Reasons to Walk Away

This post talks about immersion in fictional worlds, and asks an interesting question — Why would you give players a reason to walk away? Substitute the word readers for players, and consider what he’s saying. He makes some huge points.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.


3 comments… add one
  • pureandsimple Oct 12, 2005 @ 11:17

    Hello again Holly and thanks for responding to my whinig post. (I’m really sorry starting of whining like that. Promise to my self and everybody else: no posting before coffee kicked in). What I more clearly want to say is that I’m amazed how you gone through bad and worse times and still kept doing your work and your head up. I know I’ll have some troubled months before me related to my job (which is in a field where bureaucracy gone mad and as soulkilling as it can get without being at MC D) and therefore I just wanted to know how to get through them and use them, but I think you gave me some good views. Thank you!

  • hollylisle Oct 12, 2005 @ 10:36

    Hi. I can’t actually answer that question, because nursing might be a lot of things, but it was never boring. Never soul-killing. Didn’t drain my energy.

    It was the hardest job I ever loved, and it ripped me apart, sometimes elated me, and frequently depressed me, and broke my heart so that even today, there are things that happened all those years ago that I can’t talk about because if I try, I cry. It changed me. It transformed me. In a lot of ways it scarred me. It sent me home exhausted and blood-spattered and left me dreaming codes and running corridors all night in my sleep after I did twelve hours of brutal work during the day, while facing twelve more the next. No matter how good I got, I never got good enough, because people I cared about still died.

    But it never bored me, and I never questioned the job, or the value of doing it. After ten years, though, the scar tissue started forming and I had to get out.

    Working McDonalds — that’s a job that will kill your soul. But I was teaching guitar and singing in restaurants when I did that one, and hadn’t even considered writing yet, so again, I have no useful advice.

    Well, if you’re already a nurse, and the job you’re working is doing this to you, maybe switch fields. Consider ER, maybe, or ICU. Or even Med-Surg, where things can get pretty hairy. Staff nursing is pretty challenging.

    If you aren’t a nurse, consider becoming a volunteer EMT or firefighter on your local squad, and answering calls when you can. It will give you back your energy, your faith in other people, a fair about of joy and excitement. I never knew a volunter EMT who wasn’t kick-ass gung-ho about the job. And you’ll never doubt that what you’re doing matters.

    And you get a whole lot of Life capital-L that you can later work into books (she says, trudging off to write her EMT suspense novel.]

  • pureandsimple Oct 12, 2005 @ 5:29

    I’m a dedicated visitor to your site since a while back and I read your advice for writers closely and often (for inspiration and kick in the b…) I have a question for you that if you find your self willing to answer it I would be ever so happy: During those years you worked as a nurse, how did you survive? I’ve set my mind to at least give my self the chance to try and live as a full time writer once, but until then; (or until I can find a full time job that’s bearable) how the heck do you survive when the job is just soul-killing boring and drains your energy out of every pore so when it’s time to sit down and write you fall asleep over the key board? Have any good answers?

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