31

05/21

Writing for the week

This week I wrote a short story for The Storyteller’s Tarot called “Death”. I’ve taken the same story and spiced it up for Maxwell Thomas’ reboot and called it “Thanatos.” That story will be available through the website mailing list.

I have been developing Max’s social media for the most part over the past week. Things to do this week?

  • Post “Descent, Introduction”
  • Edit War Mage (which is located at the bottom of my Books To Read pile)
  • Read over/preliminarily edit A Rook Given
  • Get back to writing A Rook Given
  • Plan the next M/M Romance for Max (Iron Butterfly?)

I updated Max’s social media content until August. That’s where I’ll be spending most of my time.

  • Twitter (Monday update) and Instagram (Friday update): @MaxwellTAuthor
  • Facebook (Wednesday update): MaxwellTAuthor

I’m not going to go nuts with Twitch and Tumblr and Snapchat. These three are enough for me. It’s a lot easier to shoot at a target with a rifle then with a shotgun. The rifle is targeted; the shotgun goes everywhere. Yes, the shotgun hits the paper, but it doesn’t hit the target.

Mercury is in retrograde until June 22, so any real writing will be crappy.

16

05/21

Writing like you’re gonna die

5:43 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Characters,Inspiration,Life Sucks,Writing

My days, empty of work now, have been filled with what am I gonna do when I die. Skip the following block if you don’t want to hear anything about my medical issues.

{begin) Last June, I was told that to get out of dialysis, I need to weigh 100 kilograms. I’ll let you go calculate it, but it sounds better in kilograms. I weigh more than that. It was suggested that I get gastric bypass surgery. Before that, I needed to go on a “strict” liquid diet. Um, I’m on dialysis? Liquid diet is bad? So they allowed me one meal a day, and protein shakes for two other meals. Fast forward to today, where I’ve definitely lost some weight, though it took me a year to do so. I’m not at 100Kg, but I’m within sight of it. Because of that, I’m seriously thinking of not doing the gastric surgery and just trying to lose the weight by eating less and less, and drinking these shakes, which really aren’t that bad if you shake them up really good and they get frothy. I’m giving myself another two years to get down to 100 kg. Problem is, will dialysis last that long? (end)

I’ve been thinking of my own demise, what will happen after that, what will happen with all the stories and characters that are in my head. Gone. They will be gone. So I’m writing and creating characters like the hounds of Hell are on my tail, because I believe that they are. I’ve kind of stopped initiating Role Play in City of Heroes/Villains, but I have characters with eensy-weensy backstories. (I’m lazy in the costume creator and I like mohawks for some reason.) If faced with an RP group, I join in, of course, pulling out those one-line backstories and throwing myself into a character. But I don’t make a point to RP.

Because I don’t want my ideas, the characters, the stories, to spill out from the page that they’re meant to be on. I believe that my writing needs to exist somewhere on paper/computer files for it to be real. Posterity. That isn’t to say I haven’t touched some people by role playing; I’m afraid these characters will go up into the ether. Since I’m a Published Author (TM) I’m afraid of losing ideas.

Now, if you read “Big Magic” by the woman who wrote “Eat Pray Love”, she is of the opinion that The Universe Provides Infinitely. Yeah, wonderful. But I have a finite time on this earth. I’m too scared to lose any ideas that are given me. Which idea will pay off, put me in the best seller list, get me that one big break?

I have 51 characters on City of Heroes. That could be 51 stories if I flesh them out. Once I hit the top level of a character, I will usually stop playing that character because what’s left is lewt and pwn sets. The only one I still play is Grimaulkin because I can play him in my sleep and I don’t have to make much effort.

But let me be honest. I miss the effort, the reasons to role play. If I join an established supergroup (“guild”), they’ve already established story lines and cliques and relationships and I’m a third wheel. If I join one from the ground floor, it’ll go “poof” (That’s happened twice already, so I know better). And then, there’s Pocket D, the club where everyone role plays; but they want to talk about how badass they are and not involve you except as a soundboard. RP in groups is slightly better as long as you don’t get the one who talks about themselves and their backstories in the middle of a fight.

Grimaulkin the book proves that the character ideas in CoX are worth while. I just have to claw through them to find which one to stay with.

29

04/21

Muse: WRITE SOMETHING!!!

7:33 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Iron Butterfly,Life Sucks,Writing

Ok, so I want to write. But I have so many ideas. I have a brainstorming notebook that I’ve been scribbling plots and ideas in.

I have A Rook Given that isn’t going to be out until 2022. Because it’s so long to wait for it to come out, I’ve lost interest in writing it. (I like writing under deadlines. Call me crazy.)

I’m trying to resurrect Maxwell Thomas. I don’t know whether I should go back to the Brothers of the Zodiac and re-explain what Ishtar’s role was meant to be and do more stories in that world, or should I redo/replot Iron Butterfly as an M/M romance instead of a heterosexual romance?

