The Infernal Block

Every morning when I wake up I think, “I must write today.”

Most days I stick to this. Whether it’s a chapter, a page, or just a paragraph, I’m writing something.

The best part about this is that I haven’t written a fanfic in several months. No. Wait, that’s not true. I have. But the ones I’ve written have been short, finished products. Finished products. For me this is a huge step forward. I’ve never really finished anything I’ve tried to write.

Currently in my novel I have the following:

  • 65 pages
  • 15,085 words
  • Five chapters
  • Eight chapters outlined and developed
  • Two deaths
  • ENDING PLANNED

And I haven’t even introduced the second main characters. Well, properly introduced him. He makes an appearance in the first chapter but the rest of the novel is sort of a flashback from that point, and I wanted to properly introduce him the same way that his partner was introduced in chapter one. I’m working on it. But… it’s slow going.

It’s a process. I know it’s a process. I have always known that it’s been a process. But FUCK. I just wish this story would finish writing itself. I wish I could simply plug my brain into the computer and let the ideas transfer via USB. I’d gladly put it all together once it was on the computer, but I need it all written down first.

I’ve been sitting at my desk all day staring at my notebook. Not necessarily a blank page, but pretty darn close. Occasionally I’ll write a word here or there, but I haven’t really made much progress today.

Today. I’ve been making progress all year on this here idea. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but for me this is monumental. Like, monumentally monumental. I haven’t wanted to STOP writing this.

You know what? Screw the block. I’m going to put more words into this chapter tonight, even if they’re shit. First drafts are absolutely meant to be polished.

Advertisements

Unhinged: the Soundtrack

I have always, always believed that music is the key to unlocking life’s mysteries. I can sit in my room for hours and listen to whatever may be playing, and suddenly everything seems to make sense. Also, when I’m having trouble, or I’m at a point in my writing where I seem to be stuck, I’ll open iTunes or Spotify and try to knock the cobwebs loose with any number of playlists I already have set up.

Or… create a new playlist from the ground up.

So here it is. The carefully curated soundtrack to my latest creation, Unhinged. Now, if you click on this and see what you like go ahead and follow it; I’m always adding to it and making it as long as humanly fucking possible.

But, for now, I’m going to try and write a little more. I’m stumped as to what to do with this bridge chapter; I really don’t think any of my chapters should be bridge chapters. And yet, here I am.

Panda’s First Take On the Editing Process

I’ve never gotten far enough on a project to even want to edit it, if I’m being honest with you. It sounds awful when you say that out loud, but it’s kind of the truth. This is the one downside of the NaNoWriMo mindset. Write. Don’t misjudge yourself, and don’t go back and read what’s already been written; if you do that there’s a good chance you’ll erase a lot and you won’t get your word count in.

Well, I’m not focused on word counts of page lengths right now. I’m just focused on a coherent story, a plot that may not be easy to follow but is certainly there (or will be once I get all of the pieces together), and characters who are actually developed.

This is where I am with Unhinged. I have characters who are constantly being developed, and a story that is evolving around them. I have names and dates and situations and everything else required to make a story readable.

And I have two chapters that are now in the process of being edited by me. I’ve been reading them aloud, figuring out what needs to be adjusted by hearing it rather than reading it. I don’t know if someone told me this back in the day or if it’s something that just now makes sense, but this is kind of the easiest way to edit. That way, you can actually hear or feel when something needs to be fixed.

Anyway, this is what I’m doing right now. I know I said I’m not focused on word counts of page lengths but I have 28 pages so far, and I’m still going strong. Every time I feel blocked up by the story I do some research, or add more to the character profiles, or do something rather than just sit at my desk and feel sorry for the fact that I have writer’s block. I’m running short on time here, I don’t really have time for writer’s block anymore.

2018: Unhinged

I have 30 pages written. I haven’t been working on this project all year, but I have, typed and ready to be edited, 30 pages. I know I need to sit back and say that this is 30 pages more than I had this time last year, but at the same time? I’m on the clock here.

I set myself a goal. I wanted to have the first two chapters ready to be edited by June 15th. I have One and a half chapters finished, and I am about ready to explode. But why, Panda. Why are you ready to explode? Well, here’s the thing. I took notes. Every time I had an idea about this story I pulled out one of the reporters notebooks that my father got me for Christmas and I jotted it all down. Then, after I was done with the notes, I transferred them to the Scrivener document. I’ve been taking notes and creating an outline and doing everything that I’ve been told makes it easier to write and finish a novel.

But is it making it any easier? Well, that’s debatable. See, now that I have an idea of where the story is going, I just need it to get there. And I just cannot write fast enough.

