The State of the Writer: 10/3/21

<–The State of the Writer: 9/19/21         The State of the Writer: 10/17/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 770
Prior Word Count: 774
Word Difference: +4
Status: Drafting
Progress:
Chapter 1

I honestly thought I didn’t have any extra words this week, but I wrote four?  Holy shit!

Most of what I did the past two weeks was trying to figure out clothing materials so I could describe what a tie was made of.  Am I babbling nonsense?  More than likely.  I’ll try to explain.  So in my first novel The Serpent’s Tale I came up with this system of telling a man’s status by both the material and method of how he ties his ascot/tie.  While I didn’t go into too much detail about the knot in TST, I did decide that the “highest” material was silk.  Well in attempting to describe her BFF’s outfit, I had to stop and do some world-building on this whole system, which meant researchng fabrics and reaching out to my fabric/historian friends on FB lol.  I’m still working on it, and because I am how I am, I can’t move on until I have the foundation laid.  I have to know why I’m picking that particular material.  It’s…weird.  I think a lot of this comes from me needing to justify why I do/think things, and that’s carried over into my writing.  Even if I don’t put all the details into the story itself, I always consider, “What if someone asks me why I did this?” so I always want to have an answer.  World-buidling based on trauma responses, y’all!

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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Title:The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Author: Claire North
Date Added: September 15, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2018
Date Finished: September 21, 2018
Reading Duration: 29 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Mystery, Drama, Philosophical

Cover of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire NorthPages: 405
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Redhook
Media: eBook/Kindle


Some stories cannot be told in just one lifetime. Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.” This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.


CW: Discussions of suicide, torture, and murder of sex workers.


We believed that we could change ourselves,
The past could be undone.
-Sarah McLachlan “Fallen”

When I was a child before any sort of indoctrination took hold, I believed dying was just a reset button, and I would start life over again right where I began.  Upon realizing this was the premise of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, it was like having a religious experience that was less ironic and more absolute.  I do not believe my child’s mind thought I’d retain all my prior life’s memories, but I am 100% certain I would suffer the same in my second life as the titular character and then spend the rest of them trying to do the impossible like Merida in Disney’s Brave and change fate.  This is protagonist’s goal on a grander scale in Claire North’s brilliant debut novel.

Harry August is a kalachakra, a person for whom death and life are an infinite loop.  At the cessation of the latter, they are reborn in the exact same place and time to relive their life anew with the knowledge that they’ve done all this before.  “Kalachakra” was not a term made up by North; it is rather a Buddhist concept that means “wheel of time” (hi Robert Jordan) or “time cycles” with the latter term putting me in the mind of Chrono Trigger, specifically the song “Time Circuits.”

With more insights garnered from video games, I discovered the meaning of “kalachakra” from a video about Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, which is another narrative about time loops not only of the essence, but also necessary to forestall the end of the world.

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The State of the Writer: 9/19/21

<–The State of the Writer: 9/5/21         The State of the Writer: 10/3/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 0


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 770
Prior Word Count: 676
Word Difference: +94
Status: Drafting
Progress:
Chapter 1

What?  Drafting progrress??  An increased word count???  WHAT???!

While I didn’t fulfill my goal of drafting Chapter 1 on my two week vacation, I did at least make progress, and there’s actually a lot more done in the background.  Even though I added less than 100 words, I did a lot more work with the world-building, organization, and micro-outlining.  I’m also having an extreme amount of fun writing the dialogue for the main character Maya and her BFF Caemlyn.  It’s this friendly, flirty banter that’s hamstrung in the beginning by the MC’s anxiety about something happening tomorrow.  I’m very adamant about showing as much as possible, so I’m trying to have his reactions to her perceived grumpiness reveal that this isn’t their typical dynamic.  I’m also being a presumptuous prig by doing this sort of metatextual foreshadowing (I implore you to try using that in a sentence without sounding like an elitist ass lol), and I just hope it works out.  I know drafting is just supposed to be about shoveling the sand into the bucket for castle building (editing) later, but I have to make sure I”m laying the groundwork for exactly what I want to build with maybe some surprising embellishments.  I do feel like I can move forward now and continue drafting (when I have the time/energy), and I actually look forward to it, too 🙂

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The State of the Writer: 9/5/21

<–The State of the Writer: 8/22/21         The State of the Writer: 9/19/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 0


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 676
Prior Word Count: 676
Word Difference: 0
Status: Organization
Progress:
Chapter 1

I did some serious brainstorming/notetaking over the past few days, fleshing out one of the side characters.  Even if it doesn’t find its way into the story, I like to have a robust background for as many people as possible.   I might work on more today, since I still have some creative juices left for it.

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The State of the Writer: 8/22/21

<–The State of the Writer: 8/8/21         The State of the Writer: 9/5/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 0


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 676
Prior Word Count: 676
Word Difference: 0
Status: Organization
Progress:
Chapter 1

I wracked my brain for a week over what to do and where to put my “false” starts.  I wound up making a separate section for them on Scrivener.  I have two more to sort out, but one of them occurs later in the story when the two protagonists meet, so I might just hold off on putting that anywhere on Scivener since I don’t know what chapter that will be.  I’m not sure when I’ll start drafting again, but I am on vacation for two weeks in September so I might plan it out then.  I’m hoping if I can get over this beginning hump, things will be easier.  This chapter has a radically different tone from the rest of the novel, which could be one of the reasons it’s giving me so much trouble.

