lhskarka: (Wonder Woman)
But I am working on it.

I decided to finish up the sample stuff I had started for that game, and have it ready, just in case the opportunity presented itself to audition with the new company that's taking the license. So that's done. Nothing may come of it, but I will at least have tried.

And in other news, I actually did some of the sewing that I had set aside in my new project-oriented sewing system. Nothing big. But compared to the zero sum creativity of this year, it feels huge.

Am also back on track with some research for a short story I wrote last year that I want to expand into a YA novel.

So I think maybe I needed that day long crying jag.

*Looks into the future. Trudges towards it.*
lhskarka: (Novel)
Posting here, because hey, it's mostly private these days. I can't stop crying today.

Six years ago, my husband acquired a fantastic license to do a role-playing game based in a friend's award winning fictional world. A world that I LOVE. A writer that I really admire, both as an author and a person.

Because he had other projects that he was working on that needed his attention first, my husband asked me to do the research, and write up the world descriptions, i.e. the bulk of the game book. Character and race types, regional descriptions, various in-world organizations. He had a strong concept for it that played exactly to my strengths, involving historical research, in-world knowledge, and strong descriptive writing skills.

That's me. Those are my skills. Supposedly.

I did the reading, made my notes. Slowly. There was nothing to stop me to from writing it all up. But other projects got pushed back, and we weren't going to publish any time soon, so I let the actual writing stall out. I thought about it all the time, but I didn't do it. Except for an embarrassingly tiny amount of sample pages. For six years. Just yesterday, as I posted here about cleaning my office and getting my writing desk cleared up, the FIRST thing I had on my agenda to write was this game. I was feeling excited about it, looking forward to the new year, when I was sure we would finally publish. I was looking forward to finally feeling like I had contributed something to the business. Something well done. Something that would help us financially. Something I had actually, finally created.

Then this morning, as if the universe had felt me thinking about it and decided to squash me like a bug, I got a call from my husband. The author is taking his license back. Because we've had it for six years, and he knows another game designer who is ready to do a game right away. They were even willing to give credit, and pay, for anything I had already done.

Except. Nothing. Sample pages and a book of handwritten notes. That's it. For six years. And now I've lost my chance. It's gone, and I'm the one who wasted it.

I have never felt more like a creative fraud than I do today.
lhskarka: (Wonder Woman)
I have been stuck in a creative and accomplishment dead zone for most of the past year. And probably for a few years before that. I have been intensely frustrated by this for ALL of that time, but knowing WHAT I need to do hasn't helped with HOW to go about doing it.

As a friend said recently about struggling with her own issues, what I have lacked is strategy. No matter how many lists I came up with of Things to Do, I totally lacked a plan for how to accomplish them. So what I had were lists of ideas with nothing crossed off, and this sort of burning anger at myself for failing at being the creative person that I know I am.

But no strategy. So I searched Pinterest for some. And I found one, from a seamstress who packages all of her projects into "kits" ahead of time, so when she has time to work on something, she can get right to it, without wasting time searching for supplies.

This applies directly to my issues, as I had simply crammed 3/4s of my fabric and sewing and art supplies into an overflowing closet in our too-small three-use office space. Which gave me a lot of ideas, but meant that any time I wanted to work on something, I had to spend an hour digging out what I needed for it.

So this weekend, I decided on a strategy. I came up with a simple list, of projects that I want/need to get done in the next six months. New stuff, repairs or alterations to old stuff. Not a very long list, really. Then I sorted through the GIANT PILE of supplies and fabric, picked out what I needed for those projects only, and then packed everything else up and moved it to the basement. That stuff is heavy. I'm sure it qualified as a workout. Then I put everything in easy reach in my newly empty closet. There's a lot more room in that room now. (Side bonus.)

The second part of the strategy is that I can't get out any other stuff until at least half of the things in the closet have been finished and removed to new uses.

We'll see how this goes. If I STILL don't sew after this, I may need to have an extensive yard sale - or a bonfire. But last night, for the first time in ages, I actually did some sewing.

Next up: My WRITING desk. Fingers crossed!
lhskarka: (Books)
Right, so here's a link to the story I mentioned earlier:

Jade Ghost Story

Also, here's an inspirational post on writing and fear of failure: Fail Better. by John Remy at Inkpunks
lhskarka: (Default)
Ever hear the joke about the failed artist who threw himself off a building because he never finished anything and got hit by a bus before he struck pavement? I think I know how he must have felt.

