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To Plot (or not)


I’m really bad at plotting out my stories. This should not be confused with being bad at thinking of things to write. I think that’s probably the problem I have with all of this, though.

I don’t really have any problems thinking of things to write. Sometimes I don’t know the exact thing I want to write, but if something is an issue, I’ll leave it for a bit and come back to it. Usually my issues there arise with connecting things, and figuring out the details. Not with the actual plot, but just how to connect one thing to another so that it has purpose, you know?

I can’t really give any good examples of this in my books without spoiling things completely. I’m going to use the Fifty Shades series, since I think that’s well known enough that it won’t really spoil anything (and if it does, I’m sorry!).

In the Fifty Shades books, come to find out, Christian is attracted to brown haired girls that remind him of his mother. Now… that’s kind of creepy, but oh well, that’s how it is. To be fair, they say that people are attracted like that anyways, I guess? Like, if you’re a woman, you look for someone who has similar traits to your father? I guess it’d be the opposite for a man, too. I don’t really know how that works.

Anyways! This ends up explaining why Christian is incredibly attracted to Anastasia, who is otherwise seen as somewhat plain and ordinary. We don’t really get it at first, but then all of a sudden it makes some sense. It’s still kind of creepy, but we’re invested enough in the story to be alright with it to some extent. Or, I was, at least. Christian’s mother is the reason for a lot of other things, too, and if you’ve read the books then it’ll make sense.

So that’s kind of what I do. Like… I might have had part of it planned out for later, at least in my head, and then the beginning works fine, and I connect the dots to bring the beginning to the end in some meaningful way. Before I write, I might know that I want Christian to be incredibly attracted to Ana, and I might know that he had unresolved issues with his mother, but then as I was writing, I’d think, “Oh, hey! What if his mother’s looks remind him of Ana, which is where the initial allure came in?” And I’d go with that. I didn’t really plan that to begin with, but it makes sense and it adds depth to the story, you know?

I don’t know if E.L. James did that or not, but if I were writing Fifty Shades, that’s what I’d do.

Some people think that’s a weird way to write, but I like it. I think it’s more fun and interesting sometimes. I’ve tried doing a general plot outline for what I want to write, and I can see the use in it because it gives you some structure for where to go and all of that, but… every time I’ve done it, I don’t actually stick to it.

Ember of Ecstasy is a good example. I was trying out the plotting thing again, for no real reason I could think of. I hadn’t written in The Monster Within series for awhile, so I thought it might help. Before I started, I reread all the other ones to get myself caught up somewhat, so I didn’t really need a plot outline or anything, but I figured I’d do it anyways.

It wasn’t bad, but… I kind of ignored half of the things I wrote because I thought of better things to write as I was going, and then it ended entirely different than what I expected.

In the newest one, which I’m tentatively calling Rise of Spirit, I even started it somewhat differently than I planned. Solace is in a forest, right? If you haven’t read it, this isn’t really a spoiler, and if you have then you’ll know why she’s in a forest. So I was going to write this, and do that, and all of these things, and…

“Hey,” I said to myself. Myself perked up and looked at me curiously. “What if there’s a spider?”

“A spider?”

“Yes, a spider. But a big one. A giant spider, and there’s a web.”

“A giant web, of course.”

“Yes, right. And…”

“Hey! What if the spider can talk? It’s fantasy, right? And there’s demons and seraphs and goblins and stuff. So maybe there’s a talking spider?”

And now, as you might have guessed, Rise of Spirit has a talking spider. I don’t really know where that came from. It just sort of happened. That’s about how my plotting usually goes, too. I have too many ideas sometimes, which is a good and a bad thing. Occasionally I need to get rid of some ideas, because too many ideas is just confusing, you know? But sometimes I get to add in the random talking spider and then make it important somehow (so then it’s not random, because just having a random talking spider is kind of weird. No one would like that).

So if you ever wondered where I get my ideas or how I do my plotting, I couldn’t really tell you. It comes to me somehow, and I just write it down. I think a lot and I’m kind of a strange person, so that might help. If you think a lot and you’re strange, maybe you have the same problems? They aren’t the worse problems to have, I’d say. Rather amusing ones, actually.

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Something Different


I wanted to write this post yesterday, but I thought it best to wait. Sometimes I get really excited about things and don’t think much on the specifics. It’s gotten me in trouble before, somewhat, where I think I can just jump right into something, do something, and… nope! Sometimes you just can’t do that, you know? So I thought I should just think a bit first, figure everything out and the logistics behind it, then go from there.

Anyways! Saying that, I basically ended up with the same conclusion that I had before, so I guess I didn’t really need to wait all that much, haha.

I write erotic things. I like erotic things. I think sex is fun to write about and talk about from a logical point of view. I’m kind of a strange person in those regards. In my personal life, I don’t really feel very comfortable with “sexy” conversations, but I’d be more than happy to have a conversation about sex. I don’t know how that works exactly, but let’s just go with it.

