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25 June 2009 @ 08:16 pm
To all writers, how is the craft going?  
Wow, goddamn, it's been a trying year. I'm back in college, making sure that this time I could do better for myself. And still have fun while doing it. I figured it's not so bad; you can make progress while enjoying the process. So right now, I'm taking things slow but efficient, and still catch up with my otaku duties. I've just finished The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya which is quite spectacular. I should have watched the series earlier. Suffice to say, my writing prowess is lurking contentedly, willing to sit through a break to give way to my college obligations. And that's cool. I quite enjoy writing without the head-crushing pressure of publication. I mean, I can proudly say I have been a better, more mature writer than I was two years ago when I first joined FFnet and LJ. I used to think writing is about how fast you can write a chapter and update the story. I used to beat myself up when I can't come up with something to please the majority of readers. I used to be such a snob when my flaws are pointed out to me by complete strangers. But now, I guess I'm fairly happy to be writing not only for my whims alone but also to improve. I guess revising/proofreading my stories taught me that the mere desire to be a writer is not enough. I need to train myself in certain habits and hard work. This year I am learning to take a professional stance toward my work, original or fanfiction. I am willing to make the compromises and commitment. So that's why I intend to update my public eljay since this is my online working journal. I should monitor my progress just to cheer myself up everytime I feel like I'm such a loser with my craft. Self-affirmation can take a while but the rewards of granting myself that are worth the trouble.

I wanna know how my other fellow writers are up to. I really wanna know how everyone's work is paying off.

How do you approach writing? How much time do you dedicate yourself to work on it? Do you ever look at a previous fanfic you have published and figured that you can do better? What sort of sacrfices are you willing to give up in order to write more progressively?

And of course, the up sides: What makes you happy as a writer by the end of the day? What is your greatest accomplishment all throughout your writing experiences? How do you reward yourself?
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Hezaa: England: Surprised/Caught Off Guardsoul_of_raziel on June 25th, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
Hm...I'm a perfectionist whenever it comes to writing, and I've always found myself constantly fixing up mistakes or trying to improve the prose when it first comes onto the page. That's a deadly habit to fall into, especially since when you're tinkering with your work, you never get anything finished that way. Not that I have really finished anything more than one-shots, but still. I'm hoping that I will be able to actually finish a multi-chaptered original work or fanfiction, which I will consider a major accomplishment for myself.

As for previous works--oh man. I've noticed that I've tried to be too elaborate in my writing, trying to come up with all these fancy metaphors and using pretty language to the fullest extent. I do have a weakness for fancy prose, though I guess it can come across as pretentious in some cases. I've never thought that my writing would come across that way, but after an unfortunate incident, it was referred to as 'pretentious crap'. Even though that stung, it did make me reflect back and re-evaluate my writing and the standards I've established for myself. Right now, I'm trying to experiment with a more direct and blunt approach, rather than byzantine writing.

Those are very good questions that you presented there, and I'm glad to see that you've updated your journal again ^^
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: misa playtimeharleycooper on June 25th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
I've read in a Creating Writing Handbook that when it comes to revision, you're supposed to take it easy. Like, wait a week before revising stuff in your writing. That way, you wouldn't feel rushed with the pace you're going. And it's not like you can immediately see your errors with just a day apart from writing and revising. I think while I'm revising my first fanfic (ever) A Different Kind of Sweet, it took me two years to look at it again and see what I could change to improve it.

We all want our writing to be impressive so we could feel good about the results. I like fancying up my prose too; makes it all seem worth the effort you know. And really, someone says it's 'pretentious crap'? You can take that as a constructive criticsm..although it was harsh. A writer has to have some drop of 'pretentious' bullshit, you know XD It adds to one's flair and wit.

It's good that you're learning to build standards for yourself because no one knows your writing better than you do. I'm also evaluating how I've been for the last two years, writing in fanfiction and all, and although it's embarrassing to know that there are times I'm a snob about my caliber, it's good to know I can improve and evolve.

