Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBT+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Category: Writing (page 1 of 12)

Confluence of Ideas

It’s about 10:40AM on Sunday, the 11th of June as I write this. Sleep didn’t come to me last night because I took my night meds too late, and my second wind hit before they did. So I’m up, and I’m fiddling on the computer, opening random Scrivener files and reading incomplete wips to the point where I have the most desire to read to. I do this pretty frequently with my incomplete wips. A sudden desire to read a particular scene will hit, and I’ll start at the beginning and keep going ’til I get there. Most often, I’ll read to where the story abruptly ends, in a spot where it really shouldn’t end, but does because that’s where my creative mind gave out, either in the outline, or directly in the wip where there’s no outline at all.

I did that until around dawn, when one of my writer friends came into Writing Groove’s chat. NPhoenix and I will often ramble at each other—her rambling has a way of triggering thoughts on my own stories. This morning was no different, and I think I have to thank, in part, my exhaustion for that, because, to be honest, I’ve made the most progress on any of my writing, no matter what I’m working on, when I’ve been exhausted this year.

So she started rambling about one of her shelved projects she hasn’t been able to figure out for a while, but for which she got hit with some big ideas last night in a shower before bed. I can’t take the liberty of explaining precisely what sparked my creative mind’s ideas beyond saying one of the major plot points hit me hard.

And reawoke interest in a story I’ve long struggled with.

Honestly, I forget exactly when I first wrote the original opening scene to “The Rose’s Thorn,” but I do know I did so long before I got Scrivener, because I had to get a program called Open Freely so I could even access the scene, never mind edit it. When I did that, I transferred it to Open Office, as that’s the only text editor I had at the time that I could write in. And there it languished for years, with me opening it occasionally to read as vague notions—or just a simple desire to read the scene—struck.

In the meantime, I got Scrivener, and I eventually moved “The Rose’s Thorn” into that program. Last year in September, I rewrote the opening scene (twice) and tacked two more scenes on the version I liked better. In those scenes, I came up with the official title of The Veiled Court. Shortly after writing them (by a few days, that is), I decided those additional scenes didn’t fit, though they read well, and I liked them, which is generally a good indication that I’m on the right track with a story.

After that, I let it languish. Mostly because the ideas ended with that third scene, and I blocked myself on the story by declaring two scenes I liked unfit for the wip.

But NPhoenix’s rambling reminded me of an aspect of the story . . . and built upon it on the 11th of this month. So I opened the file after she was done rambling and posting snippets from her shelved project. I read through what I had of the story. More ideas surfaced, along with the opening of book 2. For one POVMC, The Veiled Court will end on a cliffhanger. That seems to be my “thing” with novel series. Heck, even in the one duology series I have, book 1 ends on a mild cliffhanger that could actually be a passable (if mysterious) ending if I didn’t already have ideas for that story’s book 2.

Beside me on the floor between my plastic drawers and my rolling drawers-and-file cart, I have four brand-new story journals that I haven’t written in. I’m planning on opening up one of these and scribbling what I think of for The Veiled Court today. Because this is the most interested in any story I’ve been in weeks. I honestly don’t expect this period of inspiration to last beyond today, but I’m going to run with it, for it feels good to be thinking about any stories right now, especially one that’s languished so long.

Extended Writing Downswing

By “extended writing downswing” I mean in regards to getting plot cards and fresh words on projects. Over the past few months, I’ve done little with my writing beyond editing and the new brain dumping stuff. Sadly, I consider “actively writing” primarily to be getting plot cards and new words on my stories.

This has not been a completely dry period for my writing though. I have been scribbling notes for various stories in my journals. In addition to the three stories on my projects page, I started a journal on another story, a fantasy mystery called Return of the Moribund God I: Life After Tavrinia. In this story, the ghost of one of the sleuth’s friends awakens him one night, and he and his roommate go to retrieve her body from the river. This is one of my particular favorite stories, mainly because I just adore the MC I conceived for this series, Pliutius, who is a 48-year-old mage who’s serving his second deity—and is about to stir the interest of a third.

