Friday, 27 July 2012

Evolution of Feelings

As I continue to work on my newest WIP (the spy-thriller I’m calling ROGUE), and find myself doing as little as possible on EXCALIBUR, I’ve been really thinking about how my feelings change as towards my WIPs as time goes on. Here’s a look at how my feelings evolve when it comes to my projects:

OMG! I LOVE THIS!! The first stage is always the best. Often occurring during the planning stage and while I’m writing the first chapters of the novel, I can’t help that feel that not only will this novel be The One that gets me published, but it’ll be an instant best seller with a six-figure advance (which will get paid out in no time at all), and it’ll get its own movie*. I’ve got a blank page ahead of me, everything is shiny, new, and exciting. This WIP has so much potential!

Woo, yeah! This story’s great! Stage two comes about after I’ve written the first handful of chapters. It’s like I’ve suddenly realised that this WIP will take work. The enthusiasm is still there, but its dialled back a bit as I realise I’ve got a long journey ahead of me.

Must…stay…excited: The third stage bridges stage two and stage four. The passion mellows gradually during the middle of the book. I begin to realise that there probably won’t be a movie based on my novel, and maybe it won’t be a best seller. Heck, will I even be able to get it published? The once-shiny story is now beginning to show stains as I start to notice instances of poor dialogue, the odd plot hole, and other miscellaneous flaws. I start to dread the revision stage and inevitable feelings that accompany it.

I just need to make it to the end: During the last 10-15K, writing becomes a struggle. The passion is all but gone, replaced with a determination to finish because “I’ve come too far to give up now. If I shelve this thing half-written, I will have wasted 70-80K worth of writing.”

Woo! I’ve done it! …what’s next? Yes! I’ve finished the rough draft! This stage sees a surge in excitement for this story, because I’ve finished another novel. Well, not quite, but there’s a part of me that says “I’ve finished writing out this story, now what?” I never want to revise what I’ve written because “why would I want to go over something I’ve already written? I want to write something NEW!”

Ugh, I hate this: In the past, I’ve given into the feelings described above, and I’ve moved on to new projects. But the Responsible-Writer in me knows that I have to edit if I want to grow as a writer. So, I begin editing. But alas, I quickly pick up the glaringly obvious errors I missed in my previous gleefulness. The 2D characters and the bad prose makes me cringe. I don’t want to do this! I want to write something new! I feel like a kid looking out the window at the other children playing in the street**.

Kill! Kill it with fire! I make such slow progress, and the editing process seems so massive, that I lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, I want to print out my entire manuscript… and set it on fire. And watch it burn. And laugh. Like a maniac.

[Unknown]: Based on other people’s blog posts and Tweets, I can only assume that there’ll be one more stage: I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID! I LOVE YOU, MANUSCRIPT! YIPPEE!! Unfortunately, I’m yet to get to this stage. I usually get depressed during the earlier stages, and give in. What’s the point in working on something I have no love for?

That’s the eight stages of feelings I go through. Reading back through this post, it seems a little… I dunno, depressing. I swear it’s not all bad though. There are moments of bliss all through the writing and revision stage. And, although all seems dark and horrible when I’m pressed up against editing, the good does outweigh the bad. Honest.

So, over to you now: how do your feelings change as time goes by? Does the excitement slowly leave you over time, or do you remain happy and chirpy during the entire process? Let me know in the comments!

* Yes, I’ve already picked who I want to star in the film adaptation of ROGUE. What of it?

** This used to be me. Damn you, homework! There’s a reason my desk now faces away from the window.

Friday, 20 July 2012

They Must Fall to Rise

I saw the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises the other night. It was awesome (although I’m still undecided as to whether I like The Dark Knight better). I watched the first two films in the hours leading up to midnight, and watching the entire trilogy back-to-back got me thinking about one key lesson we can take away from the latest Batman films:

Heroes have to fall before they can rise.

I saw this in the final movie, but also in the trilogy as a whole. Our heroes have to be defeated over and over again, until it seems impossible for them to get up again and win. I won’t spoil The Dark Knight Rises, but The Dark Knight ends with Batman taking the fall for Harvey Dent/Two-Face, and all seems lost. What will he do when the entire city hates him? But, he manages to rise up and save Gotham in the final film.

I think the fact that Batman fails so many times makes his victory even more triumphant: we’ve seen him lose, and we’ve felt his pain and despair, so when he finally defeats the antagonists, we can pumps our fists in the air because he’s done it! By failing, we’ve seen that Batman isn’t some invincible hero who can do anything. In my opinion, this makes our masked crusader more relatable because he fails, just like the rest of us.

So, what are your thoughts? Do your heroes fall before they save the day in your novel? And, have you seen The Dark Knight Rises yet? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan on seeing it soon? Let me know in the comments section!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Just a Couple of Things...