While I like sex and writing it and all of that, it’s not the only thing I like, of course. That’d be kind of weird if it were, I’d say. I like a lot of other things, too. To be honest, in general, I like writing. I think that’s one of the only constants in my life, for a long while now. I get really into it, and whenever I stop doing it for a day or two, I get kind of nervous to get back to it. I don’t like to not write and if there’s ever a time where I can’t write, I get antsy to get back to it.

I started writing a long long time ago. I don’t remember exactly when, but I’ve always loved writing. I never realized it exactly until later, but I think deep down I just always did. I mistook it for other things, somewhat. I knew I wanted to tell stories, but I didn’t link that with writing for awhile.

I started writing more seriously (much more seriously) after reading On Writing by Stephen King. I don’t really know what it was about that book that did it for me, but everything just sort of clicked in place after I read it. There are a few things that I really enjoyed about that book and that I’ll always remember.

First and foremost was that he never thought of writing as a job or a chore or anything like that. I don’t remember the exact specifics, but Mr. King likened writing to taking a nap. It’s a nice, relaxing thing that he enjoys doing. That shifted something for me, and afterwards I thought of writing differently. I liked it. I knew I liked it. And then why was I treating it like an arduous task? I don’t know.

Another was the concept of just writing. Sounds dumb, but you need to write, right? Yes. He suggested just going at it, doing 2,000 words a day, which he considered a good pace of things. I don’t exactly know if I agree with that now, as I think in general 2,000 isn’t too much, but in the beginning it was my milestone. I wrote 2,000 words a day, almost every single day, for a long time after reading that book. I don’t write 2,000 words a day now sometimes, but I try to do more when I can. I have editing and other writing tasks to take care of, which puts a damper into that, but it works out for the best. I think on my best day I wrote something like 9,000, though, so maybe it makes up for it? I write more than 2,000 a day now, when I can get straight to writing without worrying about other stuff, so it evens out.

And finally was something that I think a lot of writers struggle with. Again, I don’t remember the exact wording, but in the book he mentions that if you wrote something, and then sold it, and with the money you paid your electric bill, he considers you a talented writer. That last one is difficult for a lot of writers sometimes. We get stressed a lot. I think it’s an occupational hazard. Is our writing good enough? Do people like it? I still feel a sort of sense of relief when people tell me they like my writing, and my heart clenches a little when someone says they didn’t think it was good enough. I want people to have their opinions, regardless, and I want people to be able to freely say if they like or dislike something, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt a little bit, you know? We put our hearts and souls into writing something, worrying that we’re just some talentless hack, and…

But, well, Stephen King considers me a talented writer, even though we’ve never met, and I appreciate that. I’ve paid multiple electric bills with my writing money, and I hope to pay all the rest of my future electric bills with it, too.

I mentioned up above that I wrote 2,000 words a day for a long while. That was something like 2 years worth of writing. I guess I consider it my “dues” in a way. I never published any of that. Unfortunately I didn’t edit much of any of that, either. It’s not bad writing, and in fact I think the stories I wrote are wonderful, but they need some work in the editing department.

The other “unfortunate” part is that nothing that I wrote was really erotic. There were some sex scenes, sure, but not a lot and not really often. Mostly flirting and stuff like that. It was more standard YA in a lot of ways, with a fantasy hint. Some of it was with older characters, but even that was closer to what New Adult is now, though without a lot of the elements that are popular in current New Adult things.

I’d really like to do something with that writing, and I guess I’ve planned to all along, but I never knew exactly what to do with it. I don’t even know what my initial plans were, but I just wanted to write it. I wrote over a million words, and it’s just sitting on my computer, collecting digital dust.

My plan is to work through that slowly and release it. Back then, I had this huge issue with editing. I don’t really know how to explain it, except to say that editing really is work, and it takes a long time to get used to it. I tried a lot of things to get better at editing, and the only thing that really worked was just to do it, and do more of it. I’ve been doing it a lot for the past few years, preparing myself, and I have a good handle on it now. It takes time, but not nearly as much as it used to for me (mainly because it seems difficult and boring at times, but it’s not really, you know? I don’t know how to explain that very well. It’s more of an acquired taste that you -need- to acquire as a writer, so you just do).

I’m going to be branching out a little because of that. None of that writing belongs grouped together with my current writing, so I’m going to be starting a new pen name to do that. This isn’t really anything new and writers have been doing it for awhile (Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb is a great example that I can think of off the top of my head). If it were anything but YA stuff, I’d probably just go with it, but I don’t think YA belongs in the same catalogue as erotic things. Once I have my book(s) up, I’ll gladly let everyone know, though. I think some people who like erotica and erotic romance and all of that will also enjoy YA things, I just don’t think the YA crowd would/should know about the erotic stuff, you know?

I’m really excited about this, though. Excited and a bit nervous. Those original stories are kind of like my hidden secret, I guess. You know the type, where you don’t tell anyone, because you’re afraid of getting hurt? I want to share, and I want to tell that story and let people read it, but like I mentioned above, I’m scared of being considered a “talentless hack” still. A lot of me and my time was put into these stories (two years, and more by the time I’m done with them), and… I don’t know, if you spent two years doing something because you enjoyed it, and then you showed someone the fruits of your labor, and they said something mean about it, how would you feel? I guess that’s it, but it’s just something writers need to deal with, too.

