Thursday, October 24, 2002

Arg! I’ve been trying to post this to my writing journal all day, but the FTP server keeps conking out on me. So, I’ll post it here and sort this out later (it should have been posted at 3:48 p.m. yesterday).

So. I wrote five paragraphs last night.

It was five paragraphs of fiction, and fiction I’m proud of, which was the important bit. Other than an ill-advised horror short story, I haven’t written a word of fiction in about three years.

It’s odd. I got my first computer when I was 14, and after a whirlwind romance with Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, I began writing my own fantasy novel. Yes, just like every other 14-year-old who reads The Lord of the Rings. But how many of them put it online?

Anyvay, while I never finished my Great American Fantasy Novel (okay, I sort of finished A Joining of Powers, but it ended up being a novella), I continued writing fiction for years. Some of it was science fiction and some of it was fantasy, but I was always writing something. Then college intervened with all the subtlety of the Tazmanian Devil, and whenever I had the urge to write, I found I had something to study for.

(I wonder if the traditional approach to schooling — (1) Listen to professor, (2) Wait for test, (3) Study for test — isn’t fundamentally wrong, but that’s a subject for another entry.)

After college, I wrote a few things for Daemonsong, and attempted to write a few scripts for my animated projects, but nothing materialized. Had I lost my Muse?

No; I’d just tuned him out (yes, my Muse is a him…and his name is Murray, thank you). Writing requires a certain frame of mind, a certain openness to story ideas and characters. Once you’ve been writing for awhile, in the middle of a conversation with a co-worker you’ll find yourself thinking, This would make a great sub-plot for a mystery story. For some people, this frame of mind comes naturally, while for others, their mind has to grow into that frame of mind as it gets used to writing. And if you stop writing for a while, your mind stops generating those ideas. Or ignores them, I’m not sure which.

In any event, thanks to a talk with Saalon, I decided to take a story idea from several years ago, develop it into a setting, and write vignettes set in that setting. The idea is to have something I can write, just for myself, that will get me back into the writing frame of mind. I’m forcing myself to be as freely creative as possible — if I want to introduce a character, I’ll just introduce him or her, making up everything off the cuff if I haven’t thought of it ahead of time.

It went well. I enjoyed myself, and my policy of free creativity allows me to just enjoy the act of writing on a level that I haven’t felt for years.

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