Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Boredom. My Secret Weapon.

I've pitched a couple ideas to my agent for my next novel. I'd love to get started on the fourth Dragon Apocalypse book, but, strategically, it doesn't make sense to put it on the market before the rights to the first three books revert back to me. There's a chance that could happen later this year. Then, I can return to that world, and tell the story of the Black Swan's final attempt to change the fate of the world. Stagger will be there, and Infidel, and their daughter, and all the characters I left in hell at the end of Witchbreaker. It will be awesome. And it is coming. Just not this year, alas.

Meanwhile, I'm busy developing my next book. Though "busy" is a bit of an oxymoron. Because, at this stage, the most important thing I can do to build my book is to make sure I'm bored.

It's surprisingly difficult to be bored. I have internet enabled devices at my fingertips everywhere I go. I can pluck books out of thin air at a whim off of Amazon, I can listen to any song I want any time I want, I have thousands and thousands of television shows I can stream with a few clicks of a button. Even in my car, I have audio books and satellite radio. There's not a single waking moment where I ever need to be bored.

And that's really dangerous. Because, for me, boredom is a valuable commodity. I daydream when I'm bored. My mind wanders. I put stuff together that I've never put together before. My imaginary friends start talking to one another. I eavesdrop.

So, I now have to deliberately make time in my schedule for boredom. Long bike rides are good. I don't listen to headphones since I want to be aware of cars, so I'm mostly alone with my thoughts. Long car trips are good. I can turn off the radio and tune into the plays in my head. Shorter snips of boredom can be grabbed here and there, in the shower, when I'm cooking, while I'm doing something repetitive at work.

Writing a 100,000 words requires me to sit and type for 100 hours. But, to get those 100,000 words, I have to put in almost an equal number of hours of daydreaming. The books I'm going to write next, I didn't just think of them yesterday. They're based on ideas I had years ago, ideas that have had time to mature. Now, I'm trying to go deeper, thinking of specific scenes, trying to understand my characters better, thinking of odd places they can visit. A month from now, when I finally sit down and start typing... it will all mutate and warp and turn into something I never imagined. It will change because it will be more interesting for me to change it, because I'll be bored of my original ideas by then. I couldn't get there, though, if I didn't have a huge mountain of daydreams to sift through.

Now you know. Boredom. It's my secret weapon.

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