Forgetful?

LV 51s vs SLC Bes. 51s lost. Sigh.
LV 51s vs SLC Bees. 51s lost. Sigh.

I know I am! Here it is Thursday, and no Wednesday post! Shame on me, huh? So, there’s this week’s theme: forgetting.

There are two aspects to forgetting that I can cover now. One is what happens when you don’t see your latest project for a few days, and when you do open it again, you can’t remember who is doing what with whom and why they’re doing it. So you have to read the whole manuscript over to be sure that you know where you are. If it happens to me, it happens to you. Don’t bother trying to deny it. That, to be sure, is a nuisance of the first order.

A more important aspect of forgetting is not remembering your preconceived notions about what is going to happen in your story, be it next, or six chapters on, or in the climax. I’ve read many authors talk about how their characters always surprise them, and I have to say that my characters certainly do. Apparently, if you do a good job of inventing a fictional person, that person will be as willful and impulsive as any real person, and you need to let him or her tell you what is coming next, because, after all, you really don’t know, do you?

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a theme, or that  you shouldn’t know the “mileposts” of your story. I’ve read that there are as few as one (1) plots in reality, so the truly important thing is how your characters get from point A to point B. You know where they’re going to end up. Everybody knows where they’re going to end up. If it’s a romance, they’re together and Happy Ever After. If it’s a spy thriller, the protagonist triumphs in the end, and the evilness (whatever it is) is no more. By forgetting how you first thought of your people getting there, you free them to pick their own path, thus delighting you, and your readers.

This Is Post Number 1101!

The ceiling of the Pantheon of Rome Photo by Steve Fey
The ceiling of the Pantheon of Rome
Photo by Steve Fey

I drive for Lyft as part of an effort to save for retirement. This morning I got caught in just enough of a rainstorm that my car was covered with spots. As I like to keep it looking squeaky clean, I ran it through a carwash where I have an unlimited wash plan, and it came out looking really nice, shiny, and clean. The next person I picked up was blind.

I could not make that up, but I can certainly use it some time. In fact, I’m wondering how I can work that sort of incident (doesn’t have to involve driving for Lyft, of course) into what I am currently drafting. This post is a partial answer to the eternal question, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Well, I drive for Lyft, and . . .

It’s that easy, really. Absent something you couldn’t make up, all you need to do is wonder “what if?” Let your mind take off on whatever’s going on. Let it soar into something less boring. That guy in a wheelchair? What if the wheelchair frame can be rearranged into a powerful weapon? And what if the guy can not only walk okay, but he’s the master of the deadliest form of martial arts known to humanity? What if he’s actually your grandmother? What if your grandmother secretly invented the deadliest form of martial arts known to humanity? What if, what? No, I’m not in class any more, I don’t have to pay attention! Take that, Miss Taylor!

From real things you couldn’t make up to flights of fancy, ideas can be the easy part. If only it were so easy to avoid superfluos modifiers, huh? That’d be really, truly, awesomely, positively, incredibly, wonderfully wonderful!!!!!!!!!

🙂

 

Six Month Expense Tally Jan – June 2017

fullsizeoutput_9919Ist das kostenlos? Nein, das ist nicht kostenlos!

 “Hush!”  I say to the grousing in the back of my mind.  “I’m trying to do math.” I click on the “Actual Tally Tab” in the Excel file that contains my Year to Date equations.   “I don’t know why you are bothering with this,” Myself responds.  “You know you aren’t going to make your budget.”

Source: Six Month Expense Tally Jan – June 2017

Why I Hate Self-Promoting My Books: A Probably-Not-Helpful List

So Here’s the Thing, Folks, I’m working my butt off at our Arizona place (well, when the day isn’t too damn hot) but anyway that means I haven’t written much, including a post for this week. So, here is one from Chuck Wendig. He can seem crude, and he is crude, but his books are grabby, and he knows whereof he writes. He has a new book out, too.

Self-promotion. Marketing. Advertising. You gotta do it, they say. You have a new book out, you have to let them know. You have an old book out, you have to let them know. A book sale, you gotta le…

Source: Why I Hate Self-Promoting My Books: A Probably-Not-Helpful List

Writing Truth

It's Real. Just off of Piccadilly. Had the Polish (yummy) because I can eat Mexican any time, and frequently do.
It’s Real. Just off of Piccadilly. Had the Polish (yummy) because I can eat Mexican any time, and frequently do.

London is a city of many surprises, one of which is L’Autre, the French-named restaurant with Polish and Mexican cuisine. Go figure.

My topic this week is writing truth. That may sound odd, because if anyone asks me what I do, I’m happy to tell them that I’m a professional liar. But, I always tell the truth in my writing. And so should you.

I tell the truth of what’s in my heart, and in the hearts of my characters. Believe it or not, I write a lot of characters that I frankly don’t like, but I enjoy taking on their persona for a time, if only because I get to give them their comeuppance when I’m done with them. I’m not saying that I put my political views into a story, because that I never do. But if you were to read enough of my stories, you’d probably figure out my politics, because, again, I tell the truth when I lie.

On the nose? Well, I hope not. “On the nose,” if you don’t know, means being overly obvious in what you’re trying to impart. It is most often applied to humor, and in fact, describes what is wrong with most political humor. Whether you’re making a joke about Obama or Trump, if you state your opinion in the course of the telling, it’s “on the nose,” and the joke won’t work. I know, sometimes SNL does that, but they do it in a way that makes the “on the nose” part a part of the joke. If you don’t understand what I just wrote, there, please do not try it at home, nor anywhere else.

Rather than explicitly state your views, consider the real world consequences of somebody who holds those views when that person applies them to their life. This can be a very useful exercise, even if you don’t get a story out of it, because you sometimes will find that you need to modify, moderate, or intensify, your own worldview, in light of what you discover in watching your character. Psychotherapy through creating! Not a new idea, but still a good one.

My bottom-line conclusion is that one should always write the truth of one’s beliefs, but never state them explicitly. I think that, if you can pull that off, you can write