Friday, July 24, 2015

Why I Write

Wow! I have not been on for way too long! Life keeps getting in the way of writing, which often feels backwards to me. Shouldn’t writing get in the way of life? At least, in an ideal world…

I was talking to my sister the other day about stress. I know we all have ways to deal with it. But I know that whenever I’m particularly stressed, when I can’t focus or even concentrate on the smallest thing, it’s because I don’t write.

Writing is the most cathartic practice I’ve ever participated in. I’ve missed it, and I usually know when I’m most stressed because I’m willing to give up sleep and food to try and balance my life with writing.

Today, I’ve been thinking a lot about how writing really makes up a large part of who I am, and it balances me as a person. There’s so many reasons why I love to write, and why it’s so important to me.

Here’s the top reason why I love to write:

1.       I’m a definite introvert. There are days when I’m maxed out on how many people I spend time with, especially as a nurse. I’m in and out of rooms, talking with patients, with families, coworkers – it’s exhausting. After a long day like that, it’s a relief to go home, pull out my computer and surround myself with nonexistent people. It’s a bit of a contradiction, but I know I can turn off my imaginary people. That’s not always possible with real people.

2.       No matter what I’m going through, I always know my characters are going through worse. Work has been rough. I’m not going to deny it. But as bad as it’s been, it’s never as bad as what my characters are going through. I’m currently bouncing between Servant as an Empire and King’s Councilor. In servant of an Empire, I’ve kept Kanya locked up in a freezing cold cellar with rats. In King’s Councilor, Cassie’s being tortured by telekinetic fireballs. Makes me appreciate my life a little bit more.

3.       It gets my brain going. Does this make any sense? When I’m stressed, I can’t stop obsessing about specific things, about what happens if… or I need to do… But when I’m writing, I turn all of that off. I’m concentrating on a different aspect of life, and often, after I finish writing, all of those obsessions have calmed down to a low roar.

4.       I love creating. I’ve always been someone who wants to make new things. Whether it be trying a new recipe, using a new crocheting pattern or attempting to draw (cough, cough), there’s always something that makes me incredibly happy when I can look at something, and say that I made it. These stories are the same way. These are my characters. They are my own creation, and I’m definitely proud of my accomplishments, even when I’m the only one who gets to enjoy them.

5.       I love the escape. Writing and reading serve the same purpose. It’s an escape from real life. With writing, I know the world so well that I can really immerse myself in it. I can jump into Xyheam or into Oren, escape the world I live in and explore another.

What about the rest of you? Why do you write?

Friday, July 3, 2015

The End Hook

This past week, I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading. When I say trying, it’s because I’m still terribly behind, but I did read 3 books since last Saturday.

I’ve heard the phrase that if you want to hook the reader you have to have a good first chapter, but if you want them to read the next book, you have to give them a satisfying ending. Not necessarily an ending that ties everything up in a little bow, but that makes them feel like you’ve met your promise from the beginning of the book. If you don’t do that, then there’s no guarantee that the reader will want to read the next one.

I never really understood that until this week.

Now, there’s obviously been books that when I finished went ‘meh’ and didn’t bother to read the next books, just because I didn’t feel that invested. The characters were fine, the plot was okay, but if I’m going to read something else from that author, I want more than fine. Otherwise, I want something new that will have a chance of wowing me.

This week, I started a book that I’d seen at the bookstore. It had great promise, and I loved the main characters. The story was crisp, and easy to follow. I read the entire book in about four hours because I had to know what happened.

But then the ending came.

This book was the first of a trilogy. When I got to the last 3-4 chapters, I started to get frustrated. Suddenly the story had morphed, it was no longer an action story, but it was entirely focused on a love triangle that really didn’t exist. Or should have been resolved by that point.

It ended on a cliffhanger, a really big one. And I debated between reading the next one. The ending was what swayed the decision toward no. I didn’t care anymore. I was frustrated with the author and with the characters, and I made the conscious choice not to continue the series.

Has this happened to you before? What makes you decide not to continue a series/trilogy?