Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Writerly Wednesday: That One Question

I am not a closet writer. I don't keep the fact that I write hidden away. I slide my notebook out of my bag whenever inspiration strikes and don't care if people are around. Even if that person is my sole companion for the night and I am supposed to be enjoying the music. This, inevitably, leads to the question
What are you writing about?
Or, what is your story about? What is that scene about?
And I wind up sitting there trying not to glare because what a stupid question.
Okay, so maybe it isn't that stupid. Maybe I understand exactly why people would ask that question.
But maybe that doesn't really matter because I have no idea how to answer that question and people get frustrated with me but really, do you want a story that can be summed up in two sentences? I don't.
Twilight, I can tell you what that's about. Edward and Bella and vamps vs werewolves. It doesn't really get more complex than that. Not a fan.
Lord of the Rings? Do you have time for a twenty minute breakdown? You see, yeah, it's about trying to destroy the One ring and everyone makes it that simple like that was the goal of the book, but whoa, hold up there, I'm not sure it was. It was the uniting purpose for the main characters. But... that's not what the books are about. The books are about friendship and perseverance and hope and courage and love - all the different sorts - and humanity, and what is good and what is evil and when to give up and when not to give up and wonder and magic and Earth and Air. They are about hatred and power and corruption and pity and compassion and healing.
Why do you think so many people love LOTR?
I'm not writing Twilight. I'm not writing LOTR either.
But I am writing stories that are as complex as Tolkien's. Okay, maybe not quite as complex, but they are about humanity they way his are.
So when people ask "What's that story about?" I never know whether to give them the two sentence summary or what it is really about. I can give you the super glossed over guy meets girl, she changes his world one that would wind up on the back of the book. Or I could tell you what it's really about. It's about someone who winds up questioning everything he formally thought of as good and winds up super depressed and messed up. To put it succinctly. Because it is also about family and friendship and spirituality and hopes and dreams and fighting for what is right when you don't know what is right and about how this world isn't black and white and that sucks and is really confusing. It is about hopelessness and learning and the evolution of self.
And that's just one story. One story that I can't answer straight because I never know what people want to hear, but they seem to not want to hear what it is actually about. They want the plotline. But that's stupid because if you read my writing, that's not what you get. Sure, that is what the action is but if I wanted the action I would be writing some weird movie screenplays.
Oh. And what is the scene about. Worst. Question. Ever.
Because there is the scene isolated and how the scene ties into the whole story. So... which do you want?? Because it could be character A and character H sitting in a room being ridiculous. So then it is just about two characters sitting in a room, being ridiculous and seeing their exchange of words. But then add the rest of the story and what leads up to that scene and maybe the scene winds up being super important. Like, this is the first time Character A has laughed in over a year and this is the scene where Character H begins to really like Character A or something is said in this exchange that winds up carrying quite a bit of weight throughout the rest of the story (or multiple stories in my case because if it seems random, it probably isn't).
I don't think less of anyone for asking, by the way. I actually like it once I am done being frustrated because it means the person is interested and cares. Well, usually. Some people have this weird form of polite where they ask but don't care and then I just want to punch them in the face or throw oranges at them. But for most people, I enjoy them asking. I want to give them stickers and then wish I had completed the story already and could hand it to them so that they could read for themselves what it's about rather than have me at a loss for words and probably making no sense.
So to anyone who has asked, thank you for being interested enough to ask. But this will be my reply from now on. This whole post.
Well, not really. As that would mean keeping a printed out copy in my pocket whenever I ran into another human being and that sounds like so much work.
Have a wonderful Wednesday
~Kiartha Qwon'um

Friday, June 27, 2014

10 Year old Me's Awesome Writing Skills

I am trying to figure out how to put everything in my room again since I finally have time to put my room back together after it didn't exist for a while (okay, it did exist, but in a not-so-great form). This means lots of organizing and going through things. This means finding lots of gems from when I was little.

Like... this!

