Friday, June 26, 2009

On Editing

If you look through my quotes, you'll see that I have two thoughts on editing, and both imply the same thing: editing can destroy your piece.

Quote #1: Revision can take a good rough draft, pound out the lumps, roll the kinks smooth, straighten the curves, round the edges, and untangle all the thoughtless knots—until there's nothing left but a bunch of flat, balmy words. Blech!

Quote #2: Write first for yourself; write again for others.

See, when I write, I create stories ~I~ want to read. I don't write for the readers. I don't write for the publishers, or the editors, or a particular age and gender group. I don't write for you.

I write for me.

And sometimes, I create something beautiful. I love the words, the story, the characters and settings and scenes. It's ~my~ story. It's the only story I'll print out, and it's the one I'll store in my file cabinet with all the other works that will never see paperback distributions. It's the story I'll dig out years from now and re-read. It's my story, kinks and all.

The other story, the polished copy you see published, or in paperback, or on someone's website, that's not my story. Not anymore. That one's been hacked-up and edited, reviewed, and revised by people who do not have worms in their skull. Scenes have been added, modified, and deleted, along with characters, voice, and setting. Personally, I may not like that story. In fact, I may ~hate~ that story.

But that's not my story, not anymore. My story is safely hidden away in a dark cabinet.

My published stories, the ones you buy in paperback or see posted online, those are ~your~ stories, and I can only hope you like them as much as I like my own.

- Eric

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Point-of-View: Listen to your characters!

I like to hear my characters, feel them, ~be~ them. I write strong characters with strong voices, strong opinions, strong beliefs, and strong emotions.

And when I write, I listen to my characters. They tell me when they're bored, or when I've irritated them with something I wrote.

For instance, I'm reading this book that on page 83, the author writes this, paraphrased:

She usually had a quick comeback for every situation. But this isn't the movies, she thought. This is real life, and in real life, she just killed a man, and almost died doing so.

Wow, huh. Are you listening to the character? Do you hear what she just said? I hate it when characters say that!

The character said this, paraphrased:

DUDE! What the hell! That was an unbelievable series of events you just put me through. Nobody's gonna buy it. Hell, ~I~ don't even buy it! You just knocked me out of the story. So much for suspending my disbelief, eh. Here, let me remind you: THIS IS NOT THE MOVIES! STOP IT!

Yeah, well, the author didn't listen to her. He chugged along his path, writing more fodder, eventually leading me to skip a couple of filler chapters. I told my girlfriend that I feel like I should be reading this book with a red pen in my hand!

And I saw a movie the other day where a character said this, as he was about to be tortured, and the villain was spewing off a long spiel before peeling the skin off our hero:

Um, can we get on with this? I'm not getting any younger.

Do you hear that one? The character says he's bored. The character yawned, what do you think a reader will do!

So listen to your characters. If they're not into the story, then you need to re-write that part, or maybe even delete it.

Characters know best.

- Eric

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Three Cs: Notes on Copyrights, Contacts, and Content


I should note to all you Dear Readers that ALL work posted by Eric W. Trant -- that's me -- is implicitly copyrighted by Eric W. Trant -- that's me -- and should not be reproduced without explicit written consent from said poster.

Please feel free to reference this blog, or bookmark it, or even email things you think might get someone fired just for opening and reading, but please reference me -- Eric W. Trant -- when you send this stuff, or reference my site, since I'm kinda trying to make a go of this writing gig, and any publicity I can get is helpful.

Furthermore, it is not my intent to offend anyone, but my language can, at times, drift toward the gutter. Please be aware of this. I'm not a shock-jock, but I also don't like to moderate my worms. They say whatever they feel like saying, and I just write it as fast as I can.

If you are interested in contacting me, please email me at saulgoode 35 at yahoo dot com. If you cannot break this complicated email code, please say this aloud to everyone you meet today: "I am We Todd It. I am Sofa King We Todd It."

Thank you!

- Eric W. Trant

Me on writing

COPYRIGHT Eric W. Trant 2009

All right you knuckers, here's an ongoing list of things that wiggle and writhe in my head with respect to writing.

Maybe I should add some weird formatting, eh, so it'll look cool, and so you might think I know what the hell I'm doing.

Onward, ho!



Write big, write arrogant, write unbelievably tall; write with inspiration, passion, patience and truth; write unabashedly; write with wit; write with huge looping letters, crowding everyone else from the page; and write little words between, above and below; write persistently; write with purpose; write with the nerve-wracking suspense of a teetering tightrope walker about to fall; now fall; write against the grain; write with the ever-changing flow of the masses; write with the sudden ferocity of a shark attack and drag the reader into your darkest depths; write first for yourself; write again for others; write it obnoxiously in the sky and dare the wind to blow it away.

Or write not at all.

To the wind I say: Blow me away.


How stupid am I? How ignorant, blissful, and delightfully unconscious? I see no further than yesterday, peek backward in search of tomorrow. And what I see, with each glance to the past, is the burned husk of a man, without forethought or foresight, who dives deeper and deeper into the murky waters of the future. Burned because I am seared by the knowledge of today; husk because I realize now how empty and unfulfilled I had been. Fearing the future, mocking the past, onward I go from each day to the next, thinking, for God knows what reason, that somehow I am more than I was yesterday; thinking I'm perhaps wiser or smarter, less hollow, and maybe more capable of opening blind eyes to the light of the morrow's sun; thinking God has heard my prayers—or ignored me entirely—and that this life has revealed itself to me more fully; thinking I have answers. How stupid am I?


I want to live forever; so I write.


