Day 10 prompt: Tell us about ideas you have floating around. Worldbuilding snippets, or ideas for new stories. Just a few bullet points.
I’ve always wanted to write a self indulgent romance. Opposites attract. They think they have each other all figured out but in reality there is so much under the surface for both of them, things they never reveal to anyone except each other. Maybe they’re on different sides of the political aisle. Maybe they come from staggeringly different economic backgrounds. Maybe they just flat out hate each other. Enemies to lovers is definitely my second favorite trope of all time, second to found family which I touched on in an earlier post.
Humans judge. We can pretend that we don’t, we may bury it and act like it’s not our place to stereotype each other but we all do it. Even if it’s just a quick “wow why tf would that person do something like that?” We’ve all had someone in our lives that we judged, thought we knew exactly the kind of person they were just to later find out that we had them all wrong. Maybe we knew someone similar to them and associated all of their bad habits onto this new person. Maybe we were projecting something deep within ourselves onto them. Whatever the reason, there’s something painfully human about realizing you were wrong about something you were so sure of. Humbling, even.
Plus, I’ve read quite a few romances in my day and most of them aren’t done very well. That’s just my personal opinion but I can count on one hand how many romance stories actually pulled my heartstrings in all the best ways and didn’t end with one of them dying. Most of what I’ve found out there is just shameless smut, which I’m here for, but if the plot falls flat then I just can’t get into it. Like bad porn on paper.
So, like many other writers, I look at things like that and think how I could do it so much better. Maybe I could, I won’t know until I actually sit down and write it but I have a half ass idea for a plot so maybe one of these days I’ll knock it out. Save it for a rainy NaNo.
Day 9 Prompt: Structure as offense and characterization as defense, or the other way around. Is this something you think about? Do you have other metaphors when you think about your stories and how they work?
This question threw me off, to be honest. Maybe it’s the wording so I had to google search to see what this even meant. It’s a way of thinking of characterization and plot as opposing forces. Plot being offensive (working towards the goal) and characterization (working against it) and it finally made sense.
I always look at stories as either being plot drives characters or character driven plot. A story will either have the plot driving the characters to make decisions or have the decisions the characters make drive the plot. Lord of the Rings? Plot driven characters. Frodo would have never left the Shire if the plot hadn’t driven him to. The Hobbit? Character driven plot. Bilbo chose to leave the Shire on his adventure, he chose to bring the ring back with him.
Most of my story ideas are character driven plots. The decisions the characters make are what is driving the plot forward. For example, in Elements, Whitney is so driven towards finding the truth, they set into motion a series of events that would have never happened without their influence. What I enjoy the most about this writing style is there is a sort of consequence for your character’s actions. Rather than the characters being the victim of what’s going on around them. It’s realistic to have to deal with the aftermath of your choices. One of the harshest realities of life is knowing when you make a decision or a mistake, what happens afterwards is directly related to your own choice. You make the bed, you have to lie in it.
Day 8 Prompt: What is your favorite trope to write and/or read? And is there a difference between reading and writing the trope?
So many tropes come to mind. I love enemies to lovers, redeemable villains, grey morality. But I have to narrow my favorite writing cliche down to found family. There is nothing I love more than a group of misfits who find a place in the world that they belong. Strangers thrown together by chance that end up loving and supporting one another through life’s trials. It’s one of the main reasons why I love Bioware games so much. What I love about Harry Potter, and the list goes on and on.
There isn’t much difference between reading and writing about found family. I guess the biggest difference would be that you get to decide who the people are and what bonds them together. Are they fighting for survival? Are they all thrown into therapy and work through their deepest trauma together? You get to decide what they have in common and how the bonds are forged. When you read about found family, you get to sit back and enjoy not knowing what’s going to happen. You can watch the friendships blossom without worrying about if it flows well or if it’s too slow, too fast. There’s a lot less pressure being a reader.
Day 7 Prompt: Do you have a writing day? Or a writing hour? When do you get most of your writing done?
I don’t have a schedule as of right now. I tried, I really did. But how my life is right now and the ages my kids are at, schedules just aren’t really on the table. We have a half assed idea of how things are going to go when the day starts, but I kind of have to take things as they come. I usually write the most in the afternoons or late at night. When the kids are asleep, or at least when my youngest is asleep. Whenever I have the freedom to focus on something but also the quiet to concentrate.
