Chapters

So, I’ve decided to make this blog about how I struggle to be a writer with issues such as ADHD, depression and chronic fatigue. That last one is a major one. I’m already too tired to continue my writing and I only spent two hours writing today. I’ll talk about what coping strategies I put in place to help me write.
So, with that said let’s jump straight into it.
When I’ve finally come up with a good idea for a story and spend a few hours/days/weeks visualizing it in my head like a movie the next step is to write down a brief synopsis, like something they put on the back of a book. I first make it as spoilery as possible to give me a hint where the story is going and then on my second and third attempts I’ll cut details out and leave something that is about five lines long. It helps to do this just in case someone asks me what my book is about; when that has happened in the past all I’ve given them is an ‘errr.’
Once I’m satisfied with a synopsis I like to write myself a chapter index to give me a good idea about what can happen in the story. I like coming up with flashy non-spoilery titles for chapters that still give you an idea about what could possibly happen in the chapter. These titles and the content therein is subject to change at least 12,000 times in two years. I’m working on not changing around my story and what happens in the chapters too much during the drafting phase, otherwise I’ll be re-writing the same chapter endlessly.
Next two the chapter titles I like to write bullet pointed notes about what could happen in that chapter. So far I’m only sure what happens in the first five chapters but I’ve given some thought to later chapters it’s not really enough to add to my list yet. It’s early days though. I’m at least glad that I’ve got some idea that will happen in the second half of this book though.

Motivate!

Ah, the dreaded first post. I always try to avoid turning this into some kind of welcome post where I nervously introduce myself. Buuut as this isn’t one of my usually themed blogs where I can usually just dive straight into what I want to talk about, I don’t have that luxury here.
So, I’m Shanti, a 30 year old Sydney city dweller and cat owner who employs such self-therapeutic coping strategies as gaming, reading books, and watching Netflix. I have a yearning to be a novelist and screenwriter but have struggled with it immensely. The stories play out in my mind daily but when it comes to that time to put my thoughts on paper (or a word document) it all just falls apart. I think mainly the problem is the world gets in the way. I’m unemployed and on disability so I really have this desire make something of myself and employing myself through my writing. I’ve tried to be a lot of things and they’ve just not worked out. I’m a good band photographer though. Just being a band photographer just isn’t enough for me when I have stories to tell. I don’t just want to entertain people but teach people to see things as I do; to warn them of a possible dystopian future and to hold up a mirror to the ugliness of society.

I created this blog to help keep me motivated to write my first novel. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to share the writing process with people. I have three main obstacles: my ADHD, my depression and my chronic fatigue. Whether you choose to believe the existence of it or not it doesn’t take the issues it brings away from me. To be a good writer one must be organised and it’s very difficult for someone with ADHD, especially for someone who isn’t medicated. My depression like my moods come in short burst cycles, so at times I can be motivated and overly optimistic and then I will experience a dip in my mood and completely lose the motivation to write. But a cycle never ends so the Sun will always come up. I just need to remember that.

My primary diagnosis is Asperger’s syndrome and this has given me a different perspective to the rest of society. It’s not just that I process information differently but also the way I’ve been treated and continue to be treated by people. Sometimes nastily, sometimes by well meaning people. I think it’s my autism that really inspired me to be a writer, not just to share my story and the stories of others like me but from a very young age I was into film, particularly children’s movies in the 80s and early 90s. I didn’t communicate much with people in the real world, was unable to pick up social behaviour from them. Instead, I saw myself as the young protagonist. I copied their dress style, their accent and mannerisms. It helped that they were often quiet and friendless. By choice I was a loner at school because I never really knew how to be anything else. Talking or playing with other children would just not enter my mind. Instead I would roam the schoolyard and picture cinematic scenes in my head with well fleshed out characters, a plot and scenery. Over the years they would become longer and more detailed. Psychologists would describe this mental illness or personality disorder as ‘fixed fantasy,’ I would call it a gift. It’s a gift to the extreme visual thinkers. OK, I wouldn’t call it a gift. I would call it an opportunity. I’m a science fiction writer after all. I don’t believe in such things as gifts, but rather someone taking advantage of different neural wiring which makes them a highly visual thinker, and an obsessee of all things film and TV. Obsessee is totally a real word by the way. It’s auto spellcheck that is lying to you. This cinematic imagination is what drives me to be a writer. It’s almost painful to ignore the opportunity laid out in front of me. I can also mimic my favourite authors. However, I’d like to create my own style. The reason my grammar skills quickly improved when I was in my late teens/early adulthood is because I began studying the structure of other people’s posts in an online autism community and automatically picked it up. It almost feels like cheating but it’s kind of like people who are human calculators. They don’t have to write out the equations and go through all the steps to reach the answer. Anyway, I do have a slight handicap in the writing department. I’m a visual thinker naturally which means I have to train myself to write like a verbal thinker. That means actually writing out descriptions because as a visual thinker I assume everyone can see what I see in my mind.

So, there you have it. I’m not really sure how this blog will pan out. I’m trying to take people on my writing journey by describing the different things one must do. It’s not all just get an idea and start writing straight away. I’ll also use this blog to journal my thoughts and most probably my insecurities.

I hope you join me for the ride.

Shanti D. Roy