Life isn’t always gumdrops and roses, but often enough it has an uncanny ability to surprise you. My wife recently gave birth to our second baby girl, and I couldn’t imagine any thing more beautiful. When I was younger, I had lofty intentions for my life. Travel the world, become an overwhelmingly successful author (that one is still pending), and I measured life by all of the wrong things. I haven’t traveled the world, I am not an overwhelming successful author, but I am quite wealthy. Does that mean that I am rich? Not by the common standards of man, no. I don’t have a bunch of money, but I am wealthy beyond measure because of the absolute joy my family has brought. That is something that I couldn’t grasp in my younger years: the fact that while many people spend every waking moment to become the next best thing, or the president of some corporate office, life will pass them by. I am happy to know this now.
Whenever I write, there generally has to be a specific mood and atmosphere that I have to settle into. As a parent, that comes with a bit more difficulty. It amazes me how set in our ways we can become sometimes, and it was pretty apparent when my six year old daughter decided that she wanted my attention for the entire day…again.
I realized that she didn’t actually want me to play with her, but that she just wanted to be around me. So, I let her play in my office. It wasn’t difficult to get into the swing of things when I decided to be brave enough to write with all of her distractions. The thing is, however, is that I wasn’t distracted at all. As a matter of fact, I spat out two thousand words while she carefully arranged a puzzle into something resembling an elephant near my chair. It was something that I had to think about. Is all of the preparation, mood, atmosphere, etc. just a myth? Is it a crutch or an excuse? Is any of it necessary at all?
My daughter turned six recently, and due to scheduling restraints, we ended up having three birthday parties for her. Family and friends are always fun to have around, but the hectic planning and cooking can be maddening. Her satisfied smile at the end of the day, however, made it all worth while.
Lately, I’ve been tinkering about with the tags feature in Scrivener. Story is immensely important, to say the least, but so are character arcs. There are definitely internal obstacles that we present our characters to overcome, and this growth shapes our characters into who they are, and at the same time, allows the reader to experience and relate to their growth. Remember Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire? In the book, Louis was struggling to accept the fact that he was no longer human. He still maintained that he should behave as a human ordinarily would, even after his transformation into a vampire. It was his eventual acceptance of what he had become, however, that really made the character shine (and not in a glittering sort of way).
In Scrivener, making a character searchable by scene allows me to study their arcs. Marking their names as Keywords in the Inspector, I can conjure up every scene with the character in it. The real topping on the cake, however, is when you mix it up a bit and implement relationships. By tagging my main character with her love interest, for example, I can bring up every scene in the book where these two people are together. This allows me to study the progression of their relationship. This feature is not only flexible, but built with a complexity to allow for numerous circumstances.
The book is still coming along nicely, and I’ve also been playing around with a short story concept (I can feel J.C. Hart rolling her eyes). I understand that short fiction isn’t exactly my thing, which is unfortunate, but I still like to dab about in the field every once in a while. This one is a tale of fantasy, and yes that means elves and kings and magical elements. Unfortunately, this is something that I’ve only been picking at because the novel takes priority in my creative time (mentioned in an earlier post). However, I plan to make this short work of fiction just that: short.
Today, I will be writing in the novel and following my lead investigator. I’m still trying to get her into her father’s house. He passed away recently, and there are demons that she has to confront, as well as a person from her past. The scene is rather long in it’s current state, but I’m trying to allow the character’s emotional reflection to bring the reader into the next chapter.
I am still working on the short story, as well as AWTC, and am hoping that the short piece will be completed on my next day off of work. Speaking of work, I started a new job and have been tweaking my schedule to accommodate being with my daughter in the mornings. At least I no longer work until six a.m. and have to get up at eight a.m. anymore!
Also, I am still filing my taxes, and have been angry at them to an unhealthy degree. I knew I should not have started my own business last year!