Boy, I’m doing a terrible job of sticking to my resolutions. But the Sundered Book Club has been discussing The Adversary over on Goodreads, and they’ve gotten past the point where I can post some cut scenes! Also The Reaver comes out next week, and I’d rather get these out before then, so you can all focus on that.
So here’s one: This scene comes late in the book, and a version of it remains. But I wrote way too much book, and the conversation with the ghoul in particular had to go for the sake of space. I was sorry to see it go–this is the culmination of the ghoul escape that happens in an earlier scene, and I think it’s Havilar’s low point with respect to figuring out who she is and where she stands in respect to her past self. Also, I think the ghoul is funny.
But it didn’t have to be there, and so it had to go.
*** Continue reading
Part of “don’t worry so much about what people might think” also includes not editing myself into a frothing mess. (Acquaintances can probably all cite times I’ve sent an email, only to follow up with a second email an hour later, rephrasing what I was trying to say. It’s probably more obnoxious than whatever I imagined I’d accidentally said.) However, I’m not there yet.
Stress less. I kind of have to do this whether I like it or not. I made myself physically ill—very ill—writing The Adversary. I can’t do that again. (Keep this in mind when you whip through it in three days. Read it twice at least. For me and my broken organs.)
I meant this almost entirely tongue in cheek, but I want to stress that since I’ve now had two people apologize (seriously or not) for whipping through The Adversary. I still think you should read it more than once–I try to write books you can re-read, and I think there are things you won’t necessarily see as important or resonant the first go-round.
Regardless of how many times you read it or don’t, I know there’s something fantastic about knowing you wrote something that someone couldn’t put down, that they didn’t set it aside to be entertained by other things, that they preferred your book. I appreciate that aspect, I really do. As one speedy reader to another, I do totally get the compliment in this, as well as the fact that you can absolutely consume a book in three days and “get” all the nuance and work and such. I am not even a little mad at you.
The fact remains, as with all creative endeavors, that the amount of time and energy you put into a thing dwarfs the amount of time it takes to consume it and set it aside. (If you took eighteen months to read The Adversary, I’d feel like I’d done a bad job.) It’s just true, and the options are accept the facts or put less work into creating.
Or guilt your readers into re-reading. (Also reviewing)
Happy New Year, readers! It’s 2014, which will hopefully see the return of all the great things about 2013 and chuck all the crummy stuff. Time to think about resolutions! Fortunately, I know myself, and none of my resolutions are “Be more punctual,” because this is already a day late.
- Clean my computer screen. Done! (I find it helps to start simple.) (Seriously though, it was really bad.)
- Write More. With two sub-resolutions:
- Write more stuff that’s just mine. I like writing tie-in, but the longer I do it, the more the drawbacks get to me. I don’t own my work. I write on these crazy deadlines. Creatively, I’m at the mercy of other people’s decisions, and they don’t always think about my books when they make them. Plus, while working in a setting with such a huge, intense fan base can be really rewarding, it also means I have to decide on the regular what to do (answer: usually nothing) with fans who want to trash talk me. Haters to the left, and all, but it would be nice to write something that didn’t have to be the symbol of Fourth Edition D&D—for good or for ill—and could just be its own thing.
- Write more blog posts. I have this wretched habit of coming up with ideas for things to blog about…and then thinking about what people’s reactions will be and convincing myself not to do them. They’re too flippant, they’re too divisive, they’re too “off-message,” they will make people think I am _______. For example, I’m struck by the way people hamstring themselves in their reading experience and end up really hating reading in so many ways because they approach books “wrong”—but then does that sound like I’m saying, “HERE IS WHY YOU ARE WRONG FOR HATING MY BOOKS, JERKFACES!”? 2014’s answer: Who the hell cares?
- Read more. Recently, I got to go on vacation with a family member who helped watch my son. I read four books in three days (and then another three over the next week). It was heavenly, and for once it felt like I was feeding my brain properly. In the last year, my reading dropped off dramatically to make more room for writing and parenting. More of this, definitely. And…
- Read about more things I don’t know about. I started this already: One of the books I read was Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. I grabbed it on the way to the cashier at Barnes& Noble while on my delicious book binge. I knew a little about midwives (I had a midwife) and a little about postwar London, but not what it was like to be a midwife in the poorest areas of postwar London. New viewpoint, new information. Next up: Below the Convergence: Voyages Toward Antarctica, 1699-1839 by Alan Gurney. Because it was $5 and I don’t know much about Antarctica. Yet.
- Exercise more. …we’ll see how that works out.
- Stress less. I kind of have to do this whether I like it or not. I made myself physically ill—very ill—writing The Adversary. I can’t do that again. (Keep this in mind when you whip through it in three days. Read it twice at least. For me and my broken organs.)*
- Stop worrying so much about what might happen. And the corollary: Be completely myself more. I don’t think I ever realized how much forced extroversion came with being an author. I like to think I’m myself online and at events, but I also know I don’t always say what I’m thinking, to avoid a lot of brouhaha. I don’t wade into Candlekeep discussions. I don’t talk about politics. I don’t tell folks that, yeah, I don’t really like it when you bring my looks or my kid into unrelated discussions. I don’t want to get into it. But honestly not getting into it has just made it easier to stop talking altogether and wind up…well taking sixteen freaking pills a day.
- Be grateful and reflect on what I do have. I am incredibly fortunate, despite what often feels like prodigious whining. While 2013 definitely had its share of setbacks, frustrations, and heartbreaks, it was also full of many wonderful experiences and events, and I had the resources and safety nets to deal with all the bad. Not a small thing.
Stop coming up with resolutions before I overwhelm myself…Hey! That’s two down!
What are you planning to do in the new year?