I’m late, I’m late

Repeating what I said yesterday when I finally found my way back to the internet and social media, 2022 sucks. I won’t bore you with all the details. Just know I’ve lost two very good friends over the last two weeks. I’m late this morning finishing up what I need to do before attending the memorial service for one of them in less than an hour and a half. So I’m going to leave the blog to you guys for the moment. I’ll be back later, probably early afternoon, and will post something. But I need ideas. My brain is dead and my heart is elsewhere. So help a gal out with some ideas.

Thanks!

Until later.

19 comments

  1. Stress. How does stress affect your writing? Is it fuel to pound out the words into worlds and characters? Is it a stone in your mind that you must lift in order to make the words flow? Do you perform better under pressure and time limits, or do they poison your creativity?

    Some of us (worthy souls) write on the clock. A schedule they keep, and the words happen every day. Some days it comes easy, some days you grind it out like you’re using your skull to break rocks. But those who keep to a schedule put words down consistently.

    Some others suffer from muse driven madness, where a whole book may come in at once and clamor to get out right effing now. Bookish business happens in waves, and such pantsy people might go days or weeks without words only to have the whole thing drop on them like an avalanche at the worst possible time.

    How do you represent stress in your characters? What stresses force them out of their comfort zone and into greatness? Your villains, too. What stresses can shape a normal human being into a monster? Even such simple sentiments as “Don’t Be Evil” can be warped into tyrannical forces given the right (or wrong) push.

    It seemed topical, considering current events. Public and, sadly, private ones too. May Himself bless and watch over the family and loved ones left behind, and may His grace and comfort be with them.

    Of course, talking about stress is also a good excuse to post this song, which is all about stress:

    1. At the moment, when stressed I find it easier to write characters who are stressed. At least I think it’s easier.

      The tea sequence from the Crimson Forest short came out of a goodly bit of personal and work stress last year. I suspect as I get more experienced, I’ll be able to draw on that without having to actually be living in that headspace at the time.

      It also seems like it would be useful for voicing characters under high stress as well, though I haven’t yet gone through with that. Considered it when they were looking for volunteers to do Battle of Bodenplatte pilot voices in one of the flight sims I play, but was both very busy at the time, and decided it would be to weird to hear myself yelling at myself when I flew…

  2. Amanda, just take a break from it this week. No one will think the less of you, in that situation. I will probably be taking this week off of blogging too (he writes on his phone, from his hospital bed.)
    V/R
    William Lehman

    1. What Foxfier said. Rest. Recover. Plot out your next moves, but take it slow. Don’t rush a recovery. Take it one step at a time.

    2. That’s excessive devotion to duty, William. Quit! *sends evil litter-mate to infiitrate hospital and carry off phone*

    3. Depends on how capable you are and how much distraction you need, but my stay in the hospital, I was up to reading children’s books and walking about the square of corridors outside my room.

    1. I’ve worked through major problems twice. Both in cases where it fit the character’s development and personality, and where I could go back after several years and take out the parts that had been important at the time but that didn’t fit the story as a whole. In one case it worked very well in story terms. The other . . . I’m not as satisfied with, but it resonates with some readers.

    2. I’ve written grief before, once or twice. Some people thought it was okay. I try not to put myself, or my issues into my writing. Use things I’ve experience, things I know about, sure. But working things out on the page isn’t something that seems to work out well.

      Show and tell is always a good topic. I can always use ways to get better at that.

  3. Another potential discussion topic. Politics vs. political topics in writing. There seems to be a lot of the former going around in gamelit/sci-fi/fantasy and spec fic lately.

    Current issue politics age pretty darned poorly every time they are used. That’s things like, say, the current culture of gender politics. Sci-fi and fantasy have been playing around with that for decades now, and suddenly I see it showing up in stories I’ve read and it’s hack work. If you don’t weave it into the setting, if there’s not a compelling reason to inject something that might remind the reader of current issue politics, if it doesn’t drive the plot… Leave it out.

    Political themes are inescapable in space opera. High fantasy settings have similar themes. That’s fine. It’s awesome when done right. But readers come from every politics and culture under the sun. You can write *good* political sci fi and fantasy, but realize that current issue politics in fiction tends to not earn out the advance from what I can tell. I’ve seen some ridiculously silly mistakes making their way into final copies, likely because the editors agreed with the politics and weren’t doing their jobs to point out problems.

    I will try not to hobby horse this. But for the love of Bob, newbie writers! You don’t need to crayon box your characters with every sexuality and ethnicity and preach diversity, inclusivity, equity on every third page!

    1. Agree. Preaching just doesn’t work very well. In gender stuff, for example, the only real example I can think of that actually worked was the Arcee arc in RDW’s Transformers comics. And that, they were not starting from a DIE thing, they were starting from “The cannon has a female robot. How does that even work with robots?”

      What they ended up with was an otherwise normal robot who had been grabbed, experimented on, and ultimately mutilated, by some mad scientist in their quest to understand biological gender. It was a compelling character story, and probably going to absolutely get banned if the SJW types ever run into it.

    2. You know it’s bad when a politically correct alt-history book keeps getting reviews that start with, ” I want to love this book because of the premise and because it has such diverse characters, but they’re too diverse” and then goes downhill. From people who LIKE preachy SJW stuff! The Hand of Author was waaaaaayyyyy too obvious, as was the checklist.

      1. That’s one of the things I wrestled with in writing Texas at the Coronation. Discrimination in the U.S. Navy vs. the Texas Navy was an important plot point, and I tried to address it without coming off as ‘woke’. Hopefully I succeeded.

  4. A meditation on a hedonistic, materialistic, youth oriented culture being forced to confront the reality of death. (Is an underlying part of the covid freak out due to boomers starting to die off in job lots?)

    A parable of the cat and the blender.

    Dust bunnies: threat or menace?

  5. The shiny new topic:
    Brandon Sanderson’ Kickstarter. Now over 16 million.
    (His agent and publisher are likely in the fetal position under their respective beds.)

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