Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The writer's ice is swiftly melting!

Hey everyone, as most of you who follow this blog and visit my website know, I am an ardent fanfic writer, with Voyagers being my biggest subject. However, in the last 6 months or so, I had stumbled into a writer's nightmare...though most likely it's all in my head.  It started shortly after the second 'Prisoners of Time' story. (A retelling of the origins of Bogg and Jeff, loosely based on 'The Time Machine' by H.G Wells) I was two chapters into the third installment and my mind just went blank and basically stayed that way for two months. I fought it valiantly, and in between I was able to write two short and simple Voyagers stories, 'The Perilous Journey of Sybil' and 'White flag.'

It's not like I didn't try to write more. I write stories for different fandoms (as they call them) and I was three chapters into an 'Incredible Hulk' story...and took it down, I just couldn't finish it...but yet I know how I want it to begin and end...sort of. Writing is often a delicate process, and you always make changes as you're typing stories out.  That reminds me, I had a weird thought yesterday--I can't remember the last time I used pen and paper to literally write out a story...it had to be back in 2005.  Now all I do is use whatever scrap paper is available to 'outline' and jot down notes and quotes that I think would work.  I find that my thinking/ideas flow in line with my typing, and it's less pressure on my left hand...(Yeah, I'm a leftie!) Not to mention neater and I can actually read what I had just written.

I was three chapters into a story inspired by the show 'Lost'...that came down.  I removed the third Prisoner of Time story as well. I couldn't bear the thought of having a story up there unfinished and I was unhappy with the direction of the plot.  I had started an interesting first person science-fiction themed Voyagers story, called 'Existence' revolving around Phineas' being captured from certain death in his past and held in a destructive/world dominating version of Voyagers Headquarters...want to guess how many chapters I made it into before I said ENUFF!?

I now have the three-chapter rule. If things start getting funky by 3, I know I'm failing somewhere and I either have to let it go or rethink/re-establish the plot.  I have not abandoned all these stories...I just have them on the back-burner for now. Including a long, long...long awaited sequel to my story, 'The Origins of Phineas Bogg.'

All this blockage and Polar mind freeze wasn't so bad, it gave my overworked brain a rest, as I was dealing with family dramas and stuff we all go through...but it also allowed me to focus on updating my websites and create this blog, and I really enjoy writing for this. It's free-flowing (Though my chapter reviews are somewhat outlined!) I'm not extremely pressured to do historical research and all that for the stories...I just write whatever I feel like.

But now onto the point of this blog post...why is the ice melting? Darned if Bogg knows!

Like the scorching lava that will be flowing in one of my future Voyagers! stories, (that's a small hint..) ideas just started coursing through my brain today. It really helps to work in a library. My favorite sections are the historical Non-fiction section and the Juvenile biography section. Two very important places to find ideas and 'historical' people to fill up all these stories.

I prefer the Juvie section because the majority of the adult bios are nothing but half-truth, glorifying, overblown, three hundred or more page waste of trees about modern day celebrities and their often self-inflicted 'traumatic' and messed up lives, overpaid and steroid bombed sports 'heroes,' and other bric-a-brac people I've never heard of -but someone decided that they were important enough to write about. Not that I've never read any of them or been intrigued...I certainly have...but when I feel the burning desire to write my fanfic, there's no time to sift through all the purple prose. 

The Juvie bios get to the heart of the situation and person in question. Once I read over the book (which could take me all of ten minutes tops) I know immediately that this would be an awesome time, place or person of history to incorporate an adventure with the boys....oh how I love the boys!
Today I came home with three books on two different subjects.  When it's time to do my 'adult' research, I pop on the Internet and find as many viable sources as I can on the topic and away I fly.  Writing has become an integral part of my being. As a child I was an avid and advanced reader and devoured everything I could get my hands on...well, it had to spark my interest of course! I veered toward science-fiction, adventures and mysteries...though I unabashedly admit I read every book on Sweet Valley kids, twins, high and the Baby Sitters Club back in the eighties and early nineties. I've also read a lot of horror-Stine, Pike, King and Koontz- but that is a genre I no longer care for.

It was my desire to be a writer since childhood, but life has many directions.  It's not an impossible feat that I could one day write a book, and one day I hope I will...as I currently wet my feet in Fanfiction and improve upon my skills.

Some of the greatest writers didn't actually become 'writers' until well into their thirties and forties...that gives me about ten years to get the pen flowing and the fingers pumping on the keys.  I find I really enjoy writing for what's already franchised, hence my love of Fanfiction. If anyone out there can tell me how to get the Voyagers franchise restarted in book form, I am all over it!

As for my other excuses...uh...reasons... for not writing something 'original' is that I sometimes just feel that everything's been done before. (The Wise King Solomon said that 'Everything has been done under the sun.' and he said that over three thousand years ago!) It's really all just a matter of presentation and creating that little twist on an idea which creates something 'new.'

