Yesterday was Mother’s Day so…I took that time off.

I did watch Game of Thrones. I’m completely caught up, so very minor spoilers ahead. It was…a great lesson all writers should learn from. Although the story isn’t complete until next week’s finale and although I am not into the lore like some other fans are, I’m doing my best to be objective to what has happened so far. Still, I have a sour taste in my mouth even as I’ve listened to various perspectives, some neutral, some optimistic, some extremely disappointed. I’m in the range between disappointed and neutral because the writing for the last episode and the episode before was lackluster. You can almost hear the writers screaming “We just want the story to end.” With a show as immersive as this one, you don’t want to sense that sort of energy. You shouldn’t blatantly declare to your audience that you’re going full self-sabotage. Endings are hard; all the more reason not to give up. But are the writers giving up?

I’ll tie all of this into my novel in a second here. Bear with me. There’s still one more episode. I’d rather see it to the end as objectively as possible rather than be bitter or watch it with any high hopes. It is what it is. There are many stories you’ll dive into where you’ll want a certain ending or event to happen. I recently felt that way about Dracula (I finished it!). There wasn’t anything wrong with the story composition, but there were a few things I wanted: (1) I wanted to hear Dracula’s side to this whole ordeal (It’s no wonder there are so many poor adaptations of this story. Everyone wants to hear Dracula’s side, but nobody hits you where it itches.) and (2) I needed more death. I wanted Jonathan Harker to die. I wanted him to die so bad. I wanted Dracula to rip his throat out. I wanted misery and tragedy to strike the core of every hopeful character full of faith and fire. I wanted a Shakespeare ending. I wanted everyone to die. Even Dracula. Lastly (3), tying in with the previous point, I wanted Dracula to have much greater strength than stealth in the night and disappearance during the day. I wanted his hunting capability to be more of a sharpened craft. I wanted more strategy from him (You know, maybe Castlevania spoiled me? lol). Regardless, the ending is what it is. No rewrites. No changes. Just adaptations are all we’ll get. It’s important to remember that as an author; the ending of your story is yours alone. It’s immutable unless permitted to evolve.

I’m not encouraging any sort of rejection of constructive criticism, but it’s always important to remember to not fear what others say of you. Instead of fearing it we need to face it, no matter how much it stings. You don’t have to listen, but we as artists know that anything revealed to the public is open for criticism. Even if you don’t read or listen to any criticism, it floats about. Acknowledge that it is there and I would think that your stance to your composition will be strong from beginning to end. If you lie to yourself and pretend the criticism isn’t there, I think that’d weakened your stance. This is so difficult to say since I’m such a sensitive person, but I’m also a very philosophical person who adores the nearly limitless views of life. I love to listen and I love to learn even when it hurts me. Art is expression and enlightenment.

That being said, let Drogon’s flames fall where they may…probably onto whoever Daeny is pissed at…

For now, I’ll keep writing.

Words Written Today: Two pages in my plot planning notebook.
Current Word Total: Still 88k

Research Topics

  • Lord of the RingsThe Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (I reread The Battle of Helm’s Deep)
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (Just started it just because)
  • Void Magic (True Void and Eldritch) – A branch of witchcraft/energy work one of my characters practice
  • The actual castle of Castlevania
  • Chess, because strategy is fun
  • Watched a video of a rising authortuber discussing their timeline on writing a novel.

Additional Work: Contemplating how magical battle plans work in my world. I also thought about the second and third novel a lot, which led to thinking about video games and the origin of haute couture…

Work Process: I spent the morning…laying in bed, as you can see here.

During all that chill time in bed, I was lost in the future of the second and third novels. This led to watching videos about haute couture (kinda got sucked into the MetGala feed on Twitter), which was more interesting than I thought, the legend of La Llorona, and other random stuff. I doubt some of what I looked at today will be in the novel; it just piqued my curiosity. Resting did help though. I was able to sort out a scene that has a lot of fighting involved and although I’m happy with the way I write some fight scenes, I was curious about how others do it.

I started with my hero, Tolkien, and found his writing style so…lively when it came to battle (I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR THE MOVIE THAT’S COMING OUT ABOUT HIM BY THE WAY. I AM READY TO CRY–I’VE BEEN CRYING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT). The Battle of Helm’s Deep was so interesting, between Aragorn and Theoden’s strategic planning (and talking too much), to Legolas and Gimli being snarky af, to Eómer almost dying, it was all awesome. And even the orcs taunting Aragorn who gave them the basic “this is your last chance before you’re royally screwed” warning was so awesome. The liveliness of every character, their banter, their confidence, their vulnerability was the highlight while reading a BATTLE scene. It was so strange, but I didn’t care. You SHOULD connect to the characters while they’re fighting for their lives, but I’m so used to diving into the choreography or battle itself. It was just, so wonderful to reread this chapter as a writer. I learned a lot.

