Updates

[Update] December 2017

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It’s December, and the end of the year is approaching far faster than it has any right to. That’s what it feels like, at any rate; I’m having a hard time believing it’s not still early fall.

My Armenian adventure is quickly coming to an end, and while I can’t wait to see everyone back in the States, I can already tell I’m going to miss this place more than I ever thought possible. Between the amazing people and the more relaxed pace of life here (not to mention the incredible food), the specter of reverse culture shock is already rearing its head and eyeing me balefully from a distance. But that’s a problem for later. For now, I’m still here.

That being said, I am looking forward to seeing how the experiences of the last few months end up working themselves into my writing. I already have a few ideas– one of which is even half written. I didn’t complete any new stories in November, but there should be at least one going up in December, provided that the last couple of weeks don’t end up too crazy.

That’s all for now! As always, drop me a line in the comments or via email if you’ve got any questions. Until next time!

~Faith

Updates

[Update] November 2017

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Happy November, everyone!

I have to admit, my feelings about this month are slightly mixed, as it’s National Novel Writing Month and I won’t be participating this year. Not that I didn’t think about it, of course. It’s just that if I tried, certain family members would (justifiably) confiscate my laptop. Maybe next year!

As for other writing, things are still moving along! October saw the completion of The Farewell, the short story I’ve been working on for the past while, and I’ve got a couple more in the works that I’ll post up here as soon as they’re finished. Blog posts about my experiences in Armenia should continue going up on Fridays as well.

And that’s about all! Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me so far, and to all of you who have wandered by as well! I hope you like what you’ve seen, and please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or comments on the stories or the blogs. I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,
~ Faith

Updates

[Update] October 2017

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It’s October!

This is just going to be a quick update this time, mostly because there’s not a whole lot new to talk about regarding my various writing projects. I’ve still been writing– it just hasn’t been going very quickly. Something about international travel and navigating a new culture. Go figure!

I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I’d finished the first draft of a short story, and I’m still working away on it. At this point, I’ve probably got a third or a fourth of the second draft done, and I’m liking what it’s looking like. I hesitate to give an estimated time of completion, but I’m hoping to post it up in the next week or so. We’ll see!

In addition to that, I’ve got a couple of other ideas in the works, one of which should just be a simple, fun idea that will write itself easily enough. Of course, I’ve been wrong about that before, but here’s hoping.

In the meantime, I’ll keep posting up Friday updates on my Armenian adventure, so be sure to let me know if there’s anything you want to hear more about! Until then, all the best!

Updates

[Update] September 2017

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Hey everyone! New month, new update!

I’m not sure how it went for you guys, but August absolutely flew past on my end. As you’ve probably seen in a couple of places, the final week of the month saw me flying out to Armenia to start a four month stint as a volunteer with Birthright Armenia, and I have no doubt that the preparation for that played a large part in the rate at which time passed.

Unfortunately, it also meant I was a lot less productive writing-wise than in July, only finishing one short story (Grey Dog Inn) and not getting a whole lot farther on my rewrite for The Seven. So far, as I’m settling in to my homestay and getting used to a new schedule, it’s looking like I’ll have a fair amount of time for writing in between all of the getting out and living and learning and volunteering, but only time will tell.

As it stands right now, I’ve got part of a short story written, which will hopefully be ready to go up sometime early this week. If I’m really lucky/productive/my brain doesn’t explode while trying to learn Armenian, I may even manage to make up the week I missed due to travel by getting something ready to go up next week as well, but I make no promises.

Anyway, that’s all the news from August! Let me know down below in the comments if you’ve got any questions, curiosities, or requests for stories. Until next time!

Musings

[Blog] How I Learned To Write

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My mom tells me that I began showing a definite interest in writing while I was still quite small. Some of my fuzziest memories involve a few pieces of paper either taped or stapled together in a simple binding and stored in an empty check box. They contained the various tales that my young self wanted to tell, and though I couldn’t tell you many details now, I do remember that I was particularly proud of one featuring a family of rabbits who lived in a burrow under a hill, and that my mom helped me with the illustrations.

I don’t believe I ever really stopped writing after that. There were hiatuses, certainly, and it’s only been recently that I’ve actually made good progress on actually finishing stories on a regular basis, but I never stepped completely away from it. I can trace a lot of that directly back to the unfailing support I got from my parents and my teachers. My mom gave gentle encouragement and countless books to read. My dad gave feedback and pointed out things that could be better. One teacher in particular let me do an independent study focused on creative writing during my senior year of high school– which basically meant that I ended up reading an anthology or two of short stories and got to get school credit for doing NaNoWriMo.