Since you probably can't read the words (they decided they are camera shy. Or something like that):

(In my perfect 5th grade cursive)
The Apple

I see the Apple so green
it smells so fresh and sweet
Smooth and bumpy and hard it feels
The apple is juicy and sour but sweet
I hear the crunch as I chew
That is the apple

Autumn Williams

I like this one because it sounds like something I would write now. Well, if you say it slightly sarcastically and with an expressionless face. Also, this apple is full of contradictions. I think it's actually about life. It's probably a poison apple. 


Again, the writing got camera shy. 

Autumn Williams
studious, bookworm
reading, cycling, shopping
brownie-blonde hair, blue eyes
talking, listening, watching,
animal lover, kind
Autumn Williams

I have no idea where the "cycling, shopping" part came from. I mean, the cycling maybe. When I was 10 my friends and I practically lived on our bikes. But the shopping? I shopped once a year, right before school, and at consignment shops. That is, if someone hadn't been kind enough to give us a bunch of hand-me-downs from their now teenage daughter. So maybe I wanted to shop?? 

Brownie blonde hair is a color? At least that is consistent with the fact that I call my hair color drunken brunette, so I guess I never knew how to describe my hair so making up new colors is a thing for me. 

And, egads, I forgot I used to be an animal lover *shudders*.

And the final one, with a fun (creepy, inaccurate) drawing to go along with it:

10502516_10201996540107288_3033694665566652524_n.jpg (480×640)

So, my hair was basically a chocolate cat. Cool. 

Also, that outfit is an outfit I loved when I was ten. And I mean loved. I wore it all the time. 

I promise you all, my handwriting has improved and, for the most part, so has my drawing skills. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Things That Annoy Me

Ah. Life. In all its glory! And all the little things that bug the crap out of me.

Here's a list of those little things:

1. When I wake up on a Saturday morning and my family is home so I have to put on pants if I want to get food.

2. The days when I wake up only to realize I fell asleep as soon as I got home and thus there are pants on my body because this is how I usually am:

3709c084e45886d7624adad76e482c41.jpg (500×567)

3. When I mention Kali in a conversation and people think I am referring to Cali, as in California. People, Kali is an awesome Hindu goddess who likes eating food and doesn't diet until she looks like death. Partially because some days she purposely looks like death anyway.

4. When bugs crawl into my book while I am reading outside and whoops, I became a murderer.

5. People's obsession with having a gap between their thighs. Only super slim-hipped people can pull this off without me wanting to to start poking their legs.

sexy gap between your thighs

6. The random bruises and cuts that appear all over my body for no reason I can think of.
You know what I mean. That time you went to sleep then woke up with Texas on your thigh but the only thing you could have hit was your stuffed teddy bear.

7. Little tiny children having girlfriends and boyfriends. Okay, not little tiny children. When they are 3 it is adorable. But any time between 7 and 17 I want to whack them. I mean, really, little bitty 14 year olds are babies. What are they doing??

8. Tiny dogs (so anything below my knee).

so_much_hate_in_that_tiny_face_by_woxys-d6bcme5.jpg (804×620)
Me whenever I hear the sound of those little tiny painful claws or the sound of their godawful yapping
9. Especially tiny dogs in clothes. *shudder*

10. Having to take showers. I mean, seriously, if I didn't play in the mud why is there a need to get clean? Stupid hair. (Yeah, I am still the four year old girl who would run half-naked into a Vermont winter to avoid baths)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Writerly Wednesday: Schedules

If you can't tell, I am terrible at schedules. Mostly because Life is not a scheduled thing. There isn't a heavenly messenger who comes down every morning and lets me know what unplanned events (by me) the heavens have in store for me. So I am often left with very little time or accidentally used up too much time. That happens, too.

Because of all that, I usually don't make schedules for myself.

But I want to.

I want to workout for an hour every morning. Not so much to lose weight (although, I wouldn't mind a little less jiggle on the thigh), but because my body loves the way it feels when I move and I love the way that I can stretch and the endurance I get.

I want to have ten minutes every day, at the very least, devoted to reading.

