Empathy

empathy-bellyCaring for someone who is having a rough time is still really hard on me. I remember years ago when I had therapy sessions in San Antonio with this doctor that operated out of the military base nearby. One of the first things that she told me that I should do is stop empathizing with others, namely my friends.

I don’t think that anything can be further from what I would want. I want to feel bad for my friends when they’re having a hard time and I want to be able to feel goo for them when things are going well. I think that they should kind of be the same way and that this is one of the minimal requirements of being friends.

In fact, one of the reasons that I just stopped dealing with so many of my friends lately is because they weren’t really good friends. Problems I had or hardships I was facing weren’t worth their time. When good things happened to me or them they were no where to be found. When they were doing bad, though they wanted my undivided attention.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to put up with that, but having fewer friends to be focused makes it that much harder when one of them is having a bad go at it. Add to the problem that I’ve never been the best at comforting people.

There’s no much point to this other than that. I’m having a hard time not thinking about a friend I can tell is hurting. I’m still writing and still kicking ass at word count. Laser focus and all.

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Unearthly

unearthly australiaCynthia Hand wasn’t a name I had ever heard of before I started reading her Unearthly series. The first book came highly recommended by a friend of mine who is an avid reader and since the subject matter was similar to what I write I jumped on it. I was curious to see how someone else was writing it.

The big difference between Hand and myself, other than her being published, is that she writes in that ever growing Paranormal Romance genre. And she’s probably the first author I have read who made me not want to toss the book across the room because the characters behaved like idiots. It was refreshing and the first book is really well constructed. The second book isn’t as good and I haven’t gotten to the third (there’s a novella between the second and third), so I don’t know what to say about how the series ends. But book one, Unearthly, is a good example of how you do it.

The problems in books like Hush Hush and Twilight are recognized and cut out leaving behind a coherent narrative that still features love and magical creatures. But one that gives a sense that these ingredients can be mixed to create something other than drivel.

Complaining About Meyers [The Unexpected]

Twilight-Saga-Breaking-Dawn_-jewelry_by_Swarovski_Long time no see. It’s nearing March and my birthday and I’m still writing and working and reading and all of that fun stuff. Hopefully I can remember to update at regular intervals. My home internet is currently on the fritz again and I’m having to make this post using the magic of the Mobile Hot Spot through my cellphone. Because of that I’ll keep this quick and dirty.

I was reading up on the idea of succubi in fiction (I can’t decide if I like that plural or just keeping the word like deer where it’s both singular and plural) and I came across this little excerpt from an article on Wikipedia.

  • In the 2008 novel Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, the three original sisters of the Denali coven (Tanya, Kate, and Irina) were revealed to be the originators of the myth of the succubus, as they would seduce men and drain them of blood following intercourse. The three sisters also appear in the Breaking Dawn films, but their history as succubi is not mentioned.

When I read that I was instantly thinking that sounds like a damn good idea for a story or even a movie. Why is it that all of Meyers’s interesting characters and situations are NOT the focus of the stuff she writes? I know I have been dismissive of the people who spend more time downplaying her than actually working.

But if anything can be said there’s not an issue with her making interesting characters. There’s a problem with her focusing on the interesting characters. I don’t get how that happens.

Country Music

hill-country-road-trip-1_22298_600x450Lately, due to where I live, I’ve been immersed in this good ol’ boy country attitude that it so common down here in the South and I don’t think I can take it anymore. I spend a good deal of my time when I am out in public near where I work trying to avoid hearing the terrible country music.

I don’t think it’s the sound of the music as much as it is the subject matter. Talking about more trucks than cars and how folks are more patriotic and closer to God. Basically it’s the musical equivalent of a sub-culture patting themselves on the back for nothing. Why is having a truck, in and of itself, something to be proud of?  How do you assume that you’re more patriotic than other people?

It’s not all country. I don’t like the idea that an entire genre of music is exactly the same. There are great country songs and singers out there, but the new mainstream country scene is permeated with the kind of stuff that I’m talking about here. It just annoys me.

The funny thing is, that despite me not being country I grew up around some people that are really country. And they’re not all like in the songs, some of them like hard rock, drive cars, aren’t religious and one of them is a brilliant girl who works in an office and if you didn’t know where she was from you’d never guess. The point is that it’s not even all the people from these areas that spread this message.

This isn’t an attack on them or a lifestyle either. It’s just pointing out an issue I see within a sub-culture.

Lessons Learned From Friends

quality-friendsI spent the better part of the day texting a friend of mine back and forth and it’s been really fun. Having someone to talk to, even when it’s not about the happiest things, has been a really nice thing. We were talking a lot about relationships and books and then just joking around and it comes naturally.

There’s been this nagging feeling I’ve had with some people who just don’t seem to really want anything to do with me where I try and try to get their attention. Yeah, I let go of that kind of thing earlier than I would have, say, four years ago. But I still let that sort of thing happen past the point where it’s apparent I’m wasting my time and theirs.

Not everyone is going to want to be my friend. That’s true for everyone. A long, long time ago in another blog I wrote about how transitioning from high school to a college setting where we’re not forced to interact with people who aren’t like us is a hard thing to get used to. One of the biggest parts of that was learning that just because you’re in close proximity to someone doesn’t mean you’re friends.

I wrote that almost ten years ago, but I’m still learning that lesson. Working together doesn’t make us friends. Even texting and talking outside of work or when we’re not forced to really doesn’t make us friends. We’re not obligated to be friends and if, when I try to befriend you, you’re just not receptive I’m not going to keep trying. I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Maybe this comes off as a bitter sentiment, but it’s coming from my thoughts after talking to someone who I genuinely have fun with and who seems to have fun talking to me. Right now even that seems hard to find and it would be nice if I had figured out that wasting time dwelling on someone doesn’t help matters.

Mediums

anime-girl-and-dragon-skeleton-2560x1600-wide-wallpapers.net_I remember thinking that television and movies were enough for me to learn to write. I wanted to conduct my stories based on what these mediums had given me. There’s nothing inherently wrong with movies and TV. Hell, there is some great plotting and awesome characters running around on TV on almost a weekly basis. And movies too, but perhaps with less frequency.

There’s nothing wrong with adapting a few ideas here and there for books. A lot of plot points come from the other stories we’ve experienced throughout our lives. That mixes in with our imagination to create a story. The thing is that we can’t let other things be the sole way that we form stories.

Recently I’ve come across a lot of people writing who seem to have taken all of their cues from anime. Anime isn’t always terrible, but because it depends on different things for story telling than novel writing would it can lead to some bad behaviors being formed. Anime, comics, movies and television are visual mediums and there can be a lot gathered just by examining the frames of the picture as presented to you.

In writing the author is required to weave those details into the story and talking about the flashiness of someone’s clothes or moves can bog down the pacing and wear on the reader if they have to let the action stop for each fluttering coat and flourishing pose.

If you’re describing an outfit and how cool it is, it’s not going to be the same kind of thing and really it might just come off as dead page space.

We have to treat writing like what it is. And we’re not always at a disadvantage. We have something that those other mediums don’t have. The reader’s imagination. There’s no worrying over studio budgets or the need for permits of space. The ability to draw or play music to convey a point won’t drag us down. Use the strengths. Leave everything else behind.

Because the second you get sucked into those mentalities your writing suffers.