daidoji_gisei: (Default)
2015-03-02 09:56 pm
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I'm trying out my free sample of BPAL's Vixen. It's making a bid to be one of the very, very few patchouli-note perfumes that I don't hate with the hate of a million fangirls. I'm intrigued!

I am trying to get ready for my trip this weekend. I had to work today, which is normally my day off, but I went grocery shopping, washed dishes, and cooked. I should have done laundry as well, but I wussed out. :(

I wrote a page of a new story, but I'm thinking of tossing it all out. I don't like how it opens, but can't think of what to do better. It so frustrating. I wish I could find an idea that amused me, the way DA amused me. (DA was never supposed to be a real story, it was my effort to master first-person POV. Maybe that's why I felt free to stuff cool things into it.) At this rate I might as well go back to studying Latin; it would keep my brain limber and give me an excuse to play with my pens and ink.

The larger of my two orchids is blooming with great enthusiasm. I need to come up with a way to support the bloom spike before it tips the pot over. It's safe for now, as I have it leaning up against the lemon tree, but I can't see it well from that perspective.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2015-02-09 09:32 am
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As always, I have too much housework to do, but that will have to wait for a bit. I have a brief freelance assignment to take care of, and I intend to get the rough draft done this morning. My deadline isn't until a few weeks, but I don't want to put it off until the last moment. On the one hand, that's just a bad habit. On the other hand, I've become infatuated with a pen on the FPN classifieds and the sooner I get my money the better.

More long-term I have a few short stories I want to write and start sending off. If I intend to make money off of writing (and I do, even it is just enough for some luxuries), I need to always have a story or two out for consideration. I need to get back to the novel, but that can wait--I want to get some short-term money flowing.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-12-21 09:33 am
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More writing angst

I have scribbled and stumbled my way to the sixth scene in my outline. (I specify in my outline, because as I've been writing I have figured out that I need at least one more scene before now.) I need to push on, because that's the only way I will finish. But it's an important, pivotal scene, and I'm intimidated by it.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-11-16 09:43 am
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(NaNoWriMo) Status update

November is half-over and I have a little over 8K words written. It takes very little math to see that I am very behind. I'd like to say that I think I can catch up, but given my experience from being on the writing team for L5R I don't think that's possible.

Nevertheless, I'm not depressed. I need to write this novel, need to learn how to write novels, and NaNo was a psychologically good starting point. I'm still engaged in finding out just how many words I can get done this month, so the game is still live for me. Also, I've promised myself some more ink samples when I hit 10K and an incense buying spree when I hit 20K. (The key to writing bribes, I have discovered, is to find something I want, but not want so badly that I'll just abandon the task and order the thing right away.) It's too far away to think about what the reward for finishing will be. (But I'm considering some bottles of Iroshizuku.)

I've tentatively decided that handwriting the first draft is the way to do it. Not because of some claptrap about it making me more creative, but because it makes it impossible for me to change things. If I was doing this on a computer, every time I reread what I had written I would see things I didn't like and would need to stop and change them. This is fine in a short story, but in a long project like this I need to keep moving and fix stuff in the next draft. When I see something that I think needs fixing, all I do now is grab a pen loaded with a contrasting color of ink (this totally justifies my habit of keeping about a dozen pens inked, btw) and make a note in the margin. Then I move on.

I'm planning on writing today. If there are no emergencies I should be able to order some ink samples tonight. Go me!
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-11-10 08:02 am

Writing-related stuff

Having missed three days in a row of writing on my NaNoWriMo novel, I really really need to hit the 2000/day mark if I am to finish on time. Trying to stay calm about this.

Yesterday I inked up the fox pen! I used Diamine Sepia, because that is the first in sample I came across that coordinated with the color of the pen. The pen itself feels nice in the hand, which makes me happy. The ink, on the other hand, is very blah. I think I'll try switching out the fine nib for something more dramatic and see if it helps. If not, I'll just make an entry in my ink log and dump it. I have too much ink on hand suffer through one I don't want to look at.

I also tried the Franklin-Christoph Dark Denim in my Black Ice pen. I like the color, but it seems like a very dry ink--the nib just kind of drags, and I know from previous experience that this is a smoother nib. I'm tempted to add a pin-prick of dish detergent to the converter and see if that helps.

While browsing a writers forum over breakfast I came across a post that broke down just how impossible it is for a new writer to get a short story sold. At least now I can tell myself that it isn't me, it's just the numbers. And DA started life as an experiment in writing first-person, so I still got that much good out of it.

Now on to a busy day of housework and NaNoWriMo.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-11-07 06:00 am
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NaNo update

By Wedneday evening I had reached the 5000 word mark, which was still behind schedule if I wanted to finish on time but not impossibly so; the trick is to always keep nibbling away. Also, I had noticed I was starting to pick up some momentum, and getting more done each day.

