On NaNoWriMo and Writing

I did a  post last year regarding NaNoWriMo and my current projects, so I figured it was fitting that I do something similar this year. While I have never actively used the NaNoWriMo website to keep track of my progress, I still do participate in the monthly event. My goal is never 50,000 in a month. It’s usually just to finish whatever it is that I am working.

shield-nano-blue-brown-rgb-hiresStarting  in September, I began revisions on THE FORGER. These past 2 1/2 months have been as challenging as they were fun. The opportunity to expand and improve upon my world building skills is always welcome, and I got to learn even more about my characters.

I’m very near the end of these revisions. I could almost call them half rewrites, to be honest. I ended up rewriting probably 20% of the novel, with a few more additions to come.

My reasoning for the aforementioned is thus:

-I wanted to redo the magic system, to make it more believable, and I think that’s something I achieved

-I wanted to remove the numerous ticking clocks I had in the novel. To give you an idea of what I mean, I had several instances where the characters were waiting around for a specified amount of time to pass before they could actually progress toward their end goals. That is been thoroughly fixed.

The biggest, most rewarding part of the entire process was getting the opportunity to turn my antagonist into a character I could actually root for, no matter how malevolent it was. I was able to give this character a past—a past that allowed me to incorporate elements from my previous project, SEWN FROM SEEDS.

Once I’ve finished the last thirty or so pages, I’ve still got a new prologue and two interludes to write. When all is said and done, I can confidently say that this is a book you’re all going to see on shelves in bookstores.

 

Recommended Reading:

Gardens of the Moon, by Steven Erikson

Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection, by Brandon Sanderson

The Language of the Night, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Duskfall, by Christopher Husberg

Writer Resources 7: Jason Stephenson & #Meditation

As writers we often times have several story ideas floating around in our heads. In addition, we carry all those little character and world building thoughts, leading to a pretty cramped space. As people we can sometimes feel stressed, whether its a product of our writing, our day jobs, or something else entirely.

For the past couple of months, I often times found myself carrying around extra weight mentally. It stemmed from my frustration with my writing and my day job. As a result, I found it hard to press through the revisions I was in the middle of doing (and they were quite extensive). No matter how much I worked out physically (often my go to form of stress relief) or tried to relax that mental wall remained.

And then, a couple of days ago, I had a thought: why not try meditation? I know several people who do it and they have nothing but good things to say about it. It’s something that’s always interested me, but up until this point I never had the courage to actually give it ago. So I did, and it was enlightening and profound. When I finished my first meditation I felt more at peace with myself mentally than I had in years; I was able to see things from an entirely new perspective. It allowed me to clear the hurdles that were preventing me from simply writing as well as go about my day with a more positive outlook.

Another reason why I love meditation (I’ve elected to do it on a daily basis) is the vivid imagery that it evokes through music and spoken word. I follow Jason Stephenson’s YouTube channel. This was the first video of his that I watched:

peace

Meditation is not for everyone, writer or otherwise. But nonetheless I encourage you to give it a try, especially if you find yourself stressed and in need of a breather from the daily chaos of life.

A Reflection: #AmReading & #AmWriting Epic Fantasy

This is something I’ve thought about for a while. I’ve been writing fiction for the better part of thirteen years. I can recall the first few books I wrote (or attempted writing). It was a series called Fenix Griffon (teenage Luke was terrible with names). Its first iteration was a horrendous portal fantasy that ripped off Harry Potter far more times than it distinguished itself from the latter. The second attempt, though? Not so bad. Still very amateurish writing, but then again, that’s how all writers start out: as amateurs. Continue reading “A Reflection: #AmReading & #AmWriting Epic Fantasy”

Compelling Antagonists

Compelling characters make a story go. For a while now, I’ve written about and referenced Ursula Le Guin and “The War Against,” highlighting my desire to tell stories that focus on the evolution and make up of my characters as opposed to some war they have been fighting for ages. In my novel The Forger, my protagonist, Theailys An, is tasked with stopping a creature called the Darkener from releasing the Origin and ending the world.  Continue reading “Compelling Antagonists”

When Story Rejection is Awesome

Yesterday I sent my novella THE WALKER AND THE DOE to Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine. Today I received this, a rejection:

“Thank you for giving me a chance to read “The Walker and the Doe.” I liked the way this started by putting us right in the present moment of the narrative, and I thought there was an interesting story with good worldbuilding and details in here, but it also had structural and pacing problems for me, and overall it didn’t win me over. I’m going to pass on this one for F&SF, but I wish you best of luck finding the right market for it and hope that you’ll try us again in the future.”

As a writer, this is the type of rejection I look forward to. The editor told me what they liked about the story as well as what wasn’t working, which allowed me to go through and polish the story where necessary. I’ve put a lot of work into this novella and it’s probably my favorite story out of everything I’ve written. The fact that the editor of one of the oldest and most revered speculative fiction magazines took the time to provide me with such great feedback only increases my confidence in this story.

Writer Resources 6: Writing Groups

Welcome to Writer Resources 6, my long overdue post about writing groups and their importance. For many years, when I was first starting out, I harbored a great aversion to writing groups. My mom would always suggest that I go to one in Los Angeles, as that was the closest one to me at the time, and I remember very clearly saying, verbatim, “I prefer to write by myself.” Continue reading “Writer Resources 6: Writing Groups”

What Music Stokes Your Creative Fire?

I’m writing this in lieu of the Writer Resources post I’m now three weeks late on (I promise it’s coming!). Music is a valuable tool for writers, I think; for artists in general. I listen to it when I draw and I listen when I write, or when I’m simply looking for inspiration for a story or I need that bit of motivation or encouragement. It’s a constant in my life, whether I’m walking or driving somewhere, and I wanted to share my personal favorites. Continue reading “What Music Stokes Your Creative Fire?”