Desolace Update #1

So this is my first “official” Desolace update post. I don’t expect this to be a regular thing because Desolace is going very slowly, but I figured since I’m happy with where I’m at, I may as well talk a bit about what I’ve done with it, talk about it, stuff like that.

I mentioned a couple times in previous posts that I worked on Desolace as one of my projects for one of my creative writing classes last semester. By “worked on” I mean I wrote an analysis on some of my plans for the novel in the future, and wrote, re-wrote and extensively edited the first two chapters. I also wrote (not fully edited yet) the third chapter after classes ended and I plan on writing another two of three over the summer in preparation for my next intermediate creative writing class.

My final grade on my writing submission (the two full chapters) was a solid A, which was my goal, so I’m pretty happy with that and hope I can keep it up.

Desolace has always been in a weird spot in the grand scheme of things. Sure I’ve had a good idea of where I wanted to go with it since the beginning, but writing a book is so much more complicated than knowing your characters and plot. Things tend to happen without your consent because your characters do as they damn will please and your world evolves behind the scenes. It gets frustrating, but part of all that is learning how to control the reins and keep things from diverting too far from your original purpose (or knowing when it is appropriate to let it continue).

A couple things I’ve determined from writing these first few chapters is that without an outline (as I prefer) I’m being really particular about the details I add in, and how scenes transition from one to another. Usually, I leave it choppy or whatever and go back and fix it later, but for some reason, with this project, it’s been really hard to move on to the next part if the previous scenes don’t set up everything right. The result has been three good chapters that transition really well from one to the next, but that also makes it slow as hell.

Even without an outline, though, I’ve got the help of the novel analysis that I wrote on Desolace. It helped me solidify some plot points that I’d been thinking about, fleshed out some traits for my main characters and helped me figure out a lot of the why for the novel. So I think the difficulties of writing the chapters so they transition well aside, I’m in a pretty good place to continue writing a good chunk of the story.

I’m considering writing a brief outline just to organize some of the events I’ve got in my head. I’ve had a couple instances already (I’ve got to go change the ending to the third chapter so it leads into something else first) where I’ve rearranged the order of plot points because it made more sense to do it in a certain order. But it’s a pain in the ass to write it out and then realize it’s too early for that, so I figure it would be worth it to write out all the events I have planned and properly organize them in correlation to each other. I don’t want to do anything too fancy, just some bullet points that I can rearrange things visually rather than in my head.

Anyway, I think that’s it for now. Next time I might go into more detail on the characters and what the story is about, but I need to work on accurately summing it all up before I can write anything about that.

~Erynn

 

 

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My Progress in Japanese so Far

I’ve been studying Japanese for about five months now so I thought I’d give a little update on my progress. The first few months were really easy, as everything I learned was very basic and pretty much just an introduction to the language. However, things have started getting a little difficult, and unfortunately, my dyslexia has not been helpful with trying to remember all the little grammar rules and such.

I know about 150 kanji now, and while I don’t think I’ve really mastered any of those just yet, I know most of them well enough to write them, read them, and know what they mean all from memory. I’m pretty pleased with that achievement even when 150 is hardly a fraction of the 2200~ or so kanji that need to be mastered in order to be fluent in Japanese (at least for reading and writing). I think my reading and writing is still really strong, even if I’m struggling with some aspects of the grammar because my kanji vocab is currently a little larger than it needs to be for my current progress through my Japanese university courses.

While I’m struggling a little bit with the speaking and listening aspects still, this is mostly because of my issues with mastering the grammar rules that we’ve been learning in class. I’m not sure that there’s really an equivalent to it in English, but in Japanese, generally speaking, the longer the tenses and conjugations of the words your speaking or writing, the politer you are being. Polite (long form) Japanese is what we’ve been learning first because if you use anything else, you run the risk of offending someone, which you don’t really want to do. Some words in this form end up being a bit of a mouthful… such as “yoroshikuonegaishimasu” which is more or less said in one breath. But despite the tenses being long, they’re pretty easy to remember and use, so it generally ended up not being a problem.

