Mindless Rambling Crap

I’m totally not running out of ideas for titles. I’m just stating facts.

So… I think I’m at the point where I can be productive again.

Now wait. Before anyone rolls their eyes or laughs at the idea of me doing anything even remotely useful, where writing is concerned, I truly, honestly, 100% believe I am at a point where I can raise a big middle finger to the unproductive abyss in my mind, and actually write.

What’s so different now? Why, good question hypothetical reader. What’s different now, is the fact that I’m now working towards a Creative Writing degree. You know… That super useful degree that will open doors for me, whatever job I apply to… right? Whatever the case, now writing isn’t just a passion of mine that I don’t have the effort to actually do. Now it’s something that I’ll actually have to do, and I don’t think that will take too much fun out of it. But even if it does, trying to write is hell, anyway, as I’m sure you all know, so it’s hard to make hell any worse.

Speaking of Hell… I promise I’m not going somewhere weird with this… Well, not too weird.

But yes… Hell… It wouldn’t be a proper update post of mine if I didn’t tell you I’ve revamped my story like mad. I couldn’t tell you a finalised, or even simplified plot even if I wanted to, but now one of the main characters, and her family are all demons. The kin of Satan, to be specific. Because why wouldn’t they be? Why wouldn’t I just randomly decide to make them demons? I changed all of their names to be more… “fitting”, of course. Changed their personalities to be more fitting, of course. I’ve changed their characters to be… Alright. They’re pretty much not the same characters anymore. Not even spiritually, besides a few of them.

So there’s that. And since it’s October, I may as well not-so-subtly force in a little NaNoWriMo reminder. I’ve epically failed the past three years, but if nothing else, doing NaNoWriMo has pushed forward my story, and what I want to do with it… The only issue is trying to stop that idea ball from rolling, so I don’t find myself shoving things in that make no sense. So, this year I’ll be writing my super-villain/demon hybrid mess of a story, that will totally make sense, even without a plan, and we’ll see where that takes me. Probably back to the drawing board, but who knows? Maybe the next time I restart this story, I’ll inexplicably make everyone androids, or some such. I don’t know. I wouldn’t put it past me.

I don’t know whether I find my lax attitude amusing and worrying, at this point. And if you clicked on this post, after reading that title, then I’m sorry. You were warned. This boring as hell rambling is all you get…

Well, I’ll be back soon, with some more super exciting updates! (I can’t promise any of that).

Till next time (hopefully not ten months down the line).

Laurence out.

The 2016 Plan

First thing’s first. My productivity is still as terrible as ever.

Alright. Good. We’ve got that obligatory and obvious statement out of the way.

Now, I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions . . . ever, but I was browsing one of my usual forums yesterday, and came across a thread for New Year’s resolutions, and basically just thought “Sure. Why not?” That lax attitude probably isn’t the right frame of mind to be in when “committing” to a New Year’s resolution, especially considering mine is to write every day, even if it’s just one sentence. I don’t think extending that goal to this blog would be a good idea, though, because let’s be real, that will fail faster than you can say “Seven month break”.

I do still want to do something for this blog, like some of the things I said in my last post, that I won’t bother repeating, because I can only run this blog on nothing but my updates for so long. I mean, now that I have a laptop that isn’t trash, I should be able to be more active . . . I mean, I probably won’t be, but I could be. I could try to post daily, with small excerpts, my complaining that you’ll surely not get sick of, and the occasional, somewhat helpful post . . . In actual fact, I’ll probably just toss an old excerpt at the blog to show off my awful early writing, and cover for my laziness to produce actual content, and even then, I’ll probably get lazy with that, too.

At least you can’t say I’m not transparent.

Well, happy New Year to you all, and let’s make 2016 the year of killer productivity!

And let’s hope we all forget I said that, when it becomes hilariously untrue . . .

Until next time.

Laurence out.

Writing Woes And Blogging Blunders

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog of daily postings and killer productivity!

I’m desperately trying to reign in my urge to be self-deprecating here, because there is so much material I could use for that. There’s my monstrously awful writing productivity, that should come as no surprise to anyone, at this point. There’s the status of my current work in progress, that no one should be surprised to know is nowhere near completed. There’s my lack of activity on this blog, that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Although, considering a previous post, I feel inclined to say “Seven months? What do you mean? I’ve been here the whole time!” Ah, and there’s also the fact that even though I’ve previously said that I didn’t want to rely on writing events to get things done, considering it’s now the 23rd of October, with little over a week until NaNoWriMo 2015, I think it comes as no surprise to anyone to know that that has not been working out.

