Cost of Being a Writer

As a writer, I almost always have the want and the need to write. So you can imagine that every time I get inspired, my need to write is felt ten times, if not a hundred times stronger. It never matters where I am or what I’m doing. I stop it and I start writing what I need to write (much like this blog post you’re reading, it’s 1 am and I just had to start writing).

I’ve been in the shower, scrubbing away the grime from my body when I get a burst of inspiration. I’ll turn off the taps, wander out and either on my phone or my computer, I’ll write what I need to write. I’ve sat down on the edge of the bath with my phone in my hand for almost an hour while the shampoo sits in my hair until I’ve finished writing. Then I will finish with my shower.

I’ve been on a date and suddenly cut my own side of the conversation short in order to write an idea out, taking about five minutes of my time away from the date. When I stopped, she seemed a lot less interested in anything I had to say. It’s safe to assume that the date never ended up going anywhere.

Countless times, I’ve stopped to write. While watching movies with friends, while cooking dinner (that one is a dangerous one, trust me on that), while at a party (try explaining to your drunk friends that you were in the bathroom to be in a quiet place while you wrote for thirty minutes…),

At least I haven’t done it in a job interview or during a sexual experience, imagine either of those…

Hiring Manager: So, why would you like to get a job with us?
Me: Hold on, just a moment, I need to write something.

Partner/Girlfriend/FWB: Keep going, I’m about to- (you can finish that sentence yourself)
Me: Wait, I need to do something, I will be right back!

I can definitely see both of those turning out negatively. Sure, I could ignore the fact I need to write, but my body starts to fidget uncontrollably and my mind starts to wander off and not pay any attention at all to what is happening around me. When my mind wanders like that, I don’t pay attention to conversations, where my bus stop is, how hot the food is that I’m eating, and plenty of other things. Getting the inspiration and creativity out of my head (be it temporarily) helps me function as a human being.

In a way, it has ruined many moments in my life for me, but writing is my life and without it, I would be lost. Every time I write while I’m inspired, I have this feeling that rushes over me, that overwhelms me completely, it’s something that I’ve never been able to feel from anything else in my life. It is perfection.

You ever seen a scene in a movie and your hair stands up on end, you forget to breathe, you feel it in your entire body? The exhilaration? That feeling of fulfillment and beauty? That’s what I get every time that I write while inspired. I wouldn’t give it up for anything or anyone.

Cost of Being a Writer

Brotherband: The Outcasts – Review

I RATE THIS NOVEL, FIVE OF FIVE STARS!

Straight after reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, I dove into this book. I finished it quickly and I loved every minute of it. John Flanagan tells a wonderful coming of age story about a Viking boy on his path to becoming a respected member of a Brotherband.

On the very first page, John started a sentence with the word and. Sure, style can dictate whether one decides to do that or not, but most people (including plenty of English professors and a lot of authors) swear by the rule of “Never start a sentence with and or but.”

John often puts had after the start of a sentence, usually after a pronoun or someone’s name. He had, she had, Thorn had. I spotted four sentences in a row at one point that started off this way and it became a little jarring.

During one stage of the novel, the word “lawyer” came into the book and it didn’t feel right. People didn’t practice law in the form of an occupation until the 12th and 13th century, long after the Viking era had ended. The term lawyer wasn’t even used until the 14th-15th century, so reading that word used just didn’t work for the setting the book is in. And yes, I’m a total nerd, why do you think I read fantasy books?

I quickly got over all that though. Why? Because I love it, I can’t describe how much I do. The imagery is spot on and allows me to imagine almost everything that happens beautifully. The battle scenes flow well and even time spent aboard the vessels is interesting. John has done a marvelous job. The characters are well put together and each have their own personalities.

The story is one about Skandians, of Vikings. If follows the story of Hal Mikkelson, born half Skandian and half foreigner and is treated like an outcast. He’s a thinker, a tinkerer, an inventor. When brotherband (groups of Skandians who train together, fight together and die together) training starts, he joins one of the most outrageous brotherbands, one full of outcasts. But he quickly becomes determined to make it so they succeed in the trials to come.

It’s a coming of age story for young Hal and a great one at that. The action, the suspense and the great interaction between characters are brilliant. It is easily the best book I have read all year, for now.

On three separate occasions, I got goosebumps, I teared up a little twice, smiled many times and laughed a few. It might not be the usual kind of fantasy that I read, but I’d recommend it to anyone who would bother listening. I loved it. The end had me wanting more, much more. I’ll definitely get my hands on the next ones in the series and what makes me happy is that there are plenty more to read!

Brotherband: The Outcasts – Review

Shadows of Imeria – April 2017 Update

Happy Birthday to me! Although it was days ago and not today.

Enough birthday wishes, I am sorry to inform you that I was not as productive as I thought I would be, at least not with my writing. I managed to get an extra of 16 hours of work each week and that’s 16 hours less that I can write each week, a tragedy, yes, but it’s okay.

It is almost time. After this year of hard work, 12 months and 8 days of it to be precise, I can almost start editing Shadows of Imeria. I have almost (but not quite) built upon the world enough to start giving better-detailed descriptions of areas, places where the reader can learn about the history of the world over time, etc.  I will still need to work on it for a week or two before I can start my edits though.

There was something I had to do that I didn’t expect though. I mapped the entire journey of the novel out and calculated the time it took to get from one place to another in the way it was traveled (by foot, horse or boat). It was enough math to make my head explode but the results were worth it. This took about four days and I actually enjoyed it when I didn’t feel like my head was going to burst. Here’s a photo of it, I know it doesn’t look like much but it helped make the story so much better, cleaner, and more realistic.