So, just a short post from me today! I’m off to see Batman Begins and The Dark Knight tonight before the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises (which will technically be tomorrow!), so I’m just about ready to leave to watch that. You might remember that that I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at its midnight release, and I posted about here. Feel free to read (or reread) and comments (or recommend).

I’ve got a bit of an idea about what writers can learn from the Nolan’s Batman trilogy, so I’ll mull over that and hopefully blog about it for Friday. If you missed my other superhero post, you can still read it here.

I’ll also mention that I’m still going strong in the 10 Minutes for 100 Days editing challenge – the past few days have been tricky to find time, but I’m proud to say I have been editing for at least ten minutes every single day.

Your turn now: how have you been? Any new movies you know of that are worth seeing (because I don’t go to the movies enough (Ha! I wish! I’ve been to the cinemas far too often these past few weeks -_-)). Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Amazon Kindle: A Review

I got an Amazon Kindle for Christmas, and at the time I promised a review with my thoughts. It’s taken a little lot longer than I thought, but finally, I’ve used the eReader, and I’ve got my thoughts:

Features
There are heaps of features on the Kindle. In fact, there are far too many things for me to comment on. But here’s a few I think are worth mentioning:

The best thing (or worst, depending on how you look at it) about the Kindle is the fact that you don’t need a bookmark – the Kindle automatically opens up the last page you were on. This is cool because, as I said, you don’t need a bookmark. This also sucks because, if you’re like me and have a large collection of bookmarks, suddenly bookmarks are obsolete. Sad face.

Another feature of the Kindle is its inbuilt dictionary. If you come across a word you’re not familiar with, you place the cursor over the word, and check out the definition.

Other cool features (which I’ve tried, but don’t really use) are the highlight feature, and the note feature. You can highlight words, phrases, and sentences using the highlight feature, and make notes in the note feature.

One thing that I wish my Kindle had is either the touch feature or the keyboard. I’ve got the original Kindle, but there’re other versions out that that have an inbuilt keyboard, or a touch screen. Either of these features would be great for writing notes. My Kindle has a five-way directional button, which makes leaving notes difficult: I have to move the cursor around to each letter, rather than simply touch it. That said, I won’t be writing too many notes, but it’s still a feature I’d love.

Usability
The Kindle is extremely portable, and I love this. It’s small and light, and therefore takes up no room in my bag if I want to take it somewhere. (I took it to university once. Lots of fun!). I mean, it’s not as chunky as a paperback, so I don’t have it digging into my back, and it weighs a grand total of 167 grams (compared to an average 400-page trade paperback, which weighs 450-500 grams, or an average 400 pages mass market paperback, which weighs 250 grams). The only downside to having a soft copy of the book is that, because all your books are saved to the Kindle, only one person can read at a time. For example, my dad wants to buy some eBooks. But… if he’s using the Kindle, I can’t. If I’m using the Kindle, he can’t.

Physical vs. Virtual
I love love LOVE that I can buy books instantly on the Kindle. If I want a new book, I download it seconds. When I was reading hard copy books, I’d have to wait until someone I knew went near a bookstore. Also, the Amazon website is pretty much the largest bookstore in the world. This means that any book I want is right there for the reading. No more “we don’t stock this book”, or “sorry, we’re sold out. Try again next week?”.

What I do love about the physical side of books is the ability to create TBR piles. I’ve had a look through instruction manuals, and I’ve played around with the Kindle, but I can’t seem to create a virtual TBR pile. This probably doesn’t matter too much for your average reader, but I buy lots of books, and they usually sit on a TBR for months (example: I bought the book I’m currently reading back in December). So, without a TBR pile I wonder how I’m going to remember what to read next!

Another thing is the e-ink. I’ve tried to figure out exactly what it is, and I’ve surfed the internet, but I can’t quite wrap my head around it. But basically, have you ever noticed you can’t see anything when you take your mobile phone, laptop, or iPod out into the sun? e-ink means this doesn’t happen. It’s like magic. You can read outside and actually see the words!

eBook Prices
I got a bit of a shock in regards to eBook prices. Initially I thought eBooks were dirt cheap – no more than $5 a book, but that’s not always the case. Some books are cheap, but the latest releases are about $12. This is lower than the bookstores, but no cheaper than my local department store. So I’m a little disappointed in that regard. I prefer physical books, so I’m a bit disappointed that I’ve got a Kindle when I can buy hard copies for the same price.

Overall
I remember once saying on Twitter that I didn’t like eBooks, and they’d probably never take off. But now… well, I think eBooks are the future of reading. So, if you’ve got a negative view on eReaders, don’t be a noob like I was: I encourage you to try one first.

The Amazon Kindle is amazing. I love practically every aspect of it, but if I had to pick a favourite part, it’d definitely be that the eReader is so damn portable! I would recommend getting the Kindle Keyboard or the Kindle Touch, especially for writers. It would make the Kindle just a little bit easier to use, in my opinion.