Monday, September 24, 2012

Inspiration Gives You Sentences - Dedication Gets you Books

With the ubiquity of the internet these days, I expected (well, hoped, anyway) some of the more whimsical ideas about creativity to finally die their proper deaths. It seems, however, that the internet is at least as good at perpetuating myths as it is at killing them.

This week, I have encountered not once, not twice, but three separate times (once online and twice in person) a particularly ridiculous idea that I was lucky enough to shed by the age of fourteen or so: "I cannot create if I'm not inspired."

I could throw out plenty of quotes by successful artists about the value of hard work over so-called inspiration, but you can search out those yourself. I'd rather approach this from a more personal vantage.

I have known what it is to be truly inspired. I have felt the serenity of being seemingly guided by some otherworldly force as I put words to the page, and everything that I got out was golden. When I was lucky, this feeling would last for a couple hours, giving me a few thousand words that needed minimal tweaking or editing. They just worked.

The feeling always went away before I had the entire story, though - and usually it doesn't last for hours. Usually it is just for a few moments, and often not when I am actually writing. I need to trust in memory or jot the ideas down before they escape, because inspiration struck in the shower or at work or - most often - just before I fall asleep (I have taken to jumping out of bed to write things down when this happens, now).

These quick visits of "The Muse" rarely garner me any more than a sentence or two, perhaps a quick exchange of dialogue, a plot point, or a visual scene. All these things need to be tied together, made sense of, and elaborated on with sufficient skill as to harness, not detract from, their perfection.

That part doesn't come with inspiration. It comes with work. Inspiration gives you an idea. Work makes it real.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keep the Shoulder to the Wheel

Well, with the onset of fall and the various things that go along with it, my schedule has tightened up dramatically. I'm trying not to let this harm my writing time, but blogging time falls by the wayside. I'm sure my readers (both of you) are suitably heartbroken.

In other news, I was given a review by an indie book blogger today. Find it here. Pauline has plenty of things to say, and much of it is both valuable to potential readers and to myself as the author. Give it a look!

Her review has impressed upon me, once again, the importance of trusting yourself. Pauline enjoyed the world-building in TWIXT, whereas another of my readers (who reviewed via Amazon) thought it was lack luster. On the flip side, this other reader liked my supporting characters and Pauline seemed to think they were clunky. I have my own opinions on it all, of course, but it illustrates that ten people read one book in ten ways.

Thanks to Pauline for reading and enjoying, and thanks to all others who leave reviews for indie authors! Say what you want about the supposed unreliability of internet reviews - if nothing else, they draw attention. Attention is the currency us indie authors live by.

Well... uh, besides actual currency, which is still, all in all, more important.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Article Up At Mythic Scribes

My latest-written article is up at Mythic Scribes, dealing with the importance of showing human weakness in your main characters.

Find it here.

Speaking of articles, it strikes me that the previous series of blog posts would make some pretty good ones. I'm thinking of cleaning and expanding them into a couple to get the most out of the subject.