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Writing, or not...
Have you ever had a story (you write yourself) that reminds you of nothing so much as a puppy?

I have one that did that. It first came to me when I was writing another stoy.

I had been going full speed, 2* ~170k words in around 4 months. Then, around 30k words into the third book I suddenly had no answer to 'what now'. This other story had been nudging my window with its nose, and I had been putting it off, thinking 'finish this first' for a while. I crawled forwards for a few hundred words over the following weeks, then ground to a halt. (I later noticed something was off that needed to be fixed in the second book, after I managed to get past this stop and wrote up to a point - all wrong past what I had, and still have, in mind for one particular scene - where a character practically jumped at me, waving and saying, "Hello, you forgot me!" Well, my characters don't speak to me, but the effect is the same.)

My way of writing is just, well, writing. I feel like saying, "I don't make this up, I just write it down." It works out best that way. Things tie up and weave itself around each other, clues are put in. The less I speculate and think about it, the more sense it makes. Whenever I try to do something deliberately I just end up needing to go back to fix it, the more I try to force something, the bigger is the discrepancy with what it later really turns out as. So far that's left me with lots of story that goes smoothly, with only one character forgotten (see above), and there are a great big lot of characters. The words themselves are another matter, but that's not what this is about...

So I went and started the other story that had been pestering me. Six books with an average of 130k words in around 8 months. It quickly went down an entirely different path than what I had intended, but at the end I even knew what it is about, and that 'about' resolved to a happy end.

Ok, new idea. Started writing, all fine, until something crept in. "Shoo!" I thought. Nope, it stayed. Something that had been prominent in the story I had just finished. Like a puppy that comes at you while you're busy with something else. With a happy doggy grin, wagging its tail, encouraging you to play.

"Not now." I tried to tell it.

Puppy yipped and grinned at me.

And less than a month after I'd finished the story, I was back to reading it from the start. (Fixing what I noticed while I was at it, from typos to surplus and missing words, to smoothing sentences and paragraphs, to tweaking bits here and there with what I then knew better than when I had first written it - finding out things as I write. I am not good at tweaking, I worry that I might have overdone it, but that's not what this is about...)

So I read through it all, likely having even more fun reading it than I had first writing it. I knew what would come, bits I like particularly well... (I'd always liked re-reading better than first reading, with books that hit my taste. Books I don't like are a waste of time even the first time round.)

I started other stories, tried to continue the third book of the first (see above) after rereading it (the same way I reread the pupply one, enjoying that too, mind), started more stories. But puppy would always come back, wanting to play. And it always won. It just wouldn't go away. I'd have to check my progess files to count how often I've reread that (while fixing what I noticed), and that doesn't count the times I just read bits.

Then I had an idea. Write more. I wrote past the end. (You ever had a book where, at the end, you'd have liked to spend more time with it, the characters, the world? That's what I wrote for myself here. There are still things open, only what it is about is resolved.) And at (currently) 105104 words of the 7th of six books, I managed to write it out of my head.

It leaves me alone now. But that doesn't mean I don't think of it. It just is no more prominent than the other one (that still needs the third book finished).

Some time ago I moved into a new flat, with broadband (didn't have that before) and a new computer along with it. The stories had all been neglected, sitting on the old computer that wasn't switched on. I have backups, but the new computer is just the wrong environment, looks wrong, feels wrong, for writing. I missed my stories, and then began reading the second book of the unfinished story in the backup file, finding the spot to fix. I bought a switch (for using one monitor & keyboard for both computers) and turned the old one back on.

Then I got distracted. Livejournal, always trying to find a game that's interesting (no luck there), and besides wanting to fix that bit and finish the story, I also want to continue beta-reading someone else's story.

I'm easily distracted. On rasfc someone had a horse question. Reminded me of some bits I have with horses too. I asked a question (no answer, sadly), then read the relevant bit to refresh my memory. Then read another bit with horses in the same story. It's in the third book of the former puppy one. I read bits of the fourth and the fifth book, all of the sixth and the seventh (making notes of what to fix once I go back to editing), throughoughly enjoying it. And I've come to a conclusion.

For some time I've been wondering whether the fifth and sixth might not be affected by what's commonly refered to as 'braineater'. These two don't even have titles. There's something that turns up quite often, and it stands out at least to me.

But I like it. This is my fantasy, and I would like to spend even more time with it.

If I ever find a betareader, the first story has lots of rambling that needs fixing, and I'd really like to know how well it would work out for someone else, whether the characters would work for someone else. Of the puppy, at best I'd be willing to share the first book (which does have a sort of end but no happy one, pretty much everyone ends up worse off than at the start). The rest is for my entertainment alone.

[happy grin]

I doubt anyone else would like it as much as I, or even understand it. It took me six books to figure out what was really going on, and I finally 'got it'. Anyone else could too easily doubt the characters and end up thinking, "WTF?" Never mind the braineater bit. *g*

So, the puppy has grown up, but it's still special.


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