As I grow into cranky quarter-age...getting months closer to the big 30,  I find I have no real taste for certain genres that are super popular....most notably, immature, im and A-moral teens and big city adults, vampires, witches and zombies...and that's just the tip of the iceberg out there in book land.

So...long blog a little longer...I'm gleefully back in the FF writing game!!! I'll be finishing up my Cover Up story, 'The Depot' by the end of the weekend if not sooner. 

 After that I have two..count em...I said 2 new Voyagers stories to pursue! One, a quirky tale involving Phineas on a voyage..and gasp! It's pre-Jeffrey! Not to worry, I'm always testing the limits of canon, and this one, as I outlined a bit of it on my work break, sounds like fun to me. I get to explore something with VHQ that I haven't thought of before. The other one I hinted at already, so phooey!...alright a few more hints...lava, archeology, a cosmic blip and one very very confuddled pirate named Bogg and a frightened out of his wits and just as confused little partner, Jeffrey. Let's hope I can deliver whatever I'm promising here.

Now...to get back to life off the box (The name bestowed by my dad for the Computer) Gosh I love, love my Macintosh!!...nobody understands why my hard drive is named 'Mac Harper.'

Obviously, I love this Mac too..

For any of you budding or struggling writers out there, I cannot recommend this book highly enough...

I still haven't finished reading it, but I have seen MARKED improvement in my recent writing because of it and it's a thorough and fun book filled with ideas and exercises.  Clark talks to you like a human being, not a 'struggling' artist, and whittles writing down to not an 'art form' but to fluency in writing. After reading these few paragraphs, I knew I uncovered the best writing book I could ever find...Here's the excerpt that cinched me-
'The ability to read, society tells us, contributes to success in education, employment, and citizenship. Reading is a democratic craft. Writing, in contrast, is considered a fine art. Our culture taps only a privileged few on the shoulder. We are the talented ones,  and you're not. The teacher read our stories aloud in class, or encouraged us to enter an essay contest, or pushed us toward the newspaper or literary magazine. We thrive on such recognition, but think of the millions left behind.
If you feel left behind, this book invites you to imagine the act of writing less as a special talent and more as a purposeful craft. Think of writing as carpentry, and consider this book your toolbox.  You can borrow a writing tool at any time, and here's another secret: unlike hammers, chisels, and rakes, writing tools never have to be returned. They can be cleaned, sharpened and passed along.
These practical tools will help dispel your writing inhibitions, making the craft central to the way you see the world. As you add tools to your workbench, you'll begin to see the world as a storehouse of writing ideas. As you gain proficiency with each tool, and then fluency, the act of writing will make you a better student, a better worker, a better friend, a better citizen, a better parent, a better teacher, a better person.'

And there you have it. Now I've pumped myself up to write! I will hopefully get in 2 more chapter reviews over the course of the weekend.

On an Off topic note: I made a strong personal decision years ago to not celebrate holidays...so you don't have to feel compelled send me any seasons greetings.
(For those that did already or plan to, I sincerely appreciate your kind thoughts.)

However, to everyone reading, please stay safe and enjoy yourselves with the time off to spend in the loving company of family and friends and lots and lots of food! :D


G.
  

8 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to hear "that the ice is melting!" I've loved all your stories so far and I expect to continue to! You dish out everything I look for in a story:adventure, humor and just enough romance! So bravo to you hon! I can't wait to read the rest of "The Depot" that's been a great one!

    Oh and I love the "Ginger's Mac" wallpaper! :D And I totally get why you call yur hard drive Mac Harper! ;) We Jon girls know all about that! :D ;)

    I'll be waiting for yur upcoming stories! And since yur not really celebrating Holidays at the time I'll just wish ya "a great time off!" :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Margaret! My sister made that wallpaper for me a few years ago as a surprise, she made a version with just the text, but you know which one is better. ;) The Depot is coming to it's end, I think this is gonna be 9 chapter story..and then I can get my research together for the new Voyagers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "If anyone out there can tell me how to get the Voyagers franchise restarted in book form, I am all over it!"

    Can I help? ;D

    Glad to hear the writer's block is over. Oooh, scorching lava...sounds intriguing. Especially since I am rather fond of the "disaster story" genre, my favorite in that class being the Tommy Lee Jones movie, "Volcano."

    I totally agree with you about adult bios...unless you've got access to some that were written before about 1960. The Casey Jones bio I used when I did the chapter on him in "Gift of a Son" was written in 1923, by someone who actually knew the man and often worked with him, and consulted closely with Mrs. Jones and Sim Webb, who were both still alive at the time. It was an absolute goldmine of information.

    On the other hand, one of the drawbacks to more recently-written juvy bios is the near-total absence of DATES! They give you the year the individual was born, and the year of the key events, but when you find THE incident that could be the basis of your story, you're left twisting in the wind as to exactly WHEN it happened. I'm dealing with that problem right now.