So that’s where I’m at! This shouldn’t affect my other writing in any way. I’ll just be slowly going through my older writing and editing a little here and there. I actually really enjoy editing sometimes, and some days I’m like, “Ugh… I need to finish writing this thing I’m working on, because I really just want to spend a day editing…” And now I can! A lot!

Feeling Good


Hello!

So, I’ve done a lot of website updates recently, in terms of infrastructure. Now, infrastructure is probably boring to most people, unless they’re the one who did the changes to the infrastructure, but just know that a lot of it is done and available. A part of that is the neat little “Book Categories” thing on the left side somewhere over there (<—-).

Unfortunately I don't have much in those categories yet, but those are what I wanted to set up initially in order to just um… set stuff up? Most of my books/website posts will fit in those categories, and if not, I can add more.

Now, what's different about these categories, is that they aren't going to lead you to books, per se. It's not like Amazon or anywhere else where you click them to get a listing of books, you know? That'd be neat, and I do plan on having some things like that, but if you want to browse for books, you can do it on Amazon or B&N or wherever pretty easily. (Just for completionist's sake, I'll add iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, ARe, Sony's Bookstore, a bunch of libraries, Diesel… Audible? I think there might be more, but I don't know all of the tiny ones).

Anyways! The categories over there will lead you to posts about books in those categories. Or just posts about stuff that could fit into those categories. It should be fun to explore. Want to read some things about paranormal romance? Just head on over to that tab I have and, voila! You've got it.

I like this set up because I can add things that I think should be added, too. With that last one, you'll notice that I have "Zombies" listed under paranormal romance. Now, generally speaking, you might say that's an odd choice. And, yes, I agree with you. It is. The thing is, though, I wrote one because I wanted to. At the time, Warm Bodies had just come out, and people thought it was so interesting and neat. I thought it was interesting and neat, too, so I decided to see if I could take a different twist with zombies and try to make them more romantic. It's weird, sure. I won't deny that. I think I did alright with it, though. I've gotten some good feedback about it, at least.

(Quick field trip side note)
For random reference, because people ask this a lot, my version of zombies aren't dead. There are lots of versions of zombies, and some are dead people who came back to life, while others just suddenly became zombies because of some kind of disease or virus or plague or what have you. Some are a mix, like The Walking Dead, which is sort of virus that brings people back after they die. Mine is just a virus, so the "zombies" aren't dead, but they're somewhat bewildered/cold/all of that. There's a pretty good reason for it, and it's hinted at in the Soulless series, but I didn't want to come right out and say what it is exactly. I don't know if I ever will or not, either. I do plan to write a sequel book/series eventually, but it's on the back burner for a little while until I finish up some other things. I just don't want to get the story bogged down by some paranormal science fiction information and all of that, you know? I guess I could do a side story style quickie e-book for those who might want to know all of the details, though.
(Field trip is done!)

Being able to make my own sub-categories within pre-arranged, standard categories gives me a lot of leeway in those regards. As another example, Amazon didn't used to have sub-categories to paranormal (or not many), so vampires, werewolves, witches, demons, all of those… were just stuck under Paranormal Romance. They still don't have much in the way of historical romance, so like… Victorian era is mixed in with Regency, with Medieval, and with Colonial/Civil War/the 80s/everything.

How do I plan on filling these up? Glad you asked! (If you didn't ask, let's pretend you did)

I read recently about this thing that some people do in order to warm up for writing. It makes sense to me, too. I type very fast, because I've been doing it for um… forever. A very long time. I first took typing classes in my Freshman year of high school (1997 or 1998, I think). I've been typing ever since, and have owned a computer for most of that time, so I've gotten kind of good at it, I guess. I can usually manage about 80+ words a minute (sometimes closer to 100 if I'm on a role and warmed up). Creative writing is a bit different because you're not just directly transcribing, and you can only type as fast as your thoughts are, but usually I can still manage pretty good. That's a bit more mentally tiring, but it's not too bad.

So the thing I read is to basically write ~750 words as a warm up, and then get on to the rest of your writing. I used to kind of do that, but I'd use the big writing as a warm up and the main thing. I don't know if doing a separate warm up will be better or not, but 750 words doesn't take that long to write (according to WordPress website editing thing, this post is currently 907 words long, but I think they're a bit off sometimes).

Basically, I'll do some warm ups (this is my first), and talk about things going on. I might do these every day, or every so often, but I do want to update my website more, so I'd like to get in the habit of doing these things anyways. I'll categorize them with those neat categories on the side, which are currently a bit barren, so if you ever want to come by and find something neat that I have hidden away, or if you want to spend awhile browsing through things, you can. I like interactive websites like that, and that's kind of what I want to make mine into. I like updating people with information, but that doesn't really give anyone a reason to play around with the website too much, you know?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! I tend to ramble a bit sometimes when I get excited about things, but I think that kind of rambling is interesting (I like when people ramble like that, at least), because it's usually something they're passionate about, you know?

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