Franny KO! A to Z wins…

Sorry in advance, my dear readers, I’ll warn you first: rant ahead! In case you won’t keep reading, I’ll understand!

It’s still April but as you might have noticed the challenge has stopped for me with the letter R.

I’d fallen behind a couple of times and then I’d accumulated so many posts to catch up with, that I had to give up.

I hate saying that, because I tried to fight it, but I had to surrender to my routine.

Useless to say that I feel extremely stupid.

My partner tried to make me feel better saying “You don’t have to feel stupid because you didn’t manage to finish, you have to feel stupid because you started the challenge, knowing that it would be impossible to make it”

I’m sure that for someone who doesn’t know my situation this might sound mean, but it’s not. Actually he’s almost right, but no harm trying, right?

At the beginning of the challenge, when I complained about my possibility of finding time for my stuff, I was told that if I couldn’t find 10 minutes a day to write it was because I didn’t want to find them.

This comment hurt me because it’s not true and the whole situation is making me feel frustrated.

Despite what my partner said I really wanted to manage.

But because I’m humble enough to think that I might be wrong, then I decided to check whether I was wasting time indeed or not. So I jotted down on my faithful notebook what I did hour by hour for a few days.

I hoped that doing so I would notice a free spot I could use for my stuff or even an error I might be doing.

Actually no, doing so I just got more and more depressed because even in my days off, my time was so packed with stuff to do, that not only I didn’t have time for me and my things, but I couldn’t even check all the points out of my ‘to do’s’ list.

I might just be a disaster but truth is that when I try to push myself a little bit further, like for this challenge, or try to do more than I’m doing already, then I start to feel sick, and end up with a kind of flu.

Just a couple of days ago someone told me: “Your best is enough”. I don’t think it’s true, because it doesn’t go even a tenth close to what I want to do, but it made me feel a bit calmer, like I had some justification I can look at when I feel very depressed.

For example, I don’t feel good today, so I’m spending my day off in bed, despite the fact I have so many things that I should do, that even writing this blog post will put me behind with my ‘to do’s’ list.

OK, I know loads of you will tell me: “Franny, give up, this just mean writing is not your thing. Surrender to the fact that your life from now on will be only work and home and that’s it. But sometimes you can go on holiday if you’re lucky!”

I know that all this makes sense in a way, as I keep complaining and despite all the efforts it seems I don’t manage to conclude something useful.

But I already feel stupid and useless as it is, and I know for sure that I’ll feel defeated and even worse if I stop fighting.

I don’t think I’m a genius but I think that some of my ideas might be worth a shot. The awareness of not being able to get to the ‘give it a shot’ stage is the most frustrating one.

Well, this is it, no point in keep ranting, you got the idea!

Thanks for reading and sorry for the rant to all those of you who managed to finish this post.

Said that, I will finish the A to Z challenge, in my own time of course but I will, in order to give to my self-esteem a bit of closure.

For all those who visited my page, thanks a lot, for reading, liking and commenting.
I’ve saved on a file your blog addresses and little by little and slowly, oh so slowly, I’ll show up to visit back.

So for the moment I’ll leave you here.

A part from “If you really want to do something, you’ll find the time” (because I want to do it so bad but I don’t have a second, that I’m becoming very frustrated), I’ll appreciate any other advice. Write to me in the comments below.

Stay tuned for the rest of the letters!

Dunno who did it, I google searched, but it simplify what I’m trying to say!!!!

R as Research

Google research!

As I said yesterday, I’m trying to catch up with the challenge because I didn’t manage to follow it properly.

I have no clue if I’ll manage, but I’m counting on tomorrow’s break.

So, let’s go on!

This is another nice topic and, of course, one of my obsessions but, shush, don’t tell anybody or I’ll end up in a straight jacket in a jiffy!

