I started following Ksenia early in my journey into the heart of Ello. Every day - she tells us about her writing, her ups, her downs, her characters, how she feels.
I learn a lot from her. Despite the fact I'm not a writer - I'm a musician. I see so many parallels to writing music, sculpting sound, practicing the craft. I'm also a data manipulator, a dweller in code and databases. Pieces of her spiral off into my work world as well.
Here are some example posts. She posts images with almost all of her posts - crediting the creator of that image. Like I said... she's awesome!
Today I flipped my routine upside down.
Instead of learning new words in the morning and looking up their etymologies and glancing at some literary news and stuff, I got up and JUST STARTED WRITING. And it was glorious. I used to do this, but then little things crept in one after another until 2-3 hours of my time in the morning were gone before I even began.
So 1.6K words today, as a result, and now I'm sitting here, empty, looking out the window, feeling calm and tranquil.
Today I wrote about a girl facing the train and talking to the train and the train talking to the girl, and the train wanted to kill the girl and the girl talked it into keeping her alive, and all these other characters were watching me write the scene and were laughing at me and so I wrote only 1K words and then I punched them all in the face and tomorrow I will write about them and will make them suffer.
They should know better than to laugh at me, bastards.
Was writing about an overcrowded train today and upon a quick search stumbled on this photo that reminded me of the many train rides I took across Soviet Union as a little girl and have witnessed as many loud congregations of strangers in various states of undress and intoxication that loudly shared their lives and sang and stunk to high heaven and offered me candy in wrappers so soiled they were stuck fast, and yet there was warmth and camaraderie in that crowded space of everyone sweating together, and sharing hard-boiled eggs and bread, and passing around vodka and warm fizzy kvas, glugging both to the rhythmic clicking. So very nostalgic.
The history of words never ceases to astound me.
Maybe it's because I'm Russian, but certain words just boggle my mind and make me giddy, like the word "haywire."
It has so many meanings, and yet it comes from the simple use of baling wire by farmers back in the 19th century. When they opened a bale to feed livestock, the sharp twisted ends would spring up and around their feet and snag on their clothes and get in the way, and the old wire that was left lying around would tangle up around the livestock's legs and trip them up.
Suddenly the meaning of the phrase "everything went haywire" has a very clear picture in my mind. Fascinating.
My grandmother used to have a collection of porcelain ballerina figurines in her china cabinet and I never knew how they were made, and now that I'm writing them into TUBE, I have learned that their tutus were made by using the technique called Dresden lace: "To create the illusion of real fabric on figurines of women dancing at royal balls or posing in groups, decorators would dip actual, delicate lace into porcelain slip before applying it by hand to the porcelain figure. When fired in a kiln, the fabric would burn away, leaving a hard but extremely fragile shell of frozen crinoline skirts and billowy material behind."
Conversations I have with my readers:
"It's been a hell of a ride so far and I enjoyed it very much. This book will always hold a special spot in my library. You're an amazing writer and I would love to have your brain."
"Thank you so much, darling. This makes me so happy. I will be writing a sequel in 2-3 years, so hang tight. And I'm shipping my brain to you tomorrow."
MY 4-DRAFT WRITING PROCESS
The more I write, the more I seem to understand the process of writing and drafting and the less fear I have when approaching a new book or a particular draft. All that angst and anxiety and uncertainty and doubt is mostly gone and now it's just work, hard work that pays off and that sometimes gives me a glimpse of what I could be as a writer in the future as I'm still searching for my identity and I suspect it will take me many more books to find it.
I tweeted this understanding one night and it seemed to have resonated with many of you so I thought, hell, I'll expand on it in a post and years later I'll read about it and and see what changed (if anything) and how.
You know that the most drafts I've done is five and the least is three and so far the median number of four holds true to me. It takes me roughly four drafts to write a novel and it could take me more if not for my brain that has a new story idea pressing by the time I'm done with the last draft and the pressure is overwhelming and I simply have to start writing a new book so as not to lose my mind.
Here is my 4-draft writing process and how I understand it and what each draft does to the story. Knowing this helped me to relax and take my time to craft the story just the way I want to.
I'll end with that. I could go back and find so many gems. These cover a wide array of the types of things she posts - but look so much better when she does it - so go to her page! I love the little images she posts with every post.
Thank you, Ksenia. You truly are awesome and one of the major highlights of Ello for me.