How To Align Your Head To Improve Your Writing Right Now

 

 

The way you sit and habitually arrange your muscles controls your breath; the way you breathe directly influences the amount of oxygen getting into your brain. How well your brain is working has a lot to do with the clarity of your thinking, the vividness of your sensory experience, and your ability to communicate clearly to the outside world–in this case, other people. Ergo, your breath (and with it, your particular habits of tension-holding) control the freedom of your writing mechanism. To open and free your writing ability, you must open your breathing.

Allowing The Sternum To Collapse Into Your Chest Restricts The Expansion Of Your Lungs

Try an experiment, for a moment: imagine that your hips are the walls of an oval tunnel running through your whole body. The shoulders are an important juncture in this channel. First, send your mind into your hips and pelvis, and see what the angle of your hip-tunnel is currently like. Some people tilt their hips forward, creating a sharp bend in their lower back, and some people (very few) tilt their hips back, making an unnatural angle in the lower abdomen. What you want is to have the walls of the oval tunnel, your hips, to be perpendicular to the level of the floor.

An Open Channel From Hips To Shoulders Frees The Muscles From Unnecessarily Supporting Your Body

So try for just a moment to un-tilt your pelvic cradle, and to align the oval walls of the tunnel in your hips perpendicular to the floor. When you have done this, you should feel some unfamiliar movement in your lower vertebrae, and perhaps some slight stretching in the outer muscles sheathing your upper thighs.

Next, Align The Ribs

The oval tunnel walls extend in as smooth a line as possible up from the hips through the ribs; send your awareness into the body, aligning the walls of your ribcage with the same perpendicular line you first made in your hips. Next, you are going to slightly lift your shoulders up and back, as if you were placing a final interlocking block on top of a tower. The shoulders also form part of the inner cavity, this oval-shaped tunnel we are building within your body. The outer walls of the shoulder-frame should be arranged just on top, and in line with, the ribs and the hips.

And Finally, Your Head

Your head is very, very heavy, what with all the brains and fluid you carry around up there, so it’s incredibly important that your skull and its accompanying contents are positioned easily over the center of the tunnel. Imagine, if you will, that your head is a ball, and the oval tunnel of your torso is a basket through which the ball must pass without touching against the sides.

You’re Doing It Right When You Feel A Rush Of Internal Heat

Your skeleton is designed to support the whole weight of your body, without assistance from your major muscle groups. Many, if not most of us, have been taught throughout our lives, either by stupid people or by forced constraint to perpetual sitting and slouching, to rely on our muscles to hold ourselves upright. This creates horrible tension through our whole bodies, and crushes much of our intended breath capacity. If you breathe shallowly, and in a cage of hard tension for a very long time, your mind is gradually starved of oxygen, and you stop thinking very clearly.

Breathing Better Now Improves Your Writing Immediately

Opening your body, learning to rely on the skeleton for weight-bearing, and aligning your head over the center of your shoulders, ribs, and hips, will, over time, do much to rectify this deplorable state of affairs. However, if you align your body right now, you will immediately experience a release of tension, and an influx of breath, which will improve your work right this very moment.

Blergh Writing:

Luther ran a finger along the blade of the enchanted sword.

“It is very lucky,” he intoned, his sky-blue eyes piercing through her like butter being sliced open with a hot knife, “that you brought me this weapon. It’s magical, and I think you wouldn’t have had the fortitude to handle it alone.”

“My father gave it to me,” she lied. She was a very good liar, having practiced often over her homework with the abbess of the priory.

“And what was your father?” Luther asked. A half smile passed through his skinny features.

“He got it as a present,” she said.

“Hm,” Luther replied. “I don’t believe you at all.”

“Well, it’s true.”

Better Writing:

The sword had a blue hilt, forged of the isolated rock of the gem quarries, and the blade ran out in a strong thrust from the tang. Scraps of black shadow adhered to each part of the old metal, as if ribbons of dark mold had grown up from the depths of the weapon.

She brought it in a hand-woven scabbard of green cloth. Her father had said it was a useless thing, this clasping of fabric, but Halka found it charming, and it had come with the blade. The guard of the old man’s estate was a bland old fool, and she talked her way past him in five minutes.

