Welcome Back

Ahh… It’s like clocking in to work, opening a fresh, blank page for blogging. This is how I get the creative ball rolling, and help myself focus on what actually needs to happen.

See, when I wake up, my brain tends to be full. It’s like a thick stew being stirred constantly. I can’t grasp any particular thought, and I have about a million of them before I even brush my teeth. By the time I actually get in the car I’ve had about 20 different ideas for what to blog about, but once I sit down to it, they will all have disappeared, leaving me to think of something fresh.

So, what’s today’s fresh thought?

Let’s start with the fact that I met my writing goal for last week. Friday morning Trevor woke up at a quarter to six, to take his parents to the airport. I woke with the alarm, and couldn’t fall back asleep. I tried, like hell, but as my brain came to I felt flushed with writing. The spur of creation. I knew where the scene was going. It had marinated, and on Friday morning, the metaphorical timer had dinged. It was time to write.

By the time I reached Starbucks it was 7:30. My shift started at 9. Account for setting up the computer and eating breakfast, I had about an 1 and 15 minutes of solid writing. Notice, I didn’t write a blog that day. In that time I wrote 1,553.

I believe NaNo Campers call that a sprint.

Let me also say that ‘sprinting’ felt good. It didn’t leave me exhausted, my brain comparable to pudding. Instead I felt energized. Thrilled, and in love with the scenes I’d written. And, after reading them today, I still feel that way. They were good scenes.

Those 1,553 words ended chapter 9, and put a solid intro into chapter 10. But, as I imagined, I got zero editing done last week. Which means I need to edit two chapters this week.

My Starbucks schedule this week isn’t ideal for writing, but it’s a good compromise between the Write Life and my personal life. Off today, which is always nice, a whole day to myself to really get good work done. Tomorrow I close, Wednesday I’m a late mid, so I get to have dinner at home. Thursday I close, and Friday’s another late mid. And then Saturday I close, off Sunday.

So, today I’m going to try and finish chapter 10. That’s a tall order, because it needs another 2500 words or so, but I’m sure gonna try. Tomorrow I want to edit at least one chapter, but I might get to two. That way Thursday can be a finishing/starting a new chapter day.

Also, and this is more for my entertainment as well as learning, I bought a paperback version of ‘The Alloy of Law’.

I love this book. It’s everything I could ask for in a sort of Steampunk detective story, and I won’t lie, it’s a major source of inspiration for the novel I’m working on. I own a hardback copy that I bought from when the book originally released, and it was one of the books I took to the signing. I just finished rereading it for the third time, and I think I’ve fully absorbed it now.

But, as I was reading my hardback I found myself noticing that Sanderson breaks some rules I’ve been living and writing by. As I flipped through page after page I found myself itching to circle ‘-ly’ adverbs and ‘was’. Also, he teaches against using dialogue tags, but he does it.

I needed to know how often he breaks the ‘rules’. So I spent the eight bucks to get a paperback copy that I could write all over and not feel too guilty. So, for my pleasure reading I have a hardback copy of ‘Steelheart’ sitting in my box at work, and for my editing, I’ve got ‘The Alloy of Law’. While I waited for the computer to wake up I started my ‘was’, ‘as’, and ‘-ly’ circling, and let me tell you, Sanderson definitely bends the rules.


And that’s just page two! What does this mean for my writing? Not too much. I think Sanderson’s stories and his clear writing allow him to get a little lenient with the ‘rules’. Also, when you take into account that the book is just under 100,000 words, there’s more room for scenes that bend the rules. Also, the circles and counting don’t help me actually analyze the sentences. I have to go back, make notes in the margins, and see if the sentences themselves are strong, even with so many circles.

It’s going to be a fun exercise. And that’s how I’m treating it, an exercise to see how Brandon’s finished work looks. Something to compare my manuscripts to and to learn from.

Anyway, I’ve killed enough time here. It’s about time I started writing!



4 thoughts on “Welcome Back

  1. That’s a really interesting way of approaching Sanderson’s work. I listen to Writing Excuses, so half the writing advice I have comes from him and his colleagues on that show, but it’s never occurred to me to test how far they – or any other author – live up to their own rules.

    How does Alloy of Law compare with his fantasy work?

    • Are you asking as far as the story? Or my exercise?

      If you’ve read the Mistborn Trilogy, then you HAVE to read The Alloy of Law. It takes place about 300 years after the events of The Hero of Ages, at time when electricity has just been invented and automobiles are becoming popular. Add in a slight wild west feel, and a crime element, and it’s just good old fashioned fun.

      Plus, there are a ton of awesome, tiny references to events and characters from the original trilogy, most of them in the form of religion.

      If you meant in reference to the exercise, this is the first time I’ve done it, so I’ve no idea.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • I meant in terms of the story. I read the first Mistborn book and, while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t quite compelling enough to make me want to read the whole series. But the idea of taking that setting forward to a technological age sounds fascinating.

      • I love the Mistborn books, but can see how they might be a little tough to get into. That’s what’s great about Alloy, because it’s way more character focused, and has a lot more action. A quicker read, by far. But, there are a ton of little references you’d miss out on if you hadn’t read the entire trilogy, and though they aren’t crucial to the story, they’d be confusing.

        But, you could read a short synopsis of each previous book, to get the big details, and read Alloy with no problem.

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