Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Resurfacing. Again.
black ribbon
Wow, it's been a while.

So. I think I'm at the tail end of a mild hypomanic/manic episode that's lasted about two weeks. I think. Using my Make Hay While the Sun Shines policy, I sat down to put as much of Black Ribbon together as I could, and write more whenever I thought of something. There are a lot of symptoms that I eventually notice--don't want to eat, have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, unexplained itchiness (often a caffeinated sort of tingle), creativity/productivity, and--sometimes--the distinct giddy feeling that I'm in love, even when there's no one around to be in love with. Turns out? Hypergraphia can also be a symptom of mania. BEHOLD: Tuesday.

@cleolinda: Ideas! Oh God, let me not stop having them.

@cleolinda: My new pen is a Pentel RSVP that keeps blobbing out ink and it DISPLEASES ME.

@cleolinda: Now, to type up the day's handwritings.

@cleolinda: Apparently 16 handwritten pages equals 5003 words, and that's what I wrote today. And then typed up. Holy hell.


And I wrote all of that between 7:30 am and 11:30 am, when I had to leave for my doctor's appointment--a medicine check, actually. ("Yes... I think you are manic.")

@particle_person: Hee, I appreciate the understatement. And I guess it's better than the opposite.

@cleolinda: That's pretty much my doctor in a nutshell: incredible understatement.

@particle_person: Two articles on hypergraphia, a condition of writing to excess: bit.ly/navw33 nyti.ms/nDt17I 

The reason I think the mania's wearing off is that I look at that picture and all I feel now is tired.

Tuesday, plus 5000+ words I typed up yesterday (from older handwritten notes/drafts) and then another 2000 today (which was much slower, tireder going) means that the zero draft--Crappy Draft--is up to about 38,000 words. (NaNoWriMo has you try for at least 50,000. I think your average novel is about 100,000.)  And, since I write out of order, I've still got more to go through and chuck in. Some of it will have been replaced by different ideas or newer versions of scenes, so it'll get filed away and won't go towards the word count. I'm not so much a size queen about my word count as just trying to figure out where the gaps are. A lot of the hypergraphic episode wasn't so much a compulsion to write as "Oh shit! I know how to do that scene now! Oh! Oh crap! I know how to explain why they do that now! ARRRGH WRITE FASTER, BRAIN IS THINKY." It's more about clarity than compulsion for me--once I had run out of ideas, I was happy to drape myself like Spanish moss over the couch for the rest of the day. I mean, I felt like a slack-ass for doing it, but then I typed everything up and realized I'd written five thousand words in four hours and was like, oh. Yeah. You earned that.

@cleolinda: Part of me really wants to sit down and write more, and part of me is kind of wiped from Hypergraphia Tuesday. That part is my hand.

@cleolinda: "HEY WHY DON'T YOU JUST THINK ABOUT THINGS REAL HARD, YOU LIKE DOING THAT." "But Hand, we still have to type it up eventually." *cries*


@cleolinda: Can you imagine--a one-person slap fight? RT @bluinkalchemist: @cleolinda Now, now, hands, don't fight. We're all in this together.

@bluinkalchemist: @cleolinda At least after the fight we'd know the sound of one hand slapping.

@queenanthai: You need a voice recorder.

@cleolinda: I think there's one on the iPhone? But then I end up doing terrible British accents for my dialogue, and no one wants that.

(Here's an interesting problem: I type faster than I write by hand, as do many people. But I might even type faster than I think--in sentences, anyway--and so when I type, I end up putting down every little thought that wanders through my head. And thus, a decent idea for a scene drowns in rambling tangents and I forget where I was going with it. When I write by hand, I only have time to get the most important parts out, and thus I actually nail the entire concept down. If I want to elaborate while I'm typing it up, I can.)

I spent much of the hand-writing in the recliner or at the kitchen counter, but this is how I set up Lizzie on weekdays, while I'm watching House of Bark. (You can see Scout by the green tote.) In the evening, we (by which I mean me) haul it all back up to my bedroom.

Even though I think the mania is winding down, I'm still trying to press forward. (And now that it is, hopefully I can get back to LJ posts.) I just really, really want to have a Crappy Draft that you (by which I mean me. ONLY ME) can read from A to Z by Halloween. I don't know how doable that actually is, but Halloween is when I had originally wanted to finish putting it out as a quick, melodramatic serial... eight years ago. Instead, I created a LiveJournal. THIS NOVEL IS OLDER THAN MY LJ. It's almost kind of my white whale at this point. I would like to have a Crappy But Readable Draft done by my birthday in December, when I turn 33. And at that point, I'll put on my editorial hat. Just having a full manuscript to work with would, in itself, be a huge achievement for me, so I don't care how bad it is; I just want something done by Halloween. One of the reasons I'm trying to be so public about this is because I'm trying to embarrass myself into not giving up or wandering away again. I HAVE GOT TO MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE and the sequels shut up.

