Part 5 needs some planning before starting. I'm going to try to keep it short, too. Finish this madness off in a reasonable manner.
Also I had an epiphany last night: I really FREAKING LOVE TO WRITE.
Yeah I know, I'd figured this out before, but hear me out. I shall now elaborate. WARNING: SELF-INDULGENCE TO FOLLOW. ALSO IT IS LONG SO JUST SKIP IT IF YOU DON'T CARE.
I started writing because I read books and though 1. I could do better 2. I had a plethora of awesome stories to tell. I'm not really that arrogant, I swear, I just felt like I was capable of writing just as good as a published author. Or at least enough to give it a try.
So when I wrote Lacrymosa, that sucker was PURE. I wrote it by hand (at least about 120,000 words of it; the last 30 I finished off on a computer) in notebooks I bought from Walmart. In pencil. Legibly, so others could read it. Yes, that actually happened. It was over the course of an entire year, but I loved that thing. Writing by hand meant every word mattered, every scene had to be exactly how I wanted it, because I'd be damned if I was going to erase an entire page to fix a dumb mistake.
Harbinger was on the same vein. This was the summer after first taking Brandon's class and actually "getting serious" about writing. Up until that point I'd considered it a fun diversion or side job; after the class I really wanted to at least try to make a living off writing.
It was that drive that kind of burned me.
Where Gods and Mortals Dance was when I stopped writing whatever I wanted and started writing "for serious." I'd proved I could write a book with Lacrymosa, and I proved I could write one in less than two years with Harbinger. I realized that I could write, but now the issue was to whether or not I could write well. WGMD was an attempt to both branch out (it was a novel meant to be more political than violent, with a slower pace) and to write something I'd actually consider showing to an agent/editor (which now I don't agree with).
This was also about the time that writing became more and more of a chore and less of a self-indulging hobby.
I blame the fact that whenever you do something as a job you have a tendency to start disliking it. They tell you to "find a job doing something you love," but even if you love something doing it over and over and having it be what keeps your food on the table can always cause a level of stress. I'm not saying I started hating writing - far from it - but the mechanics were starting to bog me down. I had a good dozen hours of Writing Excuses on my brain, two batches of writing groups to take into account, and who knows how many college courses, training, and articles on writing I'd been rabidly consuming over the past years. Every sentence I'd write would quickly become self-edited, each scene picked apart before it was even written, every plot arch examined.
Now this is a good thing, unless it goes overboard. And considering I'd only done the basics of planning up until this point, I was totally overwhelmed.
It was this phase of my writing, the "it better be good because you'll never make a career out of it if you don't" that spawned WGMD, Paradise Seekers, and Steelgods. It also provided the base inspiration for Effulgent Corruption, though I'm glad now I didn't write it at that time. Stuff was good but not great; I was transitioning from "hobby-level commitment" to "I really want this to work" level, which was both stressful and exciting (I did write lots during that time).
So now we are here now. The initial bits of Effulgent Corruption were the tail end of that phase. I was frustrated with it constantly, enjoying parts but when I'd re-read them I'd decide it was the worst stuff ever. It wasn't until recently that I think I finally broke through.
It was probably during Part 3, Rook's part. Everything up until this point had been great but not grand. Things fit together but nothing "clicked," with the novel still a foreboding shadow of massiveness (which it still is, but that isn't the point). When I started Rook's part I had literally no idea where it would go minus the basics. I wrote a few chapters, things were going ok, but nothing was great.
Then I went on a walk with my wife to brainstorm because I was mad, and something clicked. Everything, including things discovery written for fun earlier in the book, all fit together. It was like I'd had all the puzzle pieces, each all fine and good, and I knew they should fit together but didn't know how. That night was when I saw the box and realized how it could all fit. It was an epiphany, to be certain.
This was also when I realized I could write a lot, enjoy writing, and still be a "business" about it. I don't know if I reached a certain level of writing (or a certain level of "not caring") but it was easy to just write whatever and roll with it. I could stop worrying about if a scene was perfect or made sense now; I can always edit it later, who cares. I have a story to tell, and I'm going to tell it regardless of whether or not it sells or is perfect.
So I sort of ended that abruptly, sorry. Just know I'm still very much writing, I'm going to finish Effulgent Corruption before WorldCON if it kills me, and...that's about it.
Expect some book reviews coming soon. Those awaiting ones I promised: I haven't forgotten, I swear. I'm just a slow reader.
Here's a bit from EC. Sort of spoilers, but I've done my best to keep it as small as possible.
The weight of his sword was but an extension of his arm. Drake stepped forward, gripping it with both hands, mind suddenly awash with years of training and experience. The Corrupter blinked, her eyes black as pitch, and at the center of each eyelid was set a single shard of sparkling Gangrene.
“Drakon Lliar,” she said loudly, her voice showing no hesitation. “I knew I should have killed you in that cell all those years ago.”
“A pity, seeing as I’ve come to do the same to you,” Drake hissed, curling his toes and feeling the hot sand beneath. “Have you a hidden escourt of Zealots, waiting to spring from the sidelines to tear me apart?”
“Hardly,” the Corrupter smiled. “I don’t need them. Something you don’t understand, Marked, is exactly how powerless you are against me. You may think me thin or frail, feminine and petite. I am none of these things. I have been called the Ashen Destroyer, the Consumer of Marked. Minerva, the Maw’s Guardian. You would do better to smash your head against rocks in an attempt to crack them than raise arms against me.”
Drake gripped the sword tighter, refusing to take in the intimidation. “Talk more, ‘Ashen Destroyer.’ *spoiler sentence removed* You are the only thing standing between me and my freedom.”
“Freedom…” Minerva suddenly looked wistful, as if lost in thought. “Freedom…”
There was a silence, and then she spoke again. “You are a fool. So long as those Marks are in your hands, you will never be free. Your enslavement is determined; you are as much a prisoner as I am. Even if you are out of the Maw, you still belong to them. It’s too late for you.”
Drake wasn’t sure what to make of that. He grit his teeth, steadying the blade.
“Enough talk. You are the final barrior. Die like the gods!”
Minerva smiled as Drake roared, righting the blade and rushing the Corrupter like divine fire.
Effulgent Corruption - Burn