Alas, Thursday was physically and emotionally exhausting, and I got nothing done. It was horrible, I feel horrible, I am horrible. I'm still tired, I have a bowl of oatmeal I need to eat and a half hour to do it in and I'm not sure I have that much energy. And I have to go to work and bake all day!
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-11-02 09:01 am
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I started writing last night. I didn't get very far, but I started. I am resolved not to be angry at myself because I was sick, I was tired, and that first paragraph is always so hard. I need to pick up the pace if I am to finish on time, however.

One thing I have decided is that I absolutely need to stop expecting impossible things from myself. I have always written in short, ~500-word spurts, and this isn't going to change overnight just because I want it to. If I'm going to hit my 1667 daily target I will have to plan around this. So, after breakfast I will write. When I come home from work I'll write a little more. I'll cook dinner, eat, wash dishes. Then I'll do a little more writing. Real writers can toss off a few thousand words without breaking a sweat, but I can't. So I'll act like a real physicist and break the problem down to solvable parts.

The ink for last night's writing jag was Pilot Iroshizoku Fuyu-gaki (Sweet Winter Persimmon). I put it in my M200 demonstrator because I've decided that all my Iroshizoku samples deserve time in a demonstrator. I chose this one first because all the other pens I have inked have cool, dark colors in them and this would, I thought, give some contrast. And how! Fuyu-gaki is like Diamine Coral with less pink, so it really pops off the page. I don't loathe it, which given my normal reaction to orange is something of an achievement. I have no desire to own a bottle of it (after all, I already have a bottle of Coral), but I plan to use up the sample instead of dumping it.

Every time I sit down to write I am going to use a different pen. The non-practical reason for this is I love all the pretty colors. The practical one is that I can tell at a glance how long a particular writing jag lasted by seeing how many pages I have of that color.
daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
2014-10-29 12:06 am
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Day one of my captivity

I didn't go to work today, having woke up with a sore throat and sinus pain. This was frustrating all around, because I could look around at all the housework that needed to be done but couldn't summon up the energy to do anything about it. My brain was frizzy as well, so I could neither write nor read anything needing concentration. It's been frustrating.

I did get a pen flushed out, the M200. I have decided that for my NaNo first draft I am going to use my Iroshizoku samples, so tomorrow when it is dry I'll choose the first one and load it up. Whee!
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
2014-10-21 06:28 am
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I woke up this morning in the same frame of mind that I went to bed with. The outline was a waste of time better spent cleaning. Even accepting that I could write a non-horrible novel, I can't write to the popular taste. I should stick to crochet: at least then I'm making something useful.
daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
2014-10-20 10:39 pm
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Meandering thoughts

I woke up this morning and decided I was going to finish the outline of my novel, even if it meant I got nothing else done today. That's pretty much what happened: I got the dishes washed, took out the trash, and cooked for for the next few days, but none of the laundry got done or anything else on my list. But the outline is done.

I guess having an outline is a good thing, because now I can start writing. Maybe. I have discovered that I am the kind of writer who needs readers, and I'm not convinced I'll have any beyond my alpha and beta readers. I had readers for L5R because I had a captive audience. I've shown my non-L5R story, the one I'm shopping around, to seven friends, and of them two of them really liked it, one of them kind of liked it (I think?), one didn't like it (but admitted it wasn't his preferred genre), and three never told me what they thought of it, from which I deduce that they didn't like it at all and are taking the diplomatic way out. These are not great odds.

If I had spent the day cleaning I would have had something to show for my efforts: a cleaner home. This is widely considered praiseworthy behavior. I would rather write than clean, but if there is one thing my life has taught me, it's that my opinions and desires don't matter.

I am tired, and that doesn't make sense. I sat at my desk all day, and finishing the outline wasn't like trying to compose War and Peace. I need to get to bed regardless, because tomorrow is a work day and then I need to come home and get some of the cleaning done. At some point I'll have to talk myself into starting writing, but that pint is not now.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-07-26 10:21 pm
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I'm more than a little frustrated. I had a restful, refreshing week of vacation. I have had much less stress at work this week. I have a stack of comp books and notebooks to deface, and lots of pretty inks to do it with. I should have been writing lots this week--and I've done nothing. So frustrated.

At some point I had a writing to-do list for this year, and I have not yet ticked off a single goal. I just can't find a sentence to start with, that's all.

I know somewhere I have a notebook with a bunch of fanfic partials; maybe I should dig that out and try to finish something. One foolish project is as good as another, right?
daidoji_gisei: Tarot Queen of Swords (Queen of Swords)
2014-06-30 02:03 pm
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A few quick thoughts

I'm doing this via my new tablet, so this will probably be quick. As I am not one of those people wedded to their cell phone, typing with only two fingers is slightly unnatural.

