Earlier I wrote I was in the process of shifting my writing year to the calendar year and October through December were bonus months before starting a new writing year. Now that December is over it’s time to quickly assess this three month period and look forward to the new calendar year.
It happens to all writers: it’s time to write and either A) you don’t feel like it, or B) you don’t know what to write. Each is a distinct problem with different solutions, but often the new writer treats them as the same thing with statements like: “not feeling it” or “muse didn’t show up today”.
I wrote in an earlier post that as a kid through adulthood I read mostly fantasy, but as a writer I write mostly science fiction. The result was I was writing in a genre I had read very little in. Naturally, as soon as I realized this I set about remedying the situation.
I tend to think of my writing projects as the Sith in the Star Wars Universe think about their training: only two, a master and an apprentice. As soon as one spot is opened up, it’s filled with another candidate, never more than one candidate in a slot—that is what’s like with my writing.
“I wouldn’t want to be one of your characters,” my wife said, as we were discussing one of my stories. At first I was a little indignant. I likemy characters. If I didn’t like them, I wouldn’t write them.
One of bedrocks of creating memorable characters is to make them sympathetic. After all, not many readers want to spend time with characters they can’t stand. The easiest ways to generate sympathetic characters is to show them in pain, show them doing something heroic, and/or show other characters admiring them. In general, creating sympathetic characters isn’t something that requires conscious thought on the author’s part. If the author wants to spend time with that character, writing their story, then generally readers will as well.
Writers of the Future (WotF) results for the fourth quarter of volume thirty started coming out around Halloween, a full six weeks before anyone’s most optimist guess. Earlier this week, I learned the fate of my submission in the second wave of notifications: flat reject.
Last week, I wrote about developing a writing routine and how that helps increase both the speed at which a story is written and the number of stories written. A very natural companion topic to this is word count goals.
When I first started writing that ill-fated first novella, I just sat down and wrote. There was no intentionality. I wrote when I felt like it, and because it was such a new and enjoyable experience, it wasn’t difficult at all to maintain momentum and finish it.
I love a good setting. It gets me invested in the story more quickly and it’s what really gets me excited to write a new story—a new, exciting setting to explore. Now of course, what constitutes a good setting is as individual as a favorite meal. For example, I seem to have a mental block on sparse settings (e.g. desert, moonscapes, etc.). I read these and am almost immediately bored (it goes for movies as well). The characters and plot have to do extra work to get me over that hump. But that’s individual tastes for you.