smb814: (TOS Sheelos Sky)
[personal profile] smb814
And now I'm going to collapse from utter exhaustion.

...Oh, wait. I should clarify because that subject line probably won't be interpreted correctly. "Frozen Flame" isn't finished. Alas. *insert heavy sigh here* I haven't even touched it in, like, a year. I tried picking it up a few weeks ago to get back to work finishing up my first major revision of it, but then I had to put it down again because I didn't have a grasp anymore of what was going on at that particular point in time in the characters' heads -- and effectively revising it without understanding what my characters were thinking would be, well, pretty much impossible. I'm going to have to reread a significant portion of it before I'll be able to do that...and that won't happen for awhile yet, because I've had to conclude that I can only work on one serious writing project at time.

The 'It's Done' refers to my current writing project -- that Tales of Symphonia series I'm working on that follows on to "Mental Holiday." And really, I suppose even that's deceptive since it's not done done. I've just finally finished my first major go-through of it. It's entirely plotted -- and in some cases even (mostly) written. And since I've been working on this go-through of it religiously since last March, I think I have the right to be excited about finishing this phase of it up, thankyouverymuch.

So here are the details for the handful of people on my f-list who might actually be interested in it. It's called the "Whatever Will Be" series (which from this point on I'll be referring to as WWB). It's seven stories long, including "Mental Holiday." Each of the stories is, to some degree, longer than "Mental Holiday" was -- with some, like #7 in the series, ridiculously (i.e. 200,000+ words...ugh) so. (Seriously, will I ever learn to write anything short?!) I have a sneaking suspicion the whole thing is utterly boring, because it doesn't seem to me like anything is really happening in it, the plots are only minimally interesting, and the non-Zelos/Sheena TOS characters only appear in two or three of the stories, but eh, writing it has been oodles of fun and has made me happy, not just to be writing happy people and situations for a change (as opposed to the 'just-kill-me-now' angst of something like "No Regrets" or "Frozen Flame") but to be writing again, period, so there you go. I wrote this monstrosity first and foremost for me (just like "Mental Holiday" was, to try to get Zelos to shut up and get out of my head, loudmouth that he is), and so if anyone else happens to read it and like it, that's just the icing on the cake. It's absolutely awful right now, because, well, it's either plotting notes or a rough draft, and it still needs a ton of work before it will be readable, but I'm just thrilled to be at this point with it. So hurrah for me!

And a brief rundown on the series:

1. Mental Holiday
2. Trust Building 101 (working title)
3. Angel Out of Heaven (working title)
4. Point of No Return (working title) -- I may be changing it to "Crossing the Line" but I haven't officially decided that yet.
5. The Experiment (working title)
6. Guardian Knight -- a.k.a. "Guardian Angel Knight (...In Shining Armor)"...thank you for being unable to do anything the easy way, Zelos *rolls eyes*
7. Worth It

#2, #3, & #4 are plotted in detail. #5 & #6 are plotted in extreme detail, and it shouldn't take too much work to convert them into a rough draft. #7 is a complete rough draft, albeit in the wrong tense (present instead of past). So my next task is to get busy converting my plotting notes for #s 2, 3, & 4 into actual, readable writing.

One thing about the whole writing process that I found to be especially interesting this time around is that I'm no longer handwriting everything first and then typing it up -- I'm actually typing it directly into the computer, which has saved me a ton of time. I've also once again proven that, as bizarre as it may seem, I actually need to write the ending before I go back and write the rest of the story. I can't explain why, but I did it for "Frozen Flame" and now I've done it for this series. I write the ending, then I write everything else leading up to the ending, and then I rewrite the ending.

Do any of you other fic writers on my f-list do this? It just seems to help me stay focused while writing and, you know, actually get the story done by giving me a goal to strive toward -- because every other story I've started writing the past few years (like the "No Regrets" trilogy) has fallen apart when I don't have the ending in mind. I guess I just want to know where I'm going before I write the journey to get there, so I can make sure I incorporate things into the earlier chapters/stories that lead up to the ending, and then, once I get back to that final point, I have to rewrite it completely to incorporate all the unexpected stuff that happened during the "journey" itself. I feel like I'm writing half backwards, half forwards. It's weird. But hey, it seems to be working for me, so I guess I can't complain too much.

