First Draft Progress – 19 Days Until Deadline

Yesterday was Mother’s Day so…I took that time off.

I did watch Game of Thrones. I’m completely caught up, so very minor spoilers ahead. It was…a great lesson all writers should learn from. Although the story isn’t complete until next week’s finale and although I am not into the lore like some other fans are, I’m doing my best to be objective to what has happened so far. Still, I have a sour taste in my mouth even as I’ve listened to various perspectives, some neutral, some optimistic, some extremely disappointed. I’m in the range between disappointed and neutral because the writing for the last episode and the episode before was lackluster. You can almost hear the writers screaming “We just want the story to end.” With a show as immersive as this one, you don’t want to sense that sort of energy. You shouldn’t blatantly declare to your audience that you’re going full self-sabotage. Endings are hard; all the more reason not to give up. But are the writers giving up?

I’ll tie all of this into my novel in a second here. Bear with me. There’s still one more episode. I’d rather see it to the end as objectively as possible rather than be bitter or watch it with any high hopes. It is what it is. There are many stories you’ll dive into where you’ll want a certain ending or event to happen. I recently felt that way about Dracula (I finished it!). There wasn’t anything wrong with the story composition, but there were a few things I wanted: (1) I wanted to hear Dracula’s side to this whole ordeal (It’s no wonder there are so many poor adaptations of this story. Everyone wants to hear Dracula’s side, but nobody hits you where it itches.) and (2) I needed more death. I wanted Jonathan Harker to die. I wanted him to die so bad. I wanted Dracula to rip his throat out. I wanted misery and tragedy to strike the core of every hopeful character full of faith and fire. I wanted a Shakespeare ending. I wanted everyone to die. Even Dracula. Lastly (3), tying in with the previous point, I wanted Dracula to have much greater strength than stealth in the night and disappearance during the day. I wanted his hunting capability to be more of a sharpened craft. I wanted more strategy from him (You know, maybe Castlevania spoiled me? lol). Regardless, the ending is what it is. No rewrites. No changes. Just adaptations are all we’ll get. It’s important to remember that as an author; the ending of your story is yours alone. It’s immutable unless permitted to evolve.

I’m not encouraging any sort of rejection of constructive criticism, but it’s always important to remember to not fear what others say of you. Instead of fearing it we need to face it, no matter how much it stings. You don’t have to listen, but we as artists know that anything revealed to the public is open for criticism. Even if you don’t read or listen to any criticism, it floats about. Acknowledge that it is there and I would think that your stance to your composition will be strong from beginning to end. If you lie to yourself and pretend the criticism isn’t there, I’d think that’d weakened your stance. This is so difficult to say since I’m such a sensitive person, but I’m also a very philosophical person who adores the nearly limitless views of life. I love to listen and I love to learn even when it hurts me. Art is expression and enlightenment.

That being said, let Drogon’s flames fall where they may…probably onto whoever Daeny is pissed at…

For now, I’ll keep writing.

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What is modernism in literature? – Literary Terms 101

Modernism: “The term applied to a certain group of tendencies in literature and the arts since the late 19th century, including breaking away from established rules and traditional values, experimenting radically with form and style–sometimes even denying the need for form–and focusing on the subjective, often alienated, consciousness of the individual.” – NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms (1991)

You know… I think I’m going to invest in a more updated dictionary of literary terms because this one doesn’t have “postmodernism” in it and that makes me sad.

My Take On Modernism In Literature

First, I just want to let you know that we wouldn’t have had Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats (1980) with T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939). Just thought that was a cool fun fact. Even posted it on Instagram.

Anyway, modernism was an age I didn’t pay much attention to in college because I was more in love with the romantics. Studying it now, holy crap did I miss a lot. As someone who loves psychoanalytic literary critique, I would’ve had a blast deconstructing James Joyce (my birthday twin, by the way), Virginia Woolf (this lady, omg), Franz Kafka, and Eliot. I remember reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis (1915) and vaguely recall discussing perception and trying to process an unstable identity with my fellow peers. Reviewing the existential turmoil and radical thought in modernism now kind of reminded me of some films from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. My mother and I enjoy watching Hitchcock’s works, especially Vertigo (1958). There was also Whatever Happened To Baby Jane (1962) and honestly, take your pick of any Joan Crawford movie. Of course, I can’t neglect The Twilight Zone (1958). Modernism certainly had an impact on media that I personally feel, led more to a spiral of one’s personal voids than ground themselves with what is relative to them, like postmodernism sort of does (even though postmodernism is quite paradoxical, the acknowledgement of subjective/multifaceted views can help someone ground themselves a bit, I would say).

I read brief biographies on Kafka, Joyce, Woolf, and Eliot, some of the few who are seen as the pioneers of modernism. Woolf, Kafka, and Joyce had very apparent struggles that somehow polished, or perhaps unraveled, their art according to The Broadview Anthology of British Literature (2007) that I have. Like I said, I didn’t pay much attention to these guys in undergrad, but I’ll be reading their work now. I want to spiral with them and see for myself how postmodernists look back on their work and are proud of themselves for not letting their dreams and nightmares ruin them (but they’re not perfect either, tbh. I would write about postmodernism, but that’s not what the post is about… If you are interested in the comparison of modernism and postmodernism, I found this article to be pretty neat).

