Rusty Fork V: Character-sitter

Rusty Fork V: Character-sitter

I don’t know if I explained earlier, but these posts are not going to be filled with advice. Don’t come here looking for a teacher. You will only find a novice writer and part-time adult doing the best she can, which is usually the bare minimum. The analytics say there are, on average, 20 of you who read each post, so I will keep entertaining you as best I can. I live to serve…my own selfish desires.

My characters have become real, living, breathing people. Sometimes, I want to cry because they are so much a part of me now. It’s like how people say you have mastered a language when you dream in that langauge. I am dreaming in the language of my characters. I know them, at least I think I do, and I am finding it easier to write scenes because their thoughts have become second nature.

Yes, I still have a long way to go, and sometimes I get frustrated at the characters because they don’t always do the things I want them to, but I love them through it all. I am an ill-prepared mother, raising these three children on my own, and I really hope I don’t accidentally kill one of them or forget one in a JC Penney. I am more like a 14-year-old on her first babysitting job, and I am terrified that something is going to go wrong. It is my duty to see these characters to the end because they deserve a story. This responsibility causes some stress, but I have never felt so fulfilled in an artistic endeavour.

So I keep writing, and I keep dreaming.

Maybe one day I will give you all a more substantial update, but I am keeping the story close to me for the time being.

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Rusty Fork IV: Location, Location, Location

Rusty Fork IV: Location, Location, Location

A road trip down I-40 led me unexpectedly back to the town I was born in, and it’s the town that has inspired the location of my story. I do have a Pinterest board for inspiration, but it’s private. The afternoon was cathartic, and it was inspiring to see, smell, and hear the world I imagined in my head. I tried to picture my characters walking down similar sidewalks. It felt real because it was once real to me, even though I am so completely removed from that world now.

Enjoy a slice of small town life.

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Rusty Fork I: The Why

Rusty Fork II: Strength

Rusty Fork III: The Tools

Moons Out of Molehills

Moons Out of Molehills

My grandpa once said the moon was mine. It’s the kind of scene that would open my biopic. It’s a simple story that I was reminded of many times growing up, and I even wrote a super, cheesy paper about it my freshman year of college when I thought I was hot shit. Are you going to tell us the story or what? Well dear reader, I was sitting on the back porch with my grandpa. He pointed to the moon and said, “The moon is yours.” I don’t remember his exact words. I can barely remember what I ate for lunch (broccoli cheddar bread bowl from Panera), but that is essentially what happened. I’m doing a horrible job introducing this post. Get ready for a quick change of tone…

I’ve been thinking about my history with depression and anxiety recently, and I’ve come to liken it to making a coin shine in a moonless night. Once in a while, you might find a street lamp, but it can seem like a hopeless task for most of the journey. I’m not saying that there is one right or one wrong way to handle these issues, but I do want to talk about my own struggles and where I am now.

I was always called a worrier or an over thinker. They were traits to trivialize or ignore. My mother would laugh it off, “That’s just Liz.” She didn’t do it out of carelessness or spite. I think, in her own way, she wanted to normalize what I was feeling so that I would feel normal. I am a sheet of paper. My mother is the paperweight on top. She has kept me grounded through the years. She is the one that suggested I try counseling. She is the one who told me to go for a run when I was getting anxious. She is not perfect, but she is perceptive and strong.

College created physical distance between us, but she was always there for me. I had a really hard time. A. really. hard. time. Sometimes I didn’t know if I would graduate. Sometimes I didn’t know if I would live. Some people say, “Oh man, college was the best years of my life.” Not me. You could not pay me to go back to that head space. The constant worry about my future. The worry. People forget how exhausting worry can be. There were days I was too tired to eat or sleep. I lost my freshman 15, and then I gained 30 back.I joined a sorority. I lived with roommates. I had a steady boyfriend. I should have been happy, and then I was angry when I wasn’t. I was angry that I couldn’t ride the bus to class because I had a panic attack the last time. I was angry that I couldn’t give my senior thesis presentation because I was worried about a panic attack. I was angry that I was worried and not living.

Being angry and sad and worried is exhausting.

