IWSG—October odds and sods

It’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears. This month I’m much more content, writing-wise, than I’ve been since this apparently permanent lockdown began.

Even if normal life hadn’t been shut down, I probably would’ve run into writer’s block and a near-complete standstill on Dream Deferred when it finally seemed like I was heading into the homestretch. I realised I’d been with those characters too long at a stretch, and put the book on hiatus for the fifth time since its inception in November 2015.

I took a two-week break from preparing the book formerly known as The Very First for its paperback version, a process which has taken a bit longer than I expected. During that time, I began my final draft of the book formerly known as The Very Next, and the difference with Dream Deferred was like night and day.

Words finally came quickly and effortlessly as I reworked and expanded chapters. It’s like when I regained my writing mojo from researching and writing my 12-part series “The Jazz Singer at 90″ in November 2017.

Unfinished cover of The Very Next, 2012, drawn with Roseart colored pencils. My art supplies are a lot more professional now, and I’m much better at drawing human figures!

My NaNo project will be finishing this draft (which at this point mostly consists of adding a few new chapters to make it an even forty) and resuming the radical rewrite of the book formerly known as The Very Last.

I’ll also make Cinnimin and her friends two years older in the latter, just to see how it feels. If it never feels right, I’ll change it back, but there’s no harm in trying out something I’ve been seriously thinking about for at least 7-8 years.

I may have found the perfect solution to the age dilemma. On Cinni’s twelfth birthday in 1942, her wish was that everything stay exactly the same as it was. During the 1950s, she starts realising she’s mentally living in the past and unable to move forward, and that her long-ago wish came true. Near the end of Saga II, this spell is finally broken.

What if she made the same wish a bit later, and everyone who was there stopped aging altogether for two years? My Atlantic City books aren’t intended as straight hist-fic, and there have been mystical and supernatural elements before.

Regardless of what I ultimately do about their age, though, it belatedly dawned on me that their graduation years might have to change anyway. Cinni’s birthday is in late August, which means she either started first grade at age seven, or her friends started at five and thus will finish each grade a year younger than normal.

Speaking of NaNo…

I’m very angry there won’t be any official in-person write-ins this year! The few people who spoke up to object for very sound reasons (worried about mental health from too much isolation, writers benefitting from being less solitary during this month) were called spoilt and selfish. Even worse, snitching on members planning small in-person write-ins is encouraged.

NaNo also issued a statement heartily supporting the toxic new woke theology. Coupled with how their “updated” website is still awful (automatically muting most boards and making us unmute them every time, infinite scroll in message boards, STILL not showing our stats from 2019 Camp), I’m at my wits’ end.

But in happier news, Volume I of Dark Forest is now available in paperback, and Volume II will be out by the end of the week. I’m also occupied with this year’s series on classic horror films with landmark anniversaries. Upcoming films include The Bride of Frankenstein, both versions of The Unholy Three (because it’s not October without Lon Chaney, Sr.!), The Invisible Man Returns, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.

8 thoughts on “IWSG—October odds and sods

  1. I have a feeling I came across your deliberations on this age thing somewhere else… maybe on Twitter this week? It’s not a problem I’ve ever had with my characters, although I have recently played with issues relating to time dilation in my scifi series. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out.

    As for Nano, this sounds horrendous and totally not what Nano was about. I found the same with the changes to Camp Nano, and just worked on my own target with no input from anyone, and you’re right, it’s totally NOT what is needed in this Covid year. I won’t be doing it again.

    I will be doing IWSG again, though. Lovely to meet you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Drawing people is tough. I like to draw fashion but I don’t draw the people. I do the shoulders and neck, and that’s it. i mostly design dresses, so only have to do legs if the dress isn’t floor-length.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to know that you’re doing stuff with your writing. I hear your frustration about the in-person events–so absurd. I wonder how things will change in the future with people and all their phobias about getting sick and dying and stuff like that.

    My mind has been active coming up with ideas, but the initiative to put them down on paper or somewhere is just not in me these days. I really hope things go back to the way they were and the psychology of the present doesn’t turn society into a bunch of phobic wackos. We will have lost so much of our humanness if this is the case.

    Keep creating!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So I’m not the only one with about 5 books running in my head and maybe a 1/2 of a couple written and a chapter of another and nothing of the fifth. lol When you mentioned NaNo I thought…Oh yeah I could really get behind writing this year. Well I’ll just have to do it on my own. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never participated in NaNo before, and I’m planning to do so this year. Obviously I have a lot to learn. Thanks for the cautionary warning. Wishing you a successful month of writing!


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