ravenswept: (Default)
Yes, I know, I can hear everyone staring at their screen going, "Well, d'uh." Shut up, I know, I know. Let me explain (or at least pull my foot out of my mouth).

Clicky clicky )

Also this-



-is my new background. It is awesome. Done by the amazing Loish over on Deviant. Her gallery as well is full of awesome.
ravenswept: (Default)
Huh. Queries.

Hmm.

Well, it's an aspect of the writing process I haven't really given any thought to, and I'm thinking I really ought to. It's just as much a part of writing a story as the first draft. Maybe more so; a draft can be fixed. A query is an early impression of yourself sent to agents, and you really don't get a second go at that.

Query Shark is awesome. I don't know how much I already knew to/not do, but this is definitely a big help. Seeing what people do (mainly wrong) first is definitely insightful into what is needed. And it helps that the Shark herself is blunt and sharp to a very funny degree.

I'm thinking about writing a query first, just to see if I can distil what I want down to the level I need it to be interesting to others. There are multiple times I've seen "Your query is confused, and that makes me believe that the novel itself is as well" which is something I'd like to avoid. If I can get it down to the bare minimum and still be about to communicate my story, I'm looking good.

Some things I've gathered about the process:

  • Start with the character or the descriptive hook of the main plot of the story. Anything more is fluff. Anything less isn't getting the idea across.

  • 250 words is what you should be aiming for. More than 300 and you're just confusing the matter. Less than 200 and it's too skeletal to be interesting.

  • The only word(s) that should be all in caps is the TITLE. Names, places, whatever, are written normally.

  • The title and word count should go at the end of the query. Use the first line to get to the point.

  • A query is not a synopsis; don't explain the whole story, only what's compelling about it.

  • Cut anything that doesn't have to do directly with the main character and/or the lead plot. Saying more proper names or tangetting about subplots will only muddle your query.

  • Be funny if you can, but not if your work isn't slightly humerous itself (ie, levity in a query about a rape/trial thriller is a no)

  • Contact information goes at the end of the letter.

  • Don't suck up to the agent, they're pretty jaded at this point.

  • Don't humble yourself with faux self-depreciation, it's not as funny as you think it is and only tells the agent you aren't totally behind your work.

  • Don't oversell yourself with "potentials", you don't even have an agent yet.

  • You cannot gurantee an audience if they take on your book, so don't say you can.

  • If you must, include only actual writing credits to your name. Where you went to school, what your job is, how long you've been there doesn't mean two shits to them.

  • Rhetorical questions are not how you want to start your query, right?

  • "Show, don't tell" applies to query letters as much as it does to novels. They're both a form of writing.

  • What other people think/thought of your novel doesn't matter, the agent isn't going to be contacting them.

  • There is really only ONE rule that really matters when writing a query; it should be engaging/interesting enough on it's own to make the reader (hopefully an agent) interested in knowing more.


*edit* Please, feel free to add to the list in the comments! The more the better! With your help, soon I will rule the world be a better querier!*
ravenswept: (Default)
In my attempts to finish up the plot outline for Butterfly Massacre so I can finally start actually writing the damn thing, being spurred on by [personal profile] tangledaxon and her host of posts, I realize I haven't talked much about the characters. Or at least not anyone else besides Angela (I think that names gonna stick). The pretty-boy love interest, who still goes unnamed (I'm open to suggestions), has had a bit of words to his (unknown) name, but as he's not the focus in any respect I don't mind.

But then there's the geneuine love interest, because PRs always have to have love triangles. Dane (pronounced like the dog breed) is the male lead's guardian angel, tasked to protect the dunce for heavenly reasons; reason I still need to figure out. Not everyone has one (else they'd be everywhere) and he'll need to be special in some way to require Dane appearing as often as she does.

I mentioned in my random BM though list that while angels are androgynous, they do have sexual organs in either respect. So Dane is very much "female". I'm still trying to figure out some of her physical characteristics, primarially skin tone, but I get the general sense that she's fairly tall with short, slicked back white-ish/blonde hair. Something reminsient of Tilda Swinton from Constantine, only without the curly hair or the crazy.


"How insane are you right now?" Oh, I'm up there.


Also my angels are described with double sets of wings and more phoenixesque coloring.

