Welcome back to another BlogHop, with#OpenBook. Read on for this week’s prompt.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
What? I need to quit one of my vices? Which one? Coffee, going out for lunch with my wife, fish and chips, cream teas, watching my DVD collection of X-Files episodes (series 1-9), 1970s heavy metal music. Which one of them would I be willing to sacrifice?
Or how about one of my writing foibles? Could giving up one of them make me a better writer? Let’s see, there’s my tendency to write in different genres, start too many projects, waste time on social media when I could be writing or marketing.
And then there’s the big one, the pachyderm over there in the corner. I refer to my tendency of getting side-tracked while researching facts, or even going off on a tangent when I’m supposed to be writing about a specific subject. Meaning that I end up writing about something else.
Like I’m about to do here; if I’m not careful.
Being more selective in my research, stopping the search for ever more fascinating facts and obscure knowledge would certainly improve my output. Although not all of it, Obviously. Because some of my novels have come from side-tracking.
Incidentally, when I was researching the sequel to Life and Other Dreams, I found an interesting place in Belize It’s called Magnetic Hill, or Gravity Hill. It’s on the Hummingbird Highway and gravity appears to be switched off. If a car is stopped at the bottom, it rolls back to the top. I’m sure I can use that in the novel. In fact, as I type this I can visualise where it might fit.
See what I mean? The question is, why do I inevitably seem to end up getting side-tracked? It’s a combination of things, my desire to know all there is to know about the things that interest me, the fact that I’m constantly amazed by the amount of information available, my inability to concentrate.
As I’ve said before, I thought that writing Sci-Fi would be easy. I was confident that there would be no need for research, you can’t research the future, you just need to invent it.
I’m much wiser now, I understand that to create the future, you have to understand the present. You need to know the way things work; so that you can adapt them and move them into your worlds. If you start with something believable, you can take the reader with you when you present him with the new, improved version that comes from your imagination.
To my surprise, despite never wanting to do any, I’ve fallen in love with research. I can spend hours getting all the facts about something that might only take up a few paragraphs, just to make sure that I’ve got it right.
BUT… the problem is, in my thirst for knowledge, I wander off when I see an interesting topic.
Several hours later, I know everything about some niche subject, sometimes more than one. Trouble is, I’ve forgotten what I was looking for AND I’m nowhere further forward on what I was actually writing.
I actually wrote a post about the problem, back in 2017, as it related to a book that I was writing at the time. You can find it here.
Back to the subject, again.
if I could change one thing, secure in the knowledge that it would make me a better writer, which would I choose? I’d have to say that I can’t decide. I’d love to stop getting side-tracked; if it wasn’t for the fact that it has led me on a wonderful journey of discovery. In fact, all of my annoying writing habits have enriched the experience for me.
Could it be the end of the X-Files on repeat? Or should I start drinking tea?
I’d love to get your thoughts, please leave me a comment below. Then go and visit all the other great blogs on this hop.
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