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.


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.

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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.

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Nearing the End

Here I was, playing with plugins and other widgets to enhance this new blog, when the unexpected happens.

I find some nice progress bars to show you just how far I am in the writing process of my various works. I was looking for these, because they were part of the old site and I liked them. So this is not the surprise I mentioned. These are a different style, which makes no difference to me. But I digress.

I enter the stats for the five projects I have on the go. I don’t know how other authors work, but I never envisioned myself having so many stories building around me at the same time. Not to mention, I also have ideas for three more series. I have no idea when I’ll be able to get to those, but it’s a good sign. I’ll have something to write for a long time yet, which I hope pleases a lot of people.

Get to the point!

Yes, well, all this to get to the realization that took me aback.

Filling in the numbers for those fancy progress bars, I notice the blue under Meeting the Dark almost reaches the right end. I am under 3,000 words away from my projected goal. The story is almost done, and I had no idea it was coming!

I mean, I knew where I was in the telling. I know what is coming, and I know roughly how many chapters I have left to write. I just didn’t realize the word count was already that close. Of course, the novel will have as many words as is needed, which now looks to be more than I envisioned.

How could you not know?

3326379_sAuthors use different tools to write their manuscripts. There is software that helps you organize your ideas, some to plot your story, others to get down to it and compose. Some use good ol’ word processors to do everything. I have no doubt some even stay away from keyboards and put pen or pencil to paper.

Personally, I use Scrivener. This tool puts everything at my finger tips in one convenient place. It even tells me just how far I am in my writing. It does that, if I do things like I’m supposed to.

I started writing Meeting the Dark in November 2013 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I reached my goal of 50,000 words during those 30 days. But a writing stint like that is always draining, so the story took a back seat while I rested for a bit before working on other projects.

Along with their November writing frenzy, they have Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. With a variable goal, it’s not so intense–unless you want it to be. I usually skip these, but this summer, a friend of mine challenged me to write 25,000 words.

I decided to work on Meeting the Dark. With my previous work in November and the little bit I did in the year and half following, 25,000 words would finish off the novel nicely. To make it easier on my to submit my word count to the site, I opened a new file for this part of the manuscript. So, the progress I was seeing on a daily basis was only for the last part of the book, not the entire thing. This is why I was surprised when I added the counts from both file together to see how far I was.

clockFor those of you who don’t write, reaching the end of a manuscript is like watching the clock in class on the last day of the school year. No matter how much you enjoy school, everyone wants that break where they don’t have to wake up, sometimes before the sun comes up, and get ready for the day. You just want to spend a week sleeping in.

I’m nearing the end of the first phase of a new novel. I love experiencing that accomplishment. I’m not the only one who feels this way, am I?

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