March Writer’s Challenge

I’ve been participating in a March Writer’s Challenge on Instagram and decided to post some of my responses here. I don’t have the brain for creative writing today. If you want to join me on Instagram and follow along, look for inthewritingstudio!

Warning: brain dump ahead.

1: Currently Reading

I’m currently reading “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin about a planet of androgynous beings who have been contacted by a society of other planets/species/races. Within the story, she explores how being androgynous might or might not change how a civilization functions and what they might value, plus how any civilization or government might react when learning they are not alone in the universe. The chapters of the main storyline are interspersed with planetary lore or folktales. It is definitely not a ‘white knuckle’ read, but the world is immersive and complex. I particularly enjoyed her thoughts on science fiction at the beginning of the book.

2. Writer Humor

I try to utilize humor in my writing, but it is not my intention to be comedic. Witty humor wins over slapstick every time for me. I prefer that the characters find humor within their situations, even if the story is dark, or that the reader understands a situation is humorous even if the character does not. Below is an excerpt from one of my WIPs.

“It’s empty,” Pax sighed as we rejoined Kerith by the door.

“There was an engineer here. Maybe there are hidden panels somewhere.” Kerith started running a hand along the wall, examining the cracks carefully for concealed entrances.

“There’s no sanitary station,” I pointed out. They both stared at me clearly missing my point, and I felt Pax preparing to snap at me that I should have gone before we left. Clearly this place wasn’t meant for human occupancy. The poor engineer had gone to empty his bladder and was about to find his way-station cleared out and his guards dead.

“We may want to wait for him to come back, unless we really want to catch him with his pants down.” I promptly started laughing at my own joke. At least someone could appreciate my humor, because it wasn’t going to be Pax and Kerith, and it certainly wasn’t going to be the man who had just appeared in the open doorway, staring in horror at the bodies on the ground, their blood frozen into the snow.

3. What I’m Working On

I have two ongoing drafts I am focusing on.

The first one is a fantasy epic about a woman locked in a tower. For as long as she can remember, she has lived there scrubbing floors and sleeping on bare rock. The arrival of a mysterious prisoner leaves her curious about the unreachable outside world. She begins to wonder if what she perceived as normalcy might be more sinister when she realizes she has no idea who she is, why she’s there, or what the silver collar around her neck actually does.

The second one is a science fiction story set approx. 3000 years into humanity’s future. Humans have spread out across space colonizing what planets are terraformable, but these pods of life are disconnected from each other, separated by the vast expanse of space. Isolated in harsh conditions with sparse resources, a hierarchy quickly forms and the familiar patterns of corruption and poverty that dominated old Earth re-emerge. In the remote and desolate deserts of ER5, a young dancer who wants nothing more than to be reunited with the only family she has left, finds herself entrenched in a fight between the capital and a mysterious rebel leader.

4. Current Word Count

Tallying a total would take forever. Between both my drafts and a few other ongoing projects, 200,000+ total.

5. My Hero

He’s not a hero per say but one of the biggest influences on my life (writing, taste, etc.) is J. R. R. Tolkien. I don’t think he’s a particularly outstanding writer, but his ability to create a world of such depth and detail always captivates me. That is the goal I always hope to achieve in my writing. Other authors who have had a formative influence on my writing would include C. S. Lewis (particularly for The Chronicles of Narnia), Edgar Allen Poe, and Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables).

6. Writer Struggles

My biggest problem is I get tired. I work multiple jobs, so some days, like today, I just don’t have the brain power to focus on writing. I am also a perfectionist and sometimes struggle with the state of my drafts. They aren’t good. Not because the story is lacking or because I can’t write well (I don’t think…), but because they’re just drafts. I am still writing the story down and haven’t thrown myself into shaping the prose. Consciously I know that, but it can be discouraging when I write a section that I’m proud of only to re-read it ten minutes later and think, “wow, this reads like a Dick and Jane book. Give up, loser!” So like every other human on the planet, I suffer from feeling insecure. I’m sure that’s not news to any of us.

7. Main Characters PersonalityI’m skipping this one. I have a lot of characters and am not ready to release more details about them.

8. Characters I Love

I LOVE ALL OF MY CHARACTERS EQUALLY, BECAUSE THEY’RE SMART AND BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT. Actually, I have worked hard to make all my characters deeply, deeply flawed. Finding their pain, their darkness, and watching them bounce off each other trying to heal/ignore those wounds, that’s the real story…

That’s it for now! Hopefully my brain recuperates, and I’ll be posting more stories soon.

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