And, of course, then we have to start trying to sell it to someone. Victorian London and vampires (WAIT, COME BACK!) and vampire hunters (SEE?) and lady doctors and inventors and magicians and orphans and opium dens and alienists and blackmail and apothecaries and costermongers and secret libraries and revenge and cross-dressing and the Paris World's Fair. Also, a heroine who reads books they didn't assign in school and actually cares about other people. Yeah, I went there. I guess this is considered steampunk? Probably horror? There is romance but it's not the primary focus? Someone else gets to decide what shelf to stock it on, I guess. I hope someone wants to put it on a shelf. OH GOD PLEASE LET ME FINISH IT.

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On a day in June, I wrote over 13,000 words from midnight to nine am. I think I ended up clocking out at 17k in a twelve hour period. It was...well, not pleasant. It's good to know this is a Thing that can happen to people with bipolar disorder (even though I was pretty sure that's what it was).

Yeah, apparently it's related to a particular (left? I forget?) lobe of the brain, and is associated with both mania and epilepsy. I've had episodes since I was a kid--when I was nine, I wrote 42 college-ruled pages in one day.

Missed you. Wondered if you were writing or not feeling well.

I go through this with art and/or sewing. It's really hiddy when it's all over and done, especially since I have this thing where I can't leave a drawing or painting unfinished--IT LOOKS AT ME AND IT JUDGES ME, "Pleeeeeeaase, don't you love me enough to finish meeeeeee?*sob*"


That's me, right there. (Occasionally I manage to shove something into a folder and hide it under the desk or something, but generally...)

I once spent about fifteen consecutive hours painting the starship Enterprise on the back plate of a giant frameless frame.
Must. Finish. *paints*
And then I spent two days complaining that my painting hand hurt. -.-

Apropos of nothing, I am reading a debut mystery novel by three sisters sharing the pen name of K.J. Larsen titled Liar Liar, in which there is a recurring character named Cleo Jones.

Who, might very well have, dunnit.

The important thing is that you know you're manic or hypomanic, so you can use it for its positive attributes (ie: producing rough drafts of manuscripts) and make a conscious decision to be cautious about other decisions that you know might be due to the mania (ie: a desire to go max out your credit cards on a spontaneous trip to Mexico.)

Yeah, I try to keep a close eye on mood swings--I had a couple of days the week before the mania where I felt like I was a complete failure at everything and I should never get out of bed again. I also had cramps and felt bloated. There's a point where you have to recognize it for what it is, or it'll eat you alive. I just try to treat that kind of depression like mind flu--rest up and try not to listen to it.

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I've been rapid-cycling the past several weeks. Down like I'm comatose for about three days, up, perky and DOING ALL THE THINGS for about 24 hours, rinse, repeat. I haven't been this way since high school. Thankfully, my psychiatrist is available by email (a miracle in public county health care) and we bumped up my lamictal dose. Hopefully that'll even me out. Otherwise, we'll have to add ANOTHER drug to the four I'm already taking.

I'm not generally hit with hypergraphia in your way,but more as a need to read and highlight old textbooks and "take notes" on what I'm reading, like I'm taking a class. At least I'm currently working on an old psych text so I know what my psych nurse Mom and super-brainy sister are talking about.

Btw, the world of your plot reminds me vaguely of the world of anime/manga "Black Butler". I don't think you should look at that until you've finished your own work, so that it doesn't warp your vision. But the success of BB might bode well for the marketability of your work.

The GOOD NEWS is-- if it is ever finished to your satisfaction-- you have a built-in audience wanting to buy it. I think it sounds HELLA AWESOME, although if I didn't I might buy it anyway just to support you.

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I have no power whatsoever in the publishing industry, but I would totally read that.

I remember forcing out 2000-word papers in about four hours in college (I was a major procrastinator who did a lot of all-nighters). 5000+ words in four hours is mindboggling, especially handwritten. I would understand your right hand wanting to smack the left one after that.

I think you need a secretary, or ....an intern! Anyway you can get a freshman journalist or English major to become your lacky for college credit? :)

Keep up the grand work!


I wonder how a voice to text converter would work for you? I tried and inevitably feel stupid doing it, but maybe putting in earbuds so you can't hear your family giggling at you would help.

Hmm. I wonder if that's what that guy who rides his bike by my house does. He's ALWAYS talking.

I have a copy of that book, "The Midnight Disease." Haven't had a chance to do more than skim it yet, but it does look good.

You know, I have that too. I keep meaning to read it, which is pretty much what they're going to put on my gravestone.

Also, if you can't convince any publisher to take it, you can self publish. I knoooooow you could sell it.

Sounds like something publishers might be interested in taking a sniff at in the wake of the next RDJ Sherlock Holmes. Assuming that's a success, of course.

Glad to hear from you, and especially glad to hear a positive, productive reason for your radio silence.

Well as a librarian I'm happy to tell you that Victorian vampires are still doing really well if the vast sea of corsets and steam powered umbrellas I wade through while ordering books is any indicator.