So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I suppose this will just be a quick update post. So, hi. I’m not dead. My writing on the other hand . . . That might need a little defibrillating action to get up and running again. I’ve decided to work on the prequels of the story I was working on the last time you all saw me, because it was always nagging at me that I didn’t want to end up writing about things that had already technically happened in my universe. I want to say this is it. I want to say that this is without a doubt, one hundred percent, sure as the sweltering, burning flames of the fiery pits of hell, the final time I’m going to abandon one plot to work on another, and start again, without even getting halfway through the first draft. But I know me, so as much as I believe it, and as sure as I am about it, I wouldn’t bet my money on it. So, what I will say is that I feel very positive about the direction I’m now taking things.

There. Not a promise to myself that has a high probability of being broken.

As for this blog . . . I don’t know. I mean, I can continue with the updates of my nonexistent writing progress (it is incredibly difficult to hold back the self-deprecation). I’d like to resume giving advice (or what passes for it on this blog) again. I haven’t got many usable excerpts to post, but it can’t be a bad idea to give a little more variety to the blog. And I’ve been playing with the idea of reviewing books, but three things always jump out of me with that idea; one, that requires me to read more than one book every few months; two, that requires me to remember to take notes, which I have done before, albeit in very few of the reviews I’ve written on Goodreads; three, that requires me to not find the idea of people taking on the word of a guy who writes like a dying snail, and reads as frequently as the changing of the seasons, insanely laughable . . .

Seriously. This talking crap about myself has to be an instinct or something.

So, to sum up:

  • Not dead.
  • Writing may or may not be going somewhere good.
  • Thinking of what on earth is going on with this here blog of mine.


I want to say I’ll be back soon, but let’s stick with the current formula, over a phrase that would be absurd coming from this absentee blogger of seven months.

Until next time.

Laurence out.

Characters: Likeability Verses Interest

I have no doubt that this is just a personal preference. In fact, this is going to be a pretty one-sided argument.

Fair? Don’t know the meaning of the word.

So, whenever I see someone ask on forums whether their characters are likeable or not, I always respond by saying they should worry less about making their characters likeable, and more about making them interesting. I know this is a personal preference because in books where interesting characters do some pretty morally questionable things, I’ve seen this reflected in some people’s reviews, essentially ruining the whole book for those particular readers. One of my favourite books . . . Actually, almost every one of my favourite books have morally questionable, or just downright morally defunct characters. Let’s not look into what that says about me, and instead look at how this would have without a doubt turned some people off. Nevertheless, I still think trying to alter a character to make them likeable, just for the sake of not offending anyone, would only end up harming the book more.

At this point, I think you all know what side I’m advocating for. I’ve read books where characters were clearly written to be likeable, even in situations where it would have made more sense to strip away some of those morals and have them make decisions that wouldn’t make them out to be saints. I’ve read books with characters who were the epitome of moral behaviour, and while that would theoretically make that character likeable, not only does it make them uninteresting, but it also makes them unbelievably annoying. The most unbelievably, annoying and boring characters I have ever read.

If a character needs to lie, or steal, or even go so far as to kill, in order to progress, and it’s within character for them to do so, then let them. Rather than finding some contrived way to keep a character pure and innocent, find ways to keep them interesting and engaging. I won’t deny the importance of likeability, but I feel as if writing in order to make them likeable isn’t the way to achieve that. You wouldn’t write a book with the sole intention of making it marketable, so don’t write your characters that way, either.

Look at characters like Loki from the Thor movies. What is there to like about him? Spoiler alert: He’s betrayed his brother numerous times, tried to kill his father, if I remember correctly. If I don’t remember correctly, well, he’s still been one hell of a problem child. He tried to take over the world with an alien army, and wherever he goes, mayhem generally follows. Sounds like a complete bastard, right? And yet, for some inexplicable reason, he’s insanely popular among the Marvel fandom . . . Mostly women . . . A lot of whom have crushes on him . . . It’d probably help to make your character attractive. In all seriousness, though, he’s probably even more popular than the actual heroes of the movies. It may be the case that he was written to be a lovable jerk, but I don’t believe that to be the case.

