On trusting the Story Brain, making choices and questioning those choices - authors, I'm looking for comments on your experiences - and also how much I loved Naomi Novik's Scholomance trilogy.
Jennifer Udden's take on Naomi Novik's Scholomance series is here https://afasterno.substack.com/p/ends-and-means
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Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of an epic fantasy romance I'm here with my first cup of coffee. Um, delicious.
Ah, today is say it with me everybody. Yeah Friday July Seven hope you all have had a good week. Mine has been well actually mine has been a great week except for yesterday I wanted to say it's been patchy. But it was just yesterday was not great. Um I went and got my second shingles vaccine. So like you know a month ago or I don't know six weeks ago my gp talked me into getting the shingles vaccine which I kind of didn't want to do um I used to be. I don't want to say resistant vaccine hesitant I used to not get a lot of vaccines I didn't get the flu vaccine. It's because I'm a little bit of a hippie death Dipy Health nut um I you know do a lot of I don't ever take um, any kind of analgesics until yesterday. Um. I don't take you know aspirin or Tylenol or anything like that. Um, you know people who know me well know that I just really don't believe in overmedicating I haven't had antibiotics and I don't know a couple of decades and I'm fortunate that I enjoy good health and i. Have the privilege of being able to do that. But um, so yeah, I've just it's not that I absolutely believe in immunization I have to put that up front if you've been listening for a long time. You know that I was all along. Can't wait to get the covid vaccine. Um.
And I'm a scientist and you know so I absolutely and I've taken immunology. So ah, you know I absolutely believe in immunization I just don't believe in doing it if it's not necessary so I kind of didn't want to get the shingles vaccine but my gp talked me into it. Um. Because what I was a kid I did have chicken pox and I had it really really badly and so apparently that makes the possibility that you will get shingles later in life much more likely It's always like fine fine I'll get it. Got my shingles vaccine and and I think in part too I have become such a fan of vaccines because of the epidemic because of the pandemic. Um, you know so far as I know I've never had covid I've had um. You know four shots so far my you know first 2 in my boosters and you know I'm ah I'm a believer I just think that that vaccine saved us I am because I was like okay, fine. We get shingles vaccine. So then they were bugging me to get the follow up because you have to have the follow up in like ideally two months no more than six months because otherwise you have to start over and so my doctor's office is really good I like this new doctor's office because they do follow up with me. Um, they're a little bit.
You know a little nudy but I probably need nunging so that's okay, ah so yo, they're like you need to get that second vaccine. Okay, fine. So I scheduled it for Wednesday afternoon I had a nail appointment at three I thought oh'll get my vaccine at. Two thirty you know so you know consolidate my errands and when she gave it to me I mean pretty much as she's giving it to me she says so this one might hit you harder than the first um, and. You know if you get a fever you can take tylenol and I'm thinking to myself ahha I never take thatleol I'll just get get through it because I you know like from the covid vaccines and so forth I did occasionally get a mild fever and she said but if your fever gets up to 103 go to the emergency room and I was thinking ka ha ha. I don't want to go to the emergency room I'm not going to so I was fine I felt totally fine until I woke up in the middle of the night and I was cold and it it was a hot night and I was like oh shit I have a fever but I kept sleeping. And in the morning I felt like a truck had hit me and I wrote a little bit i' had some coffee wrote a little bit went to r coffee I almost considered begging off a writerer coffee but 1 of the guys who was driving up from albuquerki and.
You know, kind of felt bad blowing him off. So I went to write her a coffee and I felt a little odd. Oh and I did have a fever I had like a fever of ninety nine when I woke up and for me that's kind of a lot because I tend to be a cold person right? I tend to be around like ninety five ninety Six so I was like okay significant fever but not 103 so I came home and I was getting ready to work and I just thought I'm not going to be able to I need to lie down so I went to lie down and I slept for 3 hours three freaking hours in the middle of the day. Totally unlike me and when I woke up I had a fever of 101 point 3 not 103 though. So and I was miserable. Ah I didn't feel good. You guys. Oh you people folks? so I went I David went and got. Some tylenol from the store for me and I took one just to make myself more comfortable and yeah and and I'm fine today. But I've mentioned it to a couple of people you know and they're like oh yeah, that second shingles vaccine is a killer and it's like well I wish they'd. Told me on the phone because I would have scheduled it for like a Friday afternoon so I wouldn't lose a whole day of writing yesterday I got like 64 words and I was so good because I was Goingnna do a full hour before ride or coffee. Oh no I got more than that I lied it. I.
