Methods & Goals in Writing

I don’t know when I decided I want to be a writer, when I thought somebody might actually care to read what I wrote. Other than teachers and professors who got paid to read the drivel produced by hundreds of teenagers and twentysomethings every semester, of course. Gosh, I could never be a teacher and have the patience to wade through that. Kudos to all who do, I learned a lot from you.

I learned a lot, but I never considered the writing was a dream I might try and achieve one day.

Not until I found fanfiction. And yes, I know fanfiction can be a wild place filled with and/or related to judgments and criticisms. I honestly don’t care whether or not Joe Bob and Mary Sue think fanfiction is a legitimate sort of writing. I say it is. I say no one who pretends to know who to write, how to be a writer would ever tell you that practice is half the battle. And what better practice is there than fanfiction? None.

From writing and posting fanfiction (for Pirates of the Caribbean, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and a bit of The Mortal Instruments if that matters at all, and maybe it says something about who I am), I learned how to tell a story. I learned what sort of storytelling works best for me. I learned that people just might actually care about a story I create, or borrow if we’re being particular in terms of fanfiction. And I learned I actually like to write, that I might want to be a writer more than I’ve wanted to be anything.

These lessons were more than a little bit stunning, in turn.

And I’m running with them now, because there is no good reason why I shouldn’t.

So, since this blog is partly about writing, I want to talk about who I am as a writer. A writer who hasn’t been published (yet) but is a writer nonetheless.

A Method To My Madness
  • Seven times out of ten, if I make an outline for a story, I will not write the story. That numbers goes higher the more complicated and specific the outline is. It’s like I get bored of my own story and can’t be bothered to care anymore. Very frustrating. But I am, I have accepted, a Pantser.
  • Sometimes I write first drafts in a Google Doc (far too broke to afford Word right now), sometimes I write in spiral notebooks, sometimes I write on looseleaf paper, and sometimes I scribble story ideas one whatever is handiest.
  • I am never working on only one story at a time. This is a holdover habit from fanfiction, so it is apparently just how I work. Sometimes it would be nice to do one story at a time, I think, but I also think I might get bored.
  • Most of the ideas I get for stories are things I want to read but haven’t found in a book yet. It’s a whole lot harder to write the thing to read what someone else has written, of course, but I am trying.
  • I have had story ideas, some that have reached bookish lengths, that are born of fanfiction stories I wrote. I find no shame in this.
  • Most of the things I start writing will never get finished. I accept this fact. But I figure that if I want to get something else finished, or even started, I have to get that never-to-be-finished thing out of my head.
  • I do change fonts when I’m stuck writing, because it seems somehow logical that changing fonts will kick my brain into gear. And I also change character names sometimes, because that seems somehow like it could change the story in a way that breathes new life into it.
  • I tried NaNoWriMo once… or was it twice… and failed miserably. I did Camp NaNoWriMo once and changed my goal to 35,000 words, which I succeeded at. I don’t remember what it was that I wrote. NaNoWriMo isn’t for me. I’ll just write.

The Endgame
  • My endgame is simple: to be a published author.
  • I’m learning as I go, because how else does one learn, but I’ll get there.
  • I’ll be a published author.

Word Salad #2

For the ‘rules’, please see Word Salad #1.

For the random word generator, please see the site.


  • dinner ideas: Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
  • anything: east
  • act of kindness: have lunch with a homeless person
  • letter: J
  • number: 398
  • phrase: yada yada
  • adjective: famous
  • name: Mallory White
  • verb: attract
  • noun: bedroom
  • word: bet


Mallory White didn’t particularly like the view from her bedroom window, at least not at six in the morning when the sun rose in the east – and directly into her eyes. Night owls and sunrises don’t really mix.

Growling into her pillow, she pawed around until she found her phone on the stack of books that counted as a bedside table. There was a text from J, reminding her that they still owed $398 for the DSLR camera they’d bought to film with on their YouTube channel. It had been Jen’s idea. Mallory had argued that without income from said channel, yet, it might be best to stick with their old camera.

She replied with the only thing she thought was appropriate for that hour of the morning.


No doubt Jen would not like that answer, but it couldn’t be helped.