In any case, you see my point. The best characters aren’t written to be likeable. Their likeability should be something that comes naturally as a result of all their personality traits and actions coming together. If your character is the most interesting character to have ever been written, but due to some of their less favourable traits some readers still don’t like them, then that’s a shame, but don’t alter them based on them not being likeable to a few readers. To paraphrase one of my very first blog posts, screw what other people think and just write what you want . . . although if everyone ends up hating your character, then yeah . . . I give you permission to ignore all of this.

Anyway, just let the characters speak for themselves and there will be people who enjoy them for who they are. They may be absolutely loathsome as people, but the beauty about fiction is that you can love arseholes like Loki because they’re fictional.

You can’t please everybody, especially when it comes to any sort of creative art, like writing, so don’t try.

Until the next one, everyone.

Laurence out.

Pitching Tents And Killing Trees

NaNoWriMo. Every year, during the cold month of November, writers from far and wide lock themselves in their homes and shut themselves off from the outside world, as they become lost in their own worlds, marking the start of their thirty-day struggle to reach 50000 words by the end of the month. Some may be driven to insanity, and become lost to their loved ones, and some may harbour this madness and use it as fuel for their novel. Some may burn through keyboards with their speedy typing, and some may take the challenge as a marathon, and keep to a steady pace.

But what if the challenge may be too much for some people, or what if some people need more than a month of madness to satisfy them? Is 50,000 words too much of a hassle, or could you write that much in your sleep? Well, during the months of April and July you’ll get the chance to sate your creative appetite, and tackle your own goals, finally conquering that unforgiving entity that is your novel. What is this foolish, masochistic nonsense that I’m promoting, I hear you cry?

Camp NaNoWriMo!

*Cue trumpets and horns and marching bands swarming the streets*

What do you say we stop with that now, huh? I kind of let that get away from me.

Anyway, yes. Tomorrow marks the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo, where writers can set their own word count goals for the month. If you plan on participating, then it would do you good to set yourself a realistic goal. In my last attempt at Camp NaNo, I set myself a goal of 75,000 words, even though I didn’t really have any intention of writing 2500 words a day. When it comes to Camp NaNo, I don’t have that great of a track record. I should also mention that I have no intention of participating this year, since I don’t want to end up relying on writing events to write my novel. I only just started writing frequently . . . somewhat frequently again, and I don’t want to mess with my pace so much.

But, if you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year, then good luck, happy writing, and keep a tight hold of your sanity.

Better have all your caffeine ready.

Laurence out.

My Challenges With Creating Child Characters

Oh, that pro alliteration. My skill is unparalleled.

Alright, so I’m pleased to say that I am, indeed, writing again. I’m back in my natural habitat shunning outlines and writing whatever so happens to enter my head. I don’t know if I would say that it’s easier. I definitely find it more fun, especially considering I don’t have to spend months just to plan the damn thing; and I’m glad I don’t have to go through all the characters and write out the personalities of each of them, since I’m more than fine storing that stuff in my head.

But, I do have one big problem . . . well, six little problems that I think even an excessive plan wouldn’t have been able to fix, and they go by the names of Kathy, Lili, Obi, Alex, Melissa and Kevin.

Now . . . I’m not a parent, and certainly not one of five-year-olds. I don’t have any younger siblings, and whenever I’m out in public I usually have headphones blasting music into my ears, so even if there are little kids around I can’t even hear them. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to go to a park with a notebook and a pen, and proceed to watch the children, therefore, the only real experience I have with how children behave is my own. And with my twenty-one-year-old mind, it’s hard to look back on my memories of that age with the mind of a child.

So, when it comes to writing child characters, most of whom are wildly different from one another, I don’t have a lot to reference. I mean, there was one book I had to read for A-level English Literature that I could reference . . . if I wanted to end up wanting to murder each and every child in my book . . . Look. I seriously hated Room, by Emma Donoghue. I don’t even feel bad for wanting the kid dead. And who knows? Maybe he does die. I’m not going to pretend I was able to endure that book to the end. I applaud Donoghue for trying, for being ambitious, but in my opinion, Room is a perfect example of a little child being written awfully . . . I’m sure I was making a point before I got lost in remembering just how much I hated that book.

Ah, yes! My point is I don’t have anything to help me write child characters well. In my previous attempts at getting anything to do with this series finished, the characters were in their late teens, and while I can take a few character traits from that, it would be weird for a little child to behave like a young adult. Also in a previous attempt I had a prologue with three of those characters as children, so I could use that as a basic template. After all, they do grow up to become those people.

