New Project for November– ALWAYS CLOUDY

So National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up soon, and I have been trying to figure out what I want to write about this year. 

For those of you who haven’t yet heard of it, NaNoWriMo ( Nah-No-Re-Mo shortened to Nano) is a month-long writing challenge, where you write 1667 words every day. 

Why does that sound so very simple and yet weirdly specific?

Because the actual goal is to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, and to do that your goal is to write at least 1667 words every day during the month of November. 

That’s right, from the bum-end of Halloween to the beginning of socially-acceptable Christmas Music, the challenge is to write a novel. You’ve been planning, in general, to write a novel for some time, and this is a chance to kick into gear, with events in your area with fellow writers if you’re interested, and it’s entirely free. People who reach the 50k goal even get a free printed copy of their very own novel, and discounts for otherwise pricey writing software. 

It’s neat. 

My sister Lexy (link to her blog) has participated with me, and this year we’ve convinced our dear Mother to join the fun.

I’ve participated for roughly 5 years now, and recently succeeded in reaching 50k this summer, in Camp Nano, and have succeeded in 3 of those 5 years… but it’s always a question of what I want to work on. 

Sometimes I’ll work on fanfiction, because I like writing fanfiction, and it’s good to stay in practice. Because fanfiction is writing practice, pretty much. What I post is pretty darn popular, too, so as I post I get a lot of feedback. And that’s nice. Link to my stuff.

But I also do work on my own original stuff… I’ve got a couple of stories ongoing, but I work on them pretty consistently during the year, so when I decide not to write fanfiction in November, I like to start on a whole new story. 

Stretch my literary wings, crease my spine and flap my pages free from previously thought up rules and universes. 

And then I thought up Always Cloudy

I’m going to write a blog-story, from the pov of my main character Sunny. He can control clouds–well, only the one, and it only sort of does what he wants, but it’s not like he can tell anyone about it, so… blogging. Nice and anonymous. 

If you’re interested either click the link above for Sunny’s About Me page, or go to>    cumulonimblog.wordpress.com    <for updates starting November.

Thanks be to Lexy for that gem of a blog name 🙂

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Stress Direction and the Time I Have To Do Things

So I haven’t posted anything here very recently–hell, last thing I posted was a picture of a goat (which I swear is more impressive than it sounds) I drew for one of my sister’s stories.

I don’t think I have quite the steady readership here, but I do write elsewhere (fanfiction, mostly, on Archive Of Our Own, and Fanfiction.net), and I do actually have regular visitors to many of my stories.

Hell, in a world of usernames mostly made or kept from your tweens or drunken haha-this-is-obviously-the-best-idea‘s, I recognize a rather astonishing amount of usernames and profile pictures that aren’t actually of people. (Hahaha, yes, so sayeth Doodled93 with a Halloween costumed selfie to the one side and a picture of my dog on the other. But my username is an adaption of a childhood nickname and the creative use of my birth year, so.)

But the thing is, I have a pretty steady readership in my fanfiction plunges, people I’m surprised to see reviewing/commenting on one story or another because they’re usually commenting on other fandoms I’ve written in, and usually it’s pretty nice. The thing I like about Ao3 (archive of our own, for those not in the know) is how friendly everyone is, and while part of that, I think, is because you have to join a usually quick waiting list to even get an account (whereas there are many dud ffn.net accounts), but also because people looking into fanfiction are generally pretty nice.

Actually care about what you post, the quality you crank out, and people will respond.

I think the most negative comments I get nowadays is from people reviewing for the first time a story I wrote nearly, gosh, 8 years ago now(02/14), and it’s mostly about the overuse of some punctuation.

But the negative comments I get aren’t the annoying ones, not really, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, but berating and shouting at me for not having updated one story in a while gets me stressed and annoyed and a bit spiteful. 

It’s the stressed part of that mix that I’m going to be focusing on today, but you should really pay attention to the fact that when I get annoyed I get spiteful.

If you’ve read anything of mine before this, of the non-fiction side of things, you’ll know that I’ve had a lot to say about stress. I’ve written about stressful situations, I’ve written about what stress is really like for me, I’ve even just tagged posts as ‘stress’ or ‘stressful’ simply because writing about it gets my anxiety up.

I don’t deal with stress well.

