Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A lesson in Lessonism

Lessonism. Some people call it the art of learning. Others call it the acquisition of knowledge. Whatever term you use, lessonism is one of the foundations of humanity, a core fundament in growth of any kind.

Writing is an evolving process steeped in lessonism. Every sentence you scribble, every word you precariously and deliberately place on your page, has something to teach you. Whether it be hard-learned through trial-and-error, or an enlightened epiphany on how something just seems to work, your skills evolve. They grow like a lump of clay on a potter's wheel; at first shapeless and messy, but gradually, and with much labour, honed into something beautiful and artistic. 

There is more to writing than fine grammar and the ability to spell. There are responsibilities that the author of any work intended for public release needs to adhere to. These are a contract, in essence, between the writer and the audience. These state, in no uncertain terms, that the reader is no mere afterthought. They are paramount. And this external importance is something a writer must bear throughout the writing process.

We write, primarily, to save ourselves, to maintain our own sanity. But we write for the audience

In self-reflection: I should stop concerning myself with my own weaknesses (such as having a short attention span, or becoming bored with my unfinished projects) and instead press on with the original tales I promised my audience all those long years ago. 

Eminence rises.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Inferno

And so the earth was scorched by the winds of change...

Ya know, I was sitting there in my broken office chair earlier tonight, thinking about my current lamentable circumstances, wishing I had a fire under my bum. I miss working. I miss writing. 

My first thought, when I was made redundant, was 'I'm going to just write and write and write. I'm gonna finish a zillion stories. Screw it, I'm gonna learn the guitar too,  and the ukulele, and the mouth organ. I'm gonna do some woodwork and clean my house from top to bottom, and take some singing lessons from Youtube!'

I've sat on my backside for two weeks. I picked up the guitar twice. I wrote two paragraphs of a story. I thought about buying some wood, but realised I needed to preserve my finances, and lumber was not a good investment commodity. 

It wasn't until earlier tonight, chatting to a fellow writer about her plans to self-publish, that it dawned on me. Popcorn doesn't pop unless the pan is hot. I needed heat. I needed drive.

So we decided on a deadline. July 1st

This is the date that we agreed on to have our novels finished and ready to publish. That is, two and a half months in which to write a 200,000 word fantasy novel which is currently about 10% wrote... writ... complete.

Unrealistic? Maybe. 
Will I succeed? Yes. 

Because never underestimate the power of a fire under your bum!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Metaphors

7th March, 1313 A.D.

Dearest Martha,

The storm seems to have abated for now. The crew is thankful for the respite. Morrin predicts we are close to land, though he's been found wrong before. Most of the men trust in his visions. I, however, do not share their optimism. 

My father once told me that when the weather is calmest, the storm is only just beginning. Unlike Morrin, my father was usually right about such matters. And if that omen bodes true, we are all to fair poorly this time around. Our ship is ill-prepared to take another battering. The mizzenmast is broken at its base. We have nothing with which to reattach it. Another battering, and we may lose the main sail, or the mast itself. The hold is still flooded, and we are eight men short of a full crew. Suffice to say, we may not survive this final bout.

We have voyaged far, and lived a great deal. If I could only explain in words what it is to sit in the sand on the other side of the world, sipping at strange fruits, with men who have never seen a longsword, or a velveteen tabard. Or how breathtaking it has been to discover strange beasts on islands seemingly uninhabited by man, or to stand atop a volcano surrounded by miles of jungle stretching as far out as the horizon.

We have seen trouble with native tribes. Paolo was butchered by a fierce man with a debt of hatred. Yorrish and Nicolau were taken by some strange illness two days from port. It was the dehydration that took them in the end. Two others were given to scurvy. We buried many a good man in this wild ocean, Martha. God rest their souls.

We press on. If mankind is anything, it is determined. Come what may, we will fight to see another day. And if God grants us safe voyage through the storm, we will press on all the harder. For life. For love. For loss. For greatness, and for worth. For humanity.

