“Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until your forehead bleeds.” — Douglas Adams
Writers write about people. Sure, the main subject may be a time machine or a dragon or Siberia, but first and foremost, they write about people. In order to write about people, they must know people, meet people, talk to people. They must learn people. In addition to being a student of their craft, they must be a student of the culture, and maybe of all cultures.
Writing is solitary. Writers can’t talk to others, can’t be disturbed, can’t work in groups. Sure, editing can be done in groups, but the actual work of writing must be done in a closed room, in a cell, pulling each word out after the other and spilling blood on the page. If a writer is in a room with other people, or a bar, or a coffeeshop, or on top of the Washington Monument, he must still be alone. Barriers go up when the notebook comes out. She can’t talk to anyone around her while she pushes the words out of her pen. Nothing can exist during the writing… if something else exists, the writing stops.
And herein lies the problem we face: We have to be with people to write but we can’t write when we’re with people.
Grab a coffee. It’s going to be a long day.
This is my newest published story, appearing for the next three months in Issue Three of Way Too Fantasy. I also have a serial in this issue, but I’ll talk about that more in another post. I’m actually really rather proud of this one. It’s a very close and personal story for me, and I wasn’t sure if I should publish it or not, but maybe some others, especially writers, can relate.
Yes, the title is a pun of sorts.
I’ve always been a fan of these types of stories… books that claimed to tell the real story of the Three Little Pigs, Neil Gaiman’s hard-boiled (heh) detective story about Humpty-Dumpty, and so on. I even liked the dark ones, such as Tanith Lee’s excellent story, “The Reason for Not Going to the Ball.” But sometimes I wonder about re-revising these stories, and making them magical. Or what about turning the Internet’s endless supply of urban legends and “Friend-of-a-Friend” stories into a new collection of folk and fairy tales?
Once upon a time, my friend’s friend’s uncle’s roommate was riding in his carriage around the lake with his girlfriend. It was late, and even though the King’s crier had told everyone that a mad Ogre with a hook for a hand was roaming the countryside, he decided he wasn’t going to let that stop him from enjoying the evening…
I think a few of those might wind up on my “Fifty Stories” page…
Yup. Things got a little rowdy here at Chez KC what with it being Fiscal New Year’s Eve last night, and ‘sampling’ a new shipment of Saurian Brandy, and, well, I got carried away. So carried away that I lost all sense of judgement and proportion and decided that…
Well, I have two friends. (Honestly.) One of them, June Faramore, started a 365 poems-a-year blog called Work Your Way Out, which I recommend. (She claims I inspired her to do that, but I don’t believe her… that’s all her.) A few months later, my other friend Charlotte Cuevas was inspired by that blog to put up her own 365 poem blog, The 365 Poetry Project. This blog is also wondrifulous and awesome. So, I’ve decided to follow their example. But of course, I couldn’t do the same thing that they’re doing. That would be, among other things, sensible and responsible.
Nope, I’m writing 50 stories over the course of the next year.
I was originally going to write 52, but I thought that giving myself two weeks of flex would be a good plan. And to show I mean this, I’m putting up a short-short as a sort of “Week Zero” post. Anyway, I write well (read: I only write) under pressure, so come along for the ride and we’ll see how this goes.
The page is here. Wish me luck.