Friday, September 21, 2007

Writing, not Coding

I realize that I've been talking a lot about the coding that I would like to do. But the name of this blog is Writing/Coding, and I haven't talked at all about writing. That is ironic, since I've been writing for pleasure more than I have been coding. I always wanted to write a novel, and to write one well. Last year, I sat down to write a science fiction/fantasy (SF/F) novel. Immediately, I was struck by writer's block, striving to write something original. I knew consciously that my writer's block made no sense: it would be my first novel and utter crap, no matter how original it was. Because of that, I charted a new course: I would write the most derivative, cliché-ridden work possible, intentionally. I wrote more than 125,000 words (a novel is typically 80,000-100,000 words), and as it turns out, originality was not really the problem. Original or not, it was still utter crap. While individual scenes built and maintained tension, I never was able to carry that tension over a longer story arc. In the end, I decided I would have to start again almost from the beginning, and because the concept was unoriginal, I just wasn't motivated to continue that story. So I let it drop. This year, I resolved to write another novel, again SF/F. It took me a long time to decide on and develop an idea I was happy with, but finally I started writing in July or so. I've been developing an idea since then. I've worked on the universe and the characters, and now I'm developing the plot. Six days a week, I get up early and work for an hour to an hour and a half. It's going all right so far: I like the idea I am developing, and I'm reasonably happy with the execution thus far. And that's the news on the writing front.

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