Posts Tagged ‘being an author’

What I like best about being an author…

Lady Mira with pistol

Lady Mira with pistolI have always been an avid reader of any genre of speculative fiction, but I became a lover of  non-fiction after I became became an author. Both short essays and longer books.

I have always been an avid reader of any genre of speculative fiction, but I became a lover of  non-fiction after I became became an author. Both short essays and longer books.

An author has to often be a dilettante. They must learn about something enough to write about it convincingly. I get a lot of joy from encountering the BIG Idea for a manuscript then figuring out what I need to research. As I previously wrote about in this blog post back in ’12: I do not believe in general research, I believe in specific targeted research.

I love the fact that this research builds upon itself with each story. In Other Systems, I learned about astronomy, nautical terms and what flight lessons are like and difficulties that astronauts go through in low gravity. Later, I used some of this knowledge for Unintentional Colonists and even a bit when I described the Expanse in The Martlet. And I am currently working on a short ghost story about orbital clutter that is also using some of the same research.

This is even true with the graphic novels. In Lure, I learned about a stampeder’s journey and hardships during the Yukon Goldrush and in Faminelands, I learned about archery and swordsmanship. All of that knowledge was used  again in the The Martlet‘s manuscript.

Even so my research got really focused when I was working on The Martlet. So much so that my husband said it was creepy to come in our apartment and find Cause of Death : A Writer’s Guide to Death, Murder and Forensic Medicine on the the bathroom counter and On Killing and Poisons (Howdunit Series) on the kitchen table. Now there is a shelf full of books about killing, poisons, and early medical research.

 So that’s my favorite part of being an author: freaking my husband out with strange facts that I have learned.
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Week Three of being an author

Being a published author is a roller coaster ride that I can no longer disembark. I feel great, then nervous, then high again, then I want to throw up. Then I feel excellent. Right now I feel pretty good. Maybe I’m just getting used to it.

On the outside, my life is exactly the same as it was before. Dennis is still the best husband in the world. My apartment walls are still green. Still addicted to Reese’s Peanutbutter cups. I pay the bills, I do the dishes, I am still thinking about organizing bathroom closet. I am not complaining: I have a great life, but I guess I expected a parade. This is absolutely silly because I did two conventions in the past three weeks which means I had over 10,000 people saying “Congratulations!” even when they were not interested.

However there has been changes, just they are more subtle. Here are two:

My friend Rebecca and I are hooked on stargazing. We started last summer. By winter, I realized I can always spot the inner planets as well as Jupiter even within city lights. We hear the words aurora or meteor shower; we bundle up, and head out of the city with celestial binoculars, Starwalk loaded on my I-Pad and snacks in the cooler to a secluded spot in the middle of the night.  This new hobby came directly from the research of Other Systems. I can make out the constellations–especially Ursa Minor and Major, Virgo, Lynx, Pegasus and Draco specifically because I drew them out for the trailer.  Now that I know I can spot Draco it also means I can spot the Cat’s Eye Nebula without aid of a star map. That being said looking at the star maps are fun and we play with Starwalk constantly when we are out there. Especially so we can see which satellites are flying overhead. Satellites look like tiny meteors : you can see them flashing across the sky and then they are gone.

Another change is how I consume books and movies. With my art background, I enjoy paintings and sculptures at a technical level. One of my favorite things  is to go to an art museum and begin dissecting a painting with my eyes. Figuring how the artist captured light or emotion—well now I look at novels and films the same way.I cannot seem to read a story or watch a movie for pleasure anymore. I automatically start dissecting it. I find myself studying the way other authors choose to put words on the page. The patterns of stories. Are the words visceral? In movies, I watch camera angles and all emotional reactions both inferred, subtle, and obvious. The colors or lack of them. Did it work or not? And if not, why not? That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them, because I do, but it isn’t the same.

Anyone else gone through changes like these?

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