Write Till I Drop

It takes many people most of their lives to figure out what they want to do.  Not just as a career, but as a past time, a passion.  For some people, it’s playing video games, or Magic the Gathering… or anything else that catches their fancy.  But, it’s just a hobby.  Yes, there is a difference between a hobby and a passion.  Example, anime conventions are a hobby to me; writing is a passion.  I only started going to conventions when I was eighteen-years-old.  I’ve been writing since I was twelve.

I started writing because I had a story to tell, voices inside that pleaded to be let out.  I needed to refine my skills and learn from my mistakes.  It a college instructor and years of practice and toil for me to get here.  And even then, I know I’m not done expanding my skills.  I write and write every day if I can.  The only time I don’t write is when I’m working all day, go on trips, or don’t bring my laptop to a sleepover.  That’s about it.  Otherwise, my fingers are flying across the keyboard and creating words that all link together and form sentences.  Neat, huh?!

I have experimented in my books, taking elements and tactics from other works that I liked.  For my first trilogy, I had a heroine.  However, I decided that unlike Katniss Everdeen, and Tris Prior, I would not have a female lead character who cringed at the idea of taking lives.  I didn’t want that for my character.  She still needs help and can’t do everything alone, but she doesn’t crack under pressure.  She doesn’t flinch when faced with turmoil, and rules with an iron, but fair fist.  She has her moments of doubt, but they did not overshadow who she is.  That was something that bugged me about the aforementioned characters.  I felt like they eventually developed, but that was still not quite enough.  Personally, I still felt like they were lacking something.

For the novel I’m currently writing, I have male lead characters.  One based off a person who actually lived, and the other I created.  I want them both to have certain weaknesses and strengths as well.  They will face challenges that will make them question their paradigms and morality.  Good characters do that, but they don’t have unnecessary baggage that just makes them sound like whiny youngsters.  Oh, wait… they are.  I try to avoid making more characters like that.  I know not everyone can be strong, but the world is full of weak people.  Why should we put them in our books?   Why should we force them upon ourselves in our fantasy world as well as the real one?

And on that note, it’s been real!

R.I.P. – Rite in Peace

Writing books has always been easier than writing research papers.  For me, at least.  I hated writing English and Religion papers in high school.  Just so boring!  When I started writing my short stories at twelve, I found writing to also be enjoyable.  Of course, story writing has certain aspects that make it similar to research papers.  The story has to collect facts and present them in a tangible manner to the audience.  It has an introduction (the appetizer), the body (main course), and an end (dessert).  Think of writing as if you were cooking a big meal for somebody.  Is it juicy?  Spicy?  Flavorful?  Do you like your novel medium or rare?  In this case, you want a well done story.  A bit pun-ish, but hey, sue me.

My short stories were all like a bunch of little appetizers you get at happy hour at a restaurant.  I was just getting warmed up.  My first novel was the first part of a three course dinner.  The next two course came out not long after that, and I started to feel good about my ‘cooking’ skills.  The writing has continued; little projects here and there that just remind me that I can cook, as it were.  That’s kind of one of the reasons I took up this blog.  It allows me to write in a different manner than I’ve ever written before: in real time!  I can endow some of my characters with my sardonic sense of humor, but, obviously for the sake of development, and individuality, not everyone of them can be like me.  Here, every post can have a little bit of the real me in it, wit and all.

And on that note, it’s been real!

“Come & Tell Their Story Again”

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am working on a new novel.  The last novel I wrote was completed my last year of high school, but obviously, editing needed to be done.  I’ve worked on only minor projects since then.  The first three novels I wrote took up a lot of my time; that’s not chump change, that’s precious seconds, minutes, hours of my time devoted to something.  I knew that the next novel I did had to mean something, not just to me this time, but to other people.

A few months ago, my brother played me a song (I may have mentioned it) called “The Last Stand” by the Swiss rock band, Sabaton.  It is a song about the 189 Papal Swiss Guards defending the retreat of Pope Clement VII in the 1527 Sack of Rome.  42 soldiers survived only because they went with the pope.  The other 147 were all killed, but not before butchering close to a thousand enemy troops.  Their brave leader was wounded, and begged to see his wife before he died.  His men got him to the house where she was staying, but mercenaries followed them.  His wife tried to protect him, but she was injured while his enemies hacked him to pieces before her eyes.  I was moved when I looked up the whole history behind the event; what little we know.  Documents were destroyed by the German and Spanish soldiers, and many relics taken.  It was an utterly devastating event, that took the lives of thousands of Roman Catholic citizens.

