Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.
I really do think of myself as a minimalist. Some might disagree, as I’ve been accused of being too specific, or too detailed. Even ‘over writing’ – Which is a total catch-22. Trust me. Its a Kobayashi Maru, resolving the tension between detail and specificity, or lack thereof. The measure is so subjective, its almost worth not talking about… Almost…
And to debate it, is unwinnable.
Mainly I am a minimalist when it comes to plot. There’s nothing that grates on my nerves more than when an author leads me by the nose as if I’m in kindergarten.
For example, in Starblade, one of the chief subplots is Nadia has a connection to Frederika, even before she arrives on Vanguard Island. When Frederika does finally, there are little cues (which usually involve her glancing at, or even making sure Frederika ends up on Sharr’s radar. Which of course was not very hard for him… Being the sex crazed guy he is) that Nadia is interested in her and has some notion that the girl is not what she seems.
To me scattering these subtle cues seemed (and still does) the more sophisticated way of telling the story. I keep showing Nadia being interested in Frederika. However, I am not going to lead you by the nose, Dan Brown style.
One of the first things I do when I edit, is take a scalpel and cut scenes which seem to be ‘leading’. That is, placing neat bow ties (ribbons?) on the plot or end goal. In fact, there is a whole bunch of “explanation” that, were I to do it over, would probably be cut from Starblade, because it’s just too on the nose. The only reason any of that is there at all, is because my friend April (English, social studies teacher, and fellow writer) thought I should be more explanatory in scenes, as to why Nadia has such an interest in Frederika, which I think (at least to me) is self-evident to those paying attention.
However, inserting stuff like that is completely counter-instinctual to me. And is very nearly painful. Though of course, I get where April was coming from. And her notes were indeed helpful. Its more a matter of overcoming my Aspi, patern-seeking brain. Often I see threads which umm – Normals just do not pick up on…
Conversely, there’s a whole subplot in Among Bright Stars… – Which I might have cut, but for the fact it was explanatory and setup for the overall mythology of the Neo-human series, as well as tied directly into events of book #4, Star Chaser (that’s both a ship and an army). Chronologically I was forced to include the Annunaki stuff in the very roots of my series. Though it also is linked to events surrounding Eden Rhys, or maybe Aria DeFalco in book three…
If I told you here, I’d ruin the finale of Forward, unto the Stars!
I have the sense (but cannot be sure) the Song of Ice and Fire books are a bit like that (no, I am not calling myself George R. R. Martin… ) in as much, he will put a scene out there that seems completely not relevant to the current book, but will later have impact, way down the road. Come to think of it, Babylon 5 operated like that as well…
Wheels, within wheel. Webs within spokes of those wheels.
The cogs of my crazy brain!
[Note: John. I wrote this months ago, reconsidered posting it. But now I just had to! :)]
Before I proceed. Let me warn you, I have a backlog of reading and have not gotten a chance to fully explore the novel which this post is about.
Though, I think there’s a more general principle at work here, which is probably somewhat elusive involved in this whole business.
Somewhere along the line, I came across Ralph L. Angelo JR.‘s ‘The Cagliostro Chronicles’. Likely, on Amazon. Anyway I bookmarked (wish list) to buy later. In the meantime, it got a 3 Star Review.
Now of course, when I ran across this, I had a brief moment of reconsideration – Very brief. As suddenly I felt, I just HAD TO GET THIS BOOK.
There were a number of factors. I probably was reacting as a fellow author, but beyond that, I recalled what I thought of the book, when I first read the preview, when it came on my radar. Namely, I enjoyed what I’d read thus far. So why should someone else’s opinion detract from my enjoyment?
Anyway. This whole writing/reading affair is filled with odd twists and turns.
When I do get around to devoting my full attention to the book I will break my own policy and offer a review. Though it might be a bit. Lots of reading to get through.
I don't know if I shared this post before. Of course, it's not the best way to answer to fan/hate mail, but it does say something important about art and artists.
I write for myself and I'll say anything I damn well please.
I believe this is true. Yeah, we all write for a lot of other reasons as well, or sometimes for no reason at all.