In which the author is moving with tiny, but steady steps

612 words today. Just too damn tired to put very much effort and concentration into writing. Which means I’m about 700 words behind right now, but hey, that’s nothing I can’t catch up with by the weekend. Watch me. I’ll do it.

Today’s favorite words is gloating.

And we loves dialogue. Yes we does 😀

Nanowrimo 2008 – Day 1

Chapter Six is finished and was a lot of fun to write. Lots of fun new stuff happens, Ares is a bitch, Damian is hilarious and hey, Raeyn shows up too! I’m really happy that things have gotten rolling again. Let’s hope it’ll stay that way and the private shit will back off for a while.

By the way, did I mention how much I love how Ares is in some sort of constant denial right now? It’s rather hilarious.

Anyway, 2500 words. I am pleased 🙂

Random profanity screening ;)

Yep, screening the first 66 pages (Prologue through Four) of Light gives me 34 hits on ‘fuck’ and its various compounds, 26 hits on ‘Gods’ and only 9 for ‘shit’.

What do we learn from this?

Ares doesn’t curse enough.

But then again that’s Damian’s job.

Anyway, yes, I’m getting the hang of writing again (die, University Stress, die!) and I’m pleasantly surprised. Yes, Damian can have unexpected moments of sudden cute-ness. Awww.

Writing Characters of Opposite Genders

I’m pretty sure we’ve all had that experience: We read an author who attempts to write about characters of the opposite gender than theirs and they horribly and often ridiculously fail. Now as a female writer who usually writes from male PoV’s I’ve always been a little paranoid of said failure to convey an authentic male voice. Honestly between the first and the second draft of Light I feel like I’ve improved a lot in this aspect, but I’m sure there is the one or other section that doesn’t come across as entirely authentic (can I get some more male readers to take a look at let’s say the first three chapters, pretty please? Volunteers, just drop me an email and I’ll be more than happy to send you some sample chapters!)

Of course there’s the question of what exactly qualifies as an authentic portrait of a male/female voice.

Personally I’m not a believer in gender-stereotypes and don’t think that they are what define gender. When I’m looking at who some authors fail or accomplish to create a realistic picture of a character obviously not of their own gender I often find that those characteristics are much more subtle than general stereotypes. It definitely isn’t easy to do and as a writer I often find it hard to know if I succeed at giving a realistic image of my male protagonists. The fact that I’m writing about gay/bisexual male protagonists who are occasionally introspective only adds to me trying to write about them in a realistic fashion. Seriously, nothing bugs me more than the fact that many people automatically associate a certain degree of femininity with gay/bisexual men and the other way around with women. Needless to say that I’m pretty much expecting the sexuality of my protagonists to put off some readers, but that’s their karma I suppose 😉

Anyway, I’m curious: What would you say is characteristic for a realistic male/female voice and what experiences did you make writing characters of the opposite gender? Comment away 😀

In which the author is incredibly sleepy and droopy-eyed…

Yes, it’s been an incredibly tired day (what was that about trying to make it to bed a little earlier tonight? *checks clock* never mind…)

Anyway, today’s word count: 694 and the first Ares scene of Five is finished 🙂 I’m actually quite happy with it and once again Damian just gets pissed. I wonder why :p

Right now I just really looooove rewriting. I feel like I’m more and more getting the hang of things like my chararacters’ voices, the general atmosphere and shiny main plot events 😀

And with writerly happiness I shall venture off to bed now.

Procrastination: A Writing meme

Okay, so I’m sitting here ready to start working on the rewrite of Five and what do I see? Yes, I tend to randomly run across meme’s at times. This one’s from Writing on Wednesdays

Do you write fiction or non-fiction?  Or both?

Definitely fiction. Urban fantasy in this case 8)

Do you keep a journal or a writing notebook?

This blog is my writing journal, but other than that I have two notebooks, one of the first book of what I’ll try to make into a duology, though it might turn out to be a trilogy in the end. We’ll see. The other one is for book 2 of the same series, which I’m planning to kick start during this year’s NaNoWriMo.

If you write fiction, do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing? Do you find books on plotting useful or harmful?

