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Free-Writing Descriptive practise

A tree on its own was silent, dignified. But just like people, when trees got together in large groups, silence was out of the question.

Andy picked her way through the forest, wobbling as she tried to tiptoe in her Wellies. Detritus covered the forest floor like the remains of a messy sneeze. She imagined each snapped twig bursting into flame as she leapt away from the misstep.

She paused at the lip of a small ravine. It was deeper than she was tall, though streamless and bare of rocks. Stretching her arms out like a little red scarecrow, she held her chin up in rigid pride. A little hop, toes curled, saw her into the ravine.

A cave would have been better, she thought. Caves were dark and wet, like a black mug filled with water waiting for a tea bag. Nearly as dangerous. Sticking her hand in the mug would have meant getting burned. Caves in her backyard, vast as it was, were never big enough to do more than sit in and get extraordinarily dirty.

She amused herself for a time, marching from one end of the ravine to the other. Her arm punched the air as she tried to remember how soldiers paraded.

Wind whistled through the tree branches. Offkey, like a kid with a tin ear attempting composition. Andy rubbed the tip of her pink nose. Soldiers found shelter in poor weather. She clambered up out of the ravine on the side opposite her initial entrance.

A copse of tall trees lay a few yards ahead. She gave up marching and broke into a run. Pretended urgency set fire through her veins.

When she reached the trees, she squeezed past the outermost to deposit herself near the middle. She pressed her back to the rough tree trunk, straightbacked, unslumping.

Dew and seasonal rain soaked her jeans through within seconds. Her hands, white with winter chill, patted the sodden grass. She swept away fallen leaves. Thus situated, she rested her head against her tree.

Sitting on the ground changed the world. She felt like a toddler, just beginning to walk. Bushes at eye level, the sparse wildflowers imitating sunflowers. Peeking past the tree’s guarding her position.

If she looked up, she would have seen nothing but branches meeting trunk, foliage stretching out in a natural radius. It was like staring up a very large nose. Not a sight that had been illustrated in her Jack and the Beanstalk book, but one she closely associated with giants.

Andy shivered, gritting her teeth to stop them chattering. The sun had risen, in theory. But the cloud cover was so thick that the sun might as well have ignored astrophysics and stayed its orbit for a few hours. The air hung wet and heavy, pregnant with the promise of rain.

Dad had promised they would go fishing. The weather was better at keeping promises. Soldiers knew things like that.

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Description Practise with Caro

My major weakness lately is descriptive writing. I used to write it sparingly-yet-enough, but now it seems like I never put in description at all. It’s almost as bad as Jane Eyre having too much description. It doesn’t help that I’ve been reading a lot of really good description recently, and I don’t think I’m soaking up any learning.

So while writing in 750 Words this morning, I grabbed Caro, changed perspective, and gave it a shot.

::

The city stretched out beyond the point below my feet, elongated through the fisheye lens of too much vodka. Too much cheap vodka. My wallet hurt either way, but my teeth were cleaner than if I had been sucking down bleach all evening. Although that might have tasted better. Ah well.

Evening had come and gone. Long shadows melted into a dim dark that coated the street. Even the most minuscule crack in the pavement became a bottomless pit. It gave me a craving for chocolate.

I pulled my hair back, wishing I had something to tie it with. I must have been neon in the falling night. Pink, Easter-egg hair in thick liquorice whips, bright lipstick, and a blue dress that could have directed traffic. The idea had been to stop it, but then I had gone inside, and traffic had ceased to intrude on my thoughts.

There wasn’t any traffic in this part of town. Not at two in the morning. I was grateful. The wind was cool and grating on my freckled arms. My skin prickled with gooseflesh. I felt like a hedgehog standing to attention.

I sat under a lamppost and tried to imagine it was a sunlight. Then I realised that it wasn’t working, and if anyone had been around to see me, they would have imagined that I was a prostitute. I rubbed my arms and clomped on towards my flat. A block later, my heel caught in one of the cavernous pavement cracks, and snapped off.

