Wednesday, October 9, 2019

October Update: Flash fictions and prepping for NaNo

I did participate in the 24-hour short story contest last month. I wrote a story I actually quite like. I also put together a flash fiction for the Cafe for a prompt that didn't get any stories. I even threw a few words at a Cafe story for October. All said and done, I wrote less than 5k words, but hey, I wrote two stories last month.

This month, I need to finish my October Cafe story. It goes live on Monday, so it's hitting crunch time. I've been reluctant to write too much of it, since I didn't have the ending. I do, now, but I haven't written it out, yet.

I'm also gearing up for NaNo next month. I made a cover for the NaNo site. I wrote a little blurb for it. I think it'll be fun. I haven't done a ton of world building yet, but I like the main character so far. She reminds me a bit of Diana, and also a bit of Kit from Dante novels. She's a badass, but not entirely competent. She's disillusioned but hasn't given up yet. She's got terrible luck and thinks she doesn't have much else to lose, until she loses it. I haven't decided much in the way of sidekicks or other side characters yet. They tend to crop up when I least expect them to, anyway, so it's better not to plan...except for the AI she'll meet in the Dream Machine...because lately I've realized how much I love sentient and sassy computers. Marvin the depressed robot, Murderbot (and the asshole computer), the AI in Ted's novel, the computer in Skyward, even AIVAS in the Pern books. So, yeah. I'll have my own ghost in the machine in this book. I still probably need to give her something to fight for. Maybe it's a dog, I don't know. People love dogs. Loyalty to her pup will make her a lot more redeemable if I make her otherwise cranky and horrible.

So, yeah. I haven't written a ton, but the things I have written haven't been too painful. The flash fiction, and even the 24-hour short story contest were surprisingly easy, once I knew the shape of the stories and what beats I wanted to hit. It's good to know that even as stagnant as I've been as far as writing, as out of practice, it's not at all like being out of shape and having to exercise. Or maybe it is. There were days after a long rest from running that I could easily run two miles without stopping. Doing it consistently, on the other hand...well, that's where NaNo comes in. It'll give me a chance to consistently work toward telling a story in more than just one sitting.

I'm not all that excited about the regional stuff, especially since they've gutted and revamped the NaNo website without taking into account what most of us have been using it for. But I'm also worried that talking to people about writing might snuff out this delicate flame I'm trying to kindle.

But having Amanda and Dianne to talk to about the 24-hour short story contest was nice. So maybe it'll be good. I'm just trying to take care where I step and keep my mind on what I'm doing, not where I'm going. Enjoy the simple act of spinning a story. Creating a world, getting to know characters, jumping into the deep end of NaNo without a plan.

And not just a plan for the novel. No plans beyond just telling this story. No thinking about publication or beta readers or sequels. Because it's been five months, and I'm still not really writing. There's still something broken. Something I did ended up breaking something, and I don't want to go back there or end up there again. So, yeah. I'm doing NaNo. Yeah, I'm writing short stories. But I'm still not really considering myself fixed or made-up with writing. I'm like, dating other people. I can't go back to that relationship yet. Maybe we're meant to be, once we work out our differences and grow as people. But I can't go back to it after what happened until lots of things change.

Baby steps. Maybe I'll get there. Maybe I won't. Maybe I really will retire completely as a writer. Maybe I'll go back to only writing during NaNo. Maybe this will be my last NaNo. Only time will tell, and I still have no plans to force anything. I believe the magic will be back. But magic isn't something you can force. If it's right, and you believe in it, then it will happen.