Friday, December 20, 2013

In Which Christine’s Sanity Has Yet to Return

There are four moments in life that spark the most inspiration: Showering, brushing your teeth, washing dishes, and trying to get to sleep. These are the moments where your head is vrooming like an eight-lane interstate with ideas flying by so fast and so many you can hardly reach them quick enough before the next one is zooming across your brain. Or is that just me?

Such a moment occurred a week ago while I was brushing my teeth before bed. An idea sparked, and I foolishly snagged it. Now I can’t seem to shake it.Journals

You see, ever since NaNo was nearing its end one question kept overtaking me: What’s next? I had plans to take a bit of a writing break throughout December, but I wanted a plan for 2014. I kept thinking I’d like to write something new, all my other projects kind of need a rest for a while. I needed something fresh and new that I could maybe turn into something worth reading since, ultimately, I’d like to pursue publishing soon. I’m just not sure anything I have right now is publish worthy. So that’s what I wanted to do for 2014, I wanted to really get serious about publishing and work hard on trying to create a book that might make it. Not sure I’ll ever be good enough for that, to be truthful, but I’m not giving up my dream either.

For a few weeks I was in a bit of agony over this. Usually I have hundreds of story ideas, just never enough time to write them all. But suddenly my mind was dry. I could not think of anything to write that would be worth reading. I looked over the projects I already have that need rewriting or finishing or sequels to be written, but none of them looked too promising. Not yet, anyway. I’m just not ready to tackle those.

Then, one day, two or three weeks ago, I had a thought. There’s this old story called Orthadia I have that I started when I was 16 but never finished. Back then my writing was, well, atrocious but besides the state of that book, it has always held a special place in my heart. It was the first real big fantasy story I ever wrote, the first novel at all that I thought might could become something. Everything written before that were just silly little stories that I like to go back and laugh at now. But we all have to start somewhere, right? Orthadia was different though. It was a big medieval fantasy story that, though written atrociously, had a good enough plot I’ve always thought. That story was the beginning of the writer I am now. For years now I’ve told myself that one day I’m going to go back and rewrite that story and make it into something. I think it deserves it.

That’s when it hit me. This is the time. I’m trying to find something to work on for 2014, so why not Orthadia?

Orthadia Banner

The idea excited me. I haven’t even touched that thing since I was 18. It would be so great going back to that story, that world, those characters, and making it all bigger and better. I got so excited I decided maybe I could at least do a little plotting here in December even though I was supposed to be taking a writing break. So dragging that poor, abandoned story out from under the dust in the dark corner of my laptop, I started reading back through it to get ideas for what all I was going to change, keep, etc. I had read the first two chapters when. . .


All my plans, my decisions, everything I had finally decided on got run over by a big eighteen-wheeler, crushed into tiny pieces, and lost in the wind. And there I was, staring blankly at the eighteen-wheeler wondering where in all the earth did it come from?

Okay, so really I was brushing my teeth and an idea sparked, but it felt like an eighteen-wheeler destroying my plans.

Whilst brushing my teeth the words I’m falling popped in my head. And I thought, “Hm, that sounds interesting.” Next thing I knew, more words were streaming in until I had this whole mysterious paragraph about a girl falling through a dark void and not knowing why. I thought it sounded pretty cool, so right after brushing my teeth I jotted the paragraph down in my Author’s Journal, a notebook I use to write out random ideas for stories and whatnot such as this. I thought this paragraph would make a cool prologue for the beginning of a story someday. I figured once I wrote it that would be that. I’m always thinking up totally random sentences or scenes that might work in a story at some point or another, but I never linger on them too much. But this one was different.

After writing it down, my mind kept going. Who was falling? Why were they falling? What if they were just in a coma or something? Do they wake up? What if they do and have no memory? Where do they wake up? The questions went on and on until my mind couldn’t help but form up some answers to them. Next thing I knew, I had the very beginning scene of a story.

Do you know how sometimes there are just some stories that demand to be written immediately? You feel as though you might explode if you don’t start it right away? That’s what this one did. It snagged me in a tight grip and wouldn’t let loose. I had no choice. I had to start it.

Not only did my plans to redo Orthadia get crumpled, so did my much needed break from writing for this month. This story would not go away. So I sat down, and started writing.

Now, I’ve always been a pantser, a writer that doesn’t plan, just writes and lets the story unfold itself. That’s my favorite method of writing. But even us pantsers usually have at least a smidgeon of an idea on what we’re writing. I mean, most people at least know what genre they’re working on, right?