I think I’ve gotten better, in that instead of bottling it up I let it out in bursts to Lexy and internet and real life friends in short bursts, but I still have the avoid-it instinct…

Do you see why it is doubly unwise to yell at me and snark about when I’ll likely update?

Because I’m NOT a writer that can work within a certain deadline, I am simply one that can work within parameters. Hmm, should this story be 10k/chapter, or maybe 5k, or should this be every 7 pages, or… hmm. When should I be updating this, because otherwise the chapter will either go on forever or else never get worked on due to its open-ended-ness.

When I was in a bad way after Ottawa-related failings, I was stressed and unhappy and trying my best to avoid real life and all that comes with that, and so I got quite a bit of writing done.

Because when you’re avoiding real life, fiction is where it’s at.

Or just the internet in general.

I read and wrote a hell of a lot, and was unemployed so I had all the time I could possibly want and/or need, and basically turned all my attention towards plot, character development, 10k long chapters, and taking breaks in-between to finish whole seasons of TV shows. As uncomfortable as it may seem to you, I wallowed in unemployment and a feeling of failure but was 80% oblivious to it because 80% of my day was turned towards fictional drama, and a large part of the remaining 20% was eating and sleeping in.

Now, however, I’m in a bit of a better place, and I have a job.

Full-time even, and for a while I had TWO jobs, at least until current job was like “What would it take for you to quit working other job and come here full-time?”

Kudos to past put-on-the-spot me, because I responded with ‘benefits’, because that seemed more likely than ‘more than minimum wage’.

And now while I have stressy bits of work (working in the produce section of an organic foods store means there’s ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE DONE, and also manager issues but whatever), I am working full-time.

I can no longer utilize my best writing time (between 10pm and 2am) because I either have work to get to at 7am, or I’ve returned from an exhausting shift that ended at 9:30pm.

So no, my writing is not happening at quite the same pace as it was last year, or even over the summer, but you know what?

Stress is usually the thing that gets me writing, because it is an escape.

Sometimes more than reading, because I am quite literally feeling like I’m in my characters head.

When I haven’t written in a long while, or am blanking on what–or how–to write in a particular story I have yet to update for a while, I experience a bit of anxiety, because I do want to write. I enjoy it. But I stress myself out in a minimal way when I haven’t updated something in a while, because I’m disappointing myself. Not in a ‘you could do better’ kind of way, but more like making plans, looking forward to it, and then finding out that either you or the person(s) you were going to hang out with and do that thing with can’t make it.

Oh, ok. Next time then. 

But when I get passive aggressive remarks and pressure from people who, while it’s flattering that they’re enjoying what I’ve written that much, don’t give a f*** what else I’m doing or how much pressure they and their unknowing compadre’s are putting on me, who would very likely feel a bit of camaraderie with the others if they knew (Hah, the author will have to update sooner than expected if we’re ALL shouting at the same time), well.

Stressed.

Annoyed.

Spiteful.

Let’s work our way up, shall we?

Spite, a desire to hurt, annoy, or offend someone.

Leads up to Annoy, irritate (someone); make (someone) a little angry.

And though it’s not in there, anger is part of this too.

I don’t like being angry, I don’t like the way it makes me feel, I don’t like experiencing that boiling in my gut, and I especially don’t like how hard it is to keep it focused on the intended recipient/aggressor. It’s like the difference between being a little peeved and being actually angry is like using two different types of weapons. Being peeved is like your emotions are turned into a laser, easy to point it at the thing that’s causing it.

Being angry is like having that laser pointer turned into some kind of gun that lets out a poisonous miasma. It’s scary, there’s kickback that can injure you, and as soon as it’s out, it’s up in the air. It could affect anyone. Could hurt anyone.

And you know what? If you let me get to know you for 48 hours, within that 48 hours I will have figured out what sort of thing I would have to say to you to actually hurt your feelings, the way that shouldn’t hurt because it’s a relative stranger saying it to you, but hits deep anyways. But I don’t say it. Ever. Because if hearing that it’s that easy to figure out how to hurt a stranger verbally puts you off from ever wanting to interact or even meet me, then maybe it’ll change your mind to hear that I don’t say any of it because I find it very easy to empathize, and I’m selfish enough to not want the emotional backlash of hurting your feelings.

