From the Archives: Mataios, Aniaros, and Oraios Part 3

From the Archives: Greek Mythology continues today, with the riveting conclusion to the scandalous story of Aphrodite and Mataios/Aniaros/Oraios/whatever the hell his name is now.


When Aphrodite returned to Cytherea and found Hera and the newly handsome Oraios, her love returned and she tried to take Oraios with her. The two goddesses argued fiercely with one another, screaming with fury and quarreling with one another over who Oraios loved more. Continue reading

From the Archives: Mataios, Aniaros, and Oraios Part 2

From the Archives: Greek Mythology edition continues. When last seen, Aphrodite was happily committing adultery with handsome hunter Mataios…


Hephaestus was working in his forge, making a golden crown for Aphrodite, his wife. Hera entered the forge and gave him a note: Continue reading

From the Archives: Mataios, Aniaros, and Oraios Part 1

In case you wanted to marvel at my terrible childhood short stories, I hereby present the next installment of “From the Archives”, Greek Mythology edition. As always, hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve included some comments at the end.


It was not long after the tragedy of Adonis’ death, but Aphrodite already loved another. While riding in her swan-drawn car, she happened to see a handsome young man hunting. At once she fell in love with him. Continue reading

I Don’t Write Fiction Like I Write Essays

Last night was a night of discovery.

No, seriously. I know that “waiting for your muse to inspire you” is a delaying tactic, that the very idea of a writing muse is nothing more than a comforting author’s myth (if you can’t think of something good, it’s not your fault – your muse isn’t behaving!). But.

If we posit that muses are real…I was visited big time last night.

Princess

Princess, despite only being four scenes (more or less) right now, has an ending and an epilogue. Yup.

Also I had a much, much better idea regarding the mythology of my world. I had originally planned for the magic to stem from some wellspring source, that was discovered by a group of explorers, and then some things happened that I won’t mention because spoilers, even with the changes I’ve made, and the people who are reading this blog are probably also the people who will be reading Princess. Then for hundreds of years there was magic everywhere and wars and bad things I will also not mention because spoilers, until finally a bunch of people cast a spell that prevented everyone from using their magic. Except it didn’t go quite as planned.

BUT. I decided to do away with the first event entirely for two reasons: 1) It made things overly complicated and 2) it was too much like Mistborn (I hadn’t read Well of Ascension or Hero of Ages yet when I came up with the idea).

So yes. The new way is much better, even if none of you can properly appreciate it because I won’t fully explain 🙂

I also thought up some snatches of dialogue for the sequels – one for the second book, and one for either the end of the second or the middle of the third. I’m not sure because I haven’t even thought about plotting them yet. But I wrote them down, so I wouldn’t forget.

Writing Style

The other big realization I had last night was regarding my writing style.

When I write essays – say, for school – I start with the first body paragraph, write a placeholder topic sentence, and then go. Sentence following sentence, in order. When I have gotten through the conclusion, I go back and write the introduction and thesis, then refine the topic sentences so that they flow/mesh with the thesis/accurately reflect what’s in the paragraph.

But the general thrust is beginning-to-end, with very little editing. My first drafts are pretty much final drafts. If I’ve done my research and know generally what I want the paragraph to say, I can pretty much just sit down and go.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m able to do this. Firstly, I had really great training in middle and high school. Secondly, I’ve had a lot of practice.

I can’t write fiction this way.

First of all, a novel is a different beast from an essay. It’s much bigger, for one. You have to balance different types of writing, like action and description and dialogue.  It’s a different entity, and a more complicated one.

It’s also one I haven’t practiced as much.

All of that means that I can’t sit down and write a first draft of a novel that reads more-or-less like a final draft. It’s not going to happen. Maybe one day, but not now.

What was the point of all that rambling?

I hereby give myself permission to not worry about writing in a polished manner. I will write scenes as mostly dialogue and skip descriptions for later. I will leave things in square brackets and use all the adverbs I want. I will not worry about repeated reactions (every reaction is either a smile or a frown) and just leave them as placeholders and WORRY ABOUT IT LATER!

I have MOMENTUM! I will USE IT!

CHARGE!

Okay, sorry, I’m getting a little punchy. I shall go make myself breakfast. And then write. Messily.