I'm also trying to figure out her basic personality as well. Stand-offish isn't the word I want; she's not cold, really, just kinda removed from it all. She's not human, so she doesn't care so much about that aspect of things beyond keeping her ward safe, but she's not a total bitch either to just let things go that don't immediately affect her. As a holy entity, she "loves all" but that doesn't mean she has to particularally has to like them all.

Somewhat according to rote, I think Angela is the one who falls first, and at least she recognizes it's mainly a physical attraction. Dane hits all the right notes for her; independantly strong (strength not tied to anyone expect herself), can handle herself in a fight, not bad looking, and a host of other little intangibles. I do think Angela will be the pursuer in any relationship they have, Dane is both not able to pursue a relationship due to duties and as it isn't love at first sight, won't immediately see Angela as anything more than a demon (admittedly a demon trying to do good).

There's more I may need or want to figure out, like how or if Dane wasn't always an angel, and various other little things that are gonna bug me as I come upon them. But for now, I think I might have enough to keep me going.

And for S&Gs, My Little Quetzalcoat

Venus

Apr. 3rd, 2011 10:33 pm
ravenswept: (Default)
Joining the early self-pimping club I, along with several other DWers ([personal profile] limiinal, [personal profile] thedogeater, [personal profile] amanda_sheree) as well as others on a writers forum, are aiming to write an anthology collection within two years to post-slash-sell as an ebook. Not so much for the money but because, a) we want to see our names in print, no matter the regard and we're not in it (this time) for the money, b) ebooks are easier sells than trying to pitch a group of unknowns with a collab collection, and c) our themes would be a hard sell on their own. Our themes, you ask; "unrequited love" and "tentacles".

No, really.

It's a challenge, which is always interesting, and won't be nearly as dirty as it sounds... mostly, I haven't seen all the other ideas yet. Maybe you'll get (un)lucky? It's also going to be more humor based, so not as much dark or H.P. Lovecraft stuff as you might think. More along the lives of W. Al Lovecraftovic

The working title of the collection right now is "Dangly Bits"; no, really. I'm thinking of pitching "Sucker Love" the next time there's a group thing.

Anyway, Venus.

Venus is going to be my entry into the pile, which you might already know if you scroll down my posts. I originally had no ideas until I remembered that picture, and I didn't remember it until I was half asleep at 3 in the morning, so I don't know what that says about my brain. But I'll be posting how it comes along (the same as several of the others here) so you can follow along if you wish. The title comes from three different angles; the planet, the gender association, and the fly trap. Right now, I'm just gonna give a quick going over of my inital idea.

Tentacle blob.

...too quick? Fine...

Basically, a teenager girl finds a little wriggling blob of ick along the shore near her home. She found it trying to follow a meteroite she saw falling, and instead got this little wriggling, slimy thing. It speaks to her, pleading for help, promising wonders and such if only the girl will help it grow back to what it once was. For some reason (plot!) she takes it home; maybe doesn't quiet believe it, but takes it home.

From there she keeps feeding it what it asks for; small stuff like fingernail clippings, cut hair, raw meat, slowly growing large in the old aquarium the girl keeps it in. The blob attempts to keep its promise, secreting slimes or some such that the girl is supposed to use to help her in whatever somewhat vapid problems she has. None work the way they're supposed to, so she wants the blob to try again and again to fix the last attempt.

Finally, when the thing is huge and near falling out of the glass box, it convinces her to make direct contact with it, something she's avoided until now because "ew, gross". She does, intially just to move it, but finds she can't remove her hand. It instead eats her, digesting the last raw material it needed to finish it's feeding/incubating process.

Some time later the blob breaks open, revealing a pale and perpetually wet looking female looking creature, who reveals in having eyes and limbs again.

And that's all I got so far. There's not to much more really, other than I need to figure out what "problems" the girl has that the blob could ideally help with, and what the creature does, or wants to do, after gaining a humanoid form. But that's about it, I don't see there being more than those two characters, maybe a bit of the parents but that's about it. I'm horrible at trying to estimate what my word count for any work will be, so I'm not going to try.

But I have an idea, a better one than I thought I'd have, so it's looks to be a fun time. I just have to remember that "humor" is one of the needed threads of the story, what I have could easily go dark very quickly. But again, that's the challenge.
ravenswept: (Default)
I'm not late to this party, just fashionably after hours. That, and I needed to figure out what my "rules" were, because it's not something I've thought heavily on before, but it makes sense to find out what they are.