But being actually angry makes that wall in my head of ‘no, you do not say this ever’ seem more like a line, and hey, isn’t it closer than I thought it was, and I bet I could walk right over it, easy as pie.

And that is stressful.

Stress, a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances, makes me want to escape. I don’t like being angry because I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t like actually feeling stressed out because I don’t like feeling like I need to escape.

And I really don’t like feeling like I need to escape from my escape.

There are a few situations that I get into that translate into me not being able to write coherently/well.

Alcohol. I will never be that writer who sits down to write with a bottle of wine (i don’t drink wine but that’s besides the point), or with a beer, and a masterpiece will never have its rough draft written in a drunken haze.

Exhaustion. I can write best when it’s late into the night, but I’m pretty antisocial, and interacting with people is exhausting. This is why I don’t really write well after work, because 1) I’m tired, and 2) writing how character a interacts with characters b-z around them is working socialization muscles that do not have the capabilities for this sort of work. I get steadily more anxiety ridden when I have to talk for a prolonged amount of time, and that makes me stressed, and makes me want to escape, and it’s hard to interact socially and also escape at the same time.

And I kind of just mentioned it within ‘exhaustion’, but Stress.

Because if you missed it,

It is hard to interact with anything when all you want to do is escape.

So yeah, this is 1700 words of unhappiness at how some strangers on the internet are making something I enjoy, something I like escaping to, into something I feel like I need to escape from.

Why Asking When Something’s Going to be Updated Isn’t Helpful

Just what it says on the tin.

Or, on the blog as it so happens…

One of the things I find… if not irritating, then at least disappointing, is when people comment on my ongoing stories and they don’t actually have anything to say.

And no, I’m not talking about the people who leave one worded things, like “Nice!” or any other bit of smallish feedback, because that’s actual feedback.

It’s when any of this happens that I get frustrated.

“Update!”

“Plz update!”

“When are you going to update?”

and even the occasional

“Have you forgotten about this story?”

No. No I haven’t.

I just haven’t had the chance, the inspiration, or the right mindset to write for this fandom, to write in this ‘verse, to write this particular fic.

And no, I don’t know when I”m going to update.

Some authors can do the scheduled update thing–and kudos to them.

But unless I have most of a chapter written out, the most I can give you is a rough estimation–and if I know that, I’ll mention it at the end of the last chapter I posted.

So why I appreciate the thought behind it, the implied “I like your story so much I’d like you to continue!”, there isn’t much I can say to that.

(and I do like talking, responding, to reviewers, so if I have ever not responded, either I’m late in replying, or I have nothing to say to your not-really-a-comment-on-my-story review.)

Again, I like the thought behind it, but it’s not really necessary to, oh, I dunno, remind me to continue the story.

If you want to say something about the story, you’re welcome to it… just please keep in mind that in most cases adding an “UPDATE!” at the end isn’t cute.

If you really feel the need, maybe try less of a demand and more of a “I hope you get a chance to update this soon,” or “Hope you get inspired!” or something positive and supportive. It may take a little bit longer to type out, but hey, you’re already taking time out to comment, so…. why not?

I dunno, I hope this doesn’t seem rant-ish, but it does get disappointing, for multiple reasons, when I see that I’ve gotten a new review, or a new comment, or any sort of feedback, and it’s one line demanding more… especially when I’ve just updated the story.

Honestly, if it’s really too much to write…

I’m going to put it out there that I’d even prefer a smiley face, or any sort of emoticon over an update demand.

Because even if you give me a

:\

or a

😐

or even a

:#

it’ll give me more feedback than “UPDATE!”, and won’t bring to mind a faceless being shouting at me, demanding for more.

I don’t get paid for this (oh, but what a world it would be if I were), and you aren’t my boss. Please stop shouting at me to get work done.

 

 

Things I’ve Noticed About Good Fanfiction Stories Turning Into Bad!fics

Just a couple of things I’ve noticed that… well, if they don’t change the story entirely, it is a good indicator that either the story will be going to a dark place, or else will be put in hiatus soon.
Or else will show that the good start was an illusion.

