1. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA

    Izzybot's Iterations

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by izzybot, Apr 20, 2018.

    I've been thinking for a while about making one of these instead of just lurking on everyone else's, so here we are. Hopefully it works as motivation! Normally I just yell into the void about my writing, and the void doesn't have very good active listening skills as it turns out.

    My current projects are:

    Eerie Pleasant -- An erotic, queer, m/m novella based loosely on the Ballad of Tam Lin. It was supposed to be more closely based on the ballad but I was like ... eh. I'd like to publish this one, but I know it's a pretty niche market, so I'll be content to selfpub it at some point, I think. It's currently at ~34k and about two-thirds of the way finished -- three remaining out of a planned nine chapters, but I'm not sure how that's going to translate to word count, so I don't have a goal per se. Also, I don't know a goddamn thing about erotica or novellas, so I'm absolutely winging this :D

    Eerie Pleasant is a sort of mirror version of the ballad, where instead of Janet saving Tam Lin from the Fairy Queen, Tam (who is a faun in my version because ... I wanted to) makes it his mission to whisk the main character, a young closeted trans man named Julian, away to the Faerieland to escape his abusive father, who is also a crime lord who wants to marry his 'daughter' off to strengthen an alliance with a fellow Crime Family™.

    (Listen, I definitely know what I'm talking about, shut up.)

    The third main character is Alexander, the Crime Boy™ Julian's father wants him to marry, who as it turns out is actually pretty dreamy and not so bad -- and has some hidden depths of his own. Maybe Julian would rather stay in the human world? Maybe he'd rather flee to Faerie? Conflict! Also, just a whole lot of smut.

    Apostate -- This one is entirely for me. When I'm in a slump writing-wise I like to take one of my established stories/universes and go, "What if this happened instead?" and make AUs for my own projects. Sometimes I end up liking the AU better and it becomes canon, hahah. Not in this case, though! Apostate is going to be too long to be a short story (it's already ~7.5k) but probably not novella length, but it doesn't really matter since I don't think it's marketable. It's just fun.

    Apostate centers on my guy Ishmael, a very AWOL US Marine who works for this shady, cult-like quasi-terrorist group whose stated goal is to make the world better through any means necessary. Ishmael joins them after being impressed by the cult leader and becoming highly disillusioned with his then-current work for the US government. As he spends more time with the Organization (it's a very creative name, I know), he becomes quite disillusioned with them as well -- something everyone but him could've seen coming -- but he's burned all of his bridges and has nowhere else to really go, so he sticks with it. Besides which, he is actually still strongly under the thrall of the cult leader, Suren. Apostate is a what-if about the circumstances that would cause him to finally lose faith in and turn his back on Suren.

    A key figure in these goings-on is Angel, a somewhat mysterious young man with some value to the Organization that he doesn't really understand himself. In Apostate, he and Ish meet five years later than they do in canon -- by this point Ishmael is much more jaded and worn down, and Angel has led a significantly different life without Ishmael's protective influence. These are two characters who in canon play a huge role in saving each other from themselves, and I love to see how a similar arc could work out under very different circumstances.

    Ishmael also has what we can call a complicated relationship with Suren, which I'm going to get to explore in this in a way I haven't in canon. His reverent devotion for Suren is the main thing that's keeping him not only attached to the Org but alive in the alternate universe of Apostate, so breaking that bond and seeing how it affects not only Ish but also Suren, who regards Ishmael as an adored favorite plaything/pet of sorts, is very compelling to me.

    Love At First Smite -- The fantasy/mystery/romance deconstruction novel I wrote last spring. I did a lot of editing over the summer but ultimately decided that I just needed to completely rewrite the final fifth of it, and due to a combination of one of my betas flaking out on me, my laptop being out of commission for about four months, and some family nonsense, I completely lost steam on it. The 'finished' version was at 98k and after I chopped the ending off, it was down to 80k, so I reckon I've got about 20-25k to make up. It's incredibly daunting. I keep telling myself I'm going to get back to it and I never do ._.