I believe that for the research bit there was a part of my character that contributed drastically to the escalation from a mere time filler to a real “oh my gosh, I have to research otherwise will be the end of the world” status. The part of me that kindly contributed to this madness was my curiosity; the very same curiosity that brought me as a kid to stare at the plumber while working and to the point I could pass him the tools; or the very same that brought me to ask so many question to the dentist that not only I was involved in the vision and discussion to the x-rays but also had a fair idea of what was supposed to be done for the next visit or operation!

When I went to school my curiosity was actually focusing on the wrong things so I wasn’t that good. If only I put it into the right practice! But when I went to university it was a different story altogether!

Of course, you know already what was the real beginning of the mania: the essay on Dracula and vampires.

When I reached the moment I need to prepare my thesis for the graduation I kind of went wild. I was just sorry that the level of my Japanese wasn’t good enough to let me add up material.

Even my professor during the presentation of my work said that the real problem was to stop me writing!

I want to believe it was a sign!

The point is I didn’t use the whole amount of material I read and gathered but it was such a pleasure to read, research and find elements; once done that, it was marvelous putting all the pieces together and create a fantastic puzzle out of it!

This is what I hope it will happen with this book! And actually the others that I have planned already.

High fantasy is easier on this point of view, I think, as it requires a lot of creation and consistency but less research and study than an urban fantasy set in a real place and using elements of history, mythology and folklore.

There is a looooot to do and less time to do it…ok, I’m quoting, kind of.

To me, the problem with the research is managing to stop, because it becomes addictive. Or maybe it’s a way to delay what I’m doing…who knows.

The latter is a problem connected with my low self confidence. There is a part of me that keep telling I’ll never publish and I’ll never make it.

So this is maybe why I’m all so concentrating on the side bits of the writing.

But I’ll keep going, no worries!

So how about you?

Do you research a lot? You don’t research at all?

How do you organize?

Let me know in the comments below.

Q as Quantity

Google search.

Once again I’m in late in publishing the posts for this challenge. I believe I will be able to beat a record this time, but for no reason I’ll stop participating. So today if my calculations are correct I’ll have to post three letters in order to catch up. But more likely I’ll publish one or two!

I have so many things to do and so many things I’m worried about that I had hardly the mindset to update the blog.

So let’s go back to the Q!

Quantity is a nice topic and most of all, one of the many obsessions I have.

If there is something I got to understand from this year challenge is that I have so many obsessions that I start to feel ashamed!

Said that and taken into account the fact that I’ll have to accept myself as I am before I’ll go mad, let’s go back to the post!

Does the quantity count? Is it better quantity or quality?

In particular after changing job, I realized that this is a real tough question to reply to and that also doesn’t apply only to writing, although, of course, writing is my main issue here!

Once again it seems that every series or every project implies a different number.

I started with a stand alone book, then I was planning a five book series that I put in stand by; for the following project I jotted down fifteen plots, and for the current WIP I decided that it should balance with nine.

How many book will I write? I don’t know, the main reply could be: finish one by one and let’s count at the end. A plot is a plot after all anyway, so it seems that the real main issue here is understanding why I cannot finish a single project once I’ve started. But this is not the right place where to understand the reasoning behind the action!

This is probably linked to a fear I’ve always had.

Would I be able to write one book after the other?

It is clear that at least I’m well able to plan them, so what would stop me to write them all, a part from my stupidity?

And because I’m a bit mean…but just a bit and just with me, the question I ask at all the times is: all right, you’ve plotted them, but will you manage to have other ideas afterwards?

I have no clue, but the fact that I asked this question to myself every single time I finished plotting each and every of the projects I mentioned above, makes me think that I will be able all right.

However, in this field is almost impossible to be certain of things. I guess I’ll have just to wait then.

What would you say about this topic?

I’m very, very curious to know your opinion about it.

Is quality better over quantity? Are they both important?

Do you question yourself at all the times?

Let me know in the comments below!

P as Planning

I’ll recycle this picture of my faithful notebook!

P was supposed to be associated with Persefone, my other MC, but for the same reason I decided to change the letter M, here you have another topic.

P now stands for planning as it’s becoming fast a bit of obsession for me.

