Look, Ma! I’m growing creatively!

snoopy

So I’m at the Panera Friday Night Write-in (what I call Friday Night Writes), and I’ve been thinking about this blog post all day. Of course I have it in Scrivener, because words are words are words in NaNoWriMo 🙂

Every year I do this, I seem to learn something new about my creative process and growth. Once all of the stresses that had previously overtaken my creative energy were gone, I’ve really gotten in touch with my creativity and the way I approach my writing.

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NaNo idea: Acquired and Outlining!

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You guys, I am SO STOKED. Thanks so much to my friend Londa who plot-stormed with me and gave me that spark I needed to fan into a flame of inspiration. I’ve already set the story up in Scrivener and am working on an outline that expands with every person I tell about said idea.

It’s gonna be H50 fanfic, a shifter AU (because shifters are my JAM), and this is the first out of the other ideas I’ve thought about that I can see reaching 50K words. Here’s the basic premise:

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Winding up to NaNoWriMo – HALP!

Okay, folks, it’s NaNoWriMo time! I could really use your input. I like the first two ideas, but I just can’t see how I can get 50K words out of them. My old chestnut, the TW/Sherlock crossover, has promise, and I can definitely get 50K words, but the characters’ voices are very faint in my head. I haven’t watched Torchwood in over a year and, while Captain Jack is truly unforgettable, I worry that too much time has passed for people to want to read it when I eventually post it.

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall here’s the list so far.

One of the ideas is slightly NSFW but not overly so, just letting you know!

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I DID IT!

I did it

I did it!

I posted the last chapter of MWD last night. At 41,797 words, it marks a new milestone as the longest fic, solo or collaborative, that I’ve finished since I began writing fic back in the 90s (ah, X-Files).

32K or so of this fic was written in November 2015, and I started posting the edited chapters around the end of January. I reached the end of THAT content around March, and wrote the remaining 9K over the next couple months, posting a chapter every week or so.

That last chapter, however, took me a month as I worked through creative slumps, trying to find the source of my frustration with happy endings and resolving it enough to finish this story on a high note, and a few tears here and there.

I know I thanked folks in the story notes, but I want to mention them here too:

Sarah C – Without your suggestion of the story concept beyond the initial prompt, this fic wouldn’t have even gotten off the ground in November. Thank you.

Rudi – My girl. When I need a hug, a distraction, more encouragement, brainstorming ideas, or a virtual kick in the ass, you were there through it all. Thank you.

Ricechex – Your fannish enthusiasm and brainstorming and encouragement and fresh perspective into my writing and words I’d already vomited out made my story better. Thank you.

Heather B – Your encouragement meant so much, especially when I know you’re not a fan of the show. Thank you.

The fanfic workshop at 221Bcon 2016 – The unbridled enthusiasm and interest you folks showed at my story concept helped keep me writing towards that happy ending. Thank you.

The Hampton Roads NaNoWriMo crew – Without all of you, fannish or otherwise, I wouldn’t have found that creative place to get me writing again. Thank you.

I don’t plan on stopping, either! The first edited chapter of my Teen Wolf AU has been sent for beta (thanks in advance to Sally B, my very first internet friend – so glad we’re back in touch!), and I hope to started posting that in the next few weeks! This was my NaNo project from 2014, and I already have 50K written for that, so we’ll see how much of it stays in the finished product.

For all of the frustrations and creative blocks and “How the hell am I gonna get these crazy kids together?”, I love writing. I especially love writing fanfic, and I hope that inspiration continues as I watch new shows or get fresh inspiration while watching old shows.

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Rest easy, Steve. Your work here is done…for now 😀

Writing is easy, young man. Editing’s harder.

Editing

So I’ve reached the point in my writing life where I can be more critical and ruthless when it comes to editing, and I’m cutting entire scenes instead of just editing words here and there. This is a good thing!

However, I can’t help feeling the residual frustration over having to take them out. Some scenes have emotional beats! Some scenes are just sweet id-inspired moments! But they have to go.

I keep telling myself that the story has to move forward with every scene, especially when I had four chapters of buildup just to get my pairing to meet, and even then they haven’t “officially” met (this is Steve the Dog, after all). Some readers are already thinking ahead to when Steve is back to his body and he and Danny can work out their awkward feelings.  I’ve had to cut three scenes just to get it to two more chapters until Steve makes it back to his body and can try to work through how much he liked being part of that little family unit and how he feels about Danny before the exciting conclusion/denouement.

This is what happens when so many scenes in my NaNo were written during word sprints. UGH.

At least I can admit to myself that not all words/scenes are effective in the scope of the story, even if they were fun to write.  LOOK MA! I’M GROWING!

What did he say? “We’re halfway there!”

So while NaNoWriMo was having their Night of Writing Dangerously out in San Francisco, the Hampton Roads NaNo folks were having a similar event called the Epic Night of Writing Epic-ly (ENOWE).  I’d been looking forward to it because I’d fallen a little behind on my word count and needed a boost to get me writing more steadily again.

And it did! I got inspired during a word sprint and the plot twist that came out of it added an urgency to the story that it didn’t have before. I also met some cool new people and ate delicious food! My contribution to the potluck was COFFEE, tea, chai, and an assortment of dairy and non-dairy creamers.

I can’t WAIT to write at lunchtime today because I’m at a good part. I‘m less than 500 words away from 25,000 words, and hopefully this twist will give me more inspiration and take me through the bottom half of the month!

I have to write fast! I need to get this fella back to his human (and very attractive) body!

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Still writing!

Coming up on halfway through NaNo and I’m doing my best to keep the pace going!  I went to bed early a couple nights and my early lead slid back to the daily word count goal. I’m at 15.5K words and still going.

Aside from the fun premise and my excitement for the idea, I have Scrivener to thank for the way it has fundamentally changed the way I write. I’ve had to abandon so many ideas and stories because I thought I had to write things in a linear way, and if I wrote just the “good bits” without knowing how they would eventually connect, then I was a hack who couldn’t put a story together to save her life.

Then last year, just before NaNo, one of the folks in my local chapter told me that Scrivener was a free download during November and there was a discount on it after NaNo was over. I’d heard good things about it back when I was in Philly, but I was still thinking that writing had to be linear and didn’t see anything good about arranging scenes. They should already be arranged, right? When you write the story.

Things had changed. My life had changed. The way I accessed my creativity had changed. Why not give it a shot this year?

EVERYTHING CHANGED.

I was setting up scene “cards” on my virtual corkboard and would choose whichever one I wanted to write during word sprints, writing all over my timeline as the inspiration struck me. If I made a mistake in continuity? I could fix it later. This was just a first draft anyway.

JUST A FIRST DRAFT.

I know that a lot of this is because my life changed so much in a few short years, and all of the things that were going so turbulently wrong (and thus my creative things I did for fun had to be RIGHT) were gone or made right again. But Scrivener and NaNo certainly helped frame my new outlook with exactly the right things that I needed.

That’s why I hope to do NaNo every year from now on. And I’m definitely aiming to win it again for the second year in a row.

Alex O'Loughlin - crazyface

Wish me words!