Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Finishing the Wheel of Time

Haven't been here in awhile, but I've been sick. Then I got hurt. Which made getting better even harder. I've realized that I haven't been reading much lately. You would think that would be something you could do when you didn't have much energy for anything else. Well, holding up a book and turning the pages does take energy. Sometimes it took more than I had. But I haven't been reading a lot lately for another reason that I think I finally figured out.

I finished Lord of Chaos in the Wheel of Time series and moved on to Crown of Swords but about half way through I just kind of stalled out. I'm only about 3 chapters past that point since then so I'm not making much progress. It's not that I don't like the story or the writing. I think it's something else. Ever since the announcement that Brandon Sanderson is going to finish writing The Wheel of Time series I haven't read much.

I'll probably get lynched for saying this, but as excited as I was to hear that the Wheel of Time series was going to be finished by an author that I know personally (and love his work) I'm afraid he's not going to do the series justice. Their styles are vastly different. Brandon Sanderson gives you just enough details for you to get a sense of the scene and has you fill in all the rest on your own. Robert Jordan hits you over the head with every detail imaginable. Jordan's world exists in it's entirety whether you read it or not. Sanderson's worlds exist only after you've read them because you supply a lot of the details.

When I read Sanderson's work, and he's focused on one character, I'm not thinking about what another character is doing somewhere else. They don't really exist until they "enter stage right" if you know what I mean. Once they "exit stage left" I don't think about them. With the crew in his Mistborn series, once Breeze or Clubs or any one of them left I wasn't left thinking about "what are they doing right now". The only exception to that is Marsh. Now with him I want to know what he's been up to (especially in book 2).

When I read Jordan I'm constantly thinking about what all the characters are up to at any given time. If the point of view character is Elayne then I might be thinking about Perrin. Or it could be Rand and I'm thinking about Egwene. Just because they are not the point of view character, of whose story I'm reading right now, doesn't mean (or feel) like their story isn't continuing on in the background. They feel alive. I compare reading Jordan's books to making a phone call to old friends. You can't be with them all of the time so you call them every now and then. It takes a little bit to get you caught up in their lives again but then they tell you everything they've been doing for awhile. Eventually you've got to hang up (and call someone else) but you don't think their life just stops when you put the phone down. You know it goes on and you want to know what happens.

Can Sanderson provide that kind of feeling when he finishes the last book in The Wheel of Time series? I don't know. He might surprise me and I certainly hope he does. If he doesn't I won't think of it as a failure. After all, he is a brilliant writer with his own unique style. But the more of Jordan I read the more I realize the story isn't going to finish the way I want it to (and I'm not talking plot points here). It's going to be different. It's going to feel different. But will it be the same story? We'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Even facing death there's still something to write

I've been sick. Sick enough that I almost passed out just from taking a shower. Luckily I was able to lay down before all those spinning dots in front of my eyes took over. I called in sick from work the last couple of days and I probably should have called in some more but there's only so much laying around doing nothing that I can take.

I played a video game for a little bit but that wouldn't ever last long because all those moving images just made me dizzy. I tried to read, but I couldn't concentrate on what all those black thingies were on the page. Besides that little paperback book started to get real heavy after awhile.

There were times when I broke out into a sweat just sitting there doing nothing. And times when I was freezing. And that got me thinking. I don't have a will.

I'm single without any kids so I have no one I need to look after when I'm dead. So why should I care about all my stuff, I'll be dead? I'm sure I have some things that I'd want to go to specific members of my family but other than that? Doesn't really matter to me. But even when faced with the possibility of death (I'm exercising some creative license here) I'm still dogged by that nagging sensation that I should be writing.

I should be writing a will. I should be finishing all those half-finished stories I have piling up on my desk. If my family found those when they're going through my stuff what would they do with them? Toss them out like worthless pieces of paper? Those are my children. They live and breathe to me just as much as those flesh and blood kind do for other people. Mine just haven't finished their gestation period yet.

I don't think an author can ever make sure they've finished writing all their stories before they die. If they do they must have had only one story to tell. Me? I've got lots. And since I'm not dying I guess I should be working on finishing the gestations on some of those stories. I'd hate to see them carelessly thrown out when I die. As for everything else I own, my family can go whatever they want with it. I'll be dead so what do I care?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Doubt is just a form of procrastination"

I was cleaning out some old magazine when I came across the December 2006 Writer's Digest magazine. I flipped through it just to make sure there wasn't anything in there I wanted to save for reference, advice or motivation when I realized there were some articles I hadn't read the first time.

