Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG: I Say This Every Year.

"Expectation is the root of all heartache." --William Shakespeare

There's something about the new year that makes me even more hopeful for the future than usual.  I'm a relentless optimist, and every year, I think this is going to be it, this is going to be my year.

This year, I'll write the book I love, the one that everyone who reads it thinks is amazing.  This year, I'll write the best damn query letter anyone's ever seen, and I'll get an agent on my first round.  This year, it's all going to work out.  This year, my career starts.

And it never happens.

You know what?  To hell with that.  The new year's a good time for affirmations and assurances, yes, but I don't need a new year for things to get started.  Nobody does.  Writing is a year-round job, and those moments we're waiting for can come at any time.  Start something new with the new year if you want, but there's no reason to feel like you have to.

Because when you're in this place, this limbo of plotting and planning and writing stuff with no idea if it'll ever be published, the only thing you need to worry about is writing what you want to write, and making your work the best it can be.  That's all that matters.

With that in mind, something I've already learned this year is that it helps to look at what you're working on and figure out if it's what you well and truly want to write.  I've spent the past two weeks working on six different plots-in-progress.  And I've learned that just because I like the ideas that go with a genre, that doesn't necessarily mean I want to write in that genre.

Simply put, as much as I like the trappings of dark fantasy and the cosmic horror story, I lose interest when I try to plot those stories.  It's still a struggle for me to really put my characters through hell (though I'm getting better at that, I swear), and while I believe in making everyone earn their happy endings, I want there to be happy endings, damn it.  So after careful consideration, I decided to set aside dark fantasy.

Instead, I'm going to write metal fantasy.  I want to write worlds that read like they were swiped from the lyrics of albums where every single instrument was turned up to eleven.  I want people to look at the covers and swear they've seen that art on an album before.  I want to write books where, if they're ever made into movies, they'll have to get a necromancer to dig up Dio to do the soundtrack.

(Yes, I said dig up, not resurrect.  You can't get much more metal than having an undead guy do your soundtrack.)

I do still want to write a bunch of other stuff, yes, but I just came up with the term "metal fantasy" this past Monday and I'm honestly not sure if I'm the first to apply it to literature.  But it resonates with me strongly enough that I plotted a full book from stuff I came up with that day.  It needs work, as all plots-in-progress do, but I love it so far.  And it's not the only thing I've been working on that's going well - the story that's been evading me for months, one I've blogged about several times, finally clicked for me this past Friday.  I've got a huge chunk of it plotted, and while there's still a lot to figure out, I'm ridiculously pleased to know how it goes.

...which brings me back to my point about how the only thing that matters in this stage is writing what you want and making it as good as you can.  Will a metal fantasy tale in a world where everyone has dragon ancestry ever sell?  I don't know.  Will a surreal YA story involving dream duels ever sell?  No idea!  What matters is that I keep trying, and keep going.

Because regardless of what year it is, someday, I'm going to get published.  Someday, we all are.  And it'll be better for all of us, and all of our future readers, if what gets published is exactly what we want to write.  So write that.

"If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold onto.  If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve."  --Lao Tzu

Yes, I say all this because I need to hear it.  But I'm sure I can't be the only one.

26 comments:

  1. Metal fantasy - I would read that! Crank it to eleven.
    Good point about not needing a new year to set goals. Writing is all the time.

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    1. It seemed completely contradictory to the usual stuff you see at the start of the new year, but hey, no better time to say it. ^_^

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  2. Sounds like you just found your branding. Go with it. I think that's an awesome angle and you've got gold.

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    1. Heh! Not sure if I'd want it to be my brand, as I have a lot of other stuff I want to write that's distinctly not metal. But I do have long hair and a beard, so at least I can look the part. ^_^

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  3. I haven't heard of metal fantasy before, but it sounds great! If you love it, write it. Anything else is a waste of time.

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    1. Thanks! And it's amazing how easy that is to forget, isn't it? I know I have to remind myself now and then.

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  4. Yup. This is part of why I hate New Year's Resolutions :)

    Metal fantasy, huh? I like it! You can be the father of a whole new genre. Pretty cool, actually. Go for it!

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    1. Hey, I can dream. ^_^ Which is kind of what the whole job is about anyway.

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  5. Metal fantasy sounds really cool, and I like that last sentiment! :)

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    1. Thanks. ^_^ I had another quote planned, but that one works well.

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  6. Metal fantasy, and I cannot wait till ROCKTOBER!

    Also, go look up Gieger's covers because those seem like the kind of thing that would be on the cover (or maybe that moment when Aang was in the weapon shop before Saaka met his master, and dressed in dragon armor.. wait there was a moment when Meelo talks about being Meelo the man. Like that?).

    And yeah, all that ever mattered was the writing. Good luck and Metal Fantasy sounds like a blast.

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    1. I have a beard. It's always Rocktober. :P

      And lots of things can be metal, it's all about the presentation. Metalbenders are naturally more metal than other benders, though, just because. ^_^

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  7. Metal fantasy? Is that like the glimmers of stories I envisioned listening to Blue Oyster Cult in the 80's?

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    1. Quite possibly, yes. Listen to them again now and see what you get. ^_^

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  8. "And I've learned that just because I like the ideas that go with a genre, that doesn't necessarily mean I want to write in that genre."

    I've learned that one recently, too! Another great post, Mason. :)

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    1. Thank you! And yeah, that one's a hard lesson to learn because it doesn't quite make sense. >_<

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  9. You're right: this writing gig is a year-round deal. Keep on keepin' on, sir.

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    1. You as well. And here's hoping someday we're both household names. ^_^

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  10. I think a lot of people wait until the new year to start something but you're right: we don't have to! We can make a change whenever we want, for whatever reasons. It sounds as if you've got your finger on something. Definitely try out the metal fantasy and see if it works. You never know where it's going to lead you.

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    1. Judging by how much stuff I've written that went somewhere completely different than where I expected, I don't know where any of this is going to lead me. ^_^ But you're right, it's best to try everything. Some of it will work, and that's the stuff that matters.

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  11. Awesome! Just keep going. I like the way it all sounds. You have a great way with putting the words out there. And I like the "metal fantasy" term. Sounds interesting... Sorry I'm so late coming by from IWSG, but better late than never!

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    1. I'm doing my best to put the words out there, but oddly enough, blogging is a lot easier than actual writing. Go figure. :P But thanks. ^_^

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  12. You KNOW you're going to do this, Mason. You know it as much as I know it. It's… this unspoken knowledge in the air. It's so apparent. And this doesn't happen very often with me--where I can sense something about someone so undeniable, that I'll voice my opinion. But certain people just have this *it* factor about them, where you know they're going to be successful. And in the short time I've known you, I've felt it, so I have no doubt in your future. Your writing sounds awesome. Keep pushing out those words. Because we both know, it isn't for naught. Good things are coming. You can feel it. I can feel it. It's going to happen.

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    1. Thank you so much; I well and truly hope you're right. ^_^ I do my best to trust my gut, so it's kind of awesome to hear that someone else has a good gut feeling about me. I'll do my best to not let your hopes down.

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  13. I think your idea is brilliant! Love it.

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    1. Thank you! Now I just need to make it work.

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