A Good Day

Tonight I am writing my last English essay for the year. Actually, it’s my last anything essay for the year and the last essay I will ever write in high school. Wow.

In eight weeks I will find out what colleges I have gotten into. That is also when I will be done with school; when I return to school after spring break I begin my “senior project”….which consists of photography, more photography, ballet, piano…and writing.

I’m very excited.

And because, between snow days and senior cut day and professional development, I haven’t been to school in a week, I have pretty much no other homework. I may be able to get in a few hundred words tonight.

So all in all, a good day.

Some Focus Is Needed

My projects are running away from me.

It started out with a manageable (or so I thought) “I should write a novel”…but things have gotten completely out of hand.

I spend almost all my time thinking about it.

In English class, when we are discussing the same passage for the fourth time and rehashing the same points, I start writing. I average about a page longhand per class – I would do better if I didn’t have to take notes at the same time. While on the bus in the morning, entire scenes play themselves out in my head. I’ve got enough material for three novels and two short stories, I think. It’s crazy.

It’s fantastic.

I feel much more motivated to work now, especially since college applications are in and school is basically over in a month and a half. I wrote 873 words last night, and I didn’t even stay up late. Well, later than usual.

Inspiration From an Unlikely Source

“London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes – gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if this day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.”

— Bleak House, Charles Dickens
We read this passage in English the other day and I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

My Love-Hate Relationship With English

I have always loved to read. Always. I used to walk down the street reading a book. Actually, sometimes I still do. But the point is that reading is, always has been, and hopefully always will be one of my greatest pleasures.

English class, not so much.

First of all, to clarify: my English class is a literature class. There was briefly some grammar way back in early middle school but ever since then it has been strictly analysis of literature.

I HATED it. To me, it completely ruined the pleasure of reading a book to sit down and poke and prod at every little detail. I didn’t understand where the teachers and the other students were coming from when  they talked about character development, or theme, or significance. Nothing.

I mean, looking back at some little things I wrote (I don’t have any of my middle school essays but I have a few paragraph-type things) I did have some sort of clue. There were some valid insights and every so often a teacher had written “good!” in the margin. However hindsight, of course, is 20/20 and at the time I was confused, displeased, and overwhelmed.

That started to change in high school.
I was reading things I liked better. I was starting to get a feel for analysis, and we had frequent “journal entry” assignments that forced me to get some thoughts onto paper even if they weren’t eloquently phrased. There still weren’t very many spontaneous comments in class but I could write an essay that was at least believable, even if it was crap. Then we had a personal essay unit. That made SO much more sense to me. I mean, I was just as confused on the analysis part but I had an instinctive feel for how to write one.

The next year I had a very easygoing teacher, which made me much more inclined to speak up in class. We had more creative writing assignments, which I had enjoyed in the past, and my teacher liked the style of my writing. I was starting to feel better about it.

Then eleventh grade came along. We started out with poetry. I am, in general, much better at analyzing poetry than I am at analyzing prose. My theory is that because poems are so much shorter and more tightly constructed, every word and any variation has meaning. You can ask why a comma is where it is, whereas in a work of fiction that would for the most part be absurd. We had frequent short analytical papers, which polished up my skills very quickly. My teacher was extremely clear and gave helpful comments. We read material I was fascinated with. I started writing things in my notebooks, copying style. I became fascinated with how writing was constructed. I enjoyed English class.

I got my best grade on my English exam.

I will repeat that, because that just DOES NOT HAPPEN. I am a science girl. I do very well in sciences, get good grades on science tests and exams. I DID BETTER IN ENGLISH than I did in Biology.
What?

I have a very complicated relationship with English now. I love writing. I want to write, even if it is just for myself and never makes it to publication or even to an agent’s desk. I love reading, both for pleasure and for analysis. Well, I enjoy reading for pleasure better, but if I can do both that is fantastic. I still dislike writing analytical papers.

Last year, or two years ago, my rehearsal director (for a Nutcracker production) asked me whether I was going to the company’s annual benefit. I replied that I was not, as I had to go home and write an English essay. I believe there was some grimacing involved. She laughed and said teasingly, “I assume you won’t be following my path and becoming a writer, then,” or something along those lines. I responded in the negative.

Now I’m writing a novel. Go figure.