat that one individual. Since the incident, I’ve taken some time to reflect and cool off a bit, rather than approach the topic with my natural reaction, which is a burning fury that anyone could believe that they have the right to erase our identities.

Dr. James Barry, the aforementioned man in question, whose life will be portrayed in the upcoming title mentioned above, presented as a man, acted as one, chose to be called one, and therefore was one. To suggest that the use of female pronouns after there is evidence of him forgoing that identity, is not only distasteful but downright disrespectful to do so. It appalls me that a publishing company or author felt that this was the right course of action to take when it has been made wholly clear that were he alive today, James Barry would be downright indignant at the slight of being misgendered, regardless of the reason for it.

As for what this means for the transgender community at large, I believe it bespeaks a willingness from a publishing giant to underutilize resources to accurately portray an individual who was, in fact, the opposite of what the author they have contracted claims. That others defend her flagrant disregard in the wake of scrutiny from transgender people is also troublesome at best, and terrifying at worst, because people who would know better than someone who is not trans should be listened to, right? One would think so at least.

This whole event is only one case of many though where a writer portraying a person unlike them has taken the story into their own hands and believed that they know better than the people they write about, despite an innumerable amount of protestations to the contrary. It is disheartening that this book was deemed worthy to be published, given that it grossly misrepresents one person to benefit another group of people, while dismissing the real fears of the group that it should actually be about.

As a writer, it is the duty of each one of us who wields the powers to craft words, however good or bad they are, to do so with a respect for those who we portray. Whether our works be about people like us or those who have a life dissimilar from ours that it would take hours, months, or years, to research to become knowledgeable about, regardless, we should do so with the care that we would wish others who write about us to take, and nothing less.

With that being said, there is a petition/open letter to get Little Brown’s attention, which I will leave linked here. Please, if you have a moment to, consider signing it. Thank you!

On Finishing The Outline For My Novel In Progress

I conquered another vast landscape on my journey towards a published novel – I have completed my outline! Writing it and molding it to be what I needed took the better part of January, as well as the first few days of February. Minor adjustments will be made as necessary, but it is now finished.

Within the writing community, perhaps due to NaNoWriMo, there are a couple of popular adjectives floating around which describes what sort of writer one is. Some identify as “pantsers”, while others as “plotters”. At one time, I had been the former. After having gone through what I did in the last month or so, I can say that it will no longer be the case.

When I began forming the idea for the book that I will begin writing soon, I never imagined that I would have been able to have a fully-fledged outline written in the time that I did. For so long, it seemed that the trick to making it towards the next phase of creating a book involved magic, the sort that might have involved blood or sacrifice, and some sort of complicated knowledge that I was not in possession of. However, after having traversed to where I am now, I can confirm that I needed to do nothing more than write, and research, of course.

Outlining is a process, but a necessary one, in my humble opinion. Without it, plotlines or whole chunks of a novel can be put in the wrong spot, or will not be fleshed out properly. I would rather spare myself the pain of putting work into a story before writing it, than stressing about where to go next as I write. Was outlining all sunshine and rainbows? No, it was not. It was work, just like any other part of the process that is the creation of art. However, because I toiled with the bits I was less sure of and did end up changing or deleting all together, I no longer have to worry about doing that as I write the actual manuscript.

I still have much to learn, but I am grateful to have reached this point. It was not easy, but worth it. Now, on to the next portion of my journey to publishing – writing the book itself.

Outlining; Or, My Attempt At Leveling Up My Writing

Outlining; Or, My Attempt At Leveling Up My Writing

I have raged against proper outlines from the moment I learned of them. I have never been a fan. In the past, I have info dumped, and then continued from there. At least, until now.

Be it the fact that I binge watch certain author YouTubers, such as Jenna Moreci or Alexa Donne, I felt compelled to work harder at my craft. At one point last year, I had almost given up entirely. Their channels, as well as others, kept me from throwing away a life long dream. But as with all dreams, there comes a point where you either have to settle for it as a mere fantasy, or bust your ass to make it a reality. I have chosen the latter.

Yesterday I outlined the first four chapters of a fantasy novel that I have been working on for a while now. By working on, I mean writing chapters or snippets, rather than outlining, when that’s what I should have been doing all along. Sure, I can get by without an outline, but that doesn’t mean I should.