I’ve also started a “general notes” journal. So far, it has only one note, but that probably won’t last. I have intentions of going through all these 200-300 index cards I have notes for various stories written on. Some of these notes are just random ideas that don’t yet have a home that I’ve jotted down. A lot of sorting needs to go on.

Also, I need to go through my scrap paper notes and new Scrivener files to create folders for my World Folder Drawer to put those notes in. There’s a few hundred or so names written down on these index cards and some scrap paper sheets that don’t have a particular home that I need to jot down in my, oh, 30-year-old name notebook. Actually, I think I’m going to switch the name notebook to one of my hardcover journals—I picked up a few more at the office store earlier this week as the current notebook is a literal notebook with a soft cover that’s in danger of tearing from the wire spiral.

Oh, I have plans for these story notebooks, should I ever complete the stories I’m working out in them. A number of my writer friends and people I follow have Patreon accounts, and I’ve decided it would be a cool idea to use my note entries, and, ultimately, the notebooks themselves, as rewards for patrons. There’s a bit of other financial stuff I need to figure out first, though, so we’ll see. And, I also need to complete these stories and series and publish them somehow. If I don’t do the Patreon thing, I’ll more than likely find another way to share the notes to these stories and the notebooks (sets) with interested readers. We’ll see how this stuff develops.

But for now, I’m just working through the dry spell with writing. I can feel stuff working in the back of my mind, and I know my Creative Mind isn’t completely ignoring the writing aspect because I’m able to get notes for my journals. I’m also reading through various incomplete stories of mine, both old and new. And there’s also the editing. The worst writing downswings always make me disinterested in working on my writing in any way. So, I think this year is being just as productive as last year, simply in a different way.

I hope you’re enjoying A Pitch of the Scale. There are two more books (thus far) after this book, but I won’t be posting them here. If you want access to them, sign up for a Wattpad account and visit my profile there. I post updates about what’s happening with the DH series there regularly.

You’re a Fraud!

I’ve heard it said that all skilled and/or successful writers experience a feeling of fraudulence in their writing lives. Now, I don’t know how true this is all across the board, but a number of the writers I associate with regularly do suffer Impostor Syndrome of some kind, at least a little. Sometimes they don’t even need to be in any way successful.

For the longest time, I didn’t think I went through this. I examined myself and my emotions whenever I added new words to a project. Neither did I feel it in relation to any success I’ve had with my writing. Negative comments don’t really have the power to make me feel like a fraud either; I just figure the problem with my story lies with the reader, not the story.

The things is, I’m extremely confident in my writing skill. I know my stories are good. They’re strong, they don’t have (many) plot holes. Since I started outlining my stories, my writing has only gotten better and stronger. If nothing else, I have supreme confidence that my writing is good and that I write well.

But I do suffer Impostor Syndrome, and feelings of fraudulence. When? This took a little examination of myself when I wasn’t actively writing on any projects, because I feel this way when I’m not adding new words to a project. No matter how much I may preach to other writers, who are newer to writing, or more uncertain of their skills that as long as they write at all, no matter how frequently they’re able to do it, they are a writer, I just can’t seem to internalize it for myself.

It’s really been hitting me strong this year. More than once I’ve nursed negative thoughts or shared negative opinions on my worthiness as a writer since I’ve not been writing as much as I want to. Every so often, the thought, “If I were a real writer, I’d be able to focus on something and complete it” or “I should be writing. A real writer writes almost every day” slides into my mind.

And honestly, I don’t really feel like myself unless I am writing. This has always been the case. I enjoy worldbuilding. Developing characters is fun. Plotting things out is really entertaining. But. None of these are writing.

But it’s the way my writing mind swings these days, and it’s elected to be mostly in “downswing” mode so far this year. Not enjoyable, fun, or entertaining. I’ll survive though. Making it through 2012 proved to me I can survive even complete lack of creativity for an extended period of time. At least right now I’m able to be creative during my downswings. That’s something good, right?

Brainstorming

I’m always looking for ways to help improve my writing, either in the technical aspects, or in prep, or post-writing. Over the years, especially since getting back into fantasy in December of 2012, I’ve tried a variety of new writing techniques. Some have had better success than others.

