I hope you all are well. I’m finally getting back into a good working groove again for my art projects and my novel, which reminded me about how much I miss blogging about my progress/research.
Starting with the progress with my novel series, what really helped was using a cork board and sticky notes to jot out the main plot. My first draft was written with more of a pantser mentality. I kept beating myself up for it before, but now that I’ve accepted that I’m at where I’m at and there’s no changing that, I can lean more into my plotter side.
Using a cork board and sticky notes to track the plot/character arc of one of my protagonists has helped tremendously. I think seeing the story’s progression through one character’s point of view and having more of a visual/tangible mode of seeing my work brought it more to life. Specifically, I was able to pinpoint how many other characters cross the path of this protagonist along with what areas and events they come to interact with whether they expect it or not. It’s an interesting process because initially I was down on myself for not plotting more for my first draft, but it was pointless to think that way. I’m learning to trust my creative process more and I’ve accepted how chaotic it is, but it’s also has a natural order to it. In other words, there’s an order to my chaos and I should never have compared myself to other authors/writers to begin with. It does help to learn about the creative process of others, but at the end of the day, just do your own thing.
As for the Russian/Slavic witchcraft venture, I previously posted of a podcast I listen to where author Natasha Helvin describes her own experiences. I’ve been reading both of her books Russian Black Magic and Slavic Witchcraft. Both are intriguing reads and are very inspiring for a specific character of my novel, which I hope I can capture well with the utmost respect of the craft.
Here’s the Instagram of one fellow writer I follow who reminded me of cork board plotting.
Now, for my art projects. I focused on my poetry collection for most of the winter season. While working, I kept having these visual ideas being paired with my poems. I’ve done photography with poetry before when I was younger (like a teenager), but looking back on my creations in the past, it’s not really up to my standard of quality today, although I love that I tried my best back then. So what’s the next level? Photomanipulation. I’ve been taking lessons with photoshop, photography, and digital art to see if I can bring my dark fantasy vision and poetry to life through a darker medium. The surrealists and dark self-portraiture artists of the photoshop composite world are amazing.
Danny Bittencourt is a Brazilian visual poet whose work I’ve fallen in love with.
Another is Flóra Borsi, whose fine art self-portraits are surreal and captivating.
I hope to enter this world one day, so I’m working hard. Diving into the world of photoshop and photography was very unexpected while working on my poetry. At first it felt like I was distracting myself from the main goal of the project. Quite the opposite; this is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do since I was a teenager. I don’t want the poetry collection to just be in a book. I want each work to be a masterpiece.
Here’s to ambition and the crazy chaos of creativity.
Featured Image: © Danny Bittencourt
To be honest, I think it’s hilarious that I picked the most stressful November (for the Americans anyway) to give this challenge a go for the first time. My experience has been a juggle between caring for my mental health and simply enjoying the writing process. Distractions and interruptions have been abundant and when my mind gets too exhausted from pushing them away, all it wants to do is escape with a video game or book because my mind is too tired to plot a story. I’m having to be incredibly patient and constantly remind myself how important this is to me.
The progress I’ve made so far is significant. I won’t give up.
Comment below and tell me how your experience is going if you’re taking on the challenge and if you’re a fellow writer who isn’t writing a novel, do you have any tips to ward off stress during a writing session? I would love some pointers. (Yes, I’ve already tried take a break from or delete social media.)
My head has been stuck in the books lately and when that happens blog posts seem to gradually fade, haha. Between studying, blogging, and my other music projects, I’m missing my novel and the VPD entries again. So I thought maybe I should take NaNoWriMo seriously and see how far I get. Once Samhain passes, taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge will be intimidating for sure, but I just really miss my novel, or rather the world I’m building and my characters. It’s dark scifi-fantasy novel and the first draft was over 400 pages and over 136,000 words. Working on the second draft definitely came with some struggles (and a lot of panicking, to be honest), but that beautiful big-picture view of the entire project and the awesome information I’m retaining from my psychology classes keeps connecting the dots between my characters and all the ways I can torture-DEVELOP them. Hehehehe.
So basically, I’m really enthusiastic and can’t wait to take on this challenge along with report my daily progress. Also, my cover song and poetry reading will be finished within this week and posted in the first week of November. I hope you’ll like it and thank you for your patience. I’m getting much better at actually completing projects rather than jumping around from one to another aren’t I? Good for me. Are you a fellow writer thinking of trying out NaNoWriMo as well?