Halka, runaway and thief, presented the ancient blade to the old man in his study, and asked for a suitable reward. Luther, for that was the old man’s name, drew out the sword and examined the mottled blade.

“Where did you find this?” he asked, turning the blue hilt in the light from the open window.

“My father left it to me when he died,” Halka lied. Luther’s eyes traced slowly down the whole blade; he laid it down and turned his attention to the woven green scabbard.

“Your father was a valley troll?” Luther asked, amusement strong in his voice.

You’re reading Victor Poole. Sun salutation is kicking my butt right now (actually my shoulders, but hey). I would like to illustrate all of my books eventually.

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Why Writing Classes Are A Waste Of Money (And What You Need Instead)

Writing classes are a waste of money (in general) because almost none (if any) of them address popularity, vicious criticism, or a broken motivation, which are the biggest obstacles to consistent writing. Close after those problems are a lack of good sense (see, blindness or dullness), lack of taste (no sense of proportion), and absence of grounding social integrity (a moral framework).

Wow, Victor! That Was Quite A List!

As in much of the performative industry, you are the product in writing, and any obstacles or shortcomings in your mind or spirit will show up in the fiction you create. I say this not to discourage you, but to illuminate what I see as a great lie in the hopeful-writers community: the idea that paying someone who has published to teach you about writing will make you good enough, polished enough, and competitive enough to win at the game, which mostly consists of people skills and marketing work.

Yes, That’s Right

I believe that people skills and marketing know-how (which consists not only of publicizing your work after it’s written, but writing towards a real market in the first place) have a lot more to do with writing success (as far as novel-writing goes) than snazzy paragraphs or engaging characters.

Heresy, Victor Poole! Now I Hate Your Guts, You Sellout!

Yeah, I know, I’m super cynical. By the way, I was eliminated from SPFBO, which I figured would happen, but at least my blogger said nice things about my book. (I have an “intriguing world,” for example.) I think people who downloaded The Slave from the East must still be reading it regularly, because my ranking has remained oddly high for the last several weeks. I was thinking of going wide, but my internet connection is currently less-than-speedy, and I’m not sure if I’ll go back into KU sometime.

So You Hate Writing Classes, Victor

Hate is a pretty strong word, but I wouldn’t spend my own money on them. I think writing classes can be a great way to connect with other people, and to learn baseline skills from really successful authors (by observing what they do, and emulating their attitudes towards writing), but I feel that people generally go into a writing class, and emerge afterwards, with either the same skills they went in with, or with lowered motivation.

Unless You Have A Great Teacher

None of what I’m saying applies one bit if a writing class has a great teacher who can connect authentically with the learners and give appropriate feedback that builds without creating obstructive discouragement. For example, I had one writing teacher (twice published) many years ago who listened to students, gave apt feedback, and just exhibited a generally helpful and connected attitude. A few months later I had another writing teacher who was frenetic, set unrealistically ambitious writing goals for the curriculum, and was more interested in showing off than in hearing or teaching students (I dropped out after a little while).

Unless You Find A Gifted Teacher, Youtube And Google Present Endless Info

Writing books is the best way to get better at writing books. Nothing prepares you for storytelling like actual storytelling, and there are rhythms and seasons in writing that you will never master unless you live them. I am not at all saying to publish what you write, until you’re writing well enough (which is a subjective matter, though I have a lot of opinions on the subject), but I am very much saying to write, write, write.

You Are Your Own Best Teacher

You are your source material, and you are both the teacher and the learner in the journey of your writerly self. No one in the world has access to you better than you do, and no one but you has that helpful feeling in your gut that directs your best efforts. Writing classes are, more often than not, nothing but a drain on your wallet. Give yourself the gift of an investment in yourself, and write part of your story today.

You’re reading Victor Poole. Mary is having fantastic adventures in the sequel to my alien novel. Stardew Valley has been a big thing in my house lately.

