A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Introspection can be a scary thing

Why is it every time I sit down to write I have to look out my window to see what the weather is like?  It never fails.  When I sit at the desk, I look to my right.  That's where my window is.  I look out the blinds and see the rosebush.  Some days it's full of little birds and bees.  Other days, like today, it's ragged and tattered because of raging windstorms.  There have even been days - though few and far between - where I can't see out of my window because of rain streaming down it.

Why does it make a difference to me as to what the weather is like here when I'm writing about a land whose weather patterns are different from my home?  I don't know.  It's just part of my ritual - as much as having a glass of something to drink (either Mountain Dew or ice water) on hand, something playing in the background, and making sure my font and page dimensions are what they're supposed to be.

One thing I have noticed is how irritable my characters are when I'm writing these days.  Right now there's a lot going on in my life, and the majority of it isn't very pleasant.  As a result I'm agitated, anxious, and sometimes my depression gets the better of me.  Annikka is moody, Raghnall has become vicious, and Reidar chafes at the bonds the society of his homeland has placed on him more violently than usual.  All three of my characters reflect my moods at the time when I write.  I'm surprised by the nastiness I've been spewing out onto my digital paper lately.

But the truth is that these twists also reflect the varying natures and personalities of the three.  Annikka is a loner who lives in a place where she doesn't fit in, will never fit in, and is looked down on by most of those around her for being a halfbreed.  She's earned some reputation as a healer and something of a decent enough fighter, but because she is small and light boned (believe me, where she is that's a serious handicap) she's considered something of a cripple.  Which just infuriates her all the more because she's not a cripple, and she's not as weak as the others view her.  She's just a little depressing to write some days.

Raghnall's brain broke when a spell went wrong so he is mostly amoralistic.  He's got a small conscience so he's not completely evil (just very random in his niceness), and he relies heavily on the help of a woman who loves him deeply but won't admit it.  (Neither of them will, actually.  She won't admit she's in love.  He won't admit he needs her advice and help.)  He uses people and casts them to the side when he's done.  Sometimes he'll even kill them.  He's very polished, civilized, and holds a very high political place.  But he's a monster.  Making him a sympathetic character is fun.  I know what happens at the end, but still........he's just a pain in the butt to write.

Reidar is a man in a society ruled by women who refuses to take his assigned place - as a decoration and breeding material.  He's gifted with shamanistic powers and knows how to use them.  But being male he's forbidden to use them in the proper place of a shaman.  He's a skilled fighter but his body is failing him because of something that happened when he was a child.  He loves the daughter he fathered on the one woman to catch his attention and hold it but he's forbidden to raise her.  His mother has crippled him by raising him to believe he is capable of becoming something more than breeding stock in a land where tradition is the ruling fact in the culture.  And the traditional place for the men is in the bedroom and in the nursery tending the children.  Sometimes I make myself angry writing about his life.

I've always felt a little out of place, like Annikka.  I'm not a monster like Raghnall, but I've had my moments of cruelty.  I don't like society's traditional views of women and their place in it, so I'm always looking for new ways to step outside of that box like Reidar does.  I came to realize that I write a LOT of who I am, both when I was a child and now in my current life, into my characters.

Which also explains why I'm blogging instead of working on the novel.  It's hard to see aspects of yourself that you either like or dislike being personified in your own creations.  I've also noticed I'm more aware of the negative aspects of my personality and have been looking for ways to change them even as I struggle to reconcile and change things in my novel.

I suppose that, like many authors before me (and who will come after me as well), writing is a form of catharsis for me.  It helps me understand and cope with all of the things going on in my life.  It also helps me organize my thoughts, think outside the realms of what's considered normal, and lets me experiment on solutions where I'd never be able to do some of these things in real life.

But wouldn't it just be more convenient if you could mutter a few words, spin a few magical threads, and suddenly things are all better?


  1. But wouldn't it just be more convenient if you could mutter a few words, spin a few magical threads, and suddenly things are all better?

    Oh yes, that would be lovely. Probably why I take such joy in making my mages' lives such a mess when I'm writing fantasy--envy. Or perhaps it's just fun.

    Your characters sound awesome! Hope you're not feeling stalked--your comments caught my interest in #scifichat and I thought I'd drop by.

  2. I don't feel stalked at all. :D Thanks for dropping by!