06 September 2012

Back To The Basics

When people ask me how long I've been writing I tell them since the age of ten. And if they know my age they will usually stop for a moment and start calculating on their fingers how long that's been. Eight years. The thing is that amount of time is wrong, and the more I think about so is the answer that I always give.

I've been writing seriously, meaning with the goal of one day seeing my books on a shelf somewhere, since the age of ten, but I was making up stories long before that. All those games of pretend I played as a child, all the stories I invented during my time spent on the swing during recess, those were stories. Just because they weren't on paper doesn't mean that they were anything less than writing.

I've been writing seriously for eight years, but that is only the time that has passed since I made that choice. In truth there have been stretches of time where I never wrote a word. Writing slumps, those times where it seems like no matter what I do the stories just aren't there for me to tell. Having those stretches of time where my imagination felt like a barren wasteland never made me any less of a writer just because I wasn't writing, even if they felt like it.

So what does all this have to do with going "back to the basics" as the title implies? When I was younger and didn't have my own computer I did most of my writing with pen and paper. Roughly six years worth of that has been packed away in variously places around my room. Sometimes I like to pull these memories out and look over them. For a laugh, maybe. To remind me of how far I've come and how far I still have to go, maybe. After each of these walks down memory lane I always come away learning something.

Then I got my laptop and my writing became purely digital. No more notebooks spread around my room, each with bits of a different story. No more boxes used to file things away. No more ink staining the side of my left hand to the point that I thought I would never be able to wash it away. Everything was safely filed away onto my computer.

Somehow in this transition from the old fashion method to the digital way I lost something to my writing. I changed my whole approach. The girl that carefully planned everything out, that had three notebooks at minimum per story for characters and world building, got left behind. I became a so called pantser taking things as they came. As much as I love getting up each morning to sit down at my computer to just start typing and see what happens I've started to miss all those notebooks and details.

Looking at all those stories from my past stacked around me and remembering what writing was like when I was ten has made me think about things again. The lesson I walk away with now is a simple one, something I picked up this time around because of all the time I've spent doing Camp NaNoWriMo this summer and rushing through things. The lesson that maybe my younger self was on to something with all those extra notes and careful plans. All those experiments.

I spent all of 2011 experimenting with my writing with poetry and short stories. It was different for me, challenging because I've always thought of myself as more of a novelist. Up until this past August I hadn't actually finished a draft of a novel since the end of 2010. That's a lot of time to go between two drafts never finishing anything. Looking back it wasn't just because I had stopped planning in such detail, but also because I had let myself build a comfort zone.

I talk all the time about how I pick projects because they challenge me. The past few projects have all challenged me but they've all fit into the general fiction category. When I noticed this comfort zone had been allowed to develop to such an extent I was a little afraid. I don't want to have a comfort zone. And I want to have the old feel of a pen in my hand as I build a new world.

The cover for the newest project.
There will be a pitch/synopsis coming soon.
That's why with my newest project I'm not rushing into it like I have with my Camp NaNoWriMo projects. I'm going to give it time, go back to the basics of my writing, and plan things out. I'm going to build the characters and the world, give them every detail I can even if they aren't going to be used in the book. I'm going to slowly immerse myself it the story rather than diving in. I'm going to challenge myself more than I ever have.

It's going to be interesting and difficult for me. Not just because I'm going back to a method I haven't used in years, but also because this project is so far out of the comfort zone of realistic fiction that I've developed over these last couple years. Oddly enough it seems like something I would have written when I was younger with an imagination a little less afraid of all the things it created. A project that I don't know if I can handle properly enough to tell it right, but that's part of the fun.


04 September 2012

Sixteen Points of Introduction

Hello there! As you can no doubt tell this is my very first blog post, not just for this blog but for my entire life.  So, here's the deal, I'm going to introduce myself to you while at the same time explaining that point of this blog in the only way that I know how. That's right, a list. 

1. On the off chance you managed to miss the title of the blog and the little about my thing on the side I will start with my name, Tracy. Simple enough, but don't ever put "e" before that "y".

2. I write books for the young adult age range. My favorite genre is general fiction but I'll write just about any genre.

3. I made this blog as a way to provide updates on my writing as well as a place for rambling.

4. I ramble a lot.

5. I'm never without a book in my hand.

6. I'm an Inkie and have been since January 2010. Which means that Inkpop will come up from time to time.

7. I have a youtube channel by the name of TracyMichelle210 where I post videos about books.

8.  I am also part of a collab channel on youtube called PracticeMakesProse where I upload a video about writing every Friday.

9. Nerdfighter. DFTBA

10. I'm a Ravenclaw but sometimes I think I could also fit into Slytherin.

11. My favorite authors are John Green, Lauren Oliver, Morgan Matson, Jay Asher, and Heidi Ayarbe.

12. My favorite television shows are Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Sherlock, and Dance Academy.

13. I hate coffee.

14. I sometimes spend more time making book covers for projects than actually writing them.

15. I participated in and completed both session of Camp NaNoWriMo 2012.

16. Sixteen in the smallest even perfect square of a perfect square. It is also my favorite number and where I will stop with this list.

Alright, I'm assume that if you've made it this far in the post I have not bored you to tears. Congratulations, that probably means we could be good friends. As for when the next post will be up I'm not sure. It'll come when it comes.

Have a fantastic day!