Yeah, it's a huge genre right now, as I understand it. That kind of makes me despair a little, this idea that the bandwagon up and passed me by. I just keep telling myself I've taken so long that it'll come all the way back around by the time I'm done.

I hoped you were silent because you've been writing. Yes, I've missed you, but I want to jump up and down cheering you on! I wanna read this book! :-D

I was hoping that the downtime was due to getting writing done. Congrats on getting so much done! Also, in case you haven't seen this video, here's an awesome motivational video that's been making the rounds:


When I was swinging between hypomania and depression, I easily wrote 20k in like 4-7 days. I alllllllllllmost miss my disorder for that. Almost. Except you know I don't miss the depression and the ridiculous price of meds.

vampire hunters (SEE?) and lady doctors and inventors and magicians and orphans and opium dens and alienists and blackmail and apothecaries and costermongers and secret libraries and revenge and cross-dressing and the Paris World's Fair

Okay, seriously, this is pretty much everything I want in a book. Eeee.

There was a point along the way where I just went, you know what, I'm gonna put everything I love in this. There's more, but I'm trying to save things for later books.

"Victorian London and vampires (WAIT, COME BACK!) and vampire hunters (SEE?) and lady doctors and inventors and magicians and orphans and opium dens and alienists and blackmail and apothecaries and costermongers and secret libraries and revenge and cross-dressing and the Paris World's Fair. Also, a heroine who reads books they didn't assign in school and actually cares about other people."

You know, these were all my favourite elements from Alan Moore's "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." Which, I really, really love, but there's a certain formulaic quality to Glorified Fanfiction, and maybe Alan Moore's style isn't entirely to my taste. Anyway, that's a not-small collection of similar elements that has had some Big Maintstream Exposure (even a movie flop, is still a movie, right?). There's gotta be a market for Black Ribbon (which, now I am wishlisting in my head). :)

You know, reading that in the summer of 2003 or so (I had started really working on the story that March) was a big moment for me, because I realized that I could make stuff up. I know that sounds kind of stupid, but that was the moment I realized I could go somewhere other than Serious Historical Fiction with, you know. A book about vampires. Of course, I'm the kid whose high school senior quote was from Howards End. It was something I needed at that moment, is what I'm saying.

That said, I'm a lot more. Uh. Restrained. Than Alan Moore. Genteel, you might say, although I'm interested in horror. But I think LOEG loosened up my idea of what you could do with the Victorian setting.

DANG. I've had nights where I couldn't stop writing; I felt I would get physically ill from all the commotion in my head unless I wrote it out. I'm glad you mentioned hypergraphia, I had no idea about this. (I'm bipolar II, w/ the hypomania). <3

I also write with pen and paper for the exact same reason. Yeah, it's slower than typing, but the result is AWESOME! Plus, it makes me feel all productive to look at all those pages, filled with my handwriting.

CLEO I also hope someone wants to put this book on a shelf, because I want to read it!

I don't know much about hypergraphia other than what I saw on an episode of CSI:NY (which I'm sure was entirely accurate >_>), but it sound scary. I don't know if it is, but it sounds like it would be scary.

I sometimes get really energetic bouts due to my PCOS hormones where I sort of lie in bed and twitch or make 100 icons in half an hour, which I sometimes refer to as 'feeling manic'. But I've never had that 'oooh, I can fly!' sort of mania that is associated with bipolar disorder. Which I am very grateful for.

Re: typing going faster than your brain. My dad bought a speech-to-text program to do patient reports and let me play around with it. I thought it would be good for getting some of my handwritten stuff onto the computer without having to type for hours, but I find that I wander off while I'm reading and get weird interludes in the middle of the transcribed text. So, it's easier to type, basically. But not as fun. Because I never feel as important as when I'm wearing a head mike.

I don't know much about hypergraphia other than what I saw on an episode of CSI:NY (which I'm sure was entirely accurate >_>), but it sound scary. I don't know if it is, but it sounds like it would be scary.

But I've never had that 'oooh, I can fly!' sort of mania that is associated with bipolar disorder.

I'm sure it can get scary for some people, but it really hasn't been like that for me--"mania" and hypomania can have much milder manifestations. (I also have PCOS.) The hypergraphia I've experienced hasn't been scary at all, or even terribly compulsive--it's just like a really happy, productive day, except that you look down and go, "Huh. That was... really productive."

I've never had delusions, either. ("I can fly!" seems to be the go-to stereotypical delusion everyone's heard about, I'm not sure why.) I mean, I've gotten confused during, say, a high fever, but everyone's had something like that. I have known people who made some not-so-great life choices while manic, but that was more, like, spending too much money. Granted, I have bipolar II, which is much milder; bipolar I tends to have the more severe mania, as I understand it. Really, I guess my point is, there are non-scary manifestations of these disorders.

>>>I hope someone wants to put it on a shelf.

Well, at the very least I already want to read it.


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