2014: Mission Productivity

So.  New year, new resolutions, new goals.  This year’s goal is to write 6 short stories, polish 4 of them and submit 2 of them.  I’m actually on track so far: I’ve written one short story (well, actually 2 versions of it, even!), I’m in process of revising it, and I wrote it for a specific call, so once it’s polished and submitted, that will be one checkmark in each column.  Pretty cool.

I’m also very tempted to apply to Viable Paradise with the first chapter or three of The Red Box.  Even if I don’t get accepted, I’ll have revised those chapters at least, which will be more than I’ve done with the whole novel due to brain games/self-sabotage.  So truthfully I should just do it, as it’s a win-win either way. 

The short story I just wrote is a side story/prequel of sorts to the events in The Red Box so that’s got me even more fired up to work on it.  I’ve also heard that Chaperon Rouge: Art of Fairytales, an illustrated fairytale collection I contributed to about a year ago, is finally on track to be published.  So that’s exciting too.  I did some art and a retelling of The Little Mermaid.

I’m thoroughly tempted to do Chuck Wendig’s latest Flash Friday Challenge; only time is in my way.  I rolled a twelve, which made me laugh, because that’s my favorite genre. I’m waffling between retelling The Snow Queen or The Twelve Swans.  My short story Lump from Re-Vamp is actually inspired by The Snow Queen, so maybe I should try The Twelve Swans. Hmmmm…

At any rate: hopefully January is a good indicator of how 2014 might go, goal- and project-wise, and not just a flare up before the fire sputters out!  Onward, ho!

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Another year, another goal.

That probably sounds rather “ho-hum, another day another dollar” but I mean it positively.  Last year was a pool of quicksand. I’m not sure where time or energy went.  My goal for this year is to not let that happen again.  I have given myself a task of writing 6 short stories over the course of the year.  They may be as short as flash fiction or as long as the story needs, but they must have a beginning, middle, and end.  Three of them must be completely revised; two must be submitted to markets. 

Truthfully these feel like cowardly, small goals, but seeing as last year I did almost nothing, I think baby steps are better to get me into the game. 

Ideally, I would also like to revise The Ambassador and submit it, and revise The Red Box, but I’ll consider those bonus goals.

My other goal: get in at least 7 hours of writing a week.  Ideally, writing one hour a night at least.  But if it turns out 6 hours on the weekend and one at night, that’s fine by me.  Right now I write spottily, nothing for a time and then little spurts of collaborative/RP writing, and the only short stories I wrote were for The Midnight Carnival anthology, two of which were collaborations. 

This week, so far, I’ve started a new short story (today, actually) and written 700 words so far in about 3 hours.  Which is terrible compared to my old pace but fuckitall, we aren’t going to compare, we’re gonna go ahead.

Down but not defeated

I always have a rough time near the end of the year. I don’t know why. I suppose because I’m goal-oriented and inevitably I have not met my (loftly, often ridiculous) targets for myself.  This year the things I failed to achieve were Grown Up Life related: family, house, stability, career happiness. I am most frustrated with myself for being upset over the lack of those things because I’ve always felt I’d given up on them in my twenties. But for some reason about midway through this year they became, mentally, a Big Deal.

What the heck does that have to do with writing?  Well, long story short I got really low in the past week and I did nothing useful, other than force myself to keep social appointments (which was good, getting out of the house and seeing friends actually does cheer me, introverted or not), and I totally missed part 4 of the Chuck Wendig 200 Words at a Time challenge.  But it’s pretty typical for me to come out of these funks determined to Do Something, and throughout the funk I’ve had a Red Box short story struggling to come together in my head, so now I’m determined to write it.

I’m also determined to do something for Part 5 of the challenge, especially because writing endings is really difficult for me.  Practice is good.

I’ve also come out of the funk being a bit fired up about a post I saw on Tumblr.  It was a writer’s response to an Ask about what to do about writer’s block.  The writer in question suggested first that the person asking must not be a writer if they’re writer’s blocked; and then suggested, simply, that the answer was to write.  That wasn’t the part that really bugged me, though. It was the responses, including one very vehement one, about how much that writer’s blocked person was NOT a writer because clearly they were sitting around waiting to be Inspired and not actively trying to write; True Writers wrote compulsively all the time because that is the defining characteristic of a Writer, after all.

