Tag Archives: argh

Anxiety, getting it wrong and being scared

I’m scared.

I keep seeing posts on my Facebook from LGBTQ* feeds – which I like having, as they give me a different POV, a different worldview, which I seriously need. But every time I see one, I get a little knot of nerves in my stomach. It’s usually a complaint about how someone’s got it wrong, a lecture on how to do it right, a PSA on what words to use.

If I’m struggling with anxiety – which I am today – I just want to cry.

I’m going to get it wrong. I’m going to be in so much trouble. Everyone’s going to yell at me.

I write a trans* character in No Man’s Land. Ghost was born with male genitals, but doesn’t want surgery, and she uses female pronouns. One lovely friend gave me the words that fit; trans-feminine non-binary.

I’ve basically gone with what felt right for the character. Ghost is her own person, her own personality; she doesn’t want to fit in to a mold. She’s outside the rules of her particular society anyway thanks to her talent (being able to see invisible things is gonna make your worldview a little weird) and her sarcasm, general no-shit attitude and snarky personality make her stand out already. It doesn’t feel off to me to have her non-conforming to gender attitudes; she is what she is. She doesn’t want female genitals or attributes – not that she likes the male ones, but eh, it’s a body – but prefers female pronouns. She doesn’t really consider herself anything other than herself.

And I’m scared that I’ve Got It Wrong.

I have tried to research. I have, over the years, read a lot of different perspectives, and I try to keep up to date now. But when everything I read is telling me off, lecturing me, telling me I’m wrong…but there’s so many different perspectives anyway, and everyone’s got different ideas…

*curls into a ball*

I’m going to keep writing anyway, damnit. But it’s fucking hard.

I’m also scared in a wider sense. Again, I’m going to get yelled at – I’m constantly told that I’m privileged, that I’m not allowed to be scared, that other people are worse off than me, that because I’m white and living in a relatively stable country, I’m not permitted to feel scared. But the world, and life, is fucking terrifying me right now.

I don’t know if I want to live in this country. I don’t know how to help, how to change things, how to make my voice heard. I vote. I try to support causes that I believe in. I try to add my voice. But I’m not naturally an outgoing person, and – as you may have guessed from this post – I hate putting my voice out in case I Get It Wrong. I always have. I’ve gotten better over the years, but it’s still a major part of my personality. And I’m feeling lost for what I can do that will make a difference.

I don’t like this country. I don’t like this government. I hate that people all over the world are being abandoned, their health is being compromised, their rights removed – for, it seems, money, or religious beliefs. It just seems insane to me that you’d let something like the NHS fail. It seems insane to me that universal healthcare is so hated in the US. It seems insane to me that someone could be hated simply because of who they love or what religion they subscribe to. I hate the idea of control of ideas, of restricted access to information, of banning websites and using tracking and censorship in the name of protection. I hate that so much money is wasted on defense systems when those with disabilities are being told they’re scroungers and made to fight for a basic survival need. I hate that immigrants are being turned away simply because they’re Not From Here, greenfield sites are being turned into housing when older buildings are being left to rot, teachers and healthcare professionals are ridiculously underpaid when those making more money than they could ever spend are allowed to hide it. The world feels like it’s going mad; I know it could be far, far worse, but it’s still scary right now.

Apparently I’m in a minority for thinking all of that.

And I’m scared. My personal life is a mass of shifting sands and uncertain decisions; I’ve had a shitty two years on a personal level, and I’m now looking into the face of another year of hard work and hard choices, and I’ve got no idea where I’m going or if I’m doing the right thing. My country feels like it’s slowly going mad. My writing feels like it’s treading a path between offending everyone and trying to give representation and support to people who don’t get it. It’s feeling pretty overwhelming.

If you want to comment, you’re welcome – just keep it civil, please. If you want to contact me privately for any reason my Twitter is the best way.

I don’t often talk politics or gender on here and I’m not likely to continue – so if you’ve got this far then thank you for reading. Normal schedule will resume once my stupid brain stops over-worrying about everything!

