I realized my last post about writing ROUGH MAGIC may have been a bit boorish. Stuff you've already heard. Here's the author lamenting about the process of writing...blah, blah, blah...which, to be honest, is as easy or hard to perfect as any other craft.
What I wanted to talk about today was the relationship between the two main protagonists, Niksabella, and her brother, Nikselpik--without giving any spoilers, of course--and how that relationship mirrors the relationship I had with my brother growing up. I wrote the skeleton of ROUGH MAGIC almost a decade ago. These two characters have been in my head for quite some time, so it amazes me I didn't come to this conclusion sooner.
My brother and I. We went to the same schools, played sports, and were relatively well-liked. Just normal kids, really. But I was the eldest by four years, and I remember giving my brother quite a hard time all the way up until my freshman year in high school.
I'll be honest here, I was a bit of a bully. A dickhead, is probably more accurate.
Notwithstanding the fact that I felt my brother was a mama's boy, over-coddled, and genuinely a little shit. Looking back, nothing could have been further from the truth. We were just different kids. He was crankier (back then) and I was always the self-sufficient, leave-me-alone type kid. Yet, he cried a lot, complained a lot, had a huge temper. He got on my damn nerves!
Let me give you an example. One time, I was talking to a girl on the phone--I was probably thirteen--and my brother got on the second phone, making those weird perverted noises only a little brother wanting to spoil your potential first date can make. I was furious. I hung up, chased him through the house, and shoved him into edge of an open door, where he busted his nose wide open; He may have broken it, I can't remember. I know there was a lot of blood.
Fights like that happened a lot. Him getting on my nerves, me blasting him, and mom coming to pull us apart. A similar incident happened at the zoo where he got on my nerves so bad I tackled him in the grass and pummeled him until he was, again, rescued by mom. Of course, I always loved my brother, and aside from the occasional fight, we were actually good friends. He snubbed my bullying, and usually gave back pretty good. We were often on the same teams for neighborhood pickup games. We played RISK, D&D, and Titan together.
Over time, those incidents waned and disappeared as I went off to college and my brother made his own way through life. I still can't remember why I got so mad at him back then, or what prompted me to bully him. I was generally a good kid and didn't pick on anyone else, nor did I have any disciplinary problems.
Yet, our past resurfaced, subconsciously, while dreaming up ROUGH MAGIC, manifesting in the two main protagonists, Nik and Nika. Why? I believe it was because I felt horrible about what I'd done, and I wanted to find someway to apologize as well as allow my brother to have a chance to confront me about it (in a fictional setting). Although we've never talked about our past in that sense--I still don't know if he remembers things the same way I do--creating Nik and Nika allowed me to work out that situation, to take a look inside the head of someone being bullied, and to see how that could have affected them negatively. Probably to punish myself as well.
That's what drew me (and continues to draw me) into the Nik/Nika relationship. They still have a lot of shit to work out. It gets deep, much deeper than anything me and my brother went through. It is, at times, intense...and I have to step away from the keyboard.
Anyway, that's the story. That became my motivation for this brother and sister duo. I hope you take the time to read about them in ROUGH MAGIC (GnomeSaga #1) and continue in book #2, THE TINKERMAGE.
Friday, July 19, 2013
With ROUGH MAGIC out for four months now, I have a little time to reflect upon its writing. I did a lot of great interviews and enjoyed a HUGE amount of support from folks in the writing community, as well as gained a few fans. I suspect I'll realize some things down the road, some introspective thoughts about my growth as a writer, at which point I might have another update. But for now, I will tell you two things.
Writing a novel sucks. Writing a novel is wonderful.
Of course, I'm leaning toward the "it's wonderful" direction. The bad can be summed up as a feeling of never-ending mental slogging. It's like doing homework every day for months, even if you are having some fun doing it. If you work a day job or have kids, the mental stress doubles and you must struggle just to find time to write. It will test the hell out of your patience, and make you question yourself every day. Surely, there are better things to do? Things that provide more immediate rewards.
Then again, I'm the kind of guy who puts a lot of pressure on themselves. Just how I am.
And then you hit one of those days where things seem to be sailing along nicely: the words are effortless, your goal is within sight, and there's big, fat snowflakes falling quietly outside your window.
If someone were to ask me what other lesson I learned in writing this book (and what lesson I would take moving forward), it would be that a better use of my time and less "fiddling around" would help. Once you start a novel, and if you are serious about it, the novel doesn't go away. It sits there in the back of your mind while you play video games or hit the pub, telling you what a shitty person you are for leaving it unattended. I stretched the writing of ROUGH MAGIC out over a year or more, with some months doing no writing at all. I would have been better served hunkering down for three or four months and getting it done. I could have done better, and I will from now on.
But I suppose, if it were that easy, anyone could do it.
One thing I would like to express to the world is my gratitude. I've met so many great writers (via the interwebz) because of this book, enough to make my head spin. And I suppose this is what my first year in the "biz" is all about. Absorbing everything, enjoying the successes as they come. Learning from all the great reviews (and some not so great)...
Getting older and having slight health issues (as well as watching some good people die around me) has led me to never take life for granted. As much as I'm a proactive, I realize this existence can end at any time. I'm so grateful to have had a good life, with good friends, and ended up in a great spot in life. I've found my true calling, and I'm excelling at it. I have only one book out...but WOW, does it feel good.
Well, that's all I have for now. THE TINKERMAGE and THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS (Dead West II) are up next.