When I go and attend a workshop, I know already that the writer running it will tell us that every writer finds his or her own way of writing. Sooner or later they all say it!

I think they are absolutely right, but I also think that every writer should experiment different kind of organization before writing their book.

I tried both, not to plan at all and plan almost everything before deciding what was working for me!

The very first book I wrote – and I’m talking about drafts in this post as I haven’t published anything yet unfortunately- was written out of excitement after finishing Stephen King’s On Writing.

I didn’t plan, I got an idea and I started writing. This first book was about pirates and, a part for a few details and technical terms I researched on the go, I wrote without thinking much.

The pro was I wrote completely free of plans or rules, but, on the other hand, I had to reread a few pieces here and there and start taking notes of characters features or deeds as I didn’t remember what I wrote.

After attending my famous first workshop with Oisín McGann a few months later, I learned that I could try another method.

I could plan!

And the more I plan the more I want to, as I feel very comfortable in doing it. As Oisín told us, he plans because in doing so he has more control on the story itself and there is a bit less rewriting afterwards.

I totally agree with his style. Alright, you know that I basically agree with whatever he says, but it’s true, either I have a similar style –I wish actually I could be only half as good as he is- or it’s a nice coincidence!

Having tried both methods I can say that planning is my thing. The more I write and the more I want and I need to plan.

That’s maybe why it’s so difficult to start this new WIP. Because of the huge amount of research needed I haven’t had the time to plan properly.

But I’ll keep going as I love doing it, it relaxes me and hopefully sooner or later I’ll manage to reach my goal and my dream.

How about you?

Do you plan? Don’t you plan at all? Are you a bit in between?

Let me know in the comments below.

O as Outline

Google search.

This is the real challenge this time. The outline of my WIP is confused as maybe I am. There is a lot of work I’ve done and much more to do!

I have to be honest, probably the bigger problem in finishing the outline of Hunter’s journal is that everything is interconnected.

On the top of this I’d add the fact that I want to be precise before the situation slips out of my hands.

I have to make a lot of research for this novel or series, if I’ll be that lucky to complete the task as I wanted. But because I have to finish the research or at lease bring my knowledge to a reasonable level, I won’t be able to complete the outline of the plot and hence the books.

At the very beginning I tried to write the story as it was in my head adapting to my needs the notions I gathered from Supernatural, simply because I wanted to create a frame on which attach and build the knowledge I would acquire later on.

A bit afterwards, studying the first elements of lore, I realized that the few words and scenes I put together weren’t accurate or were completely off track.

Hence the decision to stop writing and keep researching until I’ll have a decent bulk of information in my hands. Once done that, I’ll be able to add details where necessary.

If I’ll ever do what I’m planning, then I’ll have nine books for this story. I know I want them to be nine just because I decided to experiment a strategy. It is said that Suzanne Collins made three books in order to reflect the three act structure on which every single book was divided. I thought it was the coolest idea and I wish I could apply it to my nine bullet points structure.

Of course if I’ll understand that I’m just watering the soup, then I’ll change the route, but I thought it was nice to try.

Said that, here is what I have so far: I have a trigger event and then a plan for the society, what will be the reactions, the consequences and so on.

I have at lease three plot outlined but of course I miss many connections and details.

Also, I have the majority of the main characters outlined.

Because a big chunk of the story itself depends on the research there is a lot of uncertainties. And most of all, I think that it is the reason why I feel so confused this time.

On the other hand, this condition is very exciting, not only because I will study and learn new things, but also because it will be a real challenge.

But I guess that when I’ll manage to conclude the whole thing, it will be a real satisfaction and a job well done…or at lease I hope so.

What do you think?

Should someone be so confused in the process?

It never happened to me before, did it happen to you?

Let me know in the comments below!

N as Naples… Again!

This is the second post that bears the same title of the one I’ve used for last year’s A to Z challenge and once again I can say that the two are connected.

You’d know by now that I write what I know and what I’ve researched for. You also know that I set my stories in places I’ve visited and that I’ve attended my university in Naples for five years.

