Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Not So Much About Writing

Not much to say on the writing front.  Still doing it.  Elder Scrolls Online has been announced.  That's cool, right?  Sure, I can see the issues with it but it's headed up by the guy who drove Dark Age of Camelot and that game was amazing.  What else...Diablo 3 comes out next week.  Dragon's Dogma drops the week after that.  So those will be fun.

Friday's suck.  I generally work on Fridays and there is usually a game in the evening so trying to get a post in there is a hassle.  For that reason, and my constant need to come up with ideas that are not directly related to my current project, I would like to start devoting Fridays to a serial pulp adventure yarn.  I can write it over the week alongside the novel and have it all prepared before Friday arrives, leaving me to simply post it up instead of working up an entry.  I envision it will play out in short weekly installments, between 750 and 1,000 words each.

It may begin this week but I'm not going to commit to that completely.  Next week I begin a new job which means fewer hours for writing.  Actually, it means the same number of hours for writing and fewer hours to screw around on video games and crap.  Shouldn't impede my progress if I can stick to my weekly word goals.

So, maybe a fun little tale of thrilling heroics and dastardly deeds this week.  Maybe not until next week.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I read pretty frequently, less so when my class loads are heavy but often enough to see a very common issue in a lot of books.  It is more prevalent in books which the author intended to launch a series but many single print novels suffer it.  It goes against the most basic writing instruction I received since I was young and it amazes me how often I find it.

Every chapter in your novel, just like every paragraph in your short fiction, must make progress in your story.  They have to involve some event that is significant to the development of the overall tale.  There are a lot of forms that this can take be it development of a character, elaboration on a plot element or even description of an important facet of the setting.  No matter what, there has to be something important about what your readers are seeing.

I am working my way through a book that I've had on the shelf for over a year.  It's a light bit of fantasy fare and the story is pretty good overall.  My problem has been getting TO that story, as the first third of the book involved two characters walking towards a city.  There were moments of importance here, with their conversations providing some exposition on the setting and some character development for the girl who is caught in a strange new world, but most of the time this comes across as heavy handed.  It definitely feels like they made this trek simply because the author wanted to information dump their setting on you.

I think it is important to never view your novel as a link in the chain of your (possible) series.  It is hard enough trying to ensure that your chapters provide the necessary information and balance that with keeping them interesting.  Thinking beyond the point where you type THE END on your current work is dangerous.  I am fighting this issue myself with Greenhorn because I have what I believe to be a solid idea for a sequel.  I haven't even written this material down in hopes that I can avoid clouding my judgement on what is important in each chapter of this first novel.

For those of you who are frequent readers, or at least as frequent as I allow you to be, I will have some interesting information in Wednesday's post (which will post on Wednesday come hell or high water...whatever that idiom means) regarding my intentions for Friday updates in the future.  Could be fun and exciting.  Could just plain suck.  Only way to know is come back.

Total Words: Novel - 12,900

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I've always found that the most difficult aspect of writing is keeping the motivation up.  When I've faced things like writer's block it is usually because I've hit some obstacle in the story or things aren't fleshing out the way I planned.  This leads me to doubt the whole process and makes it damn near impossible to keep hacking away at it.  When I do break through and the words flow again it is always refreshing, but getting to that point is draining.  I've dealt with motivation issues over the recent weeks and I'm hoping that the end of classes will help alleviate that, but that isn't the primary problem I am having with my current work, title Greenhorn as a placeholder.

My primary problem is that weird westerns aren't easy to research.  They exist, sure, but not in so great a number that you can readily grab one and see what the style is usually all about.  I am battling with the issue of how weird I want things to be and when, precisely, to introduce the elements of weirdness.  The story revolves around the pursuit of objects that are not only supernatural, but their use makes characters in the story supernatural.  There are 4 distinct characters who have supernatural ability at the beginning of the story but they aren't on-screen too often.  Recognizing and then investigating the 'weird' is the path our protagonist follows and I want the readers to experience it in bits and pieces like she does.

I've taken to seeding small hints in the opening chapters, allusions to some of the characters having an unnatural ability without actually portraying it full on.  Still, I am concerned that a slow build might not have the hook for the reader that a story like this needs.  I'm not a historical fiction writer by any means, and my Old West setting won't win awards for being accurate, so I'm wondering if I need to hit the weird harder and faster to grab interest.

Friday's update may also come a day late, as I work during the day and have a game to attend at night.  I've thought about discussing elements of my setting's weirdness on here but I'd hate to make too much information available and ruin the suspense.  Perhaps by next update I'll have come to a decision.