Right, so remember this post from me? 52 Yes, the one where I was all hopeful and determined and stuff? And then I managed about three things before I allowed myself to get sidetracked and then derailed by moving house. And now it's June, half a year later.

I'm still not back on track entirely. Too much of my craft/art/sewing stuff is currently packed into our new cellar for me to be happy or use it easily. But I have been writing. A lot. Not every day, but normally at least five out of every seven. Lots and lots of words. More words than I have written in years. And I'm happy about that part. Not so happy about the fact that even with all those new words, I hadn't actually finished anything.

Until last night. It isn't much as words go, but it's complete. There's a beginning, a middle, and most importantly, an end. I have to violate my 52-rule about sharing it here because it will be going up on another website, but I will share the link when it goes up.

So, here is to my teeny-tiny story, and it's ending. I plan to give you more companions soon!

EDIT: As promised, a link to my story here. Jade Ghost Story

2 of 52

Jan. 24th, 2011 01:29 pm
lhskarka: (Default)
So, for my next trick.


Bloomers! 2 of 52. on Twitpic

Ta Da!

Also, I wrote a short story this past weekend. By hand. Which still seems to be the key to fast, easy writing for me. I don't know why I ignore it. When I type, I often spend far too much time going back over things and editing as I write, instead of just getting the story out. So, more hand writing is in my future. Unfortunately, that means I do have to type it out to be able to show it to anyone else, so that's the goal for this week.

I just couldn't get this nursery rhyme verse out of my head, so I used it as a story prompt:

My Mother said I never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood;

Be seeing you.
lhskarka: (Default)
I did not finish anything last week. Boo.

I did make significant headway on both a short story and a pair of bloomers (they're short and red - oooh, racy). The bloomers will most likely be done by the end of this week, in which case, pictures! The short story is coming along, but it surprised me by being a short story, rather than the micro-fiction I had "planned", so I'm not sure when it will be done. I am however both excited about it, and determined to finish it, so I'm sure I'll get there.

In lieu of talking about my projects, I will instead pimp the projects of two inspirational ladies:

First, one who inspired me to keep my goals well-defined and attainable via her year long cello vlog. Thank you [livejournal.com profile] nataliesee!

Check it out here!
Natalie at the cello

Here's her final vlog:

Next up, [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney (who also shares my Wonder Woman obsession, so you know she's super-cool), periodically comes up with really nifty ideas for writing. Her most recent inspiration, and one I have actually managed to keep up with, is to write AT LEAST 250 words of fiction EVERY day.

Shown here, at her blog.

So, there you go. Please enjoy these very inspiring posts, and I will be back soon with an actual project update.

Be seeing you!


Dec. 20th, 2010 04:34 pm
lhskarka: (Default)
It feels rather cliched to post this so soon after turning 40, but that also seems like a silly excuse to avoid writing about it...

I do not ask enough of myself for me. This is not about what I do or don't do for others - it is all about what I expect of myself, and honestly, I'm too easy on me.

I watch TV when I could be writing. I make lists of things I want to make when I could be creating the things themselves. I leave stuff sitting in piles when I know that I would be happier if I just dealt with it instead. I sit on the couch when I could be exercising.

This is not to say that just relaxing isn't okay sometimes. But it definitely isn't okay to 'veg-out' all the time. And leaving myself creatively unfulfilled because I'm too tired or too busy or someone else needs something from me or that show I like is on or I should be doing laundry and I can do that later...hurts.

Even my New Years resolutions for that past few years have reflected this - vague notions of stuff I'd like to do, with no concrete plans for accomplishing any of it, so I just let things drift by until I've forgotten about them. It isn't working, and it isn't helping.

So I'm changing tactics, and calling myself out in public.

My primary goal and my biggest challenge for 2011 is 52.

Fifty-two complete creations. One a week.

Since I have a lot of neglected creative interests, I'm not holding myself to a category - it can be jewelry or clothing or a short story or a novel or a handbag or a painting or something I'm not even considering right now. (It doesn't have to be new - if I finish a novel that I've been working on for years, I might even give myself a week off.)

They won't have to be perfect, but they will have to be things that pleased me to create - no "filler" projects just to hit my quota.

So. There it is - my challenge to myself. Starting around January 7th, 2011, I'll be posting my results here. It's an exercise for me, but if you're interested in seeing how it's going, you're welcome to check in.


Oct. 27th, 2010 04:42 pm
lhskarka: (Default)
Yes, I'm leaving tomorrow morning (disgustingly early) for the World Fantasy Convention.

*Excited bounce*
lhskarka: (Default)
Three different works in progress plus a blog entry, four different results...

