Tuesday, February 19

Listing for Focus

You know the saying, "You would lose your head if it wasn't attached"?  Well, that saying was quite possibly designed for me.  I have often argued that there's some sort of "faulty wiring" in my brain... where it makes certain kinds of connections, it just doesn't quite fire properly.  As a kid, I constantly forgot my school stuff at home--gym shoes, gym clothes, homework assignments, papers printed and left on the printer, textbooks, lunch.  Everything you could possibly need, I forgot at least once.  Throughout middle and high school my mother would run stuff to school with a glare and a scolding, wondering how I could possibly forget such things.  Thankfully, I went to college only an hour and some change away, so when I would come home to visit and leave medicine, glasses, my phone... my parents would again, with a sigh and roll of the eyes meet me halfway to get me my things.

Psych majors are always diagnosing ourselves.  My best friends in college and I even laid around one evening when most of us were currently in Abnormal Psych and assigned ourselves each with a personality disorder--hey, it helped us learn the material!  But I also realized (as I had considered through high school as well, but my mom adamantly disagreed) that I might, in fact, have ADHD.  My mom thought because I wasn't hyperactive, I didn't qualify.  In my junior year of college I took her to a seminar on adult ADHD and throughout the entire thing she would look at me with wide eyes and knowing looks.  I never got officially diagnosed, but I started trying to find ways to cope with it, one of which was to start making lists.  I don't always necessarily follow my lists, but writing things out, detailing what I need to do, or should bring to something, or absolutely have to remember seems to help that faulty part of my brain work more like it should.

I suspect my difficulty focusing on any one thing for long periods of time contributes to my shifting attention in my writing.  I know several people encouraged me to force myself to focus on one story until it's completed, but trying to do so frustrates me when I get bored or stuck.  I think switching between my different worlds will work for me so long as I continue to make progress on each and provided I don't start anything NEW until I complete one of the stories I am working on.

So my writing list for today:
  • Read the beginning of a story I am reading for a friend.  I am considering this as part of my writing list because I need to include more reading into my free-time schedule.  I used to always be reading some book or another, but in the past few years I barely read three books in a year and I think my lack of reading has affected my writing skills.  So incorporating more reading into my life should hopefully give my writing a little bump.
  • Outline the rest of Story#1.  The first maybe third of the book is written, but I think making an outline (like my lists) will help me focus on where the story needs to go to get to the ending that is already partially written.
  • Continue setting up Story#1 in Storyist.  Storyist is an amazing program that I would encourage all Mac-using writers to look into.  I am a very visual person and it allows me to create character profiles and set images for each character, outline using "notecards," and it even gives you tips on how your manuscript should be setup for publication submission.  As a still rather new and young writer, I find the program to be extremely helpful.
  • Finish typing what is already hand-written for Story#1.  I very much prefer to write by hand.  I don't always, but whenever I do hit a block typing, I sometimes switch to pen and paper and that helps.

Monday, February 11

Are transitions REALLY necessary.....

I mean, exactly how necessary is it for the story to actually make sense?  *cough*  One of my biggest challenges in writing has always been, and continues to be, transitions.  Whole scenes pop into my head, particularly dialogue between characters, and I write them as they come... then end up with a whole bunch of disconnected scenes.  At the beginning of a story I typically start out alright, good descriptions intermixed with the dialogue... it flows.  Then the scenes start flooding my brain and I write, write, write... and have no idea how to properly join the various sections.

In the story I recently unearthed once more, the main character is a high school girl and the first part of her story takes place in sort of four rotating settings.  Her time spent with the girls she has long considered her best friends, though they have been steadily growing apart, her time with a boy who has befriended her and is quickly becoming her new best friend, the time she spends at home in conflict with her mom and step-dad, and her time with the girl she is falling in love with.  Is there a particularly effective way to string together different scenes like this?  This is what the majority of that document looks like (these are just the last and first lines of each scene):

“You’re an insane person.”
Liana laughed at the intended insult.  “Of course I am, darling, I’m friends with you.”
“And that makes you insane?” Andie raised an eyebrow.
“Certifiably,” Liana confirmed.

*   *   *

“We should hang out sometime,” Nate suggested.
Andie shot him a look.
“I’m not asking you out—unless you want me to.”
Rolling her eyes, she replied.  “No, I don’t.  And I’ll think about it.”

So, erm, suggestions?  I know for some pieces I just need to include some more descriptions, and fill in some thoughts and reflections of Andie's that will tie some sections together.  And I think adding in chapters eventually, as this particular story has none yet, will help take care of some of it, too.  I would still love any advice or thoughts any of you might have to offer on the subject!

Wednesday, February 6

A Post About Not Posting About Writing While Not Writing

Today, instead of writing a blog post, I'm just going to write.  I've skipped the last few days, occupied with taking care of a sick boyfriend, returning to work!, and actually exercising for once (aka excuses)... and as I sat down to write a post, filtered through the writing related topics on my mind, and started typing, I realized instead of talking about what I'm thinking about what I'm not doing, I'm just going to do it instead.  So, after that excessively long run-on sentence... Here's to getting at least a few hundred words (remember, I write at the pace of the slowest snail) written before work.  Cheers!

Friday, February 1

Oops, I Did It Again....

Okay, aside from having Britney on the brain (hazard of putting iTunes on shuffle)... I am more so referring to that story I mentioned in my last post.  Over the past three-ish years that I've been attempting to write original fiction (as opposed to fanfiction) I have started about half a dozen stories--gotten farther with some than others--but I have yet to FINISH one.  The first one I ever started that I got far enough to even believe I might finish is the story I referenced in my last post.  It's the closest of any of them to being complete.  I also started writing a prequel to it, as a way to get the main character's backstory concrete in my mind, and ended up actually really loving THAT story, too.  So, I've got the two of them, and with the prequel, it's filling in the middle and the other one rewriting the early middle and then the very very end.  Even though I've started other stories since the two of them, I always go back to them both.  Open up the Word documents from time to time, add a bit, edit a bit, put them away again.  For the past few weeks I have been working exclusively on the newest of my stories, the one I started for NaNoWriMo in November, but I made the mistake of TALKING about Andie, and now I just had to dust her off and start to polish her up again.

I added a pretty decent chunk (okay, for me that means maybe a thousand+ words in a night) last night and read through and surface edited what I have written for the prequel.  I started looking at the other one, but I have a bunch of stuff written by hand for it somewhere that is MIA and until I can find it, I want to hold off on that one.  But now my brain is back in Andie-mode, and I want to keep working on her story while it is.  Part of me doesn't think these books will ever make it past my own laptop screen--how many people actually publish the first novel they ever write?  Haven't I heard you usually have to write a few before you really start to hit your stride?  Or some such thing.  But the other part of me thinks that this story has been some of my strongest writing.  Clearly, this is an issue for future Kas to debate once both stories are complete... and in the meantime, I may just give Andie the attention she is demanding.  I'm still working out some world creation details for the NaNo story (magical limitations and whatnot) so maybe this will give me an opportunity to let those ideas bounce around in my brain while still actively writing as well.

[[ In other news... I was unexpectedly offered a new job today!  I had been in training for the boring, very part-time, pays next-to-nothing job that I took because I was desperate, but a family friend owns a business to which I had stopped by and given my resume a few weeks ago, but didn't think they had any openings for me.  Lo and behold, something in guest service opened up, and I am officially guest service, and probably part-time hostess, too!!  It's a pretty cool place, bowling alley with FULL restaurant AND bar, rentable space & lanes for private parties, etc. and I'm excited!!  I have high hopes that this is a good change for me.  ]]