Struggling and World Building

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Lately, I think we’ve all been struggling with the effects of COVID-19 and the constant drive to keep our heads above water. So, this week’s #WritingProgressWednesday is focusing on bringing myself back together.

My husband is still working at Target during this whole disaster. I’ve been lucky enough to have him home for the last week on what would have been our anniversary vacation, but it’s not quite the same. He goes back to work on Saturday. We’ve made him masks to wear, just in case. He deals with a lot of people every day.

I spent the better part of March panicking over COVID-19, but I’m not there anymore. I’m sad. Tired. Unable to process the numbers. Florida is a growing train wreck, and I’m never quite sure what’s going to burst into flames next. Every press release is worst than the last.

Needless to say, depression has pulled me away from the writing that I’ve been desperately trying to get back to. It’s always a struggle–the depression and anxiety–trying to balance when I feel best and where my focus can be applied, if I have any focus to give at all. The virus has amplified these issues, but it’s not like they weren’t already there.

So, I’ve got over 200 pages of ms to edit and restructure. I have the same six chapters left to finish the primary story line in the first draft of PSCW. I’m pulling information I wrote on the fly and creating a world building bible for that world–though it really does need a lot of fleshing out. I’m missing so much, it’s a little intimidating.

For now, with the world building and the work I have ahead of me with PSCW and Fae’s Light, I have plenty to work through. I just need to find the drive to push through my issues to get to the end of it.

How are you all handling isolation or continuing to work? Stay safe. ❤

Fae’s Light – #FictionFriday

I’m a day late, and the last half of chapter one is subpar. Enjoy.

 

Chapter One

Most of the circus crew were shut up in their wagons, if they had them, grateful not to be left to the volatile winds in the flimsy caravan tents. Elysia warmed her hands by the tiny wood stove at the front of her wagon, rubbing them together to encourage the heat to bloom. The wagon creaked and rocked as the wind battered against it, torrents of rain pelting the worn wooden vehicle from the cliff side.

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Shooting for a New Day Job & Friday

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Writing took a bit of a back seat this last week, unfortunately. I’ve had a handful of doctor’s appointments to deal with some issues that have built up over the last year. It’s been hell on my anxiety, but I feel like, from a health standpoint, I’m pushing in the right direction.

On top of the doctor’s appointments, I’ve gone through two job interviews for a pet store, with a third this afternoon. It’s been a very busy, but fairly positive week, as long as I’m looking past the anxiety hellpit that follows me around from time to time.

FAE’S LIGHT chapter one is undergoing a quick edit and reworking, and will be up on Friday. Pretty short post today. Stay tuned for Fiction Friday. ❤

FAE’S LIGHT and Other Updates

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Last week, I talked about PSCW and the last six chapters. I haven’t finished up yet, but I’ve done a fair bit to flesh out the magic system in that world. It needed rules, and parameters. The end result is going to be much more satisfying! That is my downfall with NaNoWriMo novels. I tend to get wrapped up in the story, but I don’t do quite enough world building before hand.

Fae’s Light actually started a few months ago as a project to help me build my world organically. It takes place quite some time after PSCW, and follows a half-Fae man named Tyr on his quest to free himself from the Fae. It’s very episodic, at the moment, and I’m going to start posting them on Fridays. While it won’t be PSCW directly, you’ll get a glimpse into that world!

Beyond Tyr’s adventures, I’ll be working on finding a new layout for the blog. I think this one has run its course. And, for some reason, the header isn’t displaying correctly anymore, so it’s got to go! Not really sure about a color scheme yet, but we’ll see.

For the first time, I don’t have anything really lined up for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Is anyone else participating? What are you working on?

Six Chapters Left!

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I’m adding a weekly element to the blog! Writing Progress Wednesday! I probably don’t make enough progress, but I’m hoping this bumps me into moving a little more quickly on certain projects.