I was actually doing pretty well I got 254 words in the first half hour and and that's pretty good for me, starting up ramping up for the day. So if I'd done the second half hour I probably would have gotten up to 6 or 700 which is typical for me for the first hour except then I went to lie down for that in that second half hou second half hour because I thought oh I'm not going to make it to a writer copy I need to go close my eyes so I went and took a 20 minute nap and anyway the rest is history. So I got my three k days monday tuesday wednesday yesterday. 254 words um damn science anyway, so we'll see how I do today I think I'm I'm feeling good I was noticing I'm a little bit sleepy I'm yawning so we'll see but. Um, book is going well happy with it and so and of course there's no particular deadline I just want to get it done before I start my traveling and I can finish a lot of it next week so um other things that are going on like what I don't know I finished reading naomi novik's Scholomance trilogy and I made myself a note to talk about it now I'm not even sure what I want to say I mentioned on the podcast on monday.
Jennifer Udden did a great um spoiler filled analysis of it. Um, and it is worth reading I'll just keep the link in there. Ah but it is very spoiler and I was glad I waited till I was all done. Um I did find.
The ending a little bit I I just I think Naomi Novik is so brilliant I just love her storytelling and her world buildinging and in in some ways I don't know reading reading somewhat. Thing. That's really well written. So you know like this really great. Um, and I am I would call this one fantasy because it's magic not tech. So it's you know this fantasy world building as I'm writing um is very stimulating for me feeds what I'm doing but at the same time she um. What she did with this trilogy is really an accomplishment and I'm sorry that I'm reading it late because I don't understand why the third book wasn't nominated for a nebula. It should have been the way she brought together the story threads over time. Um.
Sort of gradually revealing the layers of the world and what was going on was it was just remarkable. It was just so well done. Um, and it made me feel like my stupid little story has no depth. No Resonance. It's like why? why?? why.
Um, but Naomi let's talk about your romance. Um, she always ah every book of hers that I've read anyway. Um takes the steam out of the romance at the end and by steam I don't even mean you know like. Like hot steam spiciness I mean she makes the um relationship the she emphasizes it. It's like it's just she stays away from the emotions of the relationship. So even in this story. Even though a huge piece of it is ah trying to save the guy she loves. It's um, yeah, the emotions not there and I suppose we we all write in different ways. All right? The emotions and Naomi can do the brilliant world building since I I'm clearly not going to I want to pause and I have to remember not to pause that that messes it up I'm gonna have to move this one hanging plan I think I'm just gonna have to just gonna have to do it. Because it's really getting fried I like that position for it. But yes, it's getting fried apropos of nothing at all. Sorry so anyway, um, one of the things I loved about skull amounts which.
Jennifer did not touch on so of course now I have to write her an email. Let's say but you didn't say anything about this is I love the idea of how it went from everyone being for themselves to people being cooperative and helping each other ah and I I think that's just a wonderful. Theme to have ah I did think um yeah, there's some things she did with the relationships and the third book that just struck me as very odd and I'm not sure why she did that. Um, but the yeah the world building the the fantasy story um is where Naomi Nobick excels and yeah I just love love. Loved highly Recommend. Will not really satisfy your romance itch if you have one like I do but it's also not one where you're really left tantalized and hanging. it's just like it's it's never really there I mean like I felt like spinning silver and uprooted left me hanging. Because I thought that there was going to be more. You know the romantic tension never delivered and in this case, there's really just not that much romantic tension even though this one is ostensibly um like a great love affair. So.
Yeah, we are.
Um, let's see so what else is going on. Oh So one of the gals in my patreon/discord Jeffe's Closet um said something very. Interesting. She was asking a question about about when you're making choices when you're writing in stories and making choices and you decide to go this way instead of that way and then like and that she kind of knew. That Yeah I'm not putting this very well like when she knows that she probably should have gone the other direction but chooses not to and then when she gets comments back from her developmental editor which is great that she is working with one because she's Newbie. Um. That they're like oh you should have gone this other direction and she's like I knew it I knew you should have gone the other direction and so she was asking me for input on that and it's an interesting question because there are certainly times that I Um, do not go.
