Edits and Revisions

And now for something (kinda, sorta, quasi) different [maybe]:

The purpose of starting this blog, and dutifully posting an entry each week (a feat that I’ve managed to maintain every week since this blog started over a year and a half ago) was to keep track of my musings and share some insight, (as well as snippets of actual!writing) into my writing process and the book(s) I plan on writing.

Well, things didn’t quite go according to plan (if  there ever was a plan…)

Anyway.

I’ve stalled in posting insightful musings into my writing process as of late – most of the recent posts have been quasi-rambling, unedited thoughts of my lack of meaningful updates on the various writing projects I’ve tasked myself to undertake. While I’m very much a planner (outlining narrative arcs and character exposition), much of this blog (aside from the soon-to-be-back-from-hiatus Writing Prompt Project entries) has been composed of whatever comes to mind as I type, “live” on this blog (as opposed to pre-composing an essay in Word and pasting it here, as I do with the writing prompts). I rarely reread what I had written/posted in the past, so (as I’m sure I mentioned before) I’m pretty sure I’ve repeated (or even contradicted) myself many times over.  Then again, I’m not (quite) sure if anyone is still reading these blog posts, as there doesn’t seem to be much (if any) feedback [good, bad or indifferent] on any given entry.

That’s fine with me (kinda) for now, as there isn’t that much progress to announce [yet]. My writing muses are on an unusual schedule, as the urge to plot/ponder/actually!write comes and goes on its own timetable  – there have been times where I don’t dwell on character development or narrative arc for days/weeks/months on end, and then there are times (usually in the evenings) when I spend hours focused on plotting, pondering and (occasionally) actually!writing something for the various aforementioned projects. During these productive periods, I usually review the ideas and narrative I had written and (depending upon my mood) edit and revise – sometimes ideas that seem brilliant at the time of its conception turn out to be far more complicated than expected, and then crop back up a few weeks later.

There have been a few times where the revisions/edits to the structure have an overarching impact on the shape of the series saga – how a short story grew into a single novel (with one segue as a one-act play), then grew to be a trilogy then a six book series and eventually to its current state: a 36 book saga split into three separate, yet linked, series (the exact breakdown of how many novels will be in each series is still under development). I suppose I’ve always been a “big picture” planner – I have a (very) general idea of how each series will develop and the links between each series [I’ve even had dreams of sequences within my novels, though never the series upon which I’ve place my focus.]

Of course like most writers (I think) most of the brilliant plotting/pondering happens in those fleeting moments before sleep takes hold, and almost always by that point, I’m too tired to actually get up to scribble down the ideas, but more times than not I remember the thoughts I thought the previous night when I wake up.

As I’ve mentioned before, most of my stories are already written in my head, and the distance from there to my fingers (either via a keyboard or pen) is a long one – I’ve even internally edited and revised sections of the head-written stories, filing the extracted parts to another section of my writing mind palace.

I probably should stop going on and on (and on) about my inability to get the stories out of my head and just get them out of my head.

If anything, this blog will serve as an online journal of my progress (or lack thereof) – something I’ll read in the future with delight or some other emotion.

Onward once more.

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A Different (Yet Familiar) Perspective

Creating a multi-book series saga is a daunting task – keeping track of the sequence of events, character relationships and the overall narrative arc requires a great deal of attention; having that series saga span across time (and possibly space) is another matter. As I plot and ponder the MASC Chronicles series saga, and the seemingly infinite number or stories, perspectives, twists and turns that can occur (or not) within each series and/or over the saga itself, it quickly becomes a cumbersome task. With a handful of families spanning the breadth of the entire series saga interacting with each other both within and across generations, keeping track of the relationships requires a spreadsheet or a whiteboard).

Also, perspective plays a vital role, as I’ve quasi-stubbornly stuck to a first person narration for the first two series, and a third person perspective  for the third series (whether or not it’s limited or omniscient has yet to be determined, as I haven’t actually thought that far ahead in the series). As the plotting and pondering of the overall series and each individual series has changed over the days/weeks/months, with plot twists and other mind-imploding epiphanies (many of which I cannot disclose as doing so would spoil the aforementioned plot twists),  the shape of the narrative arc and the angle at which the perspective lies changes. Narration from Character A would showcase the stories in one light, while in the hands of Character B, the story could shift 180 degrees.

