I was out of the writing slot this past ten days, venturing in but once. Life business demanded my attention.
As I traveled, I read The Watchers (Jon Steele, first book in the Angelis Trilogy) and Ready Player One (Ernst Cline). While writing, I often reflected on how my style and material compared to the two books, and what I liked and disliked about each novel.
Then I required a purge. Are you familiar with this? The purge is needed when others’ fiction is enjoyed, and I begin thinking that I need to do things in my novel to make it more like them.
Bad idea? No, terrible idea, worse idea in the bloody world. Almost inevitable, too. I’ve gone through this before. In early years, I tried changing my stories to be more like something just read.
The results sucked, but they were helpful. I learned, and I know, trying to write my book with inflections and concepts found in something recently read ends up torturing my story lines and prose, and dilutes my concept and originality.
That’s why the purge is needed.
Several steps are required for me to purge. I’ve been through this before. I know what to do. One, I need to recognize that I’m about to throw untested code to what I’m writing. Two, I need to understand why it’s so damn tempting.
The latter point is easier to cope with, and best for me to first approach, because the first point is so nebulous, harder to grasp, and is a challenge and affront to my confidence as a writer. Basically all of my writing is untested code. I’m an organic writer. I write it, modify it, and test it until it fits. So, naturally, I think, well, damn, can’t I make other things fit, too?
Yes, probably, but it’s pricey. I may end up muddying my developed story lines, something dangerous to do twelve hundred words and four books into a series, right?
This is why understanding why I want to change my books to incorporate what I’ve read is important. What I read entertained me. I admired their talent and skill. They’d developed concepts, characters, plots and sub-plots, and story lines in novel manners. Their books allowed me to escape.
That’s what I’m shooting to do, too: write stuff that entertains others and lets them escape. Steele and Cline’s books “win” over mine because I still offer a work-in-progress. It’s harder to pick my novel up to compare with their books. But once I stopped to review my WIP, I was surprised anew how entertaining it is. Yes, similarities with other novels and my novels exist, and will be spotted when mine are done, no matter what and how I write. I try to minimize these things but it’ll happen because I’m a product of my environment. Books and other authors fill that environment. Hell, they’re the foundation of what prompts my desire to write and publish.
With that thinking processed, the purge was completed.
Another day of writing like crazy done. Time for other things, like, umm…lunch.