The thing is, some children tend to be both innocent little angels, as well as malicious little demons, and in a story that has them as consistent . . . no . . . very important secondary characters, writing them as well-behaved pretty much all the time, though convenient, wouldn’t be realistic. Perhaps I could get away with a couple of the more timid and reserved children not being annoying, but not all of them. The reason this is such a problem is because my main character is a single mother of four of these children. Quadruplets, yes. She certainly has quite a bit of help raising them, but still, they’ll be consistent characters throughout the story, and children or not, they’ll still have to be good, well-rounded and developed characters.

Oh, and Melissa . . . Jesus. How do you write an excessively educated five-year-old who sometimes even corrects adults, and her grandfather, at that?

Well, I’ve been going on instinct, and what looks right thus far, and it doesn’t seem so bad. Certainly not as bad as that spawn of Satan from Room.

Okay, okay. I’ll stop ragging on it.

I’d like to think that written in moderation (or as moderately as one could write the kids of the main characters) I can write them reasonably well.

Kids. Even when they only exist in words they can be annoying . . . even if they’re my characters and I’m far too attached to them.

At least I’ll make sure I don’t write them to the same standards of Room . . . Alright. That was the last one.

Till next time.

Laurence out.

Blogging, Writing And So Forth . . .

Super interesting title. I know.

I feel like even acknowledging my breaks from this blog, that span months, is becoming stale, so if in the future I stop blogging for about half a year, I’ll just come back and pretend as if I’ve been here the whole time. Deal?


Anyway, this really isn’t going to be an interesting post. So, remember how I sometimes actually post things of reasonable worth on this blog? Yeah. Me neither. But sometimes I post things that aren’t total crap, and can even amazingly be passed off as advice. Why anyone would come to this blog for writing advice is beyond me, considering how drastically unproductive I am, but there we go. But on the subject of that, considering that I haven’t written a thing since November, I think I’m going to hold off on the actual informative posts for a while. At least until I get into the swing of things, again. It just doesn’t make sense to me to give advice on writing when I’ve barely even been writing recently.

So, be prepared for less “quality” and more garbage in the form of my updates . . . Is that going a little far on the self-deprecation? I don’t think it is.

The funny thing is, I consistently write updates on what’s going on with my characters on a certain thread on the NaNoWriMo forums, and sometimes I think that my lengthy comments would be far better suited for a blog post. Then I think better, and that I haven’t established my characters here, so just coming and saying, “Oh, hey! By the way I’ve decided to change Taylor’s name to Kathy, for reasons, even though I stuck with Taylor since I started writing the very first version of this story. I’ve decided to start the series with her mother, Erin, as the main character instead, and make Kathy and co. even younger kids. I’ve decided that in order for things to actually make sense my characters actually need jobs, other than being villains, so I’ve turned Night Horizon headquarters into a hotel. I don’t know whether I want Erin and Khloe to be married, since it’d create far too weird a dynamic for Kathy and Melissa. I’ve just realised . . .” You get the point, though. Many of those points were expanded far more, and were more rambled, but who would honestly be interested in hearing about how characters they know nothing about are coming along?

But updates. Let’s talk progress, and how I have no concept of the word. I don’t know why I’m going to, since it’s the same old story every time, but let’s do it anyway. In my last post I said that my writing can’t be held back by an outline, and that I’m an improviser at heart. Well, considering how the last month of my writing escapades have just been me getting an idea of the plot, writing an excessive plan for the setting, and spending a quite literally insane amount of time on just one character sheet, I’m not sure how accurate that was.

What stopped me was the realisation that if I was going to finish that plan, I was going to have to write that unnecessarily detailed character sheet out for every single one of my characters, and with a cast of far too many characters (I don’t think I’ve reached a hundred, but I wouldn’t be surprised), that I seriously need to cut down, I would never have finished.

Now I’m seriously done with plans, other than what I believe to be the minimum. Standard, basic character sheets and the setting. There. Done.

I expect I’ll start writing again, soon, once I’ve finished procrastinating on other work I should be doing, but even though I’m positive I can write in the same style I always have, I can’t shake the feeling that I may have forgotten, what with three or four months of nothing. I’m probably being incredibly ridiculous, and it’s probably just like riding a bike.

Because the last time I said this, it was a big lie, let’s say it again. I’m off to improvise the hell out of this novel.

Until next time, guys.

Laurence out.