Happy Dance,  Work-In-Progress,  Writer's Block,  Writing Journey

The Greater More Awesomer Creative Writer Personage

Recently, I got this vanity organizer thingie for my sink. I have this tiny bathroom right now, so all of my hair ties and clips and brushes and miniature beauty product samples (because I’m obsessed) were scattered all over the sink, and I never wanted to clean it because it was just too overwhelming to move all this stuff because my OCD insists I put everything back exactly where it was before, complete with chaos.

So DUDES, I feel like I have a whole new bathroom! It feels bigger. I feel like I can breathe. Every time I walk in I can’t help but smile. ^_^ Ah, yes, I do believe organization is the key to my happiness. 😀

As is my nature, whenever I’m struck with the writer’s block, I give up and take to cleaning my entire condo while I sort my brain out. And while I was at it, my pile of story ideas. I outlined. Re-outlined. Took notes. And while I was preoccupied with clearing up the clutter, I made a decision about my stories! (Accidentally, but hey!)

I’m always striving to push my writing so I can get better. In writing DISCORD, I have noticed a huge improvement in my writing. Pushing myself to change up my standard point of view choice (from 3rd to 1st) really shook something in my brain, and I want that to continue. So I looked over the ideas I had lined up.

This wasn’t an easy decision to make. For starters, there was nothing on my plate I didn’t really want to write. But I have to be honest with myself. Lately, there’s only been one story on my plate that hasn’t been super painful to write, and I know how this is going to sound, but I can’t write that story. I have reasons that make sense to me, but to sum it up, I feel like it’s almost too easy. We don’t become better writers when we’re writing easy stories. So I actually haven’t written a word all month. My focus has been off, and I needed time to sort through things.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve outlined a story all the way through before starting. I kind of wish I hadn’t stopped doing that. The stories have been turning out okay, but there have been some problems in the last couple of years that could have been avoided if I had a full outline to begin with.

I don’t just like them because I write faster. It also improves my patience and focus, and at the same time, gives me an honest gauge for how excited I am about the plot and also where the problem areas are and what the story might be missing. So with the current ideas I had, I decided the best thing to do is to outline them all and gauge my reaction.

Leaving the easy story out because I had cut that off the to-do list already, I lost enthusiasm for two of the remaining three. One of the two had serious problems and while I fixed them, I no longer wanted to write the story now that I could see where it was going. On the other story, everything is good and I feel like crap for putting it on hold right now, but I can see it’s not going to push me the way I want. I thought it was super new and different for me, but the more I looked over it, the more I realized it wasn’t a stretch for me at all. :

As this back and forth fight was going on, the third idea was burning a hole in my brain that just left me like, “Ugh! Not right now!” But a couple of days after I cleaned up my sink (seriously, this sink organizer is SO freaking exciting!) – it hit me.

The new idea that has been bugging me non-stop, even when I begged it not to. Even when I pushed it aside and locked it up and put a stone on top of it. Even when I’ve done everything else I could think of to shut it up.

THAT was my answer. I have this huge outline (huge for me – 18 single spaced pages), and I’m STILL excited about it, which was exactly what I was looking for. One of the reasons I stopped outlining all the way through beforehand was because I would either lose enthusiasm for stories or get intimidated and quit. Since outlining works so well with my brain and disposition, I’m just not going to skimp on it anymore. If the story turns out to be crap, better I know now then before I invest 6 months of my time in it only to not be wildly in love with it when I’m done. If I can’t outline it all the way through beforehand, then it’s not ready.

So, I’ll talk more about the new story later because this is long enough, but I’ll say this: It’s supernatural, but there’s no magic, forcing my characters to solve their problems the old-fashioned way, something, like writing in first person, that I haven’t done in…over a decade? Wow. Okay, that’s really sad. In any case, this is something I want to do before I write another story with a main character that has some kind of crazy ability, because maybe I can learn something from this that will keep me from going off the deep end with the magic (which I do sometimes). Then maybe I can go back to that one story and make it better than it will be if I write it now.

It’s also a creepy, haunting, beautiful, modern Gothic tale, something I should be great at, which should balance out with the things I’m not so good at. Like the smaller cast, something I often struggle with. And all the really subtle things I need to lay out everywhere, which intimidates me because it’s a skill I’m still trying to master. There’s also a few other things, some I haven’t done in years and some I’ve not only never done but also something I thought I would NEVER do, and that is going to be tricky. There are a lot of emotional layers in this, but that IS something I’m good at, so whether I’ve done this particular thing before or not doesn’t matter.

