Category Archives: On Writing

Planning = Winning

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The glorious feeling you get when you spot a plot detail that needs to be changed in order to prevent all your protagonists from dying a gruesome death before the first book is over. Yay, plotting! :D

Aaand now I have to deal with immunity problems. Yay, plotting T_T

 

At least I noticed before I reached the chapter in question. Going back and adding stuff is like cutting your trousers off at the knee and adding two inches of sliiightly different cloth because they were too short. You can get away with it, but it will be noticeable, and it will always feel kinda-sorta wrong. Also, whoever thinks that’s a legit way of altering trousers: Please hand them over to a professional. Or at least a friend who can sew (not to be confused with ‘a friend you can sue’. Which is literally what I typed here first. Why, brain?). You’ll be very grateful later.

 

 

-Ricarda

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Dumbing down is harder than it sounds

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Just when you think you have a decent starting point for a rather brainless, easy-to-write romantic YA sci-fi novel…

“Oh, hey, look, this is a great opportunity for commentary on the pros and cons of genetics and the value of human life!”

While I’d looove to write something like that, I don’t think YA is the way to go about this kind of subject, and at this point, I’m looking at my chances to sell this thing. I have to eat, simple as that, and the brutal reality around here is that YA romance stuff has the highest chance of getting accepted.

Then again, a lot of YA books are bought by actual adults, so maybe there’s a chance, if there’s enough romantic fluff to make up for it (I hate writing it, but let’s face it, YA romances tend to be horrible anyway, so no worries there). Also, I can sneak in Star Wars in-jokes that probably only I understand. Wee pop culture references! :D

 

Why can’t anything ever be easy? T_T

Writing… you’re doing it… weird?

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I hate writing feelings. It just weirds me out sometimes, and even on the best of days, I have to make myself write through particularly emotional scenes. So sometimes, I’ll put in a placeholder and move on, promising myself that I’ll do it “as soon as I’m in the proper mood!”. Then it goes like this:

 

Getting to a touchy-feely scene: “K, I can’t do this right now, let’s put in my placeholder and come back to it tomorrow.”

Two weeks later: “Mhm. Not sure I can write this the way I want it right now, so let’s put a placeholder and- wait, there’s still another one waiting… ah, well, as long as I don’t have more than two or three at a time…”

A month after that: “Okay, I wrote one of the placeholder scenes, so I can add a… sixth one? Crap, I have to get to these soon…”

Six months later: “Goddammit.”

 

If this goes on, I’ll type “The End” under a half-finished manuscript. I just KNOW I’ll forget some of these, because the scenes technically exist… in my head, and don’t show up as “missing” on my imaginary checklist… And I’ll probably lose the paper one somewhere along the way.

This would be where something like Scrivener or Storybook would come in handy, but this kind of software is much too cluttered with things I don’t need, and the features I could use just don’t outweigh the hassle that comes with sorting through all the useless stuff. Is it too much to ask to just have a software that has the bare essentials and nothing else? I’d make it myself if I could, but I never quite got the hang of programming at school (I think I made those tiny virtual practice robots want to self-destruct sometimes…), and the time spent learning it now is time I can’t spend writing. Meh.

(Also, it’s kinda boring, and I’d rather read about how we are related to maw worms than what number to put into brackets there and where to put this weird sequence of cryptic symbols that don’t make sense…)

 

Is there any non-cluttered word processor out there that still has some useful features like sorting by scene and chapter and stuff? I doubt it, but it doesn’t hurt to ask…

 

 

-Ricarda

Aside

(No title because I’m tired.)

So I accidentally wrote a short story about a creepy chair. It happens. But what the hell am I supposed to do with it? oO

Are there any magazines that take stories about cursed furniture? I mean, Nightmare on Elm Street had a man-eating bed, so… someone wants this stuff, right? But what about stories where the furniture doesn’t kill anyone? Is that still horror, or should I include weird sex and sell it to some romance publisher? I mean, a hexed chair is still way more plausible than some of the sexytimes I’ve come across in published erotica.

Maybe I should just go to bed and read the thing again tomorrow. Just to be sure it still makes sense to a non-sleep deprived brain.

 

-Ricarda

So this happens when I get stuck and really bored…

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That romantic proposal I mentioned? Yeah, that’s done, and now I have to figure out how they break it to his family; hers is thankfully out of the picture… until her creep dad comes along to ruin things, of course. So when I hit a wall (again), my brain somehow played dead for a few minutes, and this happened…

 

Suddenly, Steinar turned into a pony. With laser eyes. And a very funky tail, because he’s Steinar. Everyone went „Ohhh, look at his tail!“ except Tyra who used the opportunity to snog her newly-acquired fiancé. They fled the scene to get married right away. This made everyone mad because no wedding feast! Petri then declared „Wedding feast for everyone! Bring out the booze!“ And Tyra multiplied it because MAGIC! Suddenly, HER FATHER appeared from the sky wearing a cape and also laser eyes.
„You betrayed me!“ he shouted. „After all the things I never did to raise you as my loyal and obedient war machine!“
He fought a great battle with Steinar and his laser eyes, but then Steinar lost and fell to the ground.
„Ow!“ he yelled in agony. „My tail!“
So Tyra revealed that she also had laser eyes. Everyone had laser eyes! Tyra challenged her father to a duel and they fought in the sky because suddenly they grew wings, and Tyra won because her dad is just a giant douche who also happened to make a few conveniently powerful children, none of which he brought to this fight because PLOT REASONS!
„This is for my new people here! And Steinar’s tail!“
So Tyra shot her dad with her laser eyes who fell down dead and everyone was happy. Petri then raised his beer and screamed „Victory AND wedding feast for everyone!“
Everyone was drunk for days and then lived happily ever after except for those who died of diseases and stuff because this is still pseudo-medieval fantasy, bitches!