More On Writing
During my meditations this week, I accepted an important sacrifice I had to make. Sacrifice is strange to me. Sometimes I go out of the way trying to find a way where I can get everything I want without losing anything. I try to strategize, work around the way people perceive me, hoping I can […]
“A type of literary criticism that evaluates a work on the basis of the moral elements it contains and their correspondence to the accepted moral standards of the time or to those ethical principles that the critic feels should govern human life. Ideally, the moral critic, in judging a literary work, applies only those moral standards presented in the work itself or, failing that, makes his or her own beliefs clear to the reader.” – The NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms
I’m currently writing an psychoanalysis on the horror/thriller film The Platform directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia currently on Netflix. It’s almost impossible to avoid doing a kind of moral criticism not only trying to interpret the morals addressed in the work itself, but also express your own feelings about the events throughout the story (especially that ending!). Doing my best to stay within the realm of psychoanalysis, I inevitably ran into psychological terms that framed my view of the many facets of morality portrayed in this film. I have no desire to push my views on the audience, but the subjectivity that comes with psychoanalysis and the unreachable idealism of a moral critique makes it difficult to not address my views, which hasn’t been as optimistic as most analyses and reviews.
I’ll definitely share my analysis of The Platform on my Vocal profile when it’s finished.
Do you think being the ideal moral critic, where you’re focusing on the moral standards or ethics of the work itself, is possible?
Look, dreamcatchers aren’t “aesthetic” investments. The regalia of indigenous American tribes aren’t Halloween costumes. Instead, you should invest in this wonderful list of Native American brands I found on Tumblr, where the artistry is spectacular and deserves more recognition. I really love Jamie Okuma‘s work (her work is in the featured image above [click here […]
Many creatives are caught in the rat race while trying to maintain the status of being a valiant competitor just to make ends meet. Doing this almost kills us. As creative and critical thinkers, whether neurotypical or neurodivergent, being forced to follow a regimen is something we can excel to keep AND completely fail to […]
“The primary power of water is in assisting the creation of forms for the expression of consciousness, providing nutrition for their continued existence, and physical purification.” Mark Stavish – The Path of Alchemy: Energetic Healing & the World of Natural Magic (Pathways to Enlightenment) When I started practicing, I wasn’t really into using water because […]
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!
I’ve wanted to be a polyglot since I was a kid and I blame Lara Croft (the movies and the games). I was head over heels in love with her. Having her level of erudition and speaking so many languages was so attractive to me. But how do you achieve that? I’ve done the research […]
Is it weird being insecure about this? When my mother noticed I was teaching myself piano at the age of 4 or 5, I started taking lessons early and I was on the classical track with this teacher. Then my passion for marital arts led to my mother saying she could only pay for one. […]
Do you mind if I share what I’ve been reading? Still reading and enjoying! Lost Gods by Brom This has been a wonderful read so far. The narrative style is specific enough for the sake of immersion, but also jumps into the action of the story without too much wait. Traveling through Hell from the […]
The delusions surrounding are endless. Layer after layer of “I have to do this” and “I need to do that” when it’s all really a choice in the end, my choice.
To recalibrate, I remind myself that it’s not about what I should or have or need to do, but what I want to do. Responsibility is only efficient if you’re working towards an achievement you genuinely desire.
All I want is to be, to speak, be heard, to create, be seen. That only requires a gentle and persistent attentiveness to the soul.
Over this exhausting week, I took moments to praise past creations I was hesitant to share. I’ve decided to follow through with exposing them again, rekindling my music and my poetry.
The research for my dark fantasy novel series has led to a nonfiction book idea actually. It was unexpected, but I think it was a necessary concept that can be manifested into a kind of “guide for creative spirits” thing. All things in time though.
Self-trust and being grounded is so important for me right now. I want to share how refocusing on those two things over and over again is such an excellent anchor that we tend to let go of when distractions occur. I recently listened to the podcast What in the Wyrd by Kelley Harrell, which is basically about life lessons we can attain from the elder futhark aka the Nordic runes used for divination and other magical uses. The most recent episode discussed accountability and soul tending relating to the rune thurisaz, which is all about how there are many types of powers that want to survive. Depending on the power, the extent at which we try to keep that power alive can be out of desperation or integrity or whatever. That also depends on how efficient our soul tending is. Going back to my point, self-trust and being grounded keeps one’s inner power alive and burning, but sometimes us creatives forget that.
I write, I create, and I am because I’m aspiring to stop straying away from myself and forgetting my power to the point that it ends up dying. I don’t want to go back there. Never again.
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.
On Writing Atmosphere and Archetypes
…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.