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Occupation: Girl

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

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I just want to let you know that I'm not dead or anything. I am having a very good time writing and wallowing in research materials, particularly a gold mine I stumbled upon for a subject I hadn't been able to find anything on in years previous. (Shhhh.) As such, I am behind on EVERYTHING. Well, I try to keep an eye on everything, but I've stopped posting anywhere very much. Tumblr in particular has gone by the wayside (but I will come back to it).

Basically, I spent the last months, if not year(s), wrestling with this goddamn novel and thinking that if I were just a good enough writer, I'd not only be able to make it work, I'd be able to make it brilliant. And then suddenly, I had my mood upswing of last week and started solving problems, and I finally started letting go of things that clashed logically. I used one plot hole as the solution to another a number of times, thereby simplifying the story. I either dropped ridiculously complicated background bits or said, look, if you can bring them in later, that's fine, but leave it for now. In fact, I think a lot of my problem was that I wanted to stuff all my plot into the first book, and then come up with equally complicated, overstuffed plots for the subsequent books. Too many things happening, too many settings, too many minor characters--too many things thrown at the reader too without letting them spend much time with any one thing. And I finally just stopped and said, you know what, you're getting to a point where no one's going to want to read this. It's just too much. Save some for later, damn. So I started paring and simplifying--honestly, it may still be really plotty. That's how much plot I was dealing with in the first place, that I still may have a fairly busy story.

MY POINT IS, I had this really wonderful moment of realizing that I wasn't the problem. It wasn't that I'm a terrible writer, that I wasn't good enough to make it work. It's that no one could make it work. I've got it to a point where I think it can work now, and I'm finding that... my writing, on a very simple first-draft level, is good enough. I'm not saying I'm going to win ALL THE AWARDS (or, indeed, any of them), but it was a really good moment for my self-esteem, that I finally felt capable.

So I'm trying to keep up with everyone, but I'm also just really happy at the moment, and I have to chase that wind as long as it blows. I would really like to post some linkspam today, but I don't know.

I am trying to get this week's Secret Life of Dolls finished. (I did put up a new installment on Sunday night.) The good parts are written; I just have to work on the connective tissue. This is generally my process anyway, and speaking of which, it is exactly how I write Movies in Fifteen Minuteses, and I realized with a start I'm supposed to start writing one of those this weekend. My time frame on turning one of those out these days seems to be 10-14 days, which sucks (because you want to be among the first out of the gate when it comes to cultural parody/commentary), but you get higher quality when I take my time and sleep on it, so what're you gonna do. BUT. I did want to put out a new Secret Life for people who would like unPotter counter-programming this weekend, and also, if we keep the story going, we'll get to our new arrivals in a more timely fashion. My birthday, which is now Relevant to Your Interests, is less than a month from now, after all.

ANYWAY. Back to wallowing in sources. So much to read, so little time, so much fun.

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So glad you're having fun with it, Cleo!

Yay I'm so happy for you! I bet the book would have been good even in its first, over-plotted form, but I'm happy that you feel confident in the revisions.

Also, I know you want to be "first out of the gate," but I'm pretty sure that no one else writes anything quite like Movies in 15 Minutes. They have a wonderful blend of love for the source material and (semi-) objective, hate-free commentary that I just don't see anywhere else.

Anyway, we'll be here when you get back, and will be rooting for you all the time that you're gone. Good luck!

This kind of reminds me of the Speilberg-Lucas transcripts, when they were initially coming up with the concept for Indiana Jones. The first movie was supposed to feature a nightclub fight with a giant gong, a mine car chase, at some point a camel was supposed to get knocked over...all these elements that ended up becoming a whole new movie (maybe not the camel, but whatever). Opinions on Temple of Doom aside, I think its safe to say that being a good writer comprises the abilities to come up with all of those plot ideas AND the ability to edit them into a coherent story, even if that means having to wait on them for another installment.

I am in no way calling your second installment Temple of Doom. This cannot be stressed enough.

AND as I am both a Potter enthusiast - and will be seeing the movie on Friday with Mark from Mark Reads Harry Potter!!!! - and a TSLOD fan its going to be a good weekend!

Oh god, I am SO jealous of you seeing DH part 1 with Mark!

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Yay for making things work! :D

I'm still trying to find a place where writing is really fun, I'm just my own worst enemy in the meanwhile.

When you get published, are you going to continue using Cleolinda for those books or will you use a different name for your fiction?

Cleolinda Jones for everything. I just like it, and I feel like it's eye-catching enough to be an asset.

I love it when someone pops up to say "Everything is fine! Going back to doing things I like to do!"

Enjoy, Cleo!

I agree, these are the best kind of posts.

but I'm also just really happy at the moment

That's a really heartening sentence (sub-clause) to read :0)

This post makes me happy. Keep writing. I'm looking forward to M15M Potter and more SLoD, but the novel is the big picture, and I'm excited that you're enjoying it.

*air punch*

I'd give you a fist bump, but, *shug* Internet.

Artistic epiphanies for the win. It's exciting reading about your writing process. It's like seeing new presents put under the Christmas tree. The time is still a long way off until we can open all the things, but in the meantime we can anticipate and look at the shiny wrapping paper.

Wallowing in research materials is one of the most fun writing things ever. :)

Oh don't worry about linkspam; write to your heart's content! You ride that wave and take care of the other stuff later, it can wait.

I SO can't wait to read this book! I very much enjoyed your early drafts and the fact that you're so FUCKING passionate about what you're doing makes me want to USE ALL OF MY CAPS!!!! and exclamation points A!L!L! A!T! T!H!E! S!A!M!E! T!I!M!E!

True fact.

Happiness like this makes me smile!

YAY FOR SELF-CONFIDENCE! Especially when it comes to writing. I'm slowly coming out of the "I'm still not good enough to write this" stage, and getting myself to redraft has been a big part of that.

Good luck with everything, and I'm looking forward to any and all new material, whatever it may be!