Moreover, in my quest to separate the (now) many projects I’ve assigned myself (aside from the MASC Chronicles, I started plotting, pondering and actually!writing the fan fiction novel based on the entertaining yet short-lived musical Dance of the Vampires as well as a meta story series of a writer attempting to write a series saga), many of the extraneous genre elements are slowly (and probably surely) being removed from the main project (the MASC Chronicles), only to replaced by other elements I had thought to have extracted.

Yes, once again, I’m purposely being quasi-vague about everything, as it’s all still very much a work-in-progress, and I could easily change my mind [again] by this time next week.

Anyway.

All this plotting, pondering and rethinking and such has stalled the actual!writing of the narratives – as it’s been proved over the course of this blog that I’m much more a plotter than a pantser (and considering the amount of detail and [shifting] pieces  in this ginormous jigsaw puzzle of  a series saga, that’s hardly a surprising conclusion).

At least most of the core characters in the first series have been developed (down to appearance and personality, if not motives and motivations), and general plot foundation for the first few books in the first series have been laid, and haven’t changed (much).

So this week’s post is not so much an update but another post of probably repeating myself (again) about the process of how my imagination works (or not) in creating this series saga. I have no (actual) control of where these ideas or epiphanies lead – sometimes they’re brilliant, and other times they’re maddening – either way resulting in another session of evaluating the series saga at the overall level, the series level and eventually at the individual novel level.

Despite my previous statement of being a plotter and not a pantser, these blog entries are (for the most part) an exercise in  pantsing (I almost always post the blog entry after I finish writing it, hardly ever revising what has already been written, and rarely ever reading over what I had written previously – hence there may be instances where I undoubtedly repeat the same statements/observations/opinions written weeks/months ago. Of course, these blogs are akin to [written] conversation – a kind of journal of sorts. Maybe (again, I’m just writing whatever pops into my head, regardless of whether or not any of it makes any semblance of sense.)

Well, I think I’ve blathered on for far too long about stuff – hopefully there’ll be more an update in the coming weeks (if I can wrangle the plot bunnies and the elusive killer rabbit and get to the actual!writing of the narrative)

TTFN!

More (Quasi) Random Musings

So I’ve managed to post a blog post every week since I decided to start this writing blog in April 2013, which (for the most part) have been thematic essays about my writing process… well, not so much the actual!writing process than the meandering path my Muses and the plot bunnies have taken to expand, shuffle and revert the series saga that started off as a short story school assignment about a haunted hotel…

But I digress (once again).

While there have been a smattering of actual!writing in the form of the handful of Writing Prompt entries – a project that, despite its long absence, will make a comeback return soon, and most of the steam-of-thought essays/musings hardly reveal any actual detail on the Epic (and I do mean EPIC) series saga I’ve brilliantly (foolishly?) created off the aforementioned short story, I’m still very much a dork/geek/nerd that I’ve posted something every week since mid April 2013. There are valid (I think) reasons for keeping the details of my multi-generational saga spanning over  a considerable span of time (and space, maybe): for one, as it’s been evidenced in most of the previous posts, the exact shape and sequence of events in the series saga keeps changing (sometimes for the better, sometimes not) so emphatically stating definite elements of the narrative or characters is tricky, despite the core overview of the narrative arc and the handful of characters hasn’t changed (much). Also, revealing any kind of detail on character relationships or hints in the narrative (of one story or the series arc) is a bit like revealing spoilers, as there are plot twists and turns (almost) everywhere…

[Oops, perhaps revealing that there are plot twists and such is a spoiler in and of itself (but then again, since I haven’t actually gone into detail about the series saga anyway, there’s not really much to spoil). Or is there?]

I digress. Yet again.

As it’s pretty clear (maybe?)  that I don’t have much by the way of anything new to share – I’m not even sure if there is anyone out there in the dark [of cyberspace] actually following my quasi-rambling and purposely(?) vague musings, as there hasn’t been too much feedback [positive, negative or indifferent] on these posts (aside from one fellow author/blogger). Then again, considering this blog’s vagueness and such, maybe that’s the reason for the comment silence), kinda like an endless cycle or some such.

Maybe.

Anyway.

So for those following, I’m still (!) in the plotting/pondering phase of the writing process, stuck in the mythical Land of Exposition, though I have thought up some narrative (albeit in my head – the journey from my brain through my fingers and onto a Word document or paper is a long one). I have thought of some interesting plot twists and such but they’re still quite in nascent form, and I have no idea (yet) if they’ll actually make sense or just complicate things.

