Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Don't Break the Chain in favor of Perfectionism

So, I'm going to be upfront here.

I have developed some really bad habits.

Compared to where I was a year ago, I have been writing drastically less. While I keep making excuses and going through small bouts of HOORAH! where I try to write and peter out quickly, I'm generally just not staying motivated. Part of it has to do with stressing about doing something 'right' but part of it comes from simply not keeping focused.

That said, I'm going to be trying something a little different...
Also, quick shout out to Dan and Arin. Love you guys!

While I'm not sure about the entire concept behind 'not breaking the chain', I think the idea behind just doing anything to keep the rhythm flowing isn't a terrible one. My thought process is always looking for something that is, for lack of a better term, "marketable". Because of this, I seem to get stuck in a rut of thinking "I should try this" followed by "I can't do it." or "I don't have time." and it just goes into a tail spin of staring at my computer screen and getting nothing done.

Here's what I'm going to try. Of course I will continue to work on my given novel ideas. I believe I will attempt to focus on the Smithy story as I feel particularly attached. But I will also attempt to do Open Book discussions about any relevant writing topics that strike me as well as OTHER writing. This other writing may be big or little (one thing that grabbed me is just snagging a writing prompt and running with it for a short story) but it has to be SOMETHING. This way, it forces me to stay focused.

At the moment, I want to hold myself to four times a week, but I'm not sure if I can maintain it. Maybe three? I'm going to have to see how my work and personal schedules TRULY effect my writing schedule when I'm trying to maintain consistency.

That said, just a quick status shout-out about where we will be going from here. Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Open Book Discussion - Why do you post Chapter by Chapter?

Why do you post Chapter by Chapter? 

Open Book Discussion

 Hello all.

With having just started to try to dig back into writing, I had a very interesting question directed to me that I wanted to take a minute to answer. The question, simply put, is, "Why do you post Chapter by Chapter?"

Now, what the person in question was actually referring to was questioning why I was seemingly posting what might turn out to be an entire novel, chapter by chapter, on a free blog. "Don't you want to publish?" they questioned me next. "Why would anyone buy a book if they can just read it piece by piece on your blog?"

So, for anyone wondering the why or for anyone who is currently or considering doing the same thing, here are the reasons that I openly post chapters to what might later be published.

1) Every chapter posted is a first draft

That's right. Every chapter, when it is posted, is fresh from the kiln. While I do go over it briefly to try to weed out glaring typos, grammatical errors, and just generally bad writing, the product being posted is brand new. If I ever do make a book of whatever it is I'm posting, there's a high likelyhood that an editor will have gone through it with a big, nasty red pen to clean up my mess and make each chapter less fluff and more actual literature. Hell, some chapters and bits posted may never even be SEEN in a respective book if my editor has anything to do with it.

2) The Storyteller Syndrome

At the end of the day, I write because I like to tell stories. Some of them are just my imagination running wild and HAVING to get it out of my head somehow. However, a large chunk of the stories I write are me simply enjoying the act of weaving a tale. If it were in person, I'd be fueled just by watching my listeners' and readers' faces. But, since it's not, I like to read the comments. They help me get a feel for if I'm heading in the direction I want to and if people are inherently interested in what is being written. Even if I'm terrible at responding to most comments, I can promise you that I read every one ever posted.

3) Tell your friends
In exchange for me telling you a story and receiving your criticisms, I consider my services bought and paid for with my initial audience. For those people that consistently show up, read my works, tell me their thoughts, and just generally keep an eye on what I'm doing, I don't expect to ever make a dime. I don't expect to EVER sell any book I ever create out of any work I ever do to my main readers on my blog. Simply put...why would they? They've already seen the work from conception (literally, first drafts, like I said) to completion. Why would they want to spend money except to cross compare what I did to what my editors slashed out or had me add? Most wouldn't care. What is more likely to happen, however, is when a book comes out, those individuals that like my work might share that information with friends and family and spread to those people who don't follow me and might be more inclined to pick a book up off the shelf.
4) Removal of Extra content
Finally, if any particular work were to be made into a published story or piece, you'll notice that it will magically disappear from the site. The reason for this should be obvious. My editor has finally just killed me for my inadequacies and is removing my stain from this Earth. Please. She's a monster. I have the door locked but it will only hold for so long...

