How strange am I for not losing interest?

Yes, this had been making me wonder for a while. It might be RP-related, but not only, because it applies to all realms of my life.

There are so many people who are enthusiastic for a few moments, then they are losing interest in whatever they liked before and find something else shinier.

Am I the strange one that I add new interests to the existing ones, instead of replacing them? (And also, in another context, am I the strange one for always sticking to my promise, even if it hinders me sometimes?)

I am interested in Age of Sail since I was 5 and my mother used to read to me a certain newly appeared book (which later I had read so many times that I almost learnt it by heart – and I don;t give you the title only because it is of a national author who I don’t think anybody translated into English). And the first story featuring Marina and her brother was written when I was around 10, I think.

About the same age I got an interest in Native Americans – this time, my mother was reading to me Longfellow’s “Hiawatha” retold for children. I keep the attraction for Wild West until now, and the first Wild West story I had written was when I was 11 or 12. At 12-13, I wrote already a Western “novel”, as big as two full copybooks and about 7-8 chapters… (Don’t laugh! I still keep it, even if it is nothing worth literarily!)

Every time I got a new interest, it added to the old ones, it hadn’t replaced it. And I had plenty… Usually my interest is either in a certain genre of books, or in a national culture (sparked by songs or movies, and then getting to research, to read extensively, etc.).

So, I discovered Spain at 10, then at 12 Latin America, followed by Italy (and especially Venetian Middle Age culture) when I was 13, then Greece… Indian culture, Viking, Arabic and Jewish cultures came next. Precolombian America’s in between, at about 11-12 too. I think the latest were the Japanese and Jewish one.

And about writing, I had for my stories either settings, or characters belonging to these various cultures.

I am not writing it to brag about my achievements, but to wonder if it’s me the one who has something wrong for being like this, when most others I saw… simply aren’t.

I mean, I know enough people who leave a story or a genre for having “lost interest”. Well, if you have lost interest in a story, come with a plot you would like to write about! It is not as difficult in an environment open to everybody’s suggestions. I had co-administrators who left after 2-3 months for having lost interest. And it is generally said that staff should be an example for the members.

All these, in the conditions when there is always something to be writing about, a new twist to be added… it takes only a little initiative and the desire to get involved.

I feel like the strangest exhibit in the window every time I read certain posts on a resource site. As if I am the oddest being among the others…. who think in a hivemind. And I am still trying in vain to find a writing buddy to match my way of seeing things. It is impossible to be the only one, since my opinions weren’t created in a void, but after reading enough creative writing articles from various writers.

It is impossible to not find somebody who is also story-oriented, who loves discussing plots and characters alike, who sees challenging himself not as stressful, but as the natural way to evolve as a writer, somebody who isn;t flimsy, but dedicated to finish a story once started…  They should be somewhere in the mist, but how can I meet them and let the mist courtain fall?

Is everybody saying “just a hobby” as if a hobby shouldn’t involve the desire to evolve, to improve, to meet the same standards and rules of creative writing and to integrate in a collectivity, be it a virtual one? (And of courtesy too, since we are not writing alone, but with others, so we should be more accomodating and less selfish).

Also, for me, challenging myself is not stressful, but inspiring, mobilizing me to achieve something. I need challenges to overcome. It just means a goal more to strive for, ie an achievement more after a while. The satisfaction of having overcome a challenge and to have learnt something new.

(Exactly how some people have found that having a deadline is stressful and determines procrastination. By contrary, for me setting myself deadlines if nobody else does gives me structure and direction. If I know x thing has to be ready in x days, I know how to plan to make it possible and I avoid procrastination, while if it should be ready “whenever you have time”, it is too vague and I might procrastinate to never make time for it…)

I am setting myself goal after goal, challenge after challenge to overcome. I think, for the analogy with video games (which I don’t play) it is… unlocking a next level. This comes with the satisfaction of having won – but having won against a computer is nothing vs. having won against yourself. The satisfaction is much more. If I like something, I do it with pleasure and I strive to be better at it. Researching and learning more about creative writing, practicing, experimenting and challenging myself are part of the fun of having writing as my main hobby.

The fact that I like writing and I like immersing myself in other centuries and countries, with their adventures, doesn’t necessary mean that I want to escape my life and this is why I am writing. I like returning to my regular life, even if it has a different kind of challenges (which I don’t necessary like, because I don’t like everything I have to do in my daily life). I am writing because I can’t live without writing. And I like to have the readers immersed in the environment and adventures I am describing.

Still… there aren’t any people like me, and everybody looks at me as if I am the oddest being, totally different from them. :( Really, am I? Have the others like me just vanished, and only published writers, famous in their circles, have remained to share these opinions and characteristics

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Writing alone or with others

I have been writing since I learnt to write. I remember being praised and having my compositions and poems featured on the wall gazette in second-third grade, and when I was about 13 I discovered at a general cleaning a notebook where I wrote a story in the first grade, about a witch who flew over a man and turned him into a rabbit. Two or three consistent paragraphs were a lot for a 7 years old…

I started writing longer stories since 12. My first one, 2 notebooks long, was a Western one… I still have one of the copybooks, having lost the other one. It makes me smile now, as there is no literary value in it, and sometimes things I wrote then have no logic. But I won’t throw it away.

Among the many stories I wrote in my teens, some don’t have much literary value. Or they could have some if reworked… but given the amount of work that might involve, I would rather transpose the idea in a different setting if I wanted to. With some, it worked though, and I transcribed them on the PC, reviewed and completed second edition ;). These are, in the order of length:

– “A travel through history‘” – 6,101 words (historical fiction/ young adult – somewhere in Peru, a student on a trip dreams of being a war slave in Cuzco in 1570, during the last Inca, Tupac Amaru)

– “The chess game” – 19,528 words (contemporary fiction/ young adult – the Iraq war of 1991, and how two young soldiers, a French one and an Iraqi one, save each other and befriend each other despite the laws of war).