For example, the other night I was in the zone. I was just tipsy enough to get some good ‘drunk writing’ done and I had ideas I wanted to get out. The words were flowing and I was actually really happy with what I was producing. Then my baby was crying, he wanted attention. My daughter wanted me to watch her dance. My husband was busy with things that needed to get done. So sometimes, having time to write is pretty low on the list. That’s why my blog will go weeks without a post or the dates of a last edit for a google doc will be further away than I hoped. I do the best that I can, but unfortunately even when I do have some quiet time to focus and get some shit done, I just don’t have the inspiration. And yes, sometimes we do need to force ourselves to write even when our muses are silent but it’s oftentimes one of those things that requires the planets to be aligned. Someday I’ll have a pretty little schedule that I’ll actually be able to stick with but for the meantime, I write when the universe allows.
Day 6 Prompt: What worldbuilding idea did you come up with that you would have loved to use but just couldn’t get to work?
Parents. In the original draft of Elements, Whitney and her sister, Rayn, had parents and I actually really enjoyed the dynamics between them. How the parents tried to understand their powers but were also low key afraid of their potential. Ultimately, it didn’t really add anything for them to have parents, especially in the later books. It was just another obstacle when they got further into the mess. So I decided to up everyone’s ages a few years and cut the parents out completely. The only thing it took away was just that extra layer of not wanting to disappoint them but also wanting to forge their own paths, typical teenage stuff, but as I decided I didn’t want Whitney to be a teenager, putting that parental pressure on her just added more to her character. Forcing her to grow up quicker than she was ready for, forcing the extra responsibility of caring for her siblings, that added stress on top of their main goal and motivation of uncovering the truth behind their abilities. She needs to uncover hundreds of years worth of buried secrets AND make sure the lights stay on? Welcome to the real world.
Day 5 Prompt: What’s a worldbuilding detail in your WIP that you really like?
I like taking different aspects of magic and witchcraft to create my own spin. One of my favorite things about fantasy is you can really do whatever you want with little explanation besides, “magical energy” and it gives it validation. One detail in particular that I’m really proud of is how the girls can feel each other’s magic when they use their powers. This is something that is specific to an elemental generation only. Witches without elemental powers cannot sense other witch’s magic and other generations are unable to sense outside of the five elements in their specific group. A generation is a set of five witches with powers of the five elements born within five years of each other. The five elements being water, fire, earth, air and spirit. I really love this detail because it solidifies the connection Whitney and the other four main characters have to one another. The obligation they all feel to stand behind one another and protect each other because not only do they have a common goal, but they can literally feel one another’s magic coursing through their veins. It’s like a blood pact. Something that not only brings them together, but keeps them together.
I also want to add how much I love their matching jewelry. It’s probably the main reason the five girls decide they can truly trust one another because none of them really know where each of their gems come from, but they know they’re all connected to one another. The floating ink inside of the jewels that changes color when they’re around one another definitely helps. It’s these details that bring them together but it’s their own decision to work together that truly bonds them.
Day 4 Prompt: Thinking back to the motivation(s) you defined yesterday, what is your character’s goal (or goals) and what conflict(s) prevents them from getting to that? In short: Define the GMC for your characters. G – Goal
M – Motivation
C – Conflict
Lol I guess I already touched on goals, to find the truth behind their powers and where did these abilities originate. The conflict that prevents them from uncovering the truth emerges in layers. The girls aren’t the only witches in the woods and many of them are definitely not friendly, not towards the Elementals, anyway. What happens when you’re the hero of your own story but the villain in another’s? That’s what the girls find out the hard way. Perspective is everything, and one of my favorite things is to blur the lines between right and wrong, good and even. Because it’s all about who you ask. Everyone is the hero of their own story, even when they are anything but heroic.
GMC. Goal: Whitney and the other girl’s goal is to uncover the history of their magic and find if others like them exist. Motivation: Thinking they were the only ones with powers for most of their lives, living in fear of being discovered. What would their families think? Their friends? Their lovers? Conflict: Not only are there others out there working tirelessly to bury the truth, but they are just as adamant of burying Whitney and the other girls six feet under. I love when characters hate each other for very valid reasons, when the reader can look at both sides and be sympathetic, conflicted on who is right and who deserves their support. Obviously, you want to root for the protagonists, for they are the heroes of the story right? What happens when the heroes have just as much blood on their hands? It’s not so black and white, but all shades of grey.
Day 3 Prompt: What’s your character’s motivation? What motivates them to act like they do?
Going back to Elements, my main character’s motivation is to figure out who the hell they are. My two main characters are a pair of adopted sisters with very little knowledge of their past. This only fuels their need to find out where the source of their powers came from. It’s the one piece of themselves they feel is obtainable, like if they are able to know the truth about their magical abilities, it’ll make up for not knowing their biological parents or the history behind the families they were born into. It’ll make the sting of their parents giving them up hurt a little less.
