Returning to Writing: A Manifesto

For the last couple years, I’ve been having an extended period of unproductivity in my fiction writing. I’ve managed a few short stories, but they’ve been very sporadic, and work on my books has ground to a screeching halt. This is due to some personal issues that are not really appropriate for discussion on a public blog, but the point is not much is getting done.

When I stopped writing, I was a little less than halfway through a new series, which I consider to be my life’s work, having been developing it for the last twenty years. I’m tentatively calling it The Soulcleaver Saga, and it’s set in the universe of The Wounding and Lady of the Dawn, both of which tie into the books.

The issues in my life that derailed my work on it have not abated — if anything they’ve worsened — but I think the time has come to stop making excuses and get back to work regardless. Therefore, I am developing a new schedule to that end.

For the record, I’m not posting this to boast or show off that I’m “hashtag am writing” or whatever. I’ve been at this long enough to know most of my blog readers aren’t interested in my fiction (no judgment; you’re not obligated to). I’m posting this because if I put all this out in a public form, I’ll lose face if I don’t follow through. I’m deliberating shaming myself into working.

My plan is thus:

  • I will do seven hours of writing work per week. In theory, one hour per day, but with the flexibility to maybe skip one day and catch up later or something. This idea shamelessly stolen from Ashley at Robo♥beat.
  • “Writing work” is defined as actually writing, revising, proofreading, or doing major plotting or world-building (IE coming up with new stuff, not just writing down things I’ve already defined in my mind).
  • During this hour, I will not use the Internet except for research or Internet radio. No distractions.
  • I may skip days due to illness or other extreme/unusual circumstances, but I will try to keep such instances to a minimum.
  • I will prioritize fiction over working on my blog. I don’t think there will be much conflict or that my posting schedule will be much affected, but I’ll mention it just in case.

My goals are:

  • To rewrite the first two Soulcleaver books with more depth and detail, among other changes.
  • To complete the remaining three Soulcleaver books.
  • To rewrite and republish Rage of the Old Gods. It was the first book I wrote, and I believe can now do better in some ways, especially regarding the beginning, which I’ve never been happy with. I may also revisit the later books in the series, but right now I’m pretty content with them, and I’m not sure they need to change.
  • To write any good short story concepts that occur to me along the way, especially if they are part of the Soulcleaver universe.

I do not promise to complete those goals in that order, or any order. Only that they will eventually all get done. Once they are completed, I will give myself permission to resume giving up, if desired.

Because I like to procrastinate, this new schedule will begin on the first Monday after this post is published.

I have several reasons for doing this, but one utterly outclasses all others: My father. While it is likely he will be around for many years to come, and I certainly hope he will be, the fact is he’s not going to live forever, and I don’t think I could live with myself if he didn’t see the completion of my life’s work. I want to get it done while there’s still time.

My writing was never meant to be about me anyway. I lost sight of that over the years. True creativity must be unselfish, I think.

For the two of you who are still reading this, I leave you with one of the main characters of the Soulcleaver series, as recreated in Black Desert Online.

Seesha Avallen, Elven RunnerI’m coming home, Seesha.

Review: Dark Matter, “Wish I Could Believe You”

I think the radio has been playing the Revivalists too much, because I keep wanting to type “Wish I Could Believe You When I Was Young.”

Anyway.

A promotional image for Dark Matter season threeAfter hoodwinking us all into thinking Six was gone, this episode is pretty much all Six, all the time. After a ruthless chemical attack by Ferrous, Six is the only survivor, and while he makes it off the planet in one piece, he’s far from out of the woods.

Things start to get weird as he experiences flashbacks to his previous life — before the Raza, before the memory wipe — triggered by exposure to the neurotoxin.

To be honest, I was able to see where this was going pretty early on. I’ll avoid spoiling it, but if you’ve watched enough sci-fi, you probably will, too.

So it’s a very predictable episode, but otherwise it’s not bad. A focus on Six is always welcome, especially after we thought we were losing him, and he gets to turn the tables on the bad guys in some spectacular fashion.

On the downside, there’s little room left for meaningful development of the other cast members, but that’s really only noticeable because Dark Matter usually goes above and beyond to give everyone something to do. One episode where that’s not the case isn’t the end of the world.

My one real complaint is not so much about this episode as it is the rest of the season up until now. If Six was never going anywhere, why fake us out like that? What was the point of that whole tangent? I suppose we’ve now made Ferrous into an even scarier threat than they already were, but did it need to take so much time?

Five (Jodelle Ferland) and Six (Roger Cross) in Dark MatterWe’re seven episodes in, and it feels like the season is just getting started. It feels overdue for us to get some serious development with the corporate war and the conflict with Ryo.

And I don’t think the next episode will solve that, either. It looks like Sarah’s story is going to take centre stage (bringing back the dead never has a happy ending — a good nerd like Five should know that). And I think that will be interesting, and I’m looking forward to it, but again, when do we return to the main story?

But hey, at least Six is back.

Overall rating: 7/10