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Dec 31 2008

I’ve Gots ‘Splaining To Do

Regulars to the cantina have probably noticed a rather abrupt falling off in volume lately. There’s a reason for that. I’ve just been too busy to ‘splain.

Writing fiction again, you see.

My Christmas tradition for these many years has been to shut out the rest of the world and put the extra day or two off to good advantage. I haven’t written fiction in months, didn’t even have scenes running through my mind, but that was no reason not to write. I’ve missed fiction. So, instead of world-building, instead of research, instead of those one-billion-and-one things I should be doing, I just started writing scenes for the sheer delight of wordsmithing. I skipped around here, there and everywhere within my universe, playing with a description here, a metaphor there, savoring each sentence. And it felt fantastic.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped writing and started reading instead. Last year, I wrote several chapters in a book I wasn’t even supposed to be working on because it comes so late in the sequence. But the scenes were there, demanding to be written. Total compulsion. I justified it by telling myself that I needed to get this stuff down while it was fresh in my mind, and the practice wouldn’t hurt. After all, the first book in the series needs to be outstanding. It’s going to take tremendous skill to pull off what I want to do. Skill is developed by practice. Ergo, use these scenes to practice.

As I was writing, it seemed as if things were inspired. Seemed like I could actually do a fair job of capturing this stuff.

Reading it now, I do not think I was wrong. I found plenty of rough edges – a writer worth their shit will always find flaws with their work. But I also found a lot to be excited about. I used to suck at the mushy-gushy stuff, for instance, which was unfortunate because so much hangs on the unique connections between certain of my characters, deeply emotional relationships beyond mere love and romantic entanglement. Those scenes are now starting to take on the transcendent quality they needed.

I’ve also had an enormously difficult time capturing grief, which was also vital to the story I wanted to tell. That’s getting far easier. And I think I’m avoiding the wanker trap – I’ve never wanted my grieving characters to turn into o-woe-is-me sniveling weenies. They’re stronger than that, despite crushing pain. And those scenes seem to be working too.

There’s an enormous amount of work to be done. As I’ve mentioned before, certain assumptions have to be rethought. There’s a vast amount of worldbuilding still unfinished. I have to go over everything from the beginning, decide what must stay and what can be safely discarded, strengthen the weak areas and figure out the science behind the fantasy. None of it will be easy, but it’s going to be worth doing.

That being so, this blog is likely to see a bit less posting than usual. Apologies in advance, my darlings. I’ll do my best.

(BTW, If anyone wins an insane amount of money in the lottery and wants to free me from my day job with a modest stipend, thus allowing me a full blogging schedule on top of my storytelling duties, I could be persuaded to accept such a thing. Just so’s you know.)

1 comment

  1. 1
    Leeroy Glinchy

    I have had these problems, too. Now I just write one thing in chronological order and continue to write until the thing is done. This used to take a lot of discipline, but at this point, it’s kind of a habit not to think of any new ideas until the first thing is done. This makes me feel that I have no ideas, but once the novel is done, I do get one new idea.

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