CLUB SCENES
Club scenes are good if you have an actual purpose for them. If you have an informant, or are looking for someone, or else are looking for a quick scene to be the start of what-did-I-do-last-night problems.
But if you decide it’s time for your character and all his/her friends to make it to a club just because… It makes me assume you don’t have any idea where you’re going from there. You have decided to forgo cohesive plot lines and have blanked out the idea of pacing in your story, and decide to describe dancing and singing and really, there’s a reason why there are dance/singing movies by the dozen, but hardly a book to be seen.
If going to the club doesn’t have any purpose, don’t use it. Chekhov’s gun is applicable here–don’t mention something unless it’s important. Don’t mention the gun above the mantle place unless it’s going to be used, and don’t gush over dance moves unless dancing will be important later.

REVIEWS PLS LOL JK BUT SRSLY
This is two in on, the ridiculous abbreviations and begging for reviews. I don’t really take people who use srsly and lol and rofl and whatever else in excess. You’re trying to write a story here, use your words. No–no, use ALL of each word. If you have a character that speaks in these shortenings, well, that’s you using them responsibly. But in AN’s and the like it makes you sound–dare I say it?–Derpy.
And the begging for reviews… Well, those occasionally get paired with what I call the hostage situation.
“If I don’t get X amount of reviews I’m not posting the next chapter lol”
Right. Well then. So sorry to have wasted my time, as you obviously have no interest in writing or posting this story if you have to be cajoled into writing. You apparently also don’t care about the quality of reviews, if you’re inviting dozens of ‘update soon’ reviews.
If you’re writing a story, and are serious about it, people will review when they have something to say. You want reviews? Write something that creates a reaction. but do it with a plan.
Don’t just kill off a character just because, do it because it’s time. Don’t just randomly decide for something to happen, because then it’s weirdly random, and not enjoyable.
So yeah, use your words and stop begging and holding chapters hostage. It’s annoying, and *I’m* certainly not going to be the one to drag you kicking and screaming into writing your own damn story.

CAMEOS
If you aren’t writing a crossover, don’t do it.
If they have no reason to be there, don’t do it.
If you just really like so-and-so and want to write a story with them in it, don’t choose any random story to include them in. It’s weird and if someone doesn’t know them, it’s weird and confusing.
If you want character from X show to interact with character with Y show, then write a crossover. COMMIT.
A lot of stories that suddenly have cameos end up with Mary Sues, too, and that’s just not good.
Or else the author has given up on writing anything of value, and has just let their fantasies go wild.
More on Mary Sue’s later, but an example of cameos gone wrong is an InuYasha fanfiction, very clearly Kagome/InuYasha, and the author brought in the lead singer of Simple Plan, and had him in love with Kagome, not to mention the number of famous actors and record companies after her for her amazing voice and stellar dance moves earlier displayed at the club. WHY did they bring it up in a story about general high school problems? No clue. It did nothing for it.

MARY SUE’S and STU’S and OC’s TAKING OVER
If you want to write yourself into a story, do so, but don’t disguise yourself as a character already part of the story. If you’re planning on writing a story about an entirely self-made character who waltzes into a series you like, go ahead. But it gets REALLY irritating when part way through a story I’ve invested myself in, you introduce one fo these characters and instead of having the story I’ve invested in I now have a story about your OC. Your Other Character has hijacked your story, and you don’t even seem to mind.
Now, occasionally these OC’s don’t end up Mary Sue’s and Stu’s, but it is a rare occurrence. This is because we put a lot of effort into creating our own characters, and it’s hard to have our babies ride in the back seta, or even the passenger seat when we have the ability to put them in the driver’s seat. But go out and write them their own story, or else don’t let them hijack your other projects.
And Mary Sue’s/Stu’s… If your character, self-made or adopted form a series, has no problems, no weaknesses, and fixes every problem that heads their way, then you are making a Mary Sue. Wild Hair, amazing voice, fabulous dancer, AND they prevented that one character from dying like they did in canon? Wowza, what a Mary Sue.
And what? Oh, pardon me, they *do* have problems don’t they… What a tragic past they’ve overcome, what hardships they’ve dealt with, and they’ve gotten over their emotional trauma just in time for them to save the day… convenient, yes?
If you think I’m just making fun, check out this comic that shows all the problems with such a character, and enjoy, and maybe you’ll be able to recognize a Mary Sue in the future. Ensign Sue Must Die is a fantastic comic, as is its sequel Revenge of the Sue (can be found through the link above, seriously looking for ‘revenge of the sue’ will get you angry p0rn)

