I started to prepare to post another chapter of Home Out In The Wind way early, as a pick-me-up for how terribly my Friday went, but in the proofreading I wound up adding on over 1k words to the chapter and another good big chunk on the next one. Which is even better, and reminds me again how very different a thoroughly-edited work I’ve had time to contemplate is from a post-as-you-write it work that no one has seen but me. 

wittering about writing process behind the cut: (ha I had to wait for xkit to fail to install again before I could fix the horizontal rule and make it properly a cut, sorry for anyone who had to scroll past it in the meantime)

Sometimes it’s readers’ notes that prompt these changes, and the initial round of edits all were, but this most recent one is mostly me noticing that in the first draft, I was super into Poe and less into Finn. Which is often the case when I’m writing long things with multiple POVs– there’s one that’s a treat to write and wallow in, and the other that I use just to frame the first one really because the first one is my *~darling sweetheart~*, and on the second pass I’m realizing that (duh) it’s all more interesting if Finn genuinely has his own motivations. And indeed, his own motivations are the parts in the posted chapters that people are reacting to most! Clearly, whether you read this pairing out of Oscar Isaac thirst or not (they’re related conditions, c’mon), it’s a more rewarding story if Finn has inward monologue that’s not just about Poe. 

And I knew that when I wrote it, but a lot of times the first draft is just this race to get it down and make it form a structure before you forget where you were going, before you get bogged down in details. And there was one scene in particular that I was absolutely racing toward the switch over to Poe’s POV, in fact I’d already written his POV, I knew what I wanted to happen (and it was going to be so juicy) and I just had to get Finn to a position where he could start the Poe POV scene and that meant establishing why he’d be there, and I literally stuck in a sentence and marked the scene done in my head, and it was no kind of resolution and he was inappropriately upset about the very minor thing I’d given him to be upset about. 
And it wasn’t until the last-minute proofreading of the scene that I hit that sentence (which betas had reacted to! not particularly negatively, but people had, and I thought, yes that’s a fine scene ending, sure) and realized that it was a placeholder and I’d surely meant to put a lot more here once I had a better handle on the character. 

That’s the other thing; I wrote this entire epic, for the first 50k words or so, in three documents, one from each character’s POV; I instantly realized that Rey’s POV did not start until well after the first two, and she became the draft of the second story. (The second story was literally called “Rey” for a really long time. The Finn POV was called “Finn”. And the Poe POV? Well, indicatively, it was called “SWTFA”. I had not yet realized, or maybe I had, that I was so overwhelmingly interested in Poe above all.

And that’s fine, you can focus around one character. Some of it, as a ficcer, is who I think I can sort of own. I am totally unwilling to touch Rey’s backstory; I know for a certainty it will be revealed in the movies and any story I tell will be outmoded by those revelations. Likewise, I shy away from Kylo Ren and his redemption or not; they’ll absolutely handle that. (I’m going to have to at least mention the character, I get that, and in fact he will appear and will play an important and possibly more ambiguous than originally conceptualized role.)

 Poe, I realize, will be getting a tie-in comic and already has a background and all, but those are comics. That means they won’t be doing it in the movies. Comics, you can kind of brush aside a little. Very few people will read it, and if they do, they won’t absorb it the same way. Comics are awesome and I incorporate them where I can. Movies, though. Movies obliterate your work. 

Finn may or may not get a backstory. I’m not so sure about him. 

But anyway. Poe was clearly the most appealing for me, and I feel best about filling him in, and that’s fine.

But Finn has POV scenes, and that’s a decision I made. He therefore needs to be a rounded character. And for some reason making him do that is something I have had to mull over a lot before I could do. 

I’m just glad I have the chance to do that. 

Anyway, chapter update will probably be Wednesday as originally scheduled; I have to shake it really hard to make the new bit settle properly. I got another 2k into the next chapter too, it was kind of rewarding. All of it is Finn. 
I was out too late last night and it was sort of a weird group, it was my dude and all his coworkers in from out of town, and I was the only non-employee and the only woman, and it struck me sort of weirdly at one point that only the first thing was odd. You know? I’ve been in a lot of situations in my life where I was the only woman and it’s usually weird, and at one point it struck me as weird that it wasn’t weird, last night. But I’m so sleepy I can’t really unpack that. 