Meanwhile, the Muse is demanding me to write something. Anything. Please. Just something.

So I pulled up this blog. Hi there!

I have fallen into the trap of, “My writing needs to have purpose.” Years ago, I had a discussion with my publisher (before he was a publisher). Why do we write? Oh, said my starry-eyed self then, “I write because I like it.” He said something to the effect of, “Don’t you want to be paid for it?” Oh, no, said my naive self. “Write because it feels good.”

What a unicorn-and-rainbows thought. Now it physically hurts me to write too much (carpal tunnel and arthritis are THINGS people my age get), so I have to be cautious. That adds to the “Writing needs purpose” command. I try to rest my hands, but I need to rest them by NOT playing games or scrolling through Twitter. #1stWorldProblems

I take three Tylenol every four hours and hope for the best.

23

04/21

Nothing new

5:31 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Life Sucks,Writing

Well, this week was a bust. I’ve written a total of 300 words, for a grand total of 15,800 words. Pretty sad on my part.

Slightly depressed, to tell you the truth. First, I found out that I’m my job and I have a “mutual separation” due to medical issues. They can’t fire me, and I can’t work, so they said if I come back in a year, I regain my benefits. To tell you the truth, I don’t want to work for any more corporate companies. They want to be the center of your life and culture, and I’m sick of that.

Second, A Rook Given probably won’t come out until next year. Which is bad, because that is way too much time for me to get it ready. I think I unconsciously blew it off once finding out that the story doesn’t have to be finished for about a year.

I mean, it’s good that the Press has many more authors. I’m happy to see other books and stories come out by such a diverse group. All we have to do is sell the books.

That’s next.

21

02/21

One month to go

5:28 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Carnival Farm,Life Sucks,Writing

I’m going along with Carnival Farm. My publisher-imposed deadline is April 1, and I’m 32,000 words (180 pages) into it. I’m just over half way done!

I have also written a short story for a project with my writing group. It’s called “Hippolyta’s Dagger” and takes place in the Orange Sector of the Truck Stop at the center of the galaxy. That’s the name of the anthology: “The Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy.” It may come out next year or late this year.

Other writing is spiritual essays, mostly exploring my own religion. I’m not Christian, that is for certain, so it’s more exploring magic; other, new traditions; and trying to sync what I find with what I believe. Because I have time, I’m looking into trying some daily rituals to worship the gods I do believe in. I feel that worship is necessary because–and this might sound morbid–I sense my ending is sooner rather than later.

I have been watching The Twilight Zone series, and there is one episode, “Nothing But The Dark”, that has stuck with me since I saw it. It’s about an old woman who does everything she can to avoid death, but ends up being manipulated by him into a calm, gentle death. That’s what I’m hoping for, that Hermes Psycopompos takes me gently and calmly, offering his hand and showing me the way to the “heaven” or afterlife.

I need to get things straight in my life first, so that my family doesn’t have to worry. I don’t want what happened to me when my husband died happen to anyone else in my family. I want the arrangements to be done and paid for.

So while I look in the dark, in my crone years, resolving my religion and spirituality, I write it out.

06

06/20

When it all goes sideways

4:52 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Inspiration,Life Sucks,Reading

For two weeks, I’ve been rewriting my newest WIP. Not editing. Rewriting.

And now it’s totally off the rails, and I’m only on chapter 4.

I tried to make it more involving, make the main character more sympathetic instead of accepting of everything. I ended up making her a lovesick puppy pining for some eye candy.

All the potential, all the fun in the story, is gone. I’m trying to make it logical, give it a plot, make it a typical fantasy story. I’m trying to extend a story line, establish the side stories, introduce characters that will show up later.

It’s logical.

It’s dry.

It’s boring as hell.

That’s not to say the first draft wasn’t boring. The first draft’s main character accepted the Mean Spirit and ran with it. There was no conflict. Oh, there was a plot. There was a story.

It reads like the first hundred pages or so, I’m trying to get my legs under me. By the first quarter, I had a clue. I dropped things here and there that, to be honest today, I have no idea what they meant (I wrote this first draft before having a Story Bible). So with that in mind, I started to sit down and edit.

The next thing I know, I’m rewriting the first chapter because of the deep edit cuts I did in chapter three. The main character should have a lot more questions than she does. But I because i know the answers, I don’t know the questions.

I need to walk away from this story and come back to it and choose to rewrite it. The more I write, the more it’s getting away from me.

As for reading, I’ve read a couple of gay romance novels that were really good, and others that said to me, “If I had that character, I’d do this instead.”

One I was reading at the same time as writing this one and I was thrilled with the characters–until book 2. A friend of mine said, “In Book 2, they always take the character you cherish and do something horrific to him.”