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Someday Serial

Obviously, since I’ve decided to do Camp NaNo, my plans for a blog serial are on hold. I definitely won’t do it until after April, but I don’t know when the second month of Camp is, or if I’ll want to participate. For now, everything is up in the air.

I think I know what I want to write, though. I had started one, and it would be easy to just continue it. But I’m not sure how I feel about what I’ve written. I’m extremely critical of my own work.

But then, I’ve done serials on my blog before, with no editing. They were pretty weird. They also came from using 750 Words. It’s now a subscription site, but I think I’m one of the people who signed up during the first three years of the site’s life. That means my account should have a grandfathered, free for life status. In fact, I think I joined before it was even a year old. Weird.

Anyway, the serial I have in mind is about a sort of reality-show-slash-party. A king and queen of a made-up country are forcing their son to participate in a dating game, at which he shall be the centre, because he’s gotten in trouble too many times and they need the tourism. It’s all very silly. To help fluff out the crowd, the directors hire professional party guests, all of whom get a little too involved in proceedings.

I might use the writing I’ve already done, but if I don’t, then I’ll post what I did do, and then start fresh with a better structure. Or not.

And now I have to give Owen a bath so that he’ll stop being angry with me for not letting him stick his fingers in outlets.

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Happy Birthday to me~

Yesterday was a lot of fun, but it got pretty hectic some of the time, and I was also not feeling my best. I woke up with a really freaky-looking rash–not the little red dots that happen occasionally to anyone, but raised white welts that looked like burn scars. Seriously covered in that crap. I was okay most of the day, but in the late afternoon, I was itching so bad that I had to draw a hot batch and just soak. It didn’t help a lot, and I was up half the night scratching.

But then when I woke up this morning, the rash was completely gone and I only itch for normal, dry skin reasons, and not all that much. My first birthday present of the day, hehe.

It was kind of cool to wake up and have my husband be the first person to wish me a happy birthday. Being the first person to do that became a sort of prize or distinction in my family. My mum usually won it, which is just one of those things. Mummy loves me best. Haha, I’m in a good mood today.

Because I didn’t have time to get my 75o Words session in until the itching was majorly bad, I was only only to get about 2000 words in the site yesterday. However, I did have a lot of pockets of time (and time that would have been a perfect window in the morning, if it hadn’t been for the fact that I thought I would only have fifteen minutes and so not doing anything that requires more time than that) to edit.

I know people say not to edit while writing a NaNo style novel, but I always do it a little. It helps my continuity, allows me to change names before a horrible one has a chance to stick, and also to repair some things that could end up making me stop writing if allowed to fester and go unfixed. Somehow, I got about two hundred words, by clearing up some vaguaries that required readers to come to conclusions on their own.

The largest fixes needed were for the interviews, the second of which was the most broken and dull. In fixing it, I managed to take the chapter ending that did not fit and seemed more like a chapter beginning, and let it be a chapter beginning after all. This made that chapter a lot easier to write. I also went ahead and just wrote about seven or eight hundred words outside of 750 Words, just because it was really, really hard to concentrate with mad itching like I had.

Today, I wrote about 3000 words, starting and finishing the seventh chapter. I’d meant to bring back a character introduced in the third chapter, but then the new character I was introducing took over and made for a development that I had not thought about before. He’ll just have to come back in chapter eight. Maybe that’ll give me a chance to figure out just what his deal is. Villain or entangled good guy. Anti-hero? Pawn?

It’s 8:34, I spent an hour writing a chapter, and now I don’t know what to do with my day until the party tonight. Clean house? …write another chapter?

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Camp NaNoWriMo, Day 6 for you, Day 3 for me

The last time that I used 750 Words to write a speed novel, I had my minimum set at 2500, I thin. This time, I have it at 3000, because that’s pretty much where I have placed chapters. Numbers ending in 0 are quickest to divide, after all.