In any case, I’m happy to announce that Pirate Selkie Civil War (which still has no actual title, and whose working title isn’t really even accurate anymore) has only six chapters left in draft one! It’s a big deal, since I’ve struggled with my fiction for several years now. PSCW was a project I took on as something fun and unusual to alleviate the creative block I’d hit with Amity Dawn, and it turned into something much bigger.

Amity Dawn is still sitting on my hard drive, collecting dust and being a mess, but I’ll get back to it one day. I guess I just lost my handle on it, and I needed to set it aside. Hopefully, some distance brings a little clarity.

But, right now! Pirates and selkies and faeries are making a full scale mess in another world, and I need to handle that.

So, I’ve got a sailor and her crew trying to fight a bastard king, who is burning through the country trying to find the key to the Fae realm. The Fae aren’t going to take that lying down, and I’ve got six chapters to resolve it with. Then, it’s onto hole-fixing.

Aside from PSCW, I’ve got some drabble bits going, but nothing concrete. Just trying to keep it fun for the time being!

What are you working on?

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Hey, everyone!

I spent NaNoWriMo trying to write a story that was entirely within my comfort zone, and I wasn’t feeling it. It felt boring and trite, and I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that I wasn’t challenging myself. I wasn’t even feeling my own voice coming through the writing.

I didn’t care about it.

My characters were lifeless. My setting was undeveloped. My conflict was muddled and unclear. But it was fantasy. It was the first genre I had ever loved writing; the first feeling that I actually loved a craft as more than just a hobby. Fantasy was once what defined my writing.

This last novel wasn’t something I felt in my soul anymore, and it broke my heart. Today, I want you do what I didn’t have the foresight to do!

I want you to step out of your comfort zone!

Write Outside of Your Genre

It doesn’t have to be something long. It doesn’t even have to be something you plan to publish or submit. All you need to do is pick a genre you’ve never written before, and give yourself room to breathe.

You can outline it! I’m not a pantser by any stretch of the imagination, and, if you aren’t either, I encourage you to outline to your heart’s content! This isn’t an exercise in off-the-cuff writing, so don’t panic.

Once you decide on the genre you want to test out, find your conflict. Or, if you start with characters, discover who they are and what drives them. However you begin, get yourself started! Don’t be afraid, because this is just an exercise. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even like the process in this new genre!

When I need a refresh period in another genre, I generally choose characters I’m already familiar with. I’ve written romance and feel-good material for my Amity Dawn characters. I jumped into mystery (poorly; I did not enjoy it) with characters from Glass Dragons.

Every new genre brings its own experience, and you can learn from all of them.

Write Something Controversial

Do you have something to say about a current event? DAPL? The election? Ghirardelli vs Lindt?

Fear can often drive us to keep our mouths shut on things we’re afraid will attract conflict. The internet is the perfect place to get chewed up and spit out for having an opinion, but I encourage you to hold your ground! Nothing was ever accomplished by keeping silent.

Once you have your story/blog post/what-have-you written, share it. Share it! Seriously. It can be so empowering to make yourself heard. It gives you a voice and it lets others know that it’s okay to stand with you or against you! It’s okay to feel something!

Overcoming your fear of having a voice by expressing yourself can lead to all sorts of unlocked inspiration. The fear of writing what you mean and writing what you feel is pushed aside, and you can experience a new confidence in your subject matter. Don’t be afraid to be opinionated.

Invite Someone to Read Your Work

It’s scary to open yourself up to criticism, but, remember, criticism teaches us how to improve. We can’t grow if we stay in our own little bubble. Reading, writing, and experiencing new things are all amazing ways to grow as a writer, but it’s allowing others to tell us what’s missing that gives us perspective on our own work.

Allow a beta reader into your Writer Bubble. Let them read your work, praise what’s good, and question what needs attention. We can only see so far into our work. We know what we meant to say in that line that’s awkwardly worded. It doesn’t read awkwardly to us!