And, just to be honest, I was very close to writing my own Sue and posting it. But then I recognized that what I was writing was a plot-less fix-it-all and stopped.
As for OC’s taking over…
If you’ve read my story It’s Green, you’ll know I have a number of OC’s in it. Most of which were entirely unintentional. Max was supposed to be a one time deal, Mr. Baryn a fluff character, all of them not even riding in the back seat–they aren’t even in the car. But I wrote them intending for them to be side characters, and not even significant ones, and they developed on their own into something a bit more.
Not enough to take over the story, and in fact I’ve had a number of comments on how non-confrontational my OC’s are in regards to plot development. They are obviously different characters, they don’t have the cut and paste feel of reusing a characters trait and style, and they have plots and ideas of their own… but they aren’t the main character. They occasionally HELP the main character, but that’s it. They’re doing their job as side characters. And that’s it.
I also have a more Main Character OC in my Torchwood story (CoE Fix-it HERE, sequel now up), again a character who I was intending on being a one-off character, but he’s a villain. And he doesn’t have a real name yet, either. Right now he’s just Boss Man.
I also have a couple of OC’s in there that I rather like, and intentionally developed the characters (for a change) of for plotty reasons (before, they were just names and not even part-playing characters), but I made them for plot reasons, and they still aren’t going to take over the story. I just happen to have one big plot, with a couple smaller plots within and beside it, and this OC plot has its own uses.

So really, use your OC’s responsibly, and if you want them to be centre stage… well, why not START a story with that in mind, hmm? Aren’t they worth their own story?
And beware of can-do-no-wrong fix-it-all characters, because you may be writing a Sue.

And, for a last thing that, while it doesn’t show that a story is heading to a dark place or will be put on Hiatus, is irritating…

SRRY, BAD AT SUMMARIES
Really? Well, if you’re bad at summaries perhaps you aren’t that great at writing stories.
This is not to say you can’t be good at writing stories and be bad at writing the hook, the summary.. just, when looking for a story I’m already looking for something that attracts my interest. This is an unsure thing, because the story I pick might not be all that great, or might disinterest me, and really I enjoy finding the well written, well thought out stories. When you tell me, point blank, that you aren’t good at summaries, it seems like you’re telling me “I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN MY WRITING IT MAY BE BAD LOL READ IT ANYWAY!” If it turns out that you would’ve written a better summary, eventually you can change it. But when you say the summary is bad, you’re telling me you think the summary is bad, and that you went with it anyway. It’s not attractive, it doesn’t give me the sense that your story might be good, and the worst of it is that before you said anything about it, I might not have thought that the summary was all that bad. If it was bad and still gained my interest, then good for you. But what if I thought it was good and you still said this? Well, the I’m not interested in what you label as good or bad, because you obviously can’t handle having your work out there for viewing, for critique, because you’re pretty much trying to beat me to the punch.
Lol I know it was bad, I said as much didn’t I? Yeah, now noting you can say will hurt meeee because–ooh, ouch! Wh would you say that? You’re just repeating me! YOU CAN’T INJUR ME! *cue hurt look and sniffles*
The laughing at your own problems thing isn’t fool-proof, and again, is generally unattractive.
The same can be said for the “First Fic!” mentions in the summary, because it’s pretty obvious you’re trying to make SURE you have an excuse out there in case people don’t read AN’s. Because if you just write it in an AN then someone could miss it and judge your writing thinking that you’re a seasoned writer.
It’s unattractive, and ridiculous, and mentioning it in the summary makes me think that, as your first fic, you’re not experienced enough to know about things like quality.

Anyway, yes I know it’s a bit rant-y, but I’ve noticed quite a few fics have these horribly annoying ‘first fics’, ‘bad summary’ and lol’s in them, and a couple fo the stories I’ve been following for a couple of years now have either petered out into Hiatus, or else have forced me to stop following because they’ve decided to turn this story about the mafia into a Dancing, singing, reality show, or else a story about a girl dealing with the problems of teen pregnancy finding that she can be an actor while giving the best care to her toddler, as well as satisfying her harem of uuber rich suitors. All of whom are interested in a relationship with her even knowing about her kid.
Reeeeally annoyed at this shit.
If anyone else has anything that points to a story changing track, or turn-offs for summaries, let me know.

