In Which: Writing Is And Isn’t Work : Rant List #1

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Random Writer Rants #1

  1. No matter how much I write everyone always thinks it’s ‘just a hobby’.

1.1.These remarks always seem to happen when I’m working my hardest and getting more done than ever, leading to my being needlessly grumpy.

2. Somehow it is entirely possible to write most of a story in what I think is breathtaking detail only to find that I never actually told the reader important exposition that the whole plot doesn’t work without .

3. Writing five pages always feels longer than reading five pages….

4. Except when that five pages is one of the ‘fun parts’ I have been looking forward to writing.

5. …Yes I know, if I am a ‘real writer’ every part should be the fun part. But I’ve come to find out as much as many books on how to write say that every part of writing should be a joy, the day to day reality of it is that sometimes it *gasp* actually feels like the work it is, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean I love it any less.

6. Sometimes I can put blood sweat and tears into a story and it doesn’t show on the words on the page…Or, maybe it is there and my own writing isn’t to my own reading taste? Wouldn’t that be ironic. Oh well, back to work…

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In Which: I Don’t Know Where My Books Are From

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Book stores were a rare thing for me to visit even before the internet. A big part of it was my family did not have a car, and my not-living-with-us family didn’t visit often. 

Books were mostly:  Hand me downs I got as gifts, where I was grateful for anything with pages. Or, well chosen glossy marvels, eating up money from School Book Club tissue paper order forms. ( My promises of any other birthday or Christmas gifts vanishing as soon as they arrived) 

Now, Amazon seems to all but made used book stores in my area as mythical as I once thought them to be. The one shop nearest us that sold brand new books died even sooner, some ten years ago.

But Amazon has not felt like an evil being to me because, well, I never had the freedom without it that I now have with it. In a few clicks I can hear about a book, search for a book, and buy that book, easy peasy. No mess, no fuss, no tissue paper form or  ‘please wait 3-5 weeks for delivery’.

Well, that last part varies. For my cool $3.99 I’ve seen Amazon take anywhere from two days to three months to get a book to me.  Sellers on Amazon, most of all penny sellers, do not seem required to act like the company they say they are and list a location. Even just a notice to say they are in the US somewhere.

I ordered a copy of Taming The Forest King by Claudia Edwards (a rec from a forum I belong to) on the 1st of this month, only to finally get it yesterday. The postmarks proudly proclaimed it had traveled all the way from the UK to my little slice of Nowheresville, CA, USA.

Normally this wouldn’t get to me. I love getting objects from far off places. But the fact that I don’t know where my books are actually coming from anymore hits a nerve I didn’t even know was there  Silly, I guess, really.

Here’s to you Amazon. Please be careful with our books, won’t you? 

In Which: I Wonder Where The Funny Went

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I love puns so much. Picture unrelated. But an owl baker would be a cool idea now that I think of it *scribbling sounds*

Today’s entry is only a snippet of a blog because it’s more of a question. Where have all the funny books gone?
I remember when I was little ,and even well into the late 90’s, you couldn’t throw a goblet without it hitting a book making fun of high fantasy tropes, or a sci-fi tale that was more Spaceballs than Brave New World. Everywhere my bright young writing mind was picking up the message that books could be and should be just as funny as any other type of media.  The best thing about this unspoken feeling was, at the time, it felt like funny fantasy wasn’t looked down upon for not taking itself seriously.

Now…Well things are a little dark. (I have a running pet theory about books growing darker or lighter , but that’s another post. ) Not that this is bad, but it makes me think. Where are the funny fantasies now? Is anyone still writing them? Did funny fantasy and sci-if writer-dom flee from the cloud of grim dark stories to live like a race of fun loving mole people somewhere underground?

I guess I really need to buy a better internet shovel.

In Which: Writing Woes: There Is and Isn’t Action

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Movies make it look so easy. Action scenes play out like finely tuned dances of crashing cars and flashing swords. But where does that leave the action in books?

Often, I’ve seen action scenes that were only hinted at, or nearly summarized on the page, made into play by play battles in a movie that could take your breath away.

So, I’m more than a little lost about the level of detail needed to make action real to the reader in books. Make no mistake, I’ve read enough books to leave ink marks on my fingers, and bright eye strain spots, sparkling like the Ghosts of Ebooks Past, whenever I look at a computer screen.

But still the right amount of detail escapes me,  and I find myself wasting all my time on Google searching for things like ‘How big would a spear and polearm for a ten year old be’ and ‘best way to kill a goblin’

Needed details? Maybe. But I won’t be using exact measurements for anything in my story (because magic) and I know it.

It’s all worldbuilding fluff compared to the big show vs. too much show action scene war.

It battles on inside my writing mind, and the odds are never in my favor.

In Which: I Accidentally Stole A Book

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I was a serious child. I followed all the rules, and characters that got away with breaking rules in fiction drove me crazy. If there was a system of rules set into place I figured it must be for a good reason. I was the teacher-est of teachers pets, and I took pride in that, because it was one of the few things I could do well.

Nowhere was this clearer than in the library. It was my domain and all the books my well cared for subjects. You could find me there everyday in grade school and jr high. I always returned books back to their homes and was awarded the honor of taking home as many books as I could carry (sometimes more!)

But then, the dark eye of high school fixed its gaze on me (side note: High school, not as scary or as amazing as advertised)  and I panicked. After all, who could think when you’re already hearing horror stories of trash cans and judgment?   I did something I had never done before: I lost a book.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal and even after all my crying it wasn’t, the book was paid for and life goes on…

I still have that book. I found it some years ago and all the memories came flooding back. And by memories I mean guilt. I can’t help but feel that book, that paid for in full book, isn’t really mine. That red ink stamp on the inside page leers at my do gooding, library girl past.

Even though the school switched to being a crout school with a different name years ago.

Even though 6th through 8th grade is now integrated into the elementary school and there is no jr high  where I live.

Still, I love this book, in all it’s dogeared shabbiness.

I wonder what 17 years of late fees would look like…

Oh google, I love you to.