New ideas.

So I hate my brain. In the dark, cold recesses of the night. When I should be doing something important like sleeping, my brain is at work.

Some people think about work, or the money troubles that we all seem to be in. But for me, I am thinking about a story idea. Not an old story idea, but it is usually a new story idea.

This time, I thought of a new story centered around the idea of writing a story in the early bronze age.

That was the catalyst of the story. I have talked more about that concept in previous blog posts.

So, then I created a character. Arn. He is a 16 year old son of a tribal Chief. His tribe has been enslaved and killed at the beginning of the story. He is the last of his people and now he must find some way to move forward when all he feels is despair and anger.

The world is a land of mythical beasts, God’s demon’s and demi-gods. They all walk on the earth and meddle in the affairs of the puny mortal humans.

I have created a mythos of the gods. I have created a break down on the land and the different peoples. Magic has been created. I have written the first chapter.

The worst part is that I am excited to write this story. My mind is plotting out the story even now as I type this. I want to write it and get in onto paper.

But I have so many different projects to do.

Why brain? Why!

A short one today.

Until next time.

The Horror! The Torture! The College Students!

Well. It’s been a while since I talked to you all. Today I am going to talk to you about perspective and beginner writers.

There are many different people that will have there own opinion and knowledge on the subject. Many of whom are much smarter than I am and are much better writers as well.

But today I am going to give my opinion on the subject as I am an opinionated S.O.B. and I feel like standing on the soap box.

You see, yesterday I wrote the majority of this blog post in a tiny note book as I was being tortured by an unspeakable horror. I was taken captive by my wife to go to listen to her college creative writing class read portions of there ‘manuscripts’. (Please note that I did find about four of the story exerts enjoyable. My wife’s was included in that number.)

I use the term manuscript lightly.

In there defense, they are all mostly beginners and they don’t know any better. They don’t know about show, don’t tell (unless you want to). They don’t know about proper dialogue techniques. Or plotting methods to make a story easier to plot out. They don’t know about a lot of things that only experience gets you.

But all of that is okay. I can usually ignore those mistakes and enjoy the moment. I can usually try and turn off that critical part of my brain. To simply enjoy listening to these passionate new writers enjoy the beginnings of their journeys as writers. But I couldn’t. Not that night.

Which is why I wrote this blog post on a tiny note book at the back of the crowded room.

The reason for my lack of enjoyment was the fact that most of the writers wrote their pieces in First Person Perspective. Author after author did it. Like herpes, it spread to most of the class and wouldn’t go away.

So as I sat there, I wondered why did they do it? The first answer to jump into my mind was that it is a college setting and it is all ‘Literary’ fiction. And that theory is possible. But there was a fantasy novel and a historical one. There was a Horror and a couple comedies. Maybe the fact that colleges push the notion of ‘Literary’ fiction isn’t the case.

Maybe the teacher gave them permission and encouragement to do First Person? And that theory is also possible. The teacher is trying to get them to put pen to paper and if a student was going to write in first, who is he to stop him. She is writing, right? Right?

Or maybe the students were all lazy and thought that writing it in First Person was the easier way to go? They are college kids after all and most of them don’t have fine arts majors. This class was supposed to be an easy elective to break up the hardship of their major. A reprise.

My theory is that it is a mix between the second and the third theories. The teacher gave permission and encouragement. And the students were just being lazy. The students took what looked like the easy road.

But is First Person Perspective the easier way to go. Is it easier than Third Person Limited?

My opinion is no. It is not easier. It seems like it at first glance. Like that flat straight farming road. No turns or curves as far as the eye can see. But just beyond sight are dangers. by taking this road for it can quickly turn into a mud pit if you don’t tread carefully.

First Person is more restrictive than Third Person Limited.

In First Person you can’t see or hear anything outside of the range of your main character’s sight and hearing. If the main character can’t see it or hear it, they don’t know about it.

That leads to situations where it is impossible to move the plot forward. Or the plot moves forward but the writer has no way to tell the reader what is going on as the main character doesn’t know. It is also very hard to hide anything from the reader without coming off as cheating.

It is very hard to jump back and forth in time and forget about showing a different characters Point-of-View as writing a book with multiple First Person Point-of-View’s is not something anyone should try. Too many ‘I’s’ to keep track of. There is no ‘I’ in team.

In Third Person Limited, you are inside the Point-of-View of one specific character. You can hear the thoughts of that character when you want to. Or not as you see fit. You can’t, however, hear the thoughts of other characters around the Point-of-View character.

That is Third Person Omniscient and different than Third Person Limited. Also not apart of this blog post.

In Third Person Limited, you can run into similar problems as First Person. It is limited as the reader is only experiencing what the Point-of-View character experiences. He has no knowledge of what is happening on the other floor, etc. But with Third Person Limited, you can always jump into the Point-of-View of another character to let the reader know what was happening. If is easy to hide things from the reader without coming off as cheating.

Like First Person, you are still describing the setting, etc from the Point-of-View’s perspective. The intimacy that comes from a First Person Perspective story is still in a Third Person Limited, but just less of it and only at the authors discretion. However, with Third Person Limited a standard pitfall is the characterization coming off as hollow or only skin deep.

So does First Person have a time and place to be used?

Simple answer. It does.

On the other side of an airlock.

Four Books

Wow. I mean wow.

After I did the blog about productivity and stuff, I started to think about the projects that I have on the go.

