In this entry, I apply advice from screenwriter John Truby to the first draft struggles I’ve been dealing with. Additionally, I run into a helpful plot structure from Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and create my own character profile template!
Prompt via The Life of Dee: Autumnal crafts for toddlers – give us ideas on what our little ones could make this season. I don’t have children. I’m not crafty. I wasn’t even allowed to do autumn crafts because when you’re raised by Christian parents, they think everything is a gateway to Satan. So I […]
It’s so important to have just one day completely stress free, but that’s not easy…like ever. Considering that many of us have been “grinding” so to speak either in the workforce or in school most of our lives, we can’t just say, “I’m relaxing now,” and boom! You’re chill AF. That’s not life. That’s not […]
Is luck on my side? Will my goals in life that can lead to success? Will my prosperity candle spell work? Not everything is guaranteed, but one thing is: change. Change. It’s chaotic, random, and often not noticed until it’s noticed. Lately, I’ve been exploring how my agnosticism and absurdism plays around with my mystic […]
…Is writing the second draft supposed to almost feel like you’re writing another story? Well, it doesn’t feel that extreme to me, but there’s a lot that needs to be added, changed, and polished. I don’t know why this seems strange. During this writing session there are times I feel like my first draft is a botched mess and the fact that I’m having to fill in details that were obviously necessary must mean my writing needs a massive amount of improvement, but harsh inner critic aside, I’m fully aware that writing will always be a practice. The best I can do is remain teachable, open, and devoted to the craft.
Just like music makes the mood for a social gathering, atmosphere and archetypes are key elements to the mood of any work of fiction. In art, mood and tone with colors range from cold to warms; I know in writing we have to explore all sorts of sensory details, so what I learned today, and also what I consider today’s triumph, is conveying a character’s demeanor with common attributes we associate with a Jungian archetype.
Switching From Confidently Editing and Writing Anxiously
I have to be honest, I didn’t miss the anxiety that comes with wanting to make sure every word you write is significant. The ideas bursting inside of me while I was editing was really exhilarating. Now I’m back to layering the story down, brick by brick, word by word.
The first draft was easy for me. I heard something the other day while I was listening to writer podcast “The Writer’s Routine”, hosted by Dan Simpson, that writing the first draft, aka writing the vomit draft, can be easier than the second draft. The writer being interviewed said he always ends up being very perfectionistic about every word, not to mention he said he’s a lyrical writer so he definitely wants flow and artistry to be prominent in his storytelling (probably most writers want that, but some of us REALLY care about it…obsessively). Hearing that from American-noir writer (who happens to be British), Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at The End, was really comforting. I was thinking, “Yes, I totally understand that,” but then there’s the other voice inside of me, the voice striving to live a fulfilling life and often challenges my guilty pleasure with, “I know perfectionism tends to cripple me rather than heal me.” Very true. For the first draft, I let my perfectionism go, but now that I’m writing the second draft… I’m wondering if I need to bring back the ol’ harsh inner critic.
For real?! This was my last post! Ugh! Well, I will show off two fun purchases to add some spook to my sketchbooks. I bought a spooky sticker pack and decorated one of my sketchbooks. I love it. Also, I’ve been enjoying the horror manga short story collection “Smashed” by Junji Ito. These stories have […]
Decorate your house for Autumn/Halloween – show us pics of your decor. Well what a coincidence. I was at the Spirit Halloween store recently looking for a fleece throw, but I couldn’t find any. Instead I found a bird’s skull and an iron key I want to use as a door knocker for decor and […]
Tips on dealing with the darker mornings/evenings – what do you do to make getting up easier when it’s dark outside. Prompts by The Life of Dee. I don’t get seasonal depression during the autumn/winter like most people do. It hits me during the spring/summer, but just because it happens during a different time of […]
The Violet Project Diaries – Entry 3 – Kill Your Darlings (or torture them)
The chaos is what we want to show our characters responding to. We must also be brave enough to show that they may never learn how to flow with the chaos of life or releasing expectations for things they can’t control or simply taking responsibility for what is within their control. If our darling aren’t working for the story, we kill them; if they need more development, we torture them.
I think this is a common thing to happen to most writers. You get to that weird middle ground of your novel and wonder if any of it is even worth it. For me, I was worried about my poor habit of overthinking. In my Violet Project Diaries on Vocal, I mentioned that I had to delete some characters and parts of my novel because it was “too meta”. Although I do want my work to be thought provoking, I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to hard or that I bit off more than I can chew. I’m trying to stay humble during this process, but I took a step past humility and wandered into hopelessness. It was tempting to just let it all go and figure out what I “really” wanted in life, but… I mean come on, I’ve spent over 2 years on this thing. Even though I have been thinking critically about the audience’s reception to my work, I’m not going to just drop it because I can’t figure out EXACTLY how audiences want their story told.
The last diary entry got to me. I was going in circles about the concept of karma and trying to figure out why we connect to that concept in storytelling. I was unsure if I was writing my story “correctly” regarding the karmic justice thing, but I already know I won’t know if it’s working or not unless I finish it to the best of my ability and then get it out there.
Writing the second draft has been one hell of a ride, but I’m not giving up. Please check out my Violet Project Diaries on Vocal where I discuss my workflow and the writing resources I stumble across. I’m trying to post as much as possible throughout the week.