1. While there are few, if any, truly bad ideas, that doesn't mean everything is meant to be written.

2. Know what and why you're writing.

3. Just because others have done it before you doesn't mean you can or should yourself.

4. Keep yourself open to ideas from anywhere, but know when to close yourself off so you don't overload your story.

5. Popular does not equal good. Good can stand on its own.

6. Reason and/or internal logic far outweighs throwing up the horns and screaming "OH YEAH, THAT'S AWESOMESAUCE" while a metal guitar solo plays in the background.

7. Keep a small notebook handy, you never know where that fleeting idea might be able to go.

8. If a story only has so much gas to go so far, don't decide to stop and push it a few miles in the middle to get a little extra distance out of it.

9. Tropes. Trope trope, trope trope trope. Trope-a-lope. Trope-a-nope-a-dope-a-pope.

They have their place, can be fun (for some), and may help when you're stuck; but don't rely on them for all your ideas or as something you have to mimic, replicate, or follow as the rule. Tropes (as tropes) are for after the fact, not to plan for.
ravenswept: (Default)
For the moment, I think I'm gonna try focusing more on one story and keep a few others as background/distractions. I know I've said before I was gonna choose a few stories to work on, but I figured that that wasn't quite enough. Having so many, going from one to another isn't going to exactly speed up the process if I'm just jumping between projects. So one will be the main goal while the others are there to bounce off of until the main one gets its issues together.

As for what story gets that headliner treatment; well, thinking on what I have, its really down to two projects, either Tigress, which already has its basic storyline worked out, or Butterfly Massacre, which I think I have enough to really go at and make headway on. The side stuff, I'll figure it out when I get to a road block.

Ever since [personal profile] tangledaxon posted it on a links list post, I've been combing through the Slushpile. There's a lot there that's good to know, and it's done with personality and not just deadpanned. When she reviews books, one feature she mentions is the first line, and how important it can be to both the author, reader, and the agent queried. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's average, and sometimes it's just a sentence.

As always, there's never one way to go about it, but she does say it's better to have a good first one if you can. To that end, I've been thinking about some of my first sentences and how they play out. Most of 'em suck eggs. One (luckily I no longer have) I remember from a seventh grade writing project was so bad it would've been eligible for the "Dark and Stormy Night" opening sentence contest it was so over rot.

But I've been thinking and I believe I may have come up with one for Butterfly:

When I got myself sent to Hell, it was under false pretenses.

Sets up quite a bit; the character is in Hell, she condemned herself, knowingly, and that it was because of a mistake. The problem with that is, to me, I risk revealing why she went to Hell too early. While you can easily find out by clicking on the link above, story-wise it's not something I want to put out there in the first chapter, let alone the first page. It's a decision she's extremely bitter over, and a cause of a lot her selfinduced downward spiral to becoming a demon in the first place. I like the sentence, but now I'm staring at it trying to make sure I don't blow my literary wad early before it really means something (sorry about that mental image there).

She knows why she was sent to hell, but she didn't know how wrong she got her reasoning. It's a very stark and hard moment ([personal profile] limiinal even said it gave her a small jolt when she read it) and I love the power behind it; but it's a power that I want to keep hidden. And the first sentence of the story, as good as I think it may be, may also be too much a lead in to explaining it before it has that same power behind it.

Something to sleep on I guess, I'm not ready to dive into major wordage yet anyway. More outlining to be done; I need to not hate the potential love interest enough to make sure I don't kill him off... maybe. Yet. Too soon to tell, he's an annoying little bugger and I don't really have a strong reason to keep him around beyond the Twilight/paranormal romance/stalker boyfriend joke he's meant to be.

...

Shit.

I just thought of reason.
ravenswept: (Here's Cookie)
When you think about it, writers have the potential to be some of the most evil people you know. Not all are going to, of course, some genres just don't lend themselves to it. But to the ones that do, the good ones, they're the kind that got called into the principal's office because they accidentaly left a notebook in class and a teacher got nosy.

It's part of the process of creating something that people will believe, thinking out the details. Not just for inherient world building or trival facts, but the who, why, and how of the villians/antagonists. You need to know how they'd go about doing whatever it is they do, so you have to think about how they'd go about doing it. You have to think about what they're going to do. You have to think bad.