    LAFS (it has a proper name but I just always call it LAFS now because it amuses me) is in a vaguely medieval fantasy setting with an original magic system -- as original as a magic system can be these days -- and it has two protagonists. One is Merric, a wandering sellsword, and the other is Sham, a powerful wizard. Merric and Sham have what I like to call a meet-ugly, help each other out, and Merric develops something of an infatuation with Sham. This isn't uncommon for him (a massive romantic), but after a while of tagging along with them despite them vocally not wanting him to and claiming to be on some secretive mission, Merric realizes that he shouldn't like them at all. They're kind of objectively an asshole. But he seems to be compelled to stay with them -- it obviously isn't Sham who's compelling him, but it certainly seems to be magic. Anyway, friendship happens somewhere along the way, somehow. That's probably the real mystery, honestly.

    I've also got this novella beta-named Thalassophobia about a merman sort of on the backburner. I was close to done with it when I realized that I needed to rework the whole thing, decided to just start over, and kind of lost interest.

    Oh yeah, and because of my obsession with interconnected stories, Eerie Pleasant, Apostate (the canon version, anyway), and Thalassophobia all take place in the same Earth-approximate world. Eerie Pleasant is set in about 1995, Apostate in 2016, Thalassophobia in probably about 2019. Does this matter at all? Nope! Do I love it? Absolutely!

    Getting back to and finishing LAFS is my ultimate goal, but I do also really want to finish Eerie Pleasant first, because it'll be less nerve-wracking work. Since Apostate is just for funsies, it doesn't really matter if I finish it or not -- I might lose interest and abandon it and that'd be fine. Thalassophobia ... I dunno.

    ... And I feel like I've talked entirely too much now, so I'm going to stop!
     
  2. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    966
    Likes Received:
    1,161
    Well, you got your summer writing list. Get cracking!
     
    Shenanigator and izzybot like this.
  3. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    My brain has been a dumpster fire over the past couple days, but I got my shit together long enough to focus on writing for a bit. Since I managed to start, I told myself I had to write 1k, and ended up at about 1200. I still hold myself to my old standard of 3k a day, but can't complain given it's been a few days since I was able to do any at all.

    Today's work was in Apostate, because it's the comforting, inconsequential junk that's on the level I'm currently operating at -- but I did also figure out where I want to go next with Eerie Pleasant, so that's in the cards soonish.

    For today, though, I got to do a fun little interaction between two incredibly emotionally constipated idiots, whom I love and am determined to make into friends. It's fun to write Ishmael in this AU because he's very socially intelligent, but at this point very rusty when it comes to actually acting like a human in human society. He picks up on little cues in body language and tone and translates them into meaning with no problem, but when it comes to actually responding to his partner in this venture, Roman, he blanks. He's genuinely surprised when he accidentally says something funny and she laughs about it.

    The next little bit'll be between Ishmael and Angel, and those are always fun, but I didn't feel like writing another scene. I kinda know how I want to end this chapter / what I'm building towards, and it's going to be some heavy stuff, but there'll be at least one or two interim scenes, so that won't be for a couple more days, I expect.
     
  4. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 The Queen of Nowhere

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2017
    Messages:
    410
    Likes Received:
    493
    Good job! It always feels so great when you write more then you planed to.
     
    Shenanigator, Stormburn and izzybot like this.
  5. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    About 19oow tonight, and Apostate broke 10k! I was struggling to get through the 1k I was making myself do again, but once I got through one scene and into another, it flowed quite nicely.

    The main attraction this session was a conversation between Ishmael and Angel. Since this is from Ish's perspective in a fairly close third, we're privy to the thoughts behind his words -- his goal in this conversation was to get whatever information he could out of the kid, but also to 'bond' with him so that he can more easily control and manipulate him. He does have some genuine concern and empathy for Angel, but at this point he mostly just wants the kid to think they're friends because that'll make things easier for Ish across the board. A hostage who feels safe and content is one who won't be too much of a flight risk.

    What I realized while I was writing, though, is that Angel is absolutely playing the same game. With it being an AU and all, I know these characters very well, but exactly what aspects of their personalities I want to highlight is kind of up in the air. I'd initially intended for Angel to genuinely be a terrified kid who just wants to placate his captors, but nope -- it's going to be way more interesting if he's knowingly going along with it and playing up his own doe-eyed innocence to make Ishmael pity him.

