Category Archives: Discussion

My Return

After too many days for me to care to count, I’ve decided to get this blog up and running again. Those of you who show interest towards what other people are doing might be wondering why I’m doing what I’ve established in the previous sentence.

Well, the gist of it is, now that I’ll presumably have a long, uninterrupted period of free time after a particularly jarring series of uni final papers, I’ll have a chance to get back to work on writing. My immediate goals are to finish the manuscript for the novella/short story collection I’ve been working on for over a year, and to produce as many short stories as I can manage, some to be added to the collection, some to be published here for everyone to see.

I’ve also begun making a series of readings for some late 19th/early 20th century pieces of weird fiction (which you can listen to on my YouTube channel here), and mean to give a similar treatment to whatever stories I do end up publishing here.

Beyond that… not that it’s much writing related, but there is a remote possibility that I’ll be able to do some livestreams on the following week. That has yet to be confirmed, but if it does become viable, I’ll try to mention it here as well.

This is where I usually see people ask something related to what they just posted to encourage discussion, but honestly, I can’t say I’ve said anything discussion-worthy yet, so go ahead and post whatever or just carry on with your day.

The road to self-publishing. Vol. I: The Manuscript

For months now, starting with the iteration of Camp NaNoWriMo that April 2013 brought about, I’ve been working on a manuscript consisting of a series of stories and a novella. After the draft was finished, I proceeded to put off working on it for a long time until I finally decided to edit the thing, resulting in a manuscript which, although not yet completed, is well on its way to becoming what I hope will be an at least somewhat successful book published through Amazon’s self-publishing services, CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing.

As such, I believe that these final stages of the self-publishing process, which comparatively few of the many aspiring authors of this day come to see, should be chronicled in some way, hence my decision to use it as a topic for a handful of blog entries. Continue reading

Irrationality and empathetic appeal in fiction (and why it’s not reliable)

I can’t usually relate to other people. I can’t say I’m entirely clear on why, but if someone, be it in real life or in fiction, asks me to imagine how somebody else feels, there is an extremely low probability that I will actually be able to do so. If it has anything to do with relationships, it’s practically nil, and when creators decide to focus on scenes that feature stuff such as that, I’ll probably try to skip through it as fast as possible, since unless it is absolutely vital to the plot, I have absolutely no interest in it.

Something else that fails to appeal to me 99% of the time is “comedic” irrationality. I put comedic in quotes because I usually fail to see any real humour in non-sequitur writing, hyperbole, casual sarcasm, or similar dialogue devices. Most of the time, I perceive them as something extremely juvenile, attributed to a character to give them some sort of appeal that I cannot understand, which I see as nothing more than an attempt to develop them without actually making them significant.

However, if my experience on the internet has shown me anything, it’s that apparently there is a number of people that is both numerous and vocal to whom this sort of thing has a tremendous appeal. As puzzling as I find it, I cannot find another explanation for the success of such things as YouTube Let’s Players, Tumblr blogs, and Doctor Who episodes written by Steven Moffat.

Now, I’d be lying if I said I was entirely unappreciative of the impact of emotion in fiction. However, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, I think that in order for that to be effective, it should be handled with some degree of subtlety. If I’m watching a television show and suddenly there are eight straight minutes of unrealistic talking between characters that have repeatedly exhibited the aforementioned traits with over-dramatic music playing in the background, chances are I’ll be flailing my arms and yelling at the screen the entire time for them to get on with the plot, without feeling an ounce of emotion. And when I say that, I am also completely certain that just as there are millions who disagree, there are just as many people who share in my opinion.

So, how do I think stuff like that should be handled? I won’t expect anyone reading this to follow it, but I believe I should at least explain my own reasoning.

I am an extremely rational person. When I write, I believe fiction should make sense, or at least be intuitive, and I value the importance of ideas over that of events, which I value over that of characters. If I want to establish emotion pertaining to a character or groups of characters, I would much rather make a subtle implication and let the reader imagine what they will, without setting anything in stone, and definitely without interrupting the plot for one word longer than necessary.

