Saturday, May 16th

Recently I have been writing pretty well, but I definitely have a lot of fear holding me back.

I’ve complained about the results of being an English Major in college a few times. That isn’t always fair, because I enjoyed college, and I have benefited in a lot of ways from what I learned in my English Literature courses.

I am going to complain about one more thing, however.

At least in my case, I felt as though the attitude of most of the people I met related to my English Major was that writing was difficult, needed to be amazing on every level, and required a genius to work out. None of those things are true, at least, not for me.

Before I became an English teacher I wrote a book that appears to still hold up. I wrote that book out of joy, not genius. I would not call myself a genius at any point, and there’s proof not just in the number of mistakes I still make, but in the mistakes I have made. My early books are terrible. So are most writers’ first books. It takes time to learn this craft. Practice doesn’t make perfect though. Practice makes skills grow. Nothing makes perfect.

Anyway, I guess this is my complaint: Reverence of literature intimidated me out of writing for quite some time. I never stopped writing for long, but the joy went out of it. One novel and one novella I wrote during this time attest to the terrible quality of my college writing. I’m not sure if either of those is repairable. Perhaps one day I’ll try to make them work again.

AS it is, I really just want to feel free to create stories beyond writing the parts I know I’m good at. I tweeted yesterday that I feel like I’m good at beginnings, but until one writes a middle and an ending as well there is no book. This is true. Am I more scared of writing middles and endings? Or do I just muddle things through a little bit after a while?

I recently moved out of the beginning honeymoon stage of the book I’m working on, and got bogged down. I still have at least 65,000 words to go. I’m trying a method I’ve used in the past to get unstuck: I jumped forward and wrote some stuff a few chapters ahead. I hope this works. It definitely worked in the previous novel I used this trick in when writing, at least in helping me finish the manuscript.

I hope you folks are doing alright. We’ve all got things to do.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 12th

Today’s post may get more into nuts and bolts of the writing process than I usually do. Please remember that I’m not a big time writer, though I consider myself semi-pro. If those facts don’t faze you, read on.

Like a lot of other writers I have a head for details, and not necessarily the kind of details that are overly useful in real life. Today I noticed the outline of a moose on the plate I was eating off of at lunch, but I completely forgot that the dishwasher had been running earlier in the morning and thusly needed to be emptied, rather than having more dishes crammed into it.

A strange mind for detail. Yes. I have difficulty remembering much of what occurs day to day, but I often obsess over drama of times past, and sometimes even of books past. I have a lot of projects that I want to do, many series, many books. I seem to create new ones whenever I work on an older one. Perhaps that’s why my head is so crammed with information about fictional worlds, people, and places.

Creating ideas is easy for me, but every story detail I draw out feels rare and precious like a diamond pulled from the earth. Perhaps its because the details of my stories are specialized to one particular story, and even sometimes a specific scene or part of a story, but I feel they’re not actually as important as the sweeping movements of the piece. They probably aren’t that important, at least individually. Put them all together, though, and they become a very important part of a story.

Some writers, like Mary Robinette Kowal and Brandon Sanderson talk about doing a ‘detail pass’ wherein they add much of the world details to the story during edits. It clearly works for them. On th other hand, I don’t like to to do such things myself because I feel as though the details that aren’t intrinsic enough to include in the first pass may bog the story down. That said, I definitely write a bit thin on details so I have done detail additions to books before.

My biggest rough draft yet is definitely going to require those, because of the complexity and strangeness of its world. I still have not gotten back to that one, but I look forward to the time I can. Until then, there is a new rough draft for me to enjoy, and another round of edits and beta reads on a couple of other novels. Oh, and I have a short story I’m editing for submission to a contest that closes on Friday.

Can’t forget the little things.

Have a good day, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 7th

I’m still writing! The encouragement of getting some mostly positive feedback over the weekend has me trusting my skills a little more and not asking so many questions of myself in the process of writing. Questions are a great way to learn, but they don’t assist as well with art as one might think, at least after a point of practice.