It is what's unsaid that's most prolific. The reader should feel the back-story.


I found my wings.


How vain to love your own words. It pains me to think how many years I've wasted in silence.


I'm 120 pages into my book—and finally reached the beginning.


Writing is such wonderful torture.


As Aristotle pointed out, to master the metaphor is the finest form of writing. But take care the beast does not consume the story; untamed, it can anger the page if allowed too much freedom to roam. Pepper it sparingly amongst the words, or risk sneezing the reader.


Yell "Action!", not "Back-Story!"


Good writing is demanding, tiresome, and tedious as hell. But then again, so is good sex.

According to Hemingway, all first drafts are shit. I'm on the right track.


Swing Poe's pendulum over the reader; and with turning the page, drop it a notch closer.


Plot story plot story plot story plot story character plot character story story story character story plot story character character story plot.

Which came first: the story or the plot? Or the character?

And which is more important?

To me? Story.

To the reader? I am a reader. As a reader, I like story. I like plot, too. But don't let it fuck with the story. And for God's sake don't warp the characters to fit the plot. Be true to them, let the plot form around. Story. Character. Plot. That's the order. Always story; then character; then plot.

Story should be the bones; character, the bloody heart. Plot's just the road they take.



Characters we care about. Give me characters we care about. Provide, Dear Writer, real characters, all flesh and emotion: the next door neighbor washing the car with his fat farmer's tan; the scolding bus driver on the high school band bus who wreaks of smoke; a red-eyed security guard just trying to get by, two empty paper cups stained with coffee next to a photo of three kids and a woman; the shy doctor with bad breath.

We care about these people. We want to know what happens to them, not be bogged down with trite analogies, descriptions of the cracked riverbed face, the chestnut eyes, the teeth that glinted light.

Who fucking cares? I don't. I don't give one rat's ass about whether her hair was curly brown or straight bleached blonde. If it ain't pertinent, I don't need it. Throw it out. Too many words out there to waste time with pointless descriptions.

What we care about are characters. Not hair color. Characters.


I write; how else to hear what I have to say?


Writing, for me, is a state of constant contradiction.


Where does style come into the writing? That eloquent lilt to the words that floats them off the page and into Reader's ears? Where is my style? Do I like the old-school method, with its rolling sentences, tailored and cut for the story, full of color, flavor, sentences that flow around and around the paragraph with nary a period in sight, soft rivers of words chortling through the story? Or am I concise? Direct?

Come to think of it, the more I write, the more it feels like talking. It's hard for me to write like I once did—cheesy, long sentences. Now I like short. Here's the point, now let's continue—that type of stuff. I'm not gonna bore you wrapping words from one margin to the other, chock full of two-bit locutions (which remind me of taunting squirrels, jamming nuts in their cheeks—mine are bigger than your-oors, mine are bigger than your-oors). I've got big words. I just don't use them. Webster's ain't all that interestin', knowaddamean?

So that's it, I suppose. My style. My style. Short. Sweet. Here's the fucking point, now let's move on. If you want a description of what color some chick painted the inside of her sock drawer—and why—go read someone else. Or write your own story.

As a writer, I'm forced to fake interesting. I'm just some schmuck.


To write is to work rabid dogs, loosed free within the confines of your own fleshy skull, with this pen as their only collar.


To be successful is to have people love your words, to cry over them. That is why I write. But when I stumble, my nose bends a bit farther out.


To write is to say something ordinary in an extraordinary way.

But writing is not the art of saying something already said, only in a cleverer way; writing is to say something new! in cleverer way.

Be brief.

Religion is God's way of weeding out the weak and unimaginative. To the rest He gives common sense.

Don't let the blank page intimidate you; let it inspire you.

Saddle up and hold on tight. If it doesn't throw you, writing will take you somewhere.


Revision can take a good rough draft, pound out the lumps, roll the kinks smooth, straighten the curves, round the edges, and untangle all the thoughtless knots—until there's nothing left but a bunch of flat, balmy words. Blech!


Geniuses may change the world, but it's the idiots who get paid for it.

Writing is an obsession. If it ain't, it ain't writing.

When I write, I try to stay away from deep and thoughtful stuff. I get enough of that in real life, and frankly, it bores the shit out of me.

Death is when the soul sleeps.

Echos of love lost.

The difference between master and student, is not knowing how, but knowing why.

sniffing my droppings
a green-eyed, self-said genius
defining man-crush

slithering genius
his head too low for high thoughts
looks up and wonders

slitted eyes scratch words
genius filters, imagines
pretends he exists

tongue and mouth of dirt
spitting mounds of prophecy
he can't make us see

impeccable genius
curled in prints he couldn't make
the world steps over


mirror-topped lake
slender neck, slender beak, strikes
two worlds, one rippled

palms up, begging rain
lungs blowing against the wind
thunder has no heart


I believe you can't have true genius and be completely sane. They're mutually exclusive. Genius, by its nature, is an uncontrollable and insatiable obsession, fed by a mind bent into a shape most folks cannot conceive.


When life gives you a bucket of piss, drink it, and tell everyone it's lemonade. Then they'll leave you the fuck alone about it.

I don't dream of writing. I write, and let the world dream of reading my words.


Details separate the pros from the amateurs.


Writing has two parts: story, and style.

Good storytellers with bad style become rich.

Bad storytellers with wonderful style become famous.

Good storytellers with good style become writers.

Or something like that...


Burn your eyes on my words, you fuckers.


If you don't finish, you've accomplished nothing.

Nothing unfinished can be called an accomplishment.

Only finished work succeeds.



Crap, huh.


Good writers write. Great writers confess.