Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Category: Writing (page 1 of 19)

Soulsucker

So I’ve been spending a lot of time working on a NewShiny. Not like writing-working, but background stuff. I’ve worked up a character list, am in the middle of reworking my initial deity stuff for the culture the MC’s a part of, and have lots of notes for book 1, and just enough notes to give me an idea of what books 2 and 3 are going to be about. At this point, NewShiny is set at a trilogy, but I’m not excluding the possibility of more books developing.

I’m not going to go too much into the first book’s plot. What I will say, though, is that the premise behind it was inspired by my friend Lazette Gifford’s book. I think I posted its cover here on my site a few weeks ago when I first started reading it. Raventower and Merriweather 1: Secrets, a secondary-world steampunk. I spent most of the past weekend from Friday just tearing through that book, mainly because I desperately wanted to read the NewShiny Zette’s book inspired and there’s nothing except notes, background work, and, at the time, only one plot card on it, so Zette’s book was the only thing that would suffice. LOL

Premise of Zette’s book is that Lord Raventower possesses an odd gift for attracting the souls of the recently-dead, which he can then inject into his clockwork creations. Some of these souls remain in those devices, but sometimes the soul goes on to its proper rest. He does not seek these souls out; they go to him on their own. The story is a mystery set against the opening of a war with a neighboring country with whom Raventower’s country has an uneasy peace.

Zette’s book got me to ask, “What if the person who attracted such souls to themself was a female who after some struggle actually sort of embraced her soul-sucking ability?” And thus Leopolda was born. She starts off by accidentally—but justifiably (in my opinion)—killing a family member. My story, like Zette’s, is a secondary world steampunk, but it’s more character driven and I think it’s going to be a bit politcially intriguey as well as I develop the other two stories. I have a feeling that at least book 3 has potential to become a bit of a massive tome, and that there may be adventures for Leopolda beyond it. But I’m quite satisfied with the books I have in mind now.

Oh, and what’s really amazing about this whole setup, is that Leopolda’s book 1 is the first book 1 I’ve ever had a very clear idea of the ending of upon conception. Typically, I have a vague notion of what the ending of book 1 may be, but no clear, definite idea of it until I’m either almost done with the book or have written past its natural ending. I’m really happy my creative mind presented me with a definitive ending for Leopolda’s book 1.

Working title for the series is “Soulsucker,” which I desperately want to change to something a bit less obvious.

Up in the Air

This week was a bit challenging. Even on the days when I got a substantial amount of tasks done, and there were one or two such days, it was a struggle. And then there was Wednesday. I got absolutely nothing done that day, because I slept pretty much the entire day. Really. I didn’t get to bed until around 07:00 Wednesday morning. Because of that, I barely made it out of bed long enough to do my daily kitty care tasks at 13:00 before dropping into bed again to sleep a couple more hours. Then, at 15:00, I got up long enough to take my prebreakfast meds, called my mom while waiting for those to do their job, ate, and hung up the phone just before lying down on the sofa for another 2 hours of sleep. Oh, and I don’t know if Mom noticed it, but I was having trouble enunciating during that call, which is a clear sign I need more sleep. Then, I got up for long enough to shut down my computer and went back to bed for more sleep. Yeah, that was a dud day.

But I got five days of 250 words on Unwritten Letters. All five days are on the same one scene, and I stopped it today at a spot where the scene seems done. I may add a few words or so to tie it up neatly, but I think this is one of those scenes that won’t follow the entirety of the plot card. That’s another flexibility thing, and something I’ve always been okay with. Sometimes my creative mind gives me more to plot for a scene than I actually use, or slightly different information as a guide. I’ll look at it tomorrow or Monday and figure things out then.

My next project is still up in the air. I opened up Wevae’s Scrivener file, but have done absolutely nothing with it today. Really, I think my creative mind is backbrWeaining MOTS1 right now. Though I’d like to dig into it again and read through the scenes I’m keeping for ideas on what else to include, I feel an aversion to doing so. Sometimes this means I’m procrastinating and I just need to force myself to do what I want, but not always. Other times, it means things are developing in my subconscious. Unfortunately, I’m not always able to determine just which cause is the root of my aversion. In this instance, I’m disinclined to force the issue right now. But if I open Wevae’s file over the next couple of days, I’ll be giving MOTS1 a good hard look again. If my creative mind urges me to open a different file, well, things can still be considered quite undecided.

One thing, I am thinking about DH04 again. In a somewhat offhand manner—fleeting unfocused considerations. More along the lines of, “I’d like to get back to that project.” This is even less definite than my urge to open Wevae’s file. Since I open Chraest’s file daily to access UL, I’ll probably take a look at DH04 again sometime this next week, just to see if something kicks up in my backbrain. I think I may have an idea for its title, though. Just need to comb through the music terminology page on Wikipedia to figure it out, and that I’m dreading a little.

