I am a strong believer in simplicity – regarding most things, anyway. When it comes to creativity, I don’t like simplicity, which I guess isn’t too surprising given the story I’ve written. But everything else: simple does it.
I had a ‘moment’ not too long ago whereby I realised a great way to motivate myself, and it is also proving effective at battling the Voldemort of all words for writers – the dreaded Word-That-Shall-Not-Be-Spoken: procrastination.
Regular followers of my blog, or readers of my book, will know about good old Kurpian. That is, the Ilimoskus’ language. Well, one day I was working away at my desk and, as always, there was paper all over the place. One blank piece of paper in particular kept getting in the way, and it was annoying me, and so I shoved it underneath my mouse, essentially turning into a paper mousemat. And then I had my moment – my sudden burst of inspiration. I grabbed a pencil and wrote ‘kalas’ all over my paper mousemat, so that every time I happened to glance at my mouse, I saw a horde of KALAS staring back at me. I then decided to take this one step further and stuck a little strip of kalas-paper (I’m making up words all over the place here) onto my laptop, so I saw it all the more. This is my little motivation trick, you see, for whenever I am writing Book 2 and I can feel myself drifting away a bit, when I glance at ‘kalas’, it shunts me back into determination and focus.
And what on earth is kalas? Well, it is a Kurpian word, and it basically means “FOCUS, darn you!” *shakes fist* “Concentrate!”
Okay, it isn’t actually as assertive as I made it sound. It is, quite simply, the word meaning ‘to focus/concentrate on something’. It really is quite remarkable how well this is working for me; this one, simple word is the best motivation – the biggest kick up the butt – I have known for a long time. Don’t you just love it when simple things are so effective?
I appreciate I could have just stuck the word ‘focus’ in front of my face, but I just know that wouldn’t have worked anywhere near as well for me. For whatever reason, seeing Kurpian words or sentences taps into my concentration and determination far more effectively than English does. Perhaps that’s because it’s my language, my own creation, and so I remember how much it means to me to complete this little mission of mine (little mission…. ha). *shrugs* Who knows? I certainly don’t, but not like it matters. The important thing is that I am focused and can remain so for the foreseeable future.
Yes, there are many pieces of paper dotted about my desk with Kurpian sprawled all over them, in case you were wondering.
So, that is my simple motivation. What of this complex fabrication?
As I mentioned earlier, my story is a deep and complex one. There are so many themes and sub-plots that entwine together to give the whole story, like individuals strings that make up a rope; without one string, the rope wouldn’t hold together so well – or at all.
In fact, it would seem my novel is soooo complex (please note my sarcasm here) that even basic details get confused. Let me explain. Ever since Times of Old was published back in April 2013, every now and then I come across something that is wrong. The genre of the book, for example. According to some sites, it is simply ‘general fiction’, or ‘contemporary’. Hear me sigh. Technically, contemporary is correct, yes, but to say it is just contemporary and nothing more is wrong. Though, most sites do say it is ‘fantasy’, or even ‘epic fantasy’. I once had a moment where someone told me that my book was actually science fiction, but they had only read the blurb… Needless to say, that irritated me quite significantly. It’s a pretty bold move to tell the author of something that they’ve got the genre of their own novel wrong, especially before reading it, do you not think? Page number is also something sites get wrong. We have some saying it’s about 200-and-something pages long, some say 300-and-something… It’s actually 426. It is the publication date being wrong that I find most amusing, though. Some sites say January 2012, some say October 2012, some say June 2013, and (this is my favourite) I saw one just the other day that claims it was published in January 2014. Huh?
I really don’t know what has happened with all this information gathering. I just don’t understand how so many can get it so wrong. Again, I saw something the other day that really made me laugh: apparently, according to one site (and I wish I could remember where I actually saw this), the country of origin is the United States. Is it? Hmmmm, not so sure about that one 😉
I think we can conclude that if you see any piece of information about my book anywhere online which is not directly from me, chances are it is wrong. Horribly wrong.
But anyway, I’ve been focused on and thinking about Ilimoskus a lot recently, though unfortunately, despite my nifty little motivation trick, I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and write for the past week or so. Oh, how I could angrily shake my fist at life because of this, but there is a time for everything… Even so, Ilimoskus has been on my mind a great deal. I would just like to share with you one of complexity that is within my story, and that I have been thinking specifically about recently.
Who is (are) the antagonist(s)?
Obviously I know the answer to that, but readers won’t. Although Ilimoskus is a fantasy story, and fantasy is often characterised by a very clear divide between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, there isn’t actually a clear ‘baddie’ in Times of Old… (And, I’ll just add, even when the ‘baddie’ does come to light later on in the story, are they really the ‘baddie’? – That is but an example of the questions I like to raise for readers when I write). Times of Old certainly does not follow the typical fantasy route regarding some aspects, but it most definitely does not when it comes to antagonists. So, if it’s a fantasy story, but it doesn’t have a ‘baddie’, can you even call it a fantasy? How can it be an interesting or good fantasy story when there is no evil to fight against? Undoubtedly, the Ilimoskus story has blurred lines when it comes to this matter. But sometimes, the divide between good and evil is not as clear-cut as we would like to think, or believe.
I could sit here all day and raise every complexity which makes up the Ilimoskus story, questioning the fabrication of each thread and presenting all the question marks for the world to view, and ponder over, and ultimately, to come to their own conclusion as to how and what and why.
There are many complexities in my story – I just gave you but one example. There are many blurred lines. And I love that. Though, I won’t lie, such complexity and blurred lines and crossovers between themes, genres and sub-plots has made marketing very difficult. How am I supposed to do it? What am I supposed to say when I have so much to say? Who am I supposed to aim it at when I could aim it at so many? People do not want to hear an author ramble on for half an hour about everything a story is and everything it entails; they want a quick, simple, brief explanation. That’s how you draw readers, or consumers, in. Right? But my problem is: I’m just too honest for my own good. I know the complexity and depth of my story will put so many people off reading it, but I am not afraid to say or acknowledge this. I’m not going to lie to potential readers by pretending Ilimoskus is something it’s not.
Ilimoskus is unique, and different, and it stands apart from other stories because of the way it is told, because of its themes, because of what it is. Ilimoskus walks upon the fine line between what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, and it is not afraid to raise deep questions and issues for the reader to answer – or even answer to. But maybe that is its downfall. Maybe it is too unique, too different. Maybe I have unintentionally created the outcast of all stories, for it stands too far away to ever ‘belong’.
All I can possibly hope for is that someone, somewhere, somehow feels intrigued enough to give Ilimoskus a chance, and that after they’ve given it a chance, they come to love it for what it is. All I can do is hope and pray it can find a home in someone else’s heart, other than my own. And, maybe, they could open the door to their little heart-house, sharing Ilimoskus by letting it spread out and fly into the hearts of others. After all, there is nothing quite like spreading the word…
Simple intentions spurred on by simple motivation
leads to complex fabrications with complex considerations.
Two other things to throw out there quickly:
1) Despite having been an ‘official’ author for over a year now, I’ve only just set up my Goodreads Author Profile. Nothing like taking your time with things, eh Jenny? 😉
2) If you would like to read an interview about Times of Old/myself with Author Alliance, click here.