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LOL, I can just imagine a bunch of Greek artists staring at the skull like “Now what do we do?” “Minotaur?” “We have one!” “Cyclops?” “We have one!” “How about… a black blob?” “Genius.”

HAHA “Well, you see, we don’t know what that skull is, so the black blob really is just our fear of the unknown which we must confront with courage and logic.” – that potter trying to get his piece sold, probably.

Exactly! Now I’m a writer, I can actually tell when a writer is literally just creating an ‘arena’ for character development. “The Westing Game” comes to mind since a large part of that plot was just there to force the characters to interact. (Though it did feel a little complicated to me and I had trouble keeping everything straight.)

Never heard of that book, is it any good?

LOL! I actually quite enjoyed how weird that book was. I distinctly remember one scene where Arthur Dent (I think that was the MC’s name?) and Ford Prefect were chasing down a red chesterfield couch. That was literally the weirdest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on XD

I only ever read the first book, and it was so long ago I honestly don’t even remember that much about it; mostly just the parts that people already quote, lol.

Oh, yeah, finding a theme isn’t my problem, it’s picking one of the four thousand that swarm over the pages. Like, when I was reading my first draft, one of the notes I made is literally “Booo! Pick a theme!” Along with “MeLOdraMATic MEloDRama.” (I think I’ve improved at that since XD) It’s kinda hard, but I tried to pick what went with the character arc the best. I think it’s working out so far, but I’ll see after the second draft…

XD Reminds me of my notes as a DM for D&D, and I mean both the notes taken during the session and the prep-work for the session. I’m decent at improv so it usually worked out fine… usually… lol.

But it sounds like you may be able just to write it all out and then trim down whatever doesn’t work. I find trimming down to be easier (and better looking) than needing to add content.

I can imagine! So far for me, it’s also helped with improvising scenarios. Never in my life did I think I would have to write a scene where one of my villains, a ruthless, highly skilled assassin, gets chased and bitten by a goose.

hahaha, Untitled Goose Game anyone? Seriously though, how did that happen to your character?

Same! For me, another big element is character voice. My second book is written in dual POV, and my ‘main’ MC (Liorah) isn’t very wordy. She’s quite straightforward when it comes to descriptions and voice, even though it’s often detailed in other aspects. And the other one…. Well…. Faye can’t describe anything without a simile and two metaphors XD Her voice is far more detailed, dreamy, and poetic than Liorah’s. So, my descriptions do tend to be a bit better from her POV, since under-describing is my biggest issue.

If you are doing first person POV, have you tried describing things from a third person POV in a separate space? So, spend your time writing it out in a different page or document, almost as if you would put it in the book, but that becomes the reference for what your character actually sees? That way, you can focus on just imagining the thing itself and play with different words while not feeling pressured by the rest of the scene. (I write mostly on computer, but spending time outside with a pencil and paper just describing things has been very helpful).

I totally get what you mean! More often than not, critique can end up feeling a lot like “This is all awful and terrible and why did I start in the first place?” And praise can feel like “Yeah, but what if it’s actually trash?” At least to me, I still tend to fall back into that mindset, though I’m trying to improve.

Yeah, and then you are hit with the fear that if you actually start to admit that it is good, you are going to come off as some arrogant blowhard, lol. This is honestly where a lot of my actual work with writing goes into, looking at God and allowing him into the underlying cause of the feelings.

Hmm, I’d say concept, setting, and structure. My initial concepts are often far more interesting and vivid than when I’ve edited the daylights out of them. For structure, what can I say, I really enjoy formulas XD Personally, I use Save the Cat, and it’s transformed my plots.

I have never head of that phrase before, what does it mean, exactly? Also, sounds like you do/work on a lot of outlining, I’m honestly more of a pantser (is that how you spell it?), and if so, what is your process for that?

I’d say my dialogue and plots are passable. There aren’t any glaring flaws, but they aren’t amazing strengths. I’m not entirely sure about my characters in general and character voices in particular. I haven’t received any negative feedback, but not much positive either. Personally, I like where it’s headed, but it can always use more work XD

You know, if you would like some feedback, I would be interested in reading some of what you have written.

My aim is to get the first draft of my second book done, and at least get a dent in the second draft of the first book. (Yes, I’m working on both at once. Nope, it isn’t working out well.) Both goals are…. optimistic XD (And I probably won’t manage both, but it’s more a loose aiming point than a concrete deadline. “I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they whiz by.” XD) Since the first draft is only about halfway (50k but I’m only halfway through my outline.) And for the second draft, I’m completely rewriting with the first draft as an outline since it was my first attempt at creative writing and it’s genuinely awful.

From an outlining perspective, it certainly makes sense to get that done for the series before seriously putting pen to paper. Again, as a pantser, I have a plan (and we all know how well plans go, lol) to basically write the whole series as one draft, and then rewrite. I know I have a problem with letting the work and the process be messy, even while most everything in LIFE is messy; even cleaning is usually more messy before it is finished.

I love that deadline quote. Another one I really like is: “Sucking at something is the first step in learning how to be kinda good at something.”

What is your biggest writing goal for this year?

That is probably the hardest question you have asked, lol. My writing is first and foremost about my walk with God, and that has already subverted my goals and plans. I had to put my WIP down for a year or so, only picking it back up now, but that time was necessary and really good, but certainly not what I had planned. So, honestly, idk; I want to get this draft down by the end of this year… but yeah, we’ll see.

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