Jan 28, 2013

Looking Back on 2012

The Chinese New Year is drawing to a close, and the time of the Water Dragons will soon be over on Feb 9th. This year was the time for taking chances. The economy was struggling for many, but hording your money and trying to save isn’t going to put that back on track.

Took this pic from the boat, while passing an island of trees.
I went on that vacation out of the country, although our ship was rained out of the harbor in Canada, so I never set foot on foreign soil. I still got to see Alaska from the mountain tops and a glacier. It was beautiful and inspiring to see. Not even the pictures I took can really express the majestic beauty of those mountains coming right out of the water.

I began the work on starting that publishing company I always wanted and I’ve been helping writers as much as I can, but I never did file the paperwork to make it official. For two reasons, I was worried I’d have to pay some kind of tax after the year was up and I didn’t have anything prepared to publish to pay that tax. That, I’ll get into in a minute.

We survived the Mayan Doomsday, or so I called it in last year’s post “The Year of the Water Dragon!” I also had a huge awakening in 2012 about my writing techniques. I am a bit hot headed and in the past when I’ve run into obstacles in a story, I’ve tended to burn them up. Literally. This year, I decided to be aware of my fire dragon ways and be more like the water dragon. I went out and found help. I stumbled on new amazing people and talked with other writers and editors that opened up all kinds of new possibilities in my writing. This is partly why I did not publish my books last year. I kept hearing similar critiques.
“I like your voice, but the scenes need a more authentic feel.”
“The voice is really good, but you need more narrative.”
“The story bounces around so much it’s like you’re head-hopping. Make it clear on the point of view. By the way, your voice is nice.”

We got close enough on the boat to snap pics of the glacier.
Voice, that is the intangible language skill of writers that seems to become their DNA print in everything they write. It was also the thing I was most worried about and less about all the rest. What I learned in 2012 was that I need to stop worrying about my voice. Everyone seemed to like it, but everything else needed more practice and better technique. I spent the last seven months perfecting my techniques through lots of studying. I learned to design novel outlines using cork-boards and thumbtacks. I discovered the right introduction to start a novel without confusing the reader. I am adding more narrative to make my “point of view” clearer than before. I knew better than to head hop, but the lack of narrative gave some scenes the feeling I was head hopping.

I realized that I had a lot of growing to do, despite all those two decades I’ve been playing at writing. Remember, dragons dream big. I can’t help but want to perfect my writing before I ever let the world see it. I may not be a huge sensation in the world of books, but my dreams are alive and I won’t take a chance with something amateur slipping out into the stores that will guarantee my failure for a writing career. I’m not perfect, but I aspire to be as close to perfect as I can be.

Majestic snowy mountains in June.
In regards to the Terminator vs. Back to the Future mash-up fan fiction, which I was planning out last year, I ran into some walls on how to make it work using everything from the video. I was able to map out the last 2/3’s of the story, but I’m stumped on how it all starts. I tried to make it too complex, but now I’m scaling it back a lot. I really do want to get that thing written and put out for free downloading. I’ll be talking more about that project later this week. It's not dead, I promise.

The Weapons & Warriors posts are also in the works for being sorted into a PDF for free downloading, but I’m holding that off till my artistic friend, Steven DeVon Jones, finishes the artwork for it. He’s had a pretty busy year himself, so the free sketches have not been completed. I’ll just keep writing more in the meantime and hope people are enjoying everything. I promised him I wouldn’t pressure him on the artwork since it’s voluntary.

I don’t know how your Year of the Water Dragon has gone, but my year was huge for me. My blog posting got a little slow and I removed all the pictures I didn’t own or reference to where I found them, but it has continued to get hits and feedback.

Looking forward into 2013, I’ve started a new schedule which will allow me to stay on top of the blog, posting something weekly, and still have time for writing, family, and the day job. Sleep might be deprived, but I am determined to get these novels written and it’s about time I treat writing like a paying job, even if I haven’t made a penny yet.

I once heard an old Chinese phrase, “A man who finds a snake in his home, his family will not starve.” I used to think that meant it was because the man cooked the snake for his family, but then realized that it was an omen of good things to come. The people who are “snakes” in the Chinese Zodiac are usually good for business, so it is time for starting a business and finally getting this boulder moving forward. Here’s to the next year, the year of the Water Snake.

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