So, there I was, casually strolling through the blogosphere, when a ruthless predator pounced on me. He claimed that he wasn’t pouncing, but hopping, and that it was actually a good thing, and now I have to
pounce hop on other people as well. I tried to explain that I don’t hop, only hit stuff with hammers, but he just giggled like a maniac and hopped further, oblivious to the mayhem and destruction left in his wake.
So now I have to hop; blog-hop, that is. As today is Heritage Day in South Africa, I suppose it’s only proper that I tip the hat to my countryman, 23thorns, for
conning nominating me to participate in what’s apparently called a World Blog Hop. This one specifically is for creative types (didn’t know I was one of those), and 23thorns has no shortage of creativity. Not many people, for example, can write a thoughtful post on parenting inspired by Jeremih’s song Birthday Sex (I very nearly used that song for the Song Title Challenge birthday edition) that also has you rolling on the floor from laughter.
As is customary with these things, there are questions that need be answered:
1. Include a quote that you like.
The pen is mightier than the sword
Okay, okay. That’s way too easy, isn’t it? Actually my favourite writing-related quote is from the novel Snuff by Mr Terry Pratchett:
…and one day I thought, how hard can writing be? After all, most of the words are going to be and, the and I and it, and so on, and there’s a huge number to choose from, so a lot of the work has already been done for you.
Whenever I consider quitting this writing thing, I read this one and remind myself it’s not really that hard. It’s not as if I need to invent new words, do I? On the other hand, it’s not like you can just pick words from the dictionary and it magically becomes a novel. I’m finding it to be rather hard work.
Which brings us to the next question:
2. Why do I create what I do?
Cause seriously, writing is hard. I’m finding it near-impossible at present, so why do it? I have two passions that are stronger than all other passions and interests: stories and music. I can spend all day every day just immersing myself in good music and good stories, be they on paper or on a screen. And while I do have some musical ability I don’t have the raw talent that’s required to ever be a great musician, but I just might have it in me to tell a decent story; maybe even a really good one.
I’m just starting out, really. I didn’t study literature and don’t hold any language degree. I did teach English for a few years, but that might have done more harm than good as far as creativity goes.
For now, I’m throwing words at the screen. For the most part I still don’t know what I’m doing, but once in a while the words actually behave and do what I want them to do (and the wife is a terrible critic who simply loves everything I write, even total rubbish like Spoonman, which at least helps with the confidence). I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m creating yet. More fiddling around. But I’m getting there.
3. How does my creative process work?
As I just said, I mostly just chuck words at the screen and hope something sticks (much like a Jackson Pollock painting, except no one wants to pay me thousands of dollars for it, yet). When it comes to the blog (and my weekly flash fiction in particular) I usually walk around ruminating for a couple of days on whatever it is that prompted the coming post. At around 7PM on the day I want the post to go up I realise I should probably start writing something, and then by some miracle usually manage to hit the publish button an hour or so after the wife had already turned in for the night.
With the two attempts at a first novel thus far I followed pretty much the same approach. It’s mostly due to the fruits of those two attempts that I say my creative process doesn’t work. I need a new one.
4. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’m trying (for now at least) to write urban/contemporary fantasy. I think what probably distinguishes my work from most of the genre is that I’m not planning to write any trilogies or series. If I find a story that works, and that naturally lends itself to a sequel, and I actually have a good idea for a sequel, then I’ll most definitely do it.
My currently-stuck work-in-progress is also entirely set in South Africa. There are not many urban fantasy novels that can claim that. Time will tell if that particular gamble will pay off.
5. What am I presently working on?
Just yesterday I started planning a new novel. Last year’s NaNoWriMo novel has been gathering dust ever since and I decided to start fresh with something new for this year’s writing campaign for insane people and then use the momentum from that to launch me into the much-needed rewrite of last year’s project.
I’ve been toying with the idea for the new novel (working title, The Source) for most of this year. Yesterday I started brainstorming what the story will actually be about and jotting down some basics regarding character and world building. Over the next few weeks I plan to develop it into some decent character profiles and a plot outline. Last year I winged it, leading to a first draft requiring such a significant rewrite that I’ve been completely demotivated with doing it. This year, I’m outlining. We’ll see if it makes any difference.
What’s it about? A British-American doctor who’s also a self-taught wizard, a South African-Indian woman who is not entirely truthful about why she’s asking for his help, and a magical artefact of immeasurable power that must not fall into the wrong hands. Does that make you curious? Me too. As I said, I only started planning yesterday 😀
My least favourite part of these things (and the main reason I don’t do award posts anymore) is where I have to nominate a few other
suckers bloggers to keep the chain letter going carry on the torch.
My first nominee calls himself The Parasite Guy. He’s writing a novel featuring alien parasites. Thus the name. He’s also doing a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He’s a constant source of guilt to me, considering that I’m also trying to study and write at the same time, and not succeeding nearly as well as him at it. On his blog you’ll find his thoughts about writing and also regular reviews of both mainstream and indie books.
My second nominee is Kokkelien. In case you were wondering about the similarities in our names, she is, in fact, my significant other. The name, however, was her mother’s pet name for her years before we even knew of each other’s existence. She draws (you may have noticed some of her drawing gracing recent posts here), and this year specifically she has been working on a project called the Gratitude Calendar where she draws a picture every day of something for which she is thankful. She’s running a bit behind at the moment, as she’s also studying for her exams in a couple of weeks, making me feel even more guilty at my own poor progress.
Image courtesy of MemoryCatcher at Pixabay.com