A Matter of CPTSD, Autism, & My Writing

Okay, because… Because this is so strongly impacting my work & writing on WIP/The Home for Lost Souls…

Organization of data as a rather critical skill for writers, particularly once you get into the longer forms of fiction. Notes on world building, characters, time lines, settings, and subplots… These are all critically important for continuity when you get into novel series, particularly if things are going to run “long.”

In the past while writing short stories and novelettes, I could float the entire story in my head, so I could mostly get around my weaknesses at organization. But for writing any of my interconnected series of stories ideas… This has become a rather nasty… Problem.

The short version of the problem is any and all thoughts of organization (writing isn’t the only one) induces an emotional type flashback, that comes with panic attacks, anxiety attacks (yes, they are different), and if I push too hard… Suicidal thoughts, despondency, and… Worse.

So I try very hard to avoid getting to the bad stages of these consequences. IE, I just avoid thinking too hard about organization. And yes, this has come up in sessions with psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors. And the answers fall into several categories. Silence and non-reactiveness from them. Termination of services. “I didn’t sign up for that.”

None of the nine drugs they have experimented on me with helped either. Most made it actually worse. And let me tell you, hallucinations while being hyper-vigilant, panicking, and scared out of your mind… Was not fun.

So, I have a quandary.

The Home for Lost Souls, even if I ditched everything past the first story arc, basically reducing it to just the original one novel idea…

It is still a story an order of magnitude in length beyond anything else I have successfully written, and thus notes, organizing them, and [insert words I don’t know here for the screaming fear thing-y in back of my mind[.

While I am reluctant to do another NaNoWriMo blind, with no notes, no plans on “paper”, since all previous attempts have collapsed at between 20k-25k words…

I have no other choice but to try or give up on writing permanently.

Even just simple things like trying to write out a bullet list of moments I already know I have to write towards, has proven impossible. I get 2-5 written down… And then I forget the task existed and lose all track of the files OR paper they were written upon. IE, my CPTSD stuff sets in and sabotages the work, internally.

I have two more days in which to get some kind of outline, notes, something written down before Nov 1 and NaNo starts. I am so hoping the parts of me that want to write The Home for Lost Souls want to write more than the CPTSD parts believe I need to be stopped from doing anything of any value are.


NaNoWriMo 2017

Well. I’ve done it. I’ve now formally tossed my hat into the ring for NaNo 2017.

This will be my fourth attempt, and third with a version of my current WIP. In the past I was always unprepared for the sheer volume of work necessary to write a novel. I’ve had the time for years, but going from short stories to a novel… Was a larger hill than I expected/assumed.

This year with two years of prep, story expansion, better fleshing out of the world, setting, characters, character relationships, and underpinning theme for what has now become a trilogy… I am hoping I am finally prepared enough to write the novel that has been nagging at the back of my mind to be written for nearly three years.

Of course also coming further along in my therapy/treatment for complex PTSD and understanding of my limitations from Aspergers, I will help as well.

Debating doing a running journal of my work on WIP over NaNo 2017. I’m gonna have to seriously weigh the pros and cons of doing such (like spoilers for instance) before I commit to something like journaling this. We will see. We will see.

But for now, I’m formally in NaNoWriMo 2017. Heaven help us all >_>

Reasons for Being Away

Apologies for being quiet for nearly two months, but a few things have happened IRL.

First off, hurricane Harvey dumped 3 to 4 foot (yes, feet of rain, not inches) of rain on Houston and the surrounding areas. And though I did not get flooded out nor suffer any major water damage, Houston ground to a halt for several days, and this impacted many other aspects of life locally, lol.

Second, RL best friend a growth cut out and was in the hospital recovering the week OF Harvey, and since I decided this time around I was going to have some meaningful presence in a RL friend with medical issues life DURING it. The two combined were something of an adventure. Luckily as an old school D&D’er, I’m rather fond of adventuring, lmao.

Third, after the delays Harvey caused in getting the pathology report back were done, friend found out his growth had both malignant and benign tumors. This week started chemo for him, and I’m just as involved in that as I was for the surgery.

Fourth, son started college, his first serious time away from home, and that came with all the home sickness angst, including some late night meltdown “I can’t do this!” phone calls, emails, texts, etc., that first weekend.