Why Clarity Isn’t Enough In Today’s Fiction

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It isn’t enough for the reader to be able to follow the action, or even for them to feel in sympathy with your main characters. You need more; you need an element of snazz and sparkle, and you must have a sharply-intuitive grasp of some emotional reality (upon which you competently comment throughout the work as a whole).

Amleth, or Ur-Hamlet

For example, we look at Hamlet, that pilfered tale of incestuous murder and woe. The summary of the original, which you can find on any humdrum internet street corner, consists of an action-packed zest-fest of secret cave-sex, performative lunacy, and eventual murder. What did Bard Will do that made this plot so much better?

Aside From The Sparkling Rhetoric, Of Course

Bard Will took the basic story and cinched it into a plain and unadorned parallel: two mature men, each of whom has a desirable lady-friend on the side, are pitted against each other over the matter of a kingdom. One is willing to murder, and the other one has stout morals. The aftermath is messy, cathartic, and deeply satisfying.

People (Dumb Ones) Get Distracted By Bastardized Scripts

This is slightly off the point, but I am letting you know right now that Hamlet is not mad, has never been mad, and cannot be reliably shown to be mad from the authentic text. And Ophelia is pregnant, and commits suicide. Back to the subject, which is that Shakespeare isolates and myopically focuses on one emotional reality; justification for murder.

Let Me Toot My Own Horn Now

Cyrano, transcribed in the voice of Rostand, explains the occasional necessity of praising oneself, and I here shall note that my Eastern Slave series is successfully modeled upon this structure (the examination and follow-through on one emotional reality). I dare say that reading one or two of the books in the series would be a small satisfaction compared to the payoff you get from reading the whole thing. I get warm fuzzies from reading those books, and I wrote them.

Now, Back To Work!

Hamlet successfully isolates one emotional reality: when and where and how is murder justified? (Suicide is covered pretty well, too. Hamlet himself calls this “self-slaughter.” Sadly, it is the death of Ophelia that eventually brings Hamlet (and the play) to the conclusion that destruction of evil is justified. One of the things I like most about Shakespeare is how directly he deals with the victims of corruption.

Examples

Bad Writing (Emotionally Scattered Subject):

Like many of the plain folk residing internal for the broad grasslands, her two parents professed freedom and social good. She learned from her infancy of the similarity between peoples, and to discount tales she heard of children being peddled here and there, like unpaid servants. She thought she would be like them, free in the open lands, until her father traveled away, and her mother became very poor indeed. Then she learned the craven nature of a lying heart.

Well, anyway, she had said this kind of story to any who asked her about the past, even though it wasn’t exactly true. She didn’t want to think about what had happened between her parents, and the slaves in the farther reaches of Leopath were treated with more egalitarian mores than she had been taught to expect, so it was well enough, and she had plenty of good clothes now. Her mother had dressed poorly.

Good Writing (One Emotional Reality):

Ajalia’s parents had been anti-slavery people. They had taught her from the cradle that Leopath was riddled with corruption, and that the answer to the ills of their lives lay in the easy, albeit impractical solution, of abolishing slavery once and for all. Ajalia had believed her parents, or at any rate she had believed that they thought what they said, but when her father had left, and her mother had begun to realize the economic practicalities of life, Ajalia had been sold.

This was the lie that she told herself. The truth was worse, but this was the story that she told, when a story was requested, and if the details changed every year or two, no one was close enough to her to notice. She knew that she lied, but she did not care to remember the truth, and it lay, quiet and unnoticed by the people around her, in the darkest shadow of her heart.

And I’m In A Good Mood, Too

I almost didn’t write any blog post at all today, because I’m learning to be happy, and now I have actual feelings about how I would like to spend my time. I didn’t know there were people in the world who actually felt pleasant a majority of the time. You learn something new every day, sometimes, unless you’re super depressed like I was, and then you don’t.

You’re reading Victor Poole. My books can be found here. I am pretty awesome, and my cat loves me.

Totally Off-Topic Today

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So I was raised to pretend that I had no emotion. Lately, because of yoga and therapy, my emotions are surfacing, and I am all out of sorts. I don’t want to have any emotions, because the mentally ill people that I knew for most of my life prey on people who have feelings. My main protective measure was to not have any. Of course, I had emotion all the time, but it was buried pretty deep.

