The Sweet Smell of That’s-not-so-horrible


You know that couple in your circle of friends that’s almost sickeningly in love with each other? You love them together, you actually kinda ship them, but at times you also enjoy one without the other.

That’s what reading and writing are to me. They go best together, but at times you want to enjoy one without the other. Just, with reading and writing, it’s just not the same.

There are times in my writing life when I have absolutely no motivation to read – and vice versa. The text flows, I’m happily tapping away with no additional stories filling my head and possibly distracting me from my own. It’s all good. Until I start reading again and find out that it makes me a better writer. My vocabulary expands, my sentence structure improves, I’m almost not entirely horrible.

So, a couple of days ago, I picked up Libba Bray’s The Diviners and it’s so good. I love the setting, love the premise, love love love the way she writes. And find my own writing lacking. Why can’t I write like that? Why isn’t my story-telling prowess this juicy, this delicious? Well, because I’m not Libba Bray, of course.

Each writer is different, tells differently, considers different parts of a story to be important. There are differences in quality, of course, but different readers enjoy different writing styles, find different aspects of a story important. A friend of mine got bored with Rowling’s Potter a little, because she repeats certain aspects of the wizarding world, while I find all bits and pieces wonderful and worth repeating if it’s in Rowling’s narrating style.

Difference is what makes literature (and life) so exciting. So, I’m going back to my document after having read a couple of chapters of The Diviners to continue my own story. And, yes, I struggle with phrases, I curse the grammar, I pull my hair and doubt my talent, but I still love the process. A process that will hopefully make me a better writer.


NaNoWriMo – Almost There

On Saturday the madness begins. I’m not sure how much of madness it will really be for me because… well, I’m not easily excitable and I won’t pull any weird stunts, I won’t overdo it. In short: I’m German, and thus not easily moved into a group mentality. You may scoff, but I think historically speaking we learned our lesson and are now rather weary of the concept (or, as always, it’s just me).

But I just sat and thought a little about my idea Carpe Tempus – and I still think it’s a good one. That’s a pleasant surprise since I had some doubts the past few days, especially with everything else I still want to write, to start something new, a new idea… hmmmm. But, no, I like it, it’s solid (and, I guess, I’m using that phrase far too much to describe stories… it means, that something is good without being overdone, it’s not extraordinary, it’s solid).

The next few days, I’ll be thinking about my main character a little, about her relationship to her mother, to her girlfriend, to that someone who (re)enters her life. I like her name, though I guess some won’t. Sometimes it’s difficult to justify your choice of name and people get critical, even upset. I think with a novel that has a time travelling theme, the name of Wells is self-explanatory, and Brandis just goes well with it.

I usually don’t think about plot much, I let my characters decide what they do, who they talk to, when they discover that life-altering secret. At their own pace. I have my few plot-markers along the way. The plot is never the problem, though I guess I could be criticized for having too little.

The bigger problem will be the writing schedule. I’m thinking about this, about how outer circumstances could prevent me from writing. I know my writing style, I know my pace. I write better before 12 p.m., but an afternoon session is not a problem. At around 7 p.m. my brain becomes sluggish and undecipherable. I can easily write 2,500 to 3,500 words a day, with a free day every now and then. I’m able to insert a day of up to 7,000 words about every 7-10 days. If I write 10,000 words one day, I’ll be unable to write for a couple of days, it knocks me out flat and I honestly doubt that I will have the time to write that much in November – outer circumstances. My most prolific month this year was (quite ironically) February – I wrote over 70,000 words and I’d like to actively challenge that number because I see my novel at around 75,000 words, rather than 50,000.

I guess, I’ll set my own standards for NaNoWriMo. I have to. I like to think that my muse cannot be contained by regulations made by others – I’m that much of a self-confident asshole. But I still want to use it as a kick-starter. I need one. I’m not sure about how much I’ll be participating in the activities on the platform – I’m a loner by nature and writing hasn’t just chosen me, I chose it, because I like the solitary nature of it.

The next few days will be about thinking, maybe taking some notes. I’m looking forward to starting on a new project but I’ll be writing up to it. I still want to write a short story, have to finish that block on the road of my life, and maybe get some things done that will make life easier along the (writing) way – my personal life is crypticized.

See you writing, lovelies. Carpe tempus.