I’ve written 17k beyond the 50k I sent for beta on the star wars thing. But I’ve written myself into a corner. The characters are doing things for plot and not because they make sense. This whole time I’ve been bribing myself with a payoff of a fun happy resolution I don’t know how to write and can’t envision. I don’t know if I can get there from here. it is always very hard.

I bribed myself through the end of the day with the promise of ice cream for dinner, which I did get, with dude. And then came home and had dinner for dessert. It worked well and it made me feel purposeful and happy. I always feel bad when I can’t make myself make any decisions about food. So making decisions made me feel like I was doing The Right Thing, even if it was a silly decision. I didn’t second-guess it or change my mind at all, so that was Good. 

I am still very tired but I think I may manage to bang some more plot into shape. i’m trying to make myself finish the second bit and give beta readers time before I come back to the first bit. The hard thing is keeping my conviction that any story really matters enough to tell, which I know is clearly a brainweasel kind of situation. But. I see rec lists and I’m never on them, I see other authors describe their process and it seems like it makes so much more sense than mine. It’s hard for me sometimes to think like anything I could ever do is important. I’m not fishing for reassurance so much as writing it down so I can see what it is that I’m refusing to think about straight-on. That’s what it is, and it’s kind of dumb, so there it is. 

Also I have another fucking beautiful @artgroves sketch to post with a snippet and the original snippet isn’t particularly usable and for some reason I can’t bang out a new one that works, and I’m sort of uncomfortably gnawing on that and feeling bad. The other one has a lot of notes now and that’s a source of glee (and a moment of hilarity last night, as one of dude’s coworkers had encountered it in the wild and recognized that it was my work, and was like poe dameron, eh? and i was like yo i got needs okay, fictional ones). 

So, maybe, someone help me with a writing prompt for Poe with a guitar, because I might just need to write a new chunk for it! I don’t know. Every other snippet I have relies too heavily on in-story context. 
I was tagged by @salamanderinspace​ to post the first line of 10 of my fics!

Which pleases me, as I’m not the sort of person who ever gets tagged in anything.

Thing is, my writing style? I don’t do whammy first lines. I used to try, but they mostly didn’t work, and I outgrew the attempts. I try super hard to just drop you right into the scene; it’s almost always Protagonist, Action Verb, Setting, and then the next line is usually dialogue or a situation developing. I don’t want my first line memorable because I don’t want you to trip over it; I want you to walk right in to find out where the heck they’re headed.

I saw @galadhir, I think (or was it @heartofoshun?) do this meme as the first paragraph of five of your fics, and I liked that a great deal, because it gives you a lot more insight into the less-flashy writers. My first reaction on considering this meme was actually to feel really bad about my writing, but I just got a couple of comments on a recent thing from readers pointing out that my style tends to be both invisible and dense, and I was really pleased to hear that it comes across that way. Because that’s what I’m going for. 

So– look at the first line, and then look at the paragraph, and you’ll see why I did it this way. My first paragraphs tend to be short too! I don’t want to drown anybody. My first lines are nothing, they really are. And I felt sort of bad about that, but there are as many ways to tell stories as there are storytellers, so this is for all the rest of you who felt your opening lines to be lackluster even though they were stories you’d always loved. And if this style works for you, then maybe you’ll like the rest of my stories. :)

* Meduseld’s roof gleamed in the early spring sunlight, but to Éomer it looked more forbidding than friendly. He regarded it with trepidation as Edoras came fully into view ahead, and Éothain noticed his expression. 