Too Many Feelings

Therefore, my life currently sucks. Because all the violent feelings of sadness and anger and weird, inexplicable happiness go surging about, and I don’t feel very safe when I have emotions.

Hopefully You Have Nice Parents

I keep telling myself I’m never going to tell stories about my unfortunate beginnings, but then I get stuck, and what, after all, is the point of a personal blog if you cannot, from time to time, talk endlessly about yourself?

But Victor, It’s A Writing Blog!

Yeah, that’s what I told myself this morning. It seems I did not listen to myself. My brain is circling over and around my past, and I am thinking of ways my stories reflect my early trauma. I have weird superpowers, because my parents wanted to kill me, but didn’t have the guts for prison, so they tried to get my violent brother to snuff me, but he only wanted money and attention from my parents (neither of which he would have gotten in juvie or prison, so that never worked out the way my mom wanted), so he just made unfortunate accidents happen around me from time to time. I had a lot of fake-accidental baseballs to the face in my early years.

Oddly, My Parents Really Liked Me

It took me a long time to put together that they wanted me dead. My mother, you see, really wants to hold court over a funeral for one of her kids before she gets dementia. She’s pretty sure to get it, since her mother had it, and she’s been laying plans for the plausibility of such a condition developing at strangely convenient times.

I Was The Most Useful Kid

My mother saw me as the most expendable of the children, because my father was obsessed with me, and because I didn’t complain very much about pain. She tried, more than once, to get me into unnecessary surgery as a child, because she has a thing about doctors, and she also really likes playing at the personality-disordered version of Florence Nightingale. Unfortunately for her, and luckily for me, I am a sturdy person, and she couldn’t justify the expense when my body kept healing from the minor injuries she wanted operations on.

And They’re Too Poor For Optional Medicine

I have several brothers, but most of them don’t speak to my mother anymore. They pretend she doesn’t exist. The strangest thing about my experiences is that only another person who grew up around severely disordered individuals would believe that what happened to me was real. We have ideas, socially, about what grossly abusive families look like, and most of those ideas aren’t accurate, at least for me.

Surely They Didn’t Want To Kill You, Victor!

Well, it’s a lot of things, you know. They tried starving me, but I’m so damn resilient. I didn’t start going through a proper physical adolescence until I was in my late twenties, because I never had access to enough food. There was always a lot of food in my parents’ house, and everyone else ate it. I wasn’t supposed to eat a lot of food. And again, I feel like a crazy person, because none of this was ever said out loud. There were a lot of unspoken rules about what I was allowed to do, and what everyone else could do to me. The one time my parents were pretty upfront with their desires (aside from the unnecessary operations with my mom) was when one of the other kids was trying to cultivate an aesthetic depression. Wait, I should back up and explain.

For Some People, Depression Is A Satisfying Lifestyle

My father’s side is a sort of menagerie of depressive individuals. Everybody is supposed to be depressed, and there are cozy family get-togethers where everyone who isn’t present is stripped down and discussed with all the empathy and affection one might proffer a serial killer. They get hold of the little kids as early as they can, and train them to hate themselves. Mostly with religion twisted upside down.

Ah, Mental Disorder Mixed With Worship!

On another awful note, my father believes he is a god. No, really. He also really wants to divorce my mother, but he is afraid of courthouses because of a misspent youth, and he also doesn’t want my grandfather to cut him off from the inheritance my dad has deluded himself into thinking is coming his way someday. Divorce is not allowed.

They Also Steal And Cheat

My parents live like professional beggars. I don’t really want to talk about this anymore, but my blogging gear is stalled, and hey, backstory is always fun, right? I’ve been trying to write a useful post for several days now, and all I can get out is that I hate myself and I have a lot of problems.