Boromir Meme

When I randomly started this story, it felt like I was trailing through that eight-lane interstate blindfolded. I did have a beginning scene thought out, sort of, but not a whole beginning, basically only 1k words worth of a beginning, and even then I had NO idea what was happening. And yet my fingers kept typing. But what was going on? I had no idea! I suppose it’s a good thing my main character woke up without a lick of memory to speak of. It’s easy to write a scene where your POV character has absolutely no idea what’s going on when you’re just as lost as them.

It might be easier if it was in a familiar setting. If my MC woke up in a little medieval cottage or a grand fantasy castle, I could work with that. But no. Instead she woke up in a futuristic hospital-type place. And that’s not even the worst of it. In this odd hospital place, she’s already come across a girl that exploded a hallway with fire coming out of her hands, another girl who killed five people just by looking at them, and then a boy with WINGS. Why, this hospital has people with superpowers! WHAT.

I think most of you realize by now that medieval fantasy is my comfort zone. That’s what I write. That’s what I’ve always written. Only this year have I tried a couple of different genres, but that one will always be mine. I always go back to it, I can never stray from it too far. Even with the books I read, I’m not one to read too many stories away from fantasy.

Sci-fi has never been my thing, at all. I’ve never even liked the whole superpower thing. Now, I do love me some Marvel movies, but it’s impossible to not like those. Still, superpower movies are fun, but it’s just not a genre I would ever explore. But you know what? I think I’m writing a superpower story. *blinks* I didn’t even know it was going to be that until suddenly people are exploding hallways with fire from their hands!

The Hunger Games CoverLet’s not stop there. It gets far worse. Not only is this apparently a superpower story, it also is looking like a dystopian story? A DYSTOPIAN STORY? Like the world needs another one of those. *rolls eyes* I’ll admit, I’m kind of enjoying this dystopian stuff. I shamefully got myself all caught up in The Hunger Games craze, and am very much throwing around the idea of trying Divergent. But I would never even give thought to trying to write my own. I’m not one to jump into fads. Usually I try to avoid them like the plague. And now look at me? I didn’t mean to start a dystopian story! I didn’t even know it was one. Actually, I’m still not 100% sure. I don’t know what is going on in this story! I have no plot, I have nothing!

And I’m not even finished yet. Not only am I apparently writing some sort of sci-fi, superpower, dystopian novel, which any one of those things is insane enough for me, but it’s also in first person. That might not sound crazy unless you knew me. I detest first person. Sometimes I will pick up an interesting looking book, then see it’s in first person and put it right back down. Now, there’s exceptions. I’ve read some books that I thought were a lot better in first person. Some stories just call for it, and if it’s done well I will enjoy it. But in general I far prefer third person. So, naturally, I would never write anything in first person myself. I thought it would be more likely for me to grow tentacles before I did something like that. Well, I see no tentacles and I’m already two chapters into a book in first person. . .

The very worst part of this entire mess is the fact that I’m ENJOYING IT. It goes against my entire personality to enjoy writing a superpower, dystopian novel set in first person. But it has me in its grip and won’t let go. I’m literally living and breathing this novel. All I can do is think about it. Every time I try to think about something else, my brain somehow gets back to this novel. I get so hyped when I find a chance to write in it. It has taken over my life!!! I declare I’m more excited about this book than anything else I’ve ever written. That’s just not right.

Remember how during NaNo I said I threw my sanity off a cliff? I had every intention of it returning come December. It seems to have decided to crawl farther away from me instead. Very, very far away.

I wish I could tell you more about this novel, but despite it invading every waking (and sometimes even sleeping) hours, I’m still totally in the dark. I can’t for the life of me figure out the overall plot. Or. . .anything really. I know this facility place is giving teenagers superpowers, but that’s literally all I know. I don’t know if this is a future version of our world, a different world, why they’re giving teens these abilities, who my MC is, nothing. Yet I still keep writing in it because I can’t seem to help it. Who knows, maybe I’ll be hit by another eighteen-wheeler that will give me some great idea for it, but for now I’m completely lost.

I’ve decided to call it Fallen Matter, but that’s very much subject to change. Absolutely every thing about this novel can change at any second. It’s all so up in the air and confusing. My MC has already had a name change and I’m still not sure I like her name. There’s absolutely nothing concrete about this thing right now.

Fallen Matter Cover

As far as my plans for writing Orthadia for 2014. Well, those plans got crushed after all. I’ve still sort of thrown around the idea of trying it, but this current novel has taken over my life so much that I can’t even consider Orthadia right now. I guess I’ll just keep writing and see what happens.

And I sure can ramble! To sum all this up: Christine lost her mind.

But sometimes those insane, sporadic moments in life turn out to be the best ones. We’ll see.

Hope you guys didn’t mind quite a bit of insane, Christine rambleness. And I hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend! Can you believe Christmas is Wednesday? O.o

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