    And Ishmael is currently falling for this hook, line, and sinker, because he's got a soft spot for a pretty, teary-eyed face. Which is part of why these two are such a fun duo for me to play with -- they constantly push each other's buttons just by virtue of who they are.

    The next scene is still going to be pretty emotionally heavy, but it's going to be a lot more fun knowing that Angel is using his own tragedy to ply sympathy points out of Ish. Not sure yet if Ish ever gets to find out he's being played >: D
     
    Shenanigator and Stormburn like this.
  6. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Well, this morning's epiphany is that Eerie Pleasant -- the porn story -- pretty closely follows the hero's journey :rofl:

    After a quick google to refresh my memory, I can confirm that it quite neatly falls into three-act structure, as well.

    I am, apparently, just that good.
     
  7. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    About 2200 in Eerie Pleasant tonight! It'd been almost a month since I'd worked on it -- didn't realize it'd been that long. I'd forgotten that I'd stopped off partway through an 'intermission' section (ie, a non-smut section), and I didn't really remember exactly what I'd intended to accomplish plot-wise in that bit, so I kinda just winged it for a while. It turned into a lot of dialogue that I'm pretty happy with! Managed to include two little tidbits that I'd actually kinda given up on being able to include organically. I might want to go back and beef up the narrative a little so it's less talking head style, but I'm not complaining about over 2k words in something I hadn't really looked at in a month. Actually might work on it a bit more, since I initially picked it back up because I got inspired to write the next scene, but I'm definitely going to take a bit of a break. I ain't got shit to do tomorrow -- I can write all night :D

    Context: mc Julian has a protective older brother -- who is also an enforcer for the local mob and legitimately dangerous, and who doesn't completely trust Julian's betrothed.

    “You’re gonna be be stuck with him.” Jason cracked a smile. “I don’t wanna have to start shit.”

    “No, no,” Julian said hastily, but couldn’t help grinning. “Don’t start shit. It’s always taking people out and making it look like an accident with you.”

    Jason laughed. “Is that what I sound like?”

    “Sometimes.”

    “Well, I didn’t say I was gonna kill him or anything. I mean …” He gave Julian a meaningful look.

    “Don’t murder my fiance!”

    Jason put his hands up. “Only if you ask me to.”​
     
  8. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Got about 3k into Eerie Pleasant over the past couple days, but I'm not sure how much of it might just be throat-clearing that gets chopped up in editing later on -- some of it feels a bit meandery, but then I am trying to impart a sense of time passing, and I'm not sure if I want to efficiently knock that out with some select telling, or give more of a 'feel' of it with some showing.

    Either way, I'm happy with the fact that I've made some progress. It's really close to 40k now, which is completely meaningless objectively, but damned if those 10k markers don't feel good to get through. Plus, I thought of an emotional beat to include in the next scene that'll make the ending a little tidier, I think.
     
    Shenanigator likes this.
  9. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    I named a character that I thought was unimportant in Apostate after a Batman character because it gave me a good chortle, but now he keeps coming up and I just have to try to keep a straight face about it. Sure, I could rename him, but ... he's Falcone now.

    The mc of Eerie Pleasant was actually originally named Johan, and for some reason when I gave the first chapter that next-day edit, I hated it and immediately changed it to Julian. For that matter, Julian's brother Jason was named off-the-cuff and I only semi-recently realized that their names probably shouldn't be so similar -- and I don't have any particular aversion to renaming Jason.

    But Falcone, the idiot who died on page one? Yup, that one really stuck for some reason -_-
     
    Shenanigator and Dragon Turtle like this.
  10. Dragon Turtle

    Dragon Turtle Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2018
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    351
    I have absolutely gotten attached to silly placeholder names. Why are they like that?!
     
    izzybot and John-Wayne like this.
  11. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    [​IMG]
     
    Dragon Turtle and John-Wayne like this.
  12. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    966
    Likes Received:
    1,161
    Maybe because they are fun? or they are place holders so it doesn't matter what they say? the reasons are to many to pin point. :p .
     
