Trials

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“A writer is one for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

–Thomas Mann

Guess I’m a real writer.

J

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Just Do It.

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“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

― Augusta F. Kantra

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Also:

 

And hopefully that is the kick in the pants I need to get this finished…

J

Change and Excuses

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And in response to my whiney rant last night:

“If you really want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses.”

— Bruce Nauman

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“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

— Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Deadlines

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“A deadline is, simply put, optimism in its most kick-ass form. It’s a potent force that, when wielded with respect, will level any obstacle in its path. This is especially true when it comes to creative pursuits.”

— Chris Baty, No Plot? No Problem!

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“I love deadlines.  I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

— Douglas Adams

In honor of Camp, a few quotes about deadlines.  Right now, I’m enjoying that whooshing sound, but soon, hopefully, I’ll manage to get the reins on that deadline and ride out the month.

1:07h ~ 1,116w

J

The Phoenix

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“In order to rise from its own ashes, a Phoenix first must burn.”
― Octavia E. Butler

This quote seems applicable to my life, so I thought I’d share.  Maybe you can relate or find it inspiring.

J

Life is short and then you die.

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“Death never comes at the right time, despite what mortals believe. Death always comes like a thief.”

—Christopher Pike

As writers, we all kill off characters at one point or another and in many cases we take great pleasure in it.

A week or so ago I had a really crappy day and needed to take it out on someone.  So I decided to kill off one of my main characters.  At the time, I was quite thrilled about it and ready to go.  I started planning the circumstances, getting his affairs in order—because he had some significant plot details that were still forthcoming—and etcetera.  But as the time has passed and I still haven’t killed him off, I’ve become more and more reluctant to do so.  He’s a good guy and he had good things going for him, it just seems wrong to kill him off, him in particular, just because I had a bad day.  At the same time, while I’ve been planning the events leading up to it, I’ve also been considering the outcome, and as I’ve developed these outcomes and looked at the way the story must go from that point, the more and more necessary this particular death seems to be in order to push the story in the direction it needs to go.

So, here I am, I have a crucial plot point that came about on a whim and I am increasingly reluctant and heartbroken at the thought of carrying it out, all the while, it has become the major turning point for my MC, the final straw that pushes him into a place he was always destined to go, no matter how reluctant he has always been.

It’s really hard to be a writer.

J

On Sharing

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“Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, opinions.”

—Paulo Coelho

I haven’t been nearly as dedicated with this blog as I’d intended, but then we all know what they say about intentions…

I always have excuses: life is busy, I can’t think of anything to write about, nobody’s reading so why should I write?  It goes on, but mostly, I just forget.  I used to have get a weekly reminder from WordPress to make sure I wrote regularly, but for some reason it stopped, so now I forget to keep it up.  In the beginning, I was excited about writing a blog and excited about writing, so I had the motivation to keep it up, but the novelty has worn off now.  The semester will be over in three weeks and I won’t have regular deadlines to remind me to write—creatively or here—but I still want to keep it up.  I  just need to find a way to stay motivated to do it.  Maybe if I go back to posting quotes with some regularity.  I also think that writing prompts or maybe flash fiction (I’ve never tried it before, maybe it’s a good exercise?) might be a good idea.  Do any of you out there have any thoughts or suggestions of what you’d like to see here?

In 4 days, NaNoWriMo starts and then I’ll be writing insane amounts on a daily basis.  Maybe that sort of creative output will prompt more output here.  I guess we’ll see.

Happy writing, happy reading, until next time…

J

The Impossible Dream

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I recently picked up a few books on writing that I thought might be helpful.  The one I’m reading at the moment is Writing Fantasy Heros: Powerful Advice from the Pros by various fantasy writers (including Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card).  I’ve been very frustrated with my work this packet and wondering if it’s even worth continuing with my thesis because how can it ever live up to my hopes and dreams?  How can I create something good enough to finish this program, let alone publish?  But I came across this bit in the section by Ian C. Esslemont:

We who follow the path of writing must keep in mind that it is an on-going journey of discovery and refinement.  One never ‘arrives.’  We are all apprentices striving to improve our craft.  The lessons here are ones I must constantly keep in mind as well.  By way of encouragement I suggest you trust in our active fantasy readers who are among the best out there in their willingness to give you a chance.  They want you to succeed because they want that dream—just as much as you hope to achieve it.

So hey, maybe there is a chance.  Writing is seriously hard work.  It makes us doubt ourselves every single day.  To make it as a writer, other people have to actually like what we do and want to read (and buy) our work, which just puts that much more pressure on us to be amazing.  But you know what?  Somebody out there does want to read my story.  I can do this.  And so can you!

J

Character, not Caricature

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“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

—Ernest Hemingway

I came across this quote today and I rather like it.  Often when I start writing a character, he/she is based on something—an idea, a person or character I’ve met, a goal—but as I write, I find that the characters take on a life of their own and become something completely different from what I started with.  The character has his own wants and needs and ideas.  Sometimes his plans are different from what I want them to be and I have to dig in deep to discover the character and figure out what he wants.  Sometimes he surprises me.  It can be hard to let go of my preconceived notions about the character, but when I do and let the character be that real person with a life and everything of his own, that’s when I get really interested in him and in what I’m writing and that’s when the character becomes real and writing his story is as much an act of discovery as creation.  It’s one of the best things about writing.

J

Stranger in a Strange Land

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There is no foreign land; it is the traveller only that is foreign.

—Robert Louis Stevenson

This isn’t writing related, but I came across it and loved it, especially with my history and love for traveling.

On a completely unrelated-to-this note: Today is the official start of the 2014 Fall semester at Goddard College, so while I’ve been tinkering away at readings, annotations, and creative work, now it’s time to buckle down and really get to work.

Here’s hoping, beyond all hope, for a smooth semester.

J.