One of those techniques was trying to brainstorm “privately.” A lot of my brainstorming happens in “public,” in chat rooms and in IM conversations with friends. While this is useful and helpful, there are certain aspects of the stories I need to work out on my own, and these usually take quite a while to sort themselves out—it’s not a great deal of the reason why it takes me so long to finish projects, but it can become a major stumbling block, particularly when it causes me to stall out mid-wip. And this happens whether or not I’ve got plot cards on the story.

So, I’ve tried a couple different methods of brainstorming. The first was simply randomly throwing plot points to stories in a file in Scrivener. When in the flow, I can go from typing to highlighting related plot points (which can be extremely useful for my mysteries). Unfortunately, this format is extremely troubling to me; it causes my anxiety to surface, often to the point where I simply cannot deal with the mess of text, even if its highlighted or otherwise color-coded.

But that was in a text-based file. At about the time I realized that I couldn’t function well with a wall of text in a computer file, the makers of Scrivener came out with a brainstorming/outlining software called Scapple. So I gave this a try.

My first projects in Scapple were total messes. Everything looks random, there’s no particular order, and even where there is order, it’s still confusing and messy because of the way I’ve manipulated the notes in the file. As I’ve grown more comfortable with the program and its capabilities and learned to think about how I want to use the program, I’ve gradually gotten more orderly and comprehensible files. So far, Scapple has turned out to be slightly more successful in helping me brainstorm, there are some things I leave out of it. Like worldbuilding. Like characterization. Like motivations. Thus far, I’ve used Scapple purely as a plotting device, and while I don’t object to this, I’m still writing reams of notes on random pieces of paper to keep up with things in Scapple, and one of my long-time personal goals has been to organize my notes better.

As a result, I’ve been looking for a different method of brainstorming, and recently came across a new method. One of my friends on FM decided to try and shave “a few” years off her own writing process. It took her twelve years to finish book one of a duology (between working and family and debilitating permanent/chronic health issues). She found a book that described brainstorming by longhand, and she combined it with cognitive therapy and started writing down her story ideas and plotting and such for book 2 in Superhero journals. Basically, she begins with a premise, and then questions her way through the plot.

Now, I liked the idea of this method for a number of reasons. One, and fairly important, is that this is a way of keeping all the notes on a story, from plotting, to worldbuilding, to characterization, all in one place. Another reason why I liked it is because it separates me from using the computer as my primary tool of plotting/writing for at least one part of the project. Third, I thought that writing my story-related thoughts out i longhand would enable me to get past the aspects of my stories that cause blocks. And, most importantly, I might not get as overwhelmed by my own handwriting as I am by walls of text in a computer file, mainly because when I started out writing, I did it all longhand—all the way up until 1997.

Thus far, this method seems to be working. Because of the low level of productivity my Creative Mind is putting out, I’m making only slow progress, but I have been able to read what I’ve written. It doesn’t overwhelm me like the text in computer files does. Not only that, I’ve been able to work past issues that would have blocked me for weeks (at least) if I’d gone straight to outlining these stories somehow. And I’m having fun doing this, changing ink color, thanks to the 100 gel ink pen set I bought a few months ago, with each page. I’m using thick journals, of at least 150 leafs (300 pages counting both sides)—one an an old tooled-leather journal, the others Ecojot journals out of Canada.

I think this new method of brainstorming is a keeper.

Big Epiphany for DH 4-9

I have had a BIG epiphany for books 4-9 of the Discordant Harmonies series. Yes, the books whose first volume is set to begin posting in June. First, some background.

Way back in 2012, when I started writing book 1, I had my friend Jennifer Amriss help me go through and develop titles for the series. Originally, I had the overall series title, Discordant Harmonies and three subseries titles: The Power of Music for books 1-3, A Life of Note for books 4-6, and Melodies of War for books 7-9. Book 1 was, as it is here, A Pitch of the Scale, a change from the “satisfactory” working title of Unsought Gifts. Book 2 is Severe Notes, book 3 Measure of Resistance, book 4 Antiphons, Book 5 Counterpoints, Book 6 Without Measure, book 7 Echoes, book 8 Cacophony Within, and book 9 To the End. In case you can’t see the theme, we basically opened up the Music Terminology Page at Wikipedia and drew up titles from it, mainly because it involves how music changes the magic on the world of Chraest.

