Blog Views, Reading Updates, and the Joys of Drafting

This week, I hit 100,000 all-time views on my blog! I KNOW, RIGHT. When I started this blog back in 2008, I never imagined that anyone outside of my friends and family would ever want to read about my boring attempts to get published. Especially not when my entire blog is basically a cycle of a music post, an inspirational post about not letting setbacks get me down, a sad post about how the setbacks got me down, another music post, a peppy post, a random list, a post in which I talk to my characters like they are real and you ponder my sanity, another music post, etc.

But thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading and sticking with me through all of these years. I've gone back through my whole blog many times, and although there are some cringeworthy posts (well, cringeworthy to me), I wouldn't change a thing. I've done a lot of growing up on this blog as both a writer and a person. None of it is easy, but I'm so thankful every day for my writing friends.

Over the weekend, I dove back into my absolute favorite part of the writing process: drafting! FOTL grew an additional 5,000 words! I love the feeling of putting fresh new words down on paper. I can't get enough of it. Revisions are necessary and sometimes fun, because you get to see your book get better and better, but there's something really exciting about the first draft. I am a hardcore plotter (I would plot my entire life if I could) but there are things that you just can't plan: the nuances of a character's personality, the little subplots that often emerge, and the twists and turns that the plot may take.

I'll talk more about FOTL in another post for a blog hop, so I won't go into that now, but I think it's going smoothly so far! I'm still nervous, though. Writing different cultures always requires a super deft, super sensitive hand, and even if you try your hardest, most likely you will still unintentionally offend someone out there. But I guess it doesn't hurt to try, right?

I'm finally reading Game of Thrones for some epic fantasy inspiration, and holy crap, the man is an unbelievable writer. He is doing something with every scene, even if the characters are just sitting around talking. He's developing people, or moving the plot forward in a subtle way, or building the backstory. I've heard that he is a very slow writer, but maybe this is the benefit that comes from that. Just going by my own experience, the books that I write for NaNoWriMo (rushed and frazzled under a 30-day deadline) have so many pointless filler scenes that always get axed during revisions. I never understood why people disapproved of NaNo before, but I'm starting to see why.

I can't help comparing GoT and Lord of the Rings as I read. GoT is grittier and more realistic (if an epic fantasy could ever be realistic), and the characters are more complex than just good or bad, but there's an innocence to LOTR that I really prefer. That being said, I've loved the LOTR books forever and could play any character in a movie remake at the drop of a hat (that's how well I know the lines. /nerd), and the place I grew up is pretty much the Shire, so maybe that's why I prefer it? Between the two of them, I'm hoping that my book will have more of an LOTR feel.

So, what's new with all of you? If you've read GoT and LOTR, which do you prefer and why?


Emma Adams said...

Woo, go you! 100K views is an awesome achievement!

Between GoT and LOTR...that's a tough one! LOTR is definitely more cheerful. :P But Martin's a fantastic writer. Despite the length of the GoT books, I read them in no time because I couldn't put them down! I think the characters are more complex, and there's an unpredictability in that you have no idea who's going to survive! But I'll always prefer the LOTR movies.

I love drafting for the same reasons - in fact, for a plotter, I don't actually like the planning aspect much, but it makes drafting easier if I have an outline. But it's those little things like character details which only really come to life when you're writing.

Connie Keller said...

Congrats! That many views is amazing. I have a ways to go before I get there.

I prefer LOTR to GoT, mostly because GoT is too gritty for me and I'd get so invested into characters who'd get killed off. Plus, I really like the personal struggles of Frodo, his triumphs and failures and how he dedicates his life to something bigger than himself.

Glad you're enjoying the first draft. It's my favorite part of writing--the thrill of discovery and creating people who didn't exist before I wrote about them. Addicting stuff. ;)

Tiana Smith said...

Congrats Julie! I've only read LOTR, and frankly it bored me. But I love other epic fantasies, like the wheel of time or Brandon Sanderson's new one. I think I just have to have more character development, rather than scene or language development like LOTR.

Laura Marcella said...

Congrats on 100,000 views, Julie!! I'm not surprised. Your blog is one of my favorites!

So happy you're finally reading Martin's books! I think the 4th and 5th are not up to par with the first three, though. Still good, but you can kind of tell the series is getting away from him (it was meant to be a trilogy when A Game of Thrones was published in 1996). My favorite thing about the series are the characters and their relationships with each other. The character arcs are really well-written and developed.