Right now I've got Scarred taking up time and brain-space. I need to think of the walk-through of how Ryan goes about kidnapping women so he can forcibly cut the majority of their skin as to etch graphic art onto their skin; how does he keep them there; how does he care for them afterwards; what equipment does he use and how does he keep them from ruining the work? Just how insane is he? And going through it all, was I less a decent human being (and less lazy), this would be totally do-able.

I'm also having to figure out how to start my own criminal mafia empire from scratch when writing the Noir story (hey, remember that one?). How would I rise up, how do I keep my power, what kind of people do I employ? Where do I set up shop, when do I play my hand, when do I fold, how do I much to I tolerate disobediance? It's a very strange mindspace to have to think in terms of doing something unlawful with full intention of getting away with it.

For most, it's not always that big a deal. Their villian is the villian, s/he does villianious things and is defeated. Their actions only need to be vaguely described as to motivate the hero. But when the antagonist is an actual person (in the fleshed out sense), you can't just glance over them. Motives and history need to be explored, however much or little, to make them who they are so the reader can feel the same pity/sympathy/revulsion as you hope to instill.

And it doesn't always have to be a really bad thing either, it could just be a quick scheme. In Neil Gaiman's American Gods, there's an early scene where Mr. Wednesday dresses like a security officer and takes people's money that was meant for the ATM deposit box, under the guise that the machine was broken, helped along with the beginning of a snow storm. He made out with a few thousands dollars. Gaiman came up with this con uniquely for his book, having studied conmen and their ways, and came up with an original work.

Fast forward months after the book comes out; newspapers report a man dressed as bank security waited outside in the snow with a bankbag, taking people's money that was meant for the ATM deposit, and made off with several thousand dollars. Mr. Gaiman in the search for realism had created a crime so real that it could, and was, actually recreated in real life.

There are, I think, other instances of fictional crimes being recreated by real life people morons. I include movies in this circle as well, because at some point somebody did have to write that scene. And there are several accounts of stupid people who have repeated what they've seen in movies, and then tried to claim that it was the movie's fault.

The whole idea that writers go through it all is just kinda strange to think about. Because then your mind starts to wonder about the kind of person who takes the time to think about such things. Is it okay to think to deeply about how to commits horrible acts, even if it's only for a story? Then you wonder if you're kind of an idiot for worrying about something that's only ficitonal.

These are things I think about while trying to decide how one would best go about kidnapping a woman to use as a human etch-a-sketch.
ravenswept: (Default)
Recently I've been reading about different ideas on what writing is. How does one qualify the act of writing, and how would someone go about actually defining it. To me, as with most things, it's all in how you see it.

Two big things that have popped up, and what I'll focus my attention to, are what encompasses the aspect of writing, and to whom that writing is directed towards. Because these are the things that seem to start the most fights, and therefore most likely the most fun to talk about.

Words! Many of them! And in sentences no less! Also, I torture a metaphor for your viewing pleasure. )

*INTERMISSION*

Use the bathroom, get your snacks, time for the second reel. )

Stinger after the credits )

Influence

May. 10th, 2010 11:42 pm
ravenswept: (Default)
I just realized the other day I was inspired by Hunter S. Thompson long before I even knew who the crazy coot actually was.

And it was only through comics and my love of them that I was introduced to that homage at all itself. Spider Jerusalem is a foulmouthed, anti-social, possibly sociopathic, definitely psychotic, seemingly limited in range but explosive in vocabulary, bald, tattooed journalist of the fantastic Vertigo comic series, Transmetropolitan. His style is written stream-of-consciousness, including whatever foul and disgusting and half-made up terms that happen to slip into his brain, while at the same time still seem thought out to the letter, profanity included.

It wasn't until I learned that Spider was based on an actual human being that I really became interested in things. I'd had a vague notion of who he was - or actually, a vague impression that a man with his name was alive, and was somehow associated with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a movie I was only aware of on the peripheral of my pop culture conscious. To read his writing is to actually talk to the man, his words are as unfiltered as he can make them and still be allowed for print. He works within the confines of the opinion columnist, because there is really no way his work can be anything but; his opinion is the whole point you read his words to begin with.

Numerous others have been influenced by him, but that is not my point. His work has its impression on mine, but it is far from the only one. His is just foremost in my mind because I just read the entire ten volume series of Transmetropolitan in one day. Sue me.