First, writer’s block, at least as I’ve understood it and according to the definition on Wikipedia, does not mean you are not trying to write. In fact you are probably trying really damn hard, and/or, too hard–you’ve basically psyched yourself out.  You may well be putting down words.  But (if you’re like me, who considers themselves to have been blocked for the better part of 3 years) most likely every word you put down feels like death, feels wrong and ugly and makes you feel worse.  Every idea you have dies in the cradle; at no point do you find that sweet spot where you break through and ride the story out.  Yes, as this person adamantly insisted, writing is indeed a craft that must be sought out and pursued and worked for. This person asking about how to break out of their writer’s block never suggested it wasn’t. As I see it, they were actually asking for help with that craft–asking for techniques to work around a problem they could not sort out.  If a person building a desk can’t figure out how to hammer nails in properly, you don’t tell them “just keep hammering, you’re clearly not hammering enough.”  You try to figure out if they’re swinging the hammer wrong or not holding the nails properly. 

My writer’s block has a very clear source: lack of confidence. At some point, I lost my faith in my writing skills. This is a gigantic problem for a writer, believe me.  You can’t revise if you don’t trust yourself and your writing instincts.  Telling me to “keep writing” is next to worthless, because I’ve definitely been writing. I’ve just hated everything I’ve produced, been halfway to furious with the results and been cowardly and hesitant when revising.  Nothing has the passion and assertiveness I had 3 years ago, and I can tell.  And the more I feel that way, the more difficult it is to get even a sentence out.  The block gets bigger and I’ve yet to find a way around it.

So before folks get up in arms about those sincerely asking what to do about writer’s block, let me suggest that probably most of us who are blocked aren’t waiting for “magic feathers” and “inspiration” with our thumbs up our asses.  Probably many of us are fighting through and desperate for someone to suggest techniques that might help us find a different approach or techniques to help figure out how to restore our lost confidence.  If you have never suffered through a period of time where your doubt and fear and insecurity cripples your very ability to put down a sentence, lucky for you. But please don’t suggest that suffering from this mental malady means I’m not a writer. I do write. I am a writer.  I’m just really at a disadvantage, right now, and could use a hand up instead of anger and accusations. 

All the projects in their drawers

It’s been… nearly three years since I finished the first draft of The Red Box.  That’s a little horrifying to me.  I’d meant to have a revised version by the end of 2011, but, well.  We all see how well that went!  That said.  I’ve been having the itch again to pick it up.

It’s funny to note how few of my old in-progress novel ideas are still appealing to me.  I’ve changed a lot; my opinions on various issues and what I think are storytelling priorities have changed a lot.  I still adore the world of King of Salem, for instance, but I wonder if the story I started to tell would still be the story I’d tell about that world.  I still love the idea of the male witch, but I also wonder about how changing the gender of the persecuted magic user changes how that person is regarded and what reactions people have towards them.  Is it skirting the issue to make a witch male and not deal with the sexism behind the persecution of “witches” in our history?  There were few female characters in that story; only one with agency.  What, for instance, would change if the Jack character–the witch hunter–were female? What would change if Tony–a very influential royal–were female. 

One reason I still want to return to the Red Box is that I feel like it tackles, even if not as deeply as I would now, issues that I want my fiction to keep in mind.  There are a lot of women in that story who make a difference, even if the lead is still male; Frankie is super important and she doesn’t get shelved or victimized or anything like that.  The whole world is mixed race, so the “racism” is more classism, but the faces in that world are far more diverse than the blond-and-blue-eyes of Jack or red-headed, clearly caucasian Tony. 

My actual, main worry with Red Box is that the plot still makes any sense, so I’ll have to reread.  And I might have to rewrite from the beginning.  But even if I do, I think it would be worth it. 

I’ve shied away from revising for so long. I hope that I can do it.

(On the other hand, writing The Motley Star could still be so fun… augh. Discipline!  What is that?!)

Do It Yourself (Or With a Friend!)

I have a love/hate relationship with do-it-yourself projects.  On the one hand: total control, from beginning to end.  I love that part.  One the other hand: you have to do everything, or find someone to do it for you.  Everything.  From beginning to end.  Hate that part.  Well.  Kinda.

When I was younger, I did a lot of DIY comics: write the story, pencil the pages, ink them, letter them, make the masters (tape and paper at first, then digital in Illustrator and Pagemaker), go to Kinko’s and copy the comics, assemble them.   I went through the gamut of emotions during this creative process:  despair, denial, rage, joy, exhaustion.  If you’ve never sat up with a friend or two at 3 am hand-trimming comics and stapling them together, well.  Try it some time.  The blisters are almost worth it.