I have my ‘When the Lights Go Out’, ‘Culture Shock’, ‘Space Courier’, and ‘Felix the Swift Part One’.

But that is nothing that I haven’t  blogged about before. I have been talking about them since I have started this blog.

Here is the wow. Before a day ago, I had three of those books in some part of editing. Some needing more edits than others. One in particular might not get published.

After I started think about my projects and the discussion on the Dead Robots Society Podcast about publishing series of books as the way to make money. Also about how there is a trend for shorter length work. Which I am not against writing.

I came to a conclusion. My Felix the Swift book. Originally started as a single novel with bits and pieces being told as flashbacks. I then decided that the flashbacks were too strong to be flashbacks and needed to be a full part of the story. The length of the book went from approx. 90k  to 180k. I then split it into two novels.

As of this writing I have 77k written in book one, while 30k written in book two. I expect another 15k min to be in part one and that is me keeping the plot of the rest of the part down to the bare minimum. I have an end scene for a book. It is really cool.

However. To write the rest of the book the way that I want to do I expect that I will need to  add 5ok at least onto the 77k that I currently have. So what do I do with the added words? My aim is to have 90k books max. Solution. Pull the novels back to 80k and add a third book.

Boom. Felix the Swift is now a Trilogy.

All I need to do is to get the currently projected 15k up past my 50k that I want to do and get it to 80k. An extra 30k. I have plans on how to do that. Other characters that I can make POV. Twists to put into it to get the characters from where they are at the end of book one to my dramatic end scene that was end scene book one, but is now end scene book two.

I am excited.

It means that out of the four projects on the go at the moment, all four of them have a book in editing. First drafts are done.

That means I am in editing. This is utterly awesome.

The next question is, should I publish these books sooner or wait until I have all of the books planned complete?

I am not sure. But that is a question for another day and another blog.

If anyone reading this has a suggestion on what I should do, please comment.

Cheers.

Nathan Pedde

Ramblings: New writers, help, and old writers

So I am apart of a couple Facebook writing groups and I have been apart of other groups in the past. From what I have seen there are two types of group out there. The ones that help out new writers and those that don’t. This generally goes along for other creative things like photography and drawing etc.

I am not sure what the differences are between the different groups as a lot of time they have the same members in the groups. But the good groups give real help to those that need help. The bad ones troll the newbies and make them feel bad for not knowing things that only time, experience and burning through a shit ton of words will get the author.

I think that helping new writers is all well and good, but is it something that an experienced author should worry about? Is it something that I should worry about? Is it something that I should spend my time on those Facebook groups helping noobs with there questions?

There is arguments that can be made against helping out new writers. The argument goes that the amount of money to be made is finite and by encouraging new writers, you are taking the potential amount from your piece of that and making that smaller. More writers equal less money. So if you are going to try to do that for a living, then why would you spend the time helping someone out that can take money from your pocket?

Years ago I used to work in the film industry in Vancouver before I got a family and got a job that paid the bills better. (That is a story for a later date.) Anyways, in that industry the film crew is very departmentalized. The sound guys are separate from the lighting guys. The grips are separate from the set decorators. Some departments, like sound, do not like training up new people.

They argue that they don’t want more people stealing there work. And I understand there point of view. I was in the lighting department, well a permittee. And during one of the mad rushes of insane amount of work, they brought in members from affiliated unions to help fill the positions. It kept me from getting my hours needed to become a full member. The way I understand it is if they didn’t bring in those other members, I could have gotten my hours needed. I would have gotten work. By making it harder for new workers to get in, they protect the workers that they have. It kinda makes sense. Kinda.

Does that make any sense in the writing context? The answer is no. There isn’t a finite number of units sold each month. The number fluctuates wildly and a single consumer is going to buy multiple books from a wide ranging authors. And ebooks are so cheap in comparison to traditional books. Today the consumer is able to buy 3 or 4 ebooks per traditional book bought just 10 years before. He is more likely to splurge on another book because of the price.

So now that I have shot down the argument of finite book sales, is there a reason that you should help new authors?

The answer is simple. As you develop as an author, you get tunnel vision. If you look at some of the main stream, household name authors, they can get to the point where they are able to publish anything. Doesn’t matter what it is about or how good it is. There name alone will sell it like hot cakes. They can get away with stuff that most indies cannot. (I am sure you know the authors that I am talking about.)

As an author who has been writing for a decade, I know that I still have a lot to learn. Hell, I am not even published yet. Helping out new authors is a step on that learning process. Teaching noobs, even if it is only by blog posts and Facebook replies, can help you from getting tunnel vision. They get you to think outside of the box and look at your craft in different ways. Those ways can help you learn in more ways than you know.

As a final point, my 6 year old is interested in everything space, and science. I like looking at space, but it wasn’t and isn’t as big of interest as it is to my son. He loves it so much that he is asking questions about everything. He knows what a bloody black hole is. I had to look it up to get the non-movie version of it. He is like a sponge.

To help him learn, as a good parent, it is up to me to make sure that if his able to ask the question, than I need to be able to give him a sufficient answer for his intelligence level. (Some things will confuse him. He is 6 after all.) But in order to do that, sometimes (more than I care to admit to him yet) I have to spend some time on Wikipedia to learn it first so I can teach him.

That is what teaching new people does to the older ones. It helps the older ones learn more as they teach them. And I think that it is a good thing. I think that all authors, no matter what the experience level is at should be willing to help others as they ask for it. It is also of my opinion that those troll writing groups should be shut down from lack of members.