And I've had to deem my writing process to be...strange...now. My first writing go-through of a story is now plotting notes -- and plotting notes, for me, involve a rough sketch of the entire story, with complete dialogue and a spattering of introspective thoughts and details surrounding the conversations. My first time through I leave off all quotation marks in dialogue, I often identify the speakers by things like (Z) and (S) instead of including things like "he/she says," a good number of the descriptions around the conversations are incomplete sentences and/or simple phrases tacked together, and it's all written in present tense. It's...weird. I then go back through once it's finished and add in all the missing punctuation, and once I actually sit down and write the darn thing, I'll add the "he/she said," complete the sentences, change the verb tenses to past tense, and flesh everything out a little better. After that, I'll really scrutinize and revise everything.

I don't get it, why I'm suddenly writing like this (maybe I find it faster to leave out all the unnecessary stuff and just focus on the dialogue at first?), but I started the 'plotting notes' thing about halfway through my non-Stargate version of "Frozen Flame" and it's evolved into this, and, surprisingly enough, it seems to be working pretty well for me. I guess every writer is different, eh? Although it does make me wonder about other fic writers' writing processes. Anyone care to share their own personal writing process? Does anyone else write even remotely like this? Or am I just that weird?

Anyway, that's where I'm at with it. I would get started actually writing #2 in the series right now already, only I'm heading down to Florida starting next week Thursday on our annual family vacation and so I need to get a hundred-plus other things finished before we leave. I'll hopefully get started working on it when I get back in town on October 25th.

Let's see...any other news since it's been so long since I last updated? The Stargate convention in Chicago was a blast (as always!), the guests were great (yay for Joe Flanigan actually making it here this time!), it was awesome to see everyone again *hugs everyone*, and I was utterly thrilled to learn there that [livejournal.com profile] lifelongfling is also interested in going to Japan in a few years! Amanda, you'd better be getting back into studying Japanese! :D

The past few months I've also gone crazy delving in the Wonderful World of Japanese Pop Music. Seriously, some of this stuff is awesome and puts the US's typical musical offerings to shame. And it's a great way to enforce some of the Japanese vocabulary I've been slowly picking up. I love KOKIA's music. And Ayako Ikeda. And YUI. And Miz/Mizrock. And Tsukiko Amano. And Kelun. And MiChi. And Kimeru. And Mami Kawada. And Chihiro Onitsuka. And Maiko Fujita. And while I'm not a fan of Ayumi Hamasaki's voice, her music is awesome. I'm hit or miss on Utada Hikaru, BoA, Kotoko, and Hitomi, but I like more of their stuff than I don't. I'm still working my way through music and finding new artists that I love every day, so I'm sure I will eventually add more to that list, but at the moment, they're my favorites. And if anyone happens to have any recommendations of artists/groups to check out, I'm all ears!

As for TV...Supernatural is awesome, but most people on my f-list already know that, so I'll leave it to them to expound on its wonders. NCIS is also off to a great start this year -- but then, I actually like the Tony/Ziva dynamic (romantic or friend, doesn't matter to me) so the first two eps were especially wonderful. I'm giving NCIS-LA a try, and while it's good and I'm enjoying it so far and I can't help thinking it holds a lot of potential, it's no NCIS yet for me. If I had more time, I'd be watching Flashforward, but it'll just have to wait until I have time. Same with Castle and Leverage -- I still need to get caught up on the first seasons of each before I can start watching the second seasons. I DVR'd Stargate Universe last week but haven't watched it yet because I was so intent on finishing writing up WWB that I had to delay it. Season 2 of Sanctuary starts up this Friday, and I haven't decided if I'm going to watch it now or wait until later with it, but I will be watching it at some point.

And that's that. I'm going to try to update more regularly, for those folks on my f-list who actually *may* be interested in my progress on the WWB series, so hopefully I'll be around a little more often once I get back from Florida. I hope everyone on my f-list is doing well! :D

Date: 2009-10-07 05:15 pm (UTC)
ext_1358: (Default)
From: [identity profile] grav-ity.livejournal.com
Sigh...I totally went directly to the "Frozen Flame" place in my brain. :)

Still: well done for getting other stuff done!

Date: 2009-10-09 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smb814.livejournal.com
Whoops...sorry about that! I hadn't intended to get away from working on "Frozen Flame," but my writing muse was getting antsy to actually write something again instead of just tediously revising, and so I had no choice but to take a break and oblige her. *glares at Kitty*

Once this latest monster fic is done, I'm getting back to work on "Frozen Flame" and finishing up this draft of it. I am, I am, I am! And you guys can hold me to that! :D

Date: 2009-10-07 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teryl-brat42.livejournal.com
YOU'RE ALIVE!