Anyway, what else have I been doing? I’ve watched a few superhero shows, built a few minis for my Chaos Daemon army for Warhammer 40,000, and played a bunch of Hearthstone. Pretty usual except for the minis. I have a friend who is just now getting into Warhammer 40,000 in a big way, so that has me excited to finally get my butt in gear again.

This post doesn’t need to be long. My voice is still raspy. My hands are still typing.

Thanks for reading, folks!

Monday, May 4th

Hello again, and good day.

I am excited to be up and writing today. Don’t know what has changed precisely that put me back on the strong path of writing, but I hope I’m lodged here for some time.

Earlier bed times and wake-up times may have contributed.

Reading a bunch definitely had a big effect in the right way.

And then there’s the freedom factory. I broke from my older projects to work on a newer story. And I will go back once I’m more solidly entrenched in good practices for writing fiction. I’m still going to be editing and I plan some releases later this year. But all in all, I am just happy to be writing for myself and exploring a new universe.

The simple joy factor is hard to deny when it comes to the fact that this latest book is science fiction with supernatural and fantastic elements. That is a combination that always excites me.

The weather is wonderful this spring, though I once read never to talk about the weather. Sometimes the warnings don’t matter. Sometimes what people tell you just isn’t relevant to what you believe. When the weather is this much improved I think its worth chatting about, however briefly.

What do they naysayers know? When creativity is at hand things change. Assumptions have to go out the window.

Freedom and creativity go together.

And I am living between those two right now.

Thanks for reading, folks. Have a good day!

Sunday, May 3rd

Haven’t been thinking about blogging much lately. Been too busy being sick until a few days ago. Then yesterday I got busy writing in a big way. Over the course of a couple days I have buried myself in a new novel, and I have a short story I’m working on the side.

I’m feeling inspired to say the least.

I just recently finished a big draft of a novel I hope to author publish in ebook this summer. I’ve had this book for almost 7 years now. That’s too long to hold onto a book, but a lot has changed since I wrote this thing. And I think the book is still good. That alone is pretty remarkable. The work of writing rough draft is actually more difficult for me now then editing. That may be a good sign, because I have a lot of editing to do on the books I’ve let lie for so long if I want to start serious author publishing.

And I do want that. I definitely do.

Thanks for reading. I am off to write more, because the feelings of achievement and discovering story are addictive.

Sunday, April 26th

Almost four months into this year and I am finally getting the hang of things here.

Sunday is my day off of writing fiction, officially.

But I may do some writing anyway, just because I’m enjoying the story I have before me.

I have hit the 50,000 word mark on this novel. I expect it’ll be another 50k before I finish this volume.

It’s important to see those next 50,000 words as an opportunity rather than a chore. After all, if I decide I am happy with ending the book at any point before I hit 100,000 I can. I only need the story, not the word count.

After three years of trying to find a solution to laziness I think the answer is that I’m not lazy. I’m not bored. I just lack perspective. Life and work don’t always appreciate each other, but they need each other.

From now on I think I’m just going to post the date as the title of these blog entries. I simply don’t have the energy to come up with a title for every post, and the title doesn’t mean much anyway.

Here’s hoping all of you are doing well. Thanks for reading.

Core Fragments

I’ve been sick for the past week, but I’m back, at least for now.

The sickness actually had been writing a bit more than I usually do on a few days. However, that has slackened off as I have recovered. I think I’m just too used to not writing, or writing a little and stopping for the day. I have the time, and the desire, but my habits don’t support writing a lot.

Time for some new habits.

Overall, I have recovered pretty well. Being sick is no fun, but when it happens it happens, just like anything else.

Currently I am back to looking at finishing my fantasy novel, Temple Theater. So far, I’ve been stuck on this book for over four months. Not exactly a good situation to be in when I was originally trying to finish the whole book in one month. I guess I lost track of the core of the story. Having two point of view characters is tricky. I need to reconnect with the one character I started as primary. The second one is fine, but is less than half the story so far.

The core of the story is more than just the character. It’s about attitude, tone, level of conflict.

What is the core of this story?

I need to work that out yet. Guess I know what I am doing now that this post is finished.

Thanks for reading, everyone.