Well, a few months ago, when I contracted for the covers of books 1-3, the artist who I hired to do it expressed some confusion over the titles, and when I explained what they were for, suggested I streamline them all. After some thought, I decided to scrap the subseries titles and just call the books the Discordant Harmonies series. With 9 books planned, I realized I didn’t want to confuse readers as the cover artist had been confused. While I sort of hated to give up the subseries titles, I understood the reasoning behind doing so, and mostly accepted the need, though I will admit to some lingering desire to use them.

This epiphany changed that feeling. I can’t get into details here, ’cause spoilers, but, boy, was it a whammy. It’s going to change things in books 4-9 in some ways quite drastically. This will move what was originally a climax for for the second subseries in book 6 to somewhere into book 8 or 9. It’s going to draw out conflicts for Asthané, allow Géta some time to grow and mature enough to face the challenges he’ll have in latter books, and make the progression of things for both characters more reasonable and much less rushed. Oh, and it’ll more than likely require the reorganization of the titles, and perhaps even the development of new ones.

What else this means is that I need to beef up the conflicts they’ll meet in the interim. Now I know why I’ve been thinking Asthané needs a better External Conflict. It means Géta needs better External Conflicts as well. Much as I’d like to keep the strict delineation of “subseries 2” from “subseries 3″, I honestly don’t think this will turn out to be possible. The original plot progression allowed for this, but I just don’t see how any more.

And this epiphany wouldn’t have been possible if the cover artist hadn’t convinced me to tear off some of the ‘boxes” I’d put around the different parts of my story about Asthané and Géta. So, special thanks to J.A. Marlow!

Turn of the Year Update

It occurred to me that I should probably give a rundown of the past two or three months since my last Nano post, which, according to my records, was around about the 14th of November. This will encompass the end of Nano through the 15th of January 2017.

To begin: Nano.

For Nano in November, I ended up writing on four different projects. The first, Independent Investigations I: Boost, I’d started in October. I think I mentioned I was going to start off November with that project. Well, that fizzled up ’round about the 10th of November. But, thankfully, my Creative Mind wasn’t done with writing, it just switched gears and got me going on Dagjhir’s second book, The Prophet of Venjhelin 2: Uncertain Times. I worked on that steadily until the 18th, then did one final scene on it on the 20th. On the 19th, and for the next five days, I worked on a brand new project set on a brand new world, Brother Exile and Brother King, which is a standalone. Then, on the 24th, the last day I wrote on BEBK, I started another story on the same world, The Legend of Boikal I: Unspeakable Evil. TLOB1 broght me to the end of Nano, with just a little over 100k words for the event. So, Nano was a grand success! I’m still proud of that word count. I’ve never gotten a 100k Nano before, and I’m not ashamed to admit my Creative Mind took me on a tour through four different projects to get me that count.

I didn’t write again until the 6th of December, beginning what’s looking to be a trilogy. There’s no series title in the first few entries of the story, just the book’s title, No Man’s Child. It’s set on Dagjhir’s world, in another country, and will, if I can write the entire thing before I die, a revolution. That dried up around the 8th.

Another brief dry period followed, and then I wrote on TBK1. Made a bit of progress on it, but it didn’t last long. Just 4 days, including the first.

Then I wrote a little on a couple of gay romances whose titles I won’t share, one new, one a rewrite when the desperation for words got to be too great. I appear to be making it a habit to rewrite incomplete gay romances I’m not satisfied with. Given my last experiences with them, I wish my Creative Mind would forget about them altogether. I do not want to repeat 2012. But writing on those gay romances happened on the 25th and 26th of December.

