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Month: August 2005

An evil and corrosive thread

An evil and corrosive thread

Funny thing happened tonight. This is going to sound seriously lame to all of you Real Writers out there, but here goes:

I decided to start writing the truth, and suddenly it's not hard to write.

I'll explain.

Remember Red Carpet, formerly 44D? It's a WIP that I started more than a year ago, at a writers' conference. It was a good idea, but I had a hell of a time making it work. I had created a setting I knew nothing about, a character I couldn't relate to, and an environment that even I wasn't convinced by. But I was totally in love with the *idea*, the central theme of the story, which was about fandom. It was important to me, but I wasn't willing to admit *why* it was – which was because I am, of course, a fan.

It just didn't work. I've tried over and over to rewrite it, and I get no closer to the story I'm trying to tell. And then it dawned on me that I'm going to such extreme lengths to disguise the fact that this is *me* that I can't touch the actual story underneath the disguise.

So I tried again tonight, only this time I told the truth about what the character thinks and feels – I put *me* on the page – and it was *easy.* I even stuck in some little factual details here and there.

See? You real writers are saying “Uhhh… DUH. Hasn't anyone ever told you to write what you know?”

Yeah, of course they have, but I didn't get it. It's astonishing to me that I could completely miss the point for so long. I figured I didn't know *anything* well enough to write about it, which is why I write fantasy and horror, because they're completely made up. Yes, I now understand how completely stupid that is.

A friend of mine called me on that a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about someone else's bizarre upbringing, and a bit of it happened to coincide with my own, and I said so. My friend looked at me wide-eyed and asked “What are you doing writing these little fantasy stories when you have stuff like *that* to write about?!”

The truth? Fear. Fear of being found out, of being revealed, of being accused of taking myself too seriously, of being seen and judged. Well screw the fear. I'm not writing what's important to me because of fear, and that's not fiction, it's bullshit.

So now the smell of the leather jacket is actually my ex-fiance's jacket from 15 years ago. The awful conference that the MC attends is the stupid circle-jerk that my former employer put on at a posh resort four years ago. The lists of overused words were made by both a colleague and my husband within the last month.

I haven't done that in the last eight years or so – put real experiences in a story.

Yes, I'm serious.

See? I'm a total fraud. What kind of writer goes to those lengths to hide?

This one still has a fantasy element to it (I think we're calling this Magical Realism these days, aren't we? I can't keep up.) I imagine they all will, because that's what I love. But it'll be interesting (to me, at least) to see what I produce from here on out.

I'm back!

I'm back!

What a long summer it's been.

The work thing is heating up as expected, which is taking up more processing power than I would like.

The fine people at the Dreamers crit group have invited me to join them, and I'm delighted and flattered and hope that I'm worth their while over the next few months.

I write this tonight from MY OFFICE, at my NEW DESK, with MY DOOR closed. It has been a long wait, and it was a long day of working on some final things like baseboards, but I'm finally in. I went on an Ebay art binge last week and bought some stuff for the walls – I intend to make this room a museum of peculiar pieces of art and miscellany. I want there to be story fodder everywhere I look.

I've fallen WAY behind on virtually everything. The first things I have to do are keep my commitments to other people – I need to finish my crit of the first 100 pages of Camilla's novel, and I have to write a proposal for a e-publishing panel for next year's conference. THEN I can turn to finishing the final draft of Sweetwater Kill, and get that submitted. By the time those three things are done, it will be time to outline in earnest in preparation for NaNoWriMo '05. I have about 35 pages of hand-written notes on this year's NaNovel, but it's still very nebulous and is not anything like a cohesive story yet. It had better come together quickly.

That's the news. It's good to be back. Good to be in this little 6' x 14' room. Good to have a plan. I hope everyone else is feeling good too.



Back soon

Back soon

I should be back online consistently about a week from now. There's a lot to catch up on – new critique group, Camilla's novel, works in progress, and other things.

I hope everyone's doing well and writing madly.

I'll close with the recommendation that everyone run out immediately to purchase and read Ray Bradbury's Zen In the Art of Writing, which is the most inspiring book on writing I've read, supplanting even Ann Lamott's fabulous Bird By Bird.


Accidental retreat

Accidental retreat

Tomorrow I leave for Dallas on business – the day job will take care of itself, but this is a writing opportunity not to be missed. In that spirit I have carefully packed:

  • 4 Uniball pens
  • Pages 36 – 100 of Ice Rider
  • New composition book
  • Notecards for NaNovel 2004
  • Prewriting journal for NaNovel 2005
  • Latest issue of New Scientist
  • Latest issue of Locus
  • August SFFW newsletter
  • Paperback copy of Neverwhere

That should do the job. I'm committed. No television viewing, no non-corporate-mandated socializing – just writing. A lot of it.

I was going to take my laptop, but then decided that I didn't need the extra seven pounds. I can live without the internet for two days, and I think writing longhand might do me good. The only thing I'll miss is music. It's one full day of travel (critiquing and reading time,) two nights in a hotel (writing time,) and then a full evening of travel again. I intend to make the most of it.