Once of the most annoying and yet enjoyable things I have found out about writing is research. Sometimes you get an idea for a story and you realize what you want to include in your story you aren’t the most knowledgeable about the subject matter. You know just enough that the idea is spurred but sometime more is needed to keep things accurate. Thus I have found myself delving into the world of Wikipedia and loving every minute of it.
The idea that has developed for me involves a bit of alternate history – it isn’t the focus of my story but a fun little gem. I have always loved the idea of alternate history it is fun to look at odd little quirks in our history and developing new thoughts and ideas about it. It is one of the many reasons I love the Assassin’s Creed story line so much. That is a massive amount of alternate history. I love it! I have loved it so much that I have dabbled in Role playing in the universe where I took an alternate history to John Wilkes Booth that was a whole lot of fun to write. For those familiar with the games – just know he was a rouge Templar. (Yes an Templar assassin but not an Assassin! Please tell me I’m not the only who is amused by this.) Any way John Wilkes Booth has become a point of historical interest to me and I love reading and learning about him and what brought him to the conclusion to do what he did. Really his motives are quite fascinating.
Anyway John Wilkes Booth wasn’t the historical figure I needed to read up on but Rather Harry Houdini and let me say what I learned was a whole lot of fun and really he was an interesting person what he did pertaining to magic and escape artists. I got a lot of great information and really after reading up on him is what got me to thinking about John Wilkes Booth and one of my other favorite historical figures Edgar Allen Poe. So despite the fact that John and Edgar don’t have a place in my story at this point I couldn’t help but get lost in reading about them and the fascinating aspects of their lives, making me wish they could fit into my story but they don’t, not really.
This lead me to realize how much I love to do research at time. I love learning new things about history and various subject such as the mythos around certain mythological creatures like have done in the past for other story ideas. Though I love to do the research some subject matters are so broad that instead of the research being deep and fun it becomes long and tedious. One such subject matter is Greek Mythology. That subject matter so massive, deep and even convoluted that I have actually dropped the idea I had pertaining to it. I may approach things again one day but not any time soon.
Additionally with researching there are difficulties not having access to the information needed – such as my novel that is currently being edited. I cannot express how much I’ve banged my head against a brick wall trying to figure out the right chemical combination for an explosion. It is a small but integral part of my story and it is not easy to find out what will happen if you mix chemical X with chemical Y. Not to mention chemical explosion research you have to fear the NSA coming to knock on your door. It’s not like you have have your search say “Seriously I’m a writer I just need to know this for a story! I don’t plan to make things explode in real life!” Honestly I think most any writer will have a very very odd search history that if looked at by itself may cause some eyebrows to raise till you realize they are a writer. I mean I’ve done reach from mythos and historical figures, to chemical explosions, drug use and death. It’s a scary world the world of a writer but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is why I like the words from the TV show Castle “There are two kinds of folks who sit aroundthinking about how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers.” I heard that and find it to be so true. Unfortunately I can’t claim the other half of the quote stating that “I’m the kind that pays better.” Because anyone will tell you that it is very rare to make it in the world of writing that you can find yourself able to sustain a living from writing alone, but that is a topic for another time.
There are so many things that can interfere with the whole writing and creative process from self-doubt and self-criticism, to waiting to hear back from your editor, to the problem of indecision as I have readily admit I face. This week I come to you with something we all know is true and in some ways should be prepared for and in other ways we can never be prepared for it, and that is life. The world that exists outside that which we create and write has a way of putting a halt to things and keeping us from being able to perform our craft.
Life has a nasty habit of throwing us curve balls and I accept that and I have learned to accept them and work around them at times. Yet, there are times it isn’t an easy to work with what the pitcher throws at you. The days where he throws the ball a little more out than you like such as a flat tire. In those situations you adjust the swing and work around it, you take that one day lost working or you end up gaining writing while waiting on a mechanic. (It all depends on the pitch and swing.) But there are times when the rules of the game seem to change to the point that life no longer is throwing you baseballs, but changes the type of ball it is throwing you entirely, and I’m not talking about getting a whiffle ball of unexpected vacation time. I’m talking about the times when the pitcher decides it is time to throw a bowling ball at you. This thing is going to hurt and you are probably going to come out worse for wear. After all bats are not made for it so you are going to have to get a new one of those if you swing or suffer a strike – neither of those making for good odds.
That is the direction my life has suddenly headed – not only has life pitched at me a great huge bowling ball but it also decided to make it a curve ball. It is in these points in the game that you wish to take a time out, to walk away from the game and have life stop for a few days any yet you can’t because the pitch has already been made and it is staring you down as it heads toward home plate. While the world may be crashing down around you, you have to move on and keep going till you know exactly what is going to happen with that bowling ball. It’s curved in so is it going to hit you and take you out of the game for a while or are you going to try and swing or take that strike, still your feet are routed to the ground you can’t run and you can’t hide that bowling ball is coming like it or not.
