A Question of Sanity

They say insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting different results.

Let’s take a look at this:

10232322_sAs an author, I never pick up my novel to read it. I know that sounds bad, like a negative opinion of the story. I assure you, that is not the case. Knightfall is the only book I have read four times (on top of the writing of the manuscript). I did it from start to finish, each time poring over every single word. There was no skimming. There was no speed reading.

Sometimes I took a week off before starting the next round of edits, but I went back, again and again…and again and again…poring over the same words. I changed a few of those words with every read, so I guess I achieved a different result, which doesn’t make it that crazy. But believe me, while you’re slaving away over the same words you just read not that long ago, you can feel the madness gnawing away at you.

And this process I will repeat many times over. I have more novels to come. I am in my second round of edits of Trials of the Chosen Book One: A Woman’s Scorn, while the first draft of Meeting the Dark is done and waiting its own set of rewrites. So here lies the insanity, for the repeated process will result in the same improvements. While my writing is getting better, so is my editing, so the margin of betterment remains pretty much the same.

And then there’s this:

Authors spend their time in unreal places, giving life to imaginary people. Our stories may occur in cities known to the world, or town known only to those that live nearby. That doesn’t make it real. Read the fine print at the beginning of the book. It clearly states we writers take creative license and twist whatever fact we want to make our story work. We distort reality.

DSC00270As for fantasy authors like myself, we go miles further than that. I play God, putting mountains where I want, directing the flow of rivers along courses to please my fancy. I plop villages wherever I want, create metropolises that span hundreds of miles (I actually haven’t done that, but I might someday). I do have an ocean in Kagendur (the fantasy world in which Knightfall is set) that continually churns as if in a storm, but without the winds and the clouds. And in the middle of that impossible sea lies a minuscule island, a slab of rock that somehow survives the crashing waves when the barrage of waves should sweep it away with ease.

Novelists create imaginary friends and treat them like real people. We need to do this, or they won’t be believable. You need to find the quirks that make the characters interesting, or funny, or down right despicable.

Then we write to make others believe. Of course, we all know what we read isn’t real, but while we pore through the pages, if properly written, the impossibilities sweep us along and make us feel something.

Conclusion:

Let me recap:

  • Authors perform the same tasks over and over
  • Authors have imaginary friends and enemies
  • Authors live in their own world
  • Authors try to convince others their delusions are real

There can only be one way to describe us novelists:

We are insane.

Spread the word!

Microsoft Mayhem

Two days ago…

07668051-photo-windows-10-logo1I finally received the message my copy of Windows 10 was ready for download. I was already annoyed with the process, and I hadn’t even pressed the button yet. We have four laptops in our household. My children have had their updates installed for several weeks already, while the wife got hers about fifteen days ago. The real kick in the nuts for me is the fact I’m fairly certain at least two of them never even registered for their copy, while I have been on the waiting list pretty much since the reservation notice went out. I was on the verge of trying their more techie alternative to install my version. I’m computer savvy enough to be reasonably sure I could have pulled it off, but using the more reliable method is always advised.

It was a pleasant surprise when the download and installation went through without a hitch. My wife had hit a snag during her first attempt to get her copy. I was expecting the same. This is the history this family has with Windows. I have considered switching platforms, but that leap may well land me in waters I cannot tread.

Two days ago…

I switched my operating system to the latest, apparently “greatest” version. In the past 48 hours, I have not opened my Scrivener software once to do any editing.
The fans of Knightfall have waited years for the next book to come out, and I am trudging away to finalize the editing stages. I strive to put in a couple of hours each
day to get Trials of the Chosen  Book One:
A ms-logo-site-shareWoman’s Scorn
 ready for the readers. But these hours have disappeared, now that I have to fix what Microsoft decided to overlook.

True to its track record, the software tycoon hurry to get the next “breakthrough in technology” out to the masses, they forgot to make sure to exorcise all the gremlins  first. Instead of working on my fiction, I have slaved away to figure out how to make our laptops work like they should. I won’t list all our issues here, but there have been enough that things still don’t function as intended. And it’s not just my computer, so no one can blame it on my laptop’s manufacturer.

What I now need to deal with are issues voiced by many on the Internet. On the bright side, all these complaining about these issues makes it easy for me to find troubleshooting tips. But I shouldn’t have to make these searches, downloading drivers that were already correctly installed. I shouldn’t have to enter the sensitive folders Windows warns you to be careful opening and delete files just to set up networks that were previously connected just fine.

Windows-7-logoAs I write this entry, two more glitches have robbed me of features I should never have to worry about. I am trying to resist the temptation to return to Windows 7.  At least that was working for me.

But as I make my way through the helpful tips that have saved my family so far, I keep getting reminded Microsoft has plans on patching up all their mistakes in the near future. I also learned the giant in the software industry skipped a few steps to get their baby out to the world. It seems they forgot to consult with computer companies, the ones who create the PCs and laptops that house the program, to make sure the software would correctly run all the hardware. I don’t know about you, but I feel this is one of the most crucial steps in developing an operating system. You need to make sure it will operate the system!

Two days…

I have struggled. And I can see I will continue to fight to get the gremlins out. But there are features I like in this version, things I would like to keep. So I now straddle a fence, leaning one way then the next. Will I keep Windows 10, or revert to Windows 7? I’m not sure yet. Maybe I should wait to see how well the patches bridge the gaping holes.

Have you made the switch? How many problems are you having? Will you keep it?

Spread the word!

Finishing

The hour was growing late, the day nearly at an end, when it happened. She…

Well, you’ll just have to read the novel once I publish it to find out what happened.

Camp-Winner-2015-Twitter-ProfileAs I mentioned in my previous post, Nearing the End, I participated in this month’s Camp NaNoWrimo. Challenged by a friend, I was to write 25,000 words in 31 days. A much easier task than the 50,000 words in 30 days I am used to attempting each November.

I do not say this to boast. I am so used to the gruelling schedule of Nanowrimo that having to push myself to write 2,000 words in a sitting is ingrained in me. Missing a day makes me nervous, because sometimes you fall short of your daily writing goal and you need to catch up. Just knowing I have a deadline puts me in a mindset where every minute counts. There is no time for writer’s block, or the nagging feeling what you just wrote just doesn’t feel right and needs to be fixed right away.

So I found myself writing more than I needed to this month. I wasn’t reaching the insane levels of my November output, but I gave myself enough leeway to take some extra days off. It has been much less draining. I won’t need to step away from the writing or editing process as I always do after completing Nanowrimo.

It was nearing midnight when I wrote the last sentence. I had reached my word count goal twenty minutes earlier, but I was so close to the end I needed to keep going. Only a few more words and the story was done.

10232322_sNow comes the truly tedious part: the editing. I wish I could skip this part, or have someone else do it for me. But I also don’t want anyone else making changes to my story. I’ll take suggestions, but the tale must be told as I want it to be. Which means I have to go through it, as much as it pains me.

Trials of the Chosen  Book One: A Woman’s Scorn must come first, however. Fans of Knightfall have been waiting for this novel for years. But don’t fret, Meeting the Dark will see its day on the virtual shelves of on-line book stores.

Spread the word!