The issue, for me, has come with the casual form, which we’ve started learning over the last three or so weeks. This new form ends up cutting a lot from words and phrases that I’ve previously learned, which ends up making them shorter and therefore less polite. You’d think that would make it easier to remember– and I thought so too at first– but it’s ended up being really tricky because you need to combine a bunch of things together to get different forms of the casual tense (such as negative and past, etc).

This can be really tricky because 90% of the verbs we’ve learned conjugate different from one another, so that’s another eight forms of each verb that we need to know, or at least remember the rules for, in order to talk or write in this new form. That’s without mentioning that in Japanese, adjectives are also conjugated, so eight different forms for the two different adjective types need to be remembered as well.

Ugh.

Overall I think I’m doing alright, but I’ve been a little stressed about it and I don’t remember things as well when I’m stressed, so that’s made it a little harder. But I’m slowly figuring it out, and I’m working on it every day, so I’m sure it’ll work out. 🙂

~Erynn

My Progress Toward Publishing a Short Story

I’ve got a short story written and I think it’s pretty good– maybe another round or two of tweaking and tightening the prose and it’ll be ready to submit. It’s a darker story, but I guess that’s not really a surprise considering it was me who wrote it. I’ve got a couple places in mind that I want to submit to, I’ve just been dragging my feet on finishing the story and writing up a query letter to go submit.

I’m almost there and I don’t really feel the need to rush and get it done with. It’s not that I’m afraid of rejection or anything like that– I think, unfortunately, that’s just a natural part of writing– and it’s not even that I changed my mind on wanting to get one of my short stories published… It’s just… I don’t know, I guess at the moment, I’m just not willing to force the time I need to finish it into my schedule.

I feel like I’m doing a million things every day. I’m trying to learn a dozen new skills (trying to actually figure out how to draw, Japanese, I’ve been looking at a few other languages, trying to figure out poetry, learning how to actually cook, etc.) on top of all my other daily responsibilities (homework, class, friends, sleeping, boyfriend, work). I mean I COULD make the time to do it if I really wanted to, but I guess right now I just don’t really want to, I’ve got my priorities set up in other places. Hopefully, once I’ve cleared a couple other things off my plate, I’ll have the motivation to put the next step of this adventure to a close…

It feels pretty good to have it about 90% done, though, even if I don’t plan on finishing that last 10% just yet. I’m looking forward to completing it and submitting, I think I’ll just wait until my head is in the right place to do that.

~Erynn

Oh My Gosh, Writing!

I’m actually not sure what today’s post will be about. I didn’t have anything in particular in mind, and none of my pre-determined topics seem all that appealing at the moment. So I guess what you guys get is a thought piece… about whatever pops up in the next thirty seconds or so.

Actually, I think I’ll talk about Taichiren’s Heart, because despite it being unfinished and me being a bit hesitant to talk too much about the details (in case some of you guys read it in the future…), it’s always actually an awkward topic for me to talk about. But I still like talking about it. I guess that’s the author’s ego thing going on here, I’m proud of my work, even if it’s unfinished. 🙂

As you may already know, Taichiren’s Heart is a fantasy novel. I’m not really sure what kind of fantasy, though. You could say Epic because of the scale of the book and the problems that are encountered (though I personally don’t think of it as an epic); you could say Dark because of the themes in the book- while some of the darker themes are somewhat hidden beneath the layers of the story, they are still there for those who look for them. It’s definitely not a YA fantasy, it has no important YA elements (such as coming of age, finding yourself, etc.) and none of my characters are teens, as you would expect in a typical YA novel. Another obvious category would be sword & sorcery fantasy, and while there are definitely swords and definitely a bit more than a little sorcery, I don’t think it falls in that category either. Really, it seems like Taichiren’s doesn’t fall neatly into anything, which is completely okay. I’ve noticed (at least for fantasy) that there’s a sort of grey line when it comes to the genre and that fantasy often seems to touch in several different types of fantasy.

What else is there to say? I guess the progress on Taichiren’s will do. I’m just coming out of a personal writing standstill, so Taichiren’s has been struggling a bit. I’m still hoping to get at least 20 chapters done before the end of the month, even though that’s not quite what my goal was originally. I think I’m on chapter 14 at the moment… but with a little over a week to go, I think hitting that goal with be possible. I better get to work though!

On a side note, you’re all awesome. 🙂

~Erynn