Speaking for Myself

I know it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been on the horns of a dilemma for the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing stories. Love em, love em, love em… I like to think of each story as a potential pilot for a new series.

On my computer, I have an Excel Spreadsheet that outlines the writing projects that I want to work on. It’s not easy for me to work on a schedule so when my inner rebel starts acting up, creativity tends to lag. I’m not making excuses, merely telling it like it is.

During a relatively sleepless night this past evening, I took advantage of the time to do a little self-analysis and I came to the conclusion that I have a bad habit of creating routines that aren’t sustainable over the long term. Lights and Shadows is moving along at a snail’s pace and while I have faith in its potential, I feel the pull of the Parallax Sequels.

In retrospect, I believe that I didn’t take enough time off between projects and because I made a personal commitment to Lights and Shadows, I’ve been feeling a little stuck. Down Time is important whether we realize it or not and while finishing by September is certainly attainable, creating new story worlds and characters for each and every individual story from scratch gets a little tedious after a time. However, the process is as it is and no amount of complaining on my part will change that. It feels good to vent a little though…hehe.

Change is Rarely a Bad Thing

Lately, I’ve been going through a gut check of sorts to see what’s been working for, and against, me in this journey I call my Writing Career. I’ve read a lot of blogs, experienced many divergent opinions, and tried to incorporate different techniques for evaluation purposes.

What did I discover?

While I’ve uncovered many useful items, I’ve found others that did little or nothing in the grand scheme of things. And that’s okay because experiencing different things is how we learn and grow as people. Yes, I’m egotistical enough to believe that my way is the best possible way for me, bumps bruises scrapes and all.

One of the most recent things I’ve done was to delete my YouTube Channel and remove myself from a very long infatuation with the content being displayed by that particular organization. I mean, I don’t create videos. I write stories and publish them. Anything else is either fluff or at the very least a distraction to keep me from producing my own content. My other social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc) will still be around for obvious reasons and I see no need to remove them at the present time.

I’ve also decided that I’m not angry enough to discuss potential hot button topics and when I have, I’ve encountered reactions that are distasteful, to say the least. I don’t have the time to deal with it when I have books that need to be written. Priorities, People.

So, it’s back to discussing topics using an intellectual and analytical perspective, which I feel I do my best work with. Now if those distasteful reactions still come up, I’m still able to rip a few new ones out there but at least I’ll have the benefit of facts on my side.

Thanks for your time and have a great day. 🙂

Monday Brainstorming

Muses

If my current brain activity could be displayed as a meteorological map, most of the US would be safe from bad weather…

Seriously, it’s Monday and I’m been slacking off quite a bit lately by not blogging. I’m going through an intense period of introverted blah blah and not being very active with social media or much involving Internet activities.

Anyway…

It’s Monday and I feel that I should talk about something today, being the beginning of the week and all that so here we go…

1) Brainstorming: Story Ideas have been coming in fast and furious lately so writing them down has become more of a priority than in the past. I would say that for every five ideas that go into the Idea Folder, only about one or two of them actually become complete and published stories. Granted, I’m playing catch-up with cleaning out the folder, but is there a rush? I really don’t think so.

2) Sequels: Amidst my introspection, I’ve found myself considering revisiting the worlds of Corona, The Three Safeties, and Vessel. While I enjoyed putting out these stories, I never planned for them to go any further than one-off stories. I keep very detailed notes so coming up with new material isn’t much of an exercise. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback concerning Vessel so I won’t rule out sequels sometime in the future. I work on one story at a time so nailing down specific dates is problematic at best. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned.

3) Lights and Shadows: Rocking and Rolling through Chapter 13 at a slightly slower pace than usual but moving forward at any rate. I’m working very hard toward getting it finished by the end of September. Between you and me, my enthusiasm for L&S has plateaued a bit, but I’m not one to quit a project after I’ve passed the mid-point.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m off to do some more scribbling elsewhere so much love to you all and have a great day. 🙂

When Life Interrupts…

I blinked and a couple of weeks flew by since the last post, but hopefully the chaos has died down to the point where I can continue to contribute to this thing.

