Things I’m Doing May 27, 2014Posted by Jae in Personal Item.
Tags: bicycling, candy crush, distractions, exercise, mental health, writing
I recently finished a new draft of Book 2 in my SHADE series and now that I’m done I’m getting that, “so now what?” kind of feeling. I’m trying to decide whether the book needs to go into cold storage for future editing or if I should try and fix things I think may need fixing. But I go through this with every novel, every major draft.
Book 2 got split into Book 2 and Book 3, which means Book 3 is practically finished already. Woot! I think I’ve discussed this before, but have you ever had to do that? It was a super hard decision I fought for a month or two. This must be the outliner/plotter in me that when a draft has been completed, it’s completed! Luckily I’ve done enough revisions over the last couple of years the logic side of my brain comes out to remind me all the goodness that awaits in revising.
But there can be too much revising, or rather too much at the wrong time. I’m a firm believer that drafts need to rest. The cache needs to be cleared.
The odd thing was when I started new draft, I had no motivation to write it. I was still fighting that old splitting decision. Now that it’s come to an end, my motivation demands more writing. It’s a nice feeling.
So I’m turning to project codename CLEMMINGS. Originally I’d only planned it as a novelette at best. Now I’m trying to figure out a novel’s worth of plot. Sometimes it’s tough in the beginning. For me it always seems to help if I ask myself a bunch of questions.
- Who is the apparent villain?
- Who is the true villain?
- What’s the main goal?
- Can I make characters that seem like they are good guys be bad guys and vice versa?
- What’s the point of the whole story?
- How would I like for the main character to arc?
- If this person is the villain, what does that mean for everyone else?
- What do my characters believe about their world and how does that move the story forward?
Stuff like that. Sometimes I type it, sometimes I write it in a notebook. The nice thing about physically writing things like this down is you can see the progression of your thoughts. It is possible to see that digitally, it’s just more apparent physically. Many an outline has started that way, though I organize all those thoughts digitally in the end. It’s hard to keep my notes straight after a point, the way I write them.
OTHER THINGS I’M DOING
I decided to save on gas and improve health I wanted to purchase and use more often a bicycle. It takes around 45 minutes to bike into work (mostly depending on me) and it’s not super easy, but I’ve noticed my happiness factor has increased since doing it. That doesn’t mean I never have bad days, but they certainly seem easier to cope with.
Yesterday I went out to a trail that’s an old railroad route. Utah’s natural state isn’t typically much more than prairie grass and sagebrush in the valley. And while there is that along this trail, there was also lots of trees, marshland, wildflowers—even a tunnel and a couple of creeks. And though several cyclists passed me by frequently (we have a high concentration of legit cyclists, both of the road and mountain persuasion), I kept reminding myself to enjoy the ride rather than keep the pace.
It really helps clear the cache. I’ve been trying to walk, too, in order to keep my feet conditioned for tour guiding. I feel like it’s making me a better writer, all this exercise, for how much it alleviates stress. Sometimes I think about my stories, sometimes I don’t.
It just seems stopping and smelling the roses so to speak has helped me maintain some balance.
MY OTHER DISTRACTIONS
Candy Crush Saga and the farm one (most of you know what I’m talking about) have also occasionally been pushing their way into the horizon. But I think it’s important to know yourself. And while there are times when I probably play a little too much of these games, I find them also to be good cache-clearers while I’m writing. Sometimes when I was stuck on a certain scene, all it took was a game or two and I had clarity again. And if that didn’t work, the walk or the bike ride.
Whether games, exercise, TV shows/movies (and I consume plenty of these as well), I think if done in good measure can be helpful to our mental health and our writer health.
So, with all that being said, what are some things you do to keep up mental/physical/writer health? Are there things you definitely can’t do? Anything you’d recommend that has worked well in your life? What things help you through difficult scenes? What things help you through difficult moments of life?
A Writer’s Eyes March 31, 2014Posted by Jae in How to, Writing Tips.
Tags: eyes, plot, predictable, story, writer
You may remember the moment. Plots became more obvious to you. Books, movies, and TV shows had to be among the best to impress you, because mediocre wasn’t cutting it anymore. You had writer’s eyes, and story became fairly obvious to you.
At first I didn’t like being able to figure things out. I wanted to be surprised by the stories I consumed in whatever format I consumed them in. And occasionally I still am, but for the most part it takes a pretty good story to get me impressed. There truly is nothing new under the sun, but I continue searching for those really good stories that make the consumption worthwhile.
Has that happened for you? Are you able to predict the plots of stories because that’s your business? That’s just how your brain works? You’ve spent a lot of time making those plot connections yourself, so most plots of most stories won’t really surprise you.
That’s often how I feel about movies today. Oh, we’re spending a lot of time on this minor character, he must be important later. Hmm, seems like this girl’s only purpose is to get the plot going. Things like that.
Granted, there are a few movies/books/shows that do take me by surprise and tantalize my brain, but that’s generally more the exception than the rule.
And then there are those stories that I know exactly what’s going to happen and yet somehow they still pull me in. (See Korean dramas.) I always try and explore the essence of those stories and figure out what it is that keeps me hooked and how can I harness that draw in my own writing.
Although becoming a writer and understanding story has “ruined” some experiences for me, it’s enlightened me in other ways. I try not to waste my time on mediocrity. Although I have found on occasion the abysmal story can be instructive in its own way.
But I want to hear from you. Do you now have writer’s eyes? Has it ruined certain stories for you, or do you feel it has enhanced your experience? Is it difficult for you to find really impressive stories or do you find value in even the abysmal? Let me know what you think below.
Adulation Is Poison March 13, 2014Posted by Jae in Personal Item.
Tags: diva, downfall, justin bieber, karma, miley cyrus, negative, poison, pride, writing
I don’t have cable or even antenna TV for that matter. All of what I watch is comprised of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. So the only time I hear about celebrities is when someone mentions them on Facebook and most of my Facebook friends care about celebrities about as much as I do.
Which is almost zero.
So the only reason I know a name like Justin Bieber is because someone is making fun of him or some kid I know happens to like him and insists if I just hear this song, surely, surely, I’ll like him too. (Nope.)
And speaking of the Bieber, he showed up in my Facebook feed lately because to no one’s surprise it turns out he’s a ginormous doof and they caught it on tape. Giving a deposition because of something a security guard did or something (I didn’t care enough to find out why), you get to see this class act showing us all how classy he can be.
I rolled my eyes like most people, but at the same time I found myself pondering on the negative effects of fame. Bieber isn’t the first kid celebrity to turn into a total doof or weirdo and he probably won’t be the last either.