Little wonder we stumble in life.


The Ivan Project

A couple years back, I met a storyteller by the name of Ivan Coyote. At the start of one summer, I asked Ivan how to gauge whether or not I had what it takes to be an author. Ivan told me that if I could get up every day and write something—even on the days when I was miserable, uninspired, overwhelmed with writer’s block—then I could be an author.  

So I decided to put it to the test. Every morning of that summer, I woke up and wrote a complete 200-word piece of microfiction. It was hard work, but I never missed a day. On the hundredth day, I knew I could be an author if I wanted to.

This is something I read in my mailbox at Camp NaNoWriMo. And it’s a good point, and something maybe I might want to try here. I already write flash fiction often enough.

So I’ve been inspired to start something I’ll call The Ivan Project: Each day, I’ll write one piece of flash fiction of 100-200 words, for 100 days. If I succeed, then maybe I can prove to myself that I can do this.

Once I finish Camp tomorrow, starting the 1st of September, I’ll start on The Ivan Project. Anyone else who wants join me is welcome, though I’ll be starting tomorrow regardless.

Peace out, guys.

And as a side note, this.


Trifecta – Dinosaur

My words have no meaning
in this Brave New World
A dinosaur
is as real as a fairy

I am obsolete

Talking about
blood stained carpet
saying its society’s fault

(because society’s so perfect
and grown up)

But my words
are equivalent to
a meaningless roar

I am nothing but a
bitter pretender

But inside my hollow heart
a human being
raped, pillaged, plundered
squandered in my primitive world

Am I nothing but a whore
in denial?
Or is it the world?

For Trifecta. Inspired by a free verse poem by Rob that I found researching a story of mine.


Writing Right

Try to guess who this is. Just try. It’s Ron Stoppable from the kid series Kim Possible.

While writing my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo today, I was struck by a sudden thought. You might call it insecurity.

So I googled a particular term, trying to find out what kind of audience would actually care about an ‘angst’ story. I voice one thing the wrong way, and suddenly I felt like my audience would be limited.

Instead, I stumble into TV Tropes. Damn that site’s addictive.

Original insecurities soon dispelled, I realise that there is all this other world surrounding what I’ve only known as Angst in the sphere of how fanfiction defines it, and I look around, trying to learn more, worried instead that what I’m writing will just be one of those badly written things.

I really wonder what my novel would be just on its own. Maybe everyone should write that way, with no preconceptions, and just let it all speak for itself.

Then again, upon further reflection, here’s the real problem: what I’m really unsure about is the fact that the story I’m writing at the moment has limited appeal across gender (I don’t wanna be one-sided like Water For Elephants or Tin Tin), but also because, no matter what angst-ridden things I try to throw in – eating disorders, sexual assault, abusive father – it still feels a bit flat to me.

Is that something that comes with a first draft? Does fleshing a story out fix that feeling? Or is my story still missing something? My mind keeps coming back to the latter conclusion.

When I really think about it, what I’m worried about is not writing for wide audience. Shakespeare’s writing was loved widely, and he’s history’s greatest writer. I don’t want to be mediocre.

But more than that, I feel like males would be turned off by the kind of story it is. It’s not like the first book I’m still writing, which was a mix of drama and thriller. It’s just drama. Men don’t like drama.

From what I’ve read, men aren’t interested so much in personal relationships or whatnot, whereas I see that as the most important part. I characterise Plot-driven novels as male and Character-driven novels as female.

Am I just stereotyping? Because I know there is debate about this. I know men’s and women’s brains are physically different, so it’s not as though men and women aren’t different, and don’t think different. It seems I’m just still trying to figure out how men’s brains work.

(Maybe where this big insecurity came from. It figures.)

And yet, I have just considered another comparison that would probably be the closest one yet to what I’m writing. A while ago, I read a book called Lullabies for Little Criminals, and I loved it. I think this book is like that.

So I went looking for what kind of audience it got, and I found this review by ‘The Author’, a male blogger who loved it. Hope restored.

Now all I’ve gotta do is write it well.

Yes, I understand that gender can and does have blurred lines in people. For example, my dad enjoys Jane Austen.

But maybe the problem was that I wasn’t thinking in terms of individuals, I was thinking about generalised traits in men and women that I’d read about:

For example, Women are more emotional thinkers; men are more logical.

Either way, people are complicated, and gender is just one side to them. I think what I should really take away from this is don’t underestimate people.

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Trifecta – Heart

Her heart was big, pounding with force as her senses excited. Her chest heaved, large and present as their lips clashed together in a meeting of warm, wet flesh. Her breasts were warm pillows against her lover’s body, rising the heat further between them.

Her lover took a deep breath. “Are you sure this is… all right?”

“Trust me,” she said, “I want this too. It’s hot –”

“I’m 42,” said her lover. “Are you sure you don’t want… someone your own age?”

“You are hotter than any of those girls could hope to be.”

