Inspiration

Words, they just start dripping falling down like rain, first one then another.  They keep coming in a deluge, before you know it a paragraph is written there in your mind, and you cannot wait to get out of traffic to start writing everything down.  The words, they tumble in your mind over and over again.  You have an idea, a paragraph that could be used one day, some where, some time.  It is something that will be written down, filed away and saved for later.

You press on the accelerator trying to get home that little bit faster.  The words play over and over in your head, so perfect and so beautiful that nothing else really matters aside from getting home to write them down.  As they play yet again, a character speaks up, ‘Those words are mine’.   The truth of it all hits you like a ton of lead.  The words are the character’s and you realize everything that brings them to be true for the character and just how important those words are.  You realize how they will be  used, how they will craft and form not only the life of that character but everyone else involved in his life.   You not only have the prefect paragraph, you have a character associated with it, and the start of a potentially wonderful story.    If and only if the words play right, but you know all you have to do is write them, so you do.  Ignoring dinner and hunger, you submit to the words and you write, you write till you can at least stop, albeit briefly, as the words they keep flowing.  As long as you seek them out there they are falling out onto the screen choppy and rough.  There are no commas, there are hardly the right number of periods.  It is possible you’ve said a particular word far too many times but it matters little as the words are on page, they work, they are right, and once cleaned they will be perfect, at least that is the hope.

And this, this is the life of a writer.  Or, at least it is a glimpse into my life.

Funny thing is, the inspiration all came from the red break lights of the cars in front of me on the highway the night before.  It was like the red blossomed in front of me, from one car to all cars and it was just visually striking.  It took me a moment to realize that those red lights meant something, and I needed to put on my breaks as well.   Afterwards, my mind wouldn’t let go of the line ‘Red blossomed before me’.  It wasn’t much till tonight where it morphed into another visual and those afore mentioned ‘perfect’ words.

“Red blossomed from her chest, it spilled over and filled her white shirt.  It took me a minute to realize that the red should not be there, and wasn’t something pleasant, as everything else in the day had been thus far. “

Advertisements

Nanowrimo

What is that? It’s National Novel Writing Month and it starts tomorrow. It is a month of literary abandon. Many crazy and brave souls take on the gauntlet of writing 50k words in the span of one month. 30 days to be precise. This maths down to proximately 1667 words a day. That is a lot of words in some rights and not that many in others.

Why would someone do such a thing? What was it created? The simple answer is to end the ‘one day novelist’ bring an end to the saying “One day I’ll write a novel”. Well that ‘one day’ is now, November. You are given a challenging goal and a dead line. This pushes you to write, it also forces you to get the ideas down on paper and leaves little to no time for editing.

It is fantastic! I have done Nanowrimo for several years, since 2009. I’ve helped run it for my local region I think since 2011 and every year I have written 50k words. Now, before you get all impressed most of those words are rubbish, most of it is not publishable by any means. Of course that isn’t to say that what I wrote was a waste. I got a great idea for a Dragon story while doing Nano and the novel that I’ve been working hard on and editing here and there – that was a Nano novel.

Nanowrimo allowed me to get words on paper – it taught me that I can write a novel and that I can make time to write. It also taught me that I can at the very least craft a story of some sort. Honestly Nano is a worth experience that I encourage all writers to take on at least once.

However the even is not everything. It is now the end all and be all. It is why I am not actively participating this year. Will I write? Yes. Will I go to some of the events? Yes. Am I aiming for the 50k? No. Will I reach 50k? I don’t know. This year I’m taking a step back, I’m stepping away from the frenzy of words for the sake of words and looking to building my craft. I plan to edit this year, to write as I see fit – nothing blindly written, all of it thought out because that is what my writing needs. I feel I need to add some cadence to my writing to stop and think about it to consider the use of a comma at the right time and place.

So we’ll see what happens for me this November – what I can take out of it as a person who joining the masses to write just not to write the 50k word goal.

Aside from that if you have questions about Nanowrimo you can Google it or even ask me. I was a former regional leader of the site for several years so I know the ins and outs of the program as well as some great tricks for those participating.

Perspective

Okay so I didn’t post last week, and for that I’m sorry. I had the worst cold ever and barely had the energy to simply sit and watch movies. I’m still dealing with the last dregs of the horrific experience, even a week later but I can function now and that is the point. After a second week away from writing and having no energy to focus I found myself a bit lost with my writing.

While I did two weeks ago say that a break was good and it is good, there is an opposite effect to writing, and this is too long of a break puts you out of practice and pulls you too far away from the work. Now my overly long break wasn’t fully by choice as things do happen in life, but one can’t give up, and one has to get back to work.  That is what I did this week.