Whatever your opinion is, I believe this post should at least help in clarifying my own stance on writing such as this. Now, if you are the sort of person who actually enjoys writing like that, I would very much like for you to explain why it is that you like it in the comments, since I have asked that to people before and only received one real explanation, which has been contradicted by another who shared their opinion. Thank you very much for reading, at any rate.

Post-camp laziness; the next course of action

For six of the days following the end of Camp NaNoWriMo’s  April 2013 iteration, I have done virtually no writing-related duties, partially due to slight burnout, partially due to illness. However, before the end of this week, I hope to have completed all missing sections of the draft, so as to devote the remainder of the month to editing. This task must be completed prior to the end of June, so I hope not to run into any snags.

Currently, my drafted project consists of 5 short stories and a novella in 7 parts. After the remaining drafts are completed, I estimate it shall add up to somewhere between 60k and 70k in length, to vary according to edits.

Regardless of what happens, I suspect I shall be satisfied as long as I can see whatever the final product is as a physical volume.

The halfway point of Camp

It’s the fifteenth of April, halfway through the April 2013 edition of Camp NaNoWriMo. At present, I am at 25,788 words with a goal of 50,000 for the end of the month.

At present, I have written a small number of one-shot short stories, each being about 3k long, as well as part of a manuscript for something longer, which will hopefully amount to novelette/novella length.

I’ve taken a few days off, firstly because I ran out of short stories to draft and had to come with a brief outline for the manuscript I’m working on right now, and presently because of an attempt to fix my sleep schedule. Still, I have yet to fall behind by an entire day.

We’ll see how the rest of this goes.

Camp NaNoWriMo and the present state of the Gumption

For the Gumption challenge, the present state of things is as follows:

I have a number of short stories/possible novelettes I’ll be writing for Camp NaNoWriMo, which I hope to edit throughout the month of May in order to have them ready when June comes.

I’m not 100% certain of how successful I’ll be in this endeavour, but I’m certainly wanting to find out.

As for their genres, they’ll be mostly sci-fi/fantasy stuff… though circumstances will tell if I’ll end up throwing some horror in there as well.

Sacking and recycling drafts

Ideas are usually the first step to making anything, with writing being a good example. When one wants to write something, one grabs an idea, develops an idea into an outline, uses the outline as the basis for their draft, and then either begins to experience some satisfaction with their work or thinks that the idea tricked them and grow to absolutely hate what they have produced.

The latter is more probable to happen to writers than the former.

So, what does a writer do when they learn that the thing they have just created is an abomination, a testament to their own incompetence and that they would rather swallow each of its pages twice over before ever letting it see the light of day? Generally, it’s either throwing it back into the pits of oblivion (via the command prompt’s delete function if one is feeling extra regretful) or scrapping and recycling it.

Recycling usually involves either the reconstruction of whatever idea that writer was working on into a new and fresh form, or an extrapolation of some of its aspects to use in a different piece of fiction, such as a series of events, a setting, or a character.

One could argue that recycling a manuscript one thinks is being discarded is somewhat inevitable to a degree, since even if the product which one has come to despise so much has been obliterated, the idea it sprouted from can remain in its original form. Regardless of what happens, some elements could always be reused in another manuscript, even if they’re only names or half-finished witty lines. Would it be really sensible to deliberately avoid using anything from that manuscript in future projects, however?

Some time might pass before one decides that one particular idea is hopeless, though. There may be multiple rewrites, lengthening, shortening, redesigns, reimaginations, until eventually something is considered satisfactory enough to leave alone or take to another level or deemed irredeemable and destroyed.

Personally, I believe it has something to do with the writer’s perspective and how it relates to the manuscript’s subject matter and/or essence. Someone who is about to begin work on a book of short stories that are exclusively sci-fi and fantasy might experience some frustration at having to work on finishing a troublesome and unsatisfactory piece of speculative fiction before they can do so, for example.

I guess what I’m trying to say with all this is that if you hate everything you write, then congratulations, because you’re a writer.