The author did just that. I didn’t finish book two because i was disgusted–more at myself for being led on. I suppose that’s part of the formula (hell, I did it in Book 3 of Grimaulkin’s series).

I took out my cards one day and asked, “What should my next writing project be?” I don’t remember the exact card, but its meaning was clear: something new and different. Because my life is taken up with dialysis, kid, work, and sleep, a brand new writing project doesn’t show up there.

Part of me wants to write to market. Part of me wants to write to write. All of me has no idea what to do next.

25

12/19

Resolved: More Cowbell

12:55 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Inspiration,Life Sucks,Writing

I need to get cracking on writing some stories. I’m involved with a writers’ group now and I have no excuse.

Well, I do. I have no ideas.

But that’s an excuse, not a reason. Being tired is an excuse. Having no time is an excuse. I can’t let that stop me.

I’m thinking of getting back to 800 words; if not daily, then at least three times a week. Maybe on my dialysis days.

My goal is to get a novel out next year. Since Nano was a bust, I have to start with something different. There’s a big market for romance still, but I have such a hard time getting into ti. YA is still a big thing.

What to write, what to write. A whole different genre? Something that brings some order into my chaotic life?

Writing prompts, ahoy.

13

10/19

Hemming and Hawing

9:39 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: Inspiration,Life Sucks

I’m wishy-washy about a big decision with my job. That’s what’s taking up most of my time recently, the indecision of what one person says in HR versus what another person says. Nobody at HR knows what the hell will happen to me if I make this decision. In the interests of my health, though, I have to make this decision in a way that I don’t like, that will not benefit me, and will cause me problems in the short term.

See, dialysis is a total time sink. Three times a week for six hours: a half hour to put me in the chair, a half hour to disconnect me, four hours in the chair, and half an hour there and back home. I tried to work afterward but I was so exhausted, I just wanted to sleep. I didn’t do much after dialysis.

My boss suggested I take the days off that I have dialysis, which are Tuesday and Thursday. She did some research on it and said that I would probably be too tired to work. Although I protested, I could see her point. I would not be a good functioning member of the team after dialysis. Nor would I be effective after 8 hours.

I found that out on Friday, when by 3 pm I was ready to ask her if I could take a 4 hour PTO because I was a babbling wreck. I thought I knew myself well enough to work 12 hour days. I guess I can’t.

That being said, the whole idea of just resting irritates me. I can’t see myself doing it. I must always be busy, or I’m not functioning. Dialysis, it seems, is kicking my ass in ways I didn’t expect. It’s making me rest, forcing me to stop and reassess.

I don’t like it, not at all.

Now, for writing, I honestly haven’t been doing any of it this week. I had a story idea from a dream but it’s not even a skeleton, it’s a bunch of dislocated ribs. Of course, that’s what you get when you have a dream and try to make a story out of it. I wrote out the bare bones in my journal and I’m a bit meh over it. It doesn’t entice me.

Back to the drawing board.

22

09/19

Butt in gear

10:46 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: Characters,Dark Mystic Quill,Life Sucks,Ova,Promotion

I have lots of things to obsess about. The dialysis (which has given me four hours of reading time three times a week), the next book which already has a writer’s block on the first chapter, and what’s going to happen for the rest of my life.

As soon as I move the computer upstairs to my third office (I live in a 10-room house) I will be doing a podcast.

I’m having trouble with the new novel, tentatively titled Ova. I want to introduce the main character, but I can’t seem to catch her voice. I don’t hear her very clearly–though I know what she ends up doing, at the beginning here I can’t seem to get her down right. I need to ask myself some questions and do a little “interview” of her to get where she’s coming from. I’ve plopped her down on the page and have no backstory, only what happens in the future.

I tried to write her home life, but it was boring. Eat, watch TV, go to sleep. Wake up. Do chores. Go to work.

It’s really hard for me to describe something or someone without making it seem like a description. I have to use active words, have characters do something other than stand there while we take a picture. Describe and action at the same time.

15

09/19

A side track

11:23 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: Life Sucks,Writing

I know this is a blog about writing, but I need to take a moment to let you know something.

I’m starting dialysis Monday.

I’m waffling between “This is a death sentence” and “I’m going to fight like the dickens and live a long life with this.” 15 hours a week at a dialysis center, and working 40 hours a week won’t leave me much time for fun and games.

However, on the bright side, I’ll have time to write. Somewhere I have a Bluetooth keyboard and I can hopefully type using my iPad. I’m working on the next novel, the sci-fi one I explained in the previous blog. I’m doing it in Word this time around, not Scrivener.

I’ll have time to read, to listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and do fill-it-ins (they’re like crossword puzzles but you’re given the word and have to fit it in puzzle). If I had a laptop I would probably game, but I don’t have one.

I also have time to pester people, do my calls and emails. Go ahead, tell me my on hold time is an hour. I’ll wait.

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