Posted in Writing Discussion

This Blog Has Moved

So, I have a lot of stuff. Materially, and also digitally.

I’m trying to declutter the digital stuff, and when I move to Salem in a few months I’ll be decluttering materially as well.

Part of the digital decluttering is getting rid of blogs, social media accounts, and email addresses I don’t use, and condensing the rest into as tight a circle as possible. Some of this is saddening to me, as I really did love the idea of a gaming blog and wanted very much to talk about the things happening in my brain in regards to by favorite games. I really wanted to put my voice out there in regards to movies, books, and television. I believe in the power of pop culture and strongly believe today’s pop culture will be tomorrow’s anthropological insights.

However, right now, other things in my life have taken precedence.

Writing–not just general blogs, but my original fiction writing, which includes poetry. Vlogging–I find I really enjoy it, and want to do more of it. My school work–I’m moving to Salem, MA to attend Salem State University and it’s really important to me. My Patreon–I like having deadlines and structure and people counting on me to produce a certain amount of content every month.

It’s the sheer variety of content that got to me. I just couldn’t keep all of it going, so I’ve decided to stick with what’s absolutely most important and what I enjoy more than anything else.

Writing and vlogging. Maybe the occasional gaming video.

As part of my effort to begin condensing content, I’m moving this blog to Patreon itself, and you can read my latest post here. All previous content will remain archived here at the WordPress blog, but I won’t post new content here. Writing blogs will be public, so you don’t have to become a patron to read them.

I’m looking forward to creating more vlogs and more content. Including, potentially, a serialized novel. So check out my Patreon if you’re at all interested.

Thank you all,

–S. Lynn

 

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Posted in Writing Discussion

NaNoWriMo 2016!

I’m going to be a silly, silly person and attempt NaNoWriMo during my very first quarter as a graduate student! Yay!

Will you be a silly, silly person with me and attempt NaNoWriMo?

For those of you who may not know what National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is, it’s an international challenge that happens every November where millions and millions of people with questionable sanity attempt to write 50,000 word novels in 30 days. The main website is here: nanowrimo.org

It’s also important to note that NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization dedicated to literacy and the power of creativity and words. Part of what they do is the Young Writers Program, which promotes literacy in children and teenagers by partnering with schools. I’m proud to participate in NaNoWriMo every year, and to donate to their cause whenever I am able.

I may or may not be able to complete the challenge this year. It’s been a bad few years for me; I haven’t won since 2013. But I won six years running before that! So I keep trying!

Even if you don’t complete the challenge one year, it’s an exhilarating and rewarding thing to do for any writer. Create an account on the website, find your region and interact with all the other Wrimos (NaNoWriMo participants) in your geographical area. Find groups and communities on Facebook, on Twitter, on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth. Participating in the community is fun, and acts as an absolutely vital support system. Be kind to your ML (Municipal Liaison), and your fellows.

I’ve been an ML before; I helped found my region. That’s how much I love and support this organization and this challenge.

I love NaNoWriMo, and if you’ve never participated, I hope you learn to love it, too.

–S. Lynn

Posted in Works, Writing Discussion

My Brain is a Jerk (Part Two)

Really, brain, really?

I feel like Diana in The Shadow of Night (second in the Deborah Harkness trilogy that begins with A Discovery of Witches and ends with The Book of Life). All it takes is a single question or moment of curiosity to start my brain cogitating and weaving out new ideas. Sometimes, I wish I had more trouble with ideas. Then maybe my actual writing could catch up.

This time it was: Good gods, I’m tired of sexy, brooding, angsty vampires. What would a good story these days look like with monstrous vampires?

Three days later, I have some character profiles and the bare bones of a backstory.

I always start with character profiles, because that’s were story starts, for me. Sure, the whole thing began with asking what monstrous vampires would look like post-Twilight, but that matters only so far as the characters who will be interacting with said vampires, and their motivations for doing so.

When building characters, I start with names and their meanings.

I have three main characters so far, though I’m thinking I’ll only follow two of them for a while: siblings Sophia, Monica, and Gregory.

Sophia, of course, means “wisdom,” and Monica means “truth,” while Gregory means “steadfast, watchful.”

So I take these meanings, and I build characters around them. Sophia, for instance, is bookish and her favorite subjects are English/Literature and Psychology. She has the ability to see deeply into a person’s motivations. Monica is also no slouch in the school department, but she prefers history, biology, and chemistry–she prefers subjects with concrete answers to those with room for interpretation (I suppose no one gave her the memo about history). Monica has the ability to see the surface truth of things, which might translate to a form of telepathy; if someone is cheating on their spouse, Monica will know it whether or not they tell her. Sophia, meanwhile, will be able to see deeper and understand the implications and also the reasons. Monica often believes she’s right when she’s not, and can be reckless and make snap decisions.

Truth and Wisdom go together, you see, and truth is great, but wisdom goes deeper.

Gregory, on the other hand, unlike his younger sisters, will have to grow into the meaning of his name. Right now, he’s not been so steadfast, or watchful. In fact, he’s run away and turned a blind eye to a lot of his past. He has good reasons for doing so, but he’s still suffering the consequences, and doesn’t know there are more on the way. He’s eventually going to have to rejoin his sisters, whether or not doing so is the right thing.