So that’s where my Fool’s Errand stands this fine Saturday evening.

Flexibility is a Necessity

Well, I pretty much crashed and burned this week, in terms of writing. I wrote only two days, though I did get a plot card on another day. This looks like it’s becoming a trend, and I’m now reconsidering what to do to work with/around this issue. One idea is to take a two-week break every three or four months. Another idea I’m entertaining is taking the last week of every month off of writing. Yes, yes, I know that if I want to develop a good habit with my writing, I should write as often as possible, but it won’t do me any good if every streak is interrupted by an unplanned hiatus. I’m trying to bring discipline back into my writing habit, and letting myself continue this pattern is not disciplined. Moreover, it harks back to my previous difficulties, including not writing for sometimes weeks on end.

Above all, I want to be flexible with my writing goals. Trying to stick to firm goals was how I screwed myself over before. My goal was to write one full scene a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, if I happened to miss a day for whatever reason, I simply didn’t get back to it the next day. So for a few days, a couple weeks, a month or two, I’d simply not write unless I felt inspired, and that’s not the way to build a good writing habit. Even I knew that, which was why I started up this Fool’s Errand.

So now I need to do some thinking and make some decisions about my fiction writing habit. I’ve pretty much proven to myself that I can be disciplined and consistent with my 250 words five days a week writing goal, and I think I can maintain that consistency even if I take regular, I’ll call them extended breaks. A part of me wants to give the two-week break every three or four months a try first, but given my experiences the past couple of months—dropping things the second week of my new habit, and then again in the middle of this month—I’m reluctantly thinking it may be best if I plan for a week off every month. Alternatively, I could assign a week’s break every five weeks—five weeks of writing with the sixth week a break, but I kind of don’t want to do that.

My plan for these breaks is to make them full breaks from active writing and plotting on my main project. I’ll take notes on the project, but I won’t do plot cards or write my word goal. That seems best as that’s what I’ve already been doing for the most part anyway. Honestly, I just haven’t felt motivated, and I forced the words and that plot card on the days I wrote them all. Mostly because I “should,” and I think that’s what’s getting in my way. Instead of going with the flow, or being willing to plan regular extended breaks like this, I instead beat my head against the metaphorical wall and push myself to do something I don’t really want to do, and end up making myself miserable.

Because, you know what? I really didn’t enjoy writing those words or that plot card this past week. Also, I didn’t look forward to writing. No excitement thrilled through me when I finished getting my words for the day, and I didn’t particularly want to continue writing. For perspective, pretty much every other day I’ve written this month—the two previous weeks, and in fact since I dropped it that week in October—I’ve really, really wanted to continue writing and made myself stop because I didn’t want to burn myself out on it, even though writing had been great fun.

So I think taking a regular extended break like this is a good idea. An important thing to do. Moreover, I believe it’s something I should do my best to consciously plan for, so I’m not blindsided by another unexpected hiatus. When I let that happen, I try to force the writing, which is not fun. If writing can’t be fun for me, why should I bother continue doing it? So I’m going to do my best to work with it by actively and consciously putting it in my schedule. This is the best way I can think of to handle it, and I’ll experiment if it doesn’t seem to work. Flexibility in my Fool’s Errand goals is key to making this endeavor a success.

14Nov18: Good Day with a Rough Start

Book by Lazette Gifford

Zette’s book!

I stayed in bed until noon on Wednesday, then got up only to do kitty care and take my prebreakfast meds. After that, I laid down on the sofa for a bit, then got up to cancel MTG since I’d had only one “I’ll be there” response. Laid down again—in fact, all afternoon, right into the early evening, I only got up for limited amounts of time between longer periods stretched out on the sofa napping. It wasn’t mood, precisely. More a lack of motivation. Days like this are relatively rare, but I’ve had more than one this week. Three as a matter of fact: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

But things turned around.

I finally settled at my desk and eventually got all my tasks from the day’s list done (aside from the MTG). Got my 250 words, did D&D prep, worked on a tarot card, read, kept up with my journal, and practiced my languages. Can’t really say I felt very motivated, I was just wanting to be able to write a list of tasks completed. Which I guess is motivation of a sort. Usually, though, I’m more interested in my tasks, especially the reading, languages, and writing. But I didn’t even want to read, and that says a lot about my lack of motivation.