Except I Don’t, Really. Only Kinda

Ironically, I don’t have many problems anymore, but I’ve never let myself feel all the things that go along with people trying to kill you. The goal, you know, was for me to develop some kind of plausible disease that would require endless doctor visits, and hopefully surgery. One of my aunts has a very ill child, and my mother has never gotten over her jealousy. Second best would have been me dying in a car accident or from plausibly-deniable suicide. Fortunately for me, my parents are stupid, and my dad has been afraid of me since I was pretty little. He figured out when I was about five that I would turn vicious on him if he hurt me openly, so he settled in to screw with my head.

Which Worked For A While, As We Can See

Anyway, lately I’m trying to decide if my acting career has been formed on the basis of my parents’ rejection and abuse. You know, am I trying to win acceptance by proxy from strangers? That sort of thing. I’m really not sure. The element I like so much about writing is that I can control the process; I don’t need to coordinate twenty people’s schedules and then coax their personalities into cooperating together. Characters, you know, are less recalcitrant than live persons, and I also have no budgetary constraints for set dressing and properties. Ironically, I have more resources now to do the work I was doing before with theatre, but my will to do so is wavering. It’s just so calm and peaceful in the evenings these days, and no one knocks on my door at nine at night, wanting to hang and chat about their life. Okay, let’s be serious here, no one came to chat about their life; they came for therapy. I’m like a psychology vending machine for surface ills. I am pretty interested in fixing my own problems right now.

On A Lighter Note

I’m trying to work up the nerve to study perspective and composition more thoroughly. One of the rules of my upbringing was that I could never be competent at math, because it made my father feel inadequate. He can’t do algebra. I did advanced maths in school, but I wasn’t supposed to remember or apply any of them. The angles and measurements of perspective work terrify me. Exposure therapy!

You’re reading Victor Poole. This book is the most accurate portrayal of my folks. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be back to writing about fiction. Go me!

What Really Happens When You Base A Character On Someone You Know

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Many of my characters are constructed from people I knew, or know currently, in my real life (hi, Jamie!). As I’ve said before on my blog, I have a peculiar knack for reading people’s body language and energy casings, and this results in some fascinating (to me) tinkering over character formation and subsequent arc development.

Combining Potent Personalities In A Blender—Then Go!

One of my favorite characters, a king named John, is an extraction and distillation from an interesting quasi-genius I know quite well. It is not the full person, but about a quarter of the original, drawn off and grown out into a complete personality.

How Does That Happen?

First, I take a person who tickles my curiosity. In the case of John, the base personality was an enigma to me; there was a twist of childishness and frank genius in my source person that nagged at me. I isolated that element of character, and pressed it out into a human form. This is kind of like taking a swab from inside someone’s cheek and then putting it in a damp plastic mold and waiting for new life to fill out the desired shape. Okay, that sounds kind of nasty. Instead, let’s say it’s like cutting one branch from a tree, and splicing it into a plain tree to grow a pure strain of fruit. There, that’s more palatable.

Victor, Sometimes Your Analogies Are Just Too Strange

After I’ve gotten the piece of person I want, I start to tease at the new character, pushing at different aspects of the personality to find the weak spots. If I were to do this on a straight copy of the real person, the source body from which I drew the character, the book would rapidly become very deep, very personal, and very, um, committed. You can’t take an authentic human, a real person with a complete aura and set of personal qualities, and then chuck them into a narrative setting and not come out with sterling literature. Literature, however wonderful it might be, is not usually suited for fantasy or science fiction work, because it is just too damn serious (see, Harder Than Rocks, which is charming, and perfect, and very sobering at the end). (See also My Name Is Caleb, which is based on a combination of three very abused people I know well.)

Genre Fiction Is Not Suited For Complete Characterizations

Fantasy has got to be a little bit fun, or at any rate, sufficiently light-hearted to serve as an escape. I pushed the envelope about as far as I could with Ajalia and Delmar, but even they are quixotic enough to escape the melancholia of genuine humanity. People are dark inside, not because most of them are bad (though many of them are), but because there is an unbearable weight of pain, oppression, and sorrow that goes before every person, and trails along behind.

Enough With The Sober Philosophizing, Victor!