One of those articles was "The Novelist's Survival Kit" by Jordan Rosenfeld. I haven't written a novel yet, even though I've started quite a few. The whole thought of writing and sustaining something that long daunts me. I guess that's my inner critic whispering those things in my head. That's why when I read his section on 'Killing Your Critic" and the worlds "Doubt is just a form of procrastination" I had to stop and really think about that.

One part of me says I don't care what I write. I know I'll write crap. But I also know I'll rewrite that crap and hopefully make it better. So I never thought I'd doubt my writing. But now I'm not so sure. What if I'm not any good? What if I write crap and after I rewrite it, it's still crap?

I've always wanted a "thing" all my own when I was growing up. I always got my sister's hand me down clothes. Every year my mother would make us matching Easter dresses so I always got to wear the same dress twice. I took dance lessons whereas my sister did not. But she got to be on the drill team when I didn't make it. People said I had a good voice but not as good as my older brother's. Even regular stuff in classes was hard when the teachers you get had both of your older siblings and loved them. Writing was something that neither one of them did.

This was going to be my "thing". This was something that I could say I was better at then them. But the more I sat and thought about why I hadn't written a novel and pursued my "thing" as well as they pursued theirs, made me realize I have a lot of doubts about writing.

It's not about whether I know how to write, 'cause I do, but more about can I do it well? I have finished stories that I've edited and rewritten to the point I think they're worse than the first draft. Maybe I can write but not edit. I know I'm probably putting the cart before the horse but I can't stop thinking about it.

Why haven't I written anything? Because I procrastinate. Why do I procrastinate? Because I doubt myself. I should just throw myself in it and let those doubts be damned, but that's a hard thing to do. But this is my year to change as a writer so I'm going to have to do something about it.

Monday, January 7, 2008

15 minutes a day

I could write 15 minutes a day, right? I could bring in a disk and pop it into my computer at lunch and write for the first 15 minutes. The only probably with that is not matter if I put a "do not disturb" sign on my cube during lunch if someone comes by and sees me "working" on the computer they assume it's okay to interrupt me.

I guess I could stick around after work and write for 15 minutes before going home. That might work. Except for the fact that by the time it gets time to quit I can't wait to get out of that place.

So that leave 15 minutes when I get home from work. The problem is my eyes are so tired by the time I get home that I don't want to sit in front of a computer screen again for 5 minutes, let alone 15 minutes. Not to mention the fact that I recently timed how long it takes for my computer to completely boot up and start my virus ans spyware programs. It takes 7 minutes to do all of that. Plus the 15 minutes to write and another 7 minutes or more to completely log off and shut down and we're looking at a half an hour just to get 15 minutes of writing in day.

I will write more this year. I don't know if that will be 15 minutes a day or not. I just have to figure out how I'm going to fit it into my day.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'm not a morning person

They say if you want to start a productive writing routine you need to listen to your body rhythms to find when you're most productive. They then go on to tell you that you will be most productive in the morning after you've woken up. Your sub-conscious mind hasn't fully shut down yet so you should be overflowing with ideas. Yeah right.

I'm not a morning person. I might get up at 6:30 in the morning but I'm not fully functioning until 10:00 am. If I have difficulty in remembering how to get dressed in the morning how am I suppose to be creative and eager to write? I'm just lucky I have autopilot on my car for the drive in to work.

If I tried to write something in the morning it would be like "roses are read, violets are blue, I'm done." or "it was a dark and stormy night, now can I go back to bed?" The problem is the time when my brain is most active is about the time I need to go so sleep.

I'm a night person. I come alive once the sun sets. I live the vampire existence . . . at least I try to, but getting up in the morning to go to work curtails that most nights. And by the time I get home from work my eyes are so tired from staring at a computer screen that the last thing I want to do is sit down and write. I do other things to unwind. Unfortunately those other things tend to last right up until it's time to go to bed and start the process all over again.

Maybe I need to find a job like what Brandon Sanderson had before he got published. He worked as a night desk clerk for a hotel. I think he wrote 5 or 6 novels while on the job because things were slow. I don't know how much desk clerks make but it might be something to consider.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 New Year Resolutions

Okay, here are some of my New Year's Resolutions:

1. Post to Life of a Gamer Girl blog at least 3 times a week.
2. Post to Life of a Writer Girl blog at least 3 times a week.
3. Finish and submit 3 short stories (for publication or contests)

Everything comes in 3s apparently. I would like to do more of the writing (#3) but I need to set my goals as realistic.

I've been getting ideas for a short story that I've abandoned a long time ago. I thought the story was stuck and there was nothing that could revive it. But for some reason the though popped into my head that if I applied this idea to my Exile story it might help to fix the overall error of the story. The story still might be broken but at least it's not completely dead . . . yet.