Horror and magical realism are my favorite genres to blend. My first published attempt at doing this is my horror short “Autonomy Bleeds Black” where pain and power manifested into elemental forces. One of my favorite magical realism works is Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo Del Toro. I’m a huge fan of Del Toro’s and am grateful that Pan’s Labyrinth was my introduction to him. In interviews, he’s described this film to be very personal as someone who lived under strict and religious conditions, but used fantasy works and other genres to escape. Often our escapes become reflections of our inner world and help us interpret what’s going on within us subconsciously and consciously.
…These genres are mirrors, but for their effectiveness to withstand any resistance to our personal revelations, we writers have to hook the audience in with familiarity and give them the illusion of control.
My first draft rendition of introducing this new group of characters reminded me how sinful it is to write cringy dialogue and that my characters should have purpose or just not exist at all. I don’t mean to be too hard on myself considering it’s the first draft, but I was disappointed to read this scene of diverse characters introducing themselves with a silly/comedic camaraderie and then turning out to be kind of overpowered later. I already know my anime-brain took the lead on this. Now current me has to deal with characters whose purpose is poorly translated. While keeping my focus on making sure the voices of these characters were definitive and believable with their personality, I thought more critically about the development of side characters.
Rage writing is when something angers you so much, you grab the writing method closest to you and start creating a story based on the event that you’re pissed at.
It’s good fun, yes, but I find it most fulfilling when I reread what I’ve created and reflected upon the theme later. The reflection makes the ending and details in between very clear and solidifies the theme.
Rage writing is also a great way to make sure you write more frequently, have a healthy outlet for your emotion, and process that anger. I’m not saying you’ll turn out being a better person than you were before or that you should try to write a happy ending to your rage-written story; but I am saying, at least for myself, that this is a satisfactory method of expression and it’s going to feel damn good to publish it in time.
So after some work and some rest, I’ve been able to progress in character development and the lore of my world. I’m stuck on vampires again, but temporarily. One of my characters is my vampire and an exorcist. I’m basing her spirit work skills on exorcism techniques they used in ancient Japan.
For the record, working on a novel isn’t doing the same thing every day, at least for me. To keep the mind active and the inspiration flowing, I think it’s okay to take different approaches to your work. It’s a great confidence booster too when you create a different way of developing your story and it leads to progress, but even when you don’t make the breakthrough you hoped for, taking in that experience is a progress in itself.
My struggles with anxiety have surprisingly inspired me to fight for a confident attitude towards my work and myself. Shadow work during this time (shadow work is a self-reflection process many pagans/witches do through divination or other means, in case you don’t know) has helped so much. I did start a daily Instagram posting of one of my shadow work methods, but now I’m behind because of some mental health issues on my end. I’m still trucking on though and wanted to say that things are still moving forward.
To end, a little advice from a teabag tassel I got yesterday: The purpose of life is to know yourself, love yourself, trust yourself, and be yourself.
Today was a fabulous research day! Today’s research topics helped me flesh out the history of two characters who, for lack of a better term, gave me major feels while writing them. Now that I’ve worked through their lives a bit more, I can continue writing their about their pain 🙂
Words Written: 2240 Current Word Count Total: 91,203
Research Topics: – GOAT DEMONS! – First and final draft plotting/organization ideas
Additional Work: – Polished some character design/backstory – Made major editing changes
Work Process: Well, first of all, I have some amazing writing music (the tracks by Raydar are SO GOOD).
Second, holy shit. I had a lot of fun! I love writing fight scenes! Doing my research the other day certainly helped (Bless you, Tolkien!). Although I know I’m really going to have to go back and consider my diction more carefully when I’m in second draft mode, I certainly feel like I made a breakthrough. Magic is hard to choreograph, especially when it involves so many demons and the undead…and wielding elements in a way you HOPE doesn’t remind people too much of Avatar: The Last Airbender (I don’t even have a lot of martial arts in this chapter). Still great though.
I also noticed, compared to some authortubers I checked out today, I don’t really organize my plot with sticky notes or on a board or whatever until doing the second draft. I have written some chapter summaries down and it helps me link to past chapters, but I can’t really plot the whole story from beginning to end with notes or stickies because it’s still fresh in my head. When I write it out, it just sort of happens. The character arcs and main plot just flow. I usually pause when I’m fleshing out lore or a character background, but that’s about it.
