Writer. Editor. Leximaven. Game Designer. Vorpal Blonde. Bisexual Brainlicker. Midas's Touch. Schrödinger's Brat.

The Poison Eater: Say No to Say Yes

posted on: February 18, 2016
in: Blog, The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

Photo on 2-17-16 at 10.28 PM #6a

How do I say no to thee? Let me count the ways:

  • Sorry, can’t make it to your event/wedding/game/dinner party/awards ceremony.
  • No thank you, dirty dishes.
  • Just walk by the XBox… walk right on by. Fallout 4 will wait for you.
  • “I’m sorry. I’m booked out with clients for the next six months.”
  • I can’t do your podcast/radio program/video blog until May.
  • Oh, puppy. I know it’s a beautiful day for a long hike, but how about a bone instead?
  • What dinner?
  • What shower?
  • Go away, social media. Go away, cute puppy pictures. Go away, trolls. Go away, interesting and informative articles.
  • I’d love to, but I must decline for secret reasons.

Saying no is, for me, the hardest part of writing. I WANT to say yes to all the things (Okay, not all the things, but many of the things). I like people (mostly), I like fun things (a lot), and in all truth, there are days where I’d rather do ANYTHING other than write. Those are the days where I almost convince myself that I like cleaning out the fridge.

But. That’s not my road. My road is the No Road on the way to the Yes Road. In order to find writing time, I have to leave something behind, like so much litter out the window on the highway of life. (Don’t actually litter. Duh. It’s a turn-of-phrase).

When I was 20, I thought I’d have time to do everything. Write all the books. Love all the people. Have all the sex. Eat all the desserts. See all the places. Learn all the things. Watch all the movies and read all the books.

Now I know better. Now I know that every gain is a loss. Every yes is a no. Every recipe perfected is a chapter unwritten.

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t want to suck the joy out of my life. One of my oldest, most favorite shirts just says HEDONIST on it in big, bold letters. I want it all, goddamn it. And there’s a part of me that’s still angry that I can’t have it. But the older, wiser (?), more realistic me gets it. It’s a return-on-investment equation. The bigger the NO, the greater the YES.

Today, I said yes to this blog post. I said yes to dinner and watching X-Files and playing with the dog. I said yes to work tasks that can’t be put off.

And then I said no to everything else. Because this novel needs a lot of yes from me today.

What will you say no to in order to say yes?

~iadace~
Shanna

PS – Did you snag the sample copy of the first chapter of The Poison Eater yet? Grab it here.

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Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

The Poison Eater: Have a Chapter!

posted on: February 14, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

Photo on 2-14-16 at 10.24 AM #3

You can now download and read a draft of the first chapter of The Poison Eater

I talked about the chapter and my process a bit in our recent Kickstarter update:

The Poison Eater is a story that is deeply immersed in the Ninth World. Along the way, you’ll encounter places, creatures, and numenera that you recognize, as well as a lot of weird stuff that will be entirely new. Talia, the main character, will be your guide through the dangers and delights of the Ninth World.

I say all of that as though the novel is complete, and of course it’s not yet. I’m an organic writer (a process I do not recommend, by the way); I don’t start a novel on page one and write it chapter by chapter. And so I’m always tweaking and changing things as I go, making them better, upping the stakes, breaking more hearts, kicking more ass.

This first chapter will likely change a bit by the time I finish writing the rest of the book (this is just a rough draft, after all), but I’m happy with how it’s coming along so far. I hope will be too.

~iadace~
Shanna

 

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Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 33 The Poison Eater: Finwa, Poison Eaters.

posted on: February 2, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 8.23.21 PM

Finwa, Poison Eaters.

I’ve been reading a lot about language and the invention of language as I work on The Poison Eater. For the past few weeks, I’ve been making my way through The Art of Language of Invention, and earlier today, I read V.E. Schwab’s great essay on language in the world of magic.

The world of Numenera has a few “common” languages (meaning languages that a number of people in the more populated areas might speak) such as The Truth and shin-talk. But in many parts of the world, the only language spoken is the local language (or languages). To give the novel a better flavor of the world and its people, I want to incorporate parts of those local languages into the novel.

The main character, Talia, has the language of her growing up. It’s a whispered language, a secret language, designed for the offering of hope and kindness in the dark. It’s a soft, quiet language, full of words that can be spoken without opening the mouth too far, without hard consonants that bounce off walls and give the speaker away. It’s a language of touch and lips to ear.

Talia also has the language of Enthait, the place where she lives when the novel opens. Enthait is known as the city that sings, and its language too is a song, spoken with a lilt and a running together of words that can make it hard for newcomers to understand. Here, words are believed to have power. Some words spill over with the power of their thing. Kaffre, the name of the city’s defense force, is a word spoken fiercely, to show that the Kaffre too are fierce, hard-edged, strong. But the names of the city’s poisons – ebeli, itasi, iisrad — they are spoken languidly, to show that their power is insidious, slow-acting, subtle.

Finwa is an Enthait word that means a prayer, an offering, the antecedent to a request. You speak it on the exhale of the breath, to give a bit of your life with the saying of it. This shows you are serious in your meaning, and that you are prepared to exchange something precious of yours in return for the thing you are asking.

Finwa, Poison Eaters. Moon meld you.

Shanna

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Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 24 The Poison Eater: You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

posted on: January 24, 2016
in: Blog, The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

Photo on 1-24-16 at 5.24 PM #3

Here’s the secret to writing, creating, and living life that no one tells you. Or that someone did tell you, but you didn’t hear it or you thought, “no, that can’t be true” or you heard it but thought it didn’t actually apply to you.

You don’t know what you’re doing. AND THAT’S OKAY. It’s how it’s supposed to work.

All the parts of that truth have to go together. Don’t say one without the other two. In fact, I’ll say it again, as a single sentence, in case you didn’t hear it:

You don’t know what you’re doing–AND THAT’S OKAY–because that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Every day, I sit down to do my job. And I don’t know what I’m doing.

Every day, for twenty+ years, I have sat down to do my job. And I didn’t know what I was doing.

Every day, for twenty+ years, I have made a career out of doing something that I don’t know how to do.

And that, I think, is how it’s supposed to work. To be a creator, you have to create. The very act of creation is to make something brand new, to do something that’s never been done before. How could you know how to do it if it’s never been done?

There’s no secret potion. No magic bean or button. No book or class or teacher that’s going to give you the perfect key to the creative door. (And having read a lot of books, taken and taught a lot of classes, I’m all for them–I think they’re great, and they help you learn–but they’re only part of the process). 

If you want to be a writer, a creator, a life-liver, this is the only way I know how:

Be okay with the fact that you don’t know what you’re doing.
Sit down and do the thing you don’t know how to do.

It’s a catch-22, but the very best kind: Because every time you sit down and do what you don’t know how to do, you start to figure out how to do it. Rinse. Repeat.

To do it is to learn how to do it. So, the sooner you start screwing up, the better.

Today, I screwed up 2500 words of this novel. Tomorrow, I will screw up even more.

Go. Start screwing up. Right now. I dare you.

~iadace~

Shanna

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Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

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