Writing log- September

notebooks-blog

If you hadn’t seen the reading log post for a while, I bet you don’t even remember when it was the last time I posted something about my writing progresses!

So I’d say it’s about time! This post was really overdue!

If I think this way, I realize that I managed to be a shame even as aspiring writer, other than as mum and generally speaking as human being!

I opened this blog mainly to speak about writing and not being able to write more often about writing seems a bit silly.

However, let’s see whether I’ll manage to avoid a too long rant and keep going with the update on my writing status!

If you thought I’m doing a big mess with books, reading my previous post, you can easily guess I’m doing the same with writing.

And you’d be right!

I have so many notebooks, pieces of paper, apps on writing, drives connected to my emails, files on my computer and laptop, that I really have a huge mess going on.

In other words, I don’t know what is where!

Despite that, in the attempt to give a tidy up of this endless sea of bytes and paper I narrowed down to four, at lease for the moment, the number of notebooks that I always have at hand.

Here you have them in the pictures!

From the left:

Orange notebook – In here I’m jotting down the elements of the new project, the urban fantasy about hunters. I’m putting notes of my researches, notes on the world building, notes about the plots and the characters.

Sheep notebook – In this one I’m trying to tidy up and give a more or less definitive form to the plots about my high fantasy world. Each plot is followed or is going to be followed by the list of characters, maps and main information about the world or the particular nation.

Gray notebook – It’s where I’m writing the actual book. A part from the fact that I had too many files on the computer, I realized that I couldn’t stay in front of the screen too long anymore. As I’m working in front of a computer now, I barely manage to update this blog, so in order to keep writing I’m using pen and paper…old style!

It seems that it’s working at the moment, let’s keep the fingers crossed!  

I’ll curse myself for sure when I’ll have to pass all the writing into the computer – eventually I’ll have to – but for the moment it’s important to move on!

Small notebook – As you might read on the cover, this one is the notebook where I write the ideas I have for the blog. I usually bring it with me at all the times, everywhere, so I won’t lose any idea anymore.

Of course this means that also weird dreams and ideas for my books are going in there, but at least I know where they are…at least for now.

Once these notebooks will be finished and I’ll have to start a new one, I wonder whether I’ll be able to find them a place in where I’ll always be able to find them or they’ll get lost as the previous ones.

It might seem that I treat them like I didn’t care, but it’s not so. I’m just messy.

So, aspiring writers out there, can you give me an advice on how to tidy up the mess or sort the situation?

How do you do?

How do you organize your writing?

How do you manage not to lose your stuff?

Please, please, please write to me in the comments below!

Those, at least, won’t get lost!

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

20160412_130827

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!

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!