Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guest post by S. Arthur Martin

I talked to some of the Indie fantasy authors over at Kindleboards. I asked them to tell me a bit about themselves; about their process and what makes them different. My first guest is S. Arthur Martin, and this is his story: 

Writing is exactly as hard as making the time to do it. Life doesn't slow down so that we can accomplish all of our little pet projects, and you can't just figure out a way to slow everything down and find the time for yourself. Something will always come up. Your car will need an oil change and the crack in your windshield will keep getting longer. You'll need to pick up more hours next week. That new show will be starting tonight and you just won't let yourself miss it.

I'm the last person you'd expect to find the time for commitment to any sort of creative project. My drawers are full of half-finished ideas, my hard drive spattered with 102kb files of partially-written story outlines. When I decided that I wanted to write a novel and finish it, the resolve in my voice wavered with the memory of every unrequited promise I'd ever made to myself. Still, I told everyone I knew. I called my grandma to tell her. I let people I hadn't seen or spoken to for months know what I planned to do. I built up as much accountability around myself as I could possibly find.

But even that wouldn't have been enough, so I joined NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.com). I dragged people along with me and friended them so that they would see my progress bar and know when I was failing and when I was succeeding with my goals. For one month I didn't let myself have a single excuse not to write. Instead, I allowed my writing to be an excuse not to get to other things. Sure, I continued attending my college courses (it actually helped that I happened to be in a Grammar and Usage class at the time). I found time here and there to see friends and loved ones. But I made sure that I was planted in my seat every night for at least an hour, often two, occasionally three, four, or five.

I drew from every experience I've ever had. Names appeared that I'd written into the little name-your-character boxes in every video game I ever played. Places and cultures I'd interacted with influenced every aspect of my world. I didn't know who my characters were, where they were going, what they would face, who they would love and hate, but I just kept writing. If I got stuck, I did something to them to unstick them. At one point, just like I did years ago while I was skiing, they fell off a mountain. When I felt like their journey together was getting too predictable, I forcibly split them up. I created writing opportunities through obstacles for both myself and my characters, and as we traveled together I found that they began speaking to me in their own voices. They told me what they'd do, how they'd react, what words they'd say.

And there it was. My story was complete and NaNoWriMo achieved! I had beaten the odds. Shown my most insipid naysayer, myself, who was boss. I had a story. Complete, beautiful, somewhat fragmented and dreadfully in need of proper editing. But the cliff had been scaled and the summit reached. It was glorious.

So now I have a novel. It might never crack one hundred sales. It might be read by the right person at the right time and see the inside of a bookstore some day. The important thing is that I brought life to something that had been tucked away inside of me for far too long. I believe there is a story in all of us and that we want to share it. If we give ourselves the opportunity to do so, either through our own adventures or relationships with others, or with our music, dancing, or writing... In the end what matters is that the story will be experienced by someone else, and the world will be all the better for it.

To check out Hollenguard at Amazon, click here. It's available in paper and on Kindle. 
Also, be sure to check out his website here.

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