A Passion Project Is Hard To Find

It’s official: NaNoWriMo 2014? Just not working for me.

And I’m okay with that. I sort of knew going into this that I was fooling around. Experimenting with a story that had a very minimal amount of cook time in my head, that was completely out of my comfort zone as far as genre and construction goes. I’m a plotter. I like having a plot with the appropriate beats. I’m not usually into character driven “200 pages of me telling you about my life” kind of stuff. That’s a lot harder than it looks.

I got about 7000 words into Figments before I realized that I’m not ready for it. I’ve mentioned previously that stories have to stay with me for a while. They have to linger in my mind for at least a year before I grow comfortable with them. Sort of how you wouldn’t bring a stranger home to your mother, or go on a long vacation with them – you want to know them a bit better before you spend a long stretch of time with them. You want to know that you’re compatible.

Most writers have a notebook of ideas to pull from. I have over a hundred. But very few of those ideas are good enough, or familiar enough to me, to last me through the novel-writing process. If you’re going to finish a book, you have to be in love with an idea. You have to be willing to marry it, to work things out through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer. Otherwise, you’ll run out of steam. You’ll look at your characters like random acquaintances that you’re not sure how you ended up with. You’ll just…stop caring.

That’s not to say the passion projects are easy. We all hate our voice sometimes. It’s not turning out “right.” It’s not true to our vision. There are plotholes. But the great thing is that we say “we’ll fix that in the next draft.” Because we know there will be a next draft, and we know we’ll want to write that draft. Even when we get frustrated, it’s still a good thing. We know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel because what we want more than anything is for this project to be complete.

With that, I’m refocusing my energy on Paradisa. I miss the characters. I miss the world. I want to put the next beta draft in my readers’ hands. So while I’ve shelved the NaNo novel that just isn’t working out (yet), I’ve still got a real passion project to occupy my time. Even after a straight year of working on Paradisa, the story still excites me. Those sorts of stories are the ones truly worth writing. I’m not sure anything less could get me through this process.

And speaking of passion, my mother’s passion project manifested this past weekend in the form of AtomaCon. It was even more successful than last year! I was delighted to see how full all the panel rooms were. It reflected very well on us for the sake of our panelists and guests. I also received several compliments on my “2014 in Anniversaries” video that we showcased at Opening Ceremonies. :)

Thank you Leona Wisoker, for capturing what is probably the only pic of me during the entire convention.

Thank you Leona Wisoker, for capturing what is probably the only pic of me during the entire convention.

Mom and I are already cooking up some cool things for 2015, so maybe some of you will make it to Charleston next year. And to all of you NaNo participants – hope all is well! Good luck with writing your NaNo novel, or the novel you’d rather be writing instead ;) Follow the project your subconscious is telling you to follow, because that’s the one you will stick with.

The NaNoWriMo Isolation

I have been fighting off some kind of illness all week. BLECH. Luckily it’s taking a turn for the better today, but I have just been plagued with exhaustion. I sleep plenty every night, only for my eyelids to droop around 1:30. By the time I get home at 3:30, I just want to sleep.

But, can’t do that tonight. It’s Halloween! And my friend Greg is in town for fall break. And it’s my fourth anniversary with Austin (when I got in my car this morning, there was a Cthulhu plushie waiting for me. DAW.)  And the annual fair is in town.

So, all that’s coming to a head tonight, because the three of us are going to the county fair. I’m still feeling wobbly so…not sure how much I’ll be Tilt-A-Whirling. But it’ll be nice to hang out and take in all the energy from it. Then I’ll sleep like the dead tonight, get up once I feel like a person again, and spend the entire weekend inside. Resting. Writing for the  opening weekend of NaNoWriMo.

I will also be working on a cool project for the opening ceremony of AtomaCon, which is in two weeks! If you’re anywhere near Charleston, come and see our 3-day convention. We’ve got something for everyone, truly.

And grocery shopping. I guess there will be grocery shopping.

