I’ve spent some time comparing my current writing to my past pieces. I do so lightly because I realize it isn’t fair to what I’m writing now to look back and see where my mindset was four years ago. Yet, I still do. Fair or not, I need to know if I’m growing as an artist or not. Stasis breeds death, and that is not a cycle I want to be a part of. So I spent some time testing for echo.
No not the Rush song.
I took a few chapters of the current piece and looked back a few book releases to Shattered Gods, what I consider my first educated foray into the writing world. I know Origins comes before that, but sometimes I have a hard time re-reading it and not picking apart all the things I’d change. Shattered Gods by and large is a solid book, filled with a deeper complexity and it tends to flow better from beginning to end. The purpose I had in my mind when creating it was simple – write a follow up to Origins which serves the need of the overall story (Julius’ education with Pierce) and make sure we show growth in our main character (Julius’ ability to communicate with the Idol on a different level) For the most part I think it does these two things, plus a key third one. Introduce a new character voice (Lyra) and show a different side of the world story. I am still happy with how it turned out.
I have released three titles since that book and I believe I continue to get better.
This means that I had to set a higher bar for myself in the current piece, because if you’re not working and striving to be better with each and every piece you put out to market, you are doing your readers a disservice. I take my readers seriously. I take their time seriously. There are tons of places they can get their entertainment from and when they choose me over something else, I take a great appreciation in that exchange of energy. That’s what art is, it’s an exchange of energy between two people – artist and viewer – who may never meet, but who are inexorably tied together across space and time.
So far I haven’t encountered any echo with the new piece. No one thing which reminds me of the past stories I’ve told, and that’s good. I want these to feel different, to be experienced in a way which someone might wonder where my head was at when I wrote the previous books. Part of the reason is that I am a different person than I was when published my last book. I have churned out the next iteration of me, one which is far more awake and ready to speak my mind through the characters you’ll read about.
As you grow in your own art make sure you’re doing the same thing. Don’t become that artist who creates the same thing time and time again. If it’s really great it might work for awhile, but you may find your audience getting bored and looking elsewhere.
Addendum: I’m looking forward to a slow down in my day job schedule, which has been busy as of late. I did make the time to read a new book, which I’ll review here for all of my readers to enjoy. I don’t do full reviews often, but I think this craft book deserves it. Good stuff.
Have a great weekend and tip your hat or drink to those who have paid the ultimate price, above all, they deserve that.