And I should really be honest with you all, I just didn’t give it my all. Next month will be different, it has to be. I’ll work harder, write faster (without losing the quality of course!) and I’ll do my absolute best.

Over the next month, I will finish the worldbuilding side of my journey and I’ll hopefully have sticky notes smeared across the printed pages of my manuscript, many different colors highlighted for dialogue, red pen ink scattered across the margins and gaps in the text for the addition and subtraction of information and quality, and much more. It’ll be one giant paper mess and maybe, just maybe I will get through the whole manuscript. I doubt that though, that’s a lot of work to do.

Shadows of Imeria – April 2017 Update

The Magicians – Review

I rate this novel, Four of Five stars!

I realize it took me forever to read this book, it wasn’t because I didn’t like it, not at all. I had surgeries, I moved houses twice and I managed to read 12 books before I finished this one. Now that I have finished it, I am quite glad.

I’ve heard this series referenced as Harry Potter’s and Game of Thrones’ love child. This isn’t the case, at least not in my eyes. Use our world as a foundation, add magic, add deities, add other worlds and add schools for this magic. Then add a depressed teenager that has lived his whole life in a world without magic, a world that seems to reject him and one that he rejects in turn. That teenager is Quentin Coldwater.

The book begins at a slow pace, a lot of learning for the characters and reader alike and that takes time. Magic is an art in this world and it can’t just be used with the flick of a wand and the muttering of a word, emotions are mixed in, times of day affect spells, you need to learn old and dead languages, there is so much going on with the magic that one would be beyond lucky to learn it all in one lifetime.

It’s a dark, depressing world and even with magic mixed in, that doesn’t change. It is just like the real world and I really enjoy that about it. It gave a genuine feeling of familiarity and realism to my mind and soul, something I could grab onto and carry with me.

But there were things that I didn’t particularly like as well, it was mostly to do with technique.

Lev’s use of “and” is a little draining occasionally. I once counted six ands in a single sentence. On the very rare occasion, there was a small error with the uses of tense. But, perhaps it was my mind just playing tricks on me. A few sentences ran on without a comma or full stop which brought me to re-read certain sentences a couple of times. Although it didn’t happen often enough to get me mad and put down the book, it was still irritating.

Every now and then, Lev would throw information into the story that never really amounted to much. It didn’t change the story and it didn’t add anything enjoyable, It was just information. For example, you read about a girl named Georgia that was almost institutionalized because she told her parents about a school for magicians. The information takes up half a page and it’s for a non-essential character that is never heard from or seen again.

I really wanted to give this book a higher rating. Maximum stars. But with the small errors and repetitive use of the word “and”, and the unnecessary information, I have to give it four stars. I think the editor (if there was an editor hired for the novel) didn’t to the best job they could. It stays at four stars for its brilliant worldbuilding, magic process, originality and great, realistic characters. If I could, it would be 4.5 stars out of 5.

I’ll definitely be buying the next book in the series, no doubt about it at all.

The Magicians – Review

Imagination of the Past

So, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? You hardly hear from me anymore. I thought it was about time you read something that wasn’t an update for my novel or a review, something fun, something witty.

I wish you could all help me because I’m clueless when it comes to that sort of thing.

How about… imagination?

When I was a child, my imagination was intense. Everyone I saw a plane in the sky, I would close my eyes, fly up there and have a look at every single passenger before coming back down. It was vivid enough for me to believe what I saw was actually real.

Remember those days where commercial television would show (I mean, they probably still do but I just don’t watch it anymore) marathons of old tv shows? Well, the Simpsons were on one weekend and I spent the whole day watching it (I was still a child) and by the end of it, I imagined everyone, including myself, to be yellow. I saw it that way for a few hours.

It was incredible, powerful, exciting. That kind of thing drove me to want to write in the first place. To take notes of my imagination, in a way. My imagination intoxicated my body and mind and I continuously thought up new things to try, new games to play, new things to imagine. I even wrote a story in primary school about two fictional greek warriors battling to the death in the middle of a war.

If you combine the love I have for my imagination with my love of history and war along with my love for magic and fiction, then you can understand why I write.

Well in the end the blog post wasn’t witty and it wasn’t fun. It was me though, it was something different and without that, it would be just another blog.

Imagination of the Past

The Truth Behind Books

When someone holds a book in their hands, do they understand that it is someone’s heart and soul they are holding? That a writer bled their heart into the world within that book for a year, five years, ten years, or even their whole life?

As writers, we fill the books we write with our own emotions, memories, knowledge, friends, family and more. The worlds come from a mixture of imagination, knowledge and past experiences. When reading a book, you’re quite literally reading someone else’s imagination. That’s quite a personal thing to do when you think about it.

Sometimes, the editing process of the novel can take some of the soul of the writer out of the books but some will always remain. You can usually see the limits of their imagination, how knowledgeable they are, the pain or joy they have felt at some point in their life, and many other things. When I read a novel, I try to take in the world and the essence of the person or persons that wrote it.

As a reader, can you make better sense of the writer through his words? Or do you just see the world that you’re reading?

The Truth Behind Books

The Big Move

I finalized my move from my hometown in Tasmania, to a new city in Victoria. During which, I wasn’t able to get much writing done or make much progress. I wasn’t able to read any more books this week or do anything at all really.

Sometimes life knocks us over for a little while, but I’m back up and I’m working hard again now. I’ll see you all next week.

The Big Move