Napoli underground. Google search!

Despite being very lazy and paranoid for my own security, hence having not visited a lot of it, I have a clear idea about a few spots I want to use for my novel.
I want to use for sure the historical center and the underground city that goes back to the Roman age. I’ve used the airport and Arzano already.
I think I’ll be using other areas of it but most importantly I’m pretty sure about the flavor of the place: the sounds, smells and sensations you perceive in Naples are different from the other cities, even the most chaotic ones like for example Rome.

I know that it’s quite hard to convey all this on a piece of paper, but it will be my duty as writer at lest attempt to portray the scenes with that unique flavor.
Still in region Campania, but an hour far from Naples, there is Avellino, which kind of look like a mini Naples under some aspects although completely different and with a charm of its own. But it’s not Avellino itself I’ll use; what I will write about will be areas around it, which I visited usually in the weekends and after I moved back home in Tuscany, because it was there that some dear friends of mine live.

I will then use Ariano Irpino and Manocalzati, both surrounded by the mountains. This will be the home of Marta, the strongest of my characters.

While Persefone will grow up in Naples, precisely in Arzano.

I hope that the fact of having lived in those places, at least for a while, will give me the right insight to make the scenes believable despite the fact I’m writing a urban fantasy.

Last time that I tried to make this with Volterra, I was told that reading my book seemed like reading a guidebook. I don’t think it was a fair comment, since came from a negative person just for the sake of it, but I hope I’ll find he right balance in order to give reality to a fantastic story.

What do you think?

Any tip to reach the balance?

Do you write about what you know or you just guess about real places?
Write to me in the comments below!

M as Music

Yes, I managed!!! I published the M too! Back on track! 

This again was supposed to be a different post all together.

I only thought that I was giving away too much of what is actually still an idea. Although I said enough to describe what I’m going to write about, I though that too many information could backfire in a way or the other.

So in this post I’ll tell you about something different but in a way connected to my WIP all the same.

While writing Hunter’s journal first 20k words I was listening to Nightwish, it was that moment in my life I needed their music. The point is that while writing, their music wasn’t only inspiring, but also could fit fantastically as background for those scenes.

Following four of the songs I listened and I jotted down as comment next to my text.

How about you?

Do you have an inspiring music?

Have you ever though to a song as background for action?  

L as Lore

Vampire form India! Goole search!

Once again I’m in late and once again I don’t know whether I’ll manage to post two letters in order to catch up the posts.

Good thing is that today’s Friday, so in case I’ll need spare time, I’ll have Sunday that will help to restore balance…I hope.

Letter L is basically connected with the R, research, and constitute the base on which I’m building this book.

Once again the main problem is the time! I’m trying to squeeze everything in the spare moments I have during the day.

I believe that lore is a very interesting branch of research. I’d love to have more time and to know more already.

I think everything started in university, when I made a mistake in preparing the small assignment on Dracula. I ended up writing a short essay just on vampires across time and places.

I learned a lot about it and I finally found out two things: first that I’m curious in an obsessive-compulsive way; second that I love the subject.

As I mentioned already I’m going to learn and research something on Irish and Italian lore, because these are the two main countries where my WIP takes place.

I wish I could add more countries and more notions, but I fear that this could be the obsessive-compulsive dark side of me talking!

Because I knew already that both the research and the writing processes would be long, I thought at the beginning to use Supernatural information, just to have a basic story I could work on, once the research was complete.

There are also a few elements that I like, for example the dead man blood that works as poison for vampires.  

After a while though I realized that it was too weird, hence I decided to stop and maybe concentrate on blog writing instead and at the same time doing some research on my own.

The blog would aid me not to lose the habit of writing and the research will help to build the story itself.

I wish I had more time, as alas! I’m squeezing all these in my lunch breaks but as you know I haven’t much!

So, what do you think?

Most of all do you know any cool website about these topics I can read?

Any advice on how to spread my activities better?