Then I read Martin, who I’ve been meaning to read for quite a while. I got a taste of his narrative voice. Very interesting. His use of metaphors and imagery captured me at times and at other times didn’t, but honestly, I’ve only read the prologue of A Game of Thrones and it’s just not enough to understand his writing style yet. Unfortunately, another thing came up and I didn’t get a chance to read more. I’ll make updates as I go along, surely. You can become my Goodreads friend if you’re interested. I’ll follow back. 🙂

Lastly, void magic. It’s a delicious path of witchcraft, I think. I find a thrill in it, but others have found it terrifying. I won’t expand into it too much because of that. I’m trying to figure out how I can connect that to another…thing. I also explored teleportation, via Castlevania…which I don’t know why. I probably should’ve explored scientific theories…or maybe Dr. Strange lol. Other than dabbling in some chess puzzles on this app I have, the last thing I did today that helped my writing enthusiasm was listening to Kate Cavanaugh, an absolutely adorable authortuber, who discussed the real timeline of her novel writing process. This is always reassuring to hear. I wrote a post about authors I like that have taken some time to write their novels. That helped me get out of my own funk when it came to writing mine.

A lot learned and accomplished today. Huzzah.

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While writing my novel, today I realized that I’ve been working on my first draft for almost a year now (April 11th is my anniversary…write-iversary? I don’t know…). I feel I’m near the end of my second act, hopefully getting closer to the climax and resolution (but it’s like pulling teeth, I swear!). I ended up wondering about some of the professional novelists right now who bust out novels every year or two years, which put me in a weird, hypothetical shock. What if I publish my novel, it turns out to have decent feedback with expectancy, and I can’t finish the second novel within a certain time frame?

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Again I’m doing that stupid “reach these expectations” thing. I would’ve hoped I learned by now, but it still eats at me. It’s a trait of perfectionism I wish I could kill. At the moment, I can’t kill it, but I did counter attack by googling some authors I look up to and wondered how long it took them to finish some of their work.

  • Neil Gaiman started thinking up ideas for American Gods in the early 1990s, starting actually writing it in 1998, then had it published in 2001.
  • It took J.K. Rowling six years to write the first Harry Potter book. (I know she’s going through a lot of heat right now, but she was a mom and had many other things going on back then and that’s still admirable)
  • Donna Tartt has a ten-year span between her novels The Secret History and The Goldfinch .
  • George R.R. Martin takes about five to six years for each installation of his Game of Thrones series too and I’ve heard his fandom is very impatient.

There are many other writers who punch out novels faster than them or slower than them, but doing my research gave me some peace about my own writing. Especially since I’m writing a scifi/fantasy work, I don’t just have setting, characterization, and plot to think about. I have cultural history, magical lore, old languages, futuristic weapons and probably way more to think about. I took this on so I can spend years enjoying it. Not race through it.

Why am I so goddamn hard on myself? I need to chill.

By the way, reached 300 pages today. *pats self on back*

Hamartia: “The error, misstep, frailty, or flaw that causes the downfall of a tragic hero. Sometimes called the tragic flaw… bad judgment, ignorance, accident, inherited weakness, or plain bad luck…Whatever the error or defect, it results in action (or inaction) that leads to disaster. – NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms by Kathleen Morner and Ralph Rausch (1991).

I strongly recommend getting this dictionary if you’re a fiction writer.

My Take on Hamartia In Writing

Hamartia must appear in every story, if you think about. It’s necessary conflict (internal and external). How else is your character going to develop if they don’t endure some sort of issue that is placed upon them or self-perpetuated? Many authors understood that any type of tragedy or disaster makes audiences feel pity, fear, or satisfaction for the character(s) affected by it. One example off the top of my head is (vague Game of Thrones spoilers ahead!!) is Hodor who just…had to hold that damn door and shatter my heart into a million pieces.

I’ve seen tragedy hit the whole spectrum of archetypes, even though this definition focuses solely on the tragic hero since the Greek Classics have most protagonists fail due to their prideful nature. It has to happen because that’s what makes a plot work; that’s what makes characters relatable. Audiences want to see the character confront disaster, whether they survive it or not because it echoes reality, you succeed or you fail. However, tragedy is not that black and white. Some rise from the ashes of their suffering and some don’t, but transformation is inevitable. Even when a villain faces disaster in death, and I mean a well-crafted villain with backstory, motive, and ambition, you see them as more than just the bad guy who got what they deserved. If anything, it should poke at the audience’s moral compass encouraging them to question their ethical boundaries (because pitying a villain is strange to some and accepted by others).

Additionally, adding a little metaphysical take on this, the act of manifesting or weaving your own destiny is common in stories and hamartia plays in the mix of that. Most of us prefer calling it “reaping what you sow”, but in the metaphysical community, we call that “The Dark Night of the Soul“, where you’re in a place of complete sacrifice or surrender and come to terms with whether you’ll endure what’s happening to you by trusting yourself to survive it or choose to despair and desperately mourn that you didn’t reach your ego-based expectations. I don’t think hamartia is enticing if it becomes the definite annihilation of the character where they’re damned for eternity for their purposeful or accidental sin and that’s it. A choice must be made. Hamartia exudes its greatest effect as an inevitable, destructive force that shows no bias to any archetype and shouldn’t be considered “evil” or “just”, “bad” or “good”, but simply destined to appear before you and demand you make a choice, which can be taking action or being inactive.

I’ll be sharing more literary terms in the future, but seriously, get the dictionary of literary terms. Maybe I’m being a lit nerd and pushing too hard, but it’s just…fun to read. Especially if you like learning random new things.