And my heart did a full stop for a moment where I thought you were indeed speaking of FF. *shakes fist* Glad you're writing though, and TOS is an incredible world to play in! I really gotta get my game cube set back up so I can beat that game! I think I'm about 10 hours onto the second disk, so a ways to go yet. I restarted TotAbyss too, but ended up not finishing. Grrr.

Anyway, will you be posting the links to the stories here as you finish them? I just started a full time job so while I would offer to beta for you, I can't promise to do it in a timely manner. >_< So it's best that I don't offer, lol. AndwhenI'mnotworkingorinclassIplayWoW....

Utada Hikaru rocks! Just my two cents, ya know.

Glad to hear from you. Hope all is well in the non-fandom part of your world too!

Date: 2009-10-09 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smb814.livejournal.com
I'M ALIVE!

Sorry about the inadvertent deception with the subject line. And by all means, Erin, you MUST finish TOS! I wouldn't even have played the game and been sucked into it like this if it weren't for your recommendation last year! Or at the very least, go watch the rest of the story on Youtube! I know someone just recently finished posting an entire playthrough of the game there.

And don't worry, I'll definitely be posting links to the stories here when they're finished. The first story, "Mental Holiday," is already posted...somewhere or other...on my LJ, and I'm hoping to at least get the next story in the series out sometime before the end of the year. And once I've finished up with that series, I am going to reread "Frozen Flame" so I can finish up this draft of it before I start writing anything else. You can hold me to that!

And I understand completely about not having time to beta -- that's why I haven't taken on any beta jobs in longer than I can remember, either, because my time has been so limited lately. If you'd be interested in a simple read-through of this latest series at some point to give me a general reaction to it or an idea about whether or not the stories/series works, though, I'd certainly consider giving you a sneak preview, assuming you like the characters/pairing of Zelos and Sheena. :)

Hey, and congrats on the new job! With the economy the way it is right now, I'm always excited to hear when someone manages to find one. :)

Good to hear from you again, too! Take care! :D

Date: 2009-10-07 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonshayde.livejournal.com
I'm very disorganized so I am not the model anyone should use like EVER, but I'll talk a little bit of what I do.

First of all, I don't think your writing style is strange. I know many people who start with endings first. I do it sometimes and sometimes I don't. It all depends on the story. However, I always have an idea how a story ends if I don't have a scene sketched out.

These scenes/ideas inevitably change for the final product.

I absolutely need a beginning, though. My beginning sets the tone for the entire fic for me. So while the sketchy ending gives me something to aim for, if I don't have a clue how I am beginning, then I can't focus and work. Now, my beginnings could change, too, as I write and revise.

When I write bits of scenes or snatches of dialogue, I will just use the character's initials and then what they say. Maybe bits of action in script form. This allows me to quickly write down snappy banter and emotion and not get lost in prose.

I bounce back and forth from outlining, to writing scenes, to taking notes to using index cards. I never have one system and I never use the same one throughout the entire manuscript. I haven't really nailed down my system yet and I tend to get lost in my own disorganization. The best example I can think of is one of my recent stories.

In my upcoming novel, I had an idea how it would end. I wrote some lines down on an index card and I kept them. Since it's historically based, I divided the sections up into years and decide certain events would happen in certain years. I struggled hard with a beginning, and rewrote that about 4 times until I decided I was starting in the wrong place. I started at a point that was going to be much later in the novel. Once I had the right starting point, I could write more organically because I knew where to start developing.

I wrote a lot of scene parts out as they came to me, but it took me a long time to get any sense of organization. Finally, I figured out I needed more characters and I changed some of the main aspect of the plot and character motivation. Instead of starting when the character met, I reframed it to show their growing friendship, and then the slow deterioration of that friendship. This worked much better.

I did an initial skeleton draft that had a low word count because I was missing scenes. But since I had written most of the end of the story, I could go back and start fleshing it out. I then rewrote a lot of the ending.

