My debut fantasy novel, The Archguardians of Laceria, is now available in paperback, and in all ebookstores!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Taking a Plunge

   Last night I made a decision that was very out of my character. One or two of you may already know that, lately, I have been greatly struggling with my writing - I've been having a very hard time making myself do it, and I shouldn't have to "make myself do it" in the first place. I should do it because I enjoy it. But the book I've been working on for a few months already just hasn't captured my heart like it usually does. I thought yesterday evening about it, and I realised that there's nothing I'm looking forward to about it. Usually there would be something - a meeting with a certain character, a certain event happening, or even just travelling to a certain location. Perhaps a love story unfolding, or a betrayal of some sort. But there was nothing.
   The idea of the book itself wasn't a bad one, and a lot of the smaller ideas were good - in fact it has the potential to be a really good story. But I've gone about it the wrong way, and I find it very hard to start over again when I've already burned the plan into my head. Trying to wipe the slate clean and use the same ingredients to make a different story is very hard. One familiar move and it all comes back together in exactly the same way. Fortunately, each part that I was fond of, each idea that I put into it, can be salvaged and used elsewhere, hopefully for the better. But this book just wasn't working.
   So, I decided to give up on it and try something else. The reason this is so very out of character for me is because I never like the idea of giving up on any of my writing. By starting again, this means about 5 months of work and 6 chapters have gone down the toilet, along with a world I'm likely entirely unable to salvage, and characters that will probably die with it. That's a lot of wasted time, and it's also a little upsetting. But I have also realised that, if I continue with a story that my heart isn't in, and refuse to even just push it to one side to work on something else for a while, it will never get finished, and my dream will never be realised. They always say you've got to break some eggs to make an omlette. Or a cake. I think it was omlette.

   I write all my ideas down in a lovely little notebook. It's organised by colour - I've got a section to note down ideas for villains' motives, another for basic plot outlines, another for abilities or details that could be useful at some point or another, and another section for far more detailed plots that I've put a lot of thought into, along with a few other things. I brought that book out last night and had a look. I found, though, that a lot of the ideas I had were very good ideas - at the time I had written them down. Looking through it last night, almost none of them jumped out at me - but, fortunately, one did. It was small, and it only really touched on created a single character and a small fraction of history, mostly relating to that same character, but from it I've managed to start piecing together the very beginnings of a new story.

   I know what makes a good story. I could tell anyone that asks. I'm not always the biggest fan of successful books or movies - sometimes they're just not my cup of tea - but it is clear to me why they got so popular. My favourite example is Harry Potter: it is famous because of the alignment between the wizarding world, and our own. It creates the idea that maybe magic is real, and is happening right under our noses, but we don't see it because we're muggles - because we're not supposed to see it. It also gives kids the hope (and probably heart break) of receiving a letter from Hogwarts on their 10th birthday. That is why it is so famous - because it creates the thought of "what if?"
   My problem is that I don't actually write that sort of fantasy. Sure, I love it, I find Harry Potter very easy to watch, in fact, but I most certainly prefer the Lord of the Rings over the top. But I don't write that sort of fantasy, either. Having thought about it, the kind of fantasy I write hasn't hit the limelight yet, if it ever does, and that makes it difficult for me. I know why Harry Potter is so famous, but I won't use that sort of idea in my work - not can't, but won't. Of course this means I'll likely never get even close to Rowling's fame, but that's not what I want, anyway. I want to make enough off of my writing to live normally. I want to be able to spend my life writing without having to worry about going to work every morning to pay the bills. That is what I want. I just want to write.

  I have confidence in my work, and my ideas, despite the recent failure of the book I finally decided to put away. I have more confidence with this one, and I know that, if I keep going and don't give up, I will be published one day, and if I don't find an agent in the next decade or so, I'll turn to self publishing. Nothing I complete will go to waste. But I learned last night that sometimes it is necessary to push things aside, even if it is a componant of something you really, really want, if it is weakening everything else about it. There's no use buying an AMAAAAZING food flavouring if the cake you make is shit. Put the flavouring away until you get the perfect ingredients to go with it.

   On another note, how totally ridiculous is the final battle of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3? I mean, really. I honestly hope it was just a bug that didn't let you regain your health throughout four consecutive battles, because that was just madness, especially considering the opponants during the final fights.



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