What happens when you take a person you know well, and use part of them, or most of them, in a character in your novel? Well, if you are possessed of any discretion, you will conceal what you have done! But what happens is that you start to get into your source’s head, and you start, if you have skill as a writer, to inhabit their skin, or some part of their soul.

Examples

Bad Writing:

Leopold was so fed up with the state of his enormous, too-big house of expensiveness, he was ready to throw it all into disarray with a haphazard auction at the lowest social bar, rung, or placement possible for a man of his elevated station. He was to the point, in actual matter of factness, of considering giving up the family noblelands, and going into the space realms to live as a carnival barker, or a lackey to a pirate-type-rubbisher. This, in fact, was what Leopold told himself, but his butler-chef, Marinker, was already plotting to thwart such a disastrous state of affairs, and made a balanced breakfast of greens and egg whites, hiding a silver sheaf of money under the plate as an added temptation. Leopold never had any money, because his butler-chef had strict orders from the elder brother to keep all household monies under strict lock and key.

Good Writing:

Leopold was upset; his hair fell to one side, and his normally scrupulous trousers had gained a set of wrinkles across the hips. He paced up and down the superfluously thick carpet of his needlessly-large library, and meditated on the various schemes he had sketched out for the purpose of obtaining money.

Toddy, his older brother, always kept the cold, hard cash far from Leopold’s sticky fingers, and the young man, who had only recently gained his majority, was seriously contemplating running away to the star-blazer’s circus, to live as some kind of freak. He’d have to mutilate himself, but lots of young men did that. At least, that’s what he’d read about in Science-Mudo Monthly. They had pictures of the space-freaks there, sometimes, young men with five noses, or an extra set of lips in their cheeks. It wasn’t so bad, he told himself, and you could always pay for a cosmetic fix after you’d made your fortune being chased by moon monkeys and standing on your head during the fire show.

Marinker was well ahead of young Leopold’s schemes; the butler slid discreetly into the library with all the fanfare and clatter associated with a timid mouse, and lay a tray of spinach and eggs noiselessly on the bench of the ivory harmonium. Clearing his throat ever so gently, the butler crinkled a pair of shimmering silver bills under the plate; the money made a lush rustle, and Leopold’s ears pricked up instantly. Marinker slid like an eel from the room, and Leopold pounced on the funds.

And Remember, Celebrities Have Proprietary Energy Signatures

Don’t use famous people unless you are very, very good at energy alterations, and even then, people will be able to taste the foundational composition. Use nobodies, strangers at the park, friends from elementary school, and people you know well enough to predict. Age can always be adjusted, and characters can be mashed together to make original flavors. When you use real people to inspire your characters, be prepared to develop startling empathy for your subjects, and don’t use too much of one person unless you’re prepared to make a literary tome.

You’re reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. Almost all of my characters are drawn from pieces of people I’ve known (or know) in real life. I like to combine touches from as many as four people to create original subjects (like Leed).

Want To Be A Successful Writer? Give Up Now

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A very strange thing happened to me when I started taking myself seriously as a writer: I couldn’t write anymore (this was many years ago). I felt so much pressure to write as well as I possibly could that I froze up and didn’t dare write anything that felt wrong. Because I had too little experience making stories, this meant that most everything unfamiliar felt strange and new, and therefore wrong.

So Much Pressure To Be Perfect Right From The Beginning

So I didn’t write much. I had some very lovely chapter beginnings, and one story that had an excellent collection of scenes almost completed, but I could not write an actual book. I would sit down regularly, as I supposed all earnest someday-authors must, and I would attempt to squeeze words out of myself.

Squeezing Words Out Doesn’t Work If All The Words Have To Be Perfect

It never worked. I was still convinced that I would, at some point, and by sheer force of will, become an author, but I could never break past the unendurable pressure to be really, perfectly good, right now, no matter what.

No Mistakes, Victor Poole!

I took up poetry, which I was good enough at to somewhat make up for my failings as a novelist. Eventually, and because I was an actor, I took up playwriting, which I turned out to be quite good at. The problems of conflict and continuity still plagued me, but I was good enough at dialogue to gloss over my inability to plot.