At the exact moment, I could hardly name a direct other influence on my work and wordage, mainly because I realized something else about both; I can change my style. Not just in the matter of removing bias and opinion from something to make it more like a textbook, but I can emulate different forms of prose.

I can be painted purple, but rarely choose to do so because it rarely needs to be so. Beige is another color of choice, but again is rather lacking in hue. I can be verbose, cynical, empathetic, cold, calculating, angry, vapid, direct, obtuse, my range is both vast and great.

And it's strange to realize I can be so. Most people want to know their voice, know how they write so they can hone their work to a more usable weapon with with to strike with. My voice - blame on which I point at television and growing up with Looney Tunes and such others - does impressions.

Somewhere below is a short story I wrote after letting my hands and brain work long after I should have been in bed; it's direct and to the point, obscenely cold, mentioned to be "hardcore", and genuinely thought to be chilling and frightening - something I never thought I would be elated to hear, let alone accomplish without effort.

This now compared to another work in progress (found right here) where the narrator rambles unending, comes off as quite the dick, someone trying much to hard to be not so smooth, hiding much fear and tension, and plays it all like a giant game of life where he's playing with three different sets of rules for five different games.

My voice changes, and not just from puberty. I hardly think putting those two side by side would make a reader think they were written by the same hand. I could be mistaken, but to me, as the hand that wrote, the two look and sound nothing alike and feel themselves to be of two different people.

I like this.

One reason I enjoy writing, and one day hope to be paid embarrassingly large sums of money to do, is that I can indulge in changing the costume and accent of my self when I create. I may enjoy a genre, and then by my own characters immensely, but can feel free to change my hat and be somebody else at the drop of the old hat. From space western to mafia drama to fantasy horror, whatever idea strolls across my brain I can tackle and hogtie and later dissect, like a lab frog to find out what it's on about, and from there create new worlds that have nothing to do with anything else. Because a cowboy hat, while fitting on the same head, has an entirely different purpose from a plastic green visor that hides one eyes.

I writing more and more, which is encouraging, whether or not it's actually in story form; I'm actually being asked by others for my opinions on writing, mine and theirs, which is something I am overjoyed to be able to do so without having previously solicited myself in cheap clothing and cheaper makeup. And while I must tailor my voice to mimic theirs, I feel able to do so, because I grew up on television that taught me how to do so.

Bugs Bunny and friends may have taught me to speak with the voice and tone of the smart aleck, the slowness of George Lenny (long before I'd even heard of Of Mice and Men), Al Capone impersonators, slobbering cats, and horny skunks; Thompson, through the ink and primary colors of Jerusalem, taught me how to say "fuck" with them.
ravenswept: (Default)
I've been spending the better part of the day reading about criticism and reviews, directed mostly at horrible young writers with massive egos, [livejournal.com profile] antishurtugal and Robert Stanek. How authors take criticism, good or bad, is a widely discussed issue and overall it makes for hilarious reading.

There are several takes on it;


  • Some refuse to read reviews or critiques, period. They don't care, they delete immediately, they put up a wall of indifference. This is both good and bad, in that they don't want their own opinions of their work influenced by self-doubt or second guessing. I understand it, and when it works it works very well, but then it becomes very much a bubble world; you're isolated from the outside world and what they think of your work, which is important because they're the ones that make your work popular (or profitable).

  • Others refuse to read negative reviews. While this is nice, you read what good people have to say of you and can kindly let those strangely smoldering letters or email drift into the trash bins, it's not the entire picture. Refusing all reviews is better than this, in my opinion, because when you surround yourself with only good, in your head that becomes the norm. Should a bad, or just critical, note come through the fence of obliviousness, your sensibilities scream "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW" and you refuse that it is real. And this will only harm any product that comes in the future, because then you're trying that much harder to prove that single piece of not-good so totally wrong; rarely does this become well recieved.

  • There's the method of refuting all negative comments. You go on the offensive, pulling every piece of evidence you have to prove your detractors wrong, sometimes going to base insults to do so. There's always the favorite "You aren't a published author, who are you to judge" which is pulled by both fans and authors for those who judge; the argument has already been proven a fallacy, but some (i.e. many) still try. All this usually nets a person is a very delicate ego, and the impression that they don't really want any comment that doesn't praise them.

  • Some just take any comment as it comes. This too comes with some consideration, because every author of note usually fears reading something that has some suggestion in it, obtuse or not, and having it somehow make its way into some future work; then comes the cry of foul, which is especially hard to refute should the author have replied directly at any time.


