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.


  1. You could try writing a prologue. That will allow you to introduce the weird stuff right and still begin chapter one as you'd planned. It will give people a clear indication that some weird shit is going on and then allow them to unravel the mystery as they read on.

    A good example of this can be found in George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones." He leads off with a prologue which introduces homicidal zombie icemen and the rest of the book goes on to be very "low magic." I'm five books into the series now and I still don't know what's up with the zombie icemen, but I keep reading hoping I'll eventually find out.

  2. I don't think you should worry about imitating other books in a genre or fitting some kind of mold, be as weird as the story dictates! You know what you're doing, so trust your instincts.