I was reading FPN over lunch and became irked at a young man who announced that he couldn't possibly date someone who used BIC pens because obviously their thoughts meant nothing to them. Having written most of my L5R fiction using a computer and cheap ballpoints I could not possibly see how this could be true. I posted a terse rebuttal which may have included the word "horse-hooey". I hope I don't get modded, but whatever.

In unrelated news, I have a new pen in the mail. I am hoping it arrives before my new Ink Drop samples do.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-05-06 07:00 pm
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Writing meme

Borrowed from Rachel M.

1. What am I working on?

a) A novel based on the world I created for the rpg I ran last year. (Having done all that work worldbuilding, shouldn't I get some use out of it?)

b) Finishing my L5R fanfic series Always Coming Home.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

My immediate, smart-ass answer is "My heroines' biggest problem is not deciding whether to get f*cked by a vampire or a werewolf. That's why my stuff will never sell." My non-smart-ass answer is, "I'm not sure if there is anything different about my work." At the moment I don't have a lot of non-L5R stuff to judge from.

3. Why do I write what I do?

It's a cliche, but I write what I would like to read. I love it when other people like it also, but in the end I am stuck writing for me. I envy people who can analyze a market trend and churn out stories that bring in $$$.

4. How does my writing process work?

I come up with the basic plot for the story, hammering out what the beginning, middle and end will all look like. Then I write the rough draft, which is slow because I think too much about trying to make every word perfect. Then I revise, revise, revise.

Take the meme if you like it.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-03-13 05:17 pm
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The limits of experience

A few weeks ago I checked a book out of the library on writing character emotions. I finally got to skimming it Monday night. The book was organized around many short sections, with each section covering a different emotion. I was feeling ok about my ability to handle character emotions right up to the section on romantic love. "Close your eyes and remember how it felt the first time you fell in love!" the author instructed. "Well, that's not going to work," I thought. I've never fallen in love.

Which is not to say I have never loved anyone. I love my parents, and I have a small handful of friends who are not people-I-hang-out-with but people-who-I-care-deeply-about. I happen to think that friendship-as-love is every bit as important as romantic love, but as this is all that I have going for me I guess my opinion is arguably suspect.

I would have liked to have had some romantic love in my life--it seems like a good thing, in spite of its pitfalls--but this isn't something you can do alone; you need someone to love you. At one point I had looked at some books on how to attract a romantic partner and had to give it up as a lost cause. The project seems to require that I act like someone I'm not, and you don't need a masters in physics to realize that this is not a winning strategy. Sooner or later I would slip up and be me, and then the whole thing would be over.

From this vantage, it makes sense that I couldn't convince my readers that Hideshi and Beniha were having an affair: I've never had one, so how would I know? And it's funnier that the story I have completed features two characters who are, in fact, not in love with each other. I have a project in the works where I do have two characters who are in love, but that's a minor detail in the plot and now that I recognized the problem I can minimize it as much as possible. Play to your strengths, avoid your weaknesses.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2014-02-24 03:53 pm
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Changes in my writing life

It's official now, or more accurately, it public now: I'm no longer on the Story Team for the Legend of the Five Rings. I've been writing L5R stories for years now, and though I still love the game it was time for me to stop writing L5R stories. Shawn Carman, the Story Lead, wrote a really nice announcement about it that's posted on the L5R site. It made me blush a bit, but I've read it several times anyway.

Being on the Story Team created no small amount of frustration in my life, from various sources, but I'm still glad I did it. In was in that time I finally felt comfortable calling myself a writer. It was also the time I faced a lot of technique problems that I had been able to avoid as a fanfic writer but had to figure out NOW because I was on a deadline. ('Cause there is no way I would have stuck with the disambiguation problem of a fight scene with four female Matsu samurai if I had had the chance of just walking away from it. But I didn't have that luxury, and in the end I figured something out.)

So now I'm writing on my own ideas, which is amazing and terrifying. I don't think I know what I'm doing, but I'll figure something out.
daidoji_gisei: Tarot Queen of Swords (Queen of Swords)
2014-02-07 07:09 am
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Fire Saint Proverb

Vows, team, lovers.

It's a list of possible loyalties for a Fire Saint, ranked in order of their importance.
daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
2014-02-06 05:20 pm
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It's been hard for me to keep up with online things because I still haven't had a chance to get my computer fixed. (I know, I know, first world problems, I'm not supposed to complain about things because I don't live in a war zone.)

I'm behind in all of my crochet projects, mostly because I've been dividing my at-home time between catching up on housework and laboring ineffectually at various writing projects. I'm doubly grumpy about the writing thing today because I've been reminded that I'm Not A Real Writer because I'm not interested in staying up way past my bedtime to get my writing in. I'm sorry, but I don't have a cushy desk job were I can sit in front of a computer the next day and pretend like I'm working. I'm either doing physical production or dealing with Being A Manager Who Has to Supervise People and both of these things require me getting sleep the previous night. Also I do not have now and never have had a muse.

