Recent Writing Revelations

2016 is the year I write a lot. I’ve been aiming to do at least 100 words a day, and I usually do that. I’ve been doing Coursera work, outlining, flash fiction, and even some memoiring! I’ve been learning a lot of things lately and thought it would be nice to put to words what I’ve discovered in the first quarter of this year.

  • I still suck at creating titles. You can definitely tell because of this blog. Part of it has to be marketing. Will it make a good hashtag? Is something else with a similar title already out there? Is it evocative of another work, and do you want it to be? You also tend to write much more of the middle stuff of stories than you do titles, so there’s just a lot less practice on it.
  • Memoiring is powerful. I haven’t grown up in any overly odd situations or gone on adventures, but I grew up in an abusive home. It’s hard to explain to people, as it doesn’t fit the standard ideas of what constitutes abuse. Being able to write about these events, even if it’s just for me, helps me realize how unnatural things were and how it affects me even today. I don’t think I’ll ever write a full book about this, or even if it’s something I’d want to share with a wider audience, but it is inspiration for many characters and scenes in my stories.
  • Interactive fiction: where to start? Project Zed is an idea I’ve had for a really long time, and I’d love to be able to write it. A big part of it that’s making it hard for me to get anywhere is that I’d need programming skills (or recruit someone who can) to create the interface for the story. At least things such as drones, wetware and neural networks are much more common now than when I originally had the idea, so I should be able to craft something much more realistic.
  • It’s okay to be like others. Growing up, one of the stories I absolutely loved was Eragon. It was quintessential hero’s journey, someone rising from nothingness, mystical creatures and intelligent dragons. I loved it and was really into the fanfiction community; I didn’t write too much of it, but I beta-read and edited for others and did lots of theorycrafting about the subsequent books. Now, looking back at the books, I can see the flaws and how it really is “Star Wars with Dragons.” But that’s okay! Because I absolutely loved it, as did millions of others. It made me write more, think about literature more, expand my own ideas about fantasy. It made me read Earthsea and Garth Nix and many others. As I’ve been nailing down the outline for Enter Humanity, I’ve realized that it’s very much like Game of Thrones, with the political issues and multiple POVs and no true “evil.” There are very few original stories left, and someone, somewhere will always love what you write.
  • Maybe the Oxford comma really is necessary.

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