 

I don’t know why, but it’s AWESOME.

It’s not that the thing is awesome, more that the thing is going to happen.

My Torchwood fanfiction ‘And I Wake Up‘  (which has now reached 50k!) has a somewhat steady readership, and you can probably find it in the comments, but someone asked me if they could make it into a podfic.

A podfic, if you’re wondering and don’t want to click the link I’ve so generously offered you, is an audiobook. Generally pronounced “Pod Fick” (Pod like the pod people, or three peas in a pod, and Fick like You’re putting on a British accent and trying to say ‘thick’, or fick like the beginning of fickle or like Fiction which is where the shortening comes from), it’s the meme-ish version of what you’d be able to get from a library.

It’s a weird thing, but I say this as someone who genuinely enjoys reading words on a page, multiple pages for an even better experience, and the idea of someone being like “Well, I really liked the beginning, but can’t I just lie back and listen to it being read to me instead?”…

Well it’s a strange one.

I don’t know why they want to do it, but it’s flattering as hell.

It’d be like getting fan art, and even if it isn’t particularly great, the vain peacock that you try to hide behind modesty perks its head up and preens.

Ooh, compliments for me? Why thank you, I'll take that with a grandios dash of YES I'm amazing :D

Ooh, compliments for me? Why thank you, I’ll take that with a grandios dash of YES I’m amazing 😀

Also, yes I like Batman. I AM BATMAN.

So I don’t know how this’ll work out, It might end up being crap, all my spelling mistakes might come out in words, but you know what?

I’m going to listen to that.

I’m going to download it, and listen to someone else read out my story.

I’m also going to be linking to it when even one PART of it is done, and you know what? SO MANY MORE PEOPLE WILL HAVE ‘READ’ MY STORY AFTER THIS GETS OUT.

I don’t care if the person narrating has the most out-of-my-mind odd voice, this stuff will be on my iTunes, hell, IT’S GONNA BE ON MY PHONE.

I’m going to ruin all sense of anonymity and post this stuff on facebook.

Because YES I’m a vain peacock, and, speaking from experience, the people who say that being this excited over something as small as this, I know the feeling.

Don’t be jealous 😀 I know you want to be as happy as I am right now because I haven’t been this weirdly happy since…

Well, I think since I was so determined to believe that Santa was real. (Or maybe since Lexy made the post about it I’m linking you all to, read it and her blog because she’s amazing), or maybe when it was my turn to be the Easter Bunny (Bulk Barn didn’t know what hit it).

Thing is, I’m genuinely happy, and I don’t even know entirely what I’m happy about.

I’m just enjoying the feeling.

Whether you read my stories or not, if you’ll be listening to my story or not, someone liked my (Now 50, 000 word long) story enough that they wanted to express it outside of a review, and it’s fantastic.

I’m happy 🙂

fabpinkshoes

And, if my blurb about being happy about a podfic didn’t brighten your day, here’s the story behind this last picture:

Yesterday my mom posted a picture on Facebook of my 5 year old brother Sam wearing a pair of shoes he picked out for his first day of preschool.

She explained to him in the store that they were really made for girls. Sam then told her that he didn’t care and that “ninjas can wear pink shoes too.”

Sam went to preschool and got several compliments on his new shoes. Not one kid said anything negative toward him about it.

However, my mom received about 20 comments on the photo from various family members saying how “wrong” it is and how “things like this will affect him socially” and, put most eloquently by my great aunt, “that shit will turn him gay.”*

My mom then deleted the photo and told Sam that he can wear whatever he wants to preschool, that it’s his decision. If he wants to wear pink shoes, he can wear pink shoes.

Sam then explained to her that he didn’t like them because they were pink, he liked them because they were “made out of zebras” and zebras are his favorite animal 🙂

What does it say about society when a group of adults could stand to take a lesson in humanity from a class of preschoolers?

This was from a facebook post that’s made its way through the internet, and HERE is a more in-depth bit of info on it 🙂

 

Plot Bunnies With Cattle Prods

Everyone gets ideas, it’s a fact.

Everyone gets persistent ideas as well.

You know the ones, the ones with cattle prods. With Taser in hand.

