Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Further clarification

At the time Thomas was "courting" her, Maggie was hypnotised and thought it was only a dream. Sort of like Lucy Westenra. She was afraid she was being possessed by a demon, an incubus, and ran to John for salvation. That is why she doesn't recognize Thomas now. He seems vaguely familiar, but she can't place him. She does remain susceptible to his influence. That magic doesn't fade with time.

I have finished and posted the plan for 2005. In order to finish writing a first draft in 6 months July-December), I will have to average 550 wpd. I can do that. Character building is next. I'm a week ahead of schedule, but I can't afford to get cocky. Character building has always been a bug-a-boo for me. I've always shied away from digging too deeply, but for a novel, I have to. Take a deep breath and dive in. It's only cold for a second.

Lurching through the landscape

Small progress on the latest landscaping project. After the rain last night, the soil was just too wet and heavy for me to get much done. I did get the area smoothed and somewhat level. Tomorrow, I'll try to get the edging in place, the soil dug out, the weed barrier laid down, and at least some of the rock in place. I want to finish up no later than Thursday so I can get some perennials set out over the weekend.

Tomatoes are sprouting. They should be big enough to set out after Easter.

The Danger of Writer's Blindness

Every writer has a vision. It's what gets us started on this road and keeps us going through the learning curve and into the ranks of the published. My vision drives me forward every day. The dream of putting my messages in front of interested people is always fresh and alive. My nightmare is that I will lose sight of my vision and begin to settle for "good enough".

The problem is money. Writers get used to being paid, sometimes handsomely, and lionized. The lure is very strong. Just keep doing what sells. If you break out and explore fresh territory of get too far away from what made your reputation, your work gets harder to sell, no matter how good it might be. Think about all the authors who have become a kind of cookie-cutter book mill. Many of them recognize what has happened and would really like to break out, but their agents and editors won't even look at anything that's outside the marketing plan.

How m,uch courage does it take to walk away from a lucrative career in order to satisfy your creative vision? Bankruptcy looms over you with every breath. What price artistic integrity?

That's the real down side of being an artist, and writers are artists. We like to speak of the "craft of writing" and focus on telling a good story. We may even come right out and deny that our writing has any artistic value. After all, it's just fantasy or horror ro romance or mystery or whatever. Nevertheless, the reality is that writers create art. We paint and sculpt and sing with words. Our words contain our dreams, our vision; they take our unique perspectives on life out and lay them in front of the rest of the world. Are we willing to sacrifice that vision and that art for the sake of money? Are you? Am I?

Some writers can overcome this obstacle and reinvent themselves. That's a very hard road. Just ask Holly. The stress and anxiety are killers. I have the greatest respect for writers who keep their dreams and visions alive through all the demands of marketing and sales numbers. For each of these, there are many who cannot. They are the hacks, the "wordsmiths", the merely good enough to sell. I do not want to join their ranks. I pray for strength to stand firm and remain true to myself and my dream. Only then can I bring my art to life.

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