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The State of the Writer: 8/8/21

<–The State of the Writer: 7/25/21         The State of the Writer: 8/22/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 0


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 676
Prior Word Count: 676
Word Difference: 0
Status: Drafting
Progress:
Chapter 1

I moved all my notes for Chapter 1 to Scrivener, so now I have those and my outline on that program.  I did some more world-building over the past few weeks as well, since there were a few things I needed to figure out.  Now I want to look at all of my “false starts” over the years and see what I can glean from that.  No clue when I’ll start drafting again, but I at least know the direction I’m going.

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The State of the Writer: 7/25/21

<–The State of the Writer: 7/11/21         The State of the Writer: 8/8/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 676
Prior Word Count: 676
Word Difference: 0
Status: Drafting
Progress:
Chapter 1

I’ve been stuck in a stalemate with this.  It happens when there’s just too much.  My notes are currently spread across Scrivener and OneNote, and I was drafting the story in Scrivener.  I need to put all my notes in one place, and I decided I’m going to draft the story in Word like my other ones.  So now I need to move things from OneNote.  I haven’t entirely figured it all out yet, but I have a plan, and that’s better than nothing.

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The State of the Writer: 7/11/21

<–The State of the Writer: 6/27/21         The State of the Writer: 7/25/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 0


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 676
Prior Word Count: 676
Word Difference: 0
Status: Drafting
Progress:
Chapter 1

A little bit of progress?  Like not really in the word count department, but any progress is good, I suppose?  I left myself a note in a previous session to work on outfit descriptions in the next.  I’m not there in the draft yet, but if I have a destination to strive towards, it’s possible I could “build a bridge” per se, so I’ve been working on that.  So far, I’m in the midst of Maya’s (the female MC), and of course as per my brand, I’m adding more than I expected lol, but it’s alright.

*sigh* I also started going back to the worldbuilding, because of course I did.  That’s okay, too.  One of my lovely friends made an excellent point.  She said that even just daydreaming about your projects is working on them, and I’m doing more than that.  Because just thinking about them is solidifying things in your mind, so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, especially in light of all I’m fighting against.

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The State of the Writer: 6/27/21

<–The State of the Writer: 6/13/21         The State of the Writer: 7/11/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 0


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 676
Prior Word Count: 613
Word Difference: +63
Status: Drafting
Progress:
Chapter 1

I’m making progress even if it’s painfully slow.  I at least wrote one line I’m proud of.  “Promise the moon when you’re too short to reach the sky.”  It’s not the vision I lack; it’s the concentration to put what I’m seeing into words.  I haven’t even gotten to the part I micro-outlined.  I’ve been going back through what I wrote before to iron some things out.  Lots of writers wait until they’ve written the thing before they do any edits, but I always re-read what I wrote last time in order to re-ground myself in the story.  If I don’t, I feel unmoored and disconnected (which…tbh is how I’ve been feeling in general with life).  It takes longer, and I spend less time per session writing (or have to extend the session), but I get more out of it.  I also get to spend more time with the characters and come to a better understanding of where they are.  Like when I outlined this chapter, I had thought the air of it would be more playful and adventurous, but there’s an undercurrent of anxiety because my MC is really worried about something, and her BFF notices because she’s snippier than usual.  I like where I’m going with it; it’s just…life/reality bullshit is getting in the way haha.

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The State of the Writer: 6/13/21

<–The State of the Writer: 5/30/21         The State of the Writer: 6/27/21–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 613
Status: Drafting
Progress:
Chapter 1

Ughhhhhhhh *but forever*  So first off, I was wrong about the word count.  What I thought was word count was actually character count, so damn my myopic eyes.  I haven’t broken the thousand word threshold yet with this, and I’m not sure how many more words I’ve written in the past few weeks.  Not that many because I’ve really been struggling…like really.  I’ve never had this much trouble starting a story once I have an idea of where I’m going.  Direction isn’t the issue, nor is vision.  I can 100% visualize the scene, but translating that into words humans can understand is where the pipe is clogged.  I know it’s a “I don’t have enough energy to concentrate” type of thing.  I also have this thing where if I don’t feel like I’m doing well, it’ll really put a damper on my ability to work.  I’m not giving up on this project though.  I…can’t really do that.  I’ll just start obsessing over it if I don’t work on it.  If you think this update is all over the place THIS IS EXACTLY MY FUCKING PROBLEM.  I’ve started what I call “micro” outlining where I break down my outline even more so it’s sort of between an outline and a draft.  I just sort of stream-of-consciousness what I want to happen in my notes and then later will go back and smooth it out.  I did that last night with a scene, and I’m hoping to work on it today.  I’ve also been talking to another author friend about it and I’m about to message my other about it.  Sometimes I don’t even need a response; I just need to hear it aloud.

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