I want to sit down and write at least 3 times a week.

I want to keep up my blog posts consistently rather than have random weeks where nothing really happens.

Part of me believes this is all impossible because that just isn't how my life works. But part of me believes that if I start to actively fight for these things, I will begin to fight for some other things, some important things.

And I know that's not really about writing, but it also is all about writing. It's about making myself write, no matter what, and keeping track of what I am writing. In the long run, this is about actually finishing one of my many projects because I want to read through it, start to finish, and begin that treacherous thing called editing.

I want to give myself the time to spend with my characters and shaping their worlds. I want to pursue my dreams actively.

Even if it means giving myself a schedule when I hate schedules.

How about you? Do you find schedules useful or useless?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Style Sunday:

For S.S. I have come to realize I have yet to master two things. 1. How to take a selfie. Especially selfies in mirrors. 2. Because of this unmastered skill, I prefer to ask other people to take pictures of what I am wearing for me. But I usually forget to because I really don't like asking favors of people. Especially favors that involve taking pictures of me because it makes me feel super vain. Even though it is for a blog and is about the random clothing I wear, not how I look or anything like that.

I also realized that it's super hard to keep up a blog when grounded from a computer. Because I still manage to get grounded. My family is weird.

So, these outfits are from random days for the past 2, maybe 3, weeks. A lot of outfits I loved are missing, but there are pictures! Without further ado, here you go!

Outfit 1:

Nothing too special here. I wanted to wear a skirt and then paired it with a brown shirt. That skirt, by the way, did scary things to my hips. You can't really tell in the picture, but I went from pretty decent hips and butt (as in, I have them, you can tell) to, holy crap, I think Texas came to hang around my pelvis today. Also, yes, that is a screwdriver. I'm pretty sure this happened right after half my room ended up in the bathroom because of installing a new carpet.

Outfit 2:

Outside of my creepy demon eyes here... i like this outfit, despite those being my mom jeans because half the time they fit like mom jeans. Nothing against mom jeans, I find them super comfy and like to art in them. That hat (the one that isn't a fedora but I don't know the real name) has been with me since I was 13. It is somehow still alive and it makes me love it all the more. Also, I love putting long sleeves with shorts whenever possible. My legs don't like being confined but my arms find sleeves comfy. It's part of why I like wearing dresses.

Outfit 3:

This was for hiking. So, ya know. Tank top with a sweater thing that can come off if I got too hot (and then get tied in really weird ways around me because I can't be a normal person. I'm pretty sure it became something similar to a toga at some point) and, of course, shorts. Super comfy shorts that don't give random pains and are flexible so that I can streeeetchhh and run around like a crazy person. Nothing spectacular.

Outfit 4:

More creepy demon eyes! And my favorite jeans. Or one of them. Avery weird thing because I am not a huge fan of skinny jeans. I got these at Aeropastle on sale for $5. They fit amazingly and let people know that, hey, I have hips (you can't tell as much in this picture, they are still there amazingly). The shirt is 3 years old, but I love it still. All purple and flowy and whatnot. Also, that is my crazy windowsill with all sorts of bottles I want to start decorating.

Outfit 5:

Amid all the crazy stuff, that is me. Attempting a mirror selfie. I do have a face. It was probably making weird expressions at that moment, so I am fine with it being hidden. Mwahaha. Anyway, the clothes. Black shorts. A striped (because I secretly love stripes) shirt with a super cool fit. One day it will be up here without a sweater so you can see its awesomesauceness. And a very used grey sweater - more shorts with long sleeves!

Outfit 6:

Shorts and long sleeves again. This had actually been just a tank top and shorts most of the day, as I went to the arboretum by my house and painted a ton. Then It got later, and thus colder, and my friend wanted to go to Barnes and Noble, so I threw on this sweater and my boots.

Outfit 7:

 So I forgot the flash existed and then for some reason didn't bother to take a picture without the flash. But that is a black vest and a pretty pale pink top. I paired them with skinny jeans and... boots. I think I wore my boots This outfit was for a Shakespeare audition and I dorked out and went as Ren Faire as possible with what is in my closet.

