Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Post By The Authors At Four-Moons Press

Today I'm bringing some content from other writers. Eric Zawadzki and Mathew Schick are the joint authors of Kingmaker, a fantasy novel currently available for sale. You can find the links at the bottom of this post, or learn more about it on their blog, Four-Moons Press. Today, their blog is also featuring a post by me about the types of ruling parties found within my own fantasy novel, Rift of Askrah Book 1: Fracture. You can find that post here.

The post below is from these writers. It hits on points many writers, and even anyone really, can appreciate. Enjoy the post, and be sure to check them out.

Out of Our Heads, Out of the House

Writing is often a lonely pursuit requiring countless hours typing away in a room with no human interaction. After a few hundred hours of work, a rough draft emerges, which feels great but is only the beginning. Rough drafts are not fit for human consumption – like a bushel of mown wheat. Letting someone read a second or third draft is not much of an improvement. It is approximately equivalent of giving them five pounds of flour or a pan filled with uncooked bread dough. They’ll eventually become nourishing and delicious food, but they’re not ready for the dinner party, yet. Maybe by the fourth draft I feel comfortable letting a few select people (beta readers) look at it. Everyone else has to wait for the sixth (or higher) draft, whichever one Matt and I can reasonably consider finished – baked to a golden brown.

Why on Earth would an extrovert like me spend a thousand hours or more in a room alone?

The process of writing is a necessary step in a form of communication that demands an incredible amount of time and energy to execute. I’m not some kind of born storyteller who can improvise some kind of incredible story at a moment’s notice. Oh I do alright in face-to-face interactions, but all my dialogue is rough draft material. A nugget of awesome here and there with way too much filler and random stumbles to make me feel like I’m actually doing a good job of engaging my audience. I know people who are amazing storytellers (my wife, for example). They can retell a story I’ve heard a hundred times, and it is always fun to listen to. If anything, they refine the story with each retelling, polishing it until it fits together like a clockwork device.

The more I retell a story, the less likely I am to include the details that make it sensical. I really can’t explain it. Maybe I kind of get bored with the story and don’t put enough energy into it. Perhaps I’m afraid that I’m monopolizing the conversation because I used to have serious problems with that, so I’d rather throw in a brief few lines and yield the floor to someone else.

Put me in front of a computer, though, and all of that hesitation melts away. Sure, I may spend an hour composing an email or forum post, but it is my time to spend, and it only takes a minute or two to read. My Internet posts are probably only second draft material, but that sure beats the meandering first drafts that come out of my mouth every day. I can be so much more precise, so much more eloquent in writing. Sometimes I can even be more interesting or more amusing than I am in real life.

I love communicating in writing. Sure, the written word lacks body language and tone of voice. You can’t correct a minor misstep mid-story, either. But writing scores over the spoken word in some important ways. First, if I’m willing to spend the time to rewrite, revise, and edit, I can greatly improve upon the way I express an idea. Second, if I put in that extra work, every person who reads it will receive the best retelling of the story I can give it. Third, the potential size of the story’s audience is not limited to people I meet in the flesh; in fact, it is theoretically infinite.

A book on a shelf is like a storyteller standing at the front of the room. Given the opportunity, it will tell the reader a story lasting many hours. The tale flows from author to reader, but communication is never intended to be one-way. Each reader brings his experiences and interpretations to the text.

After so many years of this story floating around in our heads, growing like a seed, Kingmaker is on the loose. It is in the wild – like an email already sent, a forum post already read, or spoken words we can no longer take back. We have taken care to craft it into something we’re content to let out of the house, though.

As early readers finish reading Kingmaker, I’m starting to see that flow of communication reverse. People are asking us questions and starting conversations with me about what they read. Some think I should know all the answers, not realizing how much a world and its characters can take on lives of their own. Others float theories and participate (perhaps unwittingly) in the creative process of writing the sequel.

Thus beginning the cycle anew.

You can learn more about these authors or their book Kingmaker at the following websites: