Into the Unknown

Despite the quelled nature of this blog, bereft of update or advice, the spirit of writing hasn’t left me. At the moment I don’t write as much as I ought to, though my spirits have lifted of late and the possibility of more words has also become more plausible as the year has gone on. There have been a few jaunts into other forums, different kinds of writing for different mediums, though it’s still the setting of the novel that calls loudest.

In terms of the greater setting, intertwined with more than one of the first draft novels I’ve worked on over the years, as well as a baggage-addled project I’ve been carrying in some form or another for the past twenty years, I recently started poking at it, trying to see what sort of unravelling one character might do to the overall flow. That character isn’t a big player in the kick-off novel, though does grow into the great, grand antagonist, and given my predilection for twisting in some sort of time travel or alternate dimensions, you can just guess the kind of nonsense I was entertaining.

In the end, I couldn’t work out a way through the possible timelines that was suitable – I couldn’t have a character interfere with the circumstances of its own creation, in a way that didn’t create greater inconsistencies. Sure, the use of identifiable paradoxes, originating timelines, and other techniques have been used to handle these issues in other time-travel works, and the presence of dimension manipulation in the setting introduced the possibility of a get-out-of-plot-holes-and-inconsistencies card, but my initials are not S.M. and I have no interest in cheating the reader.

So, the good news there is that it means I don’t have cause to complicate this novel any further than it already is, which is great news for me and anyone that’s likely to lay eyes upon it. Given this fictional entity is wise enough to not mess around with its origin lest it cease to exist at all, it means I can leave that level of recklessness for the humans of the setting, and use that facet for an additional dose of complication a few stories down the line.

Anyway, I know my two amazing beta readers must be tired of the amount of time it’s taken for this to come together, and I hope it isn’t much longer before I’m able to share it once again.

There have been a number of changes to the moving pieces of the story since that first draft, and there are still a few unknowns that will swing one way or another depending on how the rewrite goes forward, but I have to believe it will be better for it. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts at this point, just a lot of work on a lot of aspects of the story, and steamrolling through the days of waywardness.

I suppose that is the point of this all – that there’s no magical ingredient missing, no aspect I hadn’t considered, just a lot of writing to do, and a lot of hoping that these words are going to appeal to more than myself.

Who The Hell Is Writing This Shit Anyway?

I’d be the first to say that sometimes when you write, things can get away from you. Some writers talk about how a character acts autonomously, or how the events that happen on the page divert wildly from what they first imagined. It seems strange to others since writing appears to be a conscious act, but for some the subconscious interjects with its take, unable to be wrangled.

OR ARE THEY?

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A Distraction in Twine

I’ve been dabbling a little with a thing called Twine over the past few days, which is a cool way to make a game that’s a little more accessible than putting together a graphical game would be. I’m only starting with it, but already finding ways to do things that take me back to the game programming of my younger years.

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Aim for Amazing

I can never tell if it’s ambition, self-belief, or some other factor that drives me to write to the lengths that I do. As much as I pay heed to the idea that there are no new stories, that things have been done before or that what we do as writers is only regurgitating the stuff of life into a form easier to get through, I know the reality of where I want to take it is somewhere else.

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Going Where It Needs To

I’ve actually been working on my novel. This will be a surprise to some. The fact that this could possibly be a surprise to people that read this blog that don’t know me is two-fold: a writer working on their novel shouldn’t be a surprise, and it being a potential surprise is in itself a possible surprise.

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My Slice of Glory

I’m not a big proponent of cross-pollination with my pursuits. Whenever I was involved with an online community, I tried my best to make my involvement about that thing. Even with this blog, formed as it was out of the embers of NaNoWriMo 2012, I considered it inappropriate to promote it in places meant for NaNoWriMo. That also made it easier for me to stamp out self-promotion by others that’d otherwise hijack conversation.

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The Balancing Act

It’s not easy to find that sweet spot that provides exactly the right amount of information.

The line between spoon-feeding information and being clear is a troublesome one, especially when you want to maintain some air of mystery about what you’re writing. Nobody wants their story to be predictable, though it should without equivocation be justifiable.

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Quantity Still Matters

The one thing that hasn’t changed with the word is that content is still king. It governs almost everything in terms of audience and reach, though it’s true that marketing (or promotion, brand, or whatever other stand-in term it is you cling to) plays a part too. The maxim of Quality over Quantity is still true, but when everyone is a content creator in some way, the saying becomes more of a tendency than a fixed rule.

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Writing Musts: Use Your Characters Again

I don’t do this very often. Yes, blog (shush), but also follow up a previous must. In Use Your Characters, I extolled the virtues of being lazy, and by being lazy I mean using the characters you’ve already built up in ways that makes sense for them characters, instead of trying to force a new path through your story.

That’s still true, but there’s more.

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It’s My Story

One of the things that’s surprised me about being a parent is that my son often feels like a miniature version of myself. I can see where some of it comes from, presupposing that it’s the way I act that influences the way he acts, but it’s the bits outside that make me wonder if a big part of his personality wasn’t just in there from day one.

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Revisiting Your World

So time to talk about For More Than Earthly Ends, that thing I should be working on more but have had trouble fitting in after moving house, jobs, offices, gaining a baby, having a regular game journalist gig, and well, all those other bits of life. I have been floundering on the rewrite since about December, and a lot of the reasons listed above are big reasons.

I’m still struggling with one particular chapter, and I think it’s because there’s a lot more that happens in it than originally did.

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Writing Musts: Follow Everyone Else’s Standards

One of the things people will tell you is that as a writer, you have to meet their expectations. This might seem like a challenging thing to have to do, considering that the world is full of billions of people, but it’s much easier than making up your own mind or having your own principles.

A simple question is all you have to ask – will this upset somebody? Yes? Then don’t write it.

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Lost in Ways

You can read that title over and over, stressing a different word each time, and find the glimmer of another meaning. Even within a single word, the intonation could be subtly altered, and so too would the meaning be altered. I suppose that’s the purpose of punctuation, but they’re never quite right in a title. Besides, I love a bit of ambiguity.

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Some Kind of Workshop

Ideas time. Kinda.

During the year, one of the things expressed by a few of the people in my wonderful writing group is that they think I should do workshops. How things are at the moment, I tend to spend time with each person that comes along and if they’re running into issues with the writing process, particular when it comes to where things go, ironing out plot-creases or filling plot-holes, I jump in.

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Entry Zero: A New Side-Project

In case you hadn’t heard, I started writing for Save Game back in August this year. I can’t remember when the site first popped onto my radar but can say it had become my first stop for any gaming-related news long before. It’s one of the reasons you won’t see much in the way of games writing on Fictioner’s Net anymore.

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Maybe You Should Wait A Day Before Sending Out Your Manuscript

I love writing. I also love that people love writing. The whole reason I started this blog was because I had lots of ideas about writing and from my experiences in talking to others about writing, realised that I also loved helping people with theirs. Sure, it’s not quite as effective as it would be in person, but if Fictioner’s Net hits upon even a single percent of what I do in person, I figure that’s a good thing.

Continue reading Maybe You Should Wait A Day Before Sending Out Your Manuscript