Stay True to Yourself

Have you ever come across the notion that writing in first person is bad? Of course, people can like whatever they want but I suspect they don’t like it because they were told to. Somebody told them that adverbs are bad, that cliches are bad while they themselves have never encountered these cliches themselves. Writing in first person was very common at the turn of the 20th century, which is why I believe they think it is bad because it is old, or maybe it is the industry that suddenly decided that this form of writing is bad, arbitrarily telling the readers that this is not what you want, like short stories and novellas, people don’t want that, they say. There’s no money in those and I suspect that first person stories tend to be shorter as well… But I’m not here to investigate this but tell you that I love writing in first person.

When I write stories, they tend to concern one character, the story has to start somewhere and that means the protagonist is the only thing that matters, at first. I tend to write without reason, there’s no logic at play, no plan, but it ends up coherent anyways. As if I’m not making a story but rather finding one which I’m trying to convey.

There is merit, however, to listen to industry visdom, because you do want people to read your stories, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon yourself, because if you are not true to yourself you are not true to your stories. Such stories are dull and they will chip away at your heart until you hate writing. I want to enjoy the process of writing, that’s my goal, and if nobody likes what I write, that’s a shame, but there are limits to how much I’ll change to please others.

Books are Spellbinding

It doesn’t matter what kind of of book, which genre it is in, books has a way of transfixing the mind, bringing it back to the present which is the greatest gift we have in these times of infinite distraction:

Books pierce into the depths of the mind, opening up another level of consciousness that we don’t understand – a mind free of distractions. Everything we do and everything we see and have done is bombarding our mind, constantly, but when we read, we have this moment of clarity, where we focus only on the words before us somehow opens up the floodgates that had been damned by everything else that concerns us. It is when we read that we are the most clear, when the mind wanders freely and we have our most profound thoughts. However, as soon as we put the book down, our train of thought is lost and we aren’t sure what we were thinking about to begin with. It is as if these thoughts are only meant for the clear, so abstract that they cannot be actualised in the distraction filled reality that we live in.

However, there are also those times when profound thoughts happen once we write. It doesn’t help mulling over everything as the mind is clear when we write. It forces us to focus on nothing but the words in our heads.

Perhaps the ancients were onto something, words are magic.

 

Why does LotR still hold up today?

I still hold that Lord of the rings is the greatest fantasy story ever written, at least among those that I have read, and I often wonder why? Why does Tolkien’s story still hold up? It’s far from perfect and you know what will happen a mile away, but strangely, I never considered what would happen next and was just taken on a pleasant ride through the story. I think the longevity of Tolkien’s tale is his superb world building ability. He was a historian and linguist and he knew exactly how to cater to that crowd, he knew what he liked and he liked deep history and that’s what he focused on.

I’m currently reading a fantasy epic “The Wheel of Time” by Robert Jordan. It’s a well written story, much better (at times) than Tolkien. But 200 pages in and the heroes have left their hobble of a village and I find myself disinterested. I am not captivated by the world the author created. I’m not drawn into the mystery, the names and places, and I find myself skimming through a lot of the action scenes. It’s a dull world and everything is explained to me. There’s a mountain over there and something bad happened. There’s monsters in the forest across the lake, bla bla bla. I would be much more intrigued if they were actually at those places when this information is revealed to me, which I think Tolkien does excellently.

There’s one particular scene in the first book of the Lord of the rings when the Hobbits and Gandalf comes across some ancient ruins. They are almost trapped by the ghosts there, and afterwards, Gandalf explains that this was the sight of a great kingdom once and you are instantly hooked! It’s a bit of information that has no consequence, also, because it has no bearings to the plot overall, it’s only purpose is to enrich the world.

Something happened there; a lot is unexplained; the reader wants to know, but the reader doesn’t need to know more. The author won’t reveal anything else and thus this piece of information will linger in the readers mind until they learn what really happened. They would have to read the Silmarillion to do that…

This is a fantasy world done right and is what I aspire to do.

Fairbanks Island – Day 19 (End)

I really like this ending. I hope it brings a lot of questions while still being a satisfying enough to not feel cheated. I do sprinkle some of the answers across the story, after all. My goal is to not be explicit and I want the reader to imagine themselves some of the answers because I adore mystery and I want the story to linger with them for a while. But the story is far from done, there are characters that aren’t fully explored (or explored at all) and you never know if they will change the ending in some way or another. I’m excited to see how this turns out!

Epilogue

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Fairbanks Island – Day 18

I’m not sure how long this story is going to be. There are so many characters that I haven’t fully explore that the story might take a completely different turn in the end, which is always exciting. There is much more scenery and details I could add as well.

30 000 words for a draft doesn’t make a long story, but I don’t mind, I have so many ideas that creating several shorter ones is a blessing. I never cared for Epic tales, it really has to be something special for me to put time into something like that.

Chapter 16

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Fairbanks Island – Day 17

This is such an odd story… I first got the idea when I played a game called, Oxenfree. It’s about a group of teenagers encountering supernatural events on an abandoned island, or at least it was abandoned when they got there… I guess that sparked my imagination.

Chapter 15

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Fairbanks Island – Day 16

The momentum is fading, I can feel it. Before I could write 2000 – 2500 words a day but now I’m barely hitting a 1000. The story is coming to a close and I have a pretty good idea how it will turn out. Let’s see if I am right!

Chapter 14

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Fairbanks Island – Day 15

Now I think I understand what Hemingway meant when he said to never empty your well of writing. (“I had learned already to never empty my well of writing“) We all have our limits and stopping before hitting that limit is immensely gratifying because the longer you write the bigger is the chance that you’ll run into a problem. Basically you stop while staying ahead, stop while you are number one. Another way of putting it, is to stop writing while knowing what you should be writing the next day, you carry the momentum.

Chapter 13

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FairBanks Island – Day 14

I took a break for a couple of days while I was in London and I haven’t posted in a while even though I have been writing. It’s strange how some activities you really cannot break the chain. One day’s rest and you’ll struggle to get back… But I digress. I’m back and glad to be posting again:

Writing is a struggle, but it’s the good kind of struggle, especially if you think that every word written – no matter how bad it may seem – is a step forward towards a finished story. That’s why I think it’s so important for us that do not plan to never look back or think ahead, and always be in the present. What you have written before and what you imagine the story to become are all distractions. To manage a story you must think what the character will do next, nothing more. When a solid plot has formed, then you can work out the details. You have a finished a roadmap and now you can even deviate from it, if necessary.

That is the most difficult part of writing, to let go of you expectations and just be, just let the story happen; finding the truth. Thinking ahead is the death of a organic story

Chapter 12

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FairBanks Island – Day 13

The story seem to be more like a highschool drama rather than a horror story, right now. I think it’s time I turn up the dial a notch. There’s a lot of good set up here that I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with. The drama involves a girl, the only girl on an island full of military men. The main character is serving there on a base there and they take a shine to each other. But as the story progress, there’s something wrong about her, which is where the horror element creeps in. Everything before have just been to pile on the mystery and the eeriness. I don’t want the reader to lose the sense of dread, not completely, though I must have them at ease, otherwise what comes next is not a surprise.

Chapter 11

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