On holes and word counts

Pettry - irithyll
Image from http://pettry.tumblr.com/

It’s No Man’s Sky (not the game, my work-in-progress) causing problems. Again.

I’m 33k in, and I’ve hit a problem. The plot as it stands will take me to about 50k, which – while excellent – is not 70k. Soooo, I need to add words, while still keeping the plot that I think works quite well.

I temporarily laid the work aside, because the worst thing you can do when you know you have a problem is keep writing. It means you end up with a whole load of words going in the wrong direction and then you have to scrap them, which is even more frustrating. So I’ve temporarily halted while I have a think.

My problem is essentially that I like the beginning and the end of the story, but the middle needs more problems: Arran gets from A to C with only a few minor issues in B. I laid out the plot to work out where I could add things, and picked out three points that could be extended; a stay in a Fairy Castle, a stay with the Green Knight, and an incident with a tricky Maiden.

The Fairy Castle stay could be extended, but that will simply add one chapter; that’s fine, it’ll add to the story, so I’ll do that anyway. The Green Knight…ok, let’s just put that aside right now. But the incident with the Maiden…yes, that’d work. Currently, Arran encounters a problem, returns to somewhere he’s been before and purchases what he needs, and then continues. My solution to more words is to make it harder for him to purchase that item. That also means he’s travelling with an additional companion (a very annoying six-year-old) for longer, which will be thoroughly amusing.

Pettry image
Image from http://pettry.tumblr.com/

So, yay, solution! Except I’m now stuck with the problem that I don’t know where he would get that item in the story-world. I’m diving back into research and fairy tales to try to find someone who would buy and sell years, or has that sort of magic, or would present a solution. This may tie into the Green Knight – that area wasn’t entirely fleshed anyway so that’s why it went on hold. But it means I’m nose-deep in fairy tales instead of adding to my wordcount, not that it’s a bad thing as I like fairy tales.

So that’s my thought process when it comes to this particular problem. My course of action in addition to researching is going to be to pick up the story where I can in the last third, and write that while I think about the middle; I know that any action before that probably isn’t going to affect the plot for the final third, so hopefully my word count will start creeping up again!

Also…just sayin’.

On October and things…

Pokemon GoFirst thing for October’s news: I’m giving Pokemon Go a try. I’ve got friends who play it but so far, I’d been resisting because:

a) I dislike having the location enabled on my phone because I don’t know who it’s telling
b) I suspect the app drinks battery and data
c) I didn’t play Pokemon as a child and therefore my idea of them is “that one that looks a bit like [insert real animal here] with extra [insert appendage]” rather than names, and I don’t make excited squeaky noises at the thought of catching something that looks like a ping-pong ball and a ferret had mad babies. I just…no.

However, the reason I’m now having a go at it is because I need something to get me out of the house, and if hatching a small blue dragon is what’s going to do that, then, well…ok then!

And on to the Second Thing. I quit my job as a Library Adviser.

I’ve been officially Not Doing Well at it since I re-started after my holiday (hah) in August. I’d spent a month doing web dev as part of that (failed) holiday, which was stressful in its own way, but I loved doing. And then suddenly back into a customer service environment with no answers and little support and a whole load of new things happening…I think the break made me realise how badly I was coping (it wasn’t like I’d been doing great before, I was just managing) and then I had two Really Shit days and just…

Soooo…yeah. I’m not quite panicking about it yet; I’ve been ill for the past week (thanks, stress and immune system!) so that’s been taking a toll and I’ve mostly just been ignoring the whole situation so that I don’t get miserable about it. But overall, I’m not actually too bothered as I’ve realised library work is just a Thing, not a Passion. I’m going to be looking for temp work, but also…

Third thing: I’m starting my own editing business. Or more specifically, I’m going to give the whole editing / proofreading / copyediting / typesetting thing a try. I know I can do it all, considering I’ve been taking on more over the past year, so I figured now is as good a time as any to try to turn something I love into something I get paid to do! I’m also going to be doing more writing and some web dev work with my housemate, who heard I was quitting and promptly gave me three projects to look at. He loves me really.