Did you use too many commas in that sentence? Did your protagonist just do something totally uncharacteristic? It won’t make us cringe if we read it with writer-eyes. A beta can catch that for you.

It doesn’t mean your novel isn’t your masterpiece. It just means every masterpiece goes through a draft period; a period where it needs tweaking and molding until it resembles the vision in your head. The value of a second set of eyes can be absolutely priceless.

Be Authentically You

I’m not saying you need to incite dissension in your readers. If you’re a professional and quiet person, there’s nothing wrong with keeping things light and encouraging! If you’re a little more abrasive, that’s okay, too. I have a tendency to be that way. I have strong opinions and I like to voice them—not for the sake of argument, but to connect to other people who might feel alone in their views.

Regardless of who you are, what you believe or do for a living, where you find your peace, always be authentically you.

Battle on!
Kit

Goals! A New Year Approaches

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This is not a New Years resolutions post. I don’t generally do the resolutions thing, but I think it’s important to have goals all year round. I’ve been fiddling with blog post prompts lately, and one of the prompts that crops up the most often is a “goals” post. All in all, the post is meant to outline your goals and any steps you’ve put into place to complete them.

I feel like you all know me well enough to know that I’m an organizational nightmare. My goal-setting skills are trash.

I do have goals, though!

Naturally, I want to publish my sci fi work. I’m getting there. School and work in the last few years have kept my creativity and writing time to a minimum, but I’m slowly breaking away from that. My degree program will resume next summer and I’m currently freelancing exclusively! More time!

I don’t want to focus on that, though.

My ultimate goal is to open a writing retreat for writers of all skill levels, and make available a set of writing workshops that will help attendees develop the skills they need to make their writing what they want it to be! Ideally, this will be a fantastic source of networking and support for budding and experienced writers—something that I experienced during my formative years as a writer. We’re always growing, and I want to build a place to reflect and encourage that.

A fellow writer, Brooke D. Wheeler, and I have this super-plan to buy a barn in the middle of nowhere and make it our art-life. We’ll write and craft and live happily. It’ll be remarkable.

From a business perspective, though, I’d love to put together a bed-and-breakfast-style retreat for writers—artists, too, if they’d like! I don’t have steps in place to bring this into reality at the moment, but, when Jared and I settle down in a place that we intend to be a bit more permanent, I’ll be getting to work on that business plan. Should be about a year from now, if everything goes according to plan.

The Draws of the Writer’s Retreat

Since 2010, I’ve made it my passion and my mission to help other writers with their creative goals. The rewards of seeing someone’s name in print when you were able to be there for them during the dark times of that work is so rewarding. It’s knowing that you could help in someone else’s happiness and success.

Art is hard. It doesn’t matter what type of art it is. Writing, drawing, composing—they all come with unique challenges, and sometimes it’s near impossible to overcome them alone. The art may be solitary, but the act of developing your art doesn’t have to be. Now and then, a little social nudge of love and encouragement can make all the difference.

It’s sitting in a room with a few other people also struggling with their passion, and knowing that you’re not alone. It’s knowing that the person next to you, who you respect or whose art you admire, also has moments when they hate their work. It’s knowing it happens to all of us. It’s easier to love the work and push through the negative feelings when you have a support system.

The Business of a Writer’s Retreat

This is probably where I’m going to get hung up.

I need to buckle down on the technical and business-centered aspects of the writer’s retreat, and I’m not sure how. For this reason, it’s probably good that Jared isn’t looking for us to settle into a new place until next August. I need time to research, plan, and put together a concrete set of ideas, funding, and location possibilities. It will probably wind up being somewhere around New Smyrna Beach area. It’s nice and we’ll be close by!
At least for starters. ❤

Oh, guys, just talking about it is exciting me! Maybe I’ll get going on that business plan sooner than I expected!

Battle on!
Kit

What are your goals as a writer or artist? How do you view the business aspects of who you are?