Failed Novelist, Average Poet And Playwright

Still, I planned on being a writer of books. I was dead-set on it. The years passed, and I never sat down and attempted to force myself to write books anymore. I was busy doing other things, and writing different kinds of projects. The idea of books nagged at me, though. I wanted more than anything else to write novels. They were, to me, the legitimate form of writerly creation.

Just ‘Cause I Like Books

Something really interesting happens when you give up on a long-held ambition. You relax, and many things that have been pushed under the surface by the pressure of expectation and fear begin to rise up, and become part of your awareness. I’ve seen this with actors; only when they become thoroughly discouraged, and say, “Well, I can’t do it. Nothing is working,” do they allow themselves to risk. Only when they embrace failure, and the humiliation of expected crash-and-burn work do they begin to be able to use their real selves in the act of creation.

And So, I Gave Up

I gave up on writing great novels. I stopped telling myself that I was going to be really good at books. I stopped believing that I had what it took to succeed. So much time had passed, and I had failed so unilaterally to write any kind of a book, that I started coming to terms with the fact that what I was doing was not working at all. I started telling myself that I was wrong, and that my future self would not spontaneously erupt into a competent novelist.

Goodbye, Unrealistic Expectations; Hello, Failure

At first, this made me very sad. I didn’t want to feel like a failure. I wanted to be good at things. I wanted to be proud of myself. Giving up on such a long-held ambition made me feel really stupid, and like I had failed an ultimate test of character by not finding some way to follow through on doing what I wanted.

Woe Is Me, Or Woe Was Me, At The Time

But, with reality staring me in the face, and cognizant of the fact that I had not even tried to write a single chapter of a novel for literally years, I gave up. After I felt all the accompanying emotions of miserable failure, I started to look about with some interest. I could not be a successful author, I thought, and there was no longer any pressure to write well. In this newfound freedom from expectation, I found that I kinda sorta wanted to sit down and write a book.

Once I Didn’t Have To, I Kinda Sorta Wanted To

You know, just for fun. Just for me. Because I didn’t have to write a good book, or a non-embarrassing book, or a coherent book any longer.

I Could Write Garbage! It Was Freeing!

So I wrote a book. I enjoyed myself so much that I started studying plot, and scene-building strategies. I spent several frantic months imitating great storytellers, as an exercise in storytelling.

I Wrote Many Novellas At This Point

A new ambition began to burn in me. I would no longer become a successful author; now, I wanted to be a person who actually finished projects. That, I thought, was a pretty achievable dream. After all, I had proven to myself that I could actually, in real life, write a whole book.

So I Finished Projects; I’m Nearly Caught Up Now

I spent more years writing books. Now I have come up against another expectation: I want to finish a great many books in an integrated world. As I approach this emotion, I am already beginning to give up. I’ve learned that giving up, and embracing utter, miserable failure is the quickest route to getting exactly what I want.

You’re reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books, which I never thought I would write, are here. I’m working on a companion series about Philas right now.

Science Fiction Sample, And An Update About Venting My Emotional Vehicle

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I’m purging a whole lotta crap out of my ribcage. Emotions get stuffed in there; I have a lot of dark, ugly things in my ribs. And I’m emptying them out, but it sucks. It sucks because all the negative, blocked, squishy (not the good kind of squishy, the rotten, smelly kind) experiences that I’ve hidden in order to cope are stored there, and I’m doing a renovation of my interior, so of course the goo in my ribs has to go. It just smells terrible. Spiritually. I mean that it smells spiritually. It doesn’t actually smell, like, in your nose or anything.

I Knew A Man Very Like Alexander Skarsgard In School

He was a strange duck, very kind in his heart, but he had the most awful manners. He was like a walking sexual harassment lawsuit, pending. But very sweet. He never bothered really good women, and his irritating teasings were coming from a clean place. A lot of men harass women because they’re horrible human beings, and selfish, but this guy, Carl, we shall call him, poked at unhappy, broken women, in an effort to cheer them up. He was very childish.

Oh, Victor, Why Are You Bringing Up Carl?