Thanks for sharing your ideas. I'd like to discuss this further with you, if you don't mind. You can pick some of the questions and answer them if you like :D Nice to be talking to you again. It's been ages.
Hezaa: L: Smiling/Content/Satisfiedsoul_of_raziel on June 25th, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
That's true about the revision process! I haven't completed anything, though looking back at some of my older writings, it's easier to see things that I can improve or what I can cut out and things like that, since I can view it at a more objective standpoint, and I've gained more knowledge and experience after I've been developing as a writer. Also, I can't wait to see what the rewrite will look like!

That is true as well! Though yeah, they said that, but it's all right >D I'm just going to become better and prove them wrong, muaha! As a writer, my ego spurs me to do this xD! Though yeah, it is also true! Most of my stuff ends up as verbal masturbation, which is fun when writing it, but probably not so fun for others, haha.

Yes! I'm all about improving when it comes to my writing--and it's amazing how fluid and flexible writing is. Like, one writing style would be suitable for one story, and it wouldn't click at all with another. I think writing itself is just one huge experiment for the creative process. So it's interesting to see how a story can end up, especially since different writers can interpret the same situation or event differently.

Also, you're welcome! As for one of the questions, hm...my approach to writing used to be that I wrote whenever I was inspired. Of course, we all know how inspiration is fickle, so I figured that I can't rely on inspiration all the time, so that's why I've been trying to write something everyday, no matter how little it is. Of course, writing every day is easier said than done, especially since the main problem that I've been having is that I don't think what I'm writing is good enough, or coming out right, or I don't know what's going to happen next, etc. I hate it when I have that lapse in myself, especially since I love to write, though I also think that I have a bad habit of comparing myself to other writers and their writings. Not a healthy habit to fall into if it comes to the point of doubting yourself, though I like reading really talented authors to see what I can use in my own writing to improve it. In this one book, Reading Like A Writer, the author says that there are many lessons that you can learn just through reading and paying attention to the language and how writers go about their stories. You can check it out, if you like--I do find it an interesting read, especially for writers and readers : )

Anyway, as for the writing itself--I'm slowly getting out of the lapse that I think my writing is crap and it's not going to amount to anything, though I still have trouble trying to figure out what happens next xD; I've been trying to do baby steps, such as writing really short drabbles, like a character or pairing shot. A friend of mine suggested that I start trying to double these drabbles, before eventually turning them into full-fledged chapters. I think it's a good idea, and hopefully, I'll be able to go somewhere and actually complete a multi-chaptered fic! Yay!

As for happiness in writing, I love that sense of accomplishment you get whenever you have actually written something down. Even better is that when you finally get what you've wanted to write down and discover that it's better than you originally thought. It's very satisfying, especially since I look over some previous works, whether recent or older, and I find myself truly delighted with certain words I chose, or passages that I've written. It's a constant process of self-discovery and re-discovery, and that's the beauty of writing, which makes it so gripping and enthralling!

I haven't really thought of a reward system, though I think that it might come in handy! I've read somewhere on NaNo forums that people sometimes give themselves small pieces of candy for every 500, 1000, words they write, etc. which I thought was a rather neat concept. I'll have to ponder on what I shall do to reward myself, though I think it sounds like a good motivator, too, if intrinsic motivation doesn't work by itself xD;
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: Can you hear the bells?harleycooper on June 25th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
I write to jerk-off. My writing is self-gratification. I used to take pride in that but lately I am considering how that sort of attitide will work out for me if I want to be a professional writer. I can't be so snobbish. Once my work is out there, I have to be prepared with sour 'hook-ups' because some readers will not like what I write. And hopefully most will and that positive reinforcement will help me get through the day. It's not just a question of how you feel, it's about how your readers feel. It encourages you to take a look on your writing and see if your performance is sufficient enough for public praise.

writing itself is just one huge experiment for the creative process

And so fiction writers should get more credit! We deserve some applause but I guess we can settle for less enthusiastic cheering for a while since we are just beginners. There's something so incredibly invigorating when we write and share it to people outside our comfort zone and see how they'd like it.