I posted a link about a method that might interest you on my pro blog, but I can link it here. it took me a while to tease out what the author was saying, but I do think I'll try it for my next project:

http://www.fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue%2015/phase.htm

So I don't think you're weird or anything. I just think we all have our own spin on how to bring together our writing. It's not easy that's for sure LOL

Date: 2009-10-09 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smb814.livejournal.com
Wow. That article you linked to was really interesting -- thanks for sharing that! In some respects, it sounds like how I've started writing (getting the basics out first, the action, the gist of the dialogue, and then converting it to actual writing afterwards) but with a different, more strict and maybe less detailed, spin on it than the process I've developed for myself. And that's okay. As long as our process works for us, that's really all that matters, isn't it? We can pick up ideas from others and give them a try, but if they don't actually work for us, there's no reason to try to force them work for us.

For instance, I've never understood how writers use index cards to help them with their plotting/writing process. But then, I've always been an outlining kind of writer. What kinds of things do you put on the index cards? Actual dialogue? General ideas? Action? Scenes? Are they most useful when you don't know the order of how the scenes are playing out, so you can rearrange the cards and try to get a logical flow to the story? Or something else?

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who's ever worked backwards on stories. After seeing some of the fics posted on FF.net (which, I know, is a terrible example considering the young age and attention-seeking neediness of so many of the writers there, but in the TOS fandom, where I've been the past year, there's nowhere else to find fic) where authors are constantly saying they don't know where they're going with a fic and would like others' opinions on where they should be going with the story, I was starting to think no one had an image in mind of how they want the story to play out anymore. Maybe that's why so many WiPs are posted but never finished -- because the writer posts a scene that pops up into their head without knowing how it fits into an overall story.

Beginnings, for me, are less vital than the ending -- mine usually end up changing two or three times before I finally settle on one that I like. I've usually written snippets of most of the scenes in the middle long before I think up what kind of beginning to go with. Although I do find that when I'm converting my plotting notes into actual writing, I can't jump around -- I'm strict about needing to write the story in order from beginning to end, because later scenes always seem to be affected by what happens in the beginning scenes. So if I don't have a beginning of some kind, I can't actually start writing. But there again, that's just me. :)

*shrugs* Maybe I'm just a more ending-focused writer, more concerned with giving the reader a satisfying emotional payoff at the end, rather than hooking them with something exciting and promising in the beginning. I don't know that one focus is better or worse than the other, but something tells me we all should be aiming for both...in which case I probably need to work more on my beginnings. :)

Thanks for your reply, Kerri! I always find it fascinating to hear how other writers write, because the writing process is so different for every writer. :)

Date: 2009-10-08 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mysticalweather.livejournal.com
One day, I want to see Frozen Flame on a shelf so I can *BUY IT* omg! I'm not complaining too much, though. I know you'll get there when Kitty lets you you can. *g*


I noticed your AN in the rough drafts of FF, and I have to say I quite like the idea. It's a pretty good way of referencing your thought pattern about a scene, what elements you intend it to have, emotions to convey, without getting too bogged down with precise wording or grammar at the time.

I don't really have a set way to write. I've never been much good at outlines for whatever reason. Maybe because most of my stories are fairly, if not very, short. (All of mine combined would probably equal about 3 chapters of Frozen Flame. ;) LOL!) And after I've written most (or all) of the fic, I go back and edit, rearrange, rephrase.

For my D/J novel, I spent a lot of time researching to get the historical part right. I outlined a bit, I suppose, but mostly it was bits of scenes and dialog that dropped into my head that I wanted to eventually use. I'd save all those pieces in a file, and incorporate them as I got to that point in the story. And some pieces I wrote, but (because they ended up not fitting in with the direction or pace of the story) they became more back story, which was helpful for me overall, but they never were incorporated into the actual fic.

I think I did it the hard way, actually. I wrote without having a definite ending planned, which made writing the ending a lot harder, I think. I got there though! Though next time I decide to write something novel length, I'll likely try to incorporate a little more outlining.

I miss writing, actually. My muse has been sadly uncooperative of late. Need to work on that...

Date: 2009-10-09 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smb814.livejournal.com
You will! Once I finish this monster epic, I'm rereading "Frozen Flame" and getting back to work on it. I am -- so hold me to that! Whether Kitty likes it or not, she's just going to have to stop being so utterly fascinated and distracted by The Flashiness That Is Zelos Wilder -- at least until after she's officially finished playing with Aaron. (Think Aaron could sneak a leash onto her and tie her up for me so she can sit still and focus for awhile, at least until FF is done? *g*)

Methinks I'm going to have to go back and reread your D/J fic again one of these days -- I haven't read a D/J fic in ages, and I remember really liking yours, and especially the historical aspect of it. :) Only I don't know where anything ended up anymore in the D/J fandom once Gateview went poof...did you ever post it on your LJ? Is it posted on FF.net? Or will I need to go back through the danandjan list archives and try to find it there?

