While it may seem unfair, the reality for writers is often a sad one. Great writers go unpublished and unrecognized all the time. Meanwhile mediocre and bad writers mananged to get published. Life is not fair. Write because you love to. Not because you seek fame and fortune. Then none of this matters.
People will try and tell you how you must act, what you must do and when you must do it to be a successful writer. Advice should always be listened to. But remember what they say about opinions. They are like assholes. Not only does everyone have one, but if they aren’t washed and cleaned properly they tend to reek.
Don’t let anyone tell you you must do this or you must do that. Sure, people will tell you what worked for them. But you are not them. Always remember that. You as an author must find your own way and do what works for you. And you must be willing to change course if the path you are on is not working.
A friend, who recently found out that I was getting into fantasy writing, approached me with some material he too had written and wanted some advice. As if I, as an unpublished author struggling with my own work, am someone to be giving advice, right? Anyway, after about one hundred pages it became clear to me what was keeping me from actually reading his story through to the end; it read like a RPG game not a novel.
I will use the example of Skyrim, since that is the game I am currently playing and it is a constructed like a fairly typical RPG video game. In games like Skyrim you have the overall story arc but it is constantly interrupted by a myriad of tedious, although often compelling, but also at times repetitive side arcs, tasks, and quests. You are trudging through the icy wilderness of Skyrim headed towards the next point of the major story arc when BLAM you stumble on some caves or ruins. Sure, you COULD just ignore them, but you also know how quickly you can gain some much needed levels by clearing out this little distraction, mining out all the corpses for every last bit of loot to sell in town, and then use the gold you get in return to hammer out hundreds upon hundreds of steel daggers which will increase your smithing skill (and hence further increasing your levels). So you ignore the main quest and spend the next hour killing frost spiders, draugrs, and what not. Then you spend the next hour after that crafting in town before heading back out and stumbling upon yet another distraction (ie. another dungeon location) where you wash, rinse and repeat. This is the way RPG games work. It is tried and true. (more…)
“The Yoke” has just completed being drafted. It stands at 6,069 words including a short epilogue.
Summary: “The Yoke” is a story about four adventures who are together not of their own free will but out of a macabre necessity. The party encounters a danger that threatens them all and forces them to chose their fate and their future.
Despite taking a vacation day on Friday from work (have to use them up) and having a long weekend, I did not do a single thing writing related on any of those three days. This of course broke my rule of doing something, anything writing related at least once each day and which I had maintained rigorously since deciding to start writing sci-fi and fantasy.
I spent the weekend working around the house and fixing lots of little things that needed fixing instead. This post will hopefully get me back into the mode of writing which I am hoping the Christmas season and all it entails will not derail me from.
I’ve been working on my novel “Under the Darkened Moon”, a sequel, if you will, to my short story “Second Chances”. Having completed the first draft, I am now editing it.
I have been having trouble getting the timing down and pacing the start of the story. While there was action early on, things seemed slow and I, as the author, was getting bored. If I am getting bored by the pace, I worry that the reader would have the same experience.
One thing that seemed to stand out was that the slowness seemed to stem from the length of the chapters, about 20-30 pages. They were that size because I was clustering events and scenes that happened within a day of each other as entire chapters separated by scene changes denoted by “* * *” breaks.
So, chapter 1 for example, consisted of three scene changes, the day the story starts, the next day’s morning then that next day’s evening. Chapter two then picked up three days later. I have, right now, split the first chapter into two completely different chapters so that now chapter 1 is the day the story begins and chapter 2 is the next day’s morning with a scene change to that evening. Chapter 2, or at least the start thereof, now is chapter 3.
By doing this, and maybe I am just fooling myself into thinking this, the story seems to move better and flow faster and smoother with shorter chapters. It is almost like the white space that follows the end of one chapter before the next chapter starts on the next page, despite being a break, causes everything to sound better.
Don’t know if I will continue down this path, but it seems to be working and the story seems more energetic and fluid.