The direction that I think I should now I'm going to back up slightly and tell you that my ultimate answer to her was is I think she's just Learning. It's this is just a symptom of learning that this is um, it's easy to recon you know like when you get the feedback from your editor saying oh well, you should go this direction. That it's easy to think oh I knew I should have and it's like well no, actually you you had choices and you made it. You must have thought that the choice you went with was a good one. Um, so you know don't don't retcon those kinds of things listen to your editorial feedback now for me. There are definitely times when like I'm trying to write a book with say more action or more fast-paced or less people having long conversational exchanges and and I know I know I should. Do this thing because it's like what I set out to do. It's like oh I was gonna do this for the beginning and then I don't um and that's partly me being an intuitive writer. It's sometimes. You know the story brain wants to go where the story brain wants to go sometimes and definitely learning when to listen to that and when to ignore it is ah, an acquired skill I mean it takes a long time to figure that out.
But I've also learned not to try to force the story to be something that it's not you know like I am probably Naomi Novik will never write romance right? It's just not in her as an author. Um and I will probably never write. The intricate kind of fantasy world building that Naomi does because that's just not the writer that I am much as I admire it I could set out to write like Naomi Nobik and I know that and because I've done this kind of thing before where I've thought okay I want to try to write a book like x. And I know that once I get partway through it that it will be and um, you know starts going in a different direction. It wants to go the direction. It wants to go and you know some of that is I'm not in complete control of my creative process and that's okay because the. Creative process is is a gift right? It it gives itself to me so I don't in return I don't try to control it does that make sense that might be a little little odd. Um, but it's absolutely true. I know that I've 1 thing one lesson I've learned over and over again is when I try to control the story when I try to make it go in a particular direction is when I bog down that's when and and sometimes it'll just flat out screech to a halt until I go the direction. The story wants to go.
And that's just the way it is right? So um, but I do think that there are times I don't even know how to explain this. When I know that I should do a thing and it does take for somebody else to tell me that I should do it for me to do it and I don't know what that syndrome is and this was exactly what she was asking so a good example of this is the amethyst run which is out on submission right now. So it's hard for me to talk to specifically about it but I had started the story and caveat right? I'm always saying figuring out where to start. The story is 1 of the most difficult tasks I had started the story in the particular this particular place which is. My usual instinct right? and you have to learn to divide out instinct from habit right? It's my habit I started out with a conversation that was essentially oh hey did you hear about such and so this thing that happened and it's it's in some ways. The. Inciting event that kicks off the story. It's a little bit. It's more like the background world event that sets us off. It's not the exact one for this story but you feel me. Ah so I was having I was at ride or coffee and talking to the folks.
And I said you know, um I was thinking that maybe I should start the story instead with this race because one of the protagonists is like essentially a race car driver a fantasy version of a race car driver and I said you know I wonder if maybe I should start with the race you know and have this whole. You'll like. And sort of demonstrate the world buildinging and the magic system through the race and all of this and have dapp be the first chapter and then go to this scene and ah and my friend Jim Sorensen is looking at me and he's like wait you're saying that's not where you started and I said no I started with this conversation. I. Was just thinking. Maybe I should do this race as the start and he said oh well I was thinking what a great place to start. He's like why didn't you do that I'm like I don't know. Um, um, because it's not my it's not my story instinct I don't like writing action scenes. Um, but I did do that and you know everybody says that first chapter is gripping and so.
Yeah, what is that I don't know I don't know I would love other thoughts. Do people have feedback, especially you experienced authors out there because I know you're listening ah tell me what you think um. Why why do we do that? Why do we have to have somebody else say you know you really should do that for us to go ahead and do it. It's a weird thing to weird creativity thing. So anyway, um I am off to see if I can get some work done today I hope that you all. Ah, make good choices I think maybe 1 thing to think about is that a lot of you know we talk about good choices and in life. You know it's like there are no occasionally. There's good choices but usually it's equally good choices. You know you go down this path or that path and neither is wrong. So just different paths you all take care and I'll talk to you Monday bye bye.