Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Use GIFs to Describe My Writing Process (and to describe a lot of other things)

I'm a month late, but Cait's Beautiful People questions for July looked like so much fun to answer, I knew I had to do them eventually. Plus, gifs were involved, and I can never resist that.

1. How do you decide which project to work on?

Decisions? Yeah, no, not great at that when it comes to writing. If I ever try to make a logical decision, I end up opening fourteen documents, scanning through them to see what I'd written before, spending the next half hour weighing the pros and cons of working on the different projects, and ultimately not working on any of them.

That being said, it's usually best if I have a deadline set for something. The pressure of a piece having to be done by a certain date helps me work faster. And if I'm really excited about something, I'll drop everything else to work on that right away while I still have the inspiration.
2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

A long time. A really long time. I'm great at starting things; the first 5,000 words of any novel is the easiest thing I will ever right. But actually finishing something? Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.

It also depends on whether or not "finishing a project" means finishing the first draft or polishing a draft to perfection. A first draft of a novel for me might take a few months to a year, but edits take forever, mostly because I hate editing with a passion. Almost as much as Lorelai Gilmore hates decaf coffee.
3. Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

I feel like I don't have an exact routine for anything. Whatever works for me in the moment is the best way to go about it, especially since my schedule changes so often, I hardly ever write at the same time each day. But something that does tend to stay the same is my need for the right amount of noise. Sometimes I like total silence, sometimes I want a certain playlist, sometimes I need something more along the lines of ambient noise. Once I have that down, I can get started.
4. What time of day do you write best?

See my answer to the above question. I'm not sure I notice a huge difference when I write, but I do tend to like the way my brain works really late at night and soon after I wake up in the morning. 

5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

I'd like to think my dialogue is similar to Rainbow Rowell's, and lately my first person narrative seems to sound like Becky Albertalli's, but I admire the both of them so much, it could just be wish fulfillment.
6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I honestly can't remember when or why I started writing. I just really liked it. It was fun and once I found out people did it for a living, I knew that's what I wanted to do. I haven't stopped. Sometimes there are short stretches when I don't feel like writing or everything I write seems like garbage, but it doesn't last long, because if I stop writing for too long, I start to get a little twitchy.

7. What is the hardest thing you've written?

It's funny how in the moment, some things seem so difficult, and then when I try to look back and remember what was the hardest, nothing comes to mind. The middle of any project is when the temptation to give up is the strongest. Endings are also really hard because I want to get it just right, and I never want to say goodbye to my characters. Also, anytime you get nervous about someone reading something you've written, it tends to be some of the best stuff you've written.
    8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

    Adult fiction? Mostly cause, duh, I'm not an adult. Maybe memoir stuff, too. I keep a pretty regular journal, but to write good non-fiction pieces, I think it's probably best to get some distance from the memories. Then you can see what still sticks out and focus on that, the most important and memorable bits. And you can connect those memories with your older and wiser interpretation of them.

    9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

    I couldn't be happier with how productive I've been in this sense. Not even halfway through the year, I completed all of my writing-related 2017 goals.

    -Finish "Writer's Camp." Check! It's a full-length movie script that will probably just collect figurative dust in my documents, but I'm still happy I wrote it. It was tons of fun and helped me learn a lot about screenwriting

    -Do more screenwriting. Done, and I loved every second of it. I wrote two spec scripts, one for "Castle" and one for "New Girl," as part of an application to a Warner Bros. internship experience. I knew there was like a 1% chance of me actually getting it, especially since it was geared for adults, but I still wanted to try. I did not get in, but writing the scripts was fun.

    -Finish editing Beneath the Moon and Stars. Finally. I started writing this book toward the end of 2013 and I think I've finished up the final touches as of last month or so. Now I just have to find an agent for it.

    -Finish Terrible Things. Finished! It's by far the longest fan-fiction series I've ever written. The story stands on its own enough that I could probably make a few changes so it reads as a normal fiction piece, too.

    -Do the first round of edits for Ms. Holmes. This one was only difficult in the sense that I cringed with every page I turned. Oh how young and deluded I was. It still needs a ton of work to even be legible.

    10. Describe your writing process in 3 words or gifs!

    (You know me. I have no respect for rules when it comes to things such as limiting my gif usage. There will be more than three. A lot more. But they're all in order and make for a pretty entertaining representation of how writing a novel usually goes for me.)



