Thursday, December 16, 2010

Give them something to TALK about!

When you write, give your readers something to talk about. That goes for books, posts, poems, stories, songs, and anything you can dig up from your creative innards.

Heck, it even goes for painting and sculptures.

The person enjoying your piece, whatever it may be, needs something to talk about.

For instance, Star Wars is nothing -- NOTHING -- without Light Sabers and Jedi. It is otherwise a cut-n-paste cowboy-space saga. It's all right, don't get me wrong, and it's a fun movie and a great story, but the things we talk about are Jedi and Light Sabers, yes?

The things that make it Star Wars are the things we talk about.

Same for any book you read or movie you see.

We repeat great quotes from As Good as it Gets and Caddyshack.

We discuss what Heinlein and Salinger meant with their rebellious books Stranger in a Strange Land and Catcher in the Rye.

We discuss spooky King, JK Rawlings's Quidditch.

We talk about that Korn song that moved us, the one called Yall Want a Single.

We ~talk~ about the good stories, the great songs, the incredible movies.

Give them something to talk about, Dear Authors.

For my part, I give you a blue-faced God, disgruntled angels without wings, and a boy in the woods with two dogs named Whiskey and Scotch. I give you androgynous test-tube warriors and drug-addict galactic leaders. I give you a chance to name anyone for death and see them die.

I want to give you things to ~talk~ about.

What do you give me to talk about? Do you write with repeatability of your story in mind?

- Eric

Thursday, December 9, 2010

LOST in my own words

Isn't it funny how you get lost in your own work? I haven't written on my WIP since December 2. That's the date of my last save-point. That's a week from today.

Now I've forgotten where I was and how I got there. I'm 22kw into my piece, well into the middle-point (which I personally find the BEST part of writing!), have plenty of steam, I just can't remember what track I was on.

Now I have to re-read parts, skim a little, reset my mind to the book and rediscover my groove. I read a scene, the first few paragraphs of the second chapter, and all of the first chapter, and realized I had completely forgotten I wrote that!

It's like waking up headspun after a drunk blackout in the back of your Tahoe in someplace Louisiana and your cousin is in the front seat, somehow driving, laughing when you moan, and saying, Dude, you didn't get kicked out of the bar, you got kicked out of the TOWN!

He showed me pictures later of me pissing on the side of my Tahoe and laughing and flipping him off.

It was a biker town, I remember that much, something right out of Sons of Anarchy. He said we almost died because I popped off at some guy and hit on his old lady and we bowed up all of them against stupid-ass me and some college kids trying to get out of the way, none of which surprises me. He said he lost me in the commotion and found me on the curb outside with a bouncer standing guard and the bouncer said, Is this fucker with you? You'd better get his ass out of here.

But it was like it never happened except in that story of his. I remember none of it, not even the curb part.

Jack Daniels, man. He's a mean sumbitch, especially if you're going through a divorce.

For you coonasses out there, and I know there are a few (I am one), the town is Mamou, where the windows are painted black and they sell rum as a hangover cure.

You ever have those moments when you write? Complete surprise at a scene you had forgotten, or a story you wrote and shelved and re-read and you can't believe you wrote that, can't even recall it?

You ever woke up in the back of a car hauling ass out of a biker town?

- Eric

Monday, December 6, 2010

Writer ENVY: Have you ever suffered from it?

I envy talented writers. Talent in anything -- from dancing to singing to sports to writing to math -- cannot be learned, or taught, but is innate as a singer's voice, or a mathematician's knack for numerical visualization.

Either you got it, or you don't got it.

This weekend I saw a fellow writer, who I will not point out other than to say he is not associated with me on the blogosphere, received a special recognition. It wasn't much, but it reminded me of him, and I re-read one of his pieces and looked him up online and wow... he's not a commercial success (and really, what is commercial success anyway?), but he is wildly talented, and is enjoying some small fruits of that talent.

It's amazing how his mind twists the words into a mangled mess that somehow makes sense. It's like watching a crunk dancer perform ballet, and somehow it ~works~.

I read his stuff and think: I'll never write anything like that. I can't. It's not doable. Not that I even want to try, but still, try as I might, I couldn't write like that.

And I envy him for that talent. I get a little bit jealous that he's out there at all, that there are writers with that amount of talent seeking representation from the same agents, the same publishers, going after the same readers and hanging out in the same bookshops. I get a little bit scared that I have to compete with this guy.

I envy his recognition and want my share of it. I feel stingy and childish for that emotion, but there it is, plain and inexplicable and embarrassing as the nipples on my chest. I don't wish him ill, and I believe his recognition is reasonable and well-garnered, but still...

I know I'm not the only one who suffers from this. You don't have to point them out, or acknowledge them, but don't you have authors you're jealous of, that you envy? I don't mean Stephen King or JK Rawlings, I'm talking about your fellow inmates in pre-pub and small-pub lockup, the ones in the trenches with you right now, today.

I mean, don't you ever read something in a blogfest or on a post and think, Wow, I sure don't want to go head-to-head with that author!

- Eric

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Final Wordcount

I say this with absolute genuine praise: If you met your November wordcount goals, if you got your badge, CONGRATULATIONS! I don't care if you got to 50kw or 220kw (as did my publisher, all written from the madhouse here in Dallas). If you set goals and met goals, writing, editing, reviewing, blogging, whatever, I offer you a congratulations for doing what you said you'd do.

Despite the disruptions this month -- and yes, I just called the birth of my son a "disruption" -- I managed to hack out about 20kw on my current WIP.

I have daily goals of 1000-2500 wpd (words per day), and I average 1500 wpd most days. I met those goals on the days I wrote, which tells you I wrote approx 15 days out of 30 this month. The only day I recall starting and not meeting that goal was the day my wife was induced for labor. I managed to get 500 words while we waited for the oxytocin to kick in and I kept getting distracted by the television in the delivery room (I hate television, but my wife loves it).


Don't stop writing just because November passed, and don't spend the next 11 months on your NaNo book. Rest a little if you need it. Write a few shorts just for fun, or some poetry. Edit a couple of months on your NaNo and send it off.

And then ON TO THE NEXT! Don't wait for NaNo 2011 to write your next masterpiece!

If you ask me, May should be the other NaNoWriMo month, but nobody asked me.

- Eric