So, it has the recipe for both being something I can handle whilst still pushing me to become a stronger writer at the same time! There’s also the excitement, which is super important.

So…outside of brainstorming a few new ideas to see if they’ll work out, all other stories are on hold until I blow through this. Out of all the screaming in my head, somehow this story has managed to pull my attention from the rest. That’s what I like to call a “sign” from the universe.

In the meantime, I will also say this: There are ghosts. There are opium highs. There is blood. There’s also a pool boy (LOL!) Much fun to be had. ^_^


  • Michelle A (@SunflowerRei)

    After I finished The Keegans, I had two plot bunnies in my head. I went with the one that was in my wheelhouse (historical), the loudest idea in my head, but also one with challenges (a new historical era, smaller cast, dual timelines). I’m outlining the thing now, bullet point style. I don’t want a third draft “omg, where’s my climax?” panic.

    • krystal jane

      This exactly! Something that’s up our alley but will still push us at the same time. ^_^

      I did bullet points for part of the first draft of my outline. It was quite a bit faster. When I went into more detail later it took hours! I was in the zone though. 🙂

  • Lillith

    I figured that rule out a couple months ago! It’s helping me, well, with my NaNo at least. I’m still woefully horrible at finishing stories, it is sort of pitiful. The only semi-long thing I’ve finished is a novella rough draft in the last year that I’ve been taking my non-fanfic writing seriously. How it never occured to me before then, I will never know.

    On the subject of stories just difficult enough to stretch our skills, my NaNo, a YA Lesbian Gothic Romance is one of those. I’ve writen fanfics featuring romance as the main point, but I’m not a writer who does drastic Alternate Universe fics. So my stuff always stays in the same setting as whatever fandom. This is the first time I will be writing AND completing an original piece with a contemporary setting. I full expect to feel like a well worn, but happy rubberband come the end of next month.

    • krystal jane

      Yeah, I can’t see why I didn’t think of this sooner. I’ve been pantsing outlines for two years!

      Rubberband happy! 🙂
      New frontiers are always so exciting. A Gothic Romance sounds like a lot of fun! I need to do another romance heavy story. I did one last year, but it’s not my forte.

      • Lillith

        Yes! I think it will be at least. 🙂

        One of these days, I swear I’m going to combine my love of Romance, Horror/Gothic Fiction, and Fantasy. It’ll probably be a Dark Fantasy Romance story, though I like the name Gothic Fantasy Romance better. What do you think? I would probably set it in a sort of Victorian/Edwardian type of world. As much as I love the Medieval period, I feel Fantasy settings need to be closer to our tech level every once in a while.

        • krystal jane

          Ooh, I like the thought of Gothic Fantasy Romance! AND Victorian times! I think it’s trickier to do fantasy in a more modern time period, but it does wonders for the writing skills, having to balance technology with the fantastical stuff.

          • Lillith

            Well, I like the idea of the world being modeled on a Victorian/Edwardian tech level. It’s both relatable and far removed from our own level of technology. The challange of it is very appeaing to me. Especially since this wouldn’t be an alternate earth, so I wouldn’t be straying into Gaslamp Fantasy territory.

            I still need to finish figuring out my Gaslamp story, I don’t have the mental wherewithall to do two stories of the same genre at the same time. Thank goodness for idea journals. Which reminds me, I need to start marking both age group and genre I think my ideas fit into. Give myself a clear look at what I am most interested in writing, and which SFFH subgenres I’m most interested in as a writer. That way, those stories get preference in my writing que.

  • Michelle Tran (@michelletwrites)

    I should proabbly out line like you and Michelle A. I’m in that middle slump where I’m kinda lost and can’t figure out how to get out :[ Nice job organizing your bathroom. I did that with my closet. Took 3 hours, but it made me feel so much better afterwards.

    • krystal jane

      Doesn’t it?! I organized my closet a few years ago. It was awesome. ^_^

      You should try it! I’ve gotten stuck so many times in the middle like that, but it’s never happened with an outline, even those tiny ones I usually have. You get past the middle without even realizing it!

  • Diane Carlisle

    So this makes me want to get back to my WIP!! I did an outline, and like you, I lost enthusiasm for it (for whatever reason). I need to pick it up again and just go with it, give it some more fleshing out, whatever it takes!

  • karla

    Outlines! My nemesis! I’ve been reading a few though, and I can definitely see the advantage of having an outline.
    Teach me the ways!!!

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