In all seriousness though, that glow when we looked at the filled box of homemade comics, it was worth it.  We didn’t really notice the one with a slightly crooked cover or the one missing pages 1,2,15, and16.  There was nothing like that feeling of having made something, having poured your love and caring into it, and doing it like we meant it resulting in such a lovely result.  I don’t have kids, but maybe that’s how new parents feel.  At least until the kid starts crying in the middle of the night.

So when Die Booth and I decided to turn a journal-based monthly horror fiction project into an anthology, I figured, what the hey, it’ll be worth it, no problems here!  In fact I won’t even have to draw every page so it’ll be a cakewalk!  I’m gonna have such a great time!

But of course everything’s easier said than done.  Turns out doing a DIY fiction anthology is no easier than doing a DIY comic.  You’re still chasing people down for content.  Cleaning up artwork for printing turns into editing fiction for consistency and flow and grammar.  You’re still doing layout–hey, learning Pagemaker and Quark and InDesign for comics gave me a leg up, but then I had to learn all about line spacing, good font size, justifying the text, stylesheets and how to set up automatic page numbers.  You’re still running off test prints and contacting printers.  One easier thing was that distribution channels for indie fiction exist (maybe they exist for comics now, but they didn’t at that time): Lulu, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Kindle Direct, and more.  You’re still making flyers and–well–my most dreaded, loathed part of DIY–publicizing it yourself.

Was it worth it in the end?  When I held that lovely book in my hand, freshly torn out of the package from the printers? You bet.  I didn’t even have to staple it myself, this time.  That’s pretty badass.

Lucky 13 Blog Tour: An Interview with Die Booth

Die BoothMy old friend Die Booth has recently released his wonderful steampunk-supernatural novel, Spirit Houses.  I’m thrilled to have the chance to interview Die as part of his Lucky 13 Blog Tour.  Spirit Houses is out now; get your copy now or stay tuned to learn more about the book after the interview.

LCH: Introduce yourself!  Tell us a bit about yourself!

DB: Hello, I’m Die, I live in Chester which is a very old city in the North West of England, which might account for how much I love old things and ghosts, which are the subjects of a lot of my writing. There’s debate whether Derby or Chester is the most haunted city in England – of course, I’m biased (it’s Chester.)

LCH: What inspired Spirit Houses?

DLB: Well, I do think living in Chester had quite a lot to do with how Spirit Houses turned out. I think there’s a distinct sense of place in a lot of my work and Spirit Houses is no exception. The locations in it are loosely based on places close to me. The University Hospital in particular is based on The North Wales Hospital which is a huge and sadly empty Victorian asylum complex in nearby Denbigh. We’re right on the Welsh border here – maybe that’s a subconscious reason that I’m so interested in the liminal, the line between physical and spirit, the veil between planes. I dream a lot about that stuff – I dream often, and have since childhood, of an alternate plane that I called The Negative for reasons that are made obvious in the book – and I frequently use my dreams as inspiration for my stories. Lots of stuff in Spirit Houses are just written directly from my dreams, which I suppose is cheating a bit, but I think it works. I think a little of those bits as ‘canon’ and the consciously written stuff as ‘fictional’! A lot of things inspired Spirit Houses; it’s an amalgam of a real pile of stuff that I’ve been collecting in notebooks for a decade.

Spirit Houses coverLCH: Who’s your favorite character in Spirit Houses?

DB: Oh good grief, you can’t ask that! Fix. Fix is definitely my favourite; I’ve known him the longest. As to the others, I’m not sure… it’s kind of like having a group of friends. You love them all, even though some of them do your head in, and you get on better with one person on certain days than others; another day, you’ll hang out with someone else more. I think Ray is the person I’d spend the most time with. He’s considerate, easy-going, just a really nice guy. That said, Alex is secretly a little bit my favourite because I find him hilarious and he’s always up for partying.

LCH: And how would the other characters feel knowing you’re playing favorites?!

DB: I don’t think any of them would be surprised if I said I liked Alex best – they’re used to him being popular, I don’t think they’d mind. Daniel would be put-out though, those two really don’t get on. Daniel’s definitely the hardest to get along with, although I wouldn’t say I dislike him by any means. I can never understand writers who seem to hate some of their characters: you created them, how can you not love them? I don’t think I could even hate a real villain if I’d written them myself.

LCH: You went through a lot of titles before you settled on Spirit Houses. Titles are something I waffle over and grapple with constantly.

