Of Dragons and Men

At night, my blanket is tucked under my legs, the air on full blast. My weapon is in my hands and I find myself fighting dragons.

All of my imaginary friends are dragons. I suppose they represent different things. This sounds so silly if you don’t appreciate the metaphor. As a writer, I live in a fictional world. I see the little things around me as inexplicably magical. It’s like my imaginary world is imposed on the reality around me. My problems appear as fearsome dragons. And currently, my dragon is writer’s block.

Every time I face the beast, I end up getting burned. I’m exceedingly disappointed in myself for failing every attempt. I can make no progress in my quest — writing a novel — until the serpent is slain and I can proudly stride over it’s hollow carcass.

Okay, I think my metaphor may be getting a bit frightening.

In the process of editing my novel, I keep encountering these obstacles that protect the rest of the story, but don’t allow me to reach it. I have a readership group that is waiting on me to finish another few chapters so they can read and give me feedback. And here I stand, just staring up at a scaled dragon. And I’m so prepared: I’ve got my wooden sword in one hand and my tin-foil shield in the other. Wow, writer’s block can make you feel helpless.

So I finally got past the particular instance of writer’s block that was really getting to me. I aimed high. I wanted to be able to complete the novel by Halloween. Now it’s looking more like it will be Christmas. (But that’s with NaNo sandwiched in there too.)

Really quickly though, I’m not addressing ways to get around writer’s block. There are tons of suggestions out there and everyone differs on which tactic is best for them. No, my encouragement of the day is more along the lines of: just because you feel helpless, doesn’t mean you are. I felt so useless up against this block. It wasn’t coming to me. Even the characters, who have lives of their own, weren’t helping. But I’m the freaking author! I control this world. I can make it happen. I can put them through hell or I can get them out of it. I have the power to say yes or no. The writer manipulates the story and the world.

My wooden sword became a sharpened blade, my tin foil a refined shield (maybe with a little inkwell crest on the front). And I can slay the dragon.

Couch Potatoes Anonymous

Oh hey! Did y’all know I have an unhealthy addiction to television shows? Well-written ones, mind you.

I’d laugh, but it really is a terrible thing for a college student. I have far too many. I watch them when I fix my meals and sit down to eat. If I can’t keep up that way alone, I set aside a weekend every now and then to just catch up. It really got me thinking when, just yesterday, I got hooked on Downton Abbey. My Nana is recovering from a heart attack, so my entire family has found themselves butts glued to the couch, eyes riveted to the screen. As this type of drama is typically not my “cup o’ tea,” I didn’t expect much. I was pleasantly surprised to discover, not only a well-written story, but distinct, entertaining, real characters. So, alright, I admit I was wrong to judge by the pilot.

Downton Abbey has added itself to:
The Vampire Diaries
Once Upon A Time
Arrow
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
How I Met Your Mother
Doctor Who
Sherlock
Grimm
Beauty and the Beast

Not to mention, I am adding the following this fall season:
The Originals
OUAT in Wonderland
Agents of SHIELD

Don’t even start me on the Chinese and Korean “bubble shows” Karen got me started on in Thailand.

Judge me all you want. I realize that’s quite the diverse list and some of them may be considered “nerdy” (but you are never too old for Marvel) but I stand proud. Especially since I count these shows to have some of the most entertaining plots and characters on television today.

It takes a lot for a writer to write a novel. Or a screenplay. It’s effort. So imagine the effort (although often a group effort) it takes to write a story in 20-40 minute episodes, with 16-22 episodes a season that last for several seasons that progresses every, single episode! (Forgive the run-on sentence.) It amazes me to see the plot twists, the complexities of character, the spider-web story-lines, the interactions and emotions that evoke a real reaction from the audience.

In fact, I can’t watch something well-written without wanting to write. I sit down in front of my television with a notepad and pen to start sketching out relationship webs, brainstormed ideas, or preliminary character concepts. Similarly to books, a good story just makes me want to write one of my own. I want those fascinating characters and intriguing stories that keep the audience laughing, crying, and on the edge of their seats.

So, that’s my excuse then. Television inspires me. So an addiction must be okay. If you need me, I’ll be over here, blazing through my massive list of tv shows.