The February Challenge

Tomorrow begins a month exactly four weeks long. An entire month of 2011 has gone by and I’ve barely written at all. I have goals for this year. I have to set myself deadlines and ignore the fact that they have no significance whatsoever to anyone but me. (That’s my problem with deadlines. I can be very productive if I have a real deadline, but without any concrete reason to finish the project, it doesn’t feel like a real deadline.)

I’m hoping that I can power through that problem, because I’ve set myself a goal I very much hope I can stick to. I plan to devote the month of February to Sleeping Beauty As You’ve Never Known It. My plan involved a daily writing average of 5 pages per day. There will be some days during which I will have to write more than 5 pages, because there are likely to be days when I barely have time to write at all, either due to social plans or work.

Let’s say that the average, at the end of the month, actually did come out to exactly 5 pages a day for 28 days. That makes 140 pages, at which point I’ll probably be close to finishing the story. My somewhat arbitrary deadline for having my first draft finished is Tax Day.

Somewhere during that time, I will probably need to find an unofficial editor. I am quite capable of doing my own line editing, but I would benefit a lot from an extra pair of eyes to point out any plot holes or areas of unclarity, or spots where a little more detail would go a long way. It’s hard to spot such things in your own writing. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to pay anyone until I made some money from publishing the story, so they’d have to be willing to wait a while to receive what’s due to them.

And here’s the preliminary character lineup of the moment. Some do not yet have names.

The Sleeping Beauty

Ric – the main character (Sleeping Beauty’s ‘prince’)

Adra – Ric’s mother. Pronounced with short ‘a’ sounds.

Henry – the town inkeeper.

Elli – a fairy (this is a shortened version of her name)

A Bard

 

The story has not yet been titled, but its final title will not be “Sleeping Beauty”

Ebook-ing

Once Ric, the main character in my Sleeping Beauty tale, has gotten on his way, then I will be on my way to publishing an ebook. This will not be a work of literary genius. It will be more of a well-written, high-fantasy style novel/novella with a fair bit more originality than most high fantasy tends to have. Although I’m not writing it that way, I might list it as a YA book, because it might make sense to target that group in order to sell books. There are plenty of adults of my age and even older that still read YA books. Including me, sometimes.

I have never bought or read an ebook. I’ve read fanfiction online, and various online literary mags, but so far no ebooks. I feel like doing market research in the form of acquiring some ebooks, or maybe reading available samples of titles that have sold well in that form. It will help me when I get to the editing and marketing stages…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a writer in order to make money. I’m a writer because I’m a writer. With that in mind, I’d strongly prefer to make money from my writing than not to. Screw being a misunderstood artist in my time, I’d rather have readers who appreciate my work now, and who I can talk to and be actively grateful for their admiration.

Being a Better One-Who-Writes

I created a FictionPress account so that I could post some of my writing that I didn’t want to wait for a publisher/publication to accept. It’s effective because I get to post my own work, and there are hundreds of thousands of users on the site. The problem with the FictionPress community is that so many of the users are high school students (or younger) whose writing style has not developed to the point where I can bear to read it. That means, most likely, I’m not reaching my target audience by publishing there, unless I do post my fairy tales. I need to find the sub-set of people who are talented, serious writers, but I have no idea how to do that.

 

I came across a post about Morning Pages, which is a practice for writers. Although it seems annoying to do it every morning, it sounds as if it could be extremely helpful. Morning Pages, for those who don’t know, are three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing, supposedly completed in fifteen minutes, that you do every morning as soon as you wake up.

I do think it sounds like a good idea, so I plan to start doing it. My personal adaptation of Morning Pages says that if my stream of consciousness doesn’t want to fill three pages, then I’ll do as much as I can according to that morning’s thoughts, 1 and 1/2 pages minimum, depending on how large my handwriting is that day (it varies).

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Gifts and Obligation

I think there is far too much obligation attached to gift-giving. A true gift should be given without expectation or agenda, and the receiver can be grateful for the gift even if it’s not something they want or need … and even if they don’t keep it.

Say you received a gift years ago – so long that you might not even remember who gave it to you. You were happy to receive it and for a while you used or wore it regularly. But eventually you moved on from that gift. It’s been a long time now since you’ve even given it a second thought. It was a nice gift, but not especially valuable and with nothing inherently special about it. You don’t see any reason to keep it, but you’re not sure if the person who gave it to you would be offended if you gave away the item or sold it.

So what do you do? Do you keep something out of obligation even though it is no longer important in your life?

 

How do you think people end up with boxes full of birthday and holiday cards that they never look at? And what use does that do?

What is gratitude anyway, in the context of receiving gifts? I don’t believe that it’s a promise to cherish everything you get forever. What it really is, I think, is a sense of happiness or contentment or what-have-you connected to the knowledge that someone thought of you and bought or made or acquired something especially for you. A lot of people seem much more excited to get the big, expensive presents. I think that’s because it’s something they really can’t get for themselves. For example, I got a beautiful scarf this Christmas, something that I saw and wanted so badly but would never have bought for myself, because it cost over $100. But my mom offered to get it for me as a Christmas present. It’s not special to be because it’s expensive. It’s special because someone wanted me to have this thing that I couldn’t buy for myself and wanted. However, I don’t feel any less grateful for much less expensive gifts.

So, back to the question about the gifts you no longer want to keep: What do you do?

Another Life #5

For a long time, I had known everything. I always had an answer – and always a good one. One day I took some time to look at the world. I saw the entire universe as it was known to me, a single glimpse of its vastness and senselessness and order from chaos.

And I knew then, finally, that I really knew nothing.

Pages and Pages!

I’ve moved the information from the About This Blog page onto my About The Writer page, because it made sense to me to do so…

 

I’ve also created a new page that includes the first two chapters of Helen – all I’ve written so far. Links to the original full chapter posts are included, and you can still read each chapter separately, or you can just keep scrolling down to read them both together. Much simpler.

From my end, you’ve been extremely patient with me lately and my lack of new creative posts. Thanks for that. I’ll dig up some inspiration very soon for something I can publish on the blog.

The 2011 Plan

My god… it’s so strange to think that it’s already 2011. I remember the last millenium. In some ways, I think it was better – but of course I’m looking forward, not back. Or trying to.

My Helen of Troy novel is going on hiatus. I’ve got a good base to work from, but I need to research the myths and ancient greek history a little to have a better visual of the world of Helen. Unfortunately, doing such research now would interfere with my other plans, so it’ll have to wait. For the convenience of anyone who is interested in reading or re-reading Helen, I will make a page that includes the first two chapters sometime in the next few days. And, as usual, I will point it out in a post, so you won’t be able to miss it if you try.

Speaking of Helen, I’m thinking of titling the work The Life of Helen. Have I mentioned that already? Any thoughts?

My main goal for 2011, aside from attempting to publish my Mythology Project (for which I still need to write a synopsis…), is about my fairy tales. I am going to write some more stories, polish up some others, overhaul one completely, and look into self-publishing in ebook format. It’s really time to get my writing out there, I think.

As for the blog, I’m thinking you’re mostly going to see microfiction and progress updates, as well as a few musings on random-ish subjects of my choosing.

Side note: If you didn’t see the link to September 2042 in the last post, please go check it out now! I’d love some feedback, on the fictionpress site or as a blog comment, doesn’t matter.

 

Sorry for the mostly administrative post. I’ll try to get some new creative material up very soon.