Sometimes the cattle prods are red-hot at the ends, as they want to brand you with themselves.

But it’s an idea that you can’t let go of, even as it pokes and prods at you, wanting your attention, wanting you to do something about it, wanting you to –hey, why haven’t you dropped everything yet? What’s up with that? This idea is so much more interesting than what you’re doing now, or what you need to do later, that it’s amazing you haven’t imploded from the need to move onto this amazing idea yet.

What is wrong with you?

The idea will poke and prod until you do something about it, it will continuously remind you that you have a duty to it every time you stop for a moment, let your mind wander…

Why haven’t you done anything about this idea yet?

Are you stupid?

Idiot.

But, because you have something that NEEDS to get done, that idea will have to wait.

It has to, because it came to you not when you had time, but when you were reading something, or perhaps doing something important, or getting ready to go to bed after working fo the entire day and the idea finally catches up to you…

And then doesn’t let go.

These ideas are funny like that

But, no matter what you’re doing, until you have done something about this idea–no matter what, exactly it is an idea about–you will be poked, prodded, sometimes bashed over the head, so that you are either mildly distracted from what you need to do, or else you are blinking and shaking your head from disorientation from this new abusive relationship you have with this part of your psyche, asking “pardon?” and hoping no one will notice you weren’t paying the least bit attention to this thing that NEEDS your attention

Of course, this idea you have also NEEDS your attention, doesn’t it?

Because you know that it’s an idea that needs to be explored, it may even be something that you will eventually actually NEED to get to, and you don’t want to lose this at-the-moment unwanted passion and unwilling enthusiasm, that what’s grabbing your attention will not be done nearly as well if you don’t get to it while you’re THIS interested.

And there is this fearful need to get it done, because there are a few things that run through your mind, and most of them are what-if’s

What if you just finish what you’re doing, and come back to it? Will that work?

What if I forget this amazing idea? (Note: his happens a lot right before you’re going to bed)

What if after I’m done this important thing, I’ve lost the enthusiasm? Then it won’t be nearly as good…

All these things will run through your mind at one point or another, and more, and it adds fuel to the fire of any anxiety you’ve already experienced thus far.

Not fun.

With me it’s usually story ideas, and I end up telling Lexy a lot of them (she does this in kind, though lately it’s been for her amazing short stories), and one term for these ideas you might have heard about is that you’ve gotten a ‘Plot Bunny’

It’s rather clever since the ideas are usually little fuzzy things bouncing around in your mind, sometimes breeding with other bunnies in the vast landscape of your imagination, and creating new, sometimes more developed plot bunnies.

This is usually what I imagine a plot bunny would be like:

Plot Bunny writer Kitteh

Cue yeah? And writer cat is good for me too, since a great deal of what happens is that I get so focused on one idea, and sometimes get distracted, or focus on a different plot bunny and ignore the others I’ve already started working on. It’s a bit like a cat who’s really interested in the game you’ve been playing, but then between one swipe and the next the claws are out and they’re entirely disinterested in that bit of string that’s held their attention so long.

But these ideas, these plot bunnies that kick and shout and generally screw with your mind until they die or you give up, it’s like something went horribly wrong.

Possibly in a way that can be salvaged, but it’s like adding a buzz saw and ninja stars to a plot bunny.

No, wait. It’s like the plot bunnies have gone rabid.

They’re going crazy in your mind, frothing at the mouth, and you can’t not pay attention to that, can you?

It seems like it could be cute or scary or something from Monty Python, like something that could be in your dreams or nightmares, and in any case something difficult to put aside.

I feel like I experience this quite a lot, so here’s some things that at least help. It’s not a lot, but it means that these plot bunnies can sometimes be saved, rather than end up being put down like Ol’ Yeller.

I write things down.

I have probably a dozen or so word documents with a few ideas for stories written down inside of them, little bits and things that seem brilliant and are flashing and shrieking in my ear as something brilliant (or heartbreaking, there are quite a few plot bunnies that are on a mission to have me bawling my eyes out), so I write them down. If I can spare some time to write out a few paragraphs (even if they aren’t coherent, or in a proper story-telling kind of format), I’ll do that and just write out the other scenes around it… Mind you, if you do this you must have patience, because you may or may not be the kind of person who wants to post something immediately, or get to an idea quickly, but more times than not it’s best to write out what needs writing rather than jumping to this amazing scene that’s only amazing because YOU (the author) know all the back story and linking things for it.

