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It's spring break here, and while I'm not going on an exotic vacation to a far off land where there will be lots of rowdy wild fun, I will be going on an exotic vacation to a far off land of the imagination. I'm not sure yet on the wild fun aspect of the adventure just yet, but I can guarantee it will be an adventure.

There might be the assumption that I'm talking about my own book writing adventuring. That will certainly be happening, but today I'm going to talk about how that adventuring will be happening when I read (and game, I confess I do plan on playing a great deal of video games too).

See, the kids and I are reading books together this break. It's been a lot of fun for them as well as for me. Reading is important and not just because it works your brain in a new way. It invites the imagination, and if you don't like fiction you can still use your imagination with non-fiction too. You learn something new when you read, I think that one is a given. Whether it's a life lesson, or just a new fact. Reading also teaches patience as there is no immediate gratification involved. You have to wait to turn those pages. Earn each one. Work for the story to get to the end and devote time to it.

That last one is the thing that keeps me from doing it the most. I confess, it is hard for me to sit down and dedicate an hour of my time to reading. Because I need at least an hour or I won't stay immersed enough in the story to make real progress. I'm a slow reader and it takes me time to really get into a book. Ten minutes here and there is like when I take ten minutes to do writing: I just don't connect the way I should. At the very least, I need half an hour of time to dedicate to the story. So I'm trying to work on that. Letting myself have time to slip away.

Because it's important to take a vacation of some kind.

And that's how I'm spending Spring Break. On vacation, in a book, and remembering I don't need to be in the NOW all of the time.
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A few weeks ago I wrote about Bing, my charming boy stuck in a world of extraordinary people when he couldn't do anything. Then I wrote about a nameless boy who got hired on by a bakery who had a super power that unlocked any safe. Today, the story continues with a dream where these two guys met two girls, and a third guy. All of them had some kind of strange power. One girl was ditzy and turned the world into a musical. One guy was broody and did something weird with paint...or maybe it was food. It had something to do with his emotions being tied into whatever it was he did.

All of them were enrolled into some kind of University as incoming freshman (except for Musical girl, she was the head of the welcoming committee and an upperclassmen).

As I lingered in my nap, the tentative title of "Trope University" popped into my head. This title reflected how the story would challenge and explore tropes in fiction with this set of characters. I'm not sure the title is going to stick. Most of my titles don't.

However, this might end up becoming another blog exclusive title as I explore the possibilities within these characters.
cloudsriser: (water touched)
My last post I shared a dream I had. There were more details to that dream, but I'm not going to share them. What I am going to talk about, is how from that single element from the dream turns into a full length novel.

That's how I create. I get a small tidbit of an idea. A tiny moment that might seem insignificant in nature, and turn it into something bigger. Most of my ideas come to me at random. My inspiration doesn't come from watching a favorite TV show or reading a well written book. Those things certainly give me an appreciation for storytelling, and I might get ideas on how I can tell my own stories. The ideas that I concoct, however, come from another place.

I call them divine musings. There's no other way to describe it. I'm almost positive my brain was pieced together to do this. To create something from nothing. To get deep here, it's part of the reason God is real to me. Coincidences are only coincidences a certain number of times before I have to start wondering if it's fate. In order for there to be fate, there has to be a greater power. But I don't want to get on a big ramble about all of that just now.

The question I get asked the most is: Where do your ideas come from? Each time I get asked, I struggle with how to answer. Saying a dream isn't quite right. My ideas come from more than a dream. They just...poof...into my mind. Okay? POOF! I couldn't stop it even if I tried. Any time I've stopped writing, the ideas still come, and they don't leave until I deal with them appropriately. I have a massive list of stories to be told. Some of them, I end up combining into more massive adventures than I originally intended. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. For every one book I release, there's another five I tried and failed at.
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I have a lot of editor friends and they're always griping about how authors don't do enough self-editing and all that jazz. When I edit for other people, I get this complaint because there are some errors I see where I go: "Really? Really author? How did you not notice this?"

Then I remember, I need to be gentle about these sorts of things. I remember the comments I got on old manuscripts that frustrated me and made me cry because I wanted to tell my editor: "Please, understand, I'm not trying to make you miserable!"

Here's the truth: Self-editing is hard.

First of all, from personal experience, I was never trained in all of the complicated rules of grammar. There were a number that were left out of my school curriculum because grammar has, essentially, turned into a crash course unit that's given in about a week, maybe two. As education shifts and changes, so does the way our storytellers produce their tales. Style is constantly changing and has over the centuries.