    As for me, my favorite reading material growing up...well, let's just say I cut my teeth on the Hardy Boys. I read just about every book in that series that was out there in the 1960s, and only just recently gave them to a friend whose children are really into that genre now and, like me, have a taste for things old-fashioned.

    Ah, I should have known you're a southpaw, too. We're the only ones in our right minds! ;D

    ---Jake

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sure you can help! We need to restart this Scholastic franchise, I think Voyagers would be a fantastic subject for a book series. Yeah, kids bios do tend to stretch the truth and leave out DATES...Voyagers always need dates, lol. I'm hoping that doesn't happen with one of my new stories, but you know me, I pick these vague historical figures that had a good impact...and then there's nothing much on them.
    Funny, I just commented on Swordznsorcery's Hardy Boys tv show blog post, expounding my love for the Nancy Drew series! lol. I used to love reading the hardcovers, with the original fifties drawings of Nancy and her flashlight..the first one called 'The hidden staircase.' lol. Both those series still continue to this day. I was more interested when Nancy and the Hardys teamed up, lol.
    LOL..my sister rolls her eyes at me, 'I know, I know..lefties are gifted, creative, intelligent..' hahaha..I've heard th stories of lefties in the past being whacked on the hand and forced to write with the right hand, how cruel. That's what the lady at the Chinese bar tells me all the time I see her and she see's how I hold the fork and sign the bill. LOL! (She's a character in the making..and she's not an employee, but a 'customer' always with her drink.)
    Look at the roster,
    Picasso, Michelangelo, Davinci, HG Wells, Charlie Chaplin...and even the most recent presidents..check out the list here, lol. They left out my other favorite actor, Vincent D'onofrio, a Southpaw born in Brooklyn as well. lol.
    http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/left.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just an idea, but I wonder if you put together a collection of short stories/novellas about The Voyagers as a one-off book to see how it takes, if that could be the starting point for you and other Voyager fanfic writers...

    I'm glad the ice is melting too! Writing fiction is way harder than the stuff I do, which is why I have hardly any fiction (and very little completed). I want to do it, but my regular writing keeps getting in the way! :)

    btw, I think English is going to be my chosen major, so I'm really looking forward to reading and re-reading everything. I think it will be inspiring. I too like young adult books (fiction, non-fiction or otherwise) because there's something so to the point about it. Maybe it's morbid, but when I worked at a book store, I used to man the register near the children's section and got caught up with the books on Dying. There are some incredibly poignant books on the subject for kids. We could learn a lesson...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Amanda, thanks for the comment. :) I really need to get my stories together, I'm so bad, I don't even print them out because I'm always editing and updating them. I'm in the process of final updates of my old Voyagers stories, but I think that you're on to something. If I can get one of those self published books, maybe Scholastic will reconsider starting the franchise...but then they'll hire the real pros and I'll be in the dust, lol. But seriously, you have a good idea and I know of someone else who is planning to do that too..well, at least make a book of stories.
    Wow, with English as a chosen major I can't imagine having much time for FF writing, even all the writing you do now. I should have stuck it out with English, it was my passion too, but I got sidetracked by art. :P I know it's never too late to go back, but the timing just isn't right for me. I've seen all kinds of books in the kids sections on those subjects too, they are very sweet and get to the point. In this day and age, people look for the easiest reads. I feel bad when I see that.
    The kids are so turned off by reading, they want books with 'big words' and their parents are no help, they don't want to be bothered teaching them or helping them along, so they grab all the easiest stuff and make excuses for their kids. That's not every parent of course, but I just notice it more and more.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You'd have to talk Scholastic into it before even starting, since you're dealing with copyrighted material here, and there are all kinds of legal hurdles to be cleared. If they won't deal, another possibility might be to make up "fanzines" for sale at sci-fi conventions. I'm not sure how or why, but somehow those seem to be exempt from the copyright issues...probably the same principle that leaves us free to write fanfic on line. There's an organization called "Agent with Style" that will do the selling for you if you want; you can find them on line at agentwithstyle.com. They sell the fanzines on line, too. In fact, that might be a good way to start; doing that just might jog peoples' memories, and maybe grow the fan base again. Who knows?

    ---Jake

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Jake, that's a very good idea! I forgot about Fanzines, but I am aware of the immense copyrighted material...Universal being a biggie! I'm thinking I should just rent a table at a comic con, because I have a whole slew of comics I want to get rid of, and it would be cute to have the little Voyagers fanzines on display as well..hmmm..NY's huge comic con is not until next October, So I'll definitely think about it. In the meanwhile I'll check out the sci-fi conventions.

    ReplyDelete

You smart kids give me a pain…
Comments, thoughts, and ideas are appreciated!