As I faced this week I decided I need to start focusing on what I’m going to write next as I wait for chapters to come back from my editor for my other novel.  Still, I was stuck, the ideas are there but they have not been flowing well.  I know the idea is pretty decent but the words won’t flow.

I talked to a friend about it and she suggested a change of perspective.  Maybe I’m writing from the wrong side of the story, or in the wrong person.  Thinking about it, I think she is right.  I was telling the story in 3rd person from the perspective of one character when I should be telling it from the perspective of the other character in first person.

The moment I started looking at the story from a different angle things started to click.  I feel that the story can be told either way but it flows better for me one way than the other, so we’ll see what happens.  Sometimes when stuck on an idea it might be a good idea and time to look at things from a different angel. It is all a matter of perspective and it is a thought and idea I hope I don’t easily forget in the future as I continue to venture forth in my writings.

Thank you dear friend for always being willing to talk shop and ideas with me.  Thank you for giving me the thought and lesson of looking at things in a new perspective.  May it be a lesson we can all learn from.

Give me a Break

Life has taken a massive turn into the world of busy so I admit that I haven’t taken much time to do a lot of work on my novel. Of course it hasn’t been far from my mind, but my lack of work has not been so much because of my busy life but because I simply needed a break.

Last week I did some massive work on my novel going over my committed weekly time of working on editing. I worked through 2 and half chapters of my novel. I have reached the halfway point when it comes to chapters. Of course there is an almost over whelming amount of work still left to do on my novel but I needed to take a break.

While some people might see taking a break as slacking off I know that taking a break can be good for the novel and the writing process. When we don’t take breaks – at least for me I can get to close to the work and not see things that a fresh set of eyes can see. I was starting to get lost in the details and not seeing what really needs to be addressed.

Another part of over working is that the love for the work wains. As I continued to push and over work my love for my novel started to dwindle and I knew all the more that I needed to take a break. I will be the fist to admit with my novel, that I have a massive love hate relationship with my novel but it is well balanced. I hate it enough to want to improve it and love it enough to want to keep working with the story. It is a fine balance but when that balance gets out of wack I know it is time to take a break.

Having done such I feel that I will be able to stomach those blue and pink comments in my chapters and continue to working on my novel improving it and making it the best I can. I feel like fresh eyes will help my novel more than chugging through and growing to hate it. Anyone else have issues of a love hate relationship with their novels and just needing to take a break?

Pete and Repeat

And now it is stuck in your head the never ending rhyme:

Pete and Repeat got in a boat.
Pete fell out who was left?
Repeat.
Pete and Repeat got in a boat…

The story goes on an on forever really. It is a classic child’s game that many of us all are familiar with.  The point of the little story is the repetition.  Of course coupled with that point is the fact that when we experience or see the same things over and over again we get bored.  We don’t want to see it.  We like things that are kind of new and fresh there can be some familiarity and similarities but we can’t stand it, if there is too much.  This is a simple fact that most people can agree with, even if there are exceptions to this fact, such as the use of repetition to get a point across or for compelling power of the words in how they read and sound – such as Edgar Allen Poe’s The Bells.   

Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells —
Of the bells, bells, bells–
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time
As he knells, knells, knells
In a happy Runic rhyme,

It’s only a small sample of the poem and the repetition found within it but I find it beautiful and purposeful and thus forgivable.  There is rhyme and reason (pun utterly not intended).

Thus, while I love most of Poe’s work and have a love  for the sound The Bells invokes with it’s repetition, I have come to hate it.  (Repetition that is.)  It has become my arch nemesis, as I am continuing to edit my novel.  I am finding more and more moments where I use similar words and phases making for a boring read.  Some of them my editor picked out, others I’m discovering on my own, such to the point that it makes me want to scream and toss the story aside.

Yet, while I feel like I’m on the edge of a repeating word nervous break down, as I look at actual word and phrase counts, via this lovely tool I discovered at Write Words my counts are not as bad as I thought them to be.  Causing me to calm down and realize that my freaking out could be due to a sever lack of sleep and over working.  I still need to tighten things up keep from saying certain words too frequently and too closely together but I’m not as bad off and I could be.  So while repetition is my current mortal enemy I will conquer it! Wish me luck.

An Epilogue

I know for a lot of people in the writer and reader community there is a strong hatred for prologues and epilogues, such to the point that there are those who will skip them entirely. For myself I am not quite that far into the camp of refusing to read the words written by an author. I personally have respect for the author to read all the words of story that they have written in the given book. It is meant to be part of the story and it is meant to be read.

While I am strongly of the opinion that you read all the words, I have concluded that Epilogues are atrocious and something I am growing to despise. Prologues how ever I am very okay with and do not have a hatred for them like I do epilogues.

