An author interview can be read here:
An author interview can be read here:
Because I. Just. Cannot. Even.
I am on a lot of writers’ groups. Not a ton, but a lot.
And frequently, people there post messages describing their writing process. Maybe it’s part of a humble-brag about how many words they’ve accomplished, or in connection with where they are in the stages of getting fro here to there, or they are trying to help another writer fix a problem or get ideas about resolutions.
And I’m kind of amazed at how analytical they all are. They have jargon. They have outlines and diagrams and backstories and charts and maps.
They have moods: they are “on the edge” of things, or “settling in” with the characters. They are putting together building blocks or developing themes, growing their suspense or delving into motivations.
I just throw a few characters into a cauldron and turn up the heat.
It’s interesting, how kids draw.
My nephew is four. He’s been drawing people for about a year now, and the drawings are changing. It’s partly because he’s gotten more motor control, but it’s also partly that his perception of the world is changing, and you can chart what he sees as important by how the drawings have changed.
The people used to be mainly heads with eyes and feet.
Now they have bodies, although they are smaller than the heads. They have legs and arms, and they have hair – sort of squiggly, razor-cut, only-on-the-very-top-of-the-head hair, but it is hair.
And they have wide smiles and big, googly, eyes with irises in them. No noses, yet.
They are hilarious and sweet and they tell a story about how he sees the world and what he thinks is important about the humans he shares the planet with.
He sees those people in a wholly unique way.
And I think that writers are the same: they tell their stories and you can trace the ways in which they see the world by what they put into those stories.
And what they leave out.
This was an FB post from the well-known blogger, Jim Wright.
Facebook pulled it, claiming it violated community standards.
I, not unnaturally, disagree.
So here it is:
You’re expecting some kind of obligatory 9-11 post, aren’t you?
Here it is, but you’re not gonna like it.
15 years ago today 19 shitheads attacked America.
They killed 3000 of us.
And then … America got its revenge for 9-11.
Yes we did. Many times over. We killed them. We killed them all. We killed their families. We killed their wives and their kids and all their neighbors. We killed whole nations that weren’t even involved just to make goddamned sure. We bombed their cities into rubble. We burned down their countries.
They killed 3000 of us, we killed 300,000 of them or more.
8000 of us came home in body bags, but we got our revenge. Yes we did.
We’re still here. They aren’t.
We win. USA! USA! USA!
You goddamned right. We. Win.
Every year on this day we bath in the blood of that day yet again. We watch the towers fall over and over. It’s been 15 goddamned years, but we just can’t get enough. We’ve just got to watch it again and again.
It’s funny how we never show those videos of the bombs falling on Baghdad today. Or the dead in the streets of Afghanistan. We got our revenge, but we never talk about that today. No, we just sit and watch the towers fall yet again.
Somewhere out there on the bottom of the sea are the rotting remains of the evil son of bitch who masterminded the attack. It took a decade, but we hunted him down and put a bullet in his brain. Sure. We got him. Right? That’s what we wanted. that’s what our leaders promised us, 15 years ago today.
And today those howling the loudest for revenge shrug and say, well, yeah, that. That doesn’t matter, because, um, yeah, the guy in the White House, um, see, well, he’s not an American, he’s the enemy see? He’s not doing enough. So, whatever. What about that over there? And that? And…
15 years ago our leaders, left and right, stood on the steps of the Capitol and gave us their solemn promise to work together, to stand as one, for all Americans.
How’d that promise work out?
How much are their words worth? Today, 15 years later?
It’s 15 years later and we’re STILL afraid. We’re still terrorized. Still wallowing in conspiracy theories and peering suspiciously out of our bunkers at our neighbors. Sure we won. Sure we did. We became a nation that tortures our enemies — and our own citizens for that matter. We’re a nation of warrantless wiretaps and rendition and we’ve gotten used to being strip searched in our own airports. And how is the world a better place for it all?
And now we’re talking about more war, more blood.
But, yeah, we won. Sure. You bet.
Frankly, I have had enough of 9-11. Fuck 9-11. I’m not going to watch the shows. I’m not going to any of the memorials. I’m not going to the 9-11 sales at Wal-Mart. I don’t want to hear about 9-11. I for damned sure am not interested in watching politicians of either party try to out 9-11 each other. I’m tired of this national 9-11 PTSD. I did my bit for revenge, I went to war, I’ll remember the dead in my own time in my own way.