It is important for authors of the future to learn the rules of grammar, listen to their editors, and understand the craft that they are working in. Be open to learning and expanding. It is also important for those who do know the rules to be patient, not condescending, and willing to share their knowledge so future storytellers are not snuffed out because they are turned away from their art.

The second reason self-editing is hard? That moment when an author has spent hours upon hours, days upon days, months upon months, and sometimes even years, staring at that story trying to figure out all of the spots where it needs to be cleaned up before it even makes it to an editor. Words start to blur together, and the whole things feels like a mass of gibberish. In that moment, the author must choose: Keep trying, put it in a drawer until they can stand to look at it again, or say "I did my best, and now it's at the mercy of the gods."

Honestly, I do feel bad for my editors. I know that I could do a lot better. I promise, I'm not lazy, and I am trying my best to learn and grow and fix it myself too. Every day, I grow a little bit more in what I do, and get a tiny bit better at finding my mistakes. I look back at things I wrote ten years ago and am amazed at just how far I've come. So yes, editors, I am sorry that my book is always a mess. Possibly even a train wreck level of one. I'm sorry. I respect you and what you do. I value you and every grueling hour you put in looking at my work. I thank you for going to such great lengths to make my work be anything close to resembling amazing.

Please, just understand that it isn't a mess on purpose. That's all I ask, and to be patient and kind as you help me to continue to get better.


Feb. 28th, 2017 03:32 pm
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I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. I've said it before, it is not my specialty. That being said, I am determined to keep getting back on the horse. I think part of the problem is that I get nervous about sharing too many opinions on the internet. People get too opinionated, and then they get attacked for sharing those opinions that are supposedly trying to present themselves as facts, or just that they have the "wrong" opinion in general.

So, I'll just say this right now: what I write here is usually going to be stream of consciousness OPINION and I will not try to pass that off as fact. If I talk about writing, I'll just state it how *I* see it, and I am fully aware that what I see and think and feel doesn't count for everyone.

And I'm okay with that, by the way. I'm okay if you don't hold the same thoughts as I do on the subject. There's one bit of blog going on about how writers shouldn't write so many books in a year because obviously that means they're not going to be very good. Opinion based on one writers experience. I'm not going to be writing things like that, or at least trying not to. Going on that same topic, though, I might say it's important to keep the quality up and that I've seen authors lose said quality by trying to put out books in a short turn-around period. Hey, I've done this myself and I am deeply ashamed of it. However, it is not my place to put a timeline on that for anyone.

See? Opinion, pure opinion. Pure stream of consciousness. Right now, those thoughts might be disjointed because I'm still recovering from a "traumatic" brain injury. Mild concussion thanks to a car accident, and just when I think I'm better, I wonder if I'm not. Having never had one of these before, I can't tell what is a result of the accident and what is just me being grumpy/tired/blech. Because I do get tired, grumpy, and especially hangry, often.

I had been a part of a blogging contest for a while, but I dropped out because I was feeling too disjointed and blech with my blogging abilities. However, the organizer of this contest did mention how continuing to exercise my brain in such a fashion might be beneficial to my recovery, so I don't want to give up blogging all together - and I did say I was going to try to be more connected with my audience. Still, part of why I dropped out is because it's hard for me to be able to think completely concretely and when it comes to things like contests I'm incredibly picky.

So this is me saying, yet again, that I am going to try to blog regularly. I'm not sure what about, and I'm not sure how this is going to go, or if I'll drop off the face of the planet - again. What I can say is that I'm going to try, and hopefully get back to thinking like a solid human being.

We'll see what happens, right? This is my first step into getting back to writing. It's been a lot harder to do than I originally anticipated.


Feb. 15th, 2017 06:36 pm
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I see this hashtag a lot: #likeaboss, and ya know, it's a good hashtag. Thing is, I don't want to just be like a boss. I want to BE the boss, so that's why I started #iamtheboss. What's the difference?

Being the boss means I'm getting it done. I don't pretend I have the power - I actually have it. Having the power is something we can all do even if we aren't technically "the boss". Which, I think is where #likeaboss comes from. Being the boss even if you aren't the "real" boss. However, just because we don't have the fancy official promotion doesn't change being a boss of our own lives.

So I'm using #iamtheboss. I'll probably still also use #likeaboss too, but for those of you who are wondering what that hashtag even means, there you go. I AM the boss. Literally and figuratively, and I'm not going to be ashamed of that!

Got a lot of big things coming up soon. I'll hopefully be able to share it all soon!
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I got a new blog, again. Mostly because I wasn't sure what the future of Livejournal was going to be. Here is a test to see if the cross-posting features do in fact work.


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Cloud S. Riser

September 2017

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