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Tag Archives: writing
One of the things I stress to students is that you cannot wait for the muse. And, in fact, the more you wait for her, the less likely she is to arrive.
For example. The last few days I’ve been working at getting back into the flow of writing daily. I held myself accountable and post daily word counts here or on Twitter. And lemme tell you, some of those words were difficult to wrestle out of my skull and onto the page. One way I can tell things are going in difficult fits and spurts is that I’ll hop around a lot from story to story.
I was thinking more about the idea of writing outside your comfort zone, and found something that’s happened recently pretty applicable.
I have never been a good swimmer. It’s quite possible I never will be. When I was a kid, my parents kept enrolling me in swimming lessons, and I kept being a terrible swimmer who refused to put my head under water. Part of it was that I’d learned by then that if I got water in my ears, an ear infection wouldn’t be far behind, so every lesson was a silent battle to avoid putting my head underwater. It wasn’t till high school, when several friends decided I would learn to swim (bless you, Ann, Ann, Anne, and Maureen), that I actually got to the point where I could float long enough to survive a (fairly brief) period if I ever fell off a boat. Couple that with an illness that made me extremely self-conscious in a swimsuit for a long time, and you can see why I just don’t get in the water very much.
So here we are in Costa Rica, with a swimming pool right outside our balcony, and a temperature that makes that pool pretty darn inviting.
We’ve all got a comfort zone, the place where we can function easily, where we know what to expect. It’s a nice place. It’s…well, it’s COMFORTABLE. Hence the name. It would be easy to stay there all the time.
But for writers, I think it’s very important to go outside on a regular basis. For one thing, your characters are going to be outside their comfort zones, being challenged, tested, thwarted, more often than not, because one thing about comfort zones is that they can be pretty darn boring to read about. Who wants a character for which everything goes right? (This is, I will argue, why the Richie Rich comic books were pretty darn bland.) How can you write a character outside their comfort zone if you don’t know what it’s like?
Lots of skipping around, often what I do when I’ve got several projects in the works. So here’s the breakdown and total: 650 words on Circus in the Bloodwarm Rain 673 words on “Carpe Glitter” 534 words on “Prairiedog Town” … Continue reading
For a long time I listen to the ocean, a background of some chirping insect, shrill arcs of sound going out against that massive, constant grumble. That is what life is like, singing out against that gray and empty grind, not caring what it sounds like, because singing is the only thing you can do.
I can feel my shoulders relaxing as I type, the guilt of several weeks (over a month, really) of getting little done, not just because of the traveling or the distractions but because I let myself get lazy and forget that what a writer does is write. If you want to call yourself one, that’s what is necessary and while that’s a hard standard to maintain consistently sometimes in the face of a multitude of crises of the mind or body or world or family, it’s one I hold myself to, first and foremost.
Last night we had the final session of the Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction class, which is the session where we talk about everything except writing: stuff like going to conventions, and how to submit stories, and how to treat editors and what about audio markets and all that sort of thing. And I’d meant to include a section about plotting stories, because I’d taught a new class the day before, the Moving Your Story From Idea to Finished Draft class, and as often happens had come up with some new things to say about stories from thinking about one specific aspect, but there just wasn’t enough time. So I want to talk a little bit about it in a blog post.
For a couple of months now, I’ve been experimenting with using Dragon Dictate for writing, both fiction and nonfiction. In fact, I’m using it to write this post.
I had a wonderful time talking to Shaun Duke and Jen Zink of the Skiffy and Fanty Show last week. The podcast is up here. If you enjoy it and use iTunes, show them a little love with a rating on there.
A reason the interview wa so enjoyable was that they asked really interesting, incisive questions about the stories in Near + Far, in that way a writer desires and dreads at the same time, where they’re seeing some of your psyche’s underpinnings shaping the stories that you create. I’ve been mulling over some of those questions since then, and was thinking about one on the bus home the other day.
You can write anything in fiction. Go for it. No one knows where your life ends and the fictioneering begins, so use the material life gives you freely, gleefully, fully. Face the themes that terrify you and write your fears out without worrying about who will read them. It may not solve them, it may not make them any less scary, but at least you’re using them. And your stories will be so much the better for it.