For me I had that bowling ball pitched at me my life got turned upside down as I suddenly had to look after my parents dogs as they made a rush to see my grandfather before he passes away and I found myself stuck eight hours away working all day every day and then having to travel between two homes, mine and my parents and I had my own cats to care for as well as my parents dogs to tend to. Needless to say it has been a long week as I waited to find out how long my grandfather had. In the end the umpire called it ball. I had faced the pitch but it didn’t go against me – I made it through the week where I was stretched thing and as it turns out my grandfather is ill but isn’t quite on his death bed as we thought. He is doing well under a medical treatment that is delaying the inevitable so it isn’t a matter of him being in pain and suffering it is a matter of saying when it is time to stop as the treatment is not something he is fond of. So I may still be facing the death of my grandfather but it isn’t imminent and he isn’t suffering and that is what matters most to me.
Still, with all of this turmoil I found myself quite unable to write. Though I feel a writer should be able to write beyond their current mood of anger, frustration or hurt – I think there is an exception to that rule when one’s life is turned upside down by the bowling balls of life. Honestly that is why this blog comes to you later than I would like it to come. But now that life is coming back to a normal standard I find my mind is free and clear to write once more. Hopefully I can get something accomplished instead of just staring at a blank page debating story A or story B.
Indecision, that seems to be the theme of my life as a writer. As I sit here trying to think of what to write about next for my blog, I’m at loss in some ways as to what to write. My brain goes from one topic to the next trying to decide what is the best to write next. There are so many things that I want to share and talk about it is hard to decide what to write about. As I considered my different options to talk about, from research issues , to problems with editing, to being my own worse enemy I realized that my present dilemma is not a one off situation. Indecision permeates my life as a writer.
I swear I can’t be the only person out there who has one to many ideas for their own good. I have an entire file box full of ideas and thoughts for stories some of them more developed than others. Some of them seem to be as old as I am while others are new and under developed. When it comes down to sitting down to actually sitting down and writing, I stare at the blank screen or my notes and can’t decide what to write. If I don’t sit and stare and mull ideas I’m torn – do I work story A or story B and as I debate I find myself going well what about story C? In some ways it is an unending cycle and I only get a little bit of writing done.
In the times that I get a little bit of writing done I find myself getting ideas for another story, or I start to question what I am writing. There are many numbers of things that cause me to pull away from what I’m working, it is a different reason every time and then the cycle begins all over again. The reasons as to why I stop changes and are all a whole other ball of wax for another blog entry.
So right now, I find myself sitting between three stories trying to determine what will be my next big project while I deal with editing and all I have written as of late are a few hundred words and then question if I should actually be working on story B instead of story A while every once in a while story C comes creeping up saying ‘why not write me?’ If only I could make a decision and stick with it. Eventually, after all, I made a decision for this second blog post and I stuck with it so maybe there is hope!
For a long time I have tried and failed at the whole blog thing. I mean I have tried a lot of times and have failed every time. The only exception is my work on Book in the Bag, where I post every Friday a review of a book I’ve read. Yes I am a bibliophile and I love books, more to the point I love stories. If it has a good and compelling story I’m hooked. That is the point of movies of which I have a large collection and the point of video games, it is all about the story the character development. I am addicted to a good story and I love being part of it. This is why I have found joy and a passion in writing
Ever since I can remember stories have been part of my life, from being told and read them to creating them myself. My toys would play and act out stories of my own creation, I would move and act out stories. Since I realized that I could write stories myself to possibly share with other people I’ve been doing it. I figured long ago if the stories my friends and I made up on the playground to play out were fun for us why wouldn’t other people like to read and be part of them too? That was when I really started to write, telling the adventures of Misheal and Spunky her faithful dog or stories of life out on the prairie based on the playground play of my friends. They didn’t last long the stories but even then I loved to write.
I really can’t remember a time that I wasn’t working on stories and working my craft in some way or another, and I knew even at the young age of eight that I wanted to be published. It has been a life long dream that I have held near to my heart wanting to see a book I wrote sitting on a shelf with my name printed on it, gleaming in it’s paper bound glory. Now that I am thirty, I am still working toward that dream and learning the life and struggles of trying to be a writer. For so many people they don’t understand the struggles not only in the world or publication which is not easy to break into but also the struggles that writers create for themselves.
I figure with this blog I can share and express those struggles and feelings as a way of release for myself and maybe another person will take heart in what I’m going through as they go through the same. I am going to try and commit to having a blog post out every Saturday sharing my thoughts and struggles with writing or just giving my thoughts and feelings on various forms of story telling media outside of the weekly book review I do for Book in the Bag. So, we’ll see how this thing pans out.