This drive to learn their truth is what motivates them to behave kinda recklessly. They don’t think about how things could go wrong, or who could get hurt on their conquest. It’s not until their lives as they know it blows up in their faces that they take a step back and promise to be more careful, to be more mindful of their actions. This of course is when they finally discover they aren’t the only ones with elemental powers hiding in plain sight. My main character, Whitney, is convinced this is all she’ll ever have in this world. She has a sole purpose given to her through this magic, and it’s her duty to uncover the truth, no matter the consequences. It’s not until she realizes the truth is more complicated than she could have ever imagined that she wonders if she and the other girls have gone too far.
Day 2 prompt: For your current WIP: (do you have many WIPs? I have so many WIPs. So I mean current as of right this moment, the project you’re thinking about right now.) What motivates you to write this specific story? What makes this story special for you? Is there a special twist/trope/setting you want to explore? What got you started on this particular story?
My current WIP (work in progress) is my modern fantasy, Elements. It’s the series I’ve been working on for about ten years now. I know that sounds like a long time but there’s five books that I’ve been plotting out. The first one written, the second one about a third written and the rest I have pretty much pieced together. It’s evolved a lot over the years and it’s something I’m tremendously proud of.
What motivates me to write this specific story is obviously my personal attachment to it. After a decade, it’s very much my baby. I started writing it because I was swimming one day and I jumped in the pool, staying under for as long as I could before returning to the surface for air and it made me wonder, how cool would it be to be able to manipulate water? Witchcraft is something that has always thrilled me, something I was instantly drawn to. From that, mixed with my own personal experiences with magic during my high school years, when is really when I started dabbling with the craft, came this idea of elemental witches. A coven of sisterhood. What makes this story so special to me is how personal it is. So many of the characters are inspired by my people, my close inner circle of found family. So many of the themes are struggles I have faced myself, things I have gone through with my friends, the dynamics of all our relationships and the struggles of growing up and figuring out who we are on top of the added drama of fiction.
As far as special twists/tropes/settings for this particular WIP, I could go on for literal pages. My personal favorite twists are the ones cunningly hidden in plain view, but you’re so preoccupied with other plot elements that you don’t notice it. And when it is finally revealed, you look back and think, “Holy shit it’s been there all along.” As for settings, I love nature. I love how nature can reflect emotion. You’re scared? Here’s a graveyard in the middle of the night, twisted trees barren of leaves in the winter cold hanging above your head. You’re happy? Here’s a meadow full of wildflowers, birds chirping back and forth to one another. The warm sun beating down on your skin. You’re sad? Here’s a rain storm in the middle of the night as you wait at an uncovered bus stop, wondering when your life will begin.
So, hi everyone, long time no see.
For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Tumblr because I’m a fan girl and that’s the place you go when you want to shamelessly obsess over nerdy things. Some of the other writers I follow over there have been doing this 100 Days of Writing challenge by the WIP Project. I’d been enjoying reading their posts so much and seeing their different writing styles, I decided to go ahead and join in. Their main page can be found here: https://the-wip-project.tumblr.com/
Day 1 Prompt: Write about what your motivation is to write at all. What got you started? What keeps you going?
My motivation is honestly pretty self indulgent. Of course, all writers write for other people. If we didn’t plan on having readers at some point, we’d never put pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboards. For me, I write what I want to read. I write about characters who inspire me, plot that moves me, issues that matter to me. I constantly have these ideas, speeches, emotions buzzing around in my head, and I write to release them. To get things off my chest, to tap into things I keep buried beneath the surface. I create these people and these worlds and after a while of letting them linger in the back of my mind, I get attached. I care about whether they get what they want or if they have to struggle. I care about them finding their own versions of happiness.
What got me started was a dream actually. I was in the third grade and I had a dream about this orphanage with vines growing from the ceiling and these girls who escaped from it. The next day, I wrote out a little story and even drew some pictures. I have no idea if it still exists but I remember taking it to school and showing my teacher. I remember her being impressed and telling me to write more, so I did, and I never stopped. I’ve been writing ever since.
I keep going because it’s part of my soul now. I can’t imagine ever not writing. I can’t imagine not creating characters or weaving stories together. Turning dreams into semi-coherent plots. I genuinely don’t know what my brain would even look like if I never started writing. It’s become so much more than a hobby, but a huge aspect of my existence. Even when I write things that I’m certain no one else will read. I’ve seen a lot of writers talk about how they write for their readers, and while a big part of me wonders how people will like what I produce and if anyone will connect the dots I lay out, I have to selfishly admit that I write for myself. As a mother and a wife and all the other components of who I am to other people, writing is the only thing I have that is purely mine.