A work-in-progress. No publication date set.
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Origin of The Dragon Universe
I love science, science fiction, and fantasy. I always have. Nevertheless, it never occurred to me I could write it as a career. I had dabbled in writing stories for fun, but never considered it more than a hobby. Then along came the Internet and the methods it provided for sharing. I discovered people liked my fiction about Dragons, even as amateurish as it was. When career changes provided the opportunity to move into a new life, I had many options. I settled on pursuing a new career as a speculative fiction writer.
For years, I had successfully written technical documents and articles. What could be so hard about becoming serious about writing fiction? Everything. Fiction writing is not technical writing. Fiction requires a different skill set. I studied everything I could find to learn how to write quality fiction. I set a goal of 10 years, 10,000 hours, 1,000,000 words to hone my skills. I am not yet to the 10-year mark, but I have exceeded the 10,000 hours, and I have created nearly 1,000,000 words of trunk novel material. I am improving, but I still have more practice to do.
During those years of practice, experimentation, and development, I created the worlds, characters, and plots for The Dragon Universe. Initially, I imagined a single book, but I eventually realized the story was too large. Rather than lose the story's heart and soul by cutting it to an acceptable size, I split the five phases of the story into five books. When I finish with the current trunk novel version of the story, I will return to the beginning and apply everything I have learned to create a work of art.
I feel good about how well my writing skills have developed, I am pleased by how the story has evolved, and I am excited for what the future holds. While it is still a work-in-progress, The Dragon Universe is wonderful. Follow me on my journey by following me on my web pages, Facebook, and Twitter. When the final version of the books come to market, read them and let me know how I did.
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Inspired To Be the Best Me I Can Be
A while back, I read several short stories by Ted Chiang. The stories overwhelmed me with their magnitude, complexity, and depth of concepts making me feel inadequate as a writer. Surprisingly, that did not undermine my desire to be a writer. Chiang’s stories are the product of genius, and hard work. I may not have the genius, but I can work hard. I like what I write. I will never be a Chiang, but I am inspired to be the best me I can be.
The movie Arrival (2016) is based on Chiang’s story Story of Your Life, which was one of the stories that had wowed me. The movie, even with the changes made to turn it into a movie, was as intellectually thrilling as the short story.
I suggest seeing Arrival and if you want to read Chiang’s first eight short stories, check out Stories of Your Life and Others. You too will be inspired to be the best you you can be.
Interruptions Interfere with Introspection
To write, I need uninterrupted time. Time to think. Time to imagine. Time for introspection to bring forth the thoughts and emotions that will fill the written page. My mind enters a state of flow and the story unfolds and streams into existence.
Interruptions intrude into my day and break the flow preventing the story from streaming forth. Frustration and anger at the interruptions and their sources are the result.
Even with the distractions, I write. In these circumstances, I will write a paragraph, or sometimes only a sentence, but I will write. Thought out, planned, and outlined, I know where the story is going and what happens next at any particular point. This allows me to write the next few words even if I don’t have time to issue forth the next hundreds or thousands of words.
Another task I perform in these moments is editing. I return to words already written and tweak them striving to improve the writing and to enhance my skills so I will write better the next time.
One of my editing steps is to search for occurrences of words from my list of problem words. This leads me to places in the prose where I can improve sentence structure and conciseness. In the past, I searched the document by doing a find on each word one word at a time. That was slow and tedious. To enhance the process, I created a Word macro that highlights the words from my list and words ending with ly. Creating the macro was fun, but interrupted my writing time.
A future enhancement to my macro will highlight with different colors the words from my list, and the ly words, based on why the words are on the list. Doing that enhancement will again interrupt my writing time. It seems I cannot escape interruptions.
None of These Words Came Easily
I struggle at the beginning of every chapter. I review my outline and say, “This part is boring. Maybe I should cut it.” However, I had spent a great deal of time designing the story and the scenes in this chapter are important to the story’s progress. I tell myself it’s here for a reason. I must trust my design and write the chapter and its scenes. In revision, I will make adjustments, but not now.
I fight procrastination to force myself to slog through. Sometimes, great ideas emerge and I begin feeling better. Other times, I simply use craft skills to get the writing done.
Once finished, the same thing always happens. I sit back, read the chapter aloud, and say, “That’s good.” After applying a little editing, I feel even better about it. I like what I write regardless of the weight of my doubts when I first begin.
With every chapter and every scene, as I resist beginning, I tell myself, “When I finish, I will like it. The quicker I write it, the quicker that reward will come.”
Few things are harder than writing those first few words.
Pete’s Dragon Touched Me
The movie Pete’s Dragon (2016) had a few flaws and plot holes â€” I’m sure the Everything Wrong With <Movie Title> people on YouTube will have fun with it â€” regardless, the movie touched me more deeply than any movie I’ve seen. My emotional response was extreme even for someone who is touched by anything sappy.
Those emotions are what I want to capture in my writing.
I plan to see it again so I can have another good cry.
If you have a heart, I recommend you see the movie. Take a handkerchief.
2016 Clarion West Write-a-thon Completed
I completed the 2016 Clarion West Write-a-thon. I changed chapter 1 to better setup chapter 8, enhanced chapter 6, and finished chapters 7, 8, and 9.