Learning Experience

Well, there are times when life sets a challenge for you and this weekend just gone set mine. Everything that happened was my fault but it still made for a less than happy weekend. Here I was excited by a windfall and now it seems the universe is bent on teaching me a lesson.

Hang on. This is me. I like learning! Okay, have learnt lesson. Now let’s get on with life!

Pondering

I think I’m at the point that a lot of writers get to. Will anyone enjoy this book?

Dark Reign is entirely different to Dark Dimensions and that concerns me a little because I wonder if people are interested in the trans-dimensional travel or how Troy battles a vampire-free world or how much he changes it from its original form.

I find myself wondering what people are truly after in a sequel – more of the same or a completely different type of book. I’m always hoping it’s a completely different book because that’s what Dark Reign is turning out to be.

It has politics, definitely, and battles – but the big – oops, I’ll stop before I give it away.

The main thing is this. Every book is completely different from the one that went before it. And although characters may be the same, the story itself is usually extremely different.

Mindful Characters

So, I think I’ve spoken before about characters who go off and do things a writer doesn’t plan – or say things a writer doesn’t plan.

I’ve had someone say to me that this can be a good thing. At the very least, the writer is learning more about the characters and can ensure they react more correctly to stimulus (usually nasty situations). Because you have to understand that sometimes, if a character goes off plot, then it means that you’re doing something with them that they don’t want to have happen. (Don’t ask about Troy or Marek, they have their own thoughts on this.)

What we all have to remember is that a character is a person – whether they’re based on someone or not. Although we put them through rigourous testing (situations) that don’t have a history in our own past, their reactions may be a reflection of things we have seen or observed in people around us.

Yesterday, our car was in for some repairs and they needed it all day. Now because of my injured foot (yes, those who went through it last year, same foot, different toe and different injury – although same cause), I didn’t want to spend all day wandering through Perth’s CBD. So we decided to spend the day on the trains.

We took a train as far north as we could go and then a train as far south as we could go before coming back to the city. Which was a great idea as the north and south lines are on the same tracks – no getting off and on trains! But the other interesting thing about doing something like that is the amount of people watching you can do.

There is an immense variety of people who catch trains – those who only get on for 1 or 2 stops, those who hit the doors to get off but then walk down to the next set to disembark and of course, school kids. Rowdy, noisy, nosy and generally unkempt! But full of character, too. Maybe it’s something I should do more often – but take a notebook or tablet computer with me to make notes. Oh, wait – I had a notebook – in the bottom of my backpack somewhere. I know I did …

Forgotten Warmth

I think I’ve forgotten what warm is. It’s getting towards the end of July and the weather is still wet and cold. I wish it would warm up just a little bit – oh, so what if it rains as well?

Having said that, life still goes on. Even with a stubbed toe. Yes, I’ve done it again. All those who are keeping tabs on what I do, I did such a good job this time I nearly ripped the toenail off! How embarrassing to end up in ED (Australia’s version of ER) with just a stubbed toe when everyone one else was down there for this rotten flu that’s hit us hard or broken legs? I had at least attempted to dress my toe. I had got the first aid kit out and being an ex-senior first aid I made sure it was fully equipped (still need to get more) and sat on my chair to clean it and dress it. Got Simon to bring me over some paper towel to mop up the blood and watched as just having my hand on the toe turned the paper red. My comment? “Um, I can’t fix this here!” So, 2 hours later and 4 stitches holding the nail to the toe, we’re on our way home again. Needless to say, after Karma pounced on my toe in bed and I nearly had a skylight in the roof, I ended up out on the recliner. With a doona and 2 cats.

My motto for this: Watch where you put your cross stitch frame!

End of the week

So it’s the end of another week. And it’s cold! I mean, what’s going on, Perth? Normally winter is either wet and warm or cold and dry. This year we’ve had both! And the trees are still shedding leaves which means we’re climate-wise still in autumn. Oh, well. We have had a few great weeks of weather, however, our newly planted herb and vegie patch is not getting rain. Apparently it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. I think?

In the writing world, I believe it pays to keep an open mind about things. Especially new creations. I had a dream last week that – actually I think I’ve mentioned it before … it would lend itself to a group of stories that anyone could write. They just have to be about a haunted prison and a dying town in the middle of a desert. Anyone can write it. Just kidding. hehe.

But we keep working through and eventually something comes out the other end. And that was not meant the way Simon would mean it. No, get your head out of the gutter young man.

While everyone who’s writing probably should write through their hard times where the writing itself is hard, sometimes it pays to write other stuff until the characters themselves say ‘hey, what about us?’ (Wow, since when did they like Moving Pictures?)

Off Days

So I always wonder with this – what if I don’t have anything to write? Anything to say?

Someone said to me, just write about anything. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m just going to write about anything.

Something I can say is that the brain still works. I’ve been writing a little background for a story that hit me last Sunday night. It’s a spooky one so it might get it’s own little world. Not sure yet as I have a heap of writing already on the go and a heap of characters who are knocking on my doorstep ’cause I promised them I’d write their stories. <sigh> I wonder if all writers feel like they’re at the beck and call of their characters …

And of course, I put my foot down last weekend and said I wanted vegies and herbs while the rain is here and what hasn’t happened since we put them in? It hasn’t rained! Oh, I think we had a drizzle on Wednesday but that was about it. Hmm. How to make it rain? I’ll have to work on that.

Conversations between characters

One of the most interesting and frustrating parts of writing a story is when your characters get into a conversation and that discussion goes down a path you hadn’t intended.

Now, I am what I think most people refer to as a plantser. I plan as well as write from the seat of my pants. This means that when I start a new story I have a beginning and an end. It’s what is in between that isn’t often planned. This is where conversations between characters can take a twist or even find a new plot in a story. It can also be used to bring to fore a problem a writer hadn’t seen before – basically, I call it my subconscious writing on its own.

Some scenes do this. even. A lot of the scenes in Dark Dimensions weren’t planned. There were some that were planned, but a great many weren’t. I’d like to think they enhanced the overall story and enriched the characters. Same with Consequences. A great deal of that came from just sitting and writing. Although I do remember having a conversation with the main character from the second Consequences book and he turned and said to me “shut up, you’ve just shot me”. I said “what?” but nothing more was forecoming. I did eventually shoot him, too. But I was nice about it. I promise.