Yours loyally,

Bartholomew Endgarden III





Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Genesis - A Storm is Coming

New beginnings are rarely new. For something to begin, there has to have been something, some state, before it. Even if that state is non-existence. And that state always leaves something behind, remnants of what was. A cookie-crumb trail through time. An imprint on everything to follow. Think of a bread tin with a dent in it. Every loaf baked will have that dent. So unless we can renew our universe and our state of being as easily as buying a new bread tin, any new beginning will carry forth that dent.  


New beginnings are not always new. Neither are they always improvements over what was. A beginning can be tragic. The beginning of some cancerous conundrum can only lead to struggle, even if the outcome is resilience and victory. Conflict is present, as always. As is resolution. And without these two elements, there can be no beginning. A beginning is the start of something, not the state of it. It must lead to something, else it is no true beginning. 

I am, of course and as always, speaking strictly of story writing. Take your philosophical rebuttals elsewhere, good friend. I find the idea of new beginnings an interesting concept. In my own writing, I find that, instead of cookie-crumb trails, entire cookies have been left, in the fashion of delicious stepping-stones, guiding me detrimentally toward self-plagiarism. And it is a fight, a fight I tell you, to stray from the path of tedium and find the fresh, cookie-less path of inspiration. 

But it is the first day of a new year, and while I don't put much stock in new year superstitions, it seems like as good a time as any to put out some resolutions in regard to writing and novels. I am aiming for an end of Feb deadline to have my current novel project finished, and then I will resume working on that behemoth of a fantasy trilogy that has haunted my every waking hour for the major part of five years now. I owe it to Anna to get it done.

So what does 2013 have in store, deadline-wise? Let's see...

January: 
Complete 2012 NaNoWriMo project, Shadow of the Sun
Submit Shadow of the Sun to Createspace for publication by Jan 31st

February:
Begin work on contemporary fantasy collaborative novel, as yet untitled
Resume work on Maps of Discord (Book I in Eminence trilogy)

February - May:
Complete Maps of Discord
Resume work on Shields of Blood (Book II in Eminence trilogy)

May - September:
Complete Shields of Blood
Resume work on Veil of God (Book III in Eminence trilogy)

September - December:
Complete Veil of God
Complete contemporary fantasy collaborative novel
Participate in NaNoWriMo 2013

Yes, 2013 will be a year of insanity. But if I pull it off, if I succeed, I will become a Super Saiyan. And this I want very much. 



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day Twenty Five - Fulfilment

Yes. It is possible for me to write a novel in 30 days.  

Well, technically, 25 days. Oh, the joy of it. 

I need to thank all of the community at the NaNoWriMo South Perth forum. In particular, Batman, Caesia, Sermc, and Loutopia. Without the constant word wars and the late night motivation sessions, this mission would have failed miserably. So take a bow, people. 

Seriously, if anyone reading this has not tried NaNoWriMo... I cannot endorse it enough. 

Screw excuses. Screw them. Just do it.

This is J, the novelist, signing off. 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day Twenty Four - Understandability

On the first page of our story, the future seemed so bright.

But that's the nature of stories. There is this halcyon hope, a soothing harmony that compels us to begin our journey with a wild freedom in our hearts. This freedom allows us to invest emotionally in our protagonists, without the thought or feeling that one day harm or conflict may arrive upon them.

Of course it does. Because that, too, is the nature of stories. Tender beginnings serve as a catalyst for conflict. Conflict is enthralling and key to storytelling. Sometimes subtle, sometimes substantial. Always necessary. A story without conflict is like pie without filling, or body without blood.

We are a wild species, full of sexual desire and blood lust, brimming with badness and sinful tendencies. And this is a fundamental truth; that we all desire to escape mediocrity. I speak, of course, about the daily humdrum of life. It really is depressing. 

Stories are awesome.