Well, I’ll rest as much as life will allow me to, and hopefully get a good start on NaNo while I’m at it. Good luck this weekend to all my fellow Wrimos!

Anything But Writing

I don’t feel like I’ll write much in October.

I need to. I need to finish my edit of Paradisa before Halloween and I need to build an outline for my NaNoWriMo novel Wake (the summary for that novel is now up on my Manuscripts page, btw).

But I’ve got two other things pulling away at my attention. Two other creative projects with actual deadlines.

1. The Gamora Costume

I don’t always cosplay….but when I do, it’s ridiculous.  My first and previous endeavor was Sweet Pea’s leather/suede riveted topstiched jacket of nightmares from Sucker Punch. Grandma was almost entirely responsible for getting that one completed in 4 weeks. But this time, I want to do it myself. I want to take on a good project, a complex project, that is still within my skills.

I adored Guardians of The Galaxy. And as much as I’ve said “I’ll never do body paint,” I can’t resist Gamora’s BAMF assembly.

Step one: Be green.

Seems legit.

I’m attending two conventions this autumn – the Geek Gala in Charlotte on October 25th, and my own convention AtomaCon in Charleston on November 14-16th. Halloween is coming up too, so I’ll have three chances to wear this costume. I’ve already ordered most of the supplies – at least for the actual costume. I’m not putting 100% faith in myself yet, so no accessory supplies for now – and UPS is hurtling them towards me as we speak. Hopefully it’ll all be good. It’s hard to distinguish colors, textures, and fabric types from online pictures.

Anyway, most of my work will be altering pre-made materials, like pleather leggings. None of the fabrics should be too difficult for my sewing machine. I will be using Worbla for the first time, but I’ve heard it’s a pretty straightforward compound to work with. The hardest part may be silk printing the details, but I haven’t decided if I’ll be going that route. Silk printing is complex and expensive. I may handpaint the details instead.

Still, it’s going to take time. I will be working on this costume for most of my weekends and a lot of my weeknights through October 23rd.

2. The Chinese Theater Gingerbread House

Every year, James Island Festival of Lights has an open call for gingerbread houses. I participated in this as a child and won several times. The prizes are summer passes to the water park, which is useful. But I always had a dream of submitting a Mann’s Chinese Theater gingerbread house to James Island, and that goal never manifested.

So this is the year. If it turns out super well, I may even drive 4 hours to Asheville and submit it to the National Gingerbread House contest (hey, I could win $5000!). This is taking a back-burner to my Gamora costume, and it may take a back-burner to my writing, but I hope that I have enough free time to pull it together. Gingerbread houses are almost as expensive as cosplay is. Not much is going into savings this month, I’m afraid!

On top of all that, my interest in drumming has picked up some too, especially as Austin becomes more proficient on the viola. But I’m putting my foot down. Becoming a rock star can wait. At least starting back November 1st, I’ve got a novel to finish. Or two.

Follow Friday: @AtomaCon!

Today is a pretty special Follow Friday, because I’m asking you to follow my mom. She runs the AtomaCon blog, which offers frequent updates about our joint sci-fi/media convention! Mom and I co-founded AtomaCon together (and I named it :P), along with an artist named James Christopher Hill, in 2013. So I hope you consider attending our convention in Charleston this November :) It will be our second year, and we’re introducing tabletop gaming, a film festival, and fringe science programming this go around. You can follow the blog via email.

I have had no time to write this week. Part of it is getting used to the new sleep schedule from a “when am I gonna write” point of view. Partly, it’s because I’ve felt like crap in the evenings. I don’t know if I picked up something during my Dallas trip or if my body is rebelling against my new schedule. But I’ve been crashing into bed at 9:30 or 10:00 every night because I’ve felt too nauseated and achy to stay up. On top of that, I’ve made new friends in the local tabletop culture this week, so I gamed last night and will tonight as well.

Alas, the weekend is coming up though. I’m going to refocus on my book and get at least one or two chapters knocked out. Just a bit more effort and I’ll be halfway through this revision!