I have been meaning to do the Writer’s Tag (plucked from PaperFury’s archive ages and ages ago) for a very long time, and now I am finally getting around to it! There just aren’t enough writing-related tags and surveys out there for us writing blogs, and this one has some great questions for getting to know each other. So, sharpen those pencils and crack open those blisteringly white empty Word documents and get to it!
For genres, I’m definitely a fantasy nut, but I have several more modern and less fantastical WIPs on my docket for 2018, including a murder mystery and a zombie virus! I definitely tend towards speculative, whether it be fantasy, horror, or science fiction, though.
For styles, I don’t think I’ve ever not written in Third Person POV (usually with a focal lens privy to the inner thoughts of one or another POV character). And it’s past tense all the way, baby! Usually my outlines are in the present tense, and I do like the immediacy that present tense provides, but I always find I skimp on the description and that my pacing is WAY too fast when I stay in present tense for very long.
As for my writing style … I tend to get lyrical and long-winded when I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say, whereas when I have a firmer handle on the plot, my sentences tend to be shorter, more to-the-point, and sometimes even a little sparse on the details. Navigating between the two extremes when revising is a … special challenge.
Now, topics, that’s an interesting question! I answered a question on Twitter about recurring themes and images not long ago:
Forests, all the forests, every single kind of forest; an uncommon amount of fire; why have a sunny day when it could be cold and drizzling; and there’s always a mountain visible in the distance. always. unless they’re literally inside of one. https://t.co/7CIsAqp8UQ
— ❄️Christina ❄️ (@chuffwrites) November 29, 2017
No, but seriously, I have three — count them, THREE — WIPs in which the characters have either met, crashed into, or otherwise found themselves lost in a forest by the second or third chapter. What’s up with that??
Other topics that recur often in my writing: LGBT characters, self-deprecating humor (that often serves to lull the reader into a false sense of security before something AWFUL happens — is that mean?), fights against injustice, and characters that hate each other right until they become best friends for life.
I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil, honestly. Even before then, I would gather all my stuffed animals together and just sit in the middle of them and narrate stories for hours.
A while back, I actually found one of the first “stories” I wrote, in the first grade. This is great, you have to see it.
The gingerbread man began to … run away! Becos his house got on fire! He was cooking dinner wine his miger wave xsplotid! That got the house on fire! He got away just in the nik of time. The miger wave xsplotid becos ther was to many this cooking! Ther was eggs, ham, cookies, hot dog, cake, and sope. Three of the foods were in the miger wave. The rest were in the oven.
wipes away a tear what a moving, heartbreaking tale that was. (Also, pretty sure “sope” was soup. In case you were wondering why the gingerbread man was cooking soap in his microwave.)
I enjoy it, I’ve done it for a long time and feel that I’m passably competent at it, and it makes me very very very warm and happy and relieved inside to hear that I’ve made someone laugh or made their day a little brighter because of something that I’ve written.
Dusk is the best time for me to write, and I used to swear by the wee hours of the morning — midnight to dawn, basically — as being my most creatively fueled. But lately I’ve been having a terrifically terrible time staying up that late, so I’ve had to train myself to make any time the best time to write.
Love: outlining, dialogue, writing sprints, those moments when everything’s falling together and you’re so excited you can’t move your fingers across the keyboard fast enough
Hate: The uncertainty, the way a single scene might sound AMAZING one day and EMBARRASSINGLY AMATEUR the next. Trying to edit when there’s something wrong with the plot but you can’t figure out what.
By going back to the drawing board. I’ll outline a scene several times, writing through the scene without dwelling on the details or connective tissue, just dumping in dialogue and plot pieces, until it sounds right. Usually, I’ll end up having to go a couple chapters back and fix something that lead to the problem.
I also recommend, for beating those writer’s block woes: working in small sprints (25-30 minutes) and getting up often for breaks; creatively recharging by reading or video game binges; jumping around in the manuscript; writing something else entirely different, which will often lead to you subconsciously unsticking the pipe.
I know a lot of people say the best way to beat writer’s block is to keep your butt glued to the chair and force yourself to write no matter what, but I can’t say I agree with that. Don’t strain yourself to create something that just isn’t there. Do what you need to in order to work out the problem, yes, but make sure you’re not burning yourself out. Refuel yourself physically, mentally, and creatively, and you’ll find a lot of your writer’s block will have chipped away!
December is a month of editing; I want to finish two books in my fantasy series before the new year. The first, (which I mentioned — and shared snippets of! — in my 2017 Writing Goals post) I have just about 5-6 chapters to go before I’m done (but those chapters involve the mini-climax and the major climax, so they’re the gosh darn hardest); the second is actually several books later in the series, and my god, it is so much more smoothly plotted. It’ll be VERY easy to put together … once I actually buckle down and focus on it.
I mentioned my December goals already. In 2018, I hope to start writing more short stories, and I have three or four stand alone WIPs that I want to give my full attention to. (One being my NaNoWriMo novel that I totally failed to actually write.)
That’s it for me! What are your writing goals for 2018? Did you meet your 2017 goals, or is that a question best crumpled up and thrown out the window? Because I totally empathize. 2017, as a writing year, kind of got away from me. My country’s in a sort of tumultuous, mentally- and emotionally-taxing time, and it’s been difficult to focus on creative pursuits that have, in a lot of ways, felt frivolous and unneeded. But creative arts are important, and even the silliest escapist fiction can help someone in tough times, so don’t ever feel like your voice is unimportant or your writing isn’t worth pursuing! Let 2018 be the year we all believe in ourselves and make our goals come to fruition! This is a lot of introspection for the comment tag at the end of the post, so I’m sorry.
Anyway, you all know the drill. Have a good, safe, hopefully productive week, and happy writing. 🙂
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