Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Comfort Writing

I took a pause yet again on my novel in order to reorganize what I had into different segments, which I think will help me feel less bloody confused. Of course, it's an early draft, so it's okay to be confused, but I want a cleaner draft and a clearer way to the end.

I've been reading a lot (non-fiction this time), I watched a couple of Netflix (The Woman in Gold was awesome), and I've been doing something that I think can be most aptly called Comfort Writing.

You know how you read your favorite genre and it's just cozy and comfortable and makes you feel good? I have that for stories--in my case, Comfort Writing consists of a very Mary Sue character, whoever I'm Google-Stalking at that moment in time, my best friends, and off we go into fan fiction land.

These stories don't get posted and they only get shared with my friends, who have read several fan fictions over the years ("So far, this one's better than the others," my friend Jess told me via email. "You got into the plot by chapter one.") My process is a lot more relaxed--I'm blatantly stealing things from real life, so it's not heading toward any discernible route to publication--and I think that comes across in the many one-liners and weird puns and, frankly, absurd situations.

Because writing's supposed to be fun. I mean, even when it's a pain in the ass, I suppose writing is fun. But there are definitely times when it's more fun than other times.

Oh! And I also wanted to add: Pearl's Kindle Countdown ended on the 15th. It sold 6 copies in the countdown period and there were a couple of borrows, so thank you to everyone who read it!

And good luck to everyone doing Pitch Wars!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Sprawling Epic

I love a good, sprawling epic of a story: the more expansive the setting, the more intricate the relationships, the more characters, the better. And for the longest time, I think that my stories were, on an unconscious level, really going toward that.

But these days, though I still enjoy a good epic in theory, in practice, I'm often not too thrilled when I have to read 400+ pages to get to a climax or conclusion or connection. I have a modern day diminishing attention span, what can I say?

As for writing epics, I tend to get anxious when something I'm writing reaches over 350+ pages. I'm not really sure why. It might because at that point, with a large word count, I'm losing track of everything else I've written. Or because at that length, I know that so much of it is either filler or just bad, and it doesn't need to be that long.

Also, I've come to realize that my writing is better when I have fewer characters and a tighter handle on a plot.

Now, historical fiction tends to have a longer word count than a lot of other genres--and I think Vic and Nic are heading toward a large word count, at least in this draft. So I'm trying to remind myself that it's okay if it's long as long as the story is moving and everything in there is absolutely necessary.

But then, on the other hand, I think about Pearl and how easy it was to write--and how easy it is to read because it's short. Really, there's a lot to be said about novellas.

So, which do you prefer to read or write? Long, dense, complicated stories or shorter, tighter ones? Or both?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Nagasaki, 70 Years

Seventy years ago today, at 11:02 am, the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, a city on Japan's southern island of Kyushu. I feel like I've heard a lot about Hiroshima and its atomic bomb on August 6th for most of my life and less about Nagasaki.

If you look at the map above, just above Nagasaki, there's a city called Sasebo.

That's where my family is from.

Growing up, I attended Japanese weekend school and I've been in and out of my Japanese grandmother's house my entire life. This--plus knowing that on the other side of my family, my grandfather was fighting against the Japanese--has always given me mixed feelings about how we're taught about the end of World War Two in school. Like, on the one hand, I'm here because the Americans decided not to bomb Sasebo, which was one of the cities under consideration. But then, the bomb killed thousands and affected so many peoples' lives with so much cruelty that I grew up taking the Japanese side in the argument. How can you inflict something like that, even on your enemy? How can you inflict a bomb that vaporizes people, so that they're only left as shadows?

But then again, I'm here because my Irish-American grandfather didn't have to go and invade the Japanese home islands.

Growing up, also, every story I read in Japanese school had to do with the war. Family lore has given me the story that my grandmother, who was in her late teens in 1945, could see Nagasaki's mushroom cloud from Sasebo--I have no idea if the cloud was high enough to actually see it in Sasebo or how the bomb might have affected the cities surrounding Nagasaki.

I began reading a book about the bombing of Nagasaki today, hoping to gain insight into what happened there. Because it's been seventy years since the bomb and the generation that lived through it is getting old, growing forgetful, and dying and soon, we won't have a chance to ask them questions  about what happened.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pearl is 99 cents!

Hey everyone!

The time has come for PEARL's Kindle Countdown. So if you haven't read it and are interested or know someone who might be interested, do spread the word. PEARL will discounted from its usual price of $2.99 to 99 cents from August 8th to August 15th!!!

Amazon UK:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG: Historical Fiction Week

It's time for August's IWSG post. The Insecure Writer's Support Group is an online group meant to foster connections between writers. We post our writerly insecurities every first Wednesday of the month. Go here to check out the group!

I saw on Twitter on Monday that it's #HistoricalFictionWeek on Goodreads. You may have guessed if you've been here before/ have taken a cursory gander around that historical fiction is my genre. That is, most of what I read falls into historical fiction (straight historical, historical fantasy, historical romance) and I tend to write mostly in that realm as well.

And yet I don't know a lot of historical fiction writers. Most of my writing friends are fantasy, YA, supernatural writers. There are unique struggles in writing any genre, I think, and the ones I come up against in writing historical are:

Is there enough research for me to delve into?
And how much of this research am I willing to stick into the story?
(Also: will this research put me to sleep by its academic style?)

And here's the insecurity:
Am I getting this right? Is that accurate enough? But I don't know how they would have done this/that/the other in that time period!

I think it was Diana Gabaldon who said that stealing things from the historical record was a good way to disguise any lapses of imagination.

So. What was the last historical novel you read? Have you ever tried writing one? And where would you like to visit in the past, if you had a time machine?