Thursday, 31 May 2012

A Good Week

Well.... what can I say about this week?

On Monday I started reading again, specifically a bunch of Darren Shan books, mostly his Saga of Darren Shan series. First off, I love them and I love how they develop. The gradually get darker and darker as the character of Darren delves deeper and deeper into the realms of the Vampires and the Vampeneze. Initially I got these books on my Kindle because I’d seen the movie ‘Cirque du Freak’, based on the first couple of novels, and really quite enjoyed it, even if it was a little childish at times. The books though are almost entirely different. Things happen a lot slower but you can see the plots growing and getting more and more complex as Darren ages and learns more about his new people. The film, in comparison, shoves huge chunks of the novels together, giving Darren his nemesis almost instantly and revealing almost all the information about the character of Mr Tiny within the first hour. Characters are switched around, brought in too early, completely left out or just created out of nowhere (You know who I’m talking about little monkey-girl).
Secondly, about the books, they helped me realise something about my own writing. You may know if you’ve read my archives, numerous as they are (*cough*) that I’ve been having trouble editing my completed novel. Since I’ve started working on the first page I’ve always felt that something wasn’t quite right about it. When I was reading the Shan Saga, as I refer to it, I realised that it was possible that I was using the wrong perspective. So I switched it around. I’ve spent this week rewriting my manuscript in 1st person and already I’m seeing an improvement in the writing.
The trouble with my story is that it’s somewhat of a mystery. I’ve got some characters that know everything, some that only know parts and one that hasn’t a clue what’s going on. The temptation with writing all that in third person though is to reveal too much. All too often I found myself writing exposition that wasn’t needed or was coming too soon, now that I’ve switched perspectives though I’ve stopped that happening. The reader is only told as much as my main character knows, which at the end of the day, isn’t an awful lot. I’m actually starting to believe that I’m going to be able to finish editing this novel and make another step down the path to being published. 

I’ve also been working on my newest web-comic idea oSaM. The script was finished at the beginning of May and I’m now halfway through the edits/rewrites. It’s a fun thing to do and it feels like it’s going the way I want again. It’s also helping me stay inspired about the story itself and while I’m rewriting I keep coming across all these things about my characters that I didn’t know. It’s a lot of fun.
I’ve been drawing as well while I rewrite, sketching my characters and mostly doing anatomy studies. While I’m still unsure about the style I plan to use a good grasp of anatomy is essential when drawing any form of humanoid. In the past I’ve not bothered trying to learn and as a result my characters have looked odd and out of proportion. Now though I’m happy to say that even in my most cartoony of styles they’re looking normal and it’s easy to take a step towards imagining them in reality.

Basically, I’ve had a good week full of creativity.

There is a big painting bubbling away in the back of my mind though so who knows, next week I might even be able to talk about that.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

On Writer's Block and Real Life

I’ve not posted much in the past few weeks, I know that. The main reason for this is the complete lack of motivation I’ve felt recently. I’ve mentioned writer’s block before, in several posts in the past, saying that it’s just an excuse for being purely lazy. In the recent weeks though I’ve come to realise that there may be more to it than just laziness. 

Life has a way of getting to us all. We all have different coping mechanisms, some people find new relationships, others take up exercise and others still find a new hobby. My coping mechanism seems to be that I lose any motivation to write, or if I am writing I don’t want to talk about it. I’ve been jobless for the past three months. This may not seem too bad, particularly in light of the economic situation at the minute, but job searching has a way of getting to you. The constant applications and rejections slowly start to wear down at my self esteem, making me feel more and more like a failure. I lose the motivation not just to apply for jobs but for a lot of other things, including writing and drawing. I’ve felt myself slipping into that black hole of despair that many writers and artists teeter on the edge of and in the past week or so I’ve clawed my way back into the sunlight.

I managed to finish the Script Frenzy script, I’ve been writing random one-shots based in that universe for a group I’ve joined on LiveJournal and I’m starting to feel a whole lot better about myself. Part of this is due to simple comments on my writing that I’ve received through the group, little things like they like certain parts of the stories or random little nuggets of the text that I slipped in because my mind goes a little loopy after 8pm. I even got a call yesterday about a job. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get it as it would require me to have a driving license which I sadly lack but the fact that that was the only thing holding me back from it just served to reassure me.

But the fact of the matter is that I did get writer’s block and lost all motivation. But it wasn’t because I’m lazy and not because I believe that the creative muse is a fickle beast that flitters off like a butterfly at inappropriate times but because I’m human and I got sad. It’s something to think about and it has really made me realise how much life can affect us all in ways we didn’t even realise.

So, as I sit here on this rainy Thursday afternoon I ask that you remember this when decrying writer’s block. It’s a large generic term that too often gets used as an excuse but when it comes down to it writer’s block is a cover all term that simply says that the writer can’t write. Not because the ideas aren’t there but because there’s something else going on in their lives. Distractions are things that will and do happen to us all.

It’s life after all. Live it.