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Midnight Ramblings on Writing

June 15, 2013

So, I’m still here.  Still writing.  Still existing.  Still creating, though I’m being particularly sporadic about *what* I’m creating these days.  Shirts were a thing for a while, then drawing, now it’s back to writing.  And yes, I’m still knitting.  I’m down to my last unfinished project before I get to play with the new yarn.  But that’s a story for another day.

I’ve been turning over this story in my head for a while now.  It started out as fanfic, but I honestly hated the idea of writing so very much of something using someone else’s characters.  So I tried to reframe it.  And it’s sort of set off at a mad dash.

There’s lots of dialogue written right now.  Shockingly, the voices in my head do a rather fine job of talking to each other.  But finding that crowbar into the story itself has been interesting.  I tend to write from front to back.  I always have.  I think that it’s all the essay writing I did in school.  But that only gets me so far in my longer stories.  I get to the middle, and there’s a hazy idea of the end somewhere in there, but I have no idea of how to get to it.  

  So I’m trying something new.  I’m writing down the dialogue as it comes to me.  Just basically tacking it on to the end, for me to come back to later.  And rather than trying to flesh out the story as I go along, I’m sort of stream of conscious-ing the general feel of the story.  It’s helped me to work through some of the snags I’ve come across and a few short scenes have even popped out in the process.  It also keeps me typing away for whatever time I’ve allotted myself (an hour or so, usually), rather than stopping when I get to a snag and then getting distracted by Candy Crush or something.  

  The major drawback to do it this way is that the result tends to look like I’m talking to myself.  I write down questions, and then a little later may decide on a general answer.  And trying to pull my inspirations together makes things a little muddled.  It’s really hard to have the “Quirky female tech geek” character without invoking Claudia from Warehouse 13 or Abby from NCIS.  It’s not a bad thing, I suppose.  At least knowing where my inspiration stems from helps me to pin down the general voice for my characters.

One of the things I’m worried about right now is the depictions of race in this group.  I want a diverse group but it’s hard to avoid the idea that my desire for a diverse group may stem from a degree of token-ism.  And of course, there’s the issue of writing realistically for some of these characters when I don’t feel I have the experience to really represent their background cultures in the well thought out and respectful way I want to.  The Traitor Voice thinks I’m going to say something stupid and offensive and people will get mad at me.  And I probably will.  If I never finish this, it won’t matter.  If I do manage to finish it, I hope I have friends who are kind enough to point out those places where I have crossed the line.

 So anyways, here’s some of the random bits that got me down this particular path.  

This is me trying to work out where the thing should open.  There’s a bunch of stuff before this, but it’s mostly background plot stuff and me trying to figure out where the crowbar should go.

Action and quips right off.  Set the scene.  This is what they do.  Go out, track down the big bad, take it down.  Don’t want to be too Agents of SHEILD or Warehouse 13. Or MIB.  But frankly if you’re going to have a world with aliens and alien technology you’re going to run into this cliche.

Later, while trying to figure out the role of a secondary character:

Fish out of water.  Hi, howdy, hello, this is our spiffy alien fighting team welcome to it.  Introductions and expositions all around. 

And a random conversation snippet, just for the hell of it:

 He lifted his chin and gave her an icily proud look.  “Beards are for vainglorious fools who think their strength of their arms is measured in the length of their facial hair.”

 She nodded sympathetically.  “I knew a guy like that.  Couldn’t grow a beard to save his life.  He claimed it was because he was part Cherokee.”

 He frowned at her, frustrated once more by her uncanny astuteness. “I do not know what a ‘Cherokee’ is.”

 “It’s okay.  I don’t think he did either.”

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