The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Resolutions, And Other Things

Posted by BigWords on January 9, 2011

If you’ve spent any time reading this blog, then you will know that I tend to do things… Differently. This post is a perfect example of being ever so slightly off kilter. Because the other stuff distracted me at the opening of the year I haven’t got around to doing my new years resolutions yet, which is a shame because of their importance in framing the reasons why I have been so busy lately. Yes, folks – it’s because of resolutions that I have yet to announce that I have been so quiet… That’s the level of logic we’re hitting here, so I may as well lay out everything. Oh, and I’m going to explain the puzzle I left you to play with at the end of the AW Musical Chairs Blogfest, but you should read through the resolutions first, to see why something like that is appearing at all.

And yes… Before you make note of it, today is my birthday, but I’ve already mentioned the fact that they tend to go awry, so steering clear of the subject is the smart thing to do.

Resolution The First: Submit More Material. Lots More.

This is where people should avert their eyes, because you’re probably not going to like what you read. It’s a way of thinking that has served me well in the past, so it seems like it will work for my writing as well – I’m going for coverage rather than prestige. There are a few blogs I have read where people have pointed out that they don’t submit to non-paying markets, and that strikes me as a massive missed opportunity. I’ve already sent out six pieces, and it is only the ninth of the month, so (as I pointed out on Twitter earlier) you’re hopefully going to get tired of seeing my name in print.

Resolution The Second: Post More Information.

I’m going to get things rolling soon enough on the epic book lists again, but I’m thinking of revisiting the stalled guides as well. The one which I had big plans for in the summer of 2010 will be reworked to appear as a series of smaller pieces, where I can devote more words to the material than would have otherwise been possible, but I’m also staring at the groundwork of a genre guide which will supersede those already covering such material. It’s always annoyed me that the material gets too large for use in anything, but by ignoring the printed mediums it opens the possibility of truly definitive works.

Having taken the time to open a Goodreads account, I suppose that fits under this banner as well, as I really do need to update it with books. By following Resolution The Third, this should become an easier proposition to take care of…

Resolution The Third: Make Better Plans.

Things seem to get derailed awfully easily, so planning well in advance for disruptions to plans makes sense. This may seem a weird choice for a resolution, but it is something which, had I thought if it of in my twenties – making backup plans, and backup plans for my backup plans – could have saved me a lot of money and time over the years. I’m still in the middle of things which are directly related to the lack of backup plans, but I’m digging myself out of that slowly and surely.

If I had been prepared to deal with unusual events, I could have had a whole lot more free time in 2010 to write, and to have fun, and to… y’know. Do stuff.

Resolution The Fourth: Move Preemptively On Things I Want

I’ve spent a lot of time of the last year seeing things happen, while thinking about the pros and cons of going all out to get ahead on things. Waiting to see how things are going, and watching others make their move, didn’t work out so well. I’m going to try and be a whole lot more proactive, setting things in motion in advance of when I need them. This could count as an addendum to Resolution The Third, but by placing it as a separate entry I should be better prepared to follow it through.

Resolution The Fifth: Raise The Stakes.

Things are going to get much, much more complex in my writing. I’m wearying of simplistic, and the opportunity to fully explore how high I can raise the intellectual bar appeals to me. Using foreign phrases and obscure words may be frowned upon, but I intend to use every trick in the book from now on to keep people on their toes. I’ve played with being the smartest kid in the room before, but it’s far past the time when I should have shrugged off the simple in favor of the complex.

Please try and keep up while I show off how smart I am.

Speaking of which, I did promise to reveal the secret stuff hidden in the AW Musical Chairs Blogfest, so here goes:

Kerilyn (the name of the main female character) is a Gaelic name meaning black, which fits with the dark tone her character carries throughout most of the story. It is no coincidence that the male lead is named Lucas – a name commonly held to mean ‘light’ in naming tradition.

The following is where the change slips in:

Standing at the main entrance to the park, Keri pondered how two weeks of brief companionship had changed her expectations of the park, and how it had ceased to loom so large on her mind. There were still nights where she would awaken in a cold sweat, but the darkness had lifted.

Firstly, I shortened her name to Keri, then I compounded this by stating “the darkness had lifted” in the body of the text. Yes, it’s probably too blunt a version of the Meaningful Name trope, but it has a certain appeal…

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9 Responses to “Resolutions, And Other Things”

  1. Lorata said

    I’m with you until point 5. So many writers assume that when they’re playing clever, the people who don’t like it just “can’t keep up” or aren’t as “smart” as they are. That’s not the case. I’m often the smartest kid in the room, too, but that’s not why we should write.

    Any book I’ve read that uses “tricks” like foreign phrases or obscure words to “show off how smart” the writer is gets an instant back-on-shelf from me. I don’t read to play circle-jerk with the writer. I read because I like the plots, the characters, the story. Authorial masturbation is what blogs and university literary magazines are for, and it should stay there. 😉

    Not that you should purposely dumb down, but if you’re “clevering up”, that’s a warning sign.

  2. bigwords88 said

    It’s me putting a stop to editing out thing from the early drafts as I close in on final edits, delete entire sections out of fear that it’s too complex. I’ve cut huge chunks out of things because I didn’t trust people to get references – from now on, whatever feels right, no matter how obscure or layered in meaning, is staying in.

    I think that some of the things I have submitted in the past were dumbed down, even though I dislike reading the “take-you-by-the-hand” stories myself. Anyway, it’s getting more difficult to tell what is common knowledge and what is obscure, so I risk alienating readers who know that there are things I’m keeping back from them.

    The only time I really play with people is in the stuff hidden under the layers of text. Readers aren’t meant to see that stuff, and it’s a fun exercise to attempt. I’m not going to deliberately make things more complex than they need be (and some of the stuff I’ve written is way too complex as it is, even in plain English), but the edits for ease of use for those who don’t know references is coming to an end.

    I naturally fall on the “difficult” end of the spectrum. 😀

    • Lorata said

      Ahh, fair enough! It’s a fine line, I think, between refusing to compromise your own writing/intelligence and making things deliberately difficult (I remember wanting to dig up a few literary theorists in university who felt that if their readers hadn’t struggled to comprehend the meaning of their sentences, the reading experience wasn’t “valid”). Either way, though, dumbing things down or purposely removing references definitely is a disservice to yourself and your readers.

  3. On resolution 1: I usually submit to the pro markets first, then the semi-pro, then the token, and only then to the non-paying. Are you going to sub straight to the non-paying?

  4. bigwords88 said

    Everyone. Money really isn’t an issue at the moment, so I’m not constricted by having to meet a specific income each month from the material I send out. I figure that having as wide a range of credits as possible can only be a good thing, and by helping out non-paying markets (alongside subbing to paying ones) I’m doing some good. There’s no reason anyone should choose between markets, so all markets are on my radar at the moment.

  5. Just wanted to wish you luck with your subs!

  6. bigwords88 said

    Thank you. 🙂

  7. Abby said

    And happy birthday, too! Best of luck.

  8. bigwords88 said

    Thank you. 🙂 My luck seems to be on the upturn, so the well-wishing I’m getting must be working somehow.

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