Thanks, Reading Like a Writer seems interesting. I saw that you mentioned it in your blog. My problem is the opposite of yours. I have a tendency to write full-pledged chapters, a novella. Oneshot-writing never works out for me. I do have a problem sustaining creative growth in short stories. I envy Nana-san (speaky_bean) for her caliber and discipline on that. She did advise me to work on something small first and try not to get upset if something does not come out the way I want it to write. It's evolutionary, the art of writing. I feel like most people out there (those who don't like books or at least find reading exhausting) have no idea how much of your time and commitment has to be offered when it comes to writing. Writing involves creative thought and eccentric individuals, no matter how they could string together idea after an idea, have moments of stupor and it's hard to recognize if whatever you're writing, you're simply not just pulling it out of your ass. XD I admit I have moments like that.

Hmmm, Appetite for Enigma is pissing me off right now. Like I stated in a previous post, I plan to kill the darling and build something better. I'm not making progress on that since I'm busy with an original novel and revisions on my smut stories. So there. But we're all getting there at some point. Baby steps indeed. I also have to pay attention on my fandom's latest juices. I try to keep myself educated and open to information when something new occurs in my fandom. God, it's just so much work! But the journey is the most important thing.
Hezaasoul_of_raziel on June 25th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
I wish I had more confidence in my own writing--and there's nothing wrong with taking pride in your work! Your passion definitely shows, though it is important to take your readers into consideration, as you said. The audience is part of the important part of the writing process, too, because they can help gauge what they like and dislike about the writing, and their reactions can give you an idea on whether the novel/writing is a success or what you can do for improvement. Also, writing isn't meant to explicitly show everything there is--it's up to the reader to create the telling details and make the writing complete, filling in their own experiences and memories. It's rather cool, how that works!

Oh yeah, definitely! Writing a novel is hard work--well, actually, writing in general is very hard work. When people first read a writing, they don't realize the various drafts that have been written before the final product, how many tweaks or seemingly minor decisions that were made over how a particular sentence read, or what word to choose. I guess it can be intimidating at times because some people think that writers simply come up with all that stuff on the first try, when it actually took several drafts (though admittedly, there might be someone out there who can probably do that, but I doubt it... xD; Or else I would be incredibly jealous).

Damn, you are quite prodigious! I thought that short-stories and drabbles would be easier to start off with instead of going by chapters, as I don't seem to be progressing anywhere on my projects, original or fanfiction. Though yes, Nana is an incredibly gifted writer, and her one-shots are amazing! Her second-person pieces are wonderful reads as well--I don't think that I would be able to write an engaging piece in second person, though I think second-person would be an interesting experiment to try, haha.

And yes! Writing is definitely hard work, and it's a bigger accomplishment than people realize. They only see the final product, not all the drafts and revisions that took place. There are so many decisions that you have to make in writing, not only plot-wise or character wise, but also in the language itself. It's very complicated, and it can be intimidating at times, which can make a writer end up blocked. Though yeah, I essentially pull things out of my ass too. Or verbally masturbate. Or both. XD!

Do you mean that you're going to completely re-write it, or delete it o.o I found the story to be engaging, and it would be sad to see it go, though it's good that you're thinking of improving your writing ^^ I really hope to see Appetite for Enigma once more, because having a cast of OCs in a Death Note fanfiction was pretty cool! Also, yes, I've been getting into the habit of reading fanfiction and the like to see patterns and whatnot, and hopefully to inspire me on my own projects. Though fandom can be a monstrous beast, haha. However, it is true that progressing through the writing journey is important--developing and flourishing.

