Over the past few weeks, I have been editing a novel manuscript which I had considered query-ready at least two years ago. Now I am changing it again because I have decided to self-publish it. This final round of editing may confuse some people; why edit it again if it was ready to be queried? The answer is simple. I want to put the writing back into my own voice.
Today is Mother's Day in the US, a day to celebrate the women in our families and show them appreciation for everything they have done for us. For many people, this holiday comes with pleasant images of flowers, cards, gift-giving, dining out, and pampering the moms in our lives. It's a good thing, and often it's used to teach young children the value of saying thank you to people they love... or at least those who they are supposed to love.
So it has been a strange couple of years. I had not intended or expected to abandon this blog when the Covid pandemic started, but it happened. When the whole world hit pause on life as we knew it, my sense of needing to create things paused as well. I stopped writing. I stopped editing. I stopped taking my camera out on walks for nature photography. (Granted, travel was not advised in the early months of Covid and therefore, day trips were not an option, but I'm still surrounded by a respectable amount of wild property at home. Lack of travel opportunities is not a good excuse for me on the photography front.)
I have noticed a trend among some of my online social circles which I do not like. In fact, I feel it is downright unhealthy and dipping into toxicity. The thing which brought us all together is our similarity in beliefs of a political nature and how our life philosophies inform those beliefs. The discussions held by this circle have been, in the past, a means to teach others while holding reasoned, open debates with those who have clearly opposing views to our own. These debates allowed for questioning from observers and the peaceful exploration of ideas by following theoretical scenarios along tangents to their eventual positive or negative outcomes. There was respect for differing spiritual beliefs and a willingness to support each others' needs based on what tribulations life has thrown at each member of the group.
Over the past few weeks, I've checked out of most media and entertainment sources due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. I've grown annoyed with the repeated fear-mongering on various news companies, the lack of intelligent commentary from the federal government, and an even slower uptake of facts and science from my state government. All of the commercials and PSAs about "Together Apart" and "Alone Together" serve only to remind me of how far from a factual response to this pandemic this country has traveled. Instead, debate on when and how to reopen has landed firmly in the trenches of emotional sensationalism and political divides. There is no common sense or reasoned logic to be found among the media or any of its sources or followers when it comes to the Covid discussion.
I'm going to keep this short and simple. Spring weather brings many people outside after a long, dreary winter, and right now, many people are visiting their local nature parks and other natural areas, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic has shut down other forms of entertainment. Because of these shut downs and the call for social distancing, many of the workers who typically take care of these natural areas have been told to stay home as they are considered non-essential workers. If this is the case in your region of the country/world, please keep in mind there is no one to clean up after you should you choose to go outside for some exercise. Be prepared to take your trash home with you should you generate any on your outings.
We're only halfway through March, but with all the pandemonium going on in the world right now, it seems to me that now is a great time to start planning for the April 2020 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. If you're stuck at home, there's no excuses for procrastinating on reading, research, or writing right now. And with the wide-spread encouragement of social distancing, we all have an excuse to blow off social engagements without the risk of getting guilt-tripped or feeling bad about it later. Welcome to a brand-new world of state-sanctioned introversion!
A couple of weeks ago I decided to restart my current WIP after getting four chapters into my first draft. Despite following my outline and keeping with my proposed character development, there was a major flaw growing in the storytelling which I did not want in my story. One of my characters was in danger of developing a mindset akin to Stockholm Syndrome, but that does not match up with who and what he is. So I started over and added a new character who would help alleviate this flaw.
So I'm going to get a little political this week due to some events over on Twitter. Apologies to those of you who avoid these sorts of posts, but for me, it does relate back to writing and freedom of expression. The cliff-notes version of the story is that an accidental misgendering of a transperson occurred in the midst of an unrelated and not-quite-heated debate. The transperson became upset because the debate opponent did not apologize in a "sincere" fashion. The entire thing was blown out of proportion from there and numerous side-debates, attacks, threats, and bullying transpired.
In any form of expression driven by public participation and desire for an audience, trends will develop. Whether you're talking fashion, artwork, music, slang, marketing, social media, scientific inquiry, or any number of other dynamic human forces, popularity and the desire for approval will affect what direction expression takes. One of the biggest areas of social life where trends can and do take over is in storytelling.