Monthly Archives: October 2014

Time is an illusion, writing time doubly so.

So, what a difference two weeks or so can make. Since I last wrote about my plans for NaNoWriMo, I’ve had my work shifts increase in number, been thrust into the lead role for handling the projection equipment at church and had a family member go through a serious accident- all when I was close to burning out anyway. There have definitely been times when trying to just go through all the jobs that need doing now, before November even starts, have felt not only like treading water in the middle of the ocean, waiting to be rescued, but as if I were doing so with the anchor and chain off a battleship lashed around my legs- or at least that is the image that has come most readily to mind.

anchor

An anchor about this size is about what I’ve been picturing.

With all that, some of you must be asking yourselves, why would I even consider still going through with NaNoWriMo? In fact, there have been moments when I’ve even asked that of myself- but it’s not about winning for me this year. Don’t get me wrong, if circumstances permit, I’ll still try for the fifty thousand words, but this year the winning certificate is not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because writing has served as a means of stress relief for me in the past, a means of venting my frustrations without putting somebody else into the line of fire- and right now, I desperately need that. Anything else I get out of this will be a bonus this year.

Now, to get into an account of my writing preparations for November so far. There’s not a vast amount to report- I’ve worked the barest bones of my story, which is largely going to be a sword and sorcery style work of fantasy (and if anybody disputes whether a Christian like myself should be writing fantasy novels, I would refer you to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and in particular C.S. Lewis) and I’ve started work on the main characters and a map that still has a lot of blank space on it, that’s about as far as I’ve got at the moment.

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2014 – October 20th

And, with just under two weeks to go until National Novel Writing Month, NaNoToons starts up again- keep up the good work Errol and cohorts.

Nanotoons

Nanotoons_2014_10_20

Errol: Hello! It’s the 20th, and here’s the first comic! Huzzah! I don’t have a script for November, and I usually have one now, but that’s ok! It will be just like NaNoWriMo. Heh.

And yes, as you can surmise from this comic, the crew is going off to Night of Writing Dangerously!

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A series finished

Within the last week, I finished a set of fantasy books which I have been reading through for literally the last thirteen to fourteen years of my life, the Riftwar books by Raymond E. Feist- and honestly, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about being done with the series.

Some background here- back towards the beginning of the year, having seen other people I know commit to reading 52 books within the course of a single year, I looked at my own reading habits- and I didn’t like what I saw. Too often, I was either not reading at all, or I was reaching for books I already knew to return to stories I already knew rather than seeking to stretch myself through exposure to new stories. This, I decided, had to change, and so I chose to take up that same challenge of 52 books (or more) in 52 weeks- delving into some of the piles of books that had been accumulating, unread while I preferred to return to worlds both well known and well loved.

However, there was the little issue of my wanting- as part of this- to finish off at least one or two series’ of books that I had previously begun but never finished. In doing this, much as I wanted to focus on expanding my literary horizons, I recognised that I was going to have to accept that I would be doing at least a little re-reading- if only so that when I was finishing a series, I would be going into each book with a full and up to date understanding of what had come before, rather than a handful of half-remembered plot points that would no doubt turn out to be wrong. To that end, I had about eighteen books of the riftwar set that I ended up re-reading, placing me firmly at the end of the darkwar trilogy to make a final assault on the culmination of the series as each set of books dramatically upped the stakes on those before, bringing you finally to a point where the entirety of the known universe was at stake.

That’s the other thing about Raymond E. Feist’s work, being based on a world that was- at its most fundamental level- a spin-off from Dungeons and Dragons, the story does feel very much like the records of an ongoing campaign from a pen and paper roleplaying game- evoking images in my mind of the revolving-door afterlife, in which characters of sufficient power don’t tend to stay dead for terribly long, of players so invested in the characters that they have built thatthey end up creating entire lineages of basically the same character archetype (for example Jimmy, son of Jimmy, grandson of James- all of whom are approximately the same character thrust into slightly different circumstances at different stages in their lives) and indeed the idea that “there’s an elf for that” with new tribes of elves introduced into the story as the plot created a demand for them.

But, having now finished the series, there’s a part of me that wishes it were still ongoing- even if it weren’t trying to outdo itself with bigger and bigger threats to life itself (because there’s unequivocally no room, nor any foreshadowing to give it scope to do so), there’s a part of me that still wants to be a fly on the wall in the world of Midkemia, watching the cut and thrust of politics between Roldem, Kesh, Queg, the Free Cities and the Kingdom of the Isles-  and yet, on the other hand, I’ve often held to the view that the best writers are the ones who know when to end a story rather than keep going- and all things considered, I think this is one of those cases, no matter how much I wish this were not the case.