The Clasp Undone, LOTR fandom, written in 2004 for HASA, now on AO3. An early example– setting, reaction, motivation and secondary characters in two sentences. I think I was trying for a whammy opener a little bit, or at least poetic imagery. I also had excerpted an obscure poem preface but I figure that doesn’t count for this meme. (For a while I thought the poetry was required before each chapter…)

* There was a caravan on the road, Khat deduced, from the actions of the pirates. He was not foolish enough to get anywhere near the action, knowing both sides would be perfectly eager to kill him, but he settled on a promontory and watched, waiting for the pirates to come back with prisoners to their camp. 

The Kenniliar-Charisat Road, gapfiller for Martha Wells’ City of Bones, written in 2009ish but unpublished until 2013 on AO3. I think you can tell I wrote this entirely for myself, never really intending to publish it– there’s little concern for reeling the reader in. It’s more just my personal heartbreak that the author was not going to write a sequel, and I wanted to spend more time with the characters. So this one is probably most interesting as an example of how I’d write if nobody was reading. Because, well, nobody was, and nobody is; it’s not a popular fandom. It’s only as poetic as it needs to be for the setting to be established; it’s mostly pragmatic in choreography, and then I take my sweet time with dialogue because that’s what I like. A challenge, though: one of the characters refuses to admit that he can speak the other’s tongue for almost the entirety of the story. No worries; Sagai can make up the difference.

* “You’re fulla shit, McKay,” John said happily, taking a bite of the almost-apple in his hand and chewing noisily because he knew it was annoying. Rodney reacted predictably, setting off on a great, somewhat-shrill, rapid-fire rant about the merits of the continuously-variable transmission in an automobile over a standard transmission. John didn’t give a fuck, but he’d wound Rodney up enough that he could enjoy the show, so he waited a moment, said, “But the Batmobile’s totally a stick shift,” and watched Rodney spin off into near-incoherence.

Bones Reds, SGA (gen), 2013, on AO3. This one, you can tell I’d been reading a lot of other fic. The McShep fic community (especially @theletteraesc, my forever fave) tended to favor fast-paced rapid-fire stuff, and banter especially, and I totally got sucked in. This is the closest I come to a whammy. (Another of my early examples starts off with “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me”, straight from John’s mouth; same idea.) 

The downside is that I think I kinda shot my wad in this paragraph and the rest of the fic is just okay. Eh! It was quite early in my AO3 days. 

* There was the sharp crack of rifle fire from behind a tree, and Peggy nodded to herself in satisfaction; it had to be Barnes. Good, she wasn’t totally separated from the others. She waited until he fired again, and someone screamed distantly as the bullet found its mark; she used that hushed moment to fall back, darting from her flimsy cover behind a bush to a more solid cover behind a tree trunk. 

Guts, a gen Peggy & Bucky MCU/Captain America fic, published in 2015 on AO3. Yo look at all those semicolons. I think I’m trying to channel 1930s English Schoolgirl here but it might just be that I used to be real into semicolons after a misspent Tolkien-obsessed youth and I’m bad at not using them for everything. 

* Steve was on top of Natasha, missionary-style, fucking her hard and steady. Bucky wandered in just as she was coming, and stood in dumbfounded shock watching as she shuddered and gasped.

Put On Earth With That Sole Purpose, Steve/Natasha/Bucky, 2015 on AO3, a shining example of my favorite genre, which is a pure-smut character study. That is what I love. It’s not just PWP, it’s a character study. I can’t help doing this and I’m hopelessly addicted to it. But as you can see, there’s no gradual introduction to the action here; we start with, quite literally, a climax. When it comes to fucking around, I don’t fuck around. 

I’m also going to cop-out, I think, and say I tag anyone who wants to do it, because the nature of Tumblr discourse is such that it’s super hard to figure out who of the writers I follow actually follow me back and would be interested. But if you, like me, are the sad sort who easily feels excluded, and nobody has tagged you, I am sorry to hear that and wish I were clever enough to have noticed to tag you. Consider yourself tagged. Maybe holler at me in the post and I will in future try to remember to tag you. If I ever get tagged in a thing again. Because I rarely do and often when I am don’t really know how to do it. Awkward peeps unite!! I’m here in this corner with you, and I have beer. 



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