At least I'm still crawling ahead on Latin; I finished chapter 4 (finally!) yesterday and will be moving on to chapter 5, which apparently will introduce plurals. I think that when I get through this textbook (the Cambridge Latin Course is divided between 4 books) I should reward myself with some more ink. I haven't decided now many bottles a Latin textbook is worth, but I still have 7 chapters to go so I have time to make up my mind.

Work would be fine except that I am suffering from a Problem which is so stressful it's eating away at me even when I'm at home trying to relax and has me fantasizing about calling in sick so that I don't have to deal with it. The situation is not going to go away and I suspect it is going to get worse before it gets better--I'm just hoping I'm not the person who makes it worse.

Valentine's Day is coming, so I get to spend the next week being reminded that I'm fat, unattractive, middle-aged, and alone. Thank you, greeting card and floral industries, for all you have done to improve my life. I would be tempted to buy myself something to cheer myself up (which of course is the entire point of Valentine's Day) but I went ahead and ordered myself some Dragon's Eye last week, which takes care of my discretionary spending for the month. I do still need to order some seeds, but it's hard to make growing vegetables feel like a splurge.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
2014-01-09 04:56 pm
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Weird week

So far at work this week, we seem to be trying to have as many problems, disasters and generally odd things as possible. The current list contains, but is not limited to: a shipment where the produce all froze in the truck in transit, two supply trucks from our main distributor that arrived a day late, a display cooler in the store that stopped working (rendering all the products it held unfit for sale), a cooler in the deli that stopped working (rendering all the prepped deli items it held unfit for sale), a pallet of papergoods meant for a store in Indiana being delivered to us (and our pallet delivered somewhere else), and several sick employees. I am taking the position that this means we are getting all of the year's drama out of the way in the first half of January and I'm sticking to it.

Meanwhile I've come up with two possible story ideas and my brain is fixed on writing the crackier of the two first. I'm finding this a little worrisome, but I'm consoling myself with the idea that after all the years of trying to write Serious Samurai Drama it was only natural that I'd had a certain amount of crack that I had to get out of my system.

And it's Thursday already, and I don't know what happened to the rest of the week. I haven't gotten nearly as much writing done as I wanted, though I've kind of kept up with my Latin. Laundry has been a total loss, unless I get something done after my bath tonight. I haven't done any crocheting, though I have gone through some of my magazines and started a list of potential projects. Part of me wants to try something ambitious like a sweater, but I feel incapable of doing anything that grand. I'll keep looking at patterns: maybe something will cry out strongly enough to drown out my doubts.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
2013-12-08 10:01 am
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You load sixteen tons

I've been struggling to write this week. Mostly I think this is caused by my not having written anything since mid-November--getting back into writing after a break feels like resurrecting myself. It's a problem I wouldn't have if I had just had the discipline to write something every day, but there were so many days I came home without the energy even to take a bath, and those nights I did have energy I had to cook, wash dishes, and do laundry, and all this proves that I'm lazy and lack discipline. (I'd blame my therapist for my current bitterness, but the truth is it's far to easy for me to hate myself, and this predates him by decades.)

I do have a plot now, and it's been vetted by Shawn, so that hurdle is cleared. (I usually don't bother with this step, but for various reasons it seemed like a good idea.) I'll resume grinding away at the text this afternoon; it will be interesting to see how far I will get. I used to consider 500 words my max for the day but in the first week of NaNo I was getting 1000-1500 a day maximums: I'll see if I can find and rechannel the mindset that made this possible.
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
2013-11-14 06:26 am

From bitter to empty

This has not been a good week for me, writing-wise. Since Sunday I've gotten maybe 500 words on my NaNoWriMo novel, and I'm afraid of doing the math on how far behind that puts me. Numbers never lie. Work is still stressing me, my RPG campaign is in the final stages of falling apart (and we were so close to the conclusion! so close!), and I'm pretty convinced that even if I could write something novel-length it wouldn't be worth reading. I'm not an amazing stylist, I have no great message to impart, I don't do conspiracies involving the Vatican, vampires, or sex scenes. Totally unmarketable. (And while I'm on that topic, I'm still dithering over from where to get another rejection slip for my story. It's been a few weeks, I should be sending it out again.)

Part of me still wants to continue writing on my novel. For one thing, I bought three beautiful XF nibs to go with the narrow-ruled comp book I'm using, and though they were cheap compared to buying new pens that's still real money down the drain. For another, on Sunday I realized that something I wrote as a throw-way piece of background on Saturday could actually be the key to the external conflict I needed for the climax of the book. I am unreasonably excited about the idea of trying to create the scenes and dialog needed to pull this off.

I can't even manage to give up right.