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Ugh, Writers' Block

Forgot earlier to mention the dream I had last night. Was travelling through the Stargate (but not with SG-1, amusingly enough) and gated to a planet that just seemed to have miles and miles of fields of tulips in all different shades of red, orange, and yellow. So my team and I walk through these things for hours until we reach this big old house. We go inside, and there's an antique auction going on. Then I started to wake up, so it went all wiggly. I think the tulip fields are going to show up in a fic, though.

I just spent the last few hours designing costumes for the Le Palais Halloween costume ball. My best so far is definitely the pair going as Adam and Eve, wearing only skin-toned loincloth-y things and a lot of paint (you'd be surprised how hard it is to find painted male nudes). I really wish I could draw; I'd love to be able to sketch this all out, but I can barely do a stick figure. Ah well, we can't do everything.

It would be easier to take if the things I can do would work. I have two good plots to work with at the moment, plus a bunch of bits I can work with, but none of them want to move at the moment. So, a few writing-themed memes, in the hope of kicking the block.

Strength/Weakness Meme

Name one thing you do consistently well:
    sensory description; I'm really good at setting the scene, costumes as it were, etc.
Name one thing you do inconsistently well:
    sexuality; when I get it right, I'm told I can melt panties in <500 words, but I only get it right <50% of the time, and it takes a lot of work even for bad stuff
Name one thing you do consistently badly:
    timing; I have to really force myself to get things done in a timely fashion, though the various challenges I'm doing right now are helping that
Name one thing you do inconsistently badly:
    sometimes I rush endings, my keyfic being the most extreme example (I got annoyed and pulled a "rocks fall, everyone dies" kind of move)
Name one thing you don't do well and feel bad about:
    transitions are not my friend; I either write short fic that doesn't transition at all, really short chapters, or I make prodigious use of asterisks, tildes, etc
Name one thing you don't do well and don't feel bad about:
    within my own writing, original and fannish, I have a few kinds of characters I am draw to, and generally the rest be damned; this doesn't bother me, as I have cornered the market on attractive, emotionally-scarred geek/reluctant hero/doomed relationship
Describe the fantasy story you'd write if you were the writer you'd like to be:
    I'd finish Osprey, certainly, but that's more a long-term goal than a fantasy; I'd love to write a good mystery with lots of twisty plot bits, but I'd drive myself crazy trying to keep track of all of it
Think I'll do this again in a year and see what, if anything, has changed.

Ten Things I Know About Writing

1. An hour a day keeps the Block at bay. I'm a total hypocrite about this, but it does work. Just sit and write, with no distractions and no editing, for an hour every day you can. You may just throw it all out later, but pushing through is one of the best ways to lift the Block.

2a. At times, less is more. There are times when extraneous words are just that. You're not Charles Dickens, you're not getting paid by the word. Choose your words with care; there are times when an entire scene can be painted in a handful of words.

2b. But sometimes bigger is better. Remember that you're not writing poetry, and don't take the "less is more" idea too far. Drabble/flopsy format only works when the reader knows a bit about the world you're working with and the characters. Remember the audience isn't in your head.

3. Take notes on what you've written. This is more important the longer the piece is. Great writing can be ruined by mistakes in little details like inconsistent descriptions or changed names. Even if you don't do whole plot diagrams and character creation sheets, make sure to at least look back and check that eye color/surname/age/window shape. Little things make a difference.

4. Do your homework. If you're writing historical fiction, get your facts straight. If you're writing canon fanfic, make sure you're not totally contradicting the canon you're working with (the exception being if you're AUing it, but make it clear if you do). If you use another language, try to get it right. Again, little things can make or break a story.

5. Picture the scene as you write it. Make sure the contortions you're putting the characters through in a sex scene are even vaguely anatomically possible. This also goes for descriptions of scenery. Picturing it helps you stay consistent in describing things.

6a. Tense is important. Past vs. present tense can make a difference. Be consistent, unless it specifically serves your form not to.

6b. POV is even more important. Fights, love scenes, battle scenes will look different from different perspectives. There are different benefits of first vs. second vs. third person, omniscient vs. clueless narrator. You can always swap POV, but choose carefully.

7a. Do feed the plot bunnies. If you get an idea, not matter what it is, write it down. It could be useful later.

7b. Don't feed the rabid ones, though. Sometimes you get ideas you just can't or won't write. Ignore them; they go away eventually.

8. Get a beta! This is more than just grammar and syntax, though this is key. Bounce ideas off of someone else, get hir to read over a chunk to make sure it makes sense to someone outside of your head. If you can't figure out how to do something, talk about it. Someone else's advice can be great.

9. It's easier to trim. If you're writing something with a word limit, don't worry about overwriting too much. It's much easier to remove words than add whole sections. Trust me.

10. If you love something, let it go. Don't get too attached to what you write, and don't take it personally if a reader doesn't like it. They're not saying that you have weak character development, they're talking about your writing. Learn from comments and ignore obvious flamers, since they're generally not worth your time.
Tags: memes and quizzes, procrastination, rant!, writing, writing - fanfic - hp, writing - fanfic - stargate, writing - rpg

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