Also, I've been thinking of writing an L/Misa one of these days, because I wanted to try something different from the pairings that I normally write and read xD; Not sure if I would be able to do it, though, because L is a difficult character to get into the head to, because he's complicated and intimidatingly smart, and Misa's a character type that I have a hard time with as well. She may come off as ditzy, but we know that she's a deeper character than that, despite what some of fandom seems to believe. If I were to write her, I don't want her to seem too air-headed or ditzy, and I would like to add depth to her, though I'm not sure how to go about that, haha. I haven't synchronized with her character yet. Perhaps I shall get to re-reading your pieces again for inspiration ^^
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: mello scar tissueharleycooper on June 25th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
Well, if you plan on writing L/Misa, perhaps you can check out my work I'm a PERVERT?. It's not much but apparently, lots of readers like it and is on top of the list when I did a survey of which of my DN fanfics they want me to update. I plan on tweaking that too. A Different Kind of Sweet is kinda like the former mentioned story too; it's fluff and lemon bullshit but I have fun revising it and trust me, it's a lot different and some readers responded well to the change. There is one that said that she prefers the old one and wonders if she can find the old version somewhere. I politely told her that the revised version is here to stay and I respect it if she doesn't like it but I'm not changing it back. Something like that. The wording is respectful, I believe XD And besides, writing crack pairings are tedious but enjoyable once you learn how to make fun of them but make sure you can pull it off. I can honestly say that writing L/Misa/Light in the two mentioned fics helped me exercise my caliber since I consider it light writing for me, some sort of comical fiction that keeps my fingers working before I work on some serious material (like Her god is my enemy or Vengeance Paid) This was back when I'm very active in DN fandom.

Now I have three fandoms I'm focusing on: Prince of Tennis, Vampire Knight and Yu Yu Hakusho. Thanks to Nana-san, she gave me an idea and so I experimented on second-person narration in Dirt in the Snow and I'm happy to say it's paying off. I like how the story is going so far, the dimension and dynamics are fun to spin around with. Writing is so pleasurable when you satisfied your creative instinct, isn't it? Furthermore, writing yaoi sex in my VK fic is quite new to me since slash yaoi is not my thing but in this fic, I actually find myself feeling awesome about it because, perhaps, more readers respond well to material like that. Sex does sell. Angsty yaoi especially. XD

Appetite for Enigma will be rewritten...one of these months. I mean, I will inform many reader (87 of them) about it, those who have added it to their faves and alerts and I'm gonna figure out what the majority thinks. I plan to post the rewritten version as a continued chapter. It's terrifying. Most of them might be pissed but I'm willing to take the risk and be patient for the feedback. I intend to ressurect the story in a different form. I'm excited and scared at the same time.

Hmmm, I think you should try it. Write about L/Misa. I mean, Misa Amane has been a recurring character of mine that I got a hang on writing about. I don't know how to help but maybe I can suggest you to read my oneshot about her Misa on stilettos. A lot of people have complimented how I write her very differently. I am a big fan of hers and I believe she is waaay smarter than people give credit (and most of the time discard). So yeah. I sure hope that would help you :D
Hezaasoul_of_raziel on June 25th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, I will definitely check it out! I think that you've done a good job portraying the characters together, and I'll be along for the ride for the rewrite as well! You really are excellent with portraying sexy scenes and delicious innuendos <3 I suppose the more I write for that pairing, then the easier it will get :D

That sounds fantastic! I think that I might try my hand at writing in second person, or even writing in the present tense (however, I seem to have a habit of switching between past and present tense, l-lol). Though I can totally agree with that! Yaoi is especially popular among fandom--don't get me wrong, I do like yaoi, though sometimes I think people can get a little too carried away with the slash goggles. Not that I haven't had my excessive fangirling days, of course, though I wish het and yuri would get more appreciation. But that's simply me xD;

