This post is all over the place in subject matter. Sorry about that. I finished a short yesterday, today I’ve already started rewriting it. And it gets turned in this evening. I have two weeks to finish a book. And a hundred pages to write. In 14 days. That kind of schedule and deadline makes me a little wonky. So, yeah. All over the subject matter map. In fact, this may be the least useful post on writing you’ve read all week. Or it may make you smile, and that’s worth a lot these days!
First, we had a really good discussion yesterday on rules of writing. If you missed it, scroll down and read Carrie’s post and the comments. I think the outcome was what we say so often at MW – there is no one right way to do anything with writing. But there are lots of wrong ways that keep a book or a chapter or a scene from working, and that underscores the one rule that counts – it has to work.
Second, though quite related, I started a book recently that I just knew I was not going to like. Not because I didn’t like the series. I do. Not because I don’t like the character. I do. Not because I don’t like the writer. I do. But because it felt wrong. It was Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story. (Spoiler.) At the end of the last book Harry Dresden is shot and dies. I mean, what else can you do with a character? He’s dead, right? But I started Ghost Story anyway and I am halfway through and all my fears and worries have been blown away – because Jim did what a writer is supposed to do. He created a world where my belief is suspended, where the character is developed and changed according to the multi-book set up, (hard to do with a dead one!) and where I am carried along by the character’s obvious inability to solve the conflict. The world will end if Harry doesn’t (again, spoilers here) solve the problems of … being dead.
How perfect is that! The one thing I was taught by several great writing teachers and not a few great writers, is that the author has to take the character so far into the conflict, so deep into the problems, has to make the solution so impossible that it is the *next thing to death!* And Butcher went further. Or would that be farther? Anyway. Past death. Now that is fantastic rule breaking. Don’t tell me the ending. I’m still reading. But I *bet* Harry Dresden survives (or whatever you do when you are dead) and saves the day, the world, his friends, and his loved ones. Go Jim Butcher. He broke the one most important rule in thriller writing, urban fantasy writing, nearly all genres of writing, and he did it well. With a dead character. See? No rules.
That said, I still try to cut down on my adverbs. J
Another thing I want to chat about today is friendship. I don’t make friends fast or easily. Never have in my real life. But as a writer, I’ve made some fantastic friends, some over a period of years, like my friendship with Misty (which started out a comfortable acquaintanceship and grew and now she’s like the sister I never had), some instantly like the day I met David, most somewhere in between in terms of time and effort. But I make them. Because writers are really cool people. I like writers. We share our time and talent and knowledge and … yeah, I like writers. We may not agree on anything. Not politics, not religion, not sexuality, not rules of writing. But we (usually) allow others to have a differing opinion and still keep the friendship. That is special. That is rare. So, if you are a writer today, remember how special you are. And do something nice for someone else, even it it’s just to smile at the crabby person in the grocery store line.
Last, put your butt in the chair in write.
So what if you had a seizure the last three times you tried to start on your novel. (You know who you are.) You are a writer. Get kicking on that short story. Work up to the novel. Maybe just by looking at the first five pages.
Put your butt in the chair in write.
So what if you don’t have a job and no prospects. (You know who you are.) You can tell a tale and maybe sell a book for a few bucks to tide you over until a job can be found. Or finish a short story. Accomplish that! Then send it off to an anthology or a mag and go look again for job. You’ll be refreshed and feel successful, both traits an employer is looking for.
Put your butt in the chair in write. It’s what we do.
Oh! And if you want to share a friend or a success or something nice you did or soemthing nice someone did for you, comment here. I’m interested.
Now. That’s all.