While taking my lunchtime walks this week, I finished up listening to Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s audiobook, The Freelancer’s Survival Guide. It’s interesting to see how things have changed in the 5+ years since this book was written as posts on her blog, then published. While there were many good gems in this book (brilliant advise I wish I’d had ages ago and some that I will be delving into myself over the next few years), there was one thing that really struck me and I want to share.
Don’t make the words fancy. Translation into other languages translates the story, not the words.
These were my notes, so I’m certain I paraphrased for me to remember. So often, I know I try to strive for just the right sentence or word. All too often, I feel like I’m just using the same words over and over. Oh look, another THE. How about and AND. Yes, I’m oversimplifying here, but that’s how it feels some days. It’s if I’ve just taken every word I learned in first grade, probably when we were pasting words into the sentences on our sheets, thrown them into a bag and shook them, and now I take them out one by one and line them up all in a row just like I did then.
I remind myself that my purpose it to entertain with a good story, not fancy words. I don’t want to mire my readers in a deluge of words to get through. No slough for them to cut through.
I feel like this in the fiction book I’m reading right now. There are many words that I have to look up (and yes, I must confess that I’ve marked a few to use and have even added a couple already). But it breaks the flow of the story for me. I am yanked right out of it. There are already times when I have to go back and re-read passages because I no longer have any clue what’s going on. Honestly, I would have given up on the story a long time ago, but I have two hooks that won’t let me go: 1) is the hero dreaming this adventure — I suspect not since there are several books after this and I’m wondering if I will even pick up book two, and 2) will the so-called “hero” of the story have retribution served upon him for raping a girl earlier in the book? This aspect of the book has me highly disturbed because of how the other characters reacted about this knowledge and how the “hero” goes about his business and his own victimhood. There was even a passage where he makes reference to assaults on children, but his own doesn’t plague him. Yeah, I just have to see how this ends. I will not pick up book 2.
But I got away from my point. Many times this week when I’ve found myself wanting to craft beautiful words, I remind myself that readers are not coming to it for the words, but rather the story. And, when my books are translated, none of those elegant word chains will translate well. No, the translator will be crafting his/her own version of those sentences. Best to keep it simple and focus on the story, not the words.
Poets, don’t get angry at me. Poetry is a whole other ballgame! There’s a reason I’ve always avoided poetry; I’m not good at it. I make Vogon poetry look good. Trust me, I use to break “writer’s blocks” this way; nothing made the Muse come rushing back to me faster than trying to write a few poetic lines.
In other news, Quest for the Three Books audiobook went live this week.
I’ve still been obsessed with audio this week. I’m now working on cleaning up I’m with Cupid. I had recorded that all in one session several months ago. It shouldn’t be too long before that one is out. I also started recording For Sale, Call Loki. I hope that the new processes I’ve been working on learning and working the kinks out of help me to produce audio faster and in better quality. That’s always the goal: constant and never-ending improvement.
I did write steadily all week, reaching my word goal each day all week — that hasn’t happened for a while. Stories with the highest word count this week are: Sacred Knight #5, Cirvel’s story, and Stonecharmer.
Let’s look at those numbers, shall we?
Fiction words written last week: 5,926 words.
Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written: 1.097 words.
Daily word goal reached for 9 days. Weekly word goal reached for 4 weeks.
Writing month to date total: 17,866 words
Writing year to date total: 204,203 words – I’m excited to be over 200,000 words all ready this year. It makes me want to see just how far I can beat my goal since it feels like I’ll be there shortly. Of course, I do have other things I should be attending in my life…
Drawing/painting last week: No painting this week
Audio: I spent 7 hours recording and editing audio, as well as time not recorded for tinkering with programs, trying things out, rearranging my booth, watching several how-to videos – all much like last week. Challenging, but epic fun.