I brought up Carl the friendly harasser because I thought about fixing him. I generally think about fixing everyone that I meet, because I know how to fix people. Yeah, I know that sounds arrogant or something, but I do. I rebuild people, when I feel like it. And when I think my repair-work might last. People destroy themselves, you know, when they think they can get away with it without becoming homeless. Carl didn’t destroy himself; he was already broken, almost beyond repair, by the infidelity of his parents, and the cruelty of his homeland (he was a foreigner).

Those Rotten Ribs, Which Stink

Anyway, I was pondering the potential fixing-up of Carl, and I ran my projection equipment, which I always do before picking up a new broken person, and I found that, though it would, over the course of about fifteen years, be possible to fix Carl, I could not bring myself to face the stench. His ribs, and his lower lumbar vertebrae, were stuffed with inherited poison. He’d tried to absorb and cleanse the sins of his mother and father, you see, and he didn’t have the tools for the job. When a child, later an adult, attempts to purge another, and they cannot do the job, they hide the evidence, usually in their bones.

It Would Be Like Performing Surgery On A Rank Corpse

Carl is the type of man who will never, ever, ever let go of a love for and loyalty towards his parents. Which means that he will never, ever allow anyone to remove the rot and the decay from within his bones. I could fix Carl, by blinding him, and then bending him over my knee and gutting him, but it would take a long time, and, as I said before, it would smell very, very bad. Spiritually, not in the physical world.

What Are Spiritual Smells, Victor?

If you don’t have any extra-sensory perceptions, you should probably think about developing some. For the future, you know, when the machines are supposedly going to take over (which, having connections to construction, I just do not believe can ever happen, really). Smells, though. I mentioned that death is black, several days ago, and I said that I wouldn’t tell you about what evil was like. I will tell you this: it smells, like you wouldn’t believe. Spiritually.

Examples

Good Writing:

Mary felt taken aback by this choice of words. She was not entirely offended; she figured Ethan was not used to talking to people that he liked. She had seen him interact with other cyborgs, a little, and their way of communication was not exactly fluffy or harmonious.

The truth was that Ethan wanted to hurt her feelings; he was uncomfortable with their connection, and he was living in a fold of contradiction. He wanted Mary to be happy, but he did not want to make her happy himself, and he did not want to encourage her affection for him.

He sensed, in an instinctual way, and also because she had nearly died rescuing him on the guardship, that she loved him, and he had never been loved wholly in his life. He did not like how vulnerable and owned it made him feel. He preferred the cold, heartless relationship he had to his alien master, and to the conquering race as a whole. They were monstrous and cruel, but they never expected him to parse his own feelings, and he was finding, as he interacted further with Mary, that interpreting his own feelings was an exercise fraught with trouble and pain.

Very, Very Bad Writing:

Mary did not enjoy the expression he used in referring to her this way. She had very strong feelings about how he was speaking, stuffing them away, Ethan would learn in the future if she was just nicer to him. The cyborgs were different to mortal men, who had shown her gentility and charm.

Ethan was more machine than man; his heart cold, filled with dark thoughts and a rib of metal down his spine. Unhappy he was inside, and sharing the misery would be closer between them.

It became plain, especially after her life-saving actions, that she liked him more than a lot, and he was not in the tune enough with his emotional side to be comfortable figuring out how to say to her that he really wanted to, and would like, to slow down their togetherness. It was all too fast and hard for him to wrap his clumsy mind around, here, especially.

Worry About Your Own Malfunctions, Carl!

Most people don’t smell bad, in their auras, but most people also don’t attempt to carry and purge their parents’ evil. Proscription: Don’t try to carry or purge the sins of anyone else. Sins, here, being in reference to the distortions and damages ladled onto natural energy forms. I’m venting and dumping old pain, which smells bad, spiritually, but Carl was carting around a pile of infectious ooze and decades-old septic decay. Nasty. Like, if I opened him up, and began the purging process on him, I wouldn’t be able to be in the same house as his body. Ugh.

You’re reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. Evil auras are described with frightening accuracy in this series. Thursday is my favorite day, because it’s still a writing day, but it’s almost the weekend (break!).