Writing is like Exercising

A lot of things are like physical exercising.  Playing music requires practice, keeping a house clean requires diligence, learning a new skill requires lots of use and maintenance.

Writing is not any different.

I have always written.  I loved the stories mom would read chapter books to my brother and I. We always wanted her to keep going and would beg her for more at the end of a reading.  When I was 9, I even attempted my own mystery story, it was not my best work of art and I think I may have gotten rid of that old copy (but not before my mom proudly showed it to my teacher).

Since then, I would attempt stories of my own sporadically, though my imagination was running wild 24/7.  In high school, I discovered several web comics that I absolutely loved and started making plans to possibly write my own.  I had character notes and a general idea of the plot but I never really sat down and wrote it (though, my drawing abilities excelled during this time because I was not going to produce a web comic unless I was sure I could make its quality stand out).

It was during this time that the ideas for my trilogy of fantasy books started coming together.

Finally, in 2015 a couple friends and I started our own critique group and for the first time I was writing more rigorously and more often.  I also participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and  I went from 16000 total words at the beginning to 180000 in the last two years on various drafts.

And you know what?  With every single second I spend critiquing, writing, and learning from writing masters, I can see my work become better.

I have a philosophy in life that we never really arrive.  Life is a journey and it’s also like a balance beam.  We are constantly improving and we are constantly having to adjust for our balance.  Like our core muscles, the more we consciously work at this balancing act, the less we notice the individual muscles, with every experience we’re strengthened so that the next time, we’re not as sore.

By practicing the basics, we become ready for what comes next.

Just like life, writing is an exercise, grow lax and it takes longer to get back into shape.

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The Den

A microfiction I wrote before NaNoWriMo.  It is a little more traditional than the fantasy I tend to write.  Enjoy!

I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime.  I’ve seen grown men come back from the brink of death, I’ve seen children die.  But that was nothing compared to this.  The smell of death and charred bodies was everywhere.

Golden light glinted off my sword even as ash fell onto it.  I held it ready, the metal ready to tear into whatever hideous flesh might await me.

The precipice stretching below me was jagged, a sadistic bloody smile waiting to devour me.  An internal glow emanating from the earth below was the only light in here.  It was the perfect den for a worm.  I held <old English for fire or truth> in my hands, ready for a strike.  The enchanted sword had been made for my hands, its power intertwined with my own heartbeat, life of my own life.

I descended, wondering at what turn I would see the black eyes of the terrible dragon, Meremoth.

 

 

Seven Hundred Pages – An Affirmation

I told a friend recently that I have written over seven hundred pages between all my novels and short stories.

That number is staggering, and unbelievable to me.  Every time I say it, I remember that I’m, to quote a popular phrase, “in it to win it”.

It’s liberating.

It’s a reminder that I know I have a lot of revisions and rewrites to do, but I am already a writer.

I’m already an author.

I’m already committed to the work it is going to take to bring an excellent story to the table.

I’m going to get these stories finished and release them: traditionally, self-publishing, whatever it takes because I believe these characters are going to be and are already worth it.

Rain

The reason I love flash fiction so much is for the same reason I like working on daily vignettes, they give me these seeds for a story I can choose to come back to and work with at a later date.  Often, I start out with a thought and find out as I’m writing that it escalates quickly. 

This latest one came to me while I was sitting in my car during a downpour.  I had gotten to a meeting early and had just visited a monastery earlier in the week.

So, this came about:

Nights like this suck up the light.  Even the flickering lamplight is gone quickly as if some dark monster is out there eating it all up and leaving only the darkness.  The rain is pouring, its icy fingers soaking through these black robes.  Everywhere the air smells of wet plants and stone.

The weather couldn’t be more fitting.  A coup shouldn’t be marked by sunshine, the dramatic mood of the weather matches the occasion.  The overthrowing of a king should have some flair.

I tuck the book back into my robes, the note there memorized, but the feel of paper, even wet, is oddly soothing.  It’s a concrete form of an idea, something I can hold to in the calm before the chaos.

I make a brief sign, I may only be masquerading as a monk, but the prayer I just said was genuine.

The rain masks my footsteps, whether the shivering is from the cold or the nerves I can’t tell, probably both.  I come to the door, a great oaken door, sturdy and designed to hold off attacks, not assassins.

I nod to the knight stationed there.  He looks miserable, he too is shivering.  He only briefly looks at me and gestures toward the door.  Wet, miserable fool.

I open the door and step in.