I'd love to see you writing again, too. :) Sometimes it just takes a fandom switch, assuming you're not looking at writing original fic. Personally, once I'd exhausted my ideas for Daniel (or lost track of/interest in the ideas I did still have left for him), I had to wait until I found another character/pairing that fascinated me enough to inspire me to write again. And unfortunately, I don't seem to be geared toward a lot of non-fanfic writing because I just don't get ideas for original stories the way I do for fanfic stories. Eh, maybe someday when I'm done with FF I can try my hand at another non-fanfic story or two. Original stories just take so much work setting everything up from scratch instead of stepping into an already-created universe. I guess I'm just lazy like that. *g*

Good to hear from you again, Misty! I hope things in RL have settled down for you. :)

Date: 2009-10-29 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mysticalweather.livejournal.com
Sorry for the late reply...

And yes, I will hold you to finishing FF. *gives you a Look*

http://mysticalweather.livejournal.com/39846.html
There's a link to the first part of my d/j fic. The subsequent chapters should each have a link to the next. It is at FF.net too, but I won't make you do to the Pit to find it. ;)

*hugs*

~Misty

Date: 2009-10-08 02:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trickssi.livejournal.com
Oh man. After a rough yesterday, this is an awesome, awesome thing to find xD

I'm so happy to hear you've been writing! And Sheelos, of course. I'm really adoring the titles and curious as to what they entail. PS, if you keep "Point of No Return," I'm fairly certain it was an old chapter title of mine and I would be so, so endeared to it >xD But I mean, whatever works for you is what should go down.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, my writing process has evolved to include writing the ending first (or bits from later dialogue, etc.) before being able to write what I end up calling "filler." It's perfectly normal to write the ending, go back and write other chapters, then change the ending slightly to accommodate them. Or, at least, if it's not, I'm in trouble xD

Of course, I'll be excited to read your work when I can--I'd love to read first drafts, too. I've been seriously jonesing for some good fanfic and I know that you'll deliver what I need! Whenever you need to bounce an idea, I'll be waiting patiently and try to help out in any way I can.

Have much fun on your family vacation!! I hope you continue to be well and happy ^_^ I always enjoy reading your entries~! <3

(PS, I totally second Tsukiko Amano. I need to listen to more Jpop, 'cause it truly is superior to American things. Haha, except Lady Gaga's infectious, guilty-pleasure dance music. I'll have to explore the world of the Japanese once I'm done with this new Paramore cd...!)

Date: 2009-10-08 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kay-brooke.livejournal.com
Oh. Oh.

You wrote Frozen Flame?

I so completely didn't know that! I read that story years ago when I first got into Stargate fandom. It's one of my favorite stories in the fandom!

Ahem. Sorry, I'm just like, oh wow, what a coincidence!

When I write, I rarely have an ending in mind, or at most nothing more than a vague endpoint. It does mean that the story meanders a whole lot, but my rough drafts tend to be part story, part world-building, all right there in the narrative. So all my stuff is really wordy, too, until I can go back and take out the extraneous stuff that was jus me musing over the possibilities of the story.

Date: 2009-10-09 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smb814.livejournal.com
Yep, "Frozen Flame" was mine -- and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it when it was still posted on the web! :) I spent a few years since then rewriting it as an original novel, and I'm about 80% finished with my first major revision of it -- this past year I've just been majorly distracted from revising it by this other writing project. So if I happen to talk about "Frozen Flame" on my LJ now, I'm usually referring to the new version and my progress (or lack thereof) with it.

Do you mostly write fanfiction or original stories? If fanfic, which fandoms?

Date: 2009-10-09 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kay-brooke.livejournal.com
Ah, I think it'd make a pretty cool original novel.

I write mostly original fiction. I do write fanfic sometimes (Stargate SG-1 and Doctor Who mostly, with some miscellaneous other fandoms occasionally getting a peek in), but it tends to be vignette-type pieces instead of anything plotty. I'm actually doing a crossover Big Bang right now which is just driving me crazy because it's long fanfic! With plot! But I signed up to challenge myself and I guess that's what's happening. :)

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