wickedace: A small, purple, plush dragon (Default)
 So! After a long phase of feeling whiny about writing, this month I am going for some cheerful "actually getting it done". I've set myself a gentle 25k word goal for Camp NaNo, clubbed together with a cabin for writers from another site I hang out on, and started working on a cool idea from a couple of years ago that cake back to me recently. I'm feeling quite positive right now - the half-size goal feels much more achievable than a full 50k, and even though I've had a busy weekend, I'm sitting comfortably at 2500 words already.

As I say, the idea is one that's been kicking around for a while: it's a kind of low fantasy thing, with a setting that's a sort of trick-mirroe reflection of immediately post-WWI Britain, although I'm sure it's going to develop its own personality as I go, if only because I don't know a huge amount about post-WWI Britain (I know a lot more about post-WWII...). There are elves and dwarves and humans, but there's not really any magic, and I'm really interested in the politics of how the three species coexist. (Elves can't touch iron - have the other two agreed not to use it?)

It's kind of funny seeing how far back the roots of this story go. The main characters grew out of a conversation that was pretty much "imagine if Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were dating. And also women.", and that was a good four years ago now, I reckon. Having given the ideas time to mature in the back of my head has been good for them, I hope.

I don't really have a plan for the plot of this thing, just an idea of the first few scenes to write. By the time I've finished those, I hope to have an idea of which ones to do next, and so on, so I get through the thing in a slightly more relaxed version of Wallace and Gromit riding the model train in The Wrong Trousers...
wickedace: A small, purple, plush dragon (Default)
Much like many people, I'm sure, I find my life goes through phases. Often cyclically so.

Not very long ago, I was feeling very down on myself for not doing anything 'interesting'. I worked, I ate, I slept, (I also hung out with friends a bunch but apparently that doesn't count, according to my brain). Meanwhile, my partner is churning out a song fitted to a prescribed theme every week, in between band practises, and through him I'm exposed to a bunch of other musicians who jam or compose on the regular.

So, I made this Dreamwidth.

...and I picked up my camera and started trying to take a photo every day again, using a 30-day challenge.

...and I picked up a learn-Japanese app recommended by a friend, and started trying to learn some of that.

...and I stuck my nose back into an online writing forum I used to hang out on, and decided to get back into reviewing other people's writing on there.

...and then agreed to try doing NaPoWriMo after talking to an old friend on that forum.

...and then I come roaring down in flames? This evening I am feeling incredibly tired (and incredibly grumpy, partly due to a long-running board game we have been playing which I have not been enjoying) and down on myself (ha) for... I don't know. Trying to do too much?

There has to be a middle ground, here. I suspect I have overshot it. (I also suspect I need to get some sleep and quit moping.)

wickedace: A small, purple, plush dragon (Default)
I woke up this morning to brilliant sunshine, blue skies, and a quietly cheerful feeling of contentment and optimism. Sunny, cloudless days are like cheat codes for my mood - I find it so much easier to smile when the sky is bright and the world outside full of colour. Blue skies, yellow bricks, green leaves. (I remember one spring being surprised by the bright green of the trees around me, like I'd forgotten that nature could make that colour, during the grey of winter.)

I ate breakfast at our dining table today, looking out of our wall of windows at the brilliance outside and smiling, feeling unexpectedly upbeat for my first morning back at work after an exhausting (in a good way) holiday. It's the sunshine that does it, for sure. I look at the light, and I remember previous sunny days and the feelings that went with them. Summer term at uni, all yellow stone walls and cycling in the sunshine, picnics in the park and lazing in pub gardens. Moving to this city, catching the sunshine that poured through the bedroom window in our first flat, leaning out the other windows to look at the immaculate shared garden downstairs. Moving to this flat, almost exactly a year ago, and relishing the joy of having an actual balcony, planting garlic and watching it creep up through the soil.

I like sunshine, it's clear, which is a disappointment to my tiny emo soul. I have friends from the North, who prefer curling up in layers of blankets and hiding from grey and rainy skies ("it's easier to layer up than cool down!"), but I cannot stand the cold (unless it is proper cold, with snow, and I am skiing in it), and when the sun comes out I almost can't help but smile. Bring me summer nights, pleasantly warm, and clear enough to pick out the few stars that make it past the city lights. Bring me lazy summer weekends, cold cans of Coke and sizzling barbecues. Bring me walking home from work in the daylight, through the splash of green that is the little park between office and station, and the smell of the plants that strive there. Bring me pub gardens and picnics, and the friends to share them with.

Bring me sunshine.

wickedace: A small, purple, plush dragon (Default)
I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I had a writing idea! I am making... slow progress with it, but more than no progress. It's a bit like...
  • Spent a few days enthusiastically writing up the flashy action scene that was the original seed of the idea
  • Started trying to write a beginning for the story, character introductions and that kind of stuff, but didn't really know what I was doing with it
  • Took a break for a while because all the handwriting was making my wrist flare up
  • Came back to things, having given up on the idea of "starting at the beginning" for now. Wrote a couple of bits of dialogue that would go after the flashy action scene instead
  • Tried describing the idea to a friend at the pub, and ended up working out how to flesh out one of those bits of dialogue a bit more. (Haven't written this down yet, but it reassures me that the idea isn't dead yet.)
I haven't been writing this weekend, but I will probably try and tease out a little more of the idea on the train on Monday morning, or some point this week.

Plus, a stuff-I-read roundup! Just the one book this time:

Carry On, Rainbow Rowell. The premise for this book is a bit silly - it's an original piece of fiction based off fictional fan-fiction of a fictional piece of fiction, which was key to the plot of Rainbow Rowell's previous work of fiction, Fangirl. But, it's very good! Fangirl was a story about a girl who is very active in the fandom of a fictional Harry-Potter-alike, Simon Snow; Carry On is a final year Drarry-fic equivalent for the Snow universe. Rowell does a supreme job of making the whole thing feel familiar, even though we've not followed Simon through all the previous years of school like with Harry. (I think part of this is exactly because she's using the Chosen One story and fic tropes that I'm familiar with - but it works very well, and I found it enjoyable.)

wickedace: A small, purple, plush dragon (Default)
I woke up today with a dream in my head that felt like the spark of a story idea.

It's been a while since that happened, so I snatched up pen and paper on getting out of bed, and scribbled down everything about the dream I could remember. Being a dream, it naturally didn't make a whole lot of sense in the cold light of day, but there was a solid core at the centre that I thought I might be able to work into something.

I've been turning over the idea all day while driving my friend back and forth from IKEA, and I started trying to actually write some of a story from it this evening. There's definitely a risk that this will fizzle, along with most of the other ideas I've had in the last couple of years, but I'd like to try anyway.

It's not a particularly well-formed idea yet, but the essential items are:
  • Romance plot along Pride & Prejudice lines. If I actually make something out of this, I'm sure the plot will evolve enough to be less of a copy, but for now I think basing things off an existing work will be useful in keeping me from getting bogged down over plot questions and help me actually get a complete story together.
  • Magic! I have a particularly vivid image of the heroine, skirts swirling, flinging out a spray of sparking fire-blades.
  • Image-based magic, and the idea that, unless properly protected, someone's image can be used to work magic on them. The better the likeness, the stronger the effect, so that full-length portrait is more dangerous than someone's stick-man doodle. (Lots of fun worldbuilding questions come out of this one: why do people still have paintings, then? Presumably lessons in artistic skills are restricted? etc.)

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