In an earlier post I waxed nostalgic on the effects online role-playing had on my literary impulses, so I don’t need to go into great depth on them again here. That being said, roughly four years of daily writing certainly played a part as well, though personal projects tended to fall by the way side during that time. In a way, it was like training for the big fight or the big game. Practice the basics, over and over. Practice them until you don’t have to think about them. Practice them until they come off your fingertips on their own. Grammar. Descriptions. Tone and cadence. All the little building blocks for making words paint a story.

 

During college, I took a couple of writing classes. One was just the basic sort of thing, nudging me in the right direction and giving me a chance to get all sorts of feedback. It helped me see the areas I tend to have the most problems (pacing and plot) but didn’t necessarily give me the tools I needed to fix those problems. And then there was the screenwriting class.

Everything we learned in class was something that I had, ostensibly, learned or at least heard before– with the possible exception of the overwhelming importance of structure. What I definitely knew was that stories needed a beginning, a middle, and an end. Or at least, I thought I knew that. What I didn’t know was that in addition to having a beginning, middle, and end, all three parts had to work together and feed into each other. Stop laughing. I know that’s Writing 101.

For whatever reason (I put it down to my professor’s years and years of experience with the subject and his steady patience and care for his students, personally), it finally clicked. Beginning, middle, end. Problem, complication, resolution. Chase your character up a tree, throw rocks at them, get them down.

Looking back, I know I couldn’t have made it this far on my own. I seem to have been born with the writing bug, sure, but without my parents, my friends, and my teachers, there’s no way I would have been able to grow and learn enough to get where I am now. Or even how to go forward from here. And, I’m sure, there’s a dozen other influences that aren’t coming quite as readily to mind, though I’ll remember them as soon as I upload this post.

So, thank you. To everyone. And to those of you reading, too, because you’re a part of the journey as well. Even in the two months since starting this blog and setting a schedule for regular updates, I’ve noticed myself getting (I hope!) better more quickly and in ways I wouldn’t have necessarily expected. It’s a wild ride, and with any luck it’s just getting started.

Updates

[Update] August 2017

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Hey all!

First, thanks for being a part of this first month of blogging! All of you following me here on the site and over on Facebook are such a huge encouragement, and you mean the world to me. I’m definitely looking forward to keeping up with the blog and the stories and seeing what comes of it! Other than that, I just wanted to give you all a quick update on what I’ve been working on the past month, and what’s coming up next.

So! July!

Aside from The Ethan Lindsay Job and Wisp Night, I’ve also been working on the third chapter of my rewrite of The Seven. It’s been going a little slower than I’d like, though I’m definitely making progress and I think it’s getting to the point where the chapter is doing what it needs to be doing to set the stage for the rest of the story. Because of the size of the cast, there’s a lot of introductions that need to be done, preferably in a way that also sets the scene for later as well– you know, basic good writing– which keeps proving a little more difficult than I expect it to, mostly because I have too many ideas and haven’t yet figured out how to narrow them down.

That being said, I think I’m getting close, and once I get this chapter squared away, I’ll have six of my main characters all set to go, and my current idea is to have number seven show up a bit later anyway. This means that I should be able to start digging into more of the plotty and exciting bits shortly, which I am definitely looking forward to. Everything’s better when you get to slay monsters!

For August, I’ll continue chipping away at The Seven, and I expect to be able to finish chapter three and get at least a little way into four as well. All the battling with it last month has left me with a much clearer idea of the beginning/middle/end sequence for the chapter, and once that gets figured out the actual writing tends to flow a bit easier. So, I’m hopeful!

I’ll also keep following the same schedule of “Friday blog, new short story every other week,” with the next story due early next week, so keep an eye out for that! I’ve got ideas for another fantasy standalone and potentially another Tanner and Miranda adventure, both of which have me excited. Additionally, my grand adventure to Armenia begins at the end of this month, so we’ll see how that balancing act goes. Ha.

That’s it for now! Thanks again for coming by, and please be sure to let me know if you’ve got any questions or comments by posting below! I’ll be back on Friday with a new blog. Until then, all the best and have a fantastic week!

Musings

[Blog] Battering Rams

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I am a huge proponent of brute forcing your way through writer’s block.

Some days, you just want to write. The words are coming and you like them and the story is unrolling before you in all its glory. Some days, you think it’s going to work out like that, only to have it all melt away as soon as you put your hands to the keyboard. You know the ideas are still there. They’re just out of reach. And then there’s the days when you feel like this whole writing business is absolutely nuts, you’re a hack, and why did you ever think you could do it?

