Robert Jackson Bennett: The Writing Life

There’s this excellent phrase Stephen King came up with about writing: he described points in writing a story in which he wasn’t sure about what would happen, in which case he would let it sit back and let “the boys in the basement” go to work on it.

What he was referring to, I think, was his subconscious, or the wordless, instinctual thinking processes that aren’t often in the foreground of our minds. There are thoughts that take up all the front part of our brains (“Pick up the kids! How much is in the checking account?”), and then there are the secondary thoughts, something like the 90% of the iceberg hidden below the water: invisible, but definitely there.

These are the thoughts that intuit the abstractions about stories, things like theme, character, and the way the plot needs to progress in order to satisfy everyone. That’s the boys in […]

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On not writing, and poorly quoting, and onions. That last should really be singular. But anyway . . .

Yesterday there was a piece going around Facebook that was a link to the satire site The Onion. The article linked was titled “Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life.” You can read the whole thing here.

It’s funny, and cute, and snarky and a little depressing in the way The Onion can be, but it was also true. And it reminded me of something else I read once, which I’ll butcher horribly here and can’t remember who said it but there’s something in the back of my head that really wants it to be Sherrilyn Kenyon or somebody else awesome like that. And basically this person (and the more I think about it, the more I think it might have been Sherrilyn Kenyon on a podcast, maybe Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing) said “No matter how hard […]

Continue reading On not writing, and poorly quoting, and onions. That last should really be singular. But anyway . . .

Fall or Fly?

So here’s a little hard reality about the writing life – sometimes there ain’t much money in it. On March 30, 2012, I walked away from a 17+ year career in the entertainment lighting industry to try this writing thing full-time. I cleared out my 401(k), had zero balance on any of my credit cards, and was making about $3,000 each month from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book sales outlets. My monthly expenses, to live the way my wife and I have grown accustomed to, totaled about $4,000 each month. I had about $15,000 in savings. That meant that if I didn’t spend anything frivolously that I could live for about a year without any change in circumstances, but I was optimistic that my book sales would increase, and that I had turned my back on the 9 to 5 for good.

Monday I start my new […]

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The Writing Life Vs. the Married Life

Mario Puzo once said, “Never let a domestic quarrel ruin a day’s writing. If you can’t start the next day fresh, get rid of your wife.”

Okay, I’m not espousing that. (Clever play on spouse, yes?) But I do have something to say about marriage, today, on my 26th anniversary. I adore my husband. He’s funny, sweet, impossible, can do (or learn to do) anything he needs to do to survive and thrive. Over the course of our relationship, he has been the manager of a fix-it shop (he was in jr. high when we met and managed men decades older than he was because he could fix anything, any engine, any motor any appliance anyone brought in) manager of a drug store, owner of a construction business that did only additions and then of one that did only custom houses, owner of a sound studio that he later […]

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Get Out of the Way!

It’s one of those days when RL (real life) is getting in the way ofany kind of writing, even this blog. Between other stuff (which could go in caps, like OTHER STUFF) a co-worker fell at work and I have been pulling the graveyard shift. Ugh-ick. So I thought it might be smart to build on that, and talk about the writing life, when RL gets in the way.

Some of the best advice on writing (to me, anyway, but you can put yours in the comments) is :

1.) Read a lot. 2.) Write every day. Neither of which I do.

Yep, I’m a baaaad writer. But I have another life. (Two of them. Maybe three. And looking for fourth. Call me schizoid. I won’t deny it.) I do read, but it isn’t quite what the writing-rule requires. The writing-rule is suggesting that I read a lot of books […]

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Puzo and Writing

On my refrigerator, stuck to the side with magnets, is a piece of paper, about eight by seven inches, with the upper margin torn and ratty from where I ripped it out of a magazine about 20 years ago. It is crinkled, brittle, stained with drops from some past kitchen mishap. (There have been a lot of those over years.) On it are some of my favorite quotes about life, love, sex, marriage, death, and writing. Writing is last, under the part about death, which, in very great hindsight, should have triggered some primal warning in my snake brain. It didn’t. Twenty years ago, I was too excited about writing, publishing, and a career in the field of my dreams, to catch such subtleties. I was also, I suppose, too young to heed the darker warnings beneath such simple nuances as positioning on a piece of paper. Since I […]

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Writing is a Solitary Business

Most people think that writing is what we do at the PC or laptop or with pad and pen. That we live inside our heads and only when actively pounding away at the keyboard or scritching madly on the pad. The writers among us know that is simply not true. Our minds get caught up in the lives of our characters and suddenly we are writing all the time—driving, eating supper, walking the dogs, paddling a particularly good river (okay that one is mostly just me,) and worst of all, while having a conversation that is important to our mates but not so much to us. Or maybe that one is just me, too?

I try not to get too personal here on MagicalWords.Net but I need to confess something. It’s supposed to be good for the soul, yes? When I’m writing I ignore the hubby. A lot. It’s not […]

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