THE EX-FELDWEBEL When Ayano Watase hands in her resignation letter to the Osthauptstadt militia, she’s not expecting to go back to normal. After all, she’d lived through hell and back as she climbed the ranks of a sweep squad commander battling the Fever with her childhood friend, Souta. Nothing could change that. Yet what she finds at the park apartments of Torberg where her cousin-once-removed lives change everything she thought about the Fever. About the world. THE HAUPTFELDWEBEL Souta Nonomiya’s life seemingly continues on after Ayano resigns. But as he steadily climbs the ranks Ayano gave up on, he begins to see cracks in the Stadt he had been ignoring. As a policy change reconstructs the Stadt militia, his path once again crosses with the girl who rescued him many years ago.
I feel a little at loss today as I sit writing this because…*whispers* my mental health has been going down. My energy’s been kind of low even though a lot of great things have been happening.
I took a hit-outs on IG, planned a writing retreat for myself, and in general, am hoping to slow things down a little. But I won’t be taking a hit-outs on blogging since this is one of the “slowing down” things I do. 😉
Also, this is completely random, but I am officially in love with Jujutsu Kaisen. (I mean, who wouldn’t like Gojo-sensei???) And the vibes of old Japanese things are just amazing. Not to mention it’s MAPPA. Plus, the first op. is Eve, who I’ve been following from the start…
Okay, let’s get into today’s topic. I often re-read my old works, and I realised there’s a lot of negativity concerning one’s old writings–I mean, I get it. My first major WIP’s protagonist was named Abigail Chemingstunn. But then again, there’s so much more to your old writings than cringey prose and annoyingly cliché characters.
So, without further ado, let me present to you…AH: 5 Truths Your Old Writing Tells You.
1. It’s not that bad.
I know, it’s kind of obvious, but it’s true! Your old writing isn’t that bad. When I first started writing, I had a lot of ideas. I didn’t really know novels were a thing, so I wrote a lot of short stories and novellas instead. As I re-read some of them this morning, I was reminded how much I actually loved those stories. Some of them got accepted for magazine publication, others didn’t. While still others, I gave as birthday presents to my friends and families, who didn’t complain about this. (Thank you to everyone who read my stories!!) Any story I write, I care about in my heart. And that’s what counts by far.
2. You’ve come this far.
Another thing I always think of when I go to dig up my old writing is that I’ve written a lot. Last week I talked a bit about my total fictional work’s word count which is almost 600K. If you haven’t done this already, I would totally recommend going back and calculating how many words you’ve written so far. Even if it doesn’t look like much, you’ll probably be surprised at how far you’ve come.
3. You’re always getting better at this
And obviously, not just the amount of words or WIPs you’ve written, but the quality of them matters. This kind of reminds me of the “oh, look how terrible my prose and overall writing used to be” syndrome so I don’t want it to sound like it…But what I mean is this.
Each WIP you write teaches you something vital about storytelling you couldn’t have known if you didn’t write that story. Even if you do make mistakes along the way, or feel like your writing is trashy, it just tells you how much better you’ve gotten since then.
4. Every word counts
I really like the Japanese saying, Senri no michi mo ippo kara, which means Even a road of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
When I first began writing, I didn’t know what I was doing. If you know at all about my earlier blog posts, it’s that I have no idea. What helped me through all of the floundering was the words that I’ve compiled. Words build up and become a part of you.
5. You’re a writer.
In the end, the fact that you have old writings to read back (and critique) means you’re a writer. When writing gets tough and you start to think that maybe writing isn’t your thing, reflect on your old writings.
And, you realise that your old writing is what makes your current writing.
Thank you for reading! How has your week been? Do you read your old writings? What are some things you like about your old writing? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!
It’s so great to be able to be back writing this post. Now that summer is creeping up on us (although it still feels like winter!!) time is speeding past me and I can’t believe how many things are right around the corner. I feel so underprepared.
But worries aside, there’s been something that has been on my mind for the past few weeks…and it is on shelving books.
As authors, I think we feel conflicted whenever we have to set aside our beloved WIPs. It’s even harder when your identity as an author is tied to that book. For me, I came to the tough decision of “permanently shelving” a WIP I’ve been working on for the past five years–and went right back to it this week. (I know, indecisiveness is key to all writers. Or maybe it’s just me, IDK.)
So for today’s Author Health, I’ll be looking at 4 Questions to Ask Before Shelving Your Book.
Without further ado, let us commence!
A. Are you hungry? (Or simply tired?)
Yup. That’s a legitimate question to be asking yourself. I find that when I’m physically running on empty, I tend to get cranky and moody. Everything is falling apart! My book is falling apart! Wahhhh!!
That automatically makes me sound like a toddler, but are we actually that different from adolescents? Like, really?
So take a break and eat real food. Boil pasta, bake bread, eat curry-on-rice, what have you. Chances are, you’ll be able to make a better decision after that.
B. Does this story matter to you?
This sounds obvious, but take a deep look at yourself and ask, Does this story matter to me?
One of the biggest reasons I thought I had to “shelve” my WIP was because I didn’t feel like this story mattered to me anymore. My siblings kept cheering me on (in fact, this was the only story they were waiting for me to write) but I didn’t think it mattered as much to me as it did back when I started. A lot of this was due to question A–I was probably hungry. (Okay, that’s oversimplifying the matter but it’s true! I wasn’t eating well.)
If you don’t know why the story matters to you, then it’s a big warning to take a pause and list all the reasons it matters to you. When you know the story matters to you and why, you can keep going on even when it gets tough.
C. Do you love any of these characters?
A big tell to shelve a book temporarily or permanently (hopefully never) is if you, the author, do not love any of the characters you write about. Now, I’d say this is probably rare. However, I did have instances when the plot took superiority and just dragged the characters away. This spells disaster because characters are what makes your story come alive. I know some people may disagree with me over plot over character over prose (sometimes), but if you don’t care about your characters, neither will the reader.
Contrarily, if you love your characters to pieces no matter how terrible the story seems to be, there’s hope. Take a moment to reflect on each of your character’s stories and listen to how they play off each other.
D. Can you stop thinking about your book?
Lastly, even if you’ve answered no to all of the above, if your answer is yes to this last question, don’t shelve your book just yet! I have so many ideas and I often don’t know where to start (or stop). That’s just because they’re all in different stages of creation.
One WIP has been on my mind for four years and I’ve written a third of the story and have it stewing.
One WIP takes a long time to write, but when I do write, I can pound as many word counts in it as I need.
One WIP is still brewing in the clouds although I know perfectly how the story begins and ends.
Sometimes, all you need to do is to sit back and let your mind roam free. Try not to think about your book. If you can’t, then it’s still probably dying to be told.
Practical steps to take:
Eat real food.
List out all the reasons the story matters to you.
Listen to your character’s stories.
Try to stop thinking about your book.
NOTE: Also, shelving books doesn’t have to be permanent. It can always be temporary!
And that’s it for today!
Thank you for reading! What did you think? How do you find out if you need to shelve a book? Have you shelved books before? Let me know your thoughts in the comment below; I’d love to chat with you!