I’ve uploaded a new short story. You can find it HERE! Or somewhere else. I don’t know where that else would be, but it could totally be there, too.
In the space of time I’ve been away from the blog, I’ve finished the Dan Simmons’ books Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. They’re good books, and I love how detailed Simmons universe is. His writing isn’t “literary” crisp, but c’mon, that’s not why I’m reading science-fiction.
Simmons’ imagination is epic stuff. Kind of like high fantasy, but crazier because there’s got to be some semblance of logic and real-world laws.
The best part? He got Hyperion published in 1989. Lots of the issues we see in techie society are addressed in his books and it’s a little chilling. The predictive nature of science-fiction novels are exactly why they can be so captivating.
I recommend reading Hyperion.
I’m currently reading The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays by Oscar Wilde, and I love it so far. He has an exceptional skill for writing distinct tones and personalities. There’s always a point to his writing but he’s not beating you over the head with it, sprinkling enough clues for you to see it, but only if you want to.
I don’t like reading plays too much, but Wilde’s such a notable writer, that I made an exception, and I’m glad I did.
“I don’t mind being the neighborhood crazy. I just wish people wouldn’t think I’m the only one.”
– Bathrobe-clad lady drinking something from a water bottle while walking down the street
I chuckled at the first sentence but paused at the second. I think it’s actually a bit of drunken profundity.
I had just left the library after working on some short stories. I spent the afternoon trying to capture the Heisenberg-esque mind of a crazy person, and here it was delivered to me.
Her quiet remark to herself forced me to think about how people view themselves. We’re always evaluating ourselves, whether we want to or not, and comparing to the others around. Assessment of others can be seen as an instinct. Gotta know if someone’s a friend or foe, that kind of thing.
Naturally, we take notice of the people around us. For the most part in modern society, I’d say people are less keyed into the survival bit (highly dependent on your occupation… obviously). Anything thereafter can be considered character judgement. What kind of person is this? They look like they’d hate socks stuffed with pinto beans. I bet in high school, they could never compare oranges to apples in the cafeteria.
We’ll all come to our own conclusions about what Bathrobe lady really meant. There’s a lot going on in her words, much of it sad, truthful, and sincere.
The angles from which we consider one another are plentiful, and people would probably benefit from (at least momentarily) considering the angles of those around them.
It’s a hard thing: making a memorable and honest character. Strong writers are determined, no matter what, to get their characters right. And it’s no overnight process.
When I first started writing, I thought that putting my character through tough battles and emotional trauma would turn them into a real character, a spirit that would manifest in the mind of the reader. Of course, after many years of writing and hundreds of stories later, you get to understand that characters aren’t made in whatever you decide.
You’ve got to really know your characters, and once that process is complete, they start doing not what you decide but what they decide to do.
I have never experienced a first draft that earned me a character’s trust. It’s only been in the revisions when they’ll speak up.
“No, no. I wouldn’t do that. I’d do this.”
“That doesn’t make sense. I’d do this.”
“I don’t talk like that. Can’t you hear me?”
Slowly, their ideas and tendencies will come to you. So, if you think your characters aren’t solid, aren’t real, then spend more time with them. The more you write about something (really, anything), the more you understand it and the soul of it.
And that’s really what writers are chasing after.
No one said it’d be easy. I know that and never expected revising my manuscript to be anything but difficult. But revising under deadlines are not to be messed with. I have about three weeks left to revise my manuscript into something fashionable for submission. I crunched the numbers for the minimum word count of 50,000.
I’d need to get through about 2500 words a day.
Let’s just say that one more time for comedic effect:
Good. I think that was good for both of us to get out of our systems.
And well, when I ran the numbers, my head spun for a little bit. I paced around my cold room, blew into my hands, and slapped my face. Then I sat down and started. It’s been like that for a week now.
And, of course, the sleep is dropping off.
There may be a problem when I wake up and my computer is sleeping beside me on the bed like a faithful pet.
Sometimes, I laugh at myself as I wake it up from hibernation. “Yo, who told you you could sleep on the job? What do you mean I fell asleep first? Don’t talk back to me!”
But always, I keep going. Late at night, early in the morning, after you’ve finished work. These are the times when night-writers have to get their work in. Let’s be honest: we’re hardly in the mood when we think about it, but when we sit down, it’s glorious. Usually.
Sometimes, the mood isn’t there, manifesting its ugly head as “writer’s block.” But that stuff is just hearsay and scuttlebutt and boogeyman speak. I don’t buy it. You can get past any of your desires and false-gods pretending that you don’t have the chance to write. It’ll take some creativity, but luckily for you, that just happens to be up your alley.
Here’s a small list of things I do to jog myself into writing:
1. I get up and breathe deeply.
This kind of gets at why you feel sleepy at some parts of the day. Subconsciously, when we’re a little bored, we only take in shallow breaths. Something like running in energy-conservation mode. And your body, with less oxygen, feels more tired. So, get up, breathe a lot. Walk fast in tight two meter circles. I dunno. But breathe. Then, when you sit down, maintain good posture to keep the air flowing. I dare you to try it.
2. I find other ways to engage in my created world.
Are you writing a fantasy book? Do you have a map of all the crazy places your characters are going? Why not? DRAW THAT RIGHT NOW. For me, it feels amazing drawing maps. It gets me involved with the world and I get down into the world itself, imagining the hills, mountain ridges, glades, rivers, plains, and run-down villages. You gotta do something that gets you back into the world.
3. Read out loud.
This serves two purposes. First, it lets you know that, yes your accents are truly as horrible as everyone says they are. I recommend doing this in public for truly pressured writing. Second, it manifests your characters in a totally different way for your mind. Some people can imagine the voices of their characters really well. That’s awesome, but for the rest of us, it can be helpful and comforting to have that character’s voice (even if it is yours) in the room with you.
4. Write your characters in a different setting.
I rarely do this, as the other methods are more effective for me, but I do think that putting your characters out of setting can help you gain a better feel for them. You get to know them better, and they’ll drive your (or their) story for you. It’s a little something like magic. I think you know what I mean.
Anyway, every writer is different but hopefully, some of you are kinda like me and these tips are helpful.
This is where I shall blarg about the things I think too hard about and also the travails of my writing… career. Maybe. I dislike that word because I only really write since I enjoy it. I’ve always thought, “Hey, that’d be nice to have as a career, y’know, a writer. Someone who wears their chair thin from typing all day, drinks lots of cafe-type stuff in cafe-type places.”