30 Days of NaNoWriMo 2 – Day 4: Avoiding the Influence

Phew . . . So, today was a busy day. Didn’t wind up getting many words, but I’ll be able to make up for it tomorrow (which is fine because it is NaNoWriMo’s Double-Up Day anyway). Particularly because I already know where to add a bit more to the extremely short exchange I wrote earlier.

What matters is that I did figure out how to introduce Sydney Tempest in a way that flowed well. Small additions and adjustment in tone will make it into something I love (I went a little comical with it because Modis’ intro was comical, but that just doesn’t fit Sydney as well).

Anyway, I had a low word count today because of errands and Doctor Strange, which was surprisingly enjoyable.

Thankfully though, it wasn’t so enjoyable that it shook the fabric of my style. It’s been a while since something has, but whenever I watch something new that has potential to be cool and unique, I’m always grateful if I come out of it without immediately questioning my style.

A long, long time ago, the first Pirates of the Caribbean did that to me. I actually remember walking out the theater and being genuinely upset. A friend asked why, and I remember sighing.

“I’ll never write something that fun.”

I don’t even love that movie. I don’t do pirate battle reenactments or anything. In fact, I’m probably the person who’s happiest that Talk Like a Pirate Day isn’t a thing anymore.

But I still look back on the first Pirates movie and just . . . man. The spirit of fun they managed to capture with it was insane.

Novel-wise, The Abhorsen Trilogy did the same thing to me. That trilogy made me question how I was approaching the entire idea of magic in my stories. It took a classically super-evil form of magic and made it into the most awesome, ancient magic in the world.

And, no spoilers, but Garth Nix can stretch out ten minutes of story time for hundreds of pages and make it the most tense, action-packed thing ever. That’s insane. I could never do that!

In contrast, Doctor Strange just revitalized my desire for making magic look and feel unique.

I guess what I’m wondering here is, when other writers sit down to watch something, do they ever get worried it’ll impact their standards in some way? Or is that just something that happens when you show up looking to learn from whatever you’re watching/reading, no matter whether it’s good or bad?

I can’t help feeling like the alternative–showing up, ready to criticize every moment of what you watch/read–is worse. Maybe because I was that kind of person for so long.

But, at any rate, it’s late and I’m rambling. Thanks for reading, and for those of you taking part in NaNo’s Double-Up Day, godspeed!

Words for the Day: 289

NaNoWriMo Total: 1058

Published by

Louis Santiago

I'm a fantasy writer based in New York. One of my short stories, "Aixa the Hexcaster," was published at Mirror Dance Fantasy. You can read it here: http://www.mirrordancefantasy.com/2016/09/aixa-hexcaster.html.

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