On the 27th and 28th, I worked on a new story, Mirrorsoul I: Revelation. I’ll let you ponder just what a Mirrorsoul may be. I’m not sure about keeping that series title, but I may have figured out a way it applies—to the last book in the trilogy. This is set on a new world, and I decided to experiment a little with the chapters. Instead of multiple scenes per chapter, I decided to see if I’d feel in any way comfortable with doing one scene per chapter. It was a tad bit uncomfortable for me at first, but the second story, set on the same world, that I started and wrote over the 29th and 30th, helped with that. I haven’t decided if I’ll rearrange my other writing, but to be frank, the task is rather daunting, though I really like the 1-scene chapters. This second story is titled, Return of the Moribund God I: Life After Tavrinia (ROTMG1), and it’s the first in what is currently a planned 4-book mystery series.

And that’s December. January has been much less . . . busy on the writing front.

On the 2nd of January, I wrote a scene on ROTMG1. Then I lost interest in all my writing. At least, until the 15th. That day, I wrote a bit on Mirrorsoul1.

Happily, the periods when I haven’t written haven’t been completely noncreative. I’ve spent a lot of time plotting and worldbuilding during those dry spells, especially this month. When I say, “writing”, I mean, specifically, putting new words down in a story file.

I’ve also been reading a lot. I was gifted a new Kindle Paperwhite by my sister for Christmas, and with the $50 Amazon gift card she sent me, I’ve purchased some books, including an omnibus edition of an old favorite trilogy that I’ve been devouring. I’ll admit, there are some obvious similarities in what I’ve got planned for my Mirrorsoul series to this old favorite trilogy, but there are also some very stark differences. The necessary twisting to make my stories different from this trilogy, and fitting the story into this new world, have created something of its own. I suspect this is as close to writing fan fiction I’ll ever get, and it’s not the first time I’ve lifted various ideas from some book I’ve read and twisted them to my own purposes.

One big difference? The MC in my favorite trilogy to read ultimately dies. My MC won’t, but he’ll certainly wish he would.

Nano Update

Posting a bit late, but this is an important post. I’ll get the story behind this switch up here next week. This week, I don’t have the time for writing even a short blog post on it. All I have time for is a link. Short version—I’m working on a fantasy project for Nano words now and updated my Nano project page so the address has changed.

New Stats Page

Nano 2016

As has become my annual habit, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. It starts tomorrow, and I’ve been looking forward to it for the past few months. My aim is to hit substantially over 50,000 words. By at least ten thousand. Hopefully, I’ll my wordage will come out somewhere between seventy and eighty thousand.

Normally, I spend all of October preparing a project or more. Since 2012, I’ve leapt into the month before November with excitement and enthusiasm for some project or another, and I manage to prep something to an acceptable level for myself. And I run like this the entire month of October—until the last 3-1 days of it, when my creative mind suddenly switches gears and throws me into a totally different project.

This year, I resisted that urge. This does not mean I had a project I wanted to work on for November in mind. I did. My new Science Fiction idea, Boost. I’ve gotten character bios, worldbuilding notes, plot points, and various notes for the story and universe thus far. But I resisted setting it up as my Nano project because I fully expected my creative mind to decide on something else. I intended to stick with that decision until the end of the month.

Well, a few days ago, I finally set up Boost as my Nano project. I couldn’t resist it any more. But I refused to get excited about it. I figured, the less enthusiasm I expressed, the less likely it would be for my creative mind (read: Bipolar) would be to jerk me into something else. It’s now Nano Eve Day (the wee hours anyway, as I write this), and I’m still quite firmly on Boost as my main wip. I’m hoping—again, without much enthusiasm—this will remain the case the rest of the day and all through November. Yes, I’m afraid of jinxing this. I think I’ve never been as superstitious as I’ve been all this past month, and I don’t expect it to end until November starts and I’m either on Boost still, or on something else.

But, in the spirit of the event, I’ll give you links to my Nano pages with the pertinent info (all subject to change):

First: The Stats Page for Boost

Second: The Synopsis

Independent Investigations I: Boost

Independent Investigator for the Haefen Planetary Police Mat Kelly goes with xyr gut in choosing to investigate the death of the prime suspect in a criminal case. Virgil Coleman died of a toxic potion, and Mat feels absolutely certain someone close to him did the deed.

