Longing for the Good Old Days

Recently I’ve been talking with someone about Star Catcher and it’s been great getting to hear the thoughts that have gone through their head while reading the story.  I love hearing what people have to say about my stories, how they view the characters, if they like them or hate them, are drawn in by one aspect or another of the story.  But lately it’s gotten me thinking about how I wrote Star Catcher, the style that I used, the wording, the description, the emotion, everything.  Thinking back on when I first wrote the story during NaNoWriMo, I remember pounding out as many words as possible to meet the count for that day and nothing else, but I when I go back and read the story, the level of immersion that I feel with the characters, with the universe, boggles my mind.

Over the last year or so I’ve been working on two more novel length stories that follow after Star Catcher and as I think about how I’m writing them, the wording that I’m using, the description, the emotion that I’m trying to convey in them, it feels forced.  The characters have changed and it feels as if they are only partly there, like I’m missing some aspect of them that I somehow included in Star Catcher but seem to have lost in the preceding time between the stories.

I guess in that time between stories, I’ve changed as well.  I find myself rarely thinking about the universe Star Catcher is set in.  Granted there have been times that I have had spurts of inspiration to write and post some random scene from that universe to here, but even in those, they don’t feel the same as Star Catcher does when I reread it.  So, what’s missing?  Is it the forced creativity brought forth in the rush of NaNoWriMo?  The innocence of a freshman college student?  The lack of stress during those days?  The new-found freedom of being on my own?

I also find myself reading less and less these days.  I have not had the drive to search out or pick up a new book to read.  I attribute this mostly to financial and college stresses.  There were days when I would give anything to stay lost in a bookstore for hours on end and spend my wallet dry.  I find the same thing happening with video games.  My list of unfinished games is growing and though I have some initial elation from getting new games I barely make time to pick them up, instead turning to mindless internet surfing to fill my down-time.  Granted, Minecraft has been an addiction that has helped to fill my time as well and I enjoy playing with family and friends, but even that has suffered from this lack of drive that I seem to have acquired.

I would like to attribute this all to the stresses of college and working to obtain an engineering degree, but I feel there’s more to it.  I have lost habits that I have had in the past and have developed new ones to replace them that I feel are less productive in some sense of the word.  While anime has sufficed to provide me with the level of story immersion that I recall experiencing from books, I do long to return to my paper-bound roots, as it were.

While my thoughts these days reside with financial, career, and future choices, as well as food and house-hold chores, in my late night introspective musings, as I write this, I find myself considering all the changes that have happened in my life to bring me to this point in my writing.  I started this blog as a way to promote myself, Star Catcher, and any future writing.  I have long since fallen off with updating it regularly, much to my own disappointment and possibly that of others.  Since going a second year in the dorms, obtaining roommates, and having lived in two different apartment arrangements, I feel I have lost that sense of freedom that I once had when I first was left to my own devices at college.

Now, I know I’ve rambled completely off topic I’m sure from my original intent for this post, but let me come full circle.  Rereading sections of Star Catcher, Jayko’s character, while reserved and not without troubles, is happy and care-free.  While I tried to capture some of that in the second story, I find he is less of the character he was, without depth and missing that extra energy.  The setting of the story doesn’t help this in any way I suppose as I decided to start crumbling his world around him, but even with that, he should still be able to achieve that depth of character.  I feel this is worse in the third story, where I have thrown him into the military war-machine in an attempt to mold him into the future character that I had set up so long ago.  But I feel he’s losing that happy, care-free side of himself in all of this and that part of him needs to survive if I want to keep that depth for him.  And truth be told, I’m probably describing my thoughts on this in the most side-ways way possible and this could all be attributed to random, delusional, late-night, caffeine-induced, introspective musings.

But, and I stress that ‘but’… I have gained several things that I know I need to do:

  1. I need to pick up a book again.  Maybe a past book, one that I loved, get myself back into the series, reread it to bring back the enjoyment that I once felt when I first cracked it open.
  2. I need to reread Star Catcher.  I need to get that feeling of the original story back in my brain.  Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up on my old writing style and merge it back into my current stories, improve upon it, etc.
  3. Revisit character bios and get a feel for who my characters are again.  I’ve lost touch with them, that much I can feel.  I need to do more character spotlights and develop them, build upon old bios and flesh them out to get a feel of who they are in the current stories while retaining certain aspects from past stories.
  4. I need to write.  Doesn’t matter what, I just need to start writing again.  Not bi-monthly, not bi-weekly.  I need to do some sort of writing at least every other day to pick up the pieces of my shattered creativity.  (We’ll see how well I stick to this one.  It is something I need to do however.)

I guess as the days march along I will find out if I will stick to any of these goals or if they are just random, delusional, late-night, caffeine-induced, introspective musings that won’t amount to more than another blog post.  Here’s that I will.

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Characters, Uncategorized, Writing

2 responses to “Longing for the Good Old Days

  1. purpletess

    I have some books recommendations for you if you’d like. I think they’d be right up your alley and serve to inspire you if can get into them. Another thing that I find helps me is to get away from the character or universe for a bit. Try focusing on a different character or try making some new ones, take a while then go back Jayko and it’ll be like meeting with an old friend again.

  2. MEng

    James, I never got the chance to tell you how much I enjoyed “Star Catcher.” I was bored and curious about your writing on my last MECOP internship and picked it up from Amazon – I couldn’t put it down! I read most of it in a single sitting.
    Thinking about your post… is it a bad thing that Jayko’s personality is changing? He’s older, more mature, and has more experiences now; some change is to be expected, and that adds to the character. No pressure, but I hope you can find that spark again with Jayko, because I’ll buy the book as soon as I hear that it’s out!

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