I’m not going to shed a damned tear today.
We got our revenge. Many times over, for whatever good it did us.
I’m going to go to a picnic and enjoy my day. Enjoy this victory we’ve won.
I suggest you do the same.
If you want to know more about Jim Wright, head on over to Stonekettle Station.
So this came over my feed:
Now, in a way, I do agree with her basic premise. Some of the “rules” that people tell you should never be broken are frequently just half-remembered quotes from their middle-school English teacher, and are not, in fact, “rules” at all. They are just prescriptive bits of prejudice, or basic, foundational things that make it easier for kids to learn how to construct simple sentences and paragraphs. Ones that are easy for the rest of the world to understand when they read them.
And since most of the kids that they are teaching are only going to grow up to write memos or shopping lists, those are good ways to make sure that their spouse will buy paper towels, not toilet paper, or that their administrative assistant will post the outgoing invoices AFTER they put the correct addresses and appropriate stamps on the envelopes.
While there are several stylistic things about video-casts that writers who attempt these things really ought to learn before they start broadcasting (such as: write a script, and then edit and rehearse it before you film it…) that I could quibble about, the real problem here is that the writer in this video missed the underlying problems, in favour of picking on specific things that she, personally, doesn’t like to have rules about.
One is that before you break a rule, you need to understand it, and to have mastered the use of it. Breaking a rule, either by accident or mindless whimsy, rarely has good outcomes.
Another is that before you break that rule, you need to stop and think about whether there is another way to get the job done within the rules. Is breaking the rule the ONLY way to do what you need to do? Is it the BEST way?
Or is it just the easiest and least mentally-taxing way?
The actual bottom line here is that if people notice that you’ve broken a rule, you didn’t do it right or for the right reasons.
It’s also not a good idea, when giving advice to new and inexperienced writers, to encourage them to break the rules by holding up people like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Dickens as the examples.
Partly, that’s because those guys were writing a considerably long time ago, and tastes and literary conventions have altered a great deal. We can accept those stylistic differences, because we are aware, when we start to read, that we are doing a literary time-travel gig: we are entering into a mindset we don’t necessarily share anymore.
But it is also partly because these writers were truly great writers – their work has stood the test of time. Assuming that every nineteen-year-old hipster-geek with a laptop and a burning desire to be the next J. R. R. Tolkien is, in fact, actually a gifted writer and not a lazy copy-cat with parents who are willing to continue footing the bill for a few more years: this does a grave disservice to the writing community.
Writing is a craft – it’s a skill you need to learn. And one of those skills is the ability to know the difference between “this is an easy way to get from point A to point B” and “This is the only way from point A to point B.”
Encouraging people to just do whatever, to just string those eighty thousand words together and call it done, instead of learning, grokking, internalizing those “rules” and then finding ways to break them when you need to – that’s a recipe for writing disasters.
Running before you can walk generally results in a toddler with a bump on their head and a flood of tears for child and parent.
Writers are not that much different.
#YourNextFavoriteAuthor is something a bunch of genre writers do as a co-operative effort to get more recognition, exposure and SALES for our work. It was the dreamchild of Lucinda Moebius, and so we all are busy trying to give her some long-overdue space and recognition. It would be awesome if some of you ambled over to Amazon and checked her out!
Lucinda Moebius has been a writer since she was a child and was first published in 2010. Since then she has worked hard to create unique visions and stories. Her work includes novels in multiple genres including: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Children’s Books, Screenplays and Non-fiction. Lucinda has a Doctorate in Education and loves teaching, but her greatest desire is to help others understand how literature and writing can bring enlightenment and understanding to everyone. She offers book coaching and advice to everyone, whether they want it or not.
Echoes of Savanna: Book One: The Parent Generation
Raven’s Song: Book One: T1 Generation
Write Well Publish Right
Feeder: Chronicles of the Soul Eaters Book 1
30 Days Stream of Consciousness V. 1
30 Days Streams of Consciousness Vol 2: A Haunting
30 Days Streams of Consciousness Vol 3: Abduction
30 Days Stream of Consciousness: Fire and Ice A Love Story
I Know I am Awesome
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