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Wednesday
Jul242013

Writers Block

Sometimes it isn't the lack of drive that keeps me from writing. Sometimes, as it is today, it is the lack of direction. I know where I want my novel to go, ultimately, but the destination is a long way off from the point where I am. I have a good series of events, some characters I like a lot, and yet I have hit a dead spot in the action. I want this story to progress. I want to be able to spin the tale and close the cover and sit back and feel the weight disappear. 

The last time I got to the word count I am at I scrapped the last chapter. See, I crossed the 20k word line and I stalled. I thought that perhaps it was the corner I had written myself into that I got stuck in. I figured that since I had just come out of a lot of action and a big event that the next chapter was suffering having to be the following act. I put the story down for a while, too long admittedly, and then returned to it recently. I tried to take a mulligan on the last chapter and start fresh. I wrote like the wind and then stalled out again, right after crossing 20k.

As much as I prefer to be a discovery writer and let the story tell itself to me, I may need to plan a few things out for this little lurch and plow through,

Thursday
Jun202013

Everyone has a Story to Tell

Everyone has a story to tell. Every one of those stories matter in some way. It could be a story about your worst day, a story about why you wear your hair the way you do, a story you overheard on the bus or train. Each one of these stories means something.  

Stories entertain us - from books to movies to news paper articles to history book. They teach us, inspire us, remind us, and much more. They allow us to express ourselves, whether we are the person writing/telling the story or whether we are the observer.

Everywhere you look there is a story waiting to be told, or waiting to tell itself to you. For as long as I can remember I have always seen stories that wanted to be told. I would look at events that happened and think about what I might have missed, or what I wish I would have seen. 

I was grounded a lot growing up and, if I were asked to recall how often I was ground, I would venture to say that I was grounded more often than not. Stories became my entertainment. I read what books I could get my hands on, as tv shows and movies were a scarce commodity. Stories were my escape from the confines of my room.

I would often lay on my bed, book held over my head which was propped on a pillow, and dive into the worlds in the pages. I have never been a fast reader. I make the fatal error of voicing the words I read in my head. I do it because I find it enjoyable. I give the characters voices and I let the scenes sink in and flourish and spring to life. I don't want to read faster, I just want more time to read. 

At some point in high school, I got the desire to write stories of my own. It was never anything serious other than an outlet for the stories that I was starting to conjure up on my own. I was constantly thinking of new adventures. I would walk to school every day, thinking of dragons, or bullies, or rock stars, or anything else that would make the dull walk tolerable. I wrote my short stories about the video games I played, or the history lessons I learned in school. I never took it seriously and used it as a tool more than anything. 

Somewhere along the way i began to really enjoy what I was creating. I knew that my dream was to be a writer. I have lost most of the writing that I did as a youngster but I still have those stories locked away in my mind and I am determined to start freeing them.

 *whew* Did you make it this far? Thank you for sticking with me. I think if you look around some time, really look around, you just might see those stories all around you

Tuesday
May072013

STARTING NEW ANGLES

My experience in writing, both professionally and in a hobby, have shown me that sometimes all a good story needs is a new angle. I reached a milestone of sorts with my novel, 20,000 words, and then promptly hit a very large wall. This was followed by several months of finding other things to do and avoiding me story as much as possible. I am sure this is not a great way to make progress but the long and short of it is that I got burned out.

I love my story and love the characters. I know how the story is going to end and I think that it will be make for a fun story. Now I just have to get there. So how am I going to get over the wall? I think I might throw out the last chapter I wrote and approach things from a new angle. The goal is to breathe new life into the he story and see if things can take off in a new direction, hopefully towards the end of the story.

Wednesday
Jan022013

TODAY IN HISTORY: AULUS VITELLIUS IS RECOGNIZED AS THE EMPEROR OF ROME BY THE GERMAN LEGIONS

Today in History: Aulus Vitellius is recognized as the Emperor of Rome by the german legions (not the senate). He would later be recognized as the Emperor of Rome by the senate a few months later. He was 1 of 4 emperors that year.