 My arms aren't long enough to capture more, but this might give you a better sense of the top. Random note: I just realized that my hair doesn't end where I thought it sis in this picture. I have strange hair.

Outfit 8:

I make fantastic faces, right? This dress is so much fun to wear. The only problem is that a split goes up basically to my crotch so I have to sneak some shorts underneath there. Forever 21 had these useful yoga shorts (not sure what they are actually called. Legging shorts? Biking shorts?) that I wear all the time because 1. working out and 2. dresses.

For most of the night, once it was colder out, I wore this jacket with the dress. I found it on sale for $10 and got super happy because I could actually afford it.

Outfit 9:

Artist crop jeans from American Eagle with a Paramore T. Nothing special, but some days jeans and a t-shirt are the perfect thing to wear. Also, I really do love wearing basic things like this.

Hopefully over the course of the next week I will master taking pictures of myself (that sentence is so strange to say). Hopefully I amused you. Or something.

I am off to go work my butt off and to try not to buy all the clothes at my job. If your job isn't making you work today, enjoy your Sunday, if it is, good luck!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writerly Wednesday: Timelines as an Author

Last night I joined a friend to watch a zombie movie. This was my first zombie movie ever and only happened as a birthday present to him, since he has been trying to convince me that zombies are awesome. I winded up freaking myself out and had to calm myself down by holding a knife, and thus scaring him because most normal people don't carry knives as if they are an extension of their body.

On the way over to his house, while there was still light out and I was not yet terrified of everything, a zombie story came to me. A really mad protagonist, who, as far as I can tell, defies the normal zombie cliches. From the little I do know about zombie media, since I am only recently exposed to anything.

Since Friend Person is an avid Zombie person, I figured I would tell him about my story. Because I secretly love it already. And actually will have science stuff in it. Mwahaha!

Anyway, so I told him about it and mentioned that I started another one this week. Because I am constantly referring to a million different stories, he sort of gave me this look before asking about my writing process. Or, timeline. Timeline would be a better word. He didn't ask if I force myself to write or how my writing comes about. He asked if I write from start to finish, working on a book until it's done. In trying to explain what he meant he gave some hilarious summaries of Othello and Hamlet. Apparently Shakespeare was secretly ghetto.

Only one time have I ever worked solely on one story. And I did get that story finished. With lots of pain towards the end because the characters stopped cooperating, but it is finished. I think that took about a month. I would come home from school and sit at the computer, bleeding out words and sometimes holding knives up to the character's throats until they started talking.

I still hate that ending by the way.

Almost everything else, though, is scattered. Everywhere. I can be actively working on five different stories withing a week. Sometimes more. This past week alone I have started two new stories, started filling in some stuff for one, and written for... 3 characters. I think. It feels that way.

A lot of my stories I can't work start to finish. I will know basic stuff or know the characters extremely well, but I don't know everything. Or, because everything is super connected, I need to make sure everything is as matched up as possible. I can't have it all nice and sunny when in another story, at the same house, the same night, it's all nice and rainy. Because I am both lazy and tend to throw all of myself into my stories, I try not to write stuff with a high likelihood of having to be tossed or changed significantly.

There are two stories I have been working on since I was 12. They are probably the least complete. Mostly because I knew the basic plot but was missing a lot of the world. If I had finished those stories when I wanted to, so much would be missing. I would have had no idea who the wizard was or how important my MC's lineage is. Or who her grandmother is and thus why she actually is important even though she's not the hero, her friend is.

My fantasy trilogy would have had the wrong history and would have been really confusing. It took me years to figure out where in the universe those stories are and why they need to be told. And they do. In the universe I have, those stories are super important. But if I had sat down when I was twelve, or even fifteen, and made those stories happen, so much of their depth would have been gone.

