Ansel Adams' Saguaro Cactus

Yes, I realize this picture is of a cactus.

Elizaw mentioned it might be a good idea to do something with airships for the website. So I drew one. It’s not done much to help the general OMGWTF malaise that’s come over me since I flushed 10,000 words into the toilet earlier today, but it helped a little. I mean, she’s right. Airships are cool. I may scan and share tomorrow, just for hahas.

I do wish I had more of an ability to bounce back from disaster, but at the moment am feeling rather bleh and meh by turns. 10K isn’t a lot, compared to the whole novel which, in its first draft is over 100K and in its revised version (at approximately 50%) is already 75K. That’s roughly 10% of a lost book. And it’s two weeks of work, hours now completely lost to time and space (I feel like I’m playing Arkham Horror all of a sudden).

My birthday was Saturday, and I got a copy of The Born Queen by Greg Keyes, which I hope will help jog my brain into writing mode again. Though Stephen King certainly wasn’t the first to say it, he’s right: The more you read, the better you write. I can trace much of my book’s progress by the reading I’ve done on the side–it’s a hodge podge group of writers, not all of whom are exactly Pulitzer Prize winners, of course.

In the mean time, I have now successfully installed the Orchestra Jam Pack for GarageBand, so hopefully my podcasts will be a little more interesting. I’ve been meaning to re-record chapter four for some time, but it’s a long chapter, with some tough voices (a raspy Territories Alderman by the name of Bratner, for instance, who always makes me cough when I read him). It’s also the first Emry chapter, and since he is the character most like myself, I want to do him justice. Emry is so important in the books that at one point I considered starting off the narrative with him. But then I realized that might be a little toward selfish, or at least, self-serving. He’s the easiest character for me to write (well, duh). I’m actually looking forward to editing his PoV, though it’ll probably come after Cora’s. Right now I’m working on the Brick PoV, but that’s the one that bit the dust. Ah, square one.

At least I didn’t lose everything. There are a few bits in the Brick PoV that I’m really happy with. A little fun is provided behind the cut. It’s the introduction of some of the second-string heroes, including Sir Sally Din and Lark.

Below the cut: from Chapter Six: Attention

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Growing up sucks. Though there’s a great many things I don’t want back from my childhood (scrunchies, side-ponytails, school lunches, windshield wiper glasses), there are some compromises I’ve made since then I wish could have gone down a little differently.

When you’re a kid, you really, truly believe you’re special. Yes, I know this sounds completely hokey. But I remember very vividly, sometime about the age of eight or so, thinking to myself: “I am special.” And Special had none of the connotation you might be thinking (or are pretending you aren’t thinking… yeah, I bet she’s special..). Special was akin to magic. Purposeful. Important. Worthwhile. Unique!

Then, you grow up. You go to Junior High and are trampled in the halls. Your classmates start taking drugs, and you get the nagging feeling that… I’m not special. I’m downright odd. I don’t fit in! This is terrible! What am I doing here?! Someone LET ME OUT!

Uh, I mean. That’s normal, right?

Well, before the horror of high school, I held on to that feeling of specialness. I reveled it in, and it made me happy. Not haughty, just… well, a bit like no matter where I went, the sun was shining, yeah?

When you grow up, it’s really easy to feel overwhelmed by everything from gas prices to politics to the human condition to the fact that your neighbor brings their dog all the way to the poop hut and then lets the dog crap on the ground literally inches away from an appropriate dumping spot AND plastic bags!

And this is not good for the creative process. Like today. I can’t tell you what bee is in my bonnet, but it’s enough that I opened up Scrivener, looked at the pages, and just wanted to bash my head on the keyboard. 14 chapters of an original 30 edited, and I’m still nowhere near satisfied. If it’s not good enough for me, will it be good enough for anyone? Am I being too hard on myself?

I think this is a little more angsty sounding than I initially intended it to be. But the writing process, as any writer knows, is work. It’s even more work, when you have to squeeze it in every chance you get. And who knows if the muse will be with you? My muse, whom I lovingly named Aelfric in college (he’s an Anglo-Saxon, for some odd reason) is fickle and, I suspect, a drunk.

That said, one should never give up. I like to visit George R. R. Martin’s not-a-blog on occasion because, well, he’s successful, but he still gets frustrated.

Maybe we’re still special, just… not the way we once imagined.