In all seriousness, any works that do end up being published are simply removed for the same train of logic as Number 3. The people who have been with me all this time have already been reading my work. They are more than likely not going to be interested in picking up a copy of something they've followed from conception, except perhaps for posterity sake. Instead, it's encouraging those individuals who are only just finding out about a piece to go to their local bookstore or website to grab themselves a copy and find out for themselves. I.e., to the original point of the person in question, I'm not just leaving free content to read piece by piece was the book comes out.

All in all, I hope this was an interesting little peak into the logic of the work that I post. Nothing groundbreaking I'm sure, but since I've gotten the question a few times now (obviously the more recent being the prompt), I decided to just post it for all to see. Of course, if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to let me know. As mentioned before, I'm fueled by commentary, whether they are love or hate. :)
Have a wonderful day everyone.

Robert Bennett

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Smithy - Chap 3

   It seemed to Tristan that he had only just closed his eyes when he was woken by a knock on the door. Looking around, he realized that the night had already given way to morning. His entire body was stiff and hurt so severely that he could barely push himself up.
    With a tired and pained groan, he called out, “Come in.”
    The little wooden door opened and Ailla stuck her head inside, adorned with her mop of red and curly hair and bright, emerald green eyes.
    “Well Hello there,” she said with a soft smile. Stepping inside, she closed the door softly behind her before settling upon the bed. “Hagon tells me you had one of your attacks last night.”
    Tristan’s cheeks flushed with something between anger and embarrassment and he felt himself drawing his knees up to his chest. The attacks had been getting worse and, while none of them truly understood what was happening, it only made him feel worse to be singled out this way. Not to mention, he didn’t like the idea of Hagon swapping stories, even if it was with Ailla.
    “Oh stop.” She said, lightly slapping him on the shoulder. “We’ve known each other since we were babes. You’ve nothing to be blushing over.”
    “I know.” Tristan said weakly, trying to unclench his body which was unconsciously going into the fetal position. “I just don’t know what to do.”
    Ailla nodded. They’d had these conversations a few times now and it was no mystery that Tristan was feeling more and more depressed. Each time he became a little more hopeless.
    “You already know the answer.” She said, still trying to keep that same smile as she spoke.
    “Whitecrest.” He said almost under his breath.
    Ailla nodded once more, this time in agreement.
    “I just don’t know...” he continued. “What if something happens on the trip there? What if the magisters aren’t able to find whatever’s wrong and they just tell me that they don’t know how to help?”
    “And what if the magisters have a fix that they can whip up in a matter of seconds while you’re sitting here moping in your bedroom?”
    Tristan didn’t answer right away. He looked from Ailla to the sparse decorations of his little room. The walls were hard wood. Barren except for a pair of tongs and a hammer he had hung on either side of his window. His clothes were tightly packed away in a small chest at the foot of his bed. It struck him for some reason that his room was basically empty. He never felt the desire to decorate.
    “You’re right, Ailla.” He said as he drew his attention back to her. “Of course you’re right. It’s just…”
    She reached over and gingerly lifted his chin with one finger so that they might look each other in the eyes.
    “I know, love. But Whitecrest is only a couple days travel. We can get you in and out and back here before you know it.”
    Looking into those emerald green eyes, Tristan couldn’t help but feel a little better. He’d known Ailla almost all of their lives and there was always something that made his heart soften and his worries calm. He’d considered more than once attempting to court her, but he never had the heart to go through with it.
    “Alright.” He said, agreeing with her once again.
    They sat in silence for a few moments, looking at each other. That soft smile never left her face. The longer he looked, the more his own lips curled into a smile to match her own. Finally, he let out a long sigh.
    “You’re right, you’re right.” Tristan said with a nod.
    “Of course I am.”
    “Of course you are.” He echoed with a soft chuckle.
    Ailla raised an eyebrow and tilted her head playfully. “Are we going somewhere with this or…?”
    “Breakfast?” he asked quickly.
    “Do you want breakfast?”
    “First you compliment me, next you feed me. If you’re not careful, I might not leave.” She said slipping off his bed and helping him up as well.
    Tristan’s smile got bigger at the thought, but he said nothing further as he followed her to the kitchen. Instead, he elected to listen as she made small talk, telling him about her morning, about meeting Hagon, and about Hagon recanting the tale of the night before. It still irked him to think that he was a topic of gossip, but couldn’t help but feel better that Ailla had come to wake him. Somehow, it made the sun shine just a little brighter.


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