July is over, and with it my latest attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo. Technically, I didn’t win. In fact, I only got about a quarter of the way through my original goal of 20,000 words. It would be so easy to be discouraged by that, particularly as I know I can write more. Or rather, I know that in a similar amount of time, I have written far more than I did just now. So, yes, by that metric, this last month wasn’t a particularly resounding success.
However! There’s another metric. Specifically, the metric of how much I wrote this month compared to the last few months. And by that measure, this month was a smashing win. I averaged over 100 words a day. I made progress on mapping out a story I’ve been wrestling with (in one form or another) since last November. I knocked a bit of rust out of my writing gears. And for now, I’m happy to count that as a step forward.
Keep an eye out for some excerpts in the next week or so!
As most of you have probably noticed, I enjoy a good sci-fi show, which has led, most recently, to a rewatch of the Fringe series. Which, by the way, if you haven’t had a chance to watch it, you absolutely should. The thing is cleverly written with fantastic characters and ridiculously convoluted plots and brilliant relationship dynamics, and the thing happily bears multiple re-watches. Granted, I may be biased, as it’s one of my favorite shows ever, but what can I say? There’s a reason for that.
It’s also, as anyone who’s watched it can tell you, a spiritual descendant of the X-Files. I mean, heck, just look at the opening sequences of both shows. And, you know, the premises in general: FBI agents, weird events, extensive lore…
But the different lore of the different shows is also one of the things that separates the two, and part of why I actually prefer Fringe to the X-Files (sorry, not sorry!). Most people who are familiar with the X-Files will admit, grudgingly or otherwise, that the show’s lore episodes are some of the weakest. They tended to be overly complicated, and over the course of the entire show, rather short on answers and fulfilling story arcs. Don’t get me wrong! The X-Files is still great! The characters, Mulder and Scully’s interactions, the interesting ideas played with in several of the episodes; I remember one in particular that had me in hysterics the entire time because seeing the same story (with vampires, no less) told from both Mulder and Scully’s perspectives and with all the over-the-top caricatures that came with was brilliant, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.
But while I can’t immediately think of any singular Fringe episodes that stand out in the same way, the overarching lore is so much stronger. Maybe it’s just for the simple fact that the series does actually answer the questions that it raises. In fact, the writers did a fantastic job of going back to the beginning of the show and tying in all sorts of things that would have been plenty easy to just forget. Plus, it has one of my favorite love stories ever, and that never hurts. (Peter and Olivia forever!)
I think, simply put, the thing that I like best about the lore from Fringe is that it’s all part of a bigger story that the writers want to and do tell. And then, when those stories are finished, they move on to new ones. For the X-Files, it always felt more like the writers chose to add more twists and to dive deeper down the rabbit hole instead of developing a true conclusion, which unfortunately resulted in the show feeling like it was avoiding finishing the story.
As a writer, I think that’s something important to keep in mind. Stories end. They have a shape to them, a rhythm. And a good writer knows that. In fact, if I wanted to be melodramatic about it, I’d even go so far as to say that it’s a promise that each author makes their audience: I’m going to tell you a story, and I’m going to get it to the end. And I’m going to give it closure.
I didn’t used to get excited about writing more than one day in a row. But oh, how the might have fallen. Because I am excited that I’ve written at least a little bit for two days running, and that’s two more days in a row than I’ve done in longer than I’d care to think about. Thank God for sisters: they make awesome motivational speakers/writing coaches/literary border collies.
Can I just say that I have some writing related regrets? Well, just the one, really. The one where I let myself fall out of my daily writing habit. Even though I know it’s so much harder to start again than it is to just keep going; static friction versus kinetic friction and all that. And even though I had perfectly sensible–and possibly even responsible–reasons for focusing on other parts of life. And even though I know that I’m human, and therefore possessed of only finite capabilities, and that burnout is a real thing.
But as I sit here and stare at my painfully blank screen, it’s hard not to think that maybe I should have just slogged through. And kept writing every day. Because maybe it would be easier to be writing right this moment.
But, hey. I’ve been here before. Maybe all I need to do is just start writing again. And to start doing it every day again. It can’t hurt, that’s for sure!
Let it here be recorded that sisters are dangerous. Sisters, you see, talk you into things like Camp NaNoWriMo. Which, come to think of it, is just another way of saying that sisters are the sort of people who keep you responsible.
In other words, one of my own dear sisters convinced me to try my hand at Camp NaNo again this year. On the one hand, I didn’t need that much convincing. But even if I had been disinclined to try for it again, that would have required me to say no to the challenge put forth to me in a letter written in invisible ink. And you just don’t say no to something like that.
Check back in next time to see just how much this endeavor is kicking my butt! Ha!
So, apparently, I’ve had this blog for about three years now. Which catches me by surprise, because for some reason, I’m dead certain it’s been more like two. And honestly, I’m actually kinda proud that it’s still going– that I’m still going with it. Because as I think I’ve mentioned before, this is not the first blog I’ve tried to keep. It’s just the first one that didn’t vanish into oblivion within a matter of months, if not weeks. Chalk one up for having an actual goal in mind, however vague.
Hey, all. Despite my quietness here, including a skipped post last week, I’ve still been writing. Slowly, but writing nonetheless. And in true form, I’ve been having trouble sticking to one project. In a first, though, I haven’t been jumping from one novel/short story project to the next, but rather I found myself doing my best to put together what amounts to an epic poem.
You see, as often happens, I got a new idea. But as not so often happens, this one wouldn’t fit with prose. At all. Just flat out refused. So, in between yelling at Tanner and Miranda and trying to get them to do what I want them to do– a losing proposition at the best of times– I’m trying to remember how to write poetry, complete with meter and rhyme schemes and a whole lot more structure than I usually need to worry about. And you know what? It’s really fun.
So, the other day I was chatting with my sister/writing buddy, and I started explaining my general premise for The Dalton Job. And, to my surprise, I found that I actually did a relatively good job at explaining it, complete with a few details and the basic gist of the plot. And to my even greater surprise, I didn’t finish and feel like the whole thing was more plot hole than actual plot.
It’s a high bar, I know. But honestly, I’m really excited. Because a bunch of what I was talking about was stuff I’d been grappling with for some time that didn’t seem to quite make sense. I’ve still got a long ways to go, of course, and a basic plot treatment that doesn’t shriek inconsistencies is a long, long way from a complete book, but it’s definitely progress. And that’s nice to see.
You’d think I would be, by now. Goodness knows I’ve had more than enough opportunity for it. Heck, even as far back as high school, we got up at 5am five days a week so we could do our chores and then go into town with our dad. And these days, I work shifts that start at 4am (or 5am when I’m lucky), which means my body has resigned itself to believing that 3am is a sensible wakeup time.
But I’m still not a morning person.
The truth of the matter is that despite the blatant impracticality of it, I still prefer staying up late as opposed to getting up early. Late night tends to be when my brain is most happy to be doing things like writing, and I haven’t managed to get it to work quite as effectively in the early morning. But perhaps I have a chance. Perhaps it just has to do with practice, and maybe I just need to retrain my mental habits.
So, I suppose I should officially mention that the story that went up last week was absolutely an April Fool’s joke. Which I’m sure you’ve all figured out, but for those of you who– like me– may not always remember to check the date, allow me to reassure you that Tanner and Miranda’s adventures are not over. In the slightest.
Other than that, not much going on here. I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe amid this insanity that is currently our everyday life.