Sometimes that gets me to drag things on and/or actually start writing something that should be the start of another chapter in order to finish up my word count for the current chapter. As often happens, I fear that this is tedious and not very good, but at least I am doing it.

It’s funny how I feel like I don’t have time to blog anymore. I need about one or two hours to spend relaxing or doing housework, having breakfast (wow it’s already lunchtime), but considering that I can get 6000+ words with about two hours, I guess it’s okay that I don’t spend five hours on my novel. I need to take breaks from it. People probably won’t tell you, but writing is draining. It’s fun, yes, but it’s quite the mental task. There’s also the fact that I get bored very easily, even when I like something. Marathon anything takes a lot out of me.

Anyway! I have 15,339 words written, across five chapters, over the course of three days. There are campers doing better, and campers doing worse.

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Camp NaNoWriMo, a letter home

Dear Home,

BOO YAH.

No, seriously. Just yesterday, I was reminded of the existence of Camp NaNoWriMo. This came completely out of left field for two reasons, one of which was not my fault. The major reason is that I have not been paying attention to that kind of thing. The second reason is their fault, as last year, the first of the two camp months was July. I tried to do it then, but I was kind of about to get married. August was the second month, and I was a bit busy getting married and going on my honeymoon.

It’s pretty funny how the point of NaNo stuff is to pick a time when people are not busy. November is such a bad decision, any student or American will tell you.

Anyway. I mentioned before how I knew I was behind, finding out only on the 4th day. But now, on what is technically my second day of writing, I’m ahead for the usual projected 1667 words every day for 30 days. Day 5 (which this technically is) calls for 8333 words. I have just over 9000. (haha, bad joke, but true). In two days and three writing sessions, I have caught up and surpassed the expected goal.

This is what I’ve been wanting to get back to! Writing 6000 words in 75o Words. Breaking up a total of about 2 hours of writing over the course of a day. Editing when it’s over (not looking forward to it, editing is blah). Selling the book on Smashwords!

DOING IT ALL OVER AGAIN.

Best part, that.

Love,
this person writing this

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Looking backwards a little

It’s funny, I thought I was only going to have to write one post explaining a bit of weirdness on this blog. Looks like I’ve got two.

First of all, I had a post go up last night, when I had meant to schedule it, and it also posted BLANK. So thank you for that, WordPress. This was the false start about Cassie. Flustered and incredibly irritated, I just put the text in and then updated the empty post. But then I reminded myself that I would need a post for today, and it had been meant to be a little cushion for me in case I didn’t get the time. So I rescheduled it and sighed myself off to bed. (nearly midnight at that point, I think)

Secondly, the dream that I just wrote about was apparently my 750th post! This is quite cool. I didn’t think about it until I got there, and then I got myself on the subject of that number and how much it came to mean to me, particularly in the beginning. It’s rather nice that I managed my 750th post on the day that I hope to break out of my problem with beginnings, and indeed middles and ends.

I was reminded yesterday through a chance glance at Twitter that Camp NaNoWriMo started this month. With three days lost, I wondered if I should bother trying to get into it. I certainly don’t feel like tracking my progress this time. But it got into my head like a bad idea, and stayed there until I got home. I wanted to do it. Really wanted to.

There was a lot of fussing and anxiety over what to write, how to begin, and I honestly don’t know how I conquered it. I think I found an image in my head that I wanted to write out–and then it went wrong. After almost 500 words, I hated what was happening.

Despair, I think started to creep in. But I did feel like I was getting somewhere with something. It had just gone wrong. I found a different beginning, started with the first image that came to mind, and it all went… I don’t know about right, but it went for about 2800 words. There’s more to come, I hope. If I just want to reach the normal 50K goal, I have to write about 1800 words a day to finish in time, but that’s less than what I was doing last time, and it’s not even 200 words more than the usual daily goal.

I’d really like for this to go well. I’m going to open up 750 Words and not leave it until I have chapter two done.