    What authors do you think you're similar to? What's the hardest thing you've ever written? Leave a comment!

    Tuesday, August 1, 2017

    July Wrap-Up

    Books I Read

    Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare


    While it was totally confusing to read, I did love the story and the general cleverness of Shakespeare (there was one line in particular that used some metahumor, but I'm struggling to find it now). Plus, it made for great discussion at the St. John's Summer Academy, which I attended last week. The whole plot reminded me of one of those sitcom episodes where everyone makes different assumptions about what's going on and ends up coming to a head a few minutes before the end when they realize they were all totally wrong.

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


    I got bogged down by the writing style, and these sorts of romantic plotlines with endless discussions about marriage and status and dowries isn't my favorite, but I did enjoy the characters. Elizabeth was pretty ahead of her time and her parents were hysterical. I still have a hard time believing how quickly all of the characters fell in love, but hey, it's not like I don't ship them.

    Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur


    This was beautiful! I'd heard nothing but good things about it and was looking for some good poetry to read, so I picked it up at the bookstore on a whim and read it in one sitting. It's very simplistic and raw, which is my favorite, and the bare bones illustrations added to that. Some of it could be a little repetitive, but as a whole, I loved it.

    Movies I Watched

    "Crazy, Stupid, Love"


    Super fun movie with a great cast! I loved the plot twist at the end. So clever.

    "Despicable Me 3"


    Not as good as the others, a little more cheesy, but still fun. Mostly I was disappointed with the lack of Agnes. She still had a fair amount of screen time, but not nearly enough for my taste.

    "About a Boy"


    I'm pretty much guaranteed to love anything British, and this was no exception. I wasn't a huge fan at first, it's a little depressing and I didn't like the main character, but that quickly changes and I was hooked by the end. Hugh Grant is great.

    "Pride and Prejudice"


    I liked this better than the book, and I rarely say that about any story. Keira Knightley made a great Elizabeth, and it was easier to keep track of who was who and what marriages were happening and who exactly owned what estate, etc. I also loved how likeable the movie made Bingley. It really brought his character to live in an Eddie Redmayne-ish sort of way.

    Quotes I Wrote

        "Fools," he spat. "Thinking you can rob the Signus Velper, even if I am at the bottom of the sea. You should've learned from the others. No one robs Signus Velper and survives to tell the tale."
        "You should really stop referring to yourself in the third person," Finch said, though he tripped over his words in his anxiety. "As a poet myself, I know a thing or two about language, and it doesn't make you seem intimidating, it just makes you look--"
        "Shut it," Velper snapped.
        "Y-yes, sir."
    -Captain Zahira and Her Wayward Crew

    Obsessions I Acquired

    "Orphan Black" - I'm actually watching another episode as I write this. I don't know how I didn't start before now! After the endless advertisements during "Doctor Who" and "Broadchurch," I finally gave in and tried it out. Tatiana Maslany is so freaking good at what she does, I often forget it's her playing every one of these clone characters. They're all so distinct. I'm totally hooked.

    These videos - My friends and I got up to entirely too much fun at our most recent writer's camp. We made three videos: One that turned Norman Bates into a meme, one that's actually a nice slideshow set to music (the campers had an impromptu gathering outside the cafeteria to sing "Little Talks"), and one recording the lip sync to "Gaston" a bunch of us put on for the talent show (I was nominated to be Gaston because I was the tallest and had been in "Beauty and the Beast"). That  lip sync actually ended up winning the "Miscellaneous" category!

    At the St. John's Summer Academy, my RA was part of the theatre club and ran a bunch of theatre workshops throughout the week. We had so much fun, she worked with a couple classmates and me to put on the sleepwalking scene from "Macbeth" with a bunch of really cool choreography. There were three of us who played Lady Macbeth, and two other classmates who jumped in last minute to play the doctor and the gentlewoman. The video is dark, but you can still see the choreography pretty well. I'm the one on the very right in the red dress.


    Picture of the Month 

    Scout always has a seat at the table.

    I took my brother to see "Despicable Me 3" at his request, since my movie theater job gets us both in free.

    Here are some collages from my last writer's camp!
    Also from writer's camp: My roommate and I recreated a bunch of "Sherlock" photos.

    This one's my favorite.

    Pictures from the St. John's Summer Academy! One of my highlights from the week was the swing dance party we'd prepared for by taking lessons from the RAs who taught swing dancing to us.

    How was your July?