Random musings on writing

Lately I’ve taken to Facebook to post random musings on writing. I thought I’d share them here. Enjoy.

Responsive Writing

When you know your characters, know them from the inside out, they will guide you in your writing. This was proved to me last night while writing To Kill A Reaper. I’d reached the 45K mark on this story and both Grim and X were about to face the big bad. I was ready to have it all go down in the exact way I’d expected the climax of the story to happen, when the big bad let me know, without a single thread of doubt, he was not ready to give up the ghost. Knowing that character as I do (and knowing both Grim and X with a certain level of intimacy), it was quite clear I had to let the characters dictate how things went down.

I call this, “Responsive Writing”. It’s very much a cause and effect style, but a good deal of attention must be paid to the cause. When you can focus on the cause, it means you’re listening and connected to your characters. When that occurs, the “effect” will be genuine and organic.

Oh oh!

So last night this happened.

As you may (or may not) know, I use Google Docs for all of my first drafts. When I sat down for my writing session last night, I opened my Google account, go to Starred, and clicked to open the draft of To Kill A Reaper.

…only to find it wouldn’t open!

I received the “unable to open file” error. I try all the usual tricks associated with this problem (rebooting, clearing cache and cookies) to no avail.
Understand, I’m not panicking because every night, when I finish my writing session, I download the file back to my Google Drive account as an .odt file. So worst case scenario, I only have to open the file with LibreOffice and do a copy/paste back into a new Google Doc file. Even if I am unable to open the file, I have a backup (which is also backed up to my desktop automatically, which is then automatically backed up to an external drive).

What I wound up doing is making a copy of the file and launching the copy. That worked out just fine and now I’m working from the copy (as opposed to the original).
The lesson here is as long as you have daily backups of your work (no matter what you’re working on), there’s no need to panic. Without those daily backups…panic might be in order.

Trust In The Process

Last night, as I was working on To Kill A Reaper, I found myself pushing harder and harder, all the while thinking “These words aren’t working for me” and “This isn’t my voice!” And yet, I continued on until I could feel the Sandman beckon. I then retired the laptop and picked up my Kindle to continue proofing the Dark Side Down manuscript. As I read that book, my thoughts turned to “Now THIS is me.”

I went to sleep wondering what was going on with ‘Reapers and hoping I hadn’t sidetracked the story or my writing.

When I awoke this morning, I read through what I’d written and realized what was happening. What I was writing last night was a heightened moment that required a very hasty and expedient style of writing…a sort of action scene. When I realized that, everything gelled and I understood I was actually writing to the needs of the narrative.
Sometimes you just have to let go and allow the story to guide your style. I say it often and I’ll say it yet again…

Trust in the process.

Artist: A Definiation

An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only.

The above is the clinical definition of the term. I don’t buy it. I would propose the following definition of “artist”:

The artist is one in touch with the self, beyond the obvious and pedestrian, who can draw inspiration from their surroundings and translate that inspiration into a meaningful and moving form.

Personally I believe artistry can involve more than just writers, actors, singers, dancers, painters, sculptors, musicians, designers. I’ve known computer programmers, mathematicians, mechanics, and engineers who would easily be called artists within their craft. I believe the important point here is the idea of “living beyond the self”.

What are your thoughts?

Naughty, Naughty Climax

Remember a few days ago I mentioned how I wrote a very short “sidetrack” scene to help further humanize my main character (Grim) in the Reapers series? Well, last night that tiny moment in time became a major plot point for the climax of the story. The whole thing took me by surprise at how it all came together. All of this, simply because I needed to give the main character a moment of weakness; which, in turn, became a strength (on multiple levels). But not only did it aid the character in becoming even more dimensional, it gave the overall story something I consider to be significantly memorable and (hopefully) touching on a very human level.

This is why I write without a net. Because of happy accidents like what I discovered last night. That is not to say my method is better than other methods, but that it is the only way I can imagine me writing the stories I write.

Sleep Perchance To Not Write

Last night’s writing session did not go as planned. I was about 300 words deep into the next section of To Kill A Reaper when the veil of sleep did shroud my head. So this morning I’m trying to play catch up so I don’t fall behind (deadlines and all).

Of course, my initial thought was “This is a problem.” I’ve become so superstitious about writing fiction in the light of day that I always assume every word that spills from my brain, whilst the sun shines, will be drivel at best. So today I’m proving myself wrong and stripping that notion from my process.

I can write fiction outside the boundaries of the shadows.

That is today’s mantra.

It’s the little things. ?;-)

Don’t let superstitions get the best of you. That super special pen…isn’t really lucky. Your writing hut isn’t truly the only only place you can work effectively. That unwashed sippy cup will still work for you after you give it a spin in the dishwasher.
Stand up against superstitions! Don’t let them take you down.

#arthard #verseworldproblems #funnyordie

Be Excellent

My advice to every author on the planet — be excellent to each other. This is a small world and it gets smaller with each tick of the clock. Considering life is (relatively speaking) so short, why be rude, insensitive, cruel, or standoffish to your peers, your fans, and even strangers.

My father (RIP) was one of those men who never met a stranger. He was kind to everyone and did his best to impart that onto me. In turn, I do my best to follow that lead he so wonderful left me. Although I don’t always succeed, I do try. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the ever-shrinking world in which we live, treating someone kindly will go far longer than treating them unkindly.

Besides, it’s the right thing to do.

Golden rule and all.

Have a glorious day everyone. \m/