Today’s arwork is called “My Determined Dragon” by Carolyn LeGrand. Find more of her wonderful work at that link.
I’m determined today. Here is today’s daily prompt from WordPress’s Daily Post…
Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging.
If you’re a new blogger, what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?
Now, for one of the assignments that I missed from Blogging 101, I’m supposed to twist the prompt to write something that has particular meaning to my own blog, rather than simply blindly following the post instructions.
But I think I can do both today, actually — toss out a little advice to new bloggers, and also talk about how this “key takeaway” applies to my own writing, and even to my novel Finding Dragons.
So here goes. To start with, the key thing I’ve learned in my short time blogging here is that you need to find a theme for the body of work you plan to publish on your blog.
My early posts are all over the place. Some are just ramblings about figuring out what I want this blog to be, or if I should post weird writing prompts, or even random excuses for why I wasn’t writing my book. (Here’s a hint: it was sometimes because I was too busy blogging. It’s still a problem for me, as this post itself will attest to.)
But anyway. Now, in my opinion, all of this is fine — I was just finding my footing, having jumped into this as someone who barely even read blogs, let alone ever thought she’d write one. But now that I’m gaining confidence in my abilities, I need to focus on publishing things my reading audience (another key element you need to nail down in order to grow your blog) will keep coming back for. You may have noticed all the featured images on my posts lately have been dragons? That’s not an accident. Stay tuned for more information on some format changes following this theme that I hope to discuss on Wednesday.
As for my own writing, of course a novel series like my proposed Dragons Trilogy is going to (hopefully) have multiple themes woven through all of the plot lines from beginning to end, but as I’ve been writing (or thinking about writing, more often of late), I’ve been tripping myself up trying to dig out every theme I want to include and throwing them front-and-center for the reader in this first draft.
I feel like a failure if I don’t write something deep and moving in the first pass through, and then I get discouraged, which is just no good. I’m never going to get the first draft finished by the end of the year with that attitude.
I got caught in a ridiculous fit of insanity when I decided I needed to rewrite, on the spot, the entire first chapter that I had just about finished a few weeks ago, pushing back my start on the next chapter, which would have pushed back my entire schedule of two-weeks-per-chapter, and then the whole house of cards would have collapsed. I managed to pull up out of the spin at the last minute, but still, that was a dangerous time.
And I didn’t escape unscathed, either. I was discouraged by my late start on the next chapter, and by not having finished that first chapter, and by the fact I was falling behind on this blog, so as of now my next chapter is still just a brief idea on my outline and a blank page. And by my calendar, the whole kit and kaboodle is due this Friday.
So back to focusing on a theme. I know I’ve said this before, but from here on out, I plan to write my story just as it comes to me, and deeper themes will come during this first draft, or they won’t. But if I can just get the skeleton of the work down first, all of the rest can be filled in and worked on later. It’s time to focus on my writing and deadlines as if they were as consequential as they were when I was still in school. I’m recommitting to that right now.
And finally, as I said, I have a few “key takeaways” in mind for people who read my (eventual) novel trilogy. I won’t go into all of them here, of course, but I thought I’d build on an earlier theme from one of my earlier posts, when I talked about how many of my characters are LGBTQ+.
In case you aren’t familiar with the term, LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer or Questioning, etc. The support website OK2BEME gives a great, all-encompassing defintion:
People often use LGBTQ to mean all of the communities included in the “LGBTTTQQIAA”:
+ Gender Queer
+ Gender Variant
As a bisexual woman who finally came out to her family and peers at age 17 (almost twenty years ago now), I grew up reading fantasy and science fiction stories that were just then begining to feature strong female characters in their pages. It took longer for me to see gay and lesbian characters portrayed in fiction, and it’s still not common for the rest of the spectrum — for example, bisexuals like me — to get any sort of leading role, rather than a fetishized bit part. But I hope to be a part of the wave of modern fiction that is changing that.
I have a mostly-straight girl and a bisexual girl as my main characters (hey, write what you know, right?). Their best friends are brothers, one mostly-straight, one mostly-gay, and they’ll meet a host of other folks along the way who fall all along the LGBTQ+ spectrum. The vast ranges of human genders and sexualities are accepted in the community they grow up in, and they find that same acceptance in many of the other societies they visit as they travel to their grand destination. People are people and love is love, and there’s no shame in it — although I will admit, there might be some heartache thrown in, just to keep things interesting.
My main characters are all young adults, and they will eventually confront the sort of institutionalized bias against people who don’t conform to the heteronormative standard that still sometimes plagues our modern world. They will meet those who are vehemently opposed to anything non-hetero on principal alone, and also those who have lived under the bootheel of this oppression their whole lives, who don’t realize they deserve to be happy in their own skin.
So once again, getting back to a theme, I guess it’s tolerance. It’s one of the main themes of my book, but also, I know I need to be more tolerant of myself when I’m working on this blog. I also have to admit that I’m not a machine, and I can’t be laser-focused on my book 24/7/365. But even still.
Writing this book is important to me. I should be announcing a new blogging plan in the next few days, but no matter what, take care, and stay creative. 🙂