Though wow, that's amazing! And it's understandable that it's intimidating to try something different with the work, because it's treading in unexpected territory this time, and you're not sure if you'll receive affirmation or whether your fans will be displeased with the changes. I think it's a good idea that you're taking the initiative to re-write your work--it is your work, after all, your vision. And I trust that you will do spectacular with it ^^ I did enjoy the first version of Appetite for Enigma, but I'm very excited to see the second installment of the fanfiction : )

Though yes! I think I shall! I think that I might have read that fanfiction before--it does sound familiar! I'll have to check it out again, however, to refresh my memory, haha! Indeed, you certainly have your own vision and unique spin on Misa Amane! That is also true--sad thing is, some people think that she's 'in the way' of the Light/L ship. Even though I've never considered the L/Misa pairing before, I never understood the 'in the way' mentality for disliking a character =x Takada is also another hated character because she's with Light Yagami and the fact that she killed Mello. Just...igh. Female characters in general seem to be easily disregarded, not just in Death Note, but in other fandoms that I've observed. Before I go off on a tangent, though, I would like to reassure you that you will be a prime idol for reading quality Misa fanfiction : D
erivall eleniel: Zeroe_eleniel on June 25th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
Hi hi... I hope you are doing well... I read your news about how your life in college and I feel delighted in your place. Keep rocking, girl!

Nice questions there, I must say... I was just about to sit and continue writing one of my story's new chapter and this post caught my eyes. Let's turn this into a free talk of sorts.

How do you approach writing?

Writing is like going through the life. Cliche, I know, but it certainly is. Sometimes, when you feel up, you feel such a great urge to write, muses viloate your every waking hour and your fingers itch. You are writing an action scene? It turns out to be a spectacular one, you are writing a sex scene, it turns out to be deviant ans steamy, you are writing a horror scene, it turns out to be bone-chilling when you also feel up. But sometimes you are down, you either can't find the will to write, your muses desert you to yourself, or what you write turns out to be agaian outstanding in its own right. Life is extreme, so is writing. Life pushes your face down to earth, so does writing, life gives you golden wings, so does writing. Writing is an addiction. I have never had any other thing in my life which both nagged my brain and lifted up my soul at the same other than writing. I have love-hate relationship with it, and I am happy.

How much time do you dedicate yourself to work on it?

I am not a writer who sits down everyday with a goal of writing some set amount of words on regular basis. Sometimes I sit a whole day and night just working on a plot, creating twists, editing and rewriting some places... Sometimes I finish a draft in a whole week, lazying around meanwhile. Generally, I let a plot idea play in my head filled with the dialogues, the setting, the atmosphere, even the clothes as if I am watching a drama rehersal in my head. When the idea is formed, I sit and write like a slave on a leash :D

Do you ever look at a previous fanfic you have published and figured that you can do better?

Of course... Writing styles, your vocabulary, your use of speech and techniques are always subjected to change as your mind grows. I have only one fic like this, which makes me cringe whenever I read it, because it is OOC. But that was a fic-on-demand and the requester wanted the characters like that, so I am not entirely displased with it.

What sort of sacrfices are you willing to give up in order to write more progressively?

Hmm...Going out with friends... Sleeping... Shutting myself in my room for looooong hours only to concentrate better, foregoing even eating...

What makes you happy as a writer by the end of the day?

A single review which tells me that they understood and liked what I tried to convey, what little details I tried work, how much I slaved myself over it. A single, through review which proves me that at least some of my readers are intelligent human beings is enough.

What is your greatest accomplishment all throughout your writing experiences?

I got many awards both in money and in the form of honoring. But they are not very important. My recent great accompolishment is writing a chapter of 25 pages on Word in 5 hours which didn't needed to be edited or changed. I have never written anything that long in such a short time which was a draft that didn't need editing. I was so proud of myself.

How do you reward yourself?

After publishing a piece or a chapter, I take a cup of coffee, lit a cigarette and sit back and read the published form. It is as if I had a great orgasm and I was watching my after glow in someone else's body. This is my dirty pleasure.