Saturday, July 21, 2012

Done revising!

Last night, I spent almost an entire hour debating with myself whether to cut or keep a paragraph in my “final” manuscript.

I know that I'm not the first to say it, but revisions are a bitch.

You spent all this time in front of a half-blank page, trying to put that amazing movie that takes place in your head into words because it's the most incredible thing that you've ever seen and you want to share it with everybody else. There are lives lived, loves lost, battles won...

These character deserve to be known. But, how can you do them justice?

You write. You sit down, channel your inner schizophrenic and pay as much attention as you can to the voices in your head. Then, you pour it all out into a blank word document that becomes as dear to as your own child.

So, there I was, with my inner schizo in a chokehold because there was a brilliantly written paragraph that needed to be cut.

Was it good? I thought it was.

Did the story suffer after its grammatical amputation? Not really.

I had someone else read it over. It worked.

And I realized that even though what I had written may have been good, it wasn't a necessary part of the story. Still, it was a hard decision to make and to appease myself, I pasted the cut paragraph in a document I had aptly named, “Deleted Scenes and Cut Stuff”, and told myself that I was just storing it to use later. Maybe I'd recycle it in a sequel or something. Inner Schizo knew better though, poor Uza will probably never see the light of day, but he will forever live in the eerie shadows of my mind.

The thing is, that it's never easy to go over your own work and be objective. Nothing will ever be good enough, and no amount of revising can ever lift it up to your standards. So you have to learn to be fair, not with yourself, but with those special characters that count on you to introduce them to the rest of the world.

Anyway, I was finally done with revisions yesterday and I gotta say, it's looking good.

Don't miss Shadow Riser, coming soon to an electronic bookstore near you! ;)


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why do I write?

When people ask me why I’m always writing, my answer is simple and straight to the point: just because.

But when I think about it, the truth is that the real answer is so much more complicated.

This world we live in is amazing. I mean that in the sincerest way possible. But I just can’t understand how is it that most humans work. Every day it’s a new battle, a different setting of the same kind of hell. I try to stay partial, but all I ever manage is a passive/aggressive approach to things that leave me yearning to suffer from agoraphobia and never wanting to leave my house again. But, I’m too lazy to farm my own foods so I always wind up having to step out of my sanctuary the following day.

I think that perhaps one of the main reasons behind my writing is my basic need to flee. Because everyone needs an escape. Something that will help them float away from their messy lives for a little while. Anything that will help them cope when things aren’t going well. To some, it’s music. To others, work. For me, it’s the wonders of the written word. I can get so immersed in a story that whenever I’m reading, no matter my surroundings, everything simply falls away. Every noise fades out and suddenly all I can see is the story unfolding before my very eyes. All I hear are the characters conversing besides me.

Books are my passion, my first love. They have always been present, one of the few constants I can rely on. Nursery rhymes, fairy tales, books about science and – my favorite – books about the inexplicable things that happen in the dark. Books that made me want to go out and explore the world as a child and books that made me warily curious about the things that went bump in the night. Books that gave me goosebumps and made me want to provoke that same reaction in somebody else just by using my words.

Thus, at nine, I began writing spooky stories to show to my classmates. Tales about ghosts, ghouls and ancient Indian graveyards lying dormant under our school. We even made a small writing group because of it. Granted, it wasn't the most literate of circles. Most of our stories consisted of a small paragraph and a few drawings. Either way, I had the time of my life, until I was made by one of the nuns.

That was the end of my short lived foray into the horror genre. You can imagine the uproar my little stories brought on. Private Catholic schools aren’t very welcoming to such ideals, especially not when coming from one of the young minds they teach. However, their taboos had the opposite effect. I became obsessed with anything that had to do with the paranormal or supernatural. The end result, a quiet lonely girl that always sat in a corner lost in her thoughts, weaving fantasies in her overactive mind to shut out the uncaring world. But that shy little girl grew up and began spending her free time in libraries instead of her room. From the time I stumbled upon a worn out copy of AlexandraRipley’s Scarlett: A Sequel to Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With theWind, when I was twelve, everything changed. I devoured the thing within a week and then…

I was lost to the world.

I lived and breathed books. Novels, poems, short stories, everything I could get my skinny little hands on. Whenever I had a problem (and there hasn’t been a shortage of those in my life), whenever I was sad, I read and it was my own secret kind of astral projection. Like a reversed form of what happens when the Silvertongue reads aloud in Cornelia Funke's Inkheart. Instead of the characters coming out of the books and into our plane, it was I who went in, becoming alive in their worlds. To me, anything would have been better than the lousy hand I’d been dealt.

It was through books, that I learned to not feel alone. I discovered that I wasn’t the only one that felt that way and was inspired to change. To come out my shell and face this wonderfully cruel and at times majestic world.

It’s the excitement at learning something new. The dread that takes hold when you fear that something bad might happen to this made-up person that you’ve come to care so much about and the feeling of finally belonging. It's finding someone who feels the same way that you do.

It’s realizing that being a misfit is actually not such a terrible thing anymore.

That is why I write.

Because writing is my way of being able to relate, of communicating with people I don’t even know through the power of unspoken words. So, if you're reading this, I hope you have as much fun daydreaming as I do.

And don't forget, every time that you open a book it can be the start of a great new adventure.