2017 EVE

firework

The end of the year has arrived, and I did not complete my goal of publishing two novellas, but! I am on the way to completing a novel instead, which I am feeling very excited about and loving every minute of.

I did achieve my goal of blogging more thought stuff, instead of just reviews, and that has been going well. It opens up my mind more to try to describe my thoughts, and even seems to be making me have more thoughts than usual, and see the world in a different way. It’s a great feeling!

I also have increased my writing output so much that in the past few months I’ve doubled my word-count on the novella, that paltry 20k that took me a year to write is now at 40k and growing quick.

My goals for this year are to finish the novel, get it edited and begin working on publishing it! I’m not sure how long I’ll try the traditional route before I self-publish it, but I am going to give traditional publishing a try this time. Either way, it will be out in the world for people to read at some point. What reason is the to write if not?

I also plan to continue my post every day action for as long as I can. I think it’s a great exercise, and writing–any writing–every day is a necessity for writers to keep rust off their fingers. Try it yourself!

I hope your 2016 was great and your 2017 is even better. What are your goals this year?

Writing works

pencils

So, it’s been most of a month since I started doing this daily thing, and I’ve already made more posts this month than the rest of the year combined, and had more likes than the rest of the year combined, by a lot. I’ve had close to half of all the comments this year, and more than 20% of all views for the entire year.

Are the quality of my posts any better? No, I don’t think so. Some of them are probably even worse than usual. But there are POSTS, not dead air. There is a reason to actually look at my blog when I write posts for it! 😮

How about that!

I encourage all you writers out there to give writing a try.

Write write write write!

 

Has subtlety been forgotten? Spoilers: it seems so, yes.

I just started listening to ‘The Girl with all the Gifts’ as recommended by a member of my writing group, and so far it is quite intriguing and really well written. However, one of my peeves has shown up to irritate me, and although I don’t foresee it as a sign of more to come, it still annoys me when it happens.

I was not entirely sure what this book was about when I started it. I prefer going into things completely unknown, I think it is more entertaining. So from what I could gather in the first few pages, it is set in some kind of post apocalyptic world, and some super-smart children who also sometimes want to eat flesh are being taught in an underground bunker/jail of a school.

I was able to figure this out mostly without being told directly. Except when I was.

In the opening, Melanie, our protagonist, is describing some of her teachers, and their different personalities. One of them she describes as hoarding the blue sticky tack that one puts posters up with, saying ‘once it’s gone, its gone!’ I thought ‘ooh, hmm, resource scarcity? Are they at war, or in a bunker?’

Then in another scene, she asks a different teacher a question about the population of some city, and he seems to get depressed and mumbles ‘it doesn’t matter’ as if by mistake. ‘Ahh,’ I thought, ‘I think I’m getting it.’

But then.

The teacher basically looks directly into the camera and goes on to say “The population is zero! There’s no one out there! Our text books are 30 years old!” in so many words.

Oh. Great. Thank’s for telling me all that.

The satisfaction of figuring out a hidden secret in a story is sort of ruined after being told it like you are a struggling child.

As I continue to read this story, it is really good and that little reveal is not relevant to the plot overall, so is just an annoyance for me, but it could have been avoided so easily!

Anyway, as I’ve said before, please treat your readers as if they are at least as smart as you are. It will make your writing much more enjoyable.

 

Under the Skin, by Michel Faber

I think this is the only time I’ve read a book after seeing the movie first. It’s definitely the first time I’ve read a book after seeing a movie that I loved as much as I loved Under the Skin, and I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it when I already know what happens.

That was not an issue however, because the book and the movie are their own stories, only the same in the surface details.

Michel Faber is amazing at painting a character, I noted it when reading The Book of Strange New Things, and it is no exception here. We follow Isserley for quite some time, as she picks up hitcher after hitcher, before we figure out what is going on. During this time as we learn more about her, each hitchhiker she interacts with is memorable and unique, even though they are only around for a few pages. I can probably remember each one even now.

Much more information is revealed in this version of the story, but the trade-off is we get fewer uneasy, creepy scenes of alien-ness. The alien-ness is there for sure, but it is straightforward, not vague or mysterious. Isserly is open for us to see inside her head, her motivations and feelings, instead of being a cold, creepy figure on the screen. This makes for a more engaging character for sure, but less crawling of my skin.

This book seems to be about a lot of things, but instead of telling me what it’s about, Faber allows the reader to see what they want in it. I saw themes of sexual predation, physical objectification, as well as environmental abuse, animal abuse, factory farming, corporate control, and maybe something about being an immigrant.

I’ve only just recently discovered Faber’s books, and am distraught to find that he’s quit writing them since his wife’s death. It’s sad to think about what he must be feeling to make such a decision, and also sad to think what books the world will lose due to such an early end to a promising career.

I hope to learn something from his methods, and though it doesn’t appear he wrote any other science fiction novels, maybe I’ll try his other writings out anyway.

 

Don’t hoard your ideas

Similar to what I was saying yesterday, but more specifically, use ALL your ideas–that is to say, don’t ration them out as if you’re starving for them, picking one ‘great’ idea and then trying to build an entire novel around one single observance or cool twist.

Cram all the good ideas you can fit, into whatever you are writing. If you have an idea for a character quirk, or a setting, or theme or funny bit of dialogue, or anything, see if you can find a way to fit it into what you’re currently writing.

Clear those ideas out of your head! Use them and make room for more! Otherwise you’ll end up like a hoarder, your head full of piles of ideas, so tall that you won’t even know what’s buried in there anymore.

Use them!

Always make the best move possible

When I was a kid we had a chess set, and the little booklet that came with it had a list of tips. I only remember one of them, the first one: “Always play the best move possible.” We always thought that was hilarious, because, of course you want to play the best move, you just don’t always know what it is. But now thinking back on it I wonder if it had a different meaning. Maybe some people, seeing a good move, would hold on to it, save it for later, and the booklet was trying to say ‘no, just play it when you see it!’

I think people do the same thing when writing, I know I did. You get a great idea, one you love, one that inspires you and fuels your passion to write. And then hold on to it, waiting for the right time, waiting till you’re better, or any other number of reasons to not use it.

Well, I say, ‘always use the best idea possible!’ You’ve had a million ideas before and you’ll have a million more, ideas are infinite in your wonderful brain!

Use all your ideas as you get them. Because, like anything, if that idea sits there too long it will go stale. You’re always going to find something newer and more interesting to write, so you need to write the idea you have while it is still exciting to you, instead of saving it for later.

 

HO HO HO

I hope you are all having a nice holiday. This is the time of year for melancholy and regrets, but also for family and love. I hope you have more of the latter this year.