    Dragon Turtle likes this.
  13. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Stalled out over the past couple days. I don't feel up to LAFS but I'm not really interested in Apostate or EP at the moment -- so of course my brain reminds me of another story I thought about writing quite a while back but never did, and hey, what if we started on something shiny and new?

    Terrible idea of course. I'm still trying to talk myself out of it. Or into it. One or the other.

    Although I did also take my own advice of just throwing in something unexpected/unplanned and that kinda got me interested in EP's immediate direction, so I should probably just follow that thread instead. But ... shiny and new.
     
    Shenanigator likes this.
  14. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    So last night I wrote 4k words!

    In something that is absolutely none of my current projects :dead:


    edit to avoid the rapid double post:

    Trying to turn my focus back on actual work ... I'm having trouble with this latter part of Eerie Pleasant because there's more plot to be dealt with and -- frankly -- it's biting into the smut time. The thing was meant to be porn from the jump, but I got interested in it and decided to flesh out the story some more, and the darkest hour (I wasn't joking about how it follows the hero's journey) is literally the longest stretch without any smut. On the one hand, it's because that's when the mc is cut off from his love interests so there's just no opportunity for it, but it's also the darkest hour because him being cut off from his closest confidantes is, y'know, sad.

    The problem is that I'm concerned this sort of home stretch (there are two sex scenes left before the climax) is going to be relatively dry of the good stuff because I'm giving the plot more space. I guess my worry is that no one's really going to be that interested in the plot, so it's going to be a chore to get through.

    And the new idea I had that got me interested in writing it again would actually put off the next sex scene more, which is clearly not the solution ... Although talking it out to myself I may have come up with one that incorporates the new idea without withholding a sex scene. Ha, see, I knew this thing would come in handy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
    Shenanigator likes this.
  15. eidolo

    eidolo Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2017
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    9
    Angel seems like an interesting character. I'd like to hear more about him.
     
  16. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Thanks! He's definitely one of my favorites to write about. In his canon he's honestly a bit more of a dipshit (I say this with love), but in Apostate he's had both more time and more necessity to fine tune his ability to manipulate people. He's always very good at getting himself into trouble and in canon Ishmael comes along at a convenient time to start bailing him out, whereas in Apostate he had to start learning how to do it himself -- which meant some pretty bad decisions and a lot more trouble to figure out how to deal with.

    But he's a little cockroach motherfucker. You can't get rid of him. No kidding -- in canon he literally survives the end of the world (spoilers :D), and it's entirely because he ingratiated himself with much more competent people like Ish, 'cause the boy is all but useless in an apocalypse scenario. Or any scenario he can't weasel his way out of by either crying or batting his eyelashes, really, hahah. I love'im.
     
    Shenanigator likes this.
  17. eidolo

    eidolo Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2017
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    9
    Not what I was expecting. But I relate to this character, so I give the approves. I'd like to read about him and his adventures :)
     
    izzybot likes this.
  18. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    2,269
    Likes Received:
    2,659
    Location:
    Here, There, and Everywhere
    Oh, I know that one! My rock star story has been living as notes in a notebook for a good 15 years, and only now when I'm trying to finish my first novel does this character insist she wants to come out of the notebook and become her novel. I keep having to stuff her back in there to try to shut her up so I can finish this novel first.

    I'm taking notes on the ideas and writing bits of it, but mainly working on the theory that if they're any good, flow will happen when I'm ready to focus.
     
  19. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    It always goes that way, right? I didn't even take notes on my shiny new thing back when I had the initial idea because I didn't think it had legs, but my brain dredged it up and waved it in my face insistently anyway. At least the itch was scratched by throwing away a night's worth of work on it :rolleyes: I still don't think the bastard's got legs.

    The last time I tried to do NaNo, I was all prepped and ready and psyched up to write my urban fantasy mystery novel ... and then on November first my brain was like, "Hey, what about your robot-centric sci-fi heist story, though?" and I was completely unable to focus on anything else. I didn't even have the vaguest outline for that project, either -- character concepts and a loose idea of the climax. And of course, once I was sufficiently derailed from NaNo, I lost interest in writing the sf heist again. Brains, man. They're the worst.
     
    Shenanigator likes this.
  20. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    After doing exactly no writing today, I found notes instructing future-Izzy to make this image, so ...