DB: Choosing a title was one of the most difficult things about this book. I think that’s how titles go – either you start with an amazing title and then hang the story off it, or the title just won’t happen and you have to wrack your brains at the end. It’s such a vital element though, it has to have that hook to it, to draw people in immediately, entice them, but also sum up the book somehow even if it’s just in flavour.

LCH: What other titles did you try that you liked? 

DB: I had ‘Embedded’ as the provisional title for ages, because I couldn’t think of one and my mum came up with that one for me. She’d read the whole thing in segments as it was being written and thought that was a good summation, which it was. It was so very nearly called ‘Embedded’ but something just didn’t feel quite right. I think if I recall I Googled that as a title and there were a few books with that title and I was a bit iffy that it didn’t really get across the nature of the book.

LCH: What made you choose Spirit Houses?

DB: ‘Spirit Houses’ I think is quite multi-layered – it can refer literally to the spirit houses featured in the story (which in this context are containers that you invite a ghost into, to provide it with alternative accommodation if it’s haunting your house) or it can refer to whatever houses the human spirit, which is a really central notion to the story. Plus, it gives the reader much more indication that the contents of this book are supernatural.

LCH: We’ve both been thinking and chatting a bit about gender in fiction, especially in horror.  In light of that, what are some of your favorite portrayals of women in speculative or horror fiction? 

DB: Eleanor in Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Haunting of Hill House’. I just adore that book; I think it’s the absolute number one shining example of what horror should be – gorgeously written, subtle, understated but utterly, check-under-the-bed terrifying. Eleanor as a character is so beautifully observed and so real, her claustrophobia and frustration with her situation, her paranoia. She’s a really sympathetic character who I think most readers can identify with; in that way she transcends her gender if that makes any sense. I think a lot of female characters are female first and characters second – whereas she’s a protagonist who happens to be female, human weaknesses and all.

I’d also highly recommend The Ghost Drum by Susan Price. It’s a children’s book, but is exquisitely written – far more so than most adult fiction – and it’s very unsettling in places indeed, I think everyone should read it when they get the chance. The lead protagonist, Chingis, in a lovely break from the norm, is the witch who rescues the prince (or rather, the Czarevich) and she’s a proper badass. I defy anyone reading that book not to wish they were her a bit.

Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Invisible Monsters’ as well – I’m not sure if it can be classed as strictly horror, but there are some truly horrifying elements to it and the female protagonists are beautifully twisted, yet entirely sympathetic (to me, at least!)

LCH: How about in your own story? 

DB: Well, pretty obviously, the lead protagonist of Spirit Houses is female. It was always Manda’s story, so it’s quite focused on her experience. I’d like to think that it wouldn’t have made much different what gender she was, that if you swapped the gender of every character in the book it would be pretty seamless and still work – that they’re more than just caricatures, I hope, more than just shaped by stereotypical behaviour. But I’m not sure that’s entirely true – I’m not sure you could write even quite a feminist story and have that be true, because to be realistic, you have to be aware of the often quite sorry state of the world. Spirit Houses deals a lot with prejudice. The overriding prejudice against Manda comes due to her medical condition, but there’s a little gender prejudice bubbling under the surface too I think, despite the fact that the Spirit Houses universe is quite equality-aware, there’s still a marked difference in the way the girls and the boys behave.

In terms of favourite female characters though, in Spirit Houses, I have to state my fondness for Matron Tagfalter. I had a little character sheet for each character in my notes, and one of the questions I asked for each of them was “Given the choice between saving one loved one, or ten strangers, which would they choose?” and the answer for Matron T was “She would come up with a plan to save everyone and she would not fail.” I think that sums her up.

LCH: I sometimes write scenes that concern me a little but that feel necessary for the story, but then I fret a bit about reinforcing negative situations or stereotypes.  Did you ever face this situation while writing or revising your novel?

DB: I started writing Spirit Houses a long time ago, before I became so super-aware of and concerned with every-day, institutionalised sexism. So when I came back to edit the main story, I started fretting a lot over all sorts of things. The core storyline, being the relationship between Manda and Daniel and what goes on between them; I started to worry a lot that it made Manda seem too stereotypically weak – because she really, really isn’t. I worried that Daniel would come across too manipulative and therefore Manda would seem easily manipulated. I even agonised for the longest time about showing Manda crying. But in the end I had to sit down and think, well – anyone, regardless of gender, in that situation, would show signs of stress, would cry: it’s not female weakness, it’s human emotion. I think that’s shown when Ray and Daniel both show the same kind of emotion, but obviously it’s more apparent with Manda as she’s the focus of the book. The temptation to make her super emotionally-strong was there, but I think her character would have suffered for it: she would have been less real, less easy for a reader to identify with. I still worry a bit that she has stuff ‘happen to her’, that she has situations forced upon her, but I think that she copes with it better than most people would.