None of this is nothing I have not dealt with before, just not all at once together, lol. But it put a crimp in my blogging about my writing experiences particularly with complex PTSD and aspergers syndrome.

But not a crimp on the brainstorms and inspirations FOR writing, lmao. But more on that later when I have more time for another blog post. Lots of running today >_>

Sobering Realization

While out with gaming/car buddy this morning, eating out at a restaurant for the first time in 3 years (my social anxiety had been getting worse for two years until the last month, two weeks), I had a realization. Just how much my writing life has changed in the last two years. Because when I turn 50 in two years, I could have a novel published. Last time I was out at a restaurant, I had all but given up any hope of ever writing a novel, much less any of my longer fiction ideas.

It was quite sobering, lol.

The Right Tool for the Right Job

This last Sunday while house sitting for a friend and enjoying the peace & quiet of an empty house and no access to net (I intentionally did not ask for the wifi pw [PassWord]), I wrestled yet again with my seemingly never ending problems with outlining and intentionally brainstorming (vs random, spur of the moment inspiration brainstorms), I had a “duh” realization.

I have been trying to use the wrong tool for the wrong job.

Now this is a bit ironic, because the buddy I was house sitting for is a mechanic AND the person who taught me that saying some twenty’ish years ago, lol.

Nine years ago next month, a young online friend helped me to install a wiki to help me organize all my various writing notes, ideas, thoughts, etc.. Somewhere around 2, 3 years ago, I bought Scrivener.

Both tools took me a long time to gain any form of mastery over. The wiki I have only begun to gain organizational mastery with (learned how to code in it almost before the first month was done). Scrivener… Well apparently I had gained mastery in January 2016, and then promptly forget to ever go back again.

Because of the source of my trauma for my complex PTSD, anytime I do really well at something, there is a chance I will either suffer selective amnesia over the achievement OR sink into a profound depression by the next day. Whilst I am mostly blind to this, I have enough online friends and a therapist whom are all aware of this issue, and if they see me do it, warn me of it, because once I am aware this unconscious and brain chemistry reaction is happening, I can short circuit it by just the becoming aware of it.

Why is any of this important? Because I had been trying Desperately to use my writing wiki to do outlining, brainstorming, and story development work on my “let’s try writing novels via one story arc at a time” methodology attempt in my writing. And let me tell you, wikis are not good for doing this. Or least not for me.

And then while house sitting, sitting there wrestling with notes, outlining, “how to” matters, I thought to poke around at an old scrivener project, because something about “it” kept nagging me in the back of my mind.

And I found a project full of every little trick I had ever learned about Scrivener. From color coding POV’s via the binder, notecards, and outliner, to renaming meta data fields, to using the corkboard AND outliner modes for…

Outlining scenes and organizing them into story arcs.

I felt so sheepish for losing track of something so wildly important to my writing. But not shocked nor surprised. After all, I’ve done this so many times through the years.

But since then, I’ve watched even long dormant stories pop up in my head, and arrange themselves within the scrivener model I had applied in Jan 2016. Like parts of my unconscious mind tied to those stories were each testing the validity and applicability of that model. And each nodding “yep, this works.”

And since I have that incomplete short story from Jan 2016 as a model for how to do all this, I can see key plot moments, stand up and cheer moments, climaxes, openings, all dancing around for WIP trilogy(s) starting to sort themselves out in this model.

And the original incomplete story from Jan 2016? The scene by scene notes were so good, even though I only vaguely remember the story now, I could easily write it from those notes in place. THAT has never happened before. In the past if a story sat more than a few weeks, it vanished into the ether forever with only vague vestiges left behind to tease me with what could have been.

So now, after some thirty years of trying to sort out how to do the step by step of outlining, note taking, organizing long form fiction into something ink on paper–

I may finally have the last piece of the puzzle to restart the prose for the novelization of The Home for Lost Souls (working title).

Taking a step back to take two steps forward later

Been trying to write a new blog post for… Well probably a couple weeks now, and topics have kept sliding off into the void of “meh.” I tend to dislike revealing details to things I have not published yet, because of the possibility of IP theft, but…

I have done NaNoWriMo four times now. Not all consecutive years, but all in the last six years. Two of those were badly considered ideas that hit me in the moment and I tried to just “run with it” and write them. Those failed spectacularly, lol. But in the last two years, the same story tried to get itself written, but still fell to the same flawed approach of the first two attempts. Haste.