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TFW You Find A Way To Explain Your Magic System In Your Story And It Just Clicks – Fantasy Writing

What I’m going to discuss is nothing new to fantasy writers. I’m just expressing my excitement. I discovered a more analytical way to explain the magic system of my world without infodumping. Because if you’re going to be a hunter of mages and witches, you better know your s**t. Although my hunters fight fire with fire (literally and figuratively), I don’t want the combat scenes to be the only way my audience sees magic in action. As someone who performs witchcraft, I know there’s so much more to magic than fighting, healing, cursing, banishing, empowering, and the like. There’s a way you should study magic where you do your best to understand its limitations and potential when it flows through yourself and others or else things backfire and get messy. I think the best magicians in history and now are the ones who developed a sort of classification for types of magic that are not just informative, but also personal while avoiding permanence. There should be a balance or correspondence like the hermetic teachings emphasize. I don’t believe all magical techniques are meant to be uniform because sometimes magic is just an experiential whirlwind, but there’s something really tantalizing and sexy about analytical breakdowns for the sake of efficiency.

Or maybe my sapiosexual, Aquarian energy gives me weird kinks. I don’t know. Don’t judge me.

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Need Help Writing Dialogue For Your Novel? Follow These Tips from Jenna Moreci

First, let me just say I LOVE Jenna. Someone shared one of her videos on Tumblr and I just fell in love with the way she broke down her writing tips. She’s very frank and incredibly open-minded. I like watching a video from her or other authortubers before I jump into my own novel to get my head in the game. Enjoy!

Also, please consider checking out her book The Savior’s Champion and her other book Eve: The Awakening. I’ve added both to my reading list on Amazon. I’m ready to see her work for myself. FYI if you have Kindle Unlimited, Eve: The Awakening is free to read.

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What is poetic justice? – Literary Terms 101

Poetic Justice: “Rewarding the good and punishing the bad. The term was first used by Thomas Rhymer in 1678 to express the idea that in literature, if not always in life, rewards and punishments should be carefully distributed so that readers may be inspired to goodness and discouraged from evil.” NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms

My View On Poetic Justice

After reading the definition, I immediately thought about how often this technique was done in old films. There are audiences that still find it satisfying probably because it satisfies the dualistic status quo our cultures often reinforce: goodness is praised, evil is punished. But things aren’t always that black and white are they? Especially when you’re developing a plot or character, you need to mix things up.

In fact, I’ve seen poetic justice used quite sarcastically or ironically to address that the way we want a clear cut picture of good and bad doesn’t always exist. But poetic justice, I feel, isn’t just about defining a dualistic morality. It’s satisfying when the character the audience roots for reaches success and when the character they can’t stand deals with struggle or suffers. The foundation of poetic justice is ethical satisfaction, confirmation in the legitimacy of the status quo, even in fictional worlds. It’s a great tool to help audiences attach to the story. Personally, I find that art has its greatest impact when it’s a moral challenge and encourages ethical relativity rather than be purely pleasing, but that’s just me.

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My Protagonist Lives In A Theocracy Because…

…because that’s what I know. That’s what I and I’m sure many other American kids grew up in. We had authoritarian Christian parents and it’s basically a mini-theocracy. I recently wrote an article about the bad habits someone can develop when living in a household like this, but I wrote as respectfully as possible. My novel and the way my protagonist responds to being raised will definitely be more raw because I’m channeling a lot through her. Isn’t that what all of us writers do? Isn’t that what makes worldbuilding in scifi and fantasy so thrilling?

It’s good to reflect upon our past with the raw/probably biased view and then take a step back and see the big picture. You have to be real with yourself when it comes to facing your past because deeming it a delusion is just so damning to your psyche. I value all the growth I’ve attained too much to turn a blind eye to what I’ve been through, what my family’s been through, what my friend’s have been through and more. When we review what had happened to us, the fortune, the misfortune, and the awkward moments that challenge our moral compass, we gain so much power from the truth threaded in those memories. I just value the truth so much and even though I’m a fiction writer who wants to make sure their story is interesting to my audience, I’ll still be diving into the truth with every chapter, with every description of the setting, and especially with every figure of authority in my world.

Theocracy…it’s just a flat out oppressive amongst the many we’ve created.

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How Long Should It Take To Finish A Novel?

While writing my novel, today I realized that I’ve been working on my first draft for almost a year now (April 11th is my anniversary…write-iversary? I don’t know…). I feel I’m near the end of my second act, hopefully getting closer to the climax and resolution (but it’s like pulling teeth, I swear!). I ended up wondering about some of the professional novelists right now who bust out novels every year or two years, which put me in a weird, hypothetical shock. What if I publish my novel, it turns out to have decent feedback with expectancy, and I can’t finish the second novel within a certain time frame?

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Again I’m doing that stupid “reach these expectations” thing. I would’ve hoped I learned by now, but it still eats at me. It’s a trait of perfectionism I wish I could kill. At the moment, I can’t kill it, but I did counter attack by googling some authors I look up to and wondered how long it took them to finish some of their work.

  • Neil Gaiman started thinking up ideas for American Gods in the early 1990s, starting actually writing it in 1998, then had it published in 2001.
  • It took J.K. Rowling six years to write the first Harry Potter book. (I know she’s going through a lot of heat right now, but she was a mom and had many other things going on back then and that’s still admirable)
  • Donna Tartt has a ten-year span between her novels The Secret History and The Goldfinch .
  • George R.R. Martin takes about five to six years for each installation of his Game of Thrones series too and I’ve heard his fandom is very impatient.

There are many other writers who punch out novels faster than them or slower than them, but doing my research gave me some peace about my own writing. Especially since I’m writing a scifi/fantasy work, I don’t just have setting, characterization, and plot to think about. I have cultural history, magical lore, old languages, futuristic weapons and probably way more to think about. I took this on so I can spend years enjoying it. Not race through it.

Why am I so goddamn hard on myself? I need to chill.

By the way, reached 300 pages today. *pats self on back*