Everyone works differently, of course. However, the more I prepare to write, or continue writing the books I have plans to one day query for publishing, the more I’ve realized my disorganization has affected my output and my motivation for the projects in general. That’s why this year I am sticking to firm goals and/or deadlines. It’s the only way to prepare for what I hope is a life long career of writing.

My goal for this month is to finish that outline. In February, my plan is to be tweaking said outline. Then March the real fun begins with a pre-NaNo writing month that I hope will yield a majority of my first draft. In April, I hope to finish up my first draft during Camp NaNo. When May arrives, I will be taking a breather, for various real life reasons. Once June 1st begins, so will revisions. It is my hope that by July I will be able to write a second draft. Should I do that, August will be a break month. Then comes September and October, or in other words, the months leading up to the main event – National Novel Writing Month. It is here I hope to write my final draft, unless that has already happened in September or October. In which case, I hope that during that month I will be doing last minute checks on the last draft. At some point before January of 2020, I hope to be querying, and so on.

I feel like, given the year I know I have ahead, this is an ambitious schedule. However, it is not impossible.

With that being said, every other post here at least, will pertain to some aspect of the writing process, as that is the main theme of this whole blog. I’m not an expert though, just merely chronicling bits of my life as I continue to work towards what I have hoped to achieve from a very young age. Younger me is counting on older me, so I can’t let them down.

May The Words Be With You…

It’s no coincidence that I’m making this post today, as it is after all May 4th, better known as Star Wars Day to some, or if you’re misinformed about one particular culture, the day before Cinco De Mayo, to others. As I am not the latter, I choose to identify with the former, and celebrate my spouse’s favorite fandom instead.

So, yesterday I talked about consistency, and making an effort to include writing into our everyday lives. Sometimes that can be hard to do, depending on what’s going on in your day to day activities. Still, to reach your goals, it is a must. Even if it’s only a meager couple hundred, as I’ve heard before, writing begets writing.

It’s as if the act of placing one word after the other and creating something tangible for others to see, becomes like oxygen to a flame. It breathes new life into a person’s mind, and inspires more to develop than before, when thoughts were allowed to remain more stagnant than not. I’ve noticed this in my own life, as well as others. If you’re having trouble scrounging up the barest of word counts, then here are some tips that may help igniting the catalyst of your own  imagination:

1. Keep a journal.

Everyone needs a place to spill their thoughts. While some prefer divulging their most intimate secrets onto social media, I prefer to have a place that I can explore the inner workings of my mind, without everyone and their canary chiming in. Like with Facebook, I can go look back at what I’ve written. Unlike Facebook, I don’t need to worry about my next employer or a hacker getting a hold of my private convictions.

2. Consider different points of view.

Personally, I can’t stand reading or writing in first person. It feels so constraining to me, and does not allow the reader an accurate scope of the whole story. There are a few books I have read that are exceptions, but they are rare. Most of the time, the novel merely ends up being a contrived version of what it could have been, had another point of view been utilized. This brings me to my next point.

If you’re stuck at a certain spot in your project, attempt to write from a point of view.  Even if you never include this bit into the actual completed work, at least allow yourself to see from a different perspective. Maybe, this could help you see where the plot needs to go next, or perhaps, it will help illuminate where a character needs more development. Either way, sometimes, all a person needs to move forward is a new vantage point.

3. Think of your characters as real people, rather than merely vehicles for their actions.

One thing that bothers me infinitely about certain books, is that the characters feel so contrived. Reading them is never any fun, because it seems as if their sole purpose is to keep the narrative moving. This, of course, should not be the case.

Real human beings have thoughts, ideas, fears, passions, and the list goes on. So too then, should the characters. Even though characters are not in fact real, they are meant to mimic those that are. Meaning, a writer needs to be aware of all of the qualities that their character possesses, even if one is rarely mentioned, these attributes will affect their actions at some point, in some way.

Therefore, when I’m going through my usual routines, I think about how my character would react to this or to that. I wonder, would they enjoy doing this, or would it irk them endlessly? These are the types of questions that should be answered while creating a role in a project, because it is vital to understand the character that you are trying to fabricate.

Well, that about wraps it up, for now. I hope at least one of my points will help you at some point down theΒ road.Β Good luck in your writing, today and everyday. May the force be with you.