K as Kin

I knew that sooner or later I’d be publishing in late. K was yesterday’s letter. Mum came here in visit from Italy, this week is taking its toll and so I haven’t managed. I hope I’ll be able to publish both letters K and L today and get back on track.

This blog too should have been a different topic altogether, the Kelpie, but I realized I’ve used it already for last year challenge so I decided to change it.

Somewhat is connected with the other one anyway so I’m quite happy with the swap.

As I mentioned before, one of the most important recurrent characters will be the grandpa Wallace, who’s a kelpie. So I might as well as talk about kin and family.

The reason why I’m so concentrated on the topic is connected to the explanation I gave before: I’d love to leave a message behind in my writing and family is one of my core values.

Here I ask you two of the most important questions I’ve always asked to myself: would you be able to love someone who you’ve just met (and he or she is told to be part of your family) just because you know is family? Like the Little Lord Fauntleroy for example. The little fellow is brought to England to his grandpa who’s hated by everyone and loves him dearly instead just because he’s the grandpa!

But to this is linked another question: despite knowing that someone isn’t your family, would it be possible to love him or her like family and not just as friends?

I’d be very surprised if you never asked yourself at least one of these questions even once in your life.

I did, actually more than once and I have to admit that for the first one I don’t really have any clear reply but just speculation. I just guess that maybe you could love a member of family, maybe after knowing him or her better, but I’m not sure. There are such assholes in mine that I feel like putting a huge question mark on the topic.

As for the second question I surely agree with what Supernatural characters have to to say: family doesn’t end with blood.

You know I’m pretty obsessed with this show, I won’t lie to you!

However, it’s not of the show itself I want to talk about, but more one of the messages behind the lines: family doesn’t end with blood and also that family, the one you pick, blood or not, is important!

It seems that the actors want to remain consistent on this too. It is well documented by the press in their public appearances that they’re all very close and behave like family.

Also they show a nice caring attitude to their fans as well, as they call them Supernatural family. They even created some support groups for them, which I volunteered for, at least for the few hours I can spare, because I think it’s a great idea.

I firmly believe that this second thing might happen, and sometimes is even more probable than the first.

This I experienced with my dearest friends, Mili, Silvi and Nani. They’re not friends anymore, they’re family!

What’s your thoughts about it?

Let me know in the comments below!

J as Jotting down


At the moment, one of my best friends is an orange notebook I bring almost everywhere with me! In there I’m jotting down all the information, ideas, notes about this WIP.

Actually I have a normal size folder at home too, but I needed something portable in order to brainstorm freely when I’m in a waiting room or on the train!

Even before writing on my orange notebook, I jotted down the first 10k words of the book, well what that hopefully will be the first book. But after the advice Oisín gave to me I decided that it was better a change of plan.

If at the beginning I was thinking to write scene by scene, swapping the POV, I understood that the better way of proceeding with this WIP was to write character by character’s story first and then try to create a final book, making a bit of jigsaw puzzle, placing here and there what I think better fits at a certain stage of the events.

As I was saying in my previous post, this WIP will take for ever even to see the first draft, but to be honest, I didn’t think about anything better.

It is weird, every single time I have to face a new book or a new story my way of working on it is quite different.

I have no clue whether this is due to experience or that the story being different brings me to different choices.

What is true this time as well as the others is that I jot down notes at all the times. But not only those specific to the book itself, but also to do’s lists or advices or quotes.

It seems that just scribbling something down makes myself more focused and calms what anxiety I might have.

You might say that now that the technology is so advanced, it might be better to use some apps or just a simple Word file.

Right you are! Problem is that I’ve tried once, or twice or even more. But I think that the main issue here is the fact that I’m one of the messier people alive.

As I lose the many notebooks I have, so I manage to lose files. I give them weird titles and I save them in different devices so sometimes is very difficult to get hold of them.

And as a matter of fact, I prefer paper.

My partner sometimes mocks me saying that I’m the most wanted person in Amazonia.

How about you? What do you prefer? File notes or jotting down and scribble on a piece of paper?

Let me know in the comments below.