So I let my writing happen naturally. If I can't get anything story-wise out of my characters but I want to write, I will start working on characterization. Usually if I am doing this someone wants to write. Sometimes five people want to write and I wind up sitting at my notebook or computer staring at the blankness because nothing comes out.

But mostly, only one character wants my attention, so that's who I work on. It's a bit of a messy process, as sometimes it's really hard to find that one scene I know I wrote at some point, and piecing everything together is going to be fun as heck, but oh well, that's how I write. Though, admittedly, I am considering starting to be home evenings and working mainly on one story because I want that one done and I think it's time for it to be told.

So maybe this time I am ready to sit and work almost solely on a story. Or to focus on that one, as I am sure there will still be the clatter of other characters.

What's your writing process/timeline?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Woodstock, NY - Part One

Last July my family went up to Vermont where our grandfather's house is. Since I could drive and I have my own car, I went up separately, with a friend of mine. The friend who has appeared a couple of times in various posts because, well, just because. Anyway, so we were heading up by ourselves, me driving up there for the first time and her having never gone up there. And with my dad's directions.

I  don't remember who messed up the directions, but somehow we took an exit that didn't make any sense, but, hey, it's not like I remembered how to get to Vermont, so it could have been the way for all I knew.

So we followed the road. And came upon this cute little hippy town. Being the crazy, semi-hippie (okay, SUPER hippie), people we tend to be, we had to walk around this little town. Also, we were kind of hungry and had to pee. I think. And we pulled over and called my dad who had no idea where we were and couldn't help us right then and neither of us had any way of looking up directions, sooo... We hopped out of the car and I started grinning because I loved the town already.

Woodstock, New York has nothing at all to do with Woodstock the festival. That's Bethel Woods. I actually saw a concert there once. The Jonas Brothers. Despite liking folk music and more Woodstock Festival approved music, that's who I saw there. Anyway... but Woodstock New York is a completely Hippie town.

Tinker Street, Woodstock, New York

If that store doesn't scream Hippie, not sure what does.

There was an adorable little book shop. Two actually. One was in a house and was crowded with all sorts of fascinating and old books. I wanted to climb the shelves and start playing a guitar. The other was on the main street with all the businesses. Not that the first one wasn't on the main street, it was just down a little ways.

logo.png (1050×237)
This one was super adorable and had a stairway with some shelves going halfway up it. So I looked at the YA section while sitting on the stairs. I like books and I like sitting on stairs so it made me happy. I really liked the interior set-up. Sometimes little bookstores can be a little lame in how they are set up, probably in part due to space issues and the fact that they have an eclectic assortment of books that sometimes don't fit well together. I still love those shops anyway. But, back to this shop, it was a happy little book shop with a pretty decent variety of books. At least the ones I looked at. I have been in a couple of book stores where the YA and children's section felt unloved. Not so here. I bought a Dragonbreath book from here. 

Oh! There was a road going one way that I think was part of Woodstock. There was another bookstore on that road. A lot of the books were super fascinating and I wanted to buy half the shop. You guys might not have wanted to, as some people aren't interested in all religions and spirituality and psych stuff. But I am, so at one point I raided the children's section, full of really interesting books, and disappeared from reality for a while. 

ls.jpg (250×250)
This is the door. It's called Mirabai.
Then there were these:

0e5367d2ed2a241762b7c3a877ebd16f-woodstock-ny.jpg (600×800)

There were so many "ON THIS SITE STOOD" signs. Most of them relatively weird. The first one we saw was pretty much a name and the day she died. I think. There was someone who stood in a spot and thought. I have to find my pictures of these signs because they amused us so much. Dear little Woodstock, how high were you when you made and erected these signs? Not that I mind. I loves them. 

At some point in time, possibly after I get my butt up there again, I will tell you more about this strange, adorable little town. But, if you are ever in New York and like cute little towns, especially hippie ones, you should totally check this place out and tell me what you loved about it. Unless you hated it. Then stay away from me with your opinion or I will slap you with fish! Not really, as I would be super curious as to how someone can hate such a place.