I don't think Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire can even be compared. They're both fantasies. That's it! I enjoy them both for different reasons!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Go ahead and be a nerd!
Glad the writing is coming along so well. The first draft is the most difficult for me.
I've not read Game of Thrones, so can't compare the books. I have seen the series and the movies though. I really like both, but nod goes to LOTR.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Hurray for your 100k views!

Yeah, I'm one of the NaNo disapprovers. I feel the same way about A to Z, really. Anything that emphasizes quantity and speed over quality really turns me off.

As for LOTR vs GoT -- there are things I love about both of them, but verbosity is not one of them. For something more fast-paced, but still riveting and complex, have you tried the Beyonders series by Brandon Mull?

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Congratulations on all the page views! I haven't read Game of Thrones, but then again I haven't seen the show either. I did watch the LOTR movies, and I liked them, though I thought the fight scenes were too long. I tried reading one of the LOTR books, but to be honest, they didn't really hold my interest; there was too much description, in my opinion.

Nicole said...

Woo hoo - awesome stats! I like both GoT and LOTR. I think I like LOTR for the overall story and GoT for the writing.

Donna Hole said...

You go girl on the writing! I'm not writing much these days - too much training and new stuff in my personal and career life. I may take a break from writing for a while, but I love seeing how well my friends are doing.

I haven't read GoT yet, got three books sitting on my shelf (er, in boxes right now) but I'm watching season 1. I know what you mean about all the development. I think it is important. I see other influences there besides LOTR; David Eddings and the Belgariad/Malorian series'; Raymond E Feist and the Rift War sagas; Katherine Kurz and Jack Chalker.

I imagine I model my fantasy worlds and characters off those early readings.

And congrats on the blog views. That is encouraging. Have a good week Julie.


Vicki Rocho said...

Congrats on the views! That's amazing -- let's go for a cool million now, what d'ya say? (that was a royal 'lets'...I'm nowhere near 100K views, so I'll let you blaze the trail)

workofheart09 said...

I'm with you: drafting is, hands down, my very favorite part of the process. There's such a joy and exhilaration to it, especially when the story takes an unexpected turn. And knowing we're creating this world, these characters, that before only existed in our heads? It's just the best.

Congrats on 100,000 views! That is AWESOME!! :)

Brandon Ax said...

I have always loved your post no matter what they were I just think you have interesting things to say.

I love both of those series, but I think GoT because of the sense of not knowing what is coming next and who will survive it.

Jemi Fraser said...

Definitely a LotR fan here! I love the joy and hope :)
I WISH I was a plotter - I'm trying but it's akin to reading a story backwards to me *sigh*

Julie Dao said...

Emma: Thanks so much :D It's a great feeling, and also scary/hard to believe at the same time. I agree that GRRM is a fantastic writer, but that I will always prefer the LOTR movies to the books. (It seems like sacrilege to say so as a writer!)

Connie: ME TOO. It's already happened to me - getting attached to people who were killed off. He's a master manipulator, that George guy. Agreed, I love the drafting for the thrill of discovery. Great way of putting it!

Tiana: Thanks so much! The first couple of times, I had a lot of trouble getting through LOTR. But I pushed through and I'm really glad I did. I've never read the Wheel of Time!

Laura: Your blog is one of my favorites, too <3

Alex: Thanks for your approval of my being a nerd. LOL! I've only read half of Book 1 of GOT. My nod also goes to LOTR!

Dianne: Thank you! Yeah, I agree that quality should always be top priority. It's just that I've seen so many good things come out of NaNo, and it helps people complete a draft who might not have done so otherwise. I'm still conflicted!

Workaholic: Hahah, the fight scenes were sometimes a bit too long for me too, especially in the Two Towers (my least favorite of the trilogy). There was a TON of description in the books, totally. It's just unbelievable world-building, though!

Nicole: Thanks so much! I agree with you on both points :)

Donna: Hey, thanks! Sometimes we all need a little break from our writing. I hope you get back to it soon though :) The show is so good, isn't it? A little too raunchy, but they did a great job adapting the epic scale of the story. Have a great week!

Vicki: A cool million would be smashing! :D

Shari: Drafting is the most exciting and enjoyable part because you don't quite know what you'll end up with. I suppose the same could be said of revising, but you're actually building worlds and people with the rough draft!

Brandon: Oh, thanks so much! I really appreciate you saying that!

Jemi: Definitely a hardcore LOTR fan myself! The joy and hope are big winners for me :)

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