I did change a few things in the edit though. I found myself noticing where I’d unconsciously put ‘default’ male characters in (presumably because I identify more with male characters). It’s something I’ll watch out more for in future work. It’s so easy when you have a ‘bit part’ character to automatically cast them as male, so, for example, I ended up changing the male surgeon Brother Halstead so they became the female surgeon Sister Halstead. I think that we need to become more aware of ingrained stereotypes and try to undermine them, to flip them – then maybe attitudes in society might eventually start to change.

LCH: If you could write anything you wanted, regardless of audience concerns, what your mom would think, what your inner editor would think, what’s the most ridiculous, self-indulgent story you’d like to tell someday?  The one you’d squirrel away under your bed and cackle gleefully while writing?

DB: I have so much of that stuff under my bed already that it presents a serious fire hazard..! To be honest, I’m really quite bad for writing what I want to, regardless – which is probably why so much of my stuff isn’t very commercially marketable! If I wanted to write something that I’d rather keep from, or to, a certain audience, then I’d just use a pen name. But to answer your question properly – hmmmm… let me think… I reckon it’d have to be zombies, some kind of B-movie zombie survival tale. That’s not really very self-indulgent, is it? Maybe set in the English Civil War, with a ridiculously dashing protagonist. And lots of mild peril. And some giant flying piranhas. Oh dear… I think I want to write it!

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Find out more about Spirit Houses and Die Booth over at his blog, diebooth.wordpress.com or at maddocsoflit.com!  Or you can buy Spirit Houses at any of the following places:

ISBN 978-0-9926400-0-2

Ebooks

Paperback

That Magic Feather

Long time no write, because, well, I haven’t been writing much of anything up until perhaps a week ago.  Not for lack of trying, most of the time, but I suppose much of that “trying” was taken up with “despairing” and not as effective as it should have been. 

Two things that were not really revelations, but somehow still feel like revelations: 

1. I am an introvert, well and truly.  Spending time with people, whether I like them or not, uses up my energy, physical and mental, and it takes 100% solitude to recharge.  As my work demands that I spend more and more time with people,  in meetings, presenting, or just in the day-to-day interaction, I need to accept what I am and figure out how to balance my life.  How to recharge my batteries so I don’t end up like I recently did, mentally incapable of doing anything other than lie in front of the television playing video games. 

2. I can often write when I’m depressed, but not when that depression heavily involves an utter loss of faith in myself.  The day job was making me seriously doubt my self-worth, and it quickly bled into everything.  Again, it would seem obvious, but not in the moment.  Instead all I did was feel utterly confused that I couldn’t at least write in the midst of my depression, and that would make me lose faith even MORE, and the depression would get worse, and… you see how it goes. 

I’m actually a bit startled at how much that lack of faith undermined my writing.  Some of the things I wrote when I was trying to force it were just terrible.  Poor word choices, awkward sentences, absolutely no emotional connection.  Even I felt distanced from the text and I wrote it!

Seriously, I don’t think this is perception, I think it has something to do with how belief, passion, and confidence come across even across a written page.  I’m a shy mouse in person but when writing, I always feel stronger and bolder and more vibrant.  I can express myself in text; I feel less shy and I can consider my word choices carefully.  Or that’s how it usually is.  Also, as mentioned before, I hear my stories as I write, and when I started to lose faith, I couldn’t hear them.  I could only hear my own self-loathing and derision as I fought to put down even a handful of words.  And of course, that would only worsen the cycle. 

What changed?  Honestly, work let up a bit, I got some time to myself at work and time to myself at home, and I think my batteries just recharged.  Slowly, my attempts to write became more focused and the output improved.

And then, just this past week, I revised a short story I had kicking around, shared it with my awesome writing pal Die, and Die handed me that good old Magic Feather: a hearty helping of support and encouragement.  I can get suspicious of praise (thanks, self-doubt) but I trust Die to speak up if something isn’t working, and always has good suggestions for things to improve. 

