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Moving write along

It’s been a while since I posted

What the hell have I been doing for over a month?

Writing

I finished revisions on Deer Ethan! I ended up cutting a huge chunk of words out, over 30,000 of them and reduced the book to a novella. This was just the first round of revisions though and I know I need to build my characters and setting out quite a bit. It could potentially reach novel length again at some point, but for now, it’s a novella.

I also started writing my next book and I’m using pen and paper instead of my laptop. It’s really slowing the process down for me, but I feel like what I’m putting down is of a better quality. It gives me time to think through things and I’m feeling a stronger connection to my work, which is exciting for me.

Crafting

I’m working on some new crafting projects for Christmas gifts. In case people I’m gifting choose to read this, I won’t elaborate. After Christmas, maybe I’ll share pictures of what I made. Or maybe I won’t. This is a blog dedicated to writing, not my weirdo crafting projects. Although, I like to take time to be creative in other ways as part of my writing process – it gives me a break and lets me see something else through to completion.

Living

I took a week off around my birthday (yeah, I got older since I last wrote). I usually take the week off and just hang out, relax, de-stress, and this year was no different. I tried climbing (so much fun!), explored the island, explored the city, and didn’t write more than a paragraph. It was perfect.

Getting back to it

Last night, as I was trying to go to sleep, my brain decided it was the perfect time to scrutinize my connection to the things I write. Of course I’m going to share some of those thoughts with you, considering this is supposed to be about my writing process.

When I was writing Deer Ethan in 2015, I was in the midst of a relationship that inspired a lot of the character and action of the story. I’m no longer in this relationship and working through the book brought up a lot of memories and emotions.

For my current novel, the main character is based heavily on my own personality and it’s set in my current geographical location. This might change, but for now it’s working for me.

I remember advice I heard in 2013 when I was writing my first book, to write what I know. I didn’t pay much attention to it because at the time I was writing an epic, high fantasy novel where everything was made up. How can you write what you know when there is absolutely no knowledge base? Thinking back though, a lot of dialogue, events, and characters were inspired by conversations I had with friends and family. Now, I’m almost certain you can’t help but write what you know. I’m inspired by everything around me.

Considering my work is loosely based on my life and the people in it, does it worry you that I write about murder? 😉

I do wonder if my connection is a detriment to my writing, and maybe I should stop basing them off specific people in my life, including myself.

I’m curious to know how other writers feel about this, about their connection to their work, and the characters they build. Are they based on you at all? On people you know? Do you completely separate them from your own life? What do you think about the impact of any of this on yourself and your reader? 

Comment below, or feel free to message me privately at ang.unsworth@gmail.com.

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What we leave behind

abandoned

The abandoned market is a community of empty buildings: Paint-peeling, boarded up and decaying. Their cracked exteriors stand defiantly against the ravages of time.

The insides are gutted. Unstable floors hold onto what’s been left behind by the ghosts that passed through in earlier, happier years. They grip tight with tenacious hooks and refuse to let go.

Reverberating among the hollowed out shells of a petting zoo, photo booth and market stalls, are the echoes of children laughing and people haggling over the price of eggs. Their presence casts shadows, chilling those that visit this lonely space.

While some turn away from this place in fear, for others it is a haven. It is where the lost souls seek shelter and where the wild things gather.

And I’m free…free falling!

Free fall writing, that is.

I live quite a routine life; go to work Monday – Friday, work out 5 times a week, drink lots of water, eat food at pretty regular times of the day, and all of this routine works well for me. Sometimes though, I need a bit of chaos in my life. I mentioned in a previous post that I am a pantser type of writer. To recap this term, it basically means someone who writes by the seat of his or her pants, as opposed to those who sit down and plot a story out.

This is where the free fall style of writing comes in.

With free fall writing, you grab a writing prompt, set a time limit and just write. Get the gunk and junk out of your head and onto the page and don’t stop to think about it.

There are a few reasons why I love free fall so much:

  1. You come up with so many ideas that you can scrap or build on later.
  2. Excercising this style of writing really pulls you out of your head and lets your creativity take the reins, producing the most random content.
  3. It’s a mess.

Note: the mess is undoubtedly the reason why I love free fall writing so much, and it’s incredibly important. We live in a world where everyone is posting their best versions of themselves on social media. While it’s lovely to look at, it is unbelievably unrealistic. The craft of writing is dirty, it’s messy, the words that come out are more often than not, complete crap. I don’t think there is one person in the world that can just write a perfect short story, or novel with just a first draft. It’s why it’s called a first draft, not final. In the first draft, there are gaps in the story, characters names might change mid-way through, the plot isn’t fully developed, whatever, it’s all a mess. And it’s real.

I’m going to share my free fall writing on this blog, and pieces of my first drafts. I want to show everyone that the first words on the paper are supposed to be garbage. It’s what comes after that defines you as a writer, the work you put in to make sense of the mess from the free fall writing. But, the story starts here, amid the chaos.

What kind of writer are you? Pantser? Plotter? A mix? What’s your favourite way to start building your story? Comment below and tell me!

Ps. I feel like I’ve made myself sound quite drab. I actually do a lot of things spontaneously, or out of the routine order of life. I write about all that in another blog though…

New year, new blog?

As you can see, I’ve created a new blog! If you already follow my other one, don’t worry, I’m not getting rid of it. I’ll continue to post my personal adventures there, but I wanted to create a separate blog that focuses only on writing and thus, Angela’s bardic journey was born.

Follow this one if you want to read any of the following:

  • Creative writing – short stories, flash fiction and excerpts from novels I’m working on.
  • Published work – articles I’ve written, or if my creative writing is published (saying it out loud will make it happen, right?).
  • Info about conferences, workshops and retreats I’m going to, or went to.
  • My writing process, struggles (img_2277), achievements, etc.
  • Reviews or thoughts about books I’ve read that either fueled my writing, or were just generally interesting to me (Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton inspired this new blog and post).

I’m interested in hearing about my fellow writer’s experiences and processes, so please feel free to comment on my posts or email me directly if you want to chat.

Write on, friends!