I couldn’t tell you when things turned around. It’s funny how you can pin point all the sad moments in your life, but happiness is usually vague and undetectable. This post was never meant to be a how-to, more of a self-centered look at my own life, but I know it started to turn around. I moved back into my mom’s after graduating.I found a job, not a life changing career that fulfills me everyday, but it does help pay my student loans down and it keeps me in a routine. Routines keep me centered. When I am centered, it is easier to stay happy, normal. Find a routine. Be willing to break it at times. Know that you can always come back to it.

A lot of my anxiety stems from crowds and claustrophobia. This also led to a fear of public transportation. Avoid those triggers. Be vocal with friends. Work around it, and when you are ready, fight it. Find the strength to face it. You will be exhausted after. You might fail the first time or slip even when you are more seasoned. Sometimes the normalcy you are fighting for will feel like making a coin shine in a moonless night, but here is a little secret, normal is what you make normal.

Now back to the beginning to tie it all together. My grandpa was not theorizing that I had ownership of the moon, I don’t think I could afford the monthly payments and I assume it would get rather lonely, but that the reach of my life extends beyond my flesh, four walls, state, country, planet, and it travels past the moon and many other moons. I have not considered myself religious for a long time, but I believe there is something to everything we are doing. I take solace in this. I take comfort in this simple story that has created my own personal mythology.  I’ve learned to not pay attention to the coin. Look at the moon.Look at the stars. Look at the sun. They always come back. 

Rusty Fork III: The Tools

Rusty Fork III: The Tools

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This will be the most visually stimulating post that I make in this series. I have mad respect for bookstagrammers who can actually take decent photos. Enjoy the harsh sunlight. I didn’t think about editing or adding filters to the photos until I wrote this sentence, and I am too lazy to go back now.
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A) Neo 2 Alphasmart – deserves an explanation. Maybe one day I’ll do a post on it.
B) Laptop – self-explanatory
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C) My Bible – this is where I plot and draft many of the scenes. The pages are scattered with quotes and descriptions that have not been used yet. I had a nightmare that someone broke into my car and stole it from me.
D) Sticky Notes
E) Pens and Highlighters
F) Progress Calendar – I stole this idea from VE Schwab. It’s an easy way to see what progress you’ve made and can be utilized in many different ways. Each stars represents something I have completed for the day: read for an hour, write/plan for an hour, and work out.
G) Plot Sticky Notes (different from regular sticky notes) – I’m a very tactile person and Scrivener wasn’t cutting it. I had a flash of genius a few weeks ago, and stuck up the basic plot points for the three main characters on my bedroom wall. It has helped tremendously.
H) Progress Stars – everybody loves a reward, even a sticker reward.
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I) Plot Calendar – this plot calendar is much more detailed than the original plot hanging on my wall. The story takes place over three weeks, so this makes it easy to break down each character’s story day by day.
J) Candle – because it’s calming as shit.
K) Note cards
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L) Books on writing – okay, sometimes books on writing can be cheesy as hell and very limiting, but you can always find a glimmer of inspiration from them. I have enjoyed the Write Great Fiction series shown above.
M) Kindle
N) Book with prompts – this book has become part of my nighttime routine. I pick one prompt and write a short paragraph from the perspective of a main character. It has helped A LOT at finding the voices.
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O) Desk

Rusty Fork I: The Why

Rusty Fork II: Strength

 

 

 

Rusty Fork II: Strength

Rusty Fork II: Strength

Rusty Fork I

I’m roughly 5,500 words into a very rough draft. This is an idea that has been floating around for about a month. I’ve never had a story idea come so vividly and easily before, so I feel like this is a good sign. I’ve had ideas in the past. Many ideas. Usually my ideas start with a cinematic scene, more often than not it is a climatic scene. That one scene will play over and over in my head with different takes and actors and backgrounds, and I will start to formulate a story from there. Right out of college, I had one such idea. I will spare you the gory details, but it wasn’t good. I had another idea last year for a fantasy that I worked on extensively for about 6 months, but I hit a wall and was not able to recover. I still like it, but I have set it aside for now. I may pick it back up in a few more years when it has aged a bit because I loved the characters. The characters were the strength, not the setting. I need to find them a home that they are worthy of. Read more

Rusty Fork I: The Why

Rusty Fork I: The Why

I’m not going to regale you with a nauseating story about how I have always wanted to write. Okay, I will.