When I started looking into Vitellius I discovered that he was the 3rd Emperor of Rome in the year 69 AD. 69 AD has been referred to as the Year of Four Emperors. The 4 Emperors were Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. Let's look at Vitellius' beginnings

Aulus Vitellius was born in September, 15 AD to Lucius Vitellius and his wife Sestilia. Lucius Vitellius served in several powerful positions of office. Like his father, Aulus Vitellius held public office as a curator of public works, proconsul of North Africa, two priests hoods - one as pontifex maximus or high priest-, and also  as governor of Lower Germany late in 68 AD. This last position was a bit of a surprise to everyone as he had very little experience in the areas that would help him control this region, but some feel his reputation for gambling and gluttony may have figured in his selection. Some figured that if he was in a position of power to sate his hunger for both food and money and would remain loyal to Galba for appointing him to this position. Galba would later regret this decision.

Starting with Nero's suicide in 68, civil war broke out in the Roman Empire. Nero was led to suicide when the Praetorian Guard prefect, Nymphidius Sabinus, incited his men to transfer their loyalty from Nero to Galba in June of 68. Nero was left powerless and the Senate declared him an enemy of the state and He fled the city and committed suicide. Galba was declared as emperor and welcomed into the city at the head of a single legion, VII Galbiana. It was at this time that Galba started cleaning house in Germany, replacing those he felt were disloyal with his own people. This was when Vitellius was put into his position as governor.

Almost immediately, Galba started to destroy his popularity on his march to Rome by either taxing the towns he passed or by destroying then when they didn't pay. He overturned a lot of Nero's reforms and he refused to pay the  Praetorian Guard as reward for safely delivering him to Rome. The Rhine legions refused to swear allegiance to him, which set Galba to panic. Otho, seeing an opportunity, bribed the Praetorian Guard to side with him. When Galba heard about the coup, he went to the public in an attempt to stabilize the situation. Unfortunately he was not able to round up any support . Shortly afterwards, the Praetorian Guard killed him in the Forum.

Otho was appointed as Emperor by the Senate that same day. Otho had his problems but they were nothing compared to Galba, so he was welcomed by many. Unfortunately for Otho, Vitellius was marching on Italy from Germany. The army that backed Vitellius was made up of grizzled vets from the Germanic wars which intimidated Otho to send a proposal of peace. He proposed that that he marry Vitellius' daughter.

With the armies already en route to Italy, it was too late to dissuade  Vitellius. Otho was outmatched on several small battles and was ultimately defeated in the Battle of Bedriacum. Rather than keep the civil war going, Otho committed suicide, ending his 3 month reign as Emperor. 

Vitellius was then appointed as Emperor by the Senate and he set out for Rome. Vitellius was content to feast and enjoy parades that caused the treasury to close due to bankruptcy. Vitellius accrued a lot of debt and, when debt collects tried to collect, he ordered the torture and execution of anyone who tried to collect. 

Meanwhile, the legions stationed in the African province of Egypt and the Middle East provinces of Iudaea (Judea/Palestine) and Syria had chose Vespasian, not Vitellius, as emperor. The Danubian legions of the provinces of Raetia and Moesia also chose Vespasian as Emperor in August, and led by Marcus Antonius Primus invaded Italy. In October, the forces led by Primus won a crushing victory over Vitellius' army at the Second Battle of Bedriacum.

Facing defeat and surround by enemies, Vitellius made a last attempt to win the city to his side. He distributed bribes and promises of power to those who might be able to help. He tried to force several allied tribes, such as the Batavians, into helping him but he had been refused. The Danube army was closing in on Rome and realizing the immediate threat, Vitellius made a last attempt to gain time and sent emissaries to try to negotiate peace. The next day, messengers arrived with news that the enemy had reached the gates of the city. Vitellius went into hiding preparing to flee, but decided on a last visit to the palace. it was at the palace that he was caught by Vespasian's men and killed. The Senate official appointed Vespasian as emperor on the following day. This was on December 21, 69.

Tuesday
Jan012013

Self Doubt

The worst thing that could happen to one's drive is self doubt, and yet it seems that I run into it all the time. I made it through the end of the year without getting mopey about the things I didn't get done but then the first rolled around. I wasn't feeling that great this morning and I am sure that put me in a foul mood.

I then started thinking about how I am in a bit of a rut at work where I have taken on more responsibility so I am very busy all the time and yet I haven't received any compensation for that . Supposedly that compensation is on the way but who knows. I also started thinking about my writing. I know that I have to continue to write, finish things I am working on, and start new ones in order to get better at writing. I also know that I have this perception of working on borrowed time in order to achieve the things  I want to achieve. This definitely makes it hard to get my head in the game and really start writing. I have to keep at it and make sure that I am doing something to better myself and work towards a new beginning.