    Untitled.jpg

    Angel on the left, Ishmael on the right. In canon they're friends who develop a relationship over the course of several years, but in Apostate the process is sped up due to some extreme circumstances. This was all I could think of when I realized the actual timescale that it takes place over. Every time I think about it, it makes me laugh. I am a simple idiot.

    ... That's my creative output for the day!
     
    Dragon Turtle and Shenanigator like this.
  21. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Another distinctly non-productive day. Thanks, brain! I wasn't hoping to be able to maintain focus and interest on anything for a while, anyway ._.

    A couple days ago I was thinking about how many characters I have, all total. I used to keep in-depth character lists, but I lost track of it half a dozen projects ago, so I knew it'd've grown since then. The last count I remembered, though, was in the range of 200 -- 200 named characters of varying degrees of development. So, I decided to look back over the old lists and do some updating. I ... definitely have a problem.

    Apocverse -- 90
    Killerverse: 41
    UFverse: 35
    Epoch: 14​

    SFverse -- 114
    BDS: 85
    Pulse: 6
    Piradical: 11
    other: 12​

    LAFS -- 18

    Heroverse -- 77

    misc: 16

    total: 315

    Izzy that's definitely too many. Stop it.

    Some of the ones from BDS (the Big Damn Story) are, to be fair, probably going to be written out as that 'verse is under heavy construction at the moment. Maybe about twenty of'em -- an entire arc / major plot thread is being largely dropped, so there's gonna be casualties. On the other hand, the replacement for that arc may bring in different, new characters. I'll also no doubt pick some more up in UFverse, because I have two planned trilogies in that setting and I only have half of it outlined. So even losing some in SFverse, and even if I never do any more new projects, I think the 300+ is here to stay.

    Man, and I remember when I broke 200 and was like, "Izzy, stop." Plainly that asshole didn't listen then, either.
     
    Dragon Turtle and Shenanigator like this.
  22. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    I drudged my way through about 1000w in Eerie Pleasant last night and finally managed to cap off the scene I'd been working on. It's now at just over 42k. Hoping that moving onto the next scene will make things a bit easier. The next scene is a deviation from my outline, though, so I'm going to have to figure out how to make the pacing work, and the whole break-away from the plan makes my entire brain screech at me, so that's fun. Can't serve the dual masters of "appeasing my brain's addiction to patterns" and "actually writing a good story" all the time.

    In the part of my notes where I keep track of minor plot points / bonus details I thought of and was trying to figure out how to include, I discovered that apparently past Izzy decided that Antagonist B had been "portrayed as enough of a fuckhead" already, and the main character he'd've been antagonizing "doesn't need to have more implied suffering." I'm deferring to past Izzy for now, but ... I do love implied suffering ...

    All of those minor plot points are wrapped up, though! Happy about that.

    So what phase of the hero's journey are we in, now? There's an intermission and then two more chapters left. We're definitely somewhere in the return -- I'd say teetering between the ultimate boon and the refusal to return. I still can't believe how well it fits. That shit cracks me up.
     
    Dragon Turtle and Shenanigator like this.
  23. izzybot

    izzybot A Menace Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,228
    Likes Received:
    3,190
    Location:
    SC, USA
    About 2700w in an unrelated project tonight -- unpublishable but fun to write, and words are words. Since I've been in a slump, I'm reminding myself that anything's better than nothing. (Even if that 'anything' is absolutely unfit for human eyes.) Sometimes it's helpful to just step away from the important stuff and write some one-off nonsense. Again, this is what I'm telling myself :rolleyes:
     
  24. GB reader

    GB reader Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    319
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    In the end we write for ourselfs.
     
    Shenanigator and izzybot like this.
  25. Dragon Turtle

    Dragon Turtle Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2018
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    351
    Keep telling it to yourself, because it's true! There are no wasted words. It's all practice, and it's so important to keep having fun.

    Also, this is hot on my mind since I'm reading How We Learn by Benedict Carey, and the chapter I'm on now talks about the importance of long breaks away from creative projects to let things percolate and allow new insights to form. Cognitive science is on your side!
     
    izzybot and Shenanigator like this.

Share This Page