Since I decided to do this, I have tried to find what little books I can about those Swiss Guard specifically.  Not much.  I had a doozy of a time trying to discover all their names.  Luckily, I knew a cardinal, and sent him a letter, asking for help.  He gave me viable leads, and I will use them to get the names of all the guards, as I would like to list them at the end of the book.  I think it would be some justice to them to recognize what they did.  They were brave men, who stood their ground against an overwhelming force.  We remember Thermopylae because of what 300 men did.  We recall the 194 rescued men of the Lost Battalion and their desperate attempts to get home.  Why can’t we remember 189 men who fought and died on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica?  I want to bring that back and tell a little known story about true honor and courage.   Bravery is not men fighting a fight they know they can win.  Bravery is fighting a fight you are certain to lose, but you do it anyway.  Why?  Because if you are fighting for a cause you believe in, then it’s the right thing to do.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Fingers Flying

Alright, so my day off yesterday was pretty productive as I had hoped.  My car went in as I said it would and they did everything up to and including a complimentary car wash.  Yay!  As for myself, while I waited for the call to say they were done, I wrote.  I alternated between surfing on my Netflix queue and listening to music as my fingers did their beautiful dance across my keyboard.  I had been kind of/sort of hung up on a part, but yesterday was the day I needed to get over the hang up.

The writing is a little bit easier right now.  I know it will be a smidge harder when I arrive at the part in the book that has the most documentation in history.  Other than that, everything is progressing nicely.  I have two main characters, both boys (soon to be men).  They stand on opposite sides when it comes to religion and that is where the conflict will come from.  I haven’t decided if I want them to meet each other, or if they will spend the entire book separated, only to be drawn together by the tragedy that is the historical centerpiece of the novel.

Another thing I’m not sure of is if I want romance involved overly much.  A coworker of mine, who knows I’m writing this, asked if one or both of them would have women in their lives.  I’m not sure because I don’t want to turn this into a romance novel.  It isn’t.  The reason I’m writing this book is to draw people’s attention to a moment in history that is and has been brushed over, but one that was filled with great loss.  It is supposed to be a tale about sacrifice, on personal levels, and on a grander scale.  I don’t think I want romance to play a major role in that, because I think it would detract from the larger message.  And that message will unfold with both of the characters facing their hardships accordingly.  Otherwise, I hope to continue with my writing and see these characters develop, on the page, and in my heart.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Wistful Wednesdays

Now, my start as a writer began by accident, actually.  I was ten-years-old and I constantly pestered my older (and endowed with a driver’s license) brother, to take me to the library so I could pick up books to read, as I had a voracious appetite for new adventures.  I bugged the poor guy to death.  Finally!  He said, “If this is going on MY library card, you will read the books I pick.”  I was concerned at first when I got this ultimatum, but he told me not to be worried.  “I’ve got a good series all picked out,” he informed me as we searched the shelves in the library.

After following him around for a while, he finally came to a shelf that was covered in yellow bound books and he exclaimed, “Ah ha!”  We marched over and he pulled out a book and held it up to me.  It was a Nancy Drew mystery book.  I had never heard of them before and was genuinely curious when he handed it to me.  “You will be reading these from now on.  When you finish this and two more, I will pick out another three for you to read.”  I accepted the challenge and he gave me two more books from the Nancy Drew collection.  So, that was my goal: read the three books my brother gave me and inform him when I was done so he could pick the next three for me.

This lasted for several months, and then I was old enough to get my own library card.  Once I had that baby, I picked my own Nancy Drew books and took off!  And it was from the writing of Carolyn Keene, that my very first character was born.

Aubrey Cass is a professional smart-ass, with no tolerance for stupidity, and a sharp mind for solving mysteries.  Even though my set of short mystery stories on her were published after my novels, these stories were the first ones I wrote.  A long time ago… on Planet Mars.  I was just thinking how I went over these from when I originally wrote them when I was twelve, and me (now) was like, “Were you high on cocaine?!  What the ‘bleep’ is this?!”  Don’t worry!  They’re all fixed now, and I’m so proud of my very first character.

And on that note, it’s been real!

The Mail Must Go Through!

So, yesterday I get home from work after going out for a few refreshing drinks and a chat with the receptionist that I am training, and I found a letter for me from a possible source of information for my current historical project.  I had written to him a couple of weeks ago, and actually thought that he would not respond (being a busy man and all).  The letter was from him personally, and even though he did not grant me (directly) the information I sought, he did give me two leads to follow.

Since I decided to take on this novel, I have already met many brick walls that have been thrown up in my path.  Not deliberately, but inadvertently.  For the sake of truth and historical accuracy, I still find myself seeking the same answers.  I’m starting to hope against hope that I get the answers I am looking for.  It is doubtless that they will (all) show up in my novel, but I would like to put something at the end with all their names.  Just the names of 147 men, who died defending their faith and the city they were charged with protecting.  Sounds easy, right?

NOT!

And on that note, it’s been real!