I am going to pretend we all are friends and you have a fairly good idea of how my mind works so let’s get down straight to it.
Writing is hard work. I know many people think it’s all sitting in coffee shops dressed hipsterishly, sipping on overpriced coffee while writing a word every five minutes or so until somehow, magically, you have a book.
That cannot be further from the truth.
For one thing, you usually don’t have money for overpriced coffee. For another, asking a writer to put on clothes other than pajamas is usually asking for too much. (This is, of course, a generalization and not all authors spend all their lives in pajamas. Just the majority of it.)
When I wrote The Road of the Lost I first came to appreciate how difficult storytelling can be. I came to know how much the story is influenced by the character telling the story. Croi, the protagonist of The Road of the Lost is a very eccentric, a very loud, character and writing her is in some ways easy. She always says everything that comes to her mind. She’s irreverent and optimistic with loads of energy. The Road of the Lost is written in first person present and I realized how limited I am by the perspective when it comes to worldbuilding. In first person, the world can be built to the extent the protagonist knows it and as she finds out more about the world, so do the readers. You can’t talk about politics or economy or anything if the protagonist has no idea about these things.
In my newest writing project, The Fire Within, I have chosen to use 3rd person omni because I may as well pull out all of the stops to build this world that is just so intriguing in my mind. Of course I am not entirely sure I am even capable of transcribing the vision in my mind to words on the page but since this world belongs to me, I will do my best.
And gosh, my best is currently kicking my ass.
As a reader, I know that swathes of info-dumping, though sometimes necessary, can often lose the reader. So I am trying to maintain a fair distribution of action and movement while establishing the fictional world and it’s tough.
So tough that I have had to resort to longhand because the whiteness of the computer screen mocks me in ways I don’t want to think about.
I write a “dirty draft” where sentences and words are flung haphazardly at the page not even pretending to try to make sense. Tonight I will attempt a first draft where I will do a better job of trying to make sure my sentences sound like sentences and not a green monkey’s laugh.
Show don’t tell is always the mantra with writers and for good reason because as a reader, I know that being told how a character feels is very different from being shown the same thing. But as a writer, I don’t often know how to show the thing my character feels.
But I guess that’s the challenge of any thing you do. Strive at it and hope you learn it before you pull all your hair out.