So why was her heart breaking? At the idea that she wouldn’t be enough. At the idea that someday she’d be too old…

She recaptured her lover’s lips, and she sucked back, if only to show her that she had everything right here, pressing their bodies together. “Baby, you’re more than enough,” she whispered.

Her lover gradually became more firm with her gradual teasing, and both women, 27 and 42, warmed each other through the cold night.



Hogwarts House Analysis

I found this on tumblr, while I was looking for motivation for one of my original characters. You see, ever since Harry Potter, I think of everyone, in real life or in any fandom, as belonging to a certain house. It’s like part of their characterisation now.

Here’s what it said about Gryffindor, which is this character’s house:

True Gryffindors have a very strong sense of what is right and what is wrong, and this is a part of what gives them such strong opinions. Depending on the person, this may be taken to a Borderline degree, and they may see people as either good or evil, not in between and no chance of redemption for those on the darker sides of things. Alternately, Gryffindors may see all people as being initially good, and only making the wrong choices take the down the wrong road. Both of these behaviours are why Gryffindors and Slytherins can easily clash. Gryffindors are usually incredibly intelligent, but they tend to be slackers, more focused on getting a taste of something new than sticking to responsibility. This can be their downfall from success, or quite the opposite, bringing them a rise up into something they love. Once they find their true place in the world, Gryffindors will often use their accomplishments to the benefit of others in some form or fashion. Actors, singers and athletes can often be classified as Gryffindors. Despite their good intentions, they can also quite often be ill-tempered and overly emotional, which is their Achilles’ Heel in most instances. A darker Gryffindor may become out of control because of this, hurting those they love or holding a grudge for many years. This is simply based upon my opinion and obviously does not apply to everyone within every house. Do not take this too seriously as to get offended by anything I say. If you enjoy this and wish for me to analyze combined houses, like this post.

On a related note, I am on Pottermore, and a Slytherin there, and I just saw this on a linked tumblr account:

The winner of the first Pottermore House Cup: Slytherin!

My reaction? YESSSSSS!

PS As a person who used to identify as Ravenclaw, they really should have more than quotes on their tumblr. Sure, I love their quotes as much as anyone (though they’re not as awesome as Slytherin’s), but its no 16 Reasons You’re Not A Nerd.

PPS This is what Kristina Horner should put on her tumblr:


Road Tripping Through Camp NaNoWriMo

I’m afraid I haven’t been on my blog at all this month, and that is because I’ve been focusing all my attention on Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and moving up to Brisbane (which I do tomorrow; I will blog about that later).

For anyone who’s ever read my post on the Trifecta Community, will probably know of the metaphor for writing I wrote about for Question 6:

6. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

 One author wrote a pep talk once in which she compared writing a novel to travelling from Sydney to Perth (on the ground, not by plane, thank you very much).

At first, you’re in the city, and it’s easy, and it feels as though you could keep on going and going. Then the suburbs, and you’re winding down a little, but you’re still writing.

Then you hit desert. And it stretches out for endless kilometres, and you may find yourself crossing paths where other authors have been through, or you may make your own. And you’ll be lost out there for so long, that you may want to head back.

Don’t. Keep going, and eventually you’ll hit the other side. You’ll be moving through suburbs again. And then you’ll hit the city, and you’ll be able to celebrate for a job well done.

I have now read another pep talk that expands that metaphor, which I wanted to remember:

There are two types of road trippers: the ones who leave with a printed and laminated itinerary, an alphabetized suitcase, and six dozen audio books to pass the time. Then there are those who throw some clean underwear in a bag, fill up the car with gas, and head out on the road to see where adventure takes them.

These two road trips might look pretty different on the outside, just as the noveling process changes from the perspective of a pantser or a planner. But the magical thing about road trips and novels is that no matter how you go into them, you end up on a voyage of discovery that you would never have experienced if you hadn’t stepped outside your front door or written that first word.

There are times when you think you might barf if you have to climb back into your car for even one more mile. There are days when you don’t think you can type another word. You get stuck in traffic or blow out a tire in a pothole, or realise that nothing is actually happening in your novel or blow out a storyline in a plot hole.

But then there are the days where you stumble across that spot off the beaten path, where the views are magnificent and the drinks are cold. There are the people you meet in your travels, whether they’re old friends or new ones. There is that daily, hourly, constant reminder of how much world exists outside your front door.

And when you’re writing a novel, there is the daily, hourly, constant reminder of how much world exists in your imagination. So grab that road trip mix CD, and let’s set out on the road to see where our novels take us. The whole world is waiting for us.

Let’s just hope that this doesn’t happen to you on your way… Though it would be a bit of a muse.

Speaking of muses, I just stumbled across something called Musefic. A useful tool unblocking yourself perhaps, but not something I’d publish online or anywhere else. It looks helpful, but it’s not exactly serious prose.

What do you think?