Prologues when done right are like a larger form of the teasing blurb on the back of the book. It gives you a glimpse of the future events of the story to make the slightly more ‘boring’ start less boring because you know that isn’t the whole story more is coming. While I am not overly fond of the books an example of such a prologue is Twilight. At the start of the book there is a prologue that mentions how death was not something the character expected. I don’t remember exact details but it gave a taste that something bigger was going to happen before we dig into the story of Bella moving to Forks Washington. I admit the prologue is what drew me into the book before they became a craze and before I realized the quality of the writing found with in the book.

If a Prologue doesn’t give you a glimpse into future events they many times can give you knowledge of events that your hero is not privy too events else where that tell you things are coming for your ignorant character. It gives you that moment when looking at the every day life of the main character of ‘you poor fool, everything is about to change for you’. I like these moments. A good example of this is Mister Monday the first book in the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. The prologue starts in the magical world where a motion of events take place that leave you wondering before you start the story with the hero Arthur who is just trying to survive a day of school not knowing anything about the world of magic. The prologue wets your appetite, or at least usually does. There are times where it is pointless but even then I am not bothered by them.

Epilogues however…. that is a whole other ball of wax. I am not saying all epilogues are bad but a lot of them are terrible. I really truly hate them. I can think of three distinct examples where at best it was bad and pointless to completely and utterly ruining the end of a story. The first example I present to you is the Epilogue found in Armada the second book by Ernest Cline. The story was to me mediocre at best but the epilogue was a massive rush to the end to summarize several things, and set up for a possible squeal but poorly so. It was a rush of scenes and events that would have been better fleshed out and played into the prose or left off entirely. However the epilogue did not ruin the story.

The next two epilogues should be more familiar with people as the first one I present is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I know for some massive fans they loved knowing about the next generation and I know I’ve had my fun writing that next generation in the past but still it was weak and in my opinion it detracted from the chief story. I know there are a lot of people that would have preferred it not be there and I feel it weakened the story told across all seven books. Again not terrible but it does contribute to the whole epilogues not being great motif.

The last epilogue I present is the worst of them all and quite frankly ruined the story and negated a brilliant ending. What book it that? That is none other than Mocking Jay by Susan Collins. The end of Mocking Jay was beautiful and so fulfilling.

So after, when he whispers, “You love me. Real or not real?”

I tell him “Real”

That is a powerful ending to me so complete and fulfilling, unfortunately you turn the page and there is epilogue where we see Katniss still haunted by her past and how she is getting ready to face it again so to speak by recounting it to her questioning children. It doesn’t have power doesn’t speak, they are just words on a page. In a lot of ways this epilogue more than any other was just vanity writing. It wasn’t a matter of words written for the story and the reader but written for the author, and that bugs me.

I know as writers we write for ourselves, but as we write for ourselves we also write some for an audience and while you the writer have ideas beyond the main story sometimes the end of your book is not the place to put them. I hope that if I ever write an epilogue my test readers and editors will tell me right off if I am writing for my vanity or detracting from the story.

Of course with my examples and rants I am not ready to say all Epilogues are bad but I not able to think of a good one. Does someone know of a good one to share? Do you disagree with my assessment? Are you willing to consider prologues or epilogues in your own writing? I have yet to write one but I won’t rule them out.

Published

Published, that is a scary word I’ve decided. It is a word that I have loved and wanted for so long. It is a word that I want to be. I feel like I have spend over half my life running toward that word and yet it is terrifying.

Published, no longer will me stories be just mine, something I play with and tell my self but it will be there for the world to see and read. For someone else to potentially take and play with. It is scary. Will others love my babies as much as I love them? I have worked hard and poured a lot into the lives of my characters they are precious and important to me. Will they be the same for someone else? It is a scary thought? What if the world hates them? Hating me is not a big deal but my characters my stories the ones I’ve poured my heat and soul into? That is a scary prospect!

I know I have had people read over my work and tell me it is good but there is a difference in sharing your story with those you know and love and while I trust them to be honest and to tell me if I can’t write, it is less scary to share with them. The world can be cruel.

Of course, I don’t have to share and my stories can be just for me and a select small group of people whom I trust but that is not what I want. I want to share, it’s just scary sharing.

While sharing is scary, there are other parts of the word published that is terrifying. Almost since I can remember I’ve wanted to be published. It has been my dream, and that’s just that, it is a dream, my dream. Seeing a dream become a reality. I think everyone can relate how terrifying that can be. What will the next dream be? Will the reality of the dream live up to the imaginings of the dream? What if it isn’t what it is cracked up to be? What if that is it? They are classic questions and many cheesy movies have addressed this idea but it is just words spoken on the big screen, living it is a whole different prospect.

Honestly this depicts my feelings about being published so perfectly: