Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Agony and The Ecstasy: Why Being Creative is Sometimes Painful

Sometimes having ideas is a real pain in the neck.

When I was younger, I was never consumed with artistic passion. Certainly, I enjoyed making things--films, drawings, the occasional sculpture. They were a natural outgrowth of who I was and am. But I'm finding as I get older, my ideas are beginning to take hold of me in a way they never used to. While I can never hope to aspire to the level of genius of one of the "old masters," I do begin to see what people mean when they ascribe the phrase, "the agony and the ecstasy" to the life and work of Michelangelo.

When I began to write, I really only had one idea, the idea that birthed Curse Bearer. What began as just a toe in the water of writing quickly became an overwhelming flood that swept me away in the current of creation. I nurtured that idea for several years, and then began to realize quite a few other ideas were rushing along in the current as well.

The Windrider Saga was born and entered the public eye. The Faith and Fantasy Alliance germinated. Curse Bearer finally got published. A steampunk screenplay has taken root in my soul. The second and third books of the Risen Age Archive as well as a fourth Windrider story are in the crowd, demanding to be written. And there's this animation idea--a ministry thing I am capable of executing, given the time. All these ideas are like orphans in the orphanage of my soul. More and more needy children continue to appear on my doorstep. I bring them in, and I do my best to keep them warm and fed. But they are relentlessly demanding. These figurative children don't care that I have other responsibilities--practical ones that aren't nearly as charming--that take up all but a few precious minutes of my waking hours. They want my attention. For me to give them life.

And I want to. That's why it all torments me. I worry that in the next twenty years I will become so eccentric that I will obliterate what few social graces I have, all of them fallen victim to the clamor of stories. But I worry more that I will never be able to give each of these ideas the attention it deserves--that life will continually crowd out the things that ignite my passion, keep me up at night, get me out of bed while it's still dark. I envy those artists in history who had patrons who enabled those artists to do what consumes them. Alas, very few in the arts today can call it anything more than a hobby. There's a reason the stereotype of the starving artist exists--nearly all stereotypes come to be because they are rooted in the truth. Over time, they become a caricature of the concept they represent, but at their core, the reality remains.

So if you see me someplace on my travels, head down, eyes far off, maybe muttering unintelligibly, I do apologize. I don't mean to seem batty. I'm just having a moment trying to to figure out if I'm overjoyed or wracked with pain.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In Pursuit of a Title

Well, NaNoWriMo isn't going too badly. I'm still scheduled to finish ahead of time, even accounting for two days off from writing due to a really persistent cold that has been keeping me in bed instead of writing at 5 am like I'd planned. It's probably because my husband was so impressed how I managed to bolt out of bed at 5 for about a week and a half. Then the combination of sleeplessness, coughing, and eventually Nyquil shattered that illusion.

But I hope to recover in the coming week. Being Thanksgiving week, I only have three days of work, so I will be able to indulge my night-owl productivity more than usual. Hooray for that!

Now that the book is what I'd call mostly roughed out, I think it's about time to stop calling it WRIIINanoDraft. (That's the lovely file name it has right now.) It deserves a real title, and I historically rot at titling anything.

The current phrase I'm looking at to entitle this installment of the saga is...

Valor's Worth
The Windrider Saga, Book III

I already know the line of dialog from which that title will come, and it will fall in the denoument of the story. But, as is always the case with writers, I have a habit of getting attached to things before I've really evaluated what my readers will think of it. And if this book is not for my readers, who is it for, after all?

So, what do you think? A sufficiently poignant and hook-ish title, or should I keep looking?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Post-pourri--NaNo, Interviews, and More

Well friends...I headed into this month thinking I would keep you updated on NaNo, but I fear my little sidebar widget has been all I've been able to depend on for updates. It seems trying to write 1600+ words a day leaves me for very little time to blog. There are a few things I wanted to make sure you knew about though, aside from my NaNo mania.

This week, Jennette Mbewe is hosting a three-part interview and giveaway on her blog. We're trying to get as much word out about Curse Bearer as possible, so please drop by her posts. You can find the first one here: Jennette's fine blog interview. There will be subsequent posts on Wednesday and Friday.

You'll see there is a giveaway associated with the interview, which is hosted at my facebook page. By liking my page, tweeting or posting about my work, or reviewing Curse Bearer, you can gain entries into the giveaway for books, ebooks, tshirts, and artwork. Jennette worked hard to set up this excellent giveaway, so gain some entries yourself, then encourage your friends to as well. Here's the link to the giveaway!

And lastly, I wanted to let you know that I've uploaded a short story to Amazon...my first little self-publishing endeavor. The story is called Wish Wary, and it appeared in Digital Dragon last year. Now I'm offering it for $ .99...and I want to commit the proceeds from the story to some of the expenses that we'll incur as we set up The Faith and Fantasy Alliance. If you're wondering what that is, check the Faith and Fantasy Alliance Blog to get a feel for the mission of that group.

That's all for me tonight...I'm off to go cast my vote in this year's election. I hope you did too, and that you voted your conscience.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNo, Day 1

Well, NaNoWriMo began today, and believe it or not, this is my first time to give it a shot. Three books published, and I've never done NaNo. I was beginning to feel like I wasn't entirely sold out to this "writer" thing, so I took the plunge this year.

Believe it or not, it was not hard for me to get up at 5 am to start writing. Who knew that creative time would be powerful enough to defeat my love affair with blankets and warm coziness? Well, at least for one day. As the battle continues to rage throughout November, we shall see how well I continue to do.

Honestly, though, I can see how early risers have a bit of a love affair with the pre-dawn and dawn hours. Right now, because we haven't gotten back to standard time, the sun comes up at about 7:30 am, and I get to watch the sunrise on my way to work. It really tends to be a glorious display of pink and gold beauty. And since I now take winding country roads to work, I can appreciate it way more that I would sitting on 422 in a line of tail lights.

The other benefit I found today to getting up early, writing, and then driving to work, was that I got to use my 50 minute commute to hash out the next scene I want to write. Since I don't outline (as much as I WANT to be an outliner, I still haven't developed that skill) that time will be extremely valuable, I am certain. Especially since I was stuck on my characters' exact plan when I had to call it quits this morning. I now know how they are going to deal with this mess they're in. Now to find a minute to write it.

So how about you? Are you trying to crank out 50K words this month? If you're not, what do you think of those of us crazies who are?