I experienced this with my Torchwood story, when I jumped ahead to a part of the story I already knew would be happening, and had at least a chapter finished… only I knew I had at least another scene to write (at the VERY least, and that would be skimping on important detail), so the few reviews I got complaining about me not updating quick enough (which is equally flattering and annoying, by the way), or people asking if I’ve abandoned the story (NO. Each chapter is at least 10k, and I write ALL of the next chapter, don’t you DARE give up on me you weak-willed readers! Have courage to click the ‘subscribe to story’ button!), can get really frustrating, and I know none of them believe me when I say that I wrote ahead. That I’m not done THIS chapter because I was busy working on the next.

The Love-Hate relationship to writing fanfiction…

Another thing I do is talk about it.

Lexy is a fantastic sounding board. I personally hate calling someone a ‘sounding board’, sounds quite a bit like I’m just using someone, but it’s true.

I can talk to her about stories and plot ideas I’ve had bouncing in my head, and being able to talk about my ideas aloud sometimes help me solidify one idea or another. Sometimes I can get away with just talking aloud, but hearing feedback and seeing Lexy’s expressions and opinions really helps.

Most computers have some sort of webcam as well, and I’ve tried filming myself talking about a story idea to even see my own expressions, because watching it helps me figure out where I’m unsure. You don’t realize how much you express when you’re talking until you’re watching it.

This also helps out when you’re working on a story/idea already, and helps you get new perspectives. Dwelling on a story long enough sometimes dulls the story for you, yourself, as the author. It’s like the 20th time you’ve seen a movie, as you’ve already looked over all the hidden meanings, you know all the back stories, there are no more surprises, no more twists, and you think way too ahead.

So yeah, talking. It works.

It also forces you from your writing cave

And the last thing…

Well, It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing, so it isn’t something I KNOW works. I know there’s a possibility it may work though.

You could make a forum and adopt out your plot Bunnies.

I have a lot of ideas rumbling about in my head, and before I start writing a story I’m usually feeling it out for months before I start seriously writing it, so some plot bunnies get neglected.

So why not give out prompts? You could do it with one word prompts, and their definitions, or you could write out a small summary for your plot bunny, you could post a paragraph that you’ve written down, you could give bits and pieces and scenarios from plot bunnies and see where others take them.

If you make a request for someone to link their project back to you, then you can even read it, and you know that one quote…

If you don’t, it goes something like

“If there’s a story you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, get to writing it”

Something like that. It’s what got me into regularly writing my own things.

But back to turning part of your imagination into a sort of foster home for Plot Bunnies (Rabid or otherwise, and remember that you can always pick them back up again later when you have the time and inclination)… well, you really don’t have to, but it’s something to consider.

What use are YOU getting out of them, hmm? What if you have an idea, a newborn Plot Bunny, but don’t have any plans on actually writing it? What if you just enjoy the idea hopping around your head? Well, you could foster it out and then you could READ the story someone else makes out of it.

You could hate it, you could love it… but it’s maybe gotten someone else to start writing, so that’s good 🙂

These tips work pretty well for other kinds of ideas, too, I’d imagine. An idea for a drawing you don’t have time for? Doodle it. Write down colours, just do a thumbnail drawing and come back to it. Have an idea for a poem? Keep sticky notes with you, or a note pad, and write it down as it comes. Edits are for later, and you might not have the rhythm for it later. Or what about a sculpture, or a carving, or something else that would be three-dimensional? Draw it out. A rough sketch to get the idea out, jot down the specifics, things not obvious in the drawing.

These ideas are rabid in your thoughts because they’re GOOD ideas. They may need refining, some other details figured out, but they’re distracting you because you can do something with this.

The Plot Bunnies and Business Bunnies and Doodle Rabbits and other furry creature ideas DON’T have to be a problem. Even if you’re in a rush, taking a half-hour break to jot down some notes can only help, since it means you won’t be (as) distracted when you go back to work.

How do YOU deal with your Rabid Plot Bunnies?

This is more of a nightmarish thing for me, honestly...

This is more of a nightmarish thing for me, honestly…