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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve realised something.
I could not care less about whether someone does like or doesn’t like a thing. No spoilers or even commentary on it ahead, but I recently saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
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.
That’s what we say now, ain’t it.
Here’s my little spiel, entry, a post, write-up, thoughts, a few words, or the like. We don’t write stories or articles or features, but things and bits and just plain about.
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.
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.
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.
As I throw some thoughts into here, the ones below (ooh, time travel? Nah, just editing. Well, writing. Shhh), there’s a blank space up top that reads “Enter title here.”
I like that. That’s why it’s there on the post.
With the exception of a few hours, I’ve barely touched my rewrite. In fact, I can’t say that I’ve written much this year at all.
It’s hard not to feel like a failure in those circumstances.
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.
They like it or follow as the headline scrolls by
But the idea of reading it doesn’t take root.
Even clicking the title seems a price just too high,
and growing seeds of ideas? They just want the fruit.
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.
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.
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.
I used to have a serious issue with sticking to ideas. I’d begin work on a new story idea and once I’d gotten past the honeymoon stage where things shift from fresh and exciting to actually being work, I’d start getting new ideas.
If you want to write a good story (or read a good story), there always has to be tension. Specifically, there needs to be tension between the main characters, not just tension in the plot. This frisson can morph, grow or shrink, but it remains until the end of the story. Without tension, of course, there is no story.
Tuesday saw the first event of the NaNoWriMo 2014 Calendar take place in Sydney, and in keeping with the idea I generally have about how the course of everyone’s NaNoWriMo should run, the first event was a planning session…
For a part of my writing that I’ve always put a lot of stock in, the absence of posts on dialogue rings peculiar. As it’s been so long since the last time I wrote about it, I feel a bit less wary about treading the same ground. The way we express ourselves, that special inner voice we all have when we’re not trying to be literary or profound, that’s a big part of it – yet that’s a matter of expression, and isn’t the same thing.
2014 is a funny sort of year. After having a few runs at the gauntlet that is NaNoWriMo, I’m about to embark on my sixth attempt. While I’ve suggested I know what I’m going to write about, the truth is that (like every other year), there’s a strong chance I’ll change what I’m going to write about before the month of November begins.
I don’t think I’ve had a blog that hasn’t fallen off into inactivity at some point or another, and this is probably the worst that’s hit Fictioner’s Net since I began. While I hope to get back into a routine over the next few weeks, I thought I’d at least address what’s been happening.