Unfortunately there are too many writers who are not supported by their loved ones. Thanks for this great article, Anne R. Allen!
I’m always amazed at how many people I know — friends who would go out of their way to help me physically — cannot say one supportive thing about my writing. Some even ask for one of my books and then never mention it again. Others make fun of the fact I’m a writer. “Yeah, but what do you do for a living?”
When I tell them I’ve written a blogpost about a subject that interests them, they make elaborate excuses for not reading it. Or they say “I’m not a blogger” as if that prevents them from reading online content.
Even after three bestsellers, a highly successful blog, and multiple awards. I have a lot of unsupportive friends who don’t acknowledge that I’m a writer. And I’ve discovered I’m not alone.
It turns out a whole lot of people can’t deal with having creatives for friends.
A few days ago, I was working on a complicated fighting scene between two supernatural beings in book #8 in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series.
To describe the fight accurately, I was getting up, using a wooden kitchen spoon to technically rehearse every step of the battle, before sitting down and explaining the movement and natural body reaction on the ‘theoretically’ inflicted pain.
It took me close to four hours for a fight that took a mere two pages to write. And yes, the argument does include a bit of pain, wings, bruises, and a severe knee injury.
Now, being a martial artist myself might have helped me big time to take this challenge on and solve the problem the way I did. But other writers might not have that [indeed minimal] advantage. How are they doing it? Is their fantasy more extended than mine?
Previously I mentioned my fighting scene took up about two pages of the book. Generally, that is a lot of room for one scene. But that is why I rehearsed. I had to make sure the fight was thrilling and still described well in an imaginative short manner.
Fighting scenes in books are incredibly different from fighting scenes in movies. Compared to what we see, reading the fight in a book has to tickle our own imagination. We don’t follow a fighter with our eyes… we follow him/her with our mind.
To see Bruce Lee fighting twenty opponents to the same time and describing the same scene in words, would need our book ten to twelve pages. To a reader, that would be incredibly boring. Most readers would never read through the entire fight. It would be a complete waste of time and effort. A reader would only jump the pages to the end of the battle. Most of them are interested in who wins.
Therefore I had to shorten something that usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes in a movie to two pages in my book. To catch the essential things in my fight, I was rehearsing to myself.
As an author, how do you write fighting scenes? Do you rehearse too? And as a reader, do you enjoy reading fighting scenes, and if yes, how long should they be to not bore you out of your skin? Thank you for telling us in the comments.
When I started off as a writer, I decided my purse needs to get bigger. Next to all the necessary stuff we women consider indispensable to be carried around in our purse, like Makeup, nail files, Kleenex, wallet, checkbook, credit cards, membership cards, half a dozen receipts, hand sanitizers, headphones, emergency phone chargers, phones, pens, notepads, nail polish, knitting stuff and the last edition of the ‘Cosmopolitan’… I felt the need of carrying my WIP with me at all times. And with the WIP comes a big paper notebook and pens, pens and more pens…
Instead of a ‘regular’ purse, I got myself a tote and then changed to a laptop purse. The bags I carried around got bigger and bigger.
The ones familiar with my writing process know that I draft the first version of every book by hand and later on will type it into the computer. It is easier to carry a paper notebook around than a laptop at all times.
Still… my paper notebooks got bigger too. At times it seemed to me I was constantly on the edge of traveling somewhere. I loved the opportunity to write whenever I had the chance to… be it at the doctor’s waiting room, a library, waiting for someone in a restaurant or anywhere else… an hour in the park or wherever else possible.
But lately, about six months ago, I had to re-think. I’m not talking about my writing process, I’m talking about the fact that I felt a huge relief every single time I set my purse down. My back finally got some rest, and there were moments I was almost scared to pick it up again and swing it over my shoulder.
That was the moment I knew I had to change something. I was getting older, and I couldn’t take the weight of all that stuff in my purse anymore. Of course, I didn’t want to accept the truth. I don’t want to see my age. Letting anyone see that I was suffering under the weight of my own purse would be humiliating.
That’s why I finally, heavy-heartedly took a few steps to make the changes that were necessary for quite some time.
I still have the laptop purses – but I keep them for the rare opportunities I really travel and have to take my laptop.
The knitting work (which I was basically kidding about), stayed home, I reduced the number of pens, shrunk the necessary notepad to a mini-version. I reduced the makeup bag by half, removed the nail polish, decided to read the Cosmo at home and bought a couple smaller purses.
In the meantime, I got used to a much lighter ‘baggage.’ I also learned to carefully plan my appointments and only take my WIP, in a separate tote, if it’s really necessary, or if I plan to write anyway.
I love my writing, I love my work, I love being a writer. But I also love my health and the health of my spine and back.
As hard as it is to admit: I’m not a vampire and I age, like everyone else. No matter what I do, no matter how much I love writing. If I want to do what I love, I need to keep myself healthy.
And so should every woman with a purse. Apparently, there had been bad injuries done to women’s backs and necks with far too heavy purses. Who knows, maybe after this post, more women are clearing out their purses and decide to go smaller?