There’s more, but I think I’ve made my point. My brain goes into overdrive on a new story idea, churns out some characters and a backstory, and then peters out and starts the process all over again the next time I have a wandering thought.

It’s quite annoying.

–S. Lynn

Posted in Writing Discussion

My Brain is a Jerk

As evidenced by the fact that I have started yet another short story, with no idea where it’s going or what the point is, regardless of the fact that I have way too many unfinished projects.

Thanks, brain.

Jerk.

(It’s kind of an awesome story, though.)

–S. Lynn

Posted in Writing Discussion

Reader’s Perspective: Romance

As a writer and especially as a reader, romance is not my genre. I don’t hate it, though, and I’ve even read a few that I really like. Most books I do read have some form of romance in them, because that’s just how books roll (though there are a growing number of asexual and aromantic authors out there working to offer more non-romance content). And look, regardless of my sexual or romantic orientation, I like a good romance!

That’s the key, though. A good romance. It has to be well-written, and it cannot be cliched.

Here’s all the ways to guarantee I will not like the romance in a book or story:

  1. The protagonist and their love interest are “in love” in the first third of the book. Sorry, I don’t believe in love-at-first-sight, especially in fiction.
  2. I can’t tell why these two people love each other. Like in The Swan Princess, when Odette asks Derek to tell her what he suddenly loves about her–he can’t say anything other than her beauty (but she never gives any reason why she suddenly loves him, either).
  3. The “explanation” of their relationship comes down to them being in lust, not in love. There’s nothing wrong with casual sex between two people who don’t love each other as long as both are consenting adults–but don’t mistake sex for love, and please don’t have your characters make the same mistake. Unless it’s acknowledged and part of the story.
  4. The protagonist–especially if she’s a “strong female lead”–finds herself inexplicably attracted to some domineering alpha male. She can’t explain it. She fights it. She loses, of course. Blech.
  5. The female love interest spends all her time being angry at the domineering alpha male because he’s domineering, but she also is inexplicably attracted to him, and eventually just decides that’s part of who he is and learns to deal with it.
  6. Love triangles. No. Stop. These are overdone, and also painful. For me, almost triggery painful.
  7. The male love interest’s (for any gender protagonist) main traits that are supposed to be “romantic” are actually domineering, possessive, and abusive.
  8. The book or story is supposed to have a non-romance plot, but 90% of it is taken up by the romance plot, and the rest is tacked on at the end. Anything that is not the romance plot is badly written, badly conceptualized, and badly plotted. It’s fine to have a book that is 100% romance. Just don’t lie about it. (This one inspired by Robin D. Owens’ The Summoning series, which has about the weakest non-romance plot ever.)
  9. The main protagonist is an out-spoken, stubborn “strong female” type, who meets her domineering alpha male, and is constantly being silenced “for her own good” because her outspokenness and stubbornness is what attracts him to her in the first place, but now because of the circumstances it’s dangerous for her to speak her mind! Because she’s speaking without knowing the full impact of her words or actions! She really should just be silent and allow her sudden new boyfriend to do all the talking.
  10. An alpha male attracted to the one female who doesn’t immediately bend to his charms or his will.
  11. Especially when eventually, she learns to accept that his domination, over-protectiveness, and controlling behavior is just how he shows love.
  12. Really I’m kind of over supernatural boyfriends–werewolves, vampires, etc.–having “natural” reasons behind their crappy, sexist behavior. How about we have some vampire or werewolf who isn’t a raging sexist?

I mean, surely my point is made. I could come up with more, but mostly they’d be iterations of the above. I’m done with cliche, especially when it’s sexist.

I should note that I wrote this post based almost entirely on my reaction to the “romance” plot in Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, which is a really well-written book for the most part. The story about the history of witches, daemons, and vampires, and how it’s connected with alchemy is all very well done, and so interesting, and I really love that part. However, it’s practically drowned–especially in A Discovery of Witches (the first of a trilogy)–by the romance story, which is basically everything I just listed above. I hated everything about the romance between Matthew and Diana the first time I read the trilogy, and I only hate it more the second time around.

Luckily, the rest of the story is interesting and well-written enough. Really well done. Honestly, I recommend Harkness’ trilogy based on the strength of every single part of the non-romance story alone. I just wish she’d been able to be less cliched and sexist and more awesome with her romance story.

–S. Lynn

Posted in Writing Discussion

When You Don’t Start Because You’re Afraid to Fail

I have a growing list of story ideas. I have no problems whatsoever with ideas. But they’re just sitting around collecting dust because increasingly, I find myself afraid to even start a project.

I also have a growing list of unfinished projects.

Unfinished work is due to a fear of not being good enough.

Failure to start is due to a fear of being afraid to fail. Failure by not even beginning is better than failure by hordes of readers mocking your work, or worse–not even reading it, because it’s not worth their time.

These are the insecurities anxieties I deal with every day.

It’s not just writing, either, these insecurities affect the rest of my life. It’s just that writing is what we’re focused on here.

Anyone else feel this way?

–S. Lynn