PidgeeThe boys have both been really supportive (if a little confused about the whole Pokemon Go thing, as they didn’t play it either) and Frankie has been happy that he’ll have a choice of human cushions to sleep on from November. I’ve got a bit of work to set up the business but I do have some things already in place, so…watch this space, I guess!

The most exciting part of the whole thing for me has been the possibility of setting up my own little office down in the snug. I need to sort my desk out, find a suitable chair…I’ve got my windowsill anyway (which is where I’m currently writing) but I figure having a Working Place is a good idea! Yay for re-organisation!

Ps. My Pokemon collection so far mostly involved Pidgees. I’m slowly working my way up the levels in the hope of getting more exciting things…

On the downside of writing

This is being written while I’m feeling thoroughly grumpy, so by the time you actually speak to me in real-time again, I’ll probably be my usual…cheerful?…self. But right now, BAH. Possibly even HUMBUG.

I might have to junk another book.

Book 6 of the GreenSky series, Desert Sands & Silence, went to my editor for thoughts. He picked two big holes in the beginning and the second half, and I agreed that he was right; I needed to fix them.

Fixing them is apparently more of an issue than I thought.

The problems at the beginning are in the detail, and with the timings, so that’s requiring pick-apart-and-amend at sentence level. And the problems of the second half are going to rip a character out, but then…what do I replace her with? I can’t just infill, it’s taking about 10k words out – and as the novella’s tightly plotted and packed, I can’t just expand what I’ve already got. I don’t do waffle.

I just made a start at fixing, and it’s left me feeling dispirited and annoyed. I’ve been putting off doing this edit anyway, and now…

So I’m wondering if I need to go back to the plotting stages. Redo the timeline, redo what everyone is doing, work out who and what I’m going to follow for the last half of the book. And unfortunately, that does mean junking most of my current book, as it’s too bitty and too bound up in the current plot to be able to use. I estimate I’ll maybe be able to take half of it out.

So…bleh.

Watch this space, I guess.

On planning issues and killing people

Not real people. I don’t kill real people. The blood’s too hard to clear up, and finding places to bury the bodies these days? Bah.

Fictional people, now, they’re usually much easier to kill…except when my feelings get in the way. Or I’m not sure who to kill, which is the case with No Man’s Land at the moment. Although that’s not strictly correct – I know who I want to kill. It’s just working out where they should be and where they should die to have maximum effect on my main character…

This is one of the first novels I’ve ever plotted to any degree, and so it’s a bit of a learning curve for me. Usually, I write sections and then shove them together and work out the bits in between and then hey presto, story! In the case of Crystals & Communications (book 9 of GreenSky and my last NaNo) I just sat down and wrote it, which was a little freaky. But I don’t usually have many notes, headings, an idea of where it’s heading.

In the case of No Man’s Land, I had plot points. A PLN. Sections. No Man’s Sky seems to be heading that way too. I have this strange feeling I’m turning into a Writer….

Anyway! I’ve reached the last third of the novel, and while I know roughly what I want to happen, I brought one of my characters up to join Ghost in York, and then thought….hmm. I’m not entirely sure I like this. It spoils the interaction between Ghost and one of the other characters; it makes the third character peripheral. I’m not entirely sure it’s giving the vibe I want.

So I’m currently Pondering. What can I do within the constraints of character movement that I have? Could I send someone else up to York, or no-one? Would a death at a distance have the same impact? Do I actually have to remove that particular character at that point?

The other fun little thing is that this book has some mind-fucks in it, and I’m just starting to put them in. There’s going to be two nice links into No Man’s Sky, too, which I’m internally giggling over. I don’t usually play games with my readers, but in this case, it’s quite a lot of fun!

Yeah, I’m evil. But only in fictional worlds.