Prompt: How to make your home cosy this Autumn – share with us what we can do to transition our home from cool Summer to warm Autumn. Prompts by The Life of Dee. For me, it’s about comfort and ambience. Blankets, cardigans, hoodies, and sweaters are a must. Candles have to be the right size […]
Is this another way of saying, “Am I a workaholic?” I’m not sure. I do think it’s weird that I don’t feel well when I’m not working in a stressful environment or that I’m not really working if I’m not stressed. That’s the kind of mentality the dark academia fandom bonds over, actually. It’s a […]
Local events this Autumn – tell us what is going on in your area this Autumn. Post prompt via The Life of Dee. I don’t really participate in the local events like getting pumpkins and Oktoberfest. I celebrate the fall equinox and Samhain, also it’ll be my first time observing the Halloween Rite to Eurynomous […]
On Instagram, I said I was working on a Kafkaesque short story and it’s going well. I’m enjoying it while editing the second draft…but I’ll admit that, yes, my focus was Kafka and his influence is clear, and yet subconsciously there’s some Poe influence, maybe Shelley. Ultimately, it’s me. Truly.
The goal is to publish in March. More updates soon.
Time to get back to recording my novel progress. The last post I did about my novel was January 13th, so going back to that, I have finally edited about 110 pages of my first draft and am starting to write through the second. The exposition has been really fun to read through again, but now it’s time to hone in the focus on clear settings, intriguing characters, and establishing solid plots and subplots. Though I am writing the second draft, I am still reviewing some old notes and tracking everything from timelines to character arcs…It’s a glorious nightmare and one day, I’d like to show how I organized it all for publishing.
I’ll stay in touch. Time to write, plot, and write more.
Every character should have purpose. I had to redesign a character today, who started off one way, but I had to make her the opposite of what she initially was to improve her presence in the story.
I hate side characters without purpose. I’ve seen main characters without purpose and they make me livid, but side characters are just as bad because you don’t want the atmosphere your main character is in to be bland or not memorable. A side character without purpose and depth to their design is a nuisance. Even if the character is the comedic relief or specifically needed as a plot device for a single moment, the character should have purpose.
Okay, I sound like a broken record, don’t I? A character with purpose is a character designed with significant attachments to the setting, themes, and plot of the story. This doesn’t mean the character has to “belong” in the world you put them in; it means that their attributes affect what is happening in your world or story for a goddamn reason. Like, imagine reading a romantic story where the protagonist and their love interest are destined to be, but a character who is literally a nobody, doesn’t even have a name, starts spewing out the protagonist’s darkest secrets for no reason just so the love interest negatively reacts and every time the protagonist somehow gets their love interest to accept them again, the nobody just appears again to spew their shit and vanish into the darkness until they’re needed again. And when you get to THE END of this romantic story, even though it ends with “happily ever after”, the nobody is never explained! No! I hate that! I’ve even read fanfictions like that! I’ll never accept this unless the story is avant garde af (but even avant garde has more purpose than an underdeveloped character and that’s saying something)!
I don’t know why I’m heated about this…it’s because I’m thinking about characters without purpose in other stories…maybe. I don’t know. I am sure as hell determined to give my character’s purpose though. If I ever create a pointless character, it will be done to prove my point in the most spiteful way possible.
Yep. It’s time to start tracking my writing progress again. So far, I’m really happy with it. The editing system I’ve created has helped me so much with rewriting. I’m able to keep track of my changes and the plot. For now, I’m living in a perfect world for a writer like me.
So another part of the system that I have is every 50 pages I edit, I stop and rewrite those 50 pages. Once I reach 100 pages edited and rewritten, I’ll start sharing that sample with beta readers to see what they think.
For the second draft, I’m taking greater consideration of how my audience will think, especially their imagination. One thing I stress out about a lot is the description of the setting. For fantasy and scifi, you do want the setting to be vivid, which is what I’m going for, but I also need to trust my audience’s imagination and the best way to encourage that is with sensory details. Not just what is seen, but what is heard, smelled, tasted, felt, etc. The setting of this story has such a hybrid culture with nature and technology and I desperately want my audience to experience it (hopefully with enamor). Rather than stressing, I have to think of this as improving diction. What stands out? What blends in? What improves the immersion? That kind of stuff.
Additionally, I think exposition is the least stressful part of any story. My flow is strongest at the beginning. It’s the ending…endings are hard. You can read my post about that here. I am determined not to “Game of Thrones” (tv show reference, not novel series reference) anyone. I promise you that. Let the flames fall where they may.
The system I have in place has been going quite well. Here’s a preview of the editing key I created on Instagram.
It took me a couple of hours just to edit six pages…out of 470ish? Haha. It’s great fun, actually. After stressing over the ending and coming back to the beginning, the ending looks clearer and easier to manage. For now, I’m at the beginning, relearning how to write exposition well. I found a great video for that actually.
This is the same channel I recommended on my Magic Systems post. I’m definitely going to be sharing more resources in the future. I’m hunting for them constantly and get excited when they have damn good advice. Hope this helps anyone who needs it. Speaking of which, here are two of the books I’m currently studying right now, just to get the basics down and start thinking outside the box. Click on the pictures to check them out.
Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot by Jane K. Cleland – I bought this a couple years ago. More than anything, this book reminds you to keep your audience in mind and helps you keep your writing fresh and inventive.
Hope that helps anyone who needs it. I’m grateful to have them…obviously