– “The sea is calling us” – 41,289 words (historical fiction/ seafaring adventure – in 1790s, in the Ottoman Empire and in Africa. I.a, it draws on the fact that there might have been somebody else before Livingstone to have explored the Zambezi river, only that the discovery has not been recorded. ).

– “The crew” – 49,243 words (contemporary fiction/ young adult/ urban and seafaring adventure – a “crew” of young teens, some cousins, some friends, in a Danube harbour, with a passion for ships and with sailor family members, discover life, friendship, love, adventure, lies and the choice between honour and dishonour.)

– “The wanderers of the sea” – 69,119 words (historical fiction/ young adult / seafaring adventure – Viking Era. Two ships with Vikings banned from their country arrive to the Nahuatl Mexico after various adventures. Playing on the idea that Quetzalcoatl was Viking.)

“Lives in turmoil” – 171,150 words (historical fiction/ young adult/ adventure – happening during Napoleonic Wars in Italy, then the characters emigrate to the US, witness the purchase of Louisiana and make a life for themselves around St. Louis).

– “Rightness’s friends” – 203,590 words (contemporary fiction/ young adult/ urban adventure – two or three gangs of teens, and their preoccupations. Troubles with parents and peers, tribulations of the first love, socially accepted or not, corresponded or not, learning about vocations, good and bad decisions in life, suicide and how the remaining ones have to deal with it…)

I would have liked to have published at least one… but it might happen some day.

However, since I discovered that RPGs do exist, ie one can write a story together with other people, and get it published on the internet for more people to read it and to discuss about it, I have no more interest in writing alone. (I might return to it some day, I don’t dismiss the possibility. But maybe something would change in order for me to return. Maybe at that moment I’d have around me a support group interested in reading and discussing characters, plots, motives, literary techniques).

I like more writing with others instead of writing alone, plotting with others instead of doing it alone, making come true both my stories and the others’, negotiating and finding a midway for aspects where the expectations are radically different, so that it keeps being fun and interesting for all of us, discussing what’s behind the story and the research process, gossiping and discarding several alternatives after choosing the one with the most ripples for the plot. Finding online likeminded friends of any ages, places, cultural, social and national background, interested in writing and reading, when there are none around me.

Of course, it doesn’t come without the frustration of flaky writing partners abandoning you mid-plot, vanishing without a word, not communicating…

One hears it so often from RPG partners – “If you don’t like it, go write a novel (or fanfiction) instead!” But is this really the solution, instead of talking with the writing partners and finding by negotiation and compromise a solution matching everyone’s writing needs, halfway?

…And, guess what: I don’t care anymore, at this moment,if I write alone or with a partner. Yes, I really prefer having writing partners.

But sometimes they aren’t available, or they have no ideas… and I wonder what is more pleasant, waiting for an answer which will come in a few weeks and might be asking for myself to lead the story and make all the efforts, or making the same efforts from the start and writing the thread alone, knowing that I can write when I have inspiration without waiting for anyone’s posts, and that if I focus on other, collective stories first, there is nobody to wait for my answer?

Writing a novel? Been there, done that (in my mother tongue) – several novel-length stories. And yes, I do finish what I start. But writing a novel is a lonely endeavour. Just me and the computer (or notebooks before) and the research sources. Then, it stays somewhere in a corner of the computer and this is it. If in the past some people were curious to read the manuscript, even when it was handwritten on paper because nobody had a PC (and the existing PCs were writing on colourful cards, not on paper at that time) now people don’t read as much in general, I have noticed this.

So yes, this is the answer why I wouldn’t write a novel alone anymore (for now), but one with others (a RPG, how writing with others is called) but still applying the rules of creative writing to this writing endeavour, planning included (just planning together, no more alone, and writing together, no more alone).

 

The story will always come first to me, and the characters are the most appropriate ones to make the story happen. I offer you the opportunity to join it and make your mark on it. If you don’t want to, the story will still go on… with your writing contribution, with another’s, or with mine only.

The Island Rose.

Hawaii… an exotic place so few people know about…

Adventures In Historyland

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Last year I was suddenly and briefly transfixed by the story of Princess Kaiulani and the short lived Hawaiian monarchy. At this point I am not prepared to give any meaningful account of the fall of the last Queen of the island kingdom, nor the life of her niece the crown princess, except to say it was a great shame that the kingdom did not continue and that it was not returned after Annexation. Perhaps the tale is the more poignant because unlike other peoples of the Americas and Pacific, the Hawaiians had successfully begun to meld a constitutional monarchy with a tribal society. Making the best of a bad, situation instead of resisting the inexorable advance of European and American interference the leaders of Hawaii from Kamehameha the Great actively sought to maintain their independence by integration of indigenous and foreign culture. Utilising concepts from both worlds. The Kingdom…

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Because You Didn’t Ask #1: The Unreliable Narrator

Everything Falls Apart

Hi. Rayne here.

This is a series of writing-related topics I’ve decided to take on despite the fact that no one asked my opinion on them. I call it “Because You Didn’t Ask.”

Part 1 deals with a convention/tool known as “The Unreliable Narrator.” It occurs when a writer puts the story in the hands of a character who is, for some reason or another, not properly equipped to tell the tale. Maybe she’s under the influence of something; maybe she’s mentally incapacitated. Maybe she just doesn’t have all the details. But the effect is that you, dear reader, have to go on her possibly inaccurate word.

I decided to play with the Unreliable Narrator technique in Illuminated, my current short story/novella series. Illuminated has two narrators, who alternate at the epilogue of each book. Both are mild cases, as compared to say, the Nolans’ Memento/“Memento Mori”

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