As for what I’m reading, it’s my friend Lazette Gifford’s book, the first of her Raventower and Merriweather series, Secrets. It’s a steampunk set on a secondary world. I’ve only just gotten to Chapter 6, but it’s been a great read so far. This post’s header image is the cover of Zette’s book, and the book can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

11Nov18: A Productive Exhaustion Day

Sunday was pretty productive despite me not sleeping the night before. I didn’t get tired, so I didn’t put myself to bed. Over the course of the morning, I read a bit, did my languages, got my 250 words, and sorted my pills. Also sent out the Wednesday MTG announcement and called Mom.

I almost didn’t go to game, but I went anyway. Lynn wasn’t able to do D&D this week ’cause he had something else going on, so Kit ran a one-off game called Honey Heist. In this game, participants play either a bear or a honey badger. The goal is to steal a bunch of honey. It was hilarious. I played an unhinged black bear who was a thief with advantage in climbing named Justin Bearber. All I knew was my bear’s name prior to play, because we players had to come up with that. Everything else was rolled up, from type of bear to role played in the game. My exhaustion actually added to my play in this game, as I played my bear with a bit of flamboyance. We successfully finished the game in about three hours.

Having decided after Honey Heist that we would do movie night, Daz and I went to Smith’s to pick up some food and then came home. Varick joined us and we had sushi before starting up Iron Man 2. After that, they left, and I read an incomplete wip or two and then hit the sack.

9Nov18: An Exceedingly Productive Day

I got a lot done Friday. In part due, I’m sure, to the fact I pretty much slept all day Thursday and as a result didn’t get tired or put myself to bed Thursday night. Over the morning hours, I knocked out almost everything on my list, leaving only quilting to do, and I even got a couple things not on it done. That includes my 250 words, started a book by my friend Zette, calling Mom, doing a tarot card, getting my prompt up on my MeWe group, editing Chapter 14 of DH03, doing my languages, doing a chapter for GIMP, posting Chapter 10 of DH03, and doing some D&D prep. At noon, Katie picked me up for quilting. We stopped at a vendor of tacos on the street and got massive burritos, and then to her place for quilting, where I did two blocks. When I got home, I read through one of my incomplete WIPS and edited Chapter 15 of DH03. It was a really good day!

8Nov18: Broken Glasses

Thursday started out slow. At 10:00, when my alarm went off, I still felt a little ill, so I told my friends I wouldn’t be able to make it to game. Well, my message was something along the lines of, “not feeling well.” I finally got up around 13:00 and then spent the first several hours out of bed lying on my sofa in various states of wakefulness. Eventually, I gave in to the temptation to watch some Forensic Files while crocheting and spent about 2 or 3 hours doing that. Afterward, I discovered that the stem of one of the nose rests on my glasses had broken, so excavated an older pair of glasses to use and set to accomplishing tasks.

Before bed, I’d edited DH03CH13. That’ll go up on Wattpad in a few weeks.

After my extended sleep time, I got my 250 words, did my languages, and kept up with my journal. After a break to buy some new glasses from an online purveyor, I also did some D&D prep.

7Nov18: Productive Wednesday

I’ve had an upset stomach since Tuesday, with a slight headache. Not sure what it is, but it didn’t affect me too much Wednesday. I did my tarot card for the day, set up the last 18 cards for tarot lesson #1 from The Complete Tarot Reader by Teresa C. Michelson, and called my Mom. Also got my 250 words and did my languages, as well as spent a few hours crocheting to the “tune” of Forensic Files.

5Nov18: Exhaustion and D&D

Monday was another exhaustion day. Though I put myself to bed, I ended up bored out of my mind and got on Instagram and hit MeWe on my phone before giving up on sleep and getting up again. I managed to make the day productive though. Did my languages, called Mom, got 2 plot cards on MOTS1, and got my Fool’s Errand goal. Also went to Kit’s D&D. And that’s it!

4Nov18: By Any Standards

By any standards, Sunday was a wildly productive day. And particularly by my own. I got a lot done, and that’s even with a few hours out of the house at an appointment, having a meal with a friend, and getting groceries in a store whose floor plan has been different every single time I’ve gone in there for the past couple of months. They’re remodeling the grocery section of my Smith’s Marketplace, so it’s all a mess there. I had to go up and down literally every aisle yesterday to find what I needed, because, even if the shelves hadn’t been taken out, nothing I needed was in the place it used to be. It’s going to be fantastic when they’re done, but it’s definitely a madhouse right now.

In addition to getting to my knee appointment, dining with Katie, and going for groceries, I Did my languages, called my sister Erin for a 40 min call and my friend Anita for an hour-and-twenty-minute call, and did a plot card on UL since I finished up the last one the other day. Did some D&D prep too, and a kept up with my Task Journal. Before leaving the house, I sorted my pills for the week, which is pretty important. It’s how I know what meds to take and when to take them. Read a bit too, though only very little. Oh, and I even got my 250 words!

So, a very productive day for me!

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