For me, it's all in the frame of mind. If I'm having a good day, I love reading bad reviews, as well as good. I'm not in a place that's going to let me take anything overly critical, and neither am I going to become depressed at seeing hours of hard work come crashing down by some well chosen word structure. If I had a hard day, I tend to stick to some of the better stuff, because there's no point in doing deeper into any funk. And then there are times that I'll grab something that hopefully is not quite venomite but not gushingly sweet, just to remind myself that my head still fits through a door frame and maybe I'm straddling the middle of the road.

Anything that starts with "OMG" and continues with such in the first sentence gets a automatic delete; if you can't properly say what you want without resorting to showing yourself ignorant to basic English, you're done.

As if

Nov. 6th, 2006 10:25 pm
ravenswept: (Default)
At some point I'm going to remember that I started this so that I could get my thoughts down, not to bottle them up and think about them in my head, then come online and just stare at a blank screen. Why is it you can seem to have the most profound thought going through your head at one moment, then when you come to the process of recording it you've got nothing?

I often wonder what I want to do with my life. Not just in the near future, but what to actually accomplish. I've thought about being a writer (and have gotten encouragement to do so), as well as an artist (same as before but with more people; this is more because the art is more seen, and my writing I've only let those I truly trust see) and on Tuesday decide I'll run for a government office. I have no consistency. I'm deluded to the point that nothing I think is long term.

Maybe my interests are too varied. I like a lot of things, and could easily do them longer then I may give my self credit for; the problem is the amount of my interest waxes and wanes more then the moon. If my interest falters, then I'm thinking about doing something else. Lather, rinse, repeat.

At various points in my random thought process, I usually end up circling back to either art or writing; or to be even more obtuse, creative ventures in whole. The rationale being, through more creative means I can express my ideas on those subjects that may interest me, and so change my style to what purpose I have need to adhere to. And lately I've been trying harder to accomplish that, mainly through writing. My art, while specialized and accredited as 'good' ("You should be a graphic artist") is not mainstream and would most likely be a more gallery type style. This being if I ever did anything of actual scale.

Writing...I know a few writers. Or wannabe writers anyway. Few have anything in print, half that do have it mainly on the internet, and only half of those are not on blogs. So many good ideas are out there but more and more don't think what they have is good enough. Worse, someone with no talent is used as a springboard for ideas, and that moron will relentless say that either 'That's stupid' or 'That's already been done'. Then no matter what you try to dissuade them against they remain stalwart in their opinion as not to be wrong. Both argument are becoming more and more pointless, it's-been-done even more so. Hollywood has reduced itself to either formula movies, sequels, or movies based on books. Too often all three are lumped together.

And I don't mean that to sound bad; I enjoy most of those movies, books ones often to see what the story looks like in moving media. What I wish to more of is original screenplays, something fresh; these are more and more being saved mainly for the big name directors to showcase an idea they've been holding one to.

I'm steering away from what I talking about before; writing, or more specifically, my lack of. I have the ideas in my head. I have the character; lord, I can go off on characters and create a more rich back history of a single person then the entirety of whatever I wanted to write about. My problem seems to lie in the manifestation of what I want to say. And this seems to be the base of the problem for most, in that what they want to say is more encompassing then the medium they chose to try to explain it upon.

A recent idea, for an example, is centered around military intelligence (don't worry, all the jokes have been used) and an off-shoot department I made up. I have a character I want to base the story around; I have a multitude of minor characters to use; what I need is a) a name for my main man, something I haven't been able to figure out for several months and b) a solid story line to plant and see grow. I've read of several authors who base their entire careers upon just coming up with a character, the basic first scene, then just making it up as they go; oh, sorry, 'seeing where the character takes them'. I could do this, but there are problems, one of which is I have several individual scenes already planned or in my head and not clue one as to how to string them all together. Second, more simple but just as derailing, it's just not how I work. I like having a plan, or at least a base line I can work off of. Just jumping into the story with little to no clue as how to swim is not my idea of fun

If I choose to overthink it, it could be said that it may be the best way currently; I'm having problems otherwise, how will doing what I don't normally do change the norm? I don't know the answer, but then maybe I just don't feel like coming up with one. I like how I work and doing something different may just throw me off.

....or instead I could be applying all this wordage above into actual story writing.

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