Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday night writing

I probably ought to give myself at least one night a week off, but I'm too hardheaded to do so.  That said, I only got 922 words written tonight, and I'm OK with that.  Stephen King, who specified 2K - 2.5K per day as a good number, can just stick it. 

Part of the limited word count tonight is that I got home very late.  My day job is just like that; some days are short days in which I only work 10-12 hours, and others are longer.  Today was longer.  It happens, and though it's certainly not why I love my job, it does give me something to do with my time.  Some day, if I get my wish and my writing takes off financially, I'll probably have to decide between my day job and my night job, but for now it's all good.

Another part of the limited word count is a problem I have.  When I got home, my stepdaughter was watching How to Train Your Dragon on the large TV in the living room, which is the same room I write in.  I could have kicked her out, but it seemed wrong to consider.  But I can't write while there's anything going on on the television...seems like having one story going through my ears totally freezes the story I'm trying to create in my brain.  So, instead, I watched it with her, and once dinner was done with my wife as well.  Frankly, I don't mind cutting down my word quota a little in the name of spending family time. 

It wasn't wasted time, in any event.  Most of my book involves western mythology and western history, but the chapter I'm working on now brings in a little East Meets West action.  Specifically, the guy that the protagonist meets up with in Atlantis is supposed to have been at one point the ruler of a major portion of what became India.  If that doesn't make sense...hopefully it will in the book.  But in any event, there are so many little nuances to get right, from the name of the guy to how he reacts to a practical superior to the expected interactions between male and female in the culture he was from...I spent a good 2-3 hours just researching. 

Granted, those in a Ph.D. program would scoff at what I call researching, as should I since I'm in a Ph.D. program.  I'm using wikipedia as a significant source, and I'm even also using some stranger sites.  But fiction doesn't require the same attention to detail that even nonfiction, much less peer-reviewed work, does.  I could probably completely make crap up as I went along, as I already have in parts, and it would be acceptable.  But keep in mind that a significant aim of fiction is to convince the audience to suspend their nonbelief, which again is different from creating a scholarly proof.  Simply put, if I say it well enough that most of my readers believe it, then I win.  Nobody (hopefully) believes there are actually wizards training at Hogwart's, and nobody (hopefully) believes there are actually werewolves in the Pacific northwest.  But the stories are so compelling that you want to believe them...suspend your disbelief, anyway...for a while.  That's what I hope to create. 

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