Since it was stupid o’clock, Mallory decided to do the thing that was most responsible and go for a run. The running paths were less likely to attract creepy people so early in the too sunny morning.

A few hours later, still wearing running clothes that were not to sweaty, thanks to running before it got hot, Mallory found herself wandering around town in search of lunch. The $20 was in the waistband of her running shorts, so a decent lunch was an option.

“I bet you’ve never had Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup like Sue’s Diner has.”

She jumped at the voice, pivoting to find herself face-to-face with a bearded fortysomething man who was climbing out of a tiny tent. “Sue’s Diner?” she croaked. “Are you talking to me?”

“You’re the one who was standing there saying ‘lunch lunch lunch’ to yourself,” he countered, gesturing across the street to a place called Sue’s Diner. “Not all homeless guys talk to themselves, you know.”

Mallory blushed tomato red but decided to avoid acknowledging that she’d talked to herself. “That actually does sound good. Do you know how much it costs?” She blushed again.

And it must have been even redder because he chuckled. “No offense taken. And I do. Costs $4 for a bowl that’ll fill you up good.”

He seemed like a regular, as much as he could be, so Mallory decided to do a strange, but good, thing and have lunch with a homeless person. “Can I buy you a bowl?”

Word Salad #1

(I’ve got to stop numbering things like I’m going to do them more than once but… here we are again… maybe this one will stick? Let me know if you like it and I should keep doing it!)

Here’s the plan for Word Salad:

I’m going to use a random word generator (this one) to get a word, noun, verb, name, adjective, phrase, number, letter, anything, dinner ideas, act of kindness… I’ll post the list here and then I will make a flash fiction type story out of them.

That’s the goal.

  • dinner ideas: Bang-Bang Shrimp
  • anything: west
  • act of kindness: compliment someone today!
  • letter: r
  • number: 305
  • phrase: put a sock in it
  • adjective: large
  • name: Nathaniel Underwood
  • verb: nod
  • noun: competition
  • word: update

Nathaniel Underwood was not in a very good mood at all. His iPhone was doing an update and it was going to take hours. This did not bode well for a work lunch at the Stingray Grille, because work lunches inevitably turned into a competition about who had impressed the boss most during the week. Nathaniel didn’t care one way or the other. He’d done his job well enough to get a nod from the taciturn boss and that was enough for him. He needed his phone to keep his cool while everyone else bragged themselves up. They’d never gone to the Stingray Grille before and he was confused as to why the waitstaff only had letters on their nametags. The cute girl who took their orders was apparently called R. Nathaniel told R that he wanted a large green tea and then, because the items on the menu all inexplicably had numbers in front of them, ordered #305 without reading what it was. He couldn’t really, since he was facing west and the sun was glaring off a car windshield and into his eyes. R gave him a fortune cookie, though the restaurant was not Chinese, and said she’d be back soon. He opened the cookie just as she brought their food.

“Here is your Bang-Bang Shrimp,” she said with a smile at the same time he read the slip of paper that said “compliment someone today!”

Damn sure he wasn’t going to compliment a co-worker, he told the waitress who could say the name of his dish with such an honest smile that he liked her necklace.

His co-workers laughed like the children they acted like.

He told them to put a sock in it.

Writing Entry #1: What I’m Writing

I’ve recently taken the plunge and, after much needless delay, started writing a book.

This is big. Very big.

I’ve thought about it before, but something always stopped me. Mostly, I think I tried to define what I’d write before I started writing. I was over-thinking things. I wanted to pick the perfect character names, the ideal location, and a faultless plot all before I typed the first word.

I had preconceived ideas about what it was acceptable for me to write and what I shouldn’t write. I wanted to write something on the level of Mark Twain or Jane Austen. Chick lit and Hallmark movie type stories just didn’t seem the same to me, not quite as worthy.

After much thought, I’ve scrapped those stereotypes. I’m never going to be Twain, Austen, or someone like that. Well, maybe not never. I wouldn’t protest if someone compared me to them, of course. Authors like Danielle Steel, Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Stephenie Meyer have made millions of dollars writing what’s in their minds, even if it isn’t critically acclaimed.

I can do that.

I have a story in my mind and I’m going to write it. Nothing will stop me.