Friday, March 30, 2012

I'm Just Writing This Down

I did try to avoid this situation, but now a critical mass of people I know have read something of mine, or, at least, know that I do, indeed, write, that I have written and that I am, currently, writing a lot, all the time. Fortunately, this has come well after the point where I’m not embarrassed by what I write. No, not even by the chicken story. I’ve put altogether too much thought into the hard question (“Do I Suck?”) and have answered it for myself. (I’m not going to tell you the answer.) So, when people ask easy questions like

“Where do you get your ideas?”
I shrug, and say: “I’m just writing this down.”

It’s not a stupid question (or, at least, it’s the kind of stupid question your teachers encouraged you to always ask, which is just as good.) and it’s not a flippant answer (although it’s not as dramatic as people want, for which I apologize). When I write—once I’ve removed all distractions and sat down in front of the computer—I turn off the brain-filter and translate the slurry of images that result into words. “The Craft of Writing” is a writer’s skill at said translation, and a writer’s skill at getting the images to queue up in an orderly fashion so they can be translated.

“But where do the images come from?”
I order another beer, cough and reply: “They’re…er…they’re just there.”

It’s a roiling stew of everything I’ve read and thought and felt (which is my life), mixed with my various neuroses, aptitudes and geniuses (which is my experience) and salted with empathy (which is what I choose to call the solipsism of “What do I like to read? I’m gwan’ write that!”) and the Secret Ingredient™ (which is, of course, Sex).

“What do you write, then?”
“This one’s more fun,” says I, leaning forward.

So I’ve got a big cauldron full of delicious stew, but there’s only me as can eat it, so I need to ladle it out into a whole bunch of bowls, depending on my mood. Perhaps one bowl has more gristle, perhaps one bowl is only onions, perhaps one bowl is that strange beef that’s still on the bone and is annoying, and perhaps the stew metaphor is becoming unwieldy. Yes, that last one. The bowls represent pen names.

They’re not exactly a secret, and you can see most of them up there. David Barron writes Science Fantasy Romance; Dave Frost writes Mystery/Crime, off-ball political screeds and all the rants that I know I’ll never publish anywhere; Jillian Nice writes Horror, and is having a wonderful time; Spider Frost writes romances set in Thailand, sometimes in Thai; David Allen Barron writes Literary Fiction; &c &c.

I don’t care who writes what and what about, so long as I get at least two thousand words a day (part-time), a book is in progress, and at least one story gets finished every week.

“How do you write so much?”
“I’m glad you asked!”

David’s Rules of Writing
1. Sit Down And Write
2. Write What You Want To Write [ Dean Wesley Smith ]
3. Finish What You Write [ Robert A. Heinlein ]
4. Get Paid For What You Write [ Harlan Ellison ]
5. Write Some More

“Huh. Interesting. So, what’s your next book out?”
“Hold Your Horses.”
“What? So I should wait?”
“No, you should not. For…”
“Where are you goin—”
"It's like Black Beauty meets Game of Thrones."
“…why does your cover art suck?”
“Shut up.”

Thanks for reading!
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