Also, doing research for this particular story has proven difficult for me. I mean, how do you research interesting and inventive way of killing people without sending up a red flag or two? How do you learn just what a serial killer does before, during, and after they find their prey and finish the deed?

*blink*

See, now you mock me, Jonathan Lovett, but believe me. It’s a good idea. Not only is it a good idea, but I actually have some kind of an ending planned for this nonsense. I HAVE IT PLANNED ALL THE WAY TO THE END! This is not something that I’ve ever done, if I’m being honest with the entire universe. I’ve never had a clear image in my head of how a story is supposed to end, and now that I do, I’m stuck. I’m just stuck. Writer’s block is often frustrating, but this time it’s just plain fucking ridiculous.

I don’t know. I don’t know if I just need a change of scenery, or some kind of meditation, or something in between. I don’t know. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know. But FUCK do I have to figure something out.

Panda’s 2018 Writing Process

Yes, I know that it’s nearly half a month into this new year, and that this process should have been given a little more thought beforehand, but it wasn’t until I was sitting at my desk with several notebooks open (and an incipient migraine pounding at my forehead) that I decided that this was what I was going to do.

It’s simple, I understand that, but it’s what I’m going to have to do in order to get any writing done this year.

See, I’ve gone back to writing fanfic for the time being. Don’t laugh, okay? Last year I was introduced to a new fandom that has taken over my brain, and I’m enjoying using these people as characters. And between all of us, I think it’s more complicated to write a fanfic than an original piece, simply because you didn’t create the characters. Sure, you have a lot of poetic license and are free to play around with the characters at your leisure, but sometimes the characters are real people with real personalities, and, well, it can be difficult.

But not this one. This one’s been fun to write thus far. And is is being posted in chapters online for the whole world to see.

But what I have to do is, every day, I have to type up everything that’s been written by hand. That way I don’t spend entire days just trying to get caught up, rather than writing new stuff. That’s the goal for 2018.

49,917/50,000

83 words. That’s how close I was to winning this year’s NaNoWriMo. 83 words.

This year, I took a break from what I’ve been writing all year to put something down on paper that Koala and I have been tossing around for a few weeks. I decided to write a fan fiction story about a couple of fake pundits and a European rock star, though in this story they were none of these things. They were three kids in high school caught in a love triangle, and I only got about halfway through the story so I don’t know how it ends up.

If it’s anything like real life, I don’t think anyone will end up happy, truth be told. But that’s a different story for a different day, and a different blog.

I was told a few times that I didn’t care about winning, but I guess deep down I kind of did. Everyone I’ve spoken to has told me that this constitutes a win. That I was so close that it actually kind of hurts that I couldn’t get those last few words. But it was 11:58 PM on November 30th, and my brain and fingers both just… gave up.

But, like one of the tags in this entry say, fan fiction is totally 100% a real thing. I mean, I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like it’s cheating, like you’re stealing someone else’s characters in order to make your own work, but at the same time it’s kind of fun to pretend. Especially when there is no real canon for the characters that you’re using. For example, right now my muse (aka my girlfriend) has been whispering to me about this college-type story that takes place at Berkeley, and involves the hosts of Pod Save America, and The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. Now, I know for a fact that at least one of those hosts has met the Klep in real life, but I don’t know the circumstances of that at all. I can just make assumptions.

And that’s where the fan fiction comes in. It’s going to be the assumptions that I make.

Now, is it advisable to be creating something brand new when I’ve had three or four projects started up this year that may never get finished? Probably not. But that’s certainly not going to stop me from starting this. And of course I’m going to have a little help from my muse; she and I love writing together. 98% of my best stuff has come as a result of writing with her.

The Unplanned NaNoWriMo

I told myself last year that I wasn’t going to actually participate in NaNoWriMo. Of course I did, but I didn’t do it officially. I attended write-ins and hung out with my friends and it was a good time all around. Of course it was a good time; I find the whole event to certainly be worth something. But I was also told that setting such a goal for my kind of writing, for the story that I had been working on, was unrealistic. That I should just sit down and write, and if I only write a paragraph instead of several pages, that was fine. It’s not fine in the NaNoWrimo scheme of things, but in terms of actual writing it’s perfect.

Fast forward to a year later. I’m no longer in Dearborn, Michigan but rather in Buffalo, New York.

And until this very moment, I had no intention of doing NaNoWriMo. I honestly didn’t. I was just going to ignore it this year; after all, it’s a different group of people whom I heard were not nearly as into it as my Detroit Wrimos, so what’s the point?

The point? The point is to write. And, of course, when you’re living with your muse, coming up with new story ideas is something that happens, well, on a daily basis. Like, what happened tonight. I got a new story idea planted in my brain, and now? Now I’m doing my damnedest NOT to try and write it before the first of November.