Okay, I’m really exhausted. I wrote for four hours straight. Hella proud. Good job me.
Words Written Today: Two pages in my plot planning notebook. Current Word Total: Still 88k
Lord of the Rings–The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (I reread The Battle of Helm’s Deep)
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (Just started it just because)
Void Magic (True Void and Eldritch) – A branch of witchcraft/energy work one of my characters practice
The actual castle of Castlevania
Chess, because strategy is fun
Watched a video of a rising authortuber discussing their timeline on writing a novel.
Additional Work: Contemplating how magical battle plans work in my world. I also thought about the second and third novel a lot, which led to thinking about video games and the origin of haute couture…
Work Process: I spent the morning…laying in bed, as you can see here.
During all that chill time in bed, I was lost in the future of the second and third novels. This led to watching videos about haute couture (kinda got sucked into the MetGala feed on Twitter), which was more interesting than I thought, the legend of La Llorona, and other random stuff. I doubt some of what I looked at today will be in the novel; it just piqued my curiosity. Resting did help though. I was able to sort out a scene that has a lot of fighting involved and although I’m happy with the way I write some fight scenes, I was curious about how others do it.
I started with my hero, Tolkien, and found his writing style so…lively when it came to battle (I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR THE MOVIE THAT’S COMING OUT ABOUT HIM BY THE WAY. I AM READY TO CRY–I’VE BEEN CRYING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT). The Battle of Helm’s Deep was so interesting, between Aragorn and Theoden’s strategic planning (and talking too much), to Legolas and Gimli being snarky af, to Eómer almost dying, it was all awesome. And even the orcs taunting Aragorn who gave them the basic “this is your last chance before you’re royally screwed” warning was so awesome. The liveliness of every character, their banter, their confidence, their vulnerability was the highlight while reading a BATTLE scene. It was so strange, but I didn’t care. You SHOULD connect to the characters while they’re fighting for their lives, but I’m so used to diving into the choreography or battle itself. It was just, so wonderful to reread this chapter as a writer. I learned a lot.
Then I read Martin, who I’ve been meaning to read for quite a while. I got a taste of his narrative voice. Very interesting. His use of metaphors and imagery captured me at times and at other times didn’t, but honestly, I’ve only read the prologue of A Game of Thrones and it’s just not enough to understand his writing style yet. Unfortunately, another thing came up and I didn’t get a chance to read more. I’ll make updates as I go along, surely. You can become my Goodreads friend if you’re interested. I’ll follow back. 🙂
Lastly, void magic. It’s a delicious path of witchcraft, I think. I find a thrill in it, but others have found it terrifying. I won’t expand into it too much because of that. I’m trying to figure out how I can connect that to another…thing. I also explored teleportation, via Castlevania…which I don’t know why. I probably should’ve explored scientific theories…or maybe Dr. Strange lol. Other than dabbling in some chess puzzles on this app I have, the last thing I did today that helped my writing enthusiasm was listening to Kate Cavanaugh, an absolutely adorable authortuber, who discussed the real timeline of her novel writing process. This is always reassuring to hear. I wrote a post about authors I like that have taken some time to write their novels. That helped me get out of my own funk when it came to writing mine.
Words Written Today: 1377 Current Word Count Total: about 88k
Research topics for today:
Western Astrology, Medical Astrology, and myths linked to Astrology
Dr. George W. Carey
Apis – Sacred Egyptian Cow Deity
Additional Work: Terrana lore developments that kind of scare me and are incredibly disorganized. Ugh.
Work Process: These hours of writing and research were pretty good. I try to write 1000-2000 words on average if I choose to have a writing day even if it’s riddled with research breaks. One thing I’m excited for and dreading to do during the second draft phase is better organizing the lore of my world because my notes…my notes are atrocious. Lmao! I understand them, but it’s kind of jumbled and that’s because new ideas kept popping up. All in all, pretty stoked.
After work mood: I haven’t eaten dinner yet, so I’m hAngry.
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.
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.