Hello Internet! … Yep. It’s been a while. What have I been up to?
Well, I fell behind NaNoWriMo, crashed and burned for the first time. It seems that writing a seven main character novel, starting at the twisted middle without a firm outline, and pressing yourself to a sprint and a marathon at the same time is stupid. Limits, I have found them.
Ever since then, I’ve not been able to write on my novel. Not one pained word, no matter how I talked myself up.
So in the three months I’ve been gone, here’s what’s happened instead:
My contract job didn’t call me back, and I’ve been living on carefully counted pennies and applying to work since. The silence I’ve been getting in response is really depressing.
I’ve been working on my chat/roleplay epic saga daily with a good writing buddy of mine. As if it were a full time job. It’s not real writing in that the prose is horrible, the viewpoint unsteady, the plot without classic novel structure, but my partner has a very different style than mine, and he’s naturally very good at action, moving plot forward, hurting the characters, and introducing new elements to a story. The story itself will never see the light of day, really, but I like to think it is teaching me something.
I watched a few movies. I re-read Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night. I noticed that Shakespeare always has at least two witty ‘banter’ characters as crowd-pleasers in each play, or at least, he does in his comedies.
And then today I was reading a book called ‘The Writer’s Journey: mythic structure for storytellers & screenwriters’, and something clicked on in my head. A flip of a switch, the music in the background, the rhythm of a galloping horse whilst I drove home through the rain. The whole of my steampunk novel, as a series of structured elements. The ‘journey formula’ this book describes appears, naturally, unintentionally, in my novel. And I can identify where I’m stuck, and what it must lead to to get to the next step.
I’m about ready to start writing again. I think that I know what needs to be done.
Because I’m a hopeless addict, I’ll again be participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is, and you want to write a book, go check it out. If you are participating, buddy me!
Since I’m only halfway through The Artificer’s Angels, I’ll be finishing that this year. I have a badass ending in mind, and a fuzzy idea about the middle, and too many main characters. I hope I can juggle them all.
Sorry for the lack of updates lately… for the last month or so, I’ve been hit with a really severe reading block.
Not really a writing block (though I haven’t done much of that, either). It’s more of a sick listlessness that I get when I pick up a book. Part pessimism, part weariness, part complete lack of attention span. I’m not sure why. It might be the season. It might be that the snowcrete (snow partially melted, then frozen to a rock-hard shell) and isolation have kept me indoors and the lack of exercise and sunlight are getting to me… Maybe depression, maybe stress, maybe literary burn-out. Maybe everything combined.
Have you ever had a dream in college where you suddenly realized that you had signed up for one extra class, but then forgot about it, and never attended and it’s almost time for the final? I’ve been having that dream in reverse. I dream that there was one other class that I was supposed to teach, but forgot all about, and my students have been without an instructor for weeks.
Anyway, this blog may go into hibernation mode until that changes.
I just killed a character. And now I’ve been having a terrible time trying to write.
I really liked the character. But it was time for her to go. I had a situation where it would have been nearly impossible for all three characters to escape from, and this particular woman would have broken a later plot at the end of the chapter. I killed her well, without needing to stretch events to set her up. No ‘I’ll hold them off!’ lines (instant death in almost any genre). It set me up for a great fight scene between a scary-as-hell spearman and my hero.
And I’ve written twenty words on Blue Crystal in the last three days. Like a ghost in a haunted house, I can’t seem to leave that scene.
Or, rather, what I think that throwing the term ‘writer’s block’ around is like calling an illness ‘a bug’. Yes, there’s something wrong, yes, writing hasn’t happened… but usually I can pinpoint the symptoms. I haven’t started the chapter because I know what happens, it’s a big, important scene, and I’m scared of it falling short to what’s in my head. I can’t keep going because something doesn’t feel right. I have no idea what happens next. I can’t keep going because I’m really taken by this idea for a different story.
Or, this week’s ailment: I plotted out the chapter, tried to go too fast, and did too much action in summary. Everything feels wrong now, and my stomach turns when I look over it. I need to slow down, go back, work things out in scene, because narration isn’t cutting it this time.