So it’ll be a long while (probably) until any actual detail or actual!writing gets done, though there’ll be plenty of plotting, pondering and poking my Muses.

Onward!

More Research and Revisions

Once again, due the overactive nature of my Muses and plot bunnies (both imaginary and virtual), the overall structure of the MASC Chronicles has changed (or quasi-reverted back to a previous state), causing characters to shuffle between series, as well as creating new characters and removing characters to the series saga altogether. It’s kinda like musical chairs, but with (fictional) dire consequences.

I suppose I shouldn’t remain so vague about my ideas (as the point of this blog is to write about the journey of writing this series saga) – so one component of that Grand Epiphany (as mentioned last week) is the notion of setting parts of the series saga in an alternate / parallel history and mingling it the real world history.Of course, it might be easier to just create a new, unique fantasy world, with its own rules and such – then there’d be not as much “real world” research to do and I can just make stuff up as I go along. I could do that, but that’s already been done already, and done better by learned, well-respected, and established authors.  Moreover, the genre in which I intended this series saga to exist is primarily mystery (albeit more in the cozy, Golden Age British model, rather than the hard-boiled, private eye model); the fantasy elements are (for the most part) expository and add a (hopefully) interesting twist to the usual mystery series.

To that end, some of the fantasy/horror/supernatural elements are slowly being phased out (or given another function within the whole), and the mystery element regains my focus, along with the historical research to learn more about the real timeline and sequence of events and figure out when/where/how to create that tear in the space/time continuum where history as we know it will take a left turn, leading to somewhere different, yet almost familiar. So once again (again) pondering and plotting overtakes the actual!writing (which is how I will describe the writing of the narrative, as opposed to the outlines, character descriptions and such).

Also to that end, I just might work on a story for each series, if only to ensure that the causality and consequences make sense (how the various Doctor Who writers manage this is beyond me). Initially this series saga was to be a linear one, following the adventures of a handful of families, and the (possible) interactions between them (and its impact on future generations). Now it’s become (almost) something different, and hopefully a unique and exciting series saga.

All I have to do is figure everything out and actually!write the stories.

That’s all.

Plot Twist!

So, July as has come and gone, and (once again) I’ve failed to complete the time-sensitive challenge that is Camp NaNoWritMo – despite the self-assigned word count, the narrative flow remained in a bottleneck in my brain space, while concurrently battling random ideas and making sense of the Sequence of Events. My attempts at “pantsing” (i.e. making stuff up as I go along) didn’t go quite as well either, since leaving the narrative flow in the hands of my quirky yet temperamental muses, in hindsight, was a not-so-good idea.

Clearly, time-specific challenges/tasks is (still) not my strong suit.   

Oh well.

Looking on the bright side (of [writing] life), the undertaking of this challenge was not (entirely) time wasted – in shifting my focus on the prequel novel to the Series Saga that is the MASC Chronicles (the series about which I’ve left purposely vague), I’ve spent more (and more) time pondering and plotting (when I should have been doing actual!writing) about those pesky things such as character development/relationships and organizing sequence of events. In doing so, a number of interesting ideas emerged, which more or less (well, more than less) created a seismic shift in the overall structure of the series saga. This latest epiphany occurred quite recently, and changed my outlook (and had me question the viability of the narrative I barely begun to write) on almost everything, causing me to return (once again) to that oft-mentioned, lovely place, the Land of Exposition, which is almost becoming my own version of a Mind Palace…

Anyway.

This Grand Epiphany is not exactly a new one, as I’ve toyed with the idea in the past, but not to this extent – there have been many contributing factors that bumped that (previously) tiny idea to the ginormous notion it has potentially become (so grand is this epiphany that I haven’t really mapped out all the details). Yes, I’m (still) remaining purposely vague about this, as I have no idea whether or not it will actually make any semblance of sense and, on a purely practical level, it’s literally made my head hurt on all the possibilities.

I’m rather excited about this turn of events in my writing journey (thus far), and hope I can figure everything out (plot-wise and such) and get to the actual!writing. I think it’s a rather original concept (at least to the best of my knowledge for a novel series) and I hope I can pull it off well.

The only clues I will drop (for now) are the aforementioned contributing factors that (figuratively) blew my (writing) mind: Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Who Do You Think You Are? 

could tell you more but then…

Spoilers…