I usually start out with a general idea, though my characters and their backgrounds/personalities tend to be there first. In the end plot and character are totally inter-related and there’s no way to do one without the other. If you’re asking me whether I keep super-detailed outlines? No. My notebooks are full of general thoughts and ideas that often are the skeleton of a chapter, but the actual writing itself often happens quite spontaneously. And no, I don’t know how the series will ultimately end yet. I have a vague idea, but that’s about it. It’ll come 😉

I read a couple of different books on writing and honestly, I’m pretty neutral about them. They usually give you some tips and hints, but you’re often just as well off without them. If you’re looking for some structural help, books like Make a Scene or How Not To Write A Novel are definitely helpful – and the latter one is just a hilarious read, but honestly I’d be writing the same way as I am now if I’d never read them. In the end my own inner critic as well as the help and advice of fellow critics helped me to figure things out and work on an overall improve of my writing.

Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?

It depends. There are days when I constantly think about the novel and just can’t get a scene out of my head until I sit down, but then again there are days like that when I simply don’t get to sit down and focus on writing. Right now I’m trying to work on the novel every day. I don’t have a set word limit, but I try to get something down every day to stay on track.

Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time? .

Again, it depends on the day. Sometimes I manage to get some writing done during work or finish a chapter faster than expected, but I often spend a couple hours straight in front of the laptop. Of course there’s internet to distract me, but it usually works really well.

Are you a morning or afternoon writer?

Honestly, I’m a NIGHT writer. Don’t know why, but there’s some pretty awesome stuff that you can crank out of my caffeinated brain at 3 AM and thereabouts. But then again I pretty much write whenever I get to it. which is often at night, but sometimes in the morning or afternoon at work.

Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?

I’m really particular about having the right music to write with. Sure, I can write in silence and I really like to sit in my favorite coffee shop and just write a few hours away, but I definitely like to write with music. Current favorites are anything by Seether or Apocalyptica, mostly whatever suits the mood of the scene I’m writing.

Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)

Uh. Laptop. I loooooove my little 13″ carry-everywhere laptop and not I bought a little tiny flashdrive that goes wherever I go. Yes, O Laptop I love thee!

Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One?  Or do you let the story evolve as you write?

See my answer to question 3? Honestly, I know jack-shit about the ending when I start a novel. And yes, not knowing how it will ultimately end sometimes drives me nuts. Ah the woes of a writer’s life!

Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?

No. Really. If it would I’d write cheesy vampire novels without any content or bad language.

INSTEAD I’m having fun with what is hopefully turning into publishable material: Dystopian futuristic setting with a medieval backlash, two gay/bisexual protagonists who are really quite unsympathetic at times and really don’t want to get involved in issues like politics or moral justice and in the end their suffering is long and emotionally traumatizing and oh so infinitely pointless (as far as book one is concerned at least)

And yes, since you ask, I prefer my characters to be complex, edgy and morally ambiguous. Oh and they have motivations other than being eternally in love with Brainless Hero of the Godlike Looks (TM) You get the idea. If you’re looking for mainstream-adherent fantasy, Light is the wrong book to read. Though of course I’d want you to buy and read it anyway :p

Editing/Revision – love it or hate it?

Right now I love it. I love how much this is improving and how much new stuff I’m adding to make the novel so much better. I’m really hoping to get most if not all of the second draft done by the end of the year. It would be awesome. And then the third draft/polishing comes 😉

Worldbuilding: Illyrian Pantheon and Calendar

‘Officially’ the Empire of Light is a monotheistic culture, mainly believing in Helos the God of Light, whom the City of Helos is named after. However, the Illyrian year follows the four major Gods and Goddesses. There are no months as such, but the year is divided by its seasons:

Spring = Gaea (Goddess of Dawn and Life)

Summer = Helos (God of Sun and Light)

–> Summer Solstice: Sun Dance (celebration of the Longest Day, celebrated on the day of the First of Helos)

Fall = Artume (Goddess of the Moon)

Winter = Nys (Goddess of Night and Darkness)

–> Winter Solstice: Darkest Night (the celebrations on this day are similar to our modern Carnival etc., celebrated on the nigh of the First of Nys)

Minor Gods and Godesses (officially their cults are all but extinct, but some of their Temples survived the Unification Wars):

Eyrenna – Peace

Aeres – War

Naegar – Water

Aerya – Air

Phaeron – Healing

Merwyn – Spirit

Except for Merwyn, who is commonly shunned by the Empire for his supposed connection to the Curse, all the other minor deities are just minor references in the novel. I’m trying to keep religion relatively simple. The Illyrian year completely focuses on Helos who is the only male among the four major deities and is perceived as superior all-uniting God by the Empire of Light. While Sun Dance on the First of Helos is generally a bright festival of Light, Darkest Night is celebrated to defy the darkness of winter.