I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Ian Fleming

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I suppose this implies both that I am what I read, and that I write like myself...
lhskarka: (Default)
Gareth and I are going to our first World Fantasy Convention in October!

lhskarka: (Books)
Two highly touted OFFICIAL SEQUELS have made the news recently.

Dracula: The Un-Dead is due to be released next October. It was written by Dacre Stoker, a *gasp* genuine descendent of Bram Stoker, and Ian Holt, a Dracula Historian. It largely appears to be Mr. Holt's idea, as the current Mr. Stoker was previously known for being an Olympic Pentathalon coach, and not a writer. But what really got to me was this quote from the article:

"Dacre Stoker delved into his ancestor's handwritten notes on the original Dracula novel to pen his sequel, Dracula: The Un-Dead - the original name for Dracula before an editor changed the title. The novel, out next October, draws on excised characters, existing character back-stories and plot threads that were cut from Stoker's original novel, first published 111 years ago."

Original notes or not, if these threads were cut from the novel, doesn't that indicate that the author discarded them? I thought that was part of the writing process - coming up with a lot of ideas and then streamlining them to create your story. I would actually be far more interested in seeing the notes themselves published in as complete a form as possible. (Unless they have been before, and I've just missed it?) At any rate, I just can't accept that this particular version of a Dracula sequel has any more literary legitimacy than any of the dozens of others that have been penned over the years, even with the Stoker family stamp of approval.

And then, a sequel to "The House at Pooh Corner" is due to be released later this year. An act which seems to be largely driven by money. The new author has plans to deal with an "older Christopher", as Milne "dropped hints in the 1928 book, which followed Winnie the Pooh (1924), that Christopher Robin was growing up." Isn't part of the point of the books that each child reading them gets to decide for themselves what happens as Christopher Robin grows up?

In "The House at Pooh Corner", A.A. Milne wrote this: "Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing." Those seem like pretty telling last words on the subject.

Among many other works, H. Beam Piper wrote and published two novels in his "Little Fuzzy" series before committing suicide in 1964. Some years after his death, other authors (Fuzzy Bones (1981) by William Tuning and Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey (1982) by Ardath Mayhar) tried to fill in the gaps and "complete" the series, only to be totally contradicted by Piper's own third complete manuscript, which was discovered and published in 1984. In Tuning's case, I don't even think that he wrote a bad book - it's just that he was proven not to have written the book that Piper would have. Which is pretty much my entire point.

There are huge debates in the art world about whether or not paintings and other artworks can ever be "restored" to their original appearance as envisioned by the artist. But how many people have picked up da Vinci's notebooks, or Van Gogh's sketches, or Andy Warhol's scribbles, and claimed that they have now produced new works that should be regarded as the next in a series of paintings, just as the artist intended?

Seems a bit daft, really. Why should it be different for authors?


Dec. 7th, 2006 12:57 pm
lhskarka: (Books)
Finally finished "The Honest Courtesan" by Margaret F. Rosenthal. Whew! I'm kind of embarrased that it took so long for me to read. All I can say in my defense is 1) I've been busy for the last few months, and 2) It's a thesis. So it reads like...a thesis.

The most interesting sections are the (of course) last two, where Ms. Rosenthal examines the way that Franco wrote poetry in her own defense, first during her trial for heresy, and then socially during her two-year exile from Venice. Veronica used the rhetorical styles of Ovid's Heroides and Amores to turn the image of herself as courtesan from deceitful whore to a woman of honorable and honest fidelity by changing his traditional elegiac verse from a positition of male moral superiority to one centered on the lamenting female voice. It may not sound like much by our current standards, but for a woman to have been able to publish such works during the Renaissance, when a majority of women were being steadily pushed farther and farther away from the seats of intellect and discovery they had been privy to during the Middle Ages, it's a pretty big deal. She wasn't even tried for heresy a second time. :)

Also read: "Lost New York" (2000 ed.) by Nathan Silver. This one's research for the novel. It's full of black and white photos of old New York neighborhoods and buildings that no longer exist, with blurbs about where they were, and how they were lost. The coolest/weirdest thing about it for me was looking at photos of street intersections where I have been, and seeing how different they were 100 or 50 or even 10 years ago. And since the book was published in 2000, it was also a bit bizarre to read his passage about the B-25 Bomber that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945, which finished with this statement: "It takes the work of aliens using special effects, as in the 1996 film 'Independence Day', to guarantee a complete destruction job."...*shudder*


lhskarka: (Default)

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