At first look, Virgil seems to be a deplorable person. The detectives who investigated him as a criminal believed he cheated on his wife and participated in a crime ring involving a new series of drugs, called Boost, that bestow a variety of temporary powers upon their users. Having pegged Virgil as a Recruiter, the detectives did their best to prove his guilt, but failed to. And, in the process of their investigation, angered and upset nearly everyone they questioned.

Mat steps into a difficult case and discovers few wish to cooperate with xem, despite professions of their desires to know who committed Virgil’s murder and see that person brought to trial. Even after the suspects begin to respond to xyr patient and careful questioning, the clues fail to help Mat determine who murdered Virgil.

So, in desperation, Mat does the one thing xe thought inconceivable . . .

Third: The Excerpt:

Because, no matter what else, Mat could not believe anyone would imbibe that particular toxic mix in an effort to commit suicide.

In addition to that consideration, Virgil had gone to get groceries. In Mat’s experience, people who were committing suicide wouldn’t take a toxic potion then blithely go grocery shopping. No, they’d sit at home and wait for their guts to dissolve. They did not behave as though life were normal. Suicidal people didn’t plan for the future, and there were few activities that more strongly indicated someone doing so than shopping for food. Why go buy food you weren’t going to eat? Sure, he had a family, according to the detectives’ investigation into Virgil’s apparently nonexistent criminal life, but even so—if Virgil had been suicidal, he’d far more likely have taken himself either off to some secluded location if he didn’t want to be discovered, or if he wanted his body found by someone in his family—perhaps in some misguided hope of punishing them—he’d have stayed at home to die.

So, he’d been murdered. By someone angry about the infidelity? Perhaps, though Mat wasn’t willing to decide yet. According to the detectives’ file, Virgil had a wife, a boss, a brother, a lover, and there was at least one displeased parent bent on seeing Virgil’s conviction, if not utter ruination, for his presumed role in the death of her daughter. Any one of them could have done this.

Mat called up the map of the area around the scene of Virgil’s death. His home was within twenty minutes of the store, even if he were in a ground hover and had to stop at every single intersection. Virgil’s boss was out of the way by a good fifteen minutes, but that didn’t mean his boss hadn’t visited him and somehow doctored his beverage, though why Virgil’s boss would want to kill him was a bit of a mystery in itself at present—maybe Virgil’s boss had a role in this possible Recruiting scheme and wanted to get rid of Virgil because he knew something? Perhaps. The bereaved parent who’d been after Virgil lived right down the block—no more than a five minute walk away. The lover and brother were out of the way by about thirty minutes for the former and twenty-five for the latter, but, again, either could have visited and somehow fixed Virgil’s tea to their desires. And then there was Virgil’s very own wife. Right there in the house with him, she had an excellent motive in his infidelity, and more than ample opportunity. But possibly too simple, too easy, too straightforward. Though not out of the realm of possibility, not enough reason to focus on her exclusively just yet.

So, five suspects. A tougher job than xe had anticipated, but not impossible to solve.

Science Fiction

There’s a reason why I don’t actively try to pursue very many Science Fiction ideas. I’m not a very science-oriented person, and I feel inadequate to the job of creating a believable SF universe without it. Back in the early 1990’s, I wrote more SF stuff. This was before I had regular access to the internet. I soaked up just as many SF stories of all kinds as I did Fantasy novels and stories. I was much more confident in my SF skills, focusing on characters and plot instead of the science—definitely a “soft” SF writer at the time.

Since, I’ve not developed very much interest in science. I follow a notable scientist or few on Twitter, several astronauts, NASA, and I read various articles about science. But nothing really in-depth or detailed. Nothing like research—not the focused kind anyway. I don’t do it for my Fantasy stuff, so why would I do it for SF? As a result, the closest thing to SF I’ve had is Chraest, which is descendants of humans who landed on a planet already occupied by a native intelligence, with magic. Chraest is and always has been as much Fantasy as it is SF.

