The Voice of Your Inner Self

Stories come, at least for me, from somewhere deep inside with only limited influence by the more rational part of my mind (I did a whole post on it here). However, there’s more to the inner self, or right brain, or subconscious, or whatever term you prefer, than telling stories. Among other things, it observes, and catches things we don’t consciously notice, and it puts pieces together in ways that the ego, or left brain, or conscious mind, just isn’t capable of doing. The trick for the inner self is to get what it observes across to the conscious self, which always seems to be certain that it knows everything. Often, those observations sneak through as hunches or intuition or a gut feeling about something. Some people are better at tuning in than others, and may be called intuitive or psychic or spiritual. Can writing, the process of opening yourself up to a flow of ideas from your inner self, provide not only stories to write, but also a bridge for your inner self to communicate with your conscious mind? And what about the conscious mind, which I’m now going to refer to as the ego because it’s short and easy to type, hearing and acknowledging that communication? Continue reading

Generation Gap

One of my personal biggest obstacles when it comes to writing urban fantasy might be just a personal limitation, but I doubt I’m the only one.

Technology changes with mindboggling speed in the modern world. Thanks to that technology, trends change just as rapidly, propagating through the entire globe and being forgotten in spans of time that not so long ago would have been unthinkably brief. I am, personally, rather fond of various kinds of technology, although I confess to resenting being forced into constant upgrades that often complicate without necessarily improving things. Much of my time is spent online; I’ve found more friends I can relate to and trust that way than I ever have in person, including people I deeply care about from all over the world. The Internet offers a research resource that I could never have dreamed of years ago when forced to dig through often outdated books at the local library.

That said… I was born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s, graduated from high school in the 90s. I grew up in the country, not even in a village most of the time but usually outside of it on a farm; I saw peers at school but rarely had contact with them outside and then only the few friends that I felt I had anything in common with; much of my free time was spent alone with pets, although I had a limited choice of kids of similar age not too far away. My first computer had no hard drive, only two 5-1/4″ floppies, and MS-DOS, no Windows, and certainly no Internet; my brother used it for games now considered primitive, I used it for homework and writing. Continue reading

Priorities: Blogging vs Life

I’m going to be dropping the frequency of blog posts, at least for the foreseeable future, to once a week.

This isn’t arbitrary, and I don’t much like it, but it’s better than the alternatives. If I don’t, I strongly suspect that I’ll be posting lower quality before long, and then stop altogether, quite possibly for several months. The reasoning is all tangled up with priorities that strongly include writing, so I figured it might be worth explaining.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m unable to work because of a depression/anxiety combo. (Yes, I’m aware, there’s intense social stigma against even admitting, let alone discussing, mental health issues. Guess what? It happens. It’s a medical condition, it’s real, it’s extremely common in varying degrees. Get over it.) One of the key things it does is undermine my ability to cope with stress – including the stress of too many projects on the go.

I had hoped to get my novel YinYang through the final rewrite and some formatting and make it available by the end of the month. I’m also trying to find time to work on a new urban fantasy novel, finish up a 25k word/60 pg Moonblood story to post, and add more to my Gaia series which is a combo of rewriting existing material and filling in holes now I’ve redone the format. Two blog posts a week aren’t the main reason why YinYang isn’t going to be out on time; much of that falls to a necessary and overdue switch between webhosts and trying to get everything set back up on two domains. However, while trying to deal with the unexpected complications, I realized just how much and how fast my stress was ramping up, which means it was starting from an elevated level to begin with: not high enough to have much impact directly, but high enough that it would take much less of an unanticipated crisis to knock me down hard. Continue reading

Anthropomorphization

anthropomorphize: 1. To endow with human qualities. 2. To attribute human characteristics to something that is non-human. (from wiktionary)

I live with four cats who are a fundamental daily part of my life. I know I’m guilty of anthropomorphizing them sometimes, although I make a serious effort to understand them on their own terms, and it’s more often teasing than for real.

I’m the admin of a lolcats (and other lolanimals) site, which is heavy on the sincere animal lovers, but a deliberate part of the game involves reading human facial expressions, body language, motivation, thought processes, and/or other interpretation into photos of cats (and other animals). This is, however, a game, and many of the regulars are fascinated by the realities of animals.

Assuming, of course, that one isn’t writing something deliberately playing with the idea… as a writer, anthropomorphizing animals is simply unforgivable for multiple reasons. Continue reading

Ideas: Self-Permission

As I said in my previous post, taking a look at where my ideas come from turned out to be a more complex subject than I anticipated, and ran into this one, which I think counts as a subject in its own right. Also as I said there, please be patient with material that looks like it’s wandering off-topic; it isn’t.

When I was nineteen, and came out as not heterosexual (I lacked the terminology at the time; the word I use now is “pansexual”), my writing went through a massive transformation. Instead of trying desperately to keep it “clean” with no sex or gender exploration, I started to allow myself to play with whatever came.

Fairly early on, I created, as a kind of shortcut, a set of characters that I dropped into a wide variety of urban fantasy situations, essentially to observe what happened – what if this character isn’t human but is a, oh, werewolf? dragon? vampire? Now, what happens if I switch which character it is? The dynamics were fascinating, watching how the story shifted and flowed and altered with small changes. Along with being an immense amount of fun (yes, this is my idea of how to spend not just a Friday night, but an entire weekend and then some), it also taught me an incredible amount about how stories work. However, since I was writing these only as an experiment, I didn’t censor anything or rule out anything, just let it all happen. Continue reading