I’m not ashamed to admit that when I am knee deep in daily life that everything else that isn’t essential to my existence gets pushed to the side or neglected. The Day Job makes demands, the pages of a paper notebook get filled on the run and frustration and fatigue mounts to the point where you start avoiding anything to do with that faithful and trusty computer that sits on the desktop waiting to weave some creative tapestry.

That’s been my past two weeks.

I won’t make excuses because even though not a lot of blogging got done lately, a lot of work on Lights and Shadows is getting knocked out and it’s beginning to look like September before I can get it finished, edited, and released before FINALLY putting the time in with the Parallax Sequels. Granted, this blog ranks below stories on the Priority Scale, but it still has value.

So, how are you doing?

Finding Your Voice

Writing isn’t easy
Writing is a marathon, not a sprint
You have to read read read before you can write write write

Do these sound familiar? They should be if you’ve been writing for any length of time and study the craft as much as actually doing it. Yes, I said “Craft”, not “Art”.

A Google Search on how to write will bring up about 519,000,000 results covering a range of areas from how to write a book using 10 ridiculously simple tips to Hollywood turning to something or someone called “Big Data” to write the next blockbuster (Note to Hollywood: QUIT IT WITH THE REMAKES AND REBOOTS!). I barely go past the first search page or two because most of it repeats in one form or another and that takes away from my writing time.

I don’t consider myself an expert on writing. I’m merely a guy with a word processor, an overabundance of ideas, and the balls to publish stories whether anyone actually reads them or not. But that’s not the topic of discussion today.

Today I want to talk about finding your voice or the ability to express yourself in writing. Personally, I find the idea of “Voice” to be a subtle and somewhat mysterious thing as figuring out how you breathe the way you do. It just happens as you do it.

We learn from an early age how to express ourselves through education and watching other people. We learn our ABCs, progress to grammar and punctuation, and then to more advanced concepts like usage and sentence structure. It’s not always an easy path and takes practice to be proficient at it. Fiction isn’t any different except that when you go beyond the language mechanics, the parameters change to using your imagination and creative instincts (they are there, trust me on that) to paint mental pictures using words.

While I often take issue with reading to become a better writer (mostly because I feel it taints the imagination by snagging what someone else has already done), I will concede its benefits to those who are still learning the craft. I believe in reading for enjoyment, not trawling for ideas. If I want ideas, I do research and read non-fiction to give the gray matter that little kick to get things moving.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I haven’t actually defined what “Voice” is. That’s because unlike many terms, I don’t believe that there is one catch-all definition for it. Yours will be different from mine and so on and so on again.

You’ll know it when you find it.

Lights and Shadows: Adventures in Outlining

Stories evolve…

Stories that are works in progress are subject to unexpected changes. That’s a fact of creative life. We work on a scene, we get new ideas, we try to put them in place and suddenly everything that comes after doesn’t have the same feel that it did beforehand.

So we make changes to the outline….and then more changes…and still more changes…

This was brought home to me while working on Lights and Shadows. I reached a point in the plot where the storyline appeared to be running out of steam. Pacing is important to a story’s flow, so I spent some extra time coming up with new ideas to jazz things up. However, as I started to put some new changes in place I realized that my original outline’s events made less and less sense after what I planned for Chapter 13 and beyond. This is where Plot Evolution came into play. Was the story moving away from my original vision or simply becoming a huge pain in the backside? Well, to be honest, the answer was almost yes to both unless I could modify the rest of my outline to accommodate the new ideas that I wanted to use. The great thing about writing is that you can change anything you want and any limitations that exist are the ones you place upon yourself and your story.

Thankfully, the changes that I ended up making to my outline ended up being small in nature and I could resume writing scenes and moving my plot forward. The plot is still following my original vision and though I’m a little behind (in my opinion), I’m still making progress.

What adventures in outlining have you encountered?