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Writing

Friday, September 7th, 2007
This is part 3 of 3 in the series Hello 31

All of the previously mentioned changes impacted my writing. I used to write from 3pm to 5pm. It was right after the work day. I didn’t have to leave my office, so no one could grab me and distract me and I never lost time in traffic. I had it down. None of that works now.

I fumbled around trying to squeeze writing in for a while. Then in November I participated in NaNoWriMo. I figured the only way I could possibly write a novel in a month was to get up earlier, so I started getting up at 5:30am to write. Mostly this worked, with occasional periods of too-much-other-stuff-to-do.

I did not get everything done I hoped this year. I did finish revisions on my first novel. I stopped work on another novel at the outline stage, but used the world from that and wrote the first draft of Miracles during NaNoWriMo. I produced a handful of short stories, some of which might even be pretty good. I made some progress revising Miracles, but when the new arrival came things stalled out. I don’t think I’d do the work justice if I dove back in now, but I’m not abandoning it. I’ve got my line-for-scene ready when I return.

I did a lot of world building after writing Miracles and before starting the revisions. I worked through Create A Language Clinic and Create A Culture Clinic, twice each. I have another story working to get out (in the same world as Miracles, but not with any of the same characters). I’m planning on turning that into my next novel, and then returning to the Miracles revision.

Now my morning routine is shot again so I can drive my oldest to school. I’m trying to find my rhythm once more. I’ve actually found Twitter to be helpful in keeping me honest and pushing me on, and I’m not alone in this.

I did manage to write about 88,000 words this year since last September. It’s less than I hoped for, but it’s not that bad.

Holly Lisle’s Writing Clinics on Sale

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Just wanted to let people know that Holly put her three writing clinics on sale ($2 off each) through Friday (March 9th) at her online e-book shop.

I can personally recommend them, especially the language clinic. I’m currently working on my second language for Miracles and I’m enjoying the heck out of it. The books are clear and concise, and most importantly they make the process fun (and manageable, but fun is more important). If any of this even sounds vaguely interesting you owe it to yourself to check them out (the shop pages contain Table of Contents and excepts):

Prepping for Revision

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Parallel Shift changed into something I’m not quite ready to deal with, so I’ve started doing some background expansion for Miracles. I’m currently creating the language for race of creatures that live under the mountains using Holly Lisle’s Create A Language Clinic. It’s going well and I’m surprised by how much fun it is. The language itself won’t feature too heavily in the final product, but the way in which they speak factors in.

Current plan is to do the human language next, to help with using more reasonable names, and then I’ll move on to Holly Lisle’s Create A Culture Clinic. There’s going to be quite a bit of expansion going into the revision, so I want to solidify the background stuff as much as possible at this point.

You Write Fantasy? Isn’t That a Lot of Work?

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Holly Lisle posted the the introduction to Holly Lisle’s Create A Culture Clinic, the next volume in her Worldbuilding Course. Reading it really drove some things home for me. My wife often asks why I choose to write stories set in a fantasy world that I have to create, giving myself that much extra work to do (other people ask too, but she asks most often). There are two problems with that. Firstly, it’s not so much a choice so much as when I sit down to write, I write fantasy stories. I didn’t make a conscious decision to write fantasy stories. Secondly, I don’t think it is more work.

No one seems to believe me on either of those, but the second one seems to dwarf the first in peoples minds. How can I possibly believe such a thing? Because it’s true.

If I want to have a race of purple headed bird people in my world I have some work to do. How to they interact with other races? How are their lives different than humans? What’s their history? Do they speak their own language? Do they eat worms? That’s just the start, and perhaps these violet faced flying folk will only play a passing role in my story.

What’s that? I’m failing to prove my point? Be patient.

If I want to set a story in modern day Saginaw, Michigan, where I’ve never been, I still have quite a bit of work to do. What are the people like? What’s the economic and social structure? What local slang is in use, and by what age groups? What clothing lines are popular with high schoolers? What’s the ethnic makeup of the city? What color are the police cars? How many schools do they have? That too is just the start.

See, in the fantasy world, I make my own answers. Sure I have to make them work in a believable context, and I might make some stupid choices I have to later deal with in some way, but I can’t really be wrong. After all, I’m the world authority on those purple headed bird people. You might think people will be forgiving in the second scenario. It’s only fiction after all, right? Not that I’ve seen. Authors who take liberties with the world we live in get ripped apart. Maybe not all the time, but I’ve seen it happen about really stupid stuff.

So why not write about my hometown, or somewhere I know more about firsthand? I’ve always felt I had a lot of good reasons why I chose not to do that. But Holly’s introduction gave me another one by pointing out a big danger in writing about the world you live in. If you fail to capture the culture in the story, once the culture changes you’re story will no longer work. Yikes! It’s not that it can’t be done, and maybe I could do it, but it sounds like a lot of extra work.