Storytelling has been my window to the world. It has taught me how to put emotions into words and pictures. I could lie and say reading was my first love, but really, movie theaters were my first love.

I have a complicated relationship with my father. There was a lot resentment and anger growing up, but there was, and has always been, love. My father is a man of few words, but his few words are booming and exact. I am a woman of few words, but mine are quiet and exact. This caused a lot of miscommunication and distance, physical and emotional, especially when I was a teenager. Our language and middle ground has always been movies. Instead of talking, you watch and listen,you collectively observe. The room is dark. The music swells. The plot takes you out of your own plot. Some people will find this form of escapism unhealthy, dodging the real issues, but in our own strange way, stories helped us to connect. I’ve seen my father cry more times in a movie theater than I’ve seen him cry outside of one. I’ve probably seen him cry more times than most children have seen their own fathers cry. When my father told me that he was divorcing my mother, it was on the way to see a movie. I like to think that connection we had with theaters gave him the strength to tell me the worst thing he has ever had to tell me. You would think that safe space would become sullied with such a horrible memory, but it became a thread that helped mend.

A story is vulnerable, and allowing yourself to connect with that vulnerability takes strength. Yes, most of the movies we see together have more guns than dialogue or have a 30 or lower percentage rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but they are our movies. And the our is the most important part.

Liz, why not be a scriptwriter? I think in another life I would have done this. I really do think there is another version of myself in an alternate universe who lives in LA and works on a CW show or something, but Hollywood scares me. There is so much room for failure and not a lot of people to help you up. Movies are almost religious to me, and I would be worried about my mental state when I became disillusioned (the me in this reality, not the other version of myself). Also, there are books.

I’ve spent a lot of time in this first post about writing a book talking about movies, but I thought it was important for you to see where I am coming from and where that could lead.

The scariest thing in the world is to tell someone, “I am writing” because there are a lot of implications and expectations attached. So here it goes,

I am writing.

 

I am not doing NaNoWriMo

I am not doing NaNoWriMo

Liz, you haven’t posted anything the last two weeks. I know! Jesus, you don’t have to remind me of my failures or shortcomings. I am going to be completely transparent here. I have not been reading the last three weeks or so, and because I have not been reading, I have not been inspired to write posts about books. Honestly, I have been fully engulfed in the story I am planning. There have been highs and lows. There are days of brilliant inspiration and days of utter shame and despair. I had a spark of an idea during a run back in April or May. I thought about it all night, and I wrote out a 5 page outline of what was swimming in my head. I then immediately forgot about.

In July I started thinking seriously about my idea again. I plotted out some more, I wrote a few scenes and shared them with family members and friends, and I wrote a lot of back story to this thing that has taken over my life. I will admit I have been harping on the back story the last two weeks, and it has hindered my creative juices. I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out all the plot holes that I haven’t written anything. So I am going to combat this beginning November 1st.

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“That’s why her notebook is so big. Full of secrets.

The title says you aren’t doing NaNoWriMo. I know this, and you really are a smart ass, do you know that? I am NOT doing NaNoWriMo. I know my daily schedule. I know my mental capabilities and stress levels. I know that I will not complete NaNoWriMo. I don’t think it is a defeatist attitude. I think I have a realistic grasp on my writing habits, and I do not want to set myself up for failure. I am very serious about this story. It is something I want to pursue full heartedly. I have true faith in it. I think the spirit of NaNoWriMo is amazing, though, so I want to be part of it in some way. There is something wonderful about so many people starting projects at once and lifting each other up, so I am going to force myself to stop planning and second guessing and start WRITING on November 1st. I have set a more realistic goal of 50,000 by the end of the year. I think it will still be a challenge but more acceptable to my lifestyle. I am not going to be utilizing the NaNoWriMo site, but I have signed up on MyWriteClub.com which is a simple, social media site that allows you to keep a word count of what you have written and set goals. You can also follow friends, and see their goals and progress. It really brings out my competitiveness, and I think it will be a great way to keep me accountable. You can follow me here.

I will end this post with five things about my story:

  1. It follows three best friends.
  2. One is gay.
  3. One is bi.
  4. All three are female.
  5. One of them beats the shit out of a man while completely naked.