So it’s rather startling to me to be developing a more SF-focused idea. It started with a prompt on FM’s prompt board. Basically, imagine a drug that gives you the ability to see the future accurately—but it is highly addictive and has debilitating side effects. Would you take this drug? Explore in the point of view of a character of your own.

Original conception of the idea this prompt sparked could have been almost any speculative genre. Almost any kind of Fantasy, or Science Fiction. I may use a variation of it for Fantasy, but this idea became specifically SF. I saw, in my head, planet-hopper ships, companies and organizations recruiting users of this drug, and contemplated the possibility of this drug being based upon some as-yet-undiscovered Element, so I looked up the Periodic Table of Elements and started worldbuilding.

I now have vague notions for a Recruiter character, and a solid concept for a sleuth. I’ve named this SF universe and created a Scrivener file for it. My confidence in pulling off SF isn’t any greater, and it’s complicated by some plans I have for both characters, but I’m determined to see this through. For one, I know little of drug addiction and recovery, and that’s going to be absolutely necessary for me to research.

But I do know I look forward to writing these books. My first SF idea in over 20 years. It’s going to be an adventure.

Rebirth of a Defunct Project

I think most writers who write for any length of time ends up with a collection of story ideas and starts that go nowhere. The Rose’s Thorn, a single scene I wrote some years ago was one of those for me. The premise was good, I thought. Girl with no relation to nobility ends up in the royal/imperial court and is the instigator of change. It goes on from there, with a vague idea of a sequel somewhere in the distance, but I had a solid concept for the first book, which opens with the MC having a roadside chat with the incoming imperial bride.

And that’s all I had. I forget when I wrote the initial scene. I’d have to hunt out its original logsheet or the 5″x8″ index card I started the log on, whichever it was. I can’t remember any more, and I have no idea where to find it even if I did. The project had no “place”—was just a random bit of fluff that I wrote off the top of my head without any sort of anchoring world to put it on. I had a hint of culture (bound feet), and a vague notion of the surrounding territory (forestland). Written in first person, it started and stopped with that “First Scene.”

Every so often over the past few years, since coming out of the gay romance fugue, I’ve revisited The Rose’s Thorn. Every time, I considered the first person pov as unalterable and tried to think of the next scene from that point. The thing with my writing, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, is that my scenes build upon each other to some extent. One flows, in my mind, into the next, and then the one after, and so on, until I have a complete story. This wasn’t happening with this story. I had the “First Scene” and notions of what I wanted to do with the rest of the story, and that was it. No next scene.

For years.

A few nights ago, I thought I figured out where this story belongs—the world it belongs to. Doesn’t actually fit there, because I’m getting inklings of a magical system I don’t have the impression “fits” on the world I put it, but I’m leaving it there for the present because it’s in Scrivener, and it needs to have a place to go or I can’t write on it—and I’m not going to write it in Open Office because I need a place where I can put the story’s accompanying notes I develop on it with the story file for easy transfer to another Scrivener file (plus having more than one Open Office file open at a time bugs the crap out of me unless I’m constantly clicking between them for some reason).

Anyway, I’d thought I figured out where this story belonged and happily transfered a copy of it to Scrivener. Then, because I’d had some better notions about the society and the MC and the imperial bride, I rewrote it. In first person. And there the story stopped again. This was frustrating, to say the least, but I decided to go with the flow, certain I wouldn’t have been driven to work on it at all if my creative mind wasn’t working on a way for me to get past the block.

And, that night, an idea hit. Scene Two. The next scene. But! It was in third person pov. I didn’t like the idea that I should switch povs like that. I didn’t think it would work very well for the story, and, furthermore, the notion felt, uncomfortable to me. No, switching between first person and third person wasn’t the right way to go with this story. So, that left me switching the first scene to third person. This didn’t feel precisely comfortable to me, but I had no other choice.

So, the next day, I got up and wrote the first scene for a third time, this time in third point of view. I had to do some other things, then later, I wrote the second scene. Then the third scene. Started off pantsing this thing, apparently. But it’s flowing well, even though I have no idea what the point of the story is.

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