 

Just… putting this out there. So you can admire my flawless plot and beautiful writing <3

And also because laser eyes.

I’m going to lie on the floor for a bit. Maybe I can get my brain working again.

 

-Ricarda

 

(Yes, I wrote this in English because reasons. Okay, actually because I somehow can only write like that in English. My mind’s weird like that. Also, WTFFanfiction may have spoiled me in that regard. Bad fanfic is never as good in German :< )

Romantic crap that’s not romantic. At all.

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Okay, I give up. Is there some secret I don’t know about? Some sort of… life-changing, meaningful insight I don’t have? Magical fairy dust?

How do people write romance?

I don’t get it. I’m working on a marriage proposal. Except I seem to have no idea what I’m doing.  Might be lack of personal experience, I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem… right.

I write a sappy scene. I write a comical scene. I write a sombre scene. I write it public, I write it private, I write it all over the freaking place, and it always, ALWAYS seems weird. Sometimes because it just is weird, but mostly because I think “No, that’s not the way he’d go about it, and that’s not a proposal she’d accept!”. But when I do write it the way I think it’d happen, I read it again and then go “But this isn’t romantic! No-one would want it to happen like that! That’s not how it goes down in a properly written romantic subplot!”.

Jesus Fried Chicken, I know why I hate romantic subplots, even the tiny ones. At least when I’m the one writing them. I’m not a romantic person, and I happen to have written two rather un-traditionally romantically involved characters. So it’s either sticking with the “logical” proposal (for them), or the “romantic” one (for the readers), which would be SO out of character it would look like it’s from a different novel -.-

How does anybody write a good romantic subplot without smashing half a dozen keyboards on their forehead?

Writing is hard T_T

 

-Ricarda

I think my brain just flatlined

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So I’m scratching at the 40k mark for NaNoWriMo, typing away at a rather cheesy scene and minding my own business, when suddenly – end of chapter, and all I can come up with is a feeble “now what?”.

Seriously, I’m trying to add to the romantic subplot (which is really just the main characters getting their shit together and trying the whole adult relationship thing, so not even that complicated), and I finally managed to come up with some decent dialogue, and now that I’ve reached the “we’re officially dating now” part, it’s like my brain went “oh, good, you’ve finished that part, good luck finding a decent way to start the next chapter, I’m outta here!”. Leaving me staring blankly at the screen and wondering what to do next.
It’s not that I’ve run out of plot; I have plenty of that. Or that I want to add drama and don’t know how (there won’t be that much drama, anyway). Or even that I know what’s supposed to happen, but have no idea how to write it.
I just have no idea what comes next. Like, should the next chapter be the one where Tyra begins her training? Or the one where Petri is criticised for going out with a “tavern wench” when he should be looking for a bride among the other Jarls’ daughters? Or maybe just a scene or two with everyone being normal for once? But what if that’s boring? Readers don’t like getting bored, so something should be happening. But isn’t this also a story about Tyra finding a new home, rebuilding her life before she has to fight for it – again? If I never show any part of that life, does that fight even matter? Do people even care why people in books fight as long as there’s magic that goes BOOM? Is “people making friends and realising that their temporary home could actually be permanent” not a thing that counts as “something that happens”?

Gah, I’m confused, and freaking out, and now I really want some coffee but it’s ten pm and that’s not something I should do at this hour. Drink coffee, I mean. The freaking out part is fine.

I’m torn. On the one hand, I want to write good, old-fashioned fantasy that’s neither high nor low, just happily settled somewhere in the middle, without all the over-the-top heroism or all the gritty, dirty, brutal stuff. Not that there won’t be something of both, but I thought it would be nice to have a story that’s not about either a knight in shining armor on a sparkly unicorn saving the day or a street rat getting by via stealing, killing and occasional prostitution. Just… normal people who try and keep their land and people from being overrun and occupied by a foreign army.
But then I think that maybe no-one wants to read that? And since I’m writing this one with publication in mind, I should think about what’s marketable, at least to a degree. I can write the weird stuff once I’ve got my millions safely on my bank account and Peter Jackson directing a film version of my book. So for now I have to ask myself: Is this the kind of story I can sell and that has the potential to earn me at least a modest amount of money? Or should I put it away for a while and write something more… accessible to secure myself a position among the literary folk?

Bwah, life is too complicated, I’ll just go shoot some dragons until I can figure out how to stop thinking so much…

 

Rant over, Ricarda out.