And then, sometimes, that last kind of day stretches out into that kind of week. Or even that kind of month– or longer. Writing anything feels like pulling teeth, or pushing on a locked door, or trying to convince your cat that she should come cuddle with you. It’s awful, and it makes you wonder whether it’s worth all the trouble.

Which brings us back to the battering ram method of pushing through writer’s block. As a little background, I do my best to write two hundred fifty words six days a week. I can tell you right now that there are days that sitting down and doing it is the last thing I want to do. Maybe my mind is just wandering. Maybe everything I do manage to get onto the page feels trite and shallow. Maybe the last ten ways I’ve tried to start a scene have fallen flat, and I’ve already got a sinking feeling that Attempt No. 11 is going to do the exact same thing.

The only reliable way I’ve found to get myself past all that is to just sit and write. I can’t guarantee the quality. I can’t guarantee that the scene will suddenly sublimate into something wonderful. I certainly can’t guarantee that it will get easier to write on any given day. But I can guarantee that I keep writing. Despite the horrid, stuck feeling and everything that comes with it, I still have raw words that can be used, formed, and edited. Or I’ve crossed another narrative path off the list, which means I’m one try closer to finding the one that will actually work.

I can hardly take credit for this idea, of course. Many writers far better than myself have said something similar many times before; in particular, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and Agatha Christie come to mind. It’s also, more or less, the concept behind NaNoWriMo. And I suppose, in some ways, it takes some of the mystery out of writing, making it seem more like mining than anything else.

But that’s okay. Because writing is like mining, and there’s a lot of dirt and much less ore. It takes work– hard work– to create. And I’m not the first person to have that thought either.

Musings

[Blog] A Tip of the Hat

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When I was a kid, my family lived about twenty minutes out of town. We drove in for school and church, of course, but the distance limited most other trips to few and far between. Among other things, this meant that when I was introduced to text-based role-playing in the mid 2000’s, I took to it with a wild abandon.

I learned how to role-play on a Redwall fansite called Terrouge. It was part ezine and part forums, and in addition to being the place where I met a number of my dearest friends, it’s at least partially to thank (or perhaps blame) for my love of writing. It certainly did nothing to dissuade it.

For those who aren’t familiar, text-based role-playing (or RPing for short) is when you and a bunch of other people make up your own characters and proceed to write about all the trouble they get into together. At least, that was how we did it on Terrouge and the Vulpine Imperium, our sister site.

Being a pair of literary minded communities, we did it pretty well, too.  Our posts were often long and descriptive. Our characters were usually fun and complicated. We were hardly perfect, of course, and a lot of us were young and still learning to write well, but you can only spend so much time playing with words before you figure out a thing or two.

I haven’t RPed seriously for a few years now, and most of the sites I used to haunt have gone quiet or faded altogether. Visiting the ones that are still up feels a little like going back to your hometown and finding that the house you grew up in has been abandoned. Your family is still around and doing well, and so are the friends you grew up with. It’s just the house that time left behind to turn grey and gather dust. The quiet is a little eerie and a little sad, but only because the memories are so rich and vibrant.

Musings

[Blog] Hello!

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Hey everyone!

Before I say anything else, thanks for visiting my little corner of the internet! I have so many stories to tell, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you all– but more on that later. For now, let me just tell you a little about this blog-site-thing and what you’re likely to find here.

Basically, this is where you can find my writing, updates on my writing, and thoughts about writing (and stories) in general. Also, nerdy segues, because I can tell you right now that I won’t be able to help myself, and I wouldn’t want to anyway. Life’s too short to not be nerdy.

So, writing! The stuff I post here will be mostly short stories. Some will be completely self-contained, others might fit into a bigger universe, but all of them will be complete stories in their own right. From time to time, I’ll also put up excerpts and teasers from whatever novel I happen to be working on.

Speaking of novels… this is also where you’ll find information on my various projects. At any given time, I probably have at least three longer pieces in various stages of development. If you want to know what those are and how they’re going, you can find out here!

As for the bloggier bits, that could be anything from talking about the things that get me feeling creative to the most recent books I’ve read. And everything in between. It’s also where I’ll post various life updates and thoughts on any adventures I manage to fall into, which seems to be happening more and more as of late.

Anyway! That’s the shape of the beast. Thanks again for stopping by; it really does mean the world to me. If you’re interested in keeping tabs on my shenanigans, both fictional and otherwise, be sure to follow me here or to like me on Facebook. And that’s all for now! Time for me to go convince the jumble of words in the next document over that life will be better as a coherent story.

Until next time!