It was perfect timing, and I feel energized about writing again.  I’m still not where I was two months ago.  But definitely getting better.  Crossing my fingers that this is a real recovery and not a double dip depression ;). 

The sitting on one’s hands shall continue!

Every Monday a group of friends and I sit down to write for an hour. This past Monday I was worried I couldn’t write, so one of my friends suggested a challenge–to write about a character cooking–and I agreed. Instead of writing about cooking though, I ended up writing a scene that could follow where I’d last left off in the novel.

Which is a long-winded way of saying clearly my brain would still like to work on the novel.

It’s funny. While I was writing the scene I was fighting myself the whole way through. I finally stopped when that fight just got to be too much and I just hated the last bit of what I’d written. I’m so mad I’ve suddenly allowed that demon of self-doubt back in the door when I’d been pretty good about holding it off for so much of the book. I suspect Sue has the right of it, that I’m afraid of the ending. I also think I’m just plain tired–from writing so much so fast for such a long period of time (for me), from shenanigans at work, from a sudden bout of insomnia and blues.

Speaking of the day job, I really wish I could skip it, some times. Yesterday morning I had this amazing nightmare (hm, should those words really go together) which made me want to write a little scene or short story so badly. I wanted to, but I had to go to work. And then I tried to hold it all day, but by the end of the day it was all tatters. It’s still lurking and lurching around the back of my mind, but now I don’t know that I can do it justice. It was so fresh, and well, terrifying.

Also, someone please explain to me why the most horrifying monsters in my dreams seem to be these skinned/naked wolf-dog creatures? 🙂

Monster on my shoulder

There’s a monster on my shoulder. It’s been with me a long, long time. It’s a mutt of a monster, part pride, part insecurity. It whispers mean, undermining things into my ear and convinces me constantly that everything I do is worthless, uninspired, something to be ashamed of. But I think I must love my monster, or want to hide behind it, or something, because I can’t seem to get rid of it.

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Over the weekend my sister and I were chatting, and she was telling me about her troubles, and I just had to wince with how much we struggled with the same issues. Her troubles are not precisely mine, of course, but the root causes are the same — lack of confidence, perfectionism and a helping of self-sabotage. I can see how our shared upbringing encouraged some of these things, but it makes me sad that neither of us have fully managed to overcome them. For her, it induces creative paralysis or a complete lack of desire to create. For me, I keep creating, but I constantly feel like I’m an idiot, flinging myself at a brick wall and not seeing that I’m never going to break it down. I’m always fighting the voice that says “why bother” and “you suck anyway.” That little voice has warped various teachings into “if you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.”

To which I say: screw you voice. I’m doing it anyway.

Slowly, slowly, I’m fighting through the shame of putting out something that isn’t the best thing anyone anywhere and anywhen has ever read. That sometimes isn’t even to my (horribly, impossibly high) standards. Part of that is learning that most people don’t seem to give a crap if every sentence is a shining jewel among sentences or not; if they like the story, or they like the characters, they’ll forgive a lot. That’s not an excuse to be lazy or sloppy–heaven forbid!!–but it is an excuse to stop being frozen by fussing and fussing over three words. Part of it is accepting that there will always be someone who will hate the story, who will think it’s not good, who will laugh at it, criticize it, mock it, belittle it and… I can’t do a single thing about it. And there’s no point worrying about it in advance. It may hurt when it happens, but if it gave me pleasure to make the story in the first place, well–all I can do is try to learn what, if anything, I did technically wrong, and try to improve. And it may well be that it’s simply not the right audience. That does happen.

Anyway, maybe eventually I’ll be “good enough” to make myself happy. But in the meantime I just have to keep working, and writing, and trying to get better, because that’s the only way to actually get anywhere.

In the name of…

… So in “Empire” some of the characters are, at least by what they say, very devout. They speak a lot of their god, who is a four-aspect god collectively named Firkhenn. However, that word, in their language, just means God.

So in the name of being literal, I’ve been having them just say “God” when they speak of Firkhenn, and it’s been bugging me. And the only reason I can figure out is that generally, when we’re speaking English and we say God-with-a-capital-G, we’re speaking of the Judeo-Christian God. We say “Allah” when we mean the Muslim God, and we say the names of the gods when we speak of Greek or Hindu gods, and now I’ve run out of gods I know of since Buddha is not a god or God, really. (Maybe I need more comparative religion.)

What do you think? Have you ever run into this problem before? Have you ever had your fantasy characters speak of their god as God? What were your thoughts about it?