After 2016’s imploded at around the same 21k-25k all the others died at, I decided to step back and take stock over what I was doing.

As an aspie and someone with more than a little dissociative issues (though not to a clinical degree) from my complex PTSD, writing is a different creature for me than most. Throw in the triggers I have that writing can stumble over at the most inconvenient of moments, and… But mostly all this means most typically given writing advice is meaningless to my needs.

Furthermore, what I’ve come to find was a boon in short fiction writing (all of what I’ve successfully finished thus far as a writer), falls short in novel writing as a “useful” tool. I can typically only write things I can clearly see in my mind’s eye and can feel emotionally. Or more to the point, this inclines me to write singular story or character arcs. Not all that useful for novel writing with all of its overlapping story and character arcs over a word count many times that of the 7k-14k range I’m experienced with as a writer.

Well while stepping back and evaluating what I was trying to write, what I wanted to write, what wanted written, and what would be needed to get to those moments/points, I’ve slowly come to realize my creative side is quite ambitious.

What I’ve slowly come to realize since last November is the fact I have two novel series WIP overlapping each other, with a third one that is spawned from their union. Or more specifically…

My authorial MC, not the main character the audience will be typically reading about, is an ancient entity grade being that can be in more than one place at the same time. And while I had only in the past written short stories with her/it in them in this or that capacity, all randomly, not any central theme nor story to them… Things were stirring deeper within my creative side, lol.

As of right now, I’m staring at two WIP that overlap because they both involve this one entity, the gods she/it interacts with, a larger story most mortals are oblivious to, and the mortals (my MC’s/POV’s) that get swept up in “all this.” But, the two WIP are on two different worlds, and the two worlds are in different technological time periods. Hell, originally, one story was urban fantasy on contemporary Earth, and the other a high fantasy homage to my old D&D days.

Now they are irrevocably linked.

Like for instance, though the fantasy one starts around 2000/2001 earth time, its climax is held up by the fact one of the heroes that is needed for success, is a newborn on earth as of 2000, and will not be old enough to contribute in a meaningful way until after 2013 when her powers begin to manifest.

And that little girl is the third storyline, since for the urban fantasy on contemporary earth WIP, she is the reason all that is happening was set in motion and the reason for the climax’s existence. And yet she is not directly involved in that WIP (which climaxes in 2013). Although after its completion her story’s timeline begins.

And yet that little girl is critical now for the climax resolution for the high fantasy WIP and that fruition must come between 2013 and 2016 earth time due to things that happen in her story time line as she ages/grows up.

Now yes, that does allow me to have my fantasy WIP’s heroine grow up and NOT be some kid who somehow wins the day while being still too young to have the life experience to deal with really horrid things, lets my dragon MC have time to go into and come back out of dragon sleep (which in my worlds takes YEARS) to heal from near fatal wounds, and a war to be more than a six month “campaign.”

But this “little story” I started to want to tell back three years ago, has now mushroomed into… Something I am both quite eager to see take shape on the page, and yet terrified “what have I gotten myself into?”

This is what I get for stepping back, and doing proper world and story development. A fraking epic was spawned *sighs*

Not Everyday a Research fail Works in your Favor

Due to stuff and things IRL (In Real World) this post has been delayed, but last week while doing more research for trying to find a non religious luggage carrying term for “succubi”, I found out I had a research failure.

While asking an “Inspirational” and religious fiction writer friend about my want to find a new word for my “succubi” to avoid the religious luggage of that word, I found out succubi are not mentioned anywhere in the bible nor any other religious book, nor theologian doctrine. IE, they are a purely fictional “religious” character.

IE, I can use them guilt free now, particularly since they were going to be a deconstruction/reconstruction OF the “demonic temptress” trope since they are neither demonic nor temptresses, but just a demi-human (in the D&D sense) species that got a bad rap due to “mom” got annoyed with a rapist many years ago (read, centuries) and ripped his soul out of in anger. Annnnd… Tantric “energy” feeders.

But yeah, talk about a research failure. When I went back and double checked the sources of my research material, I had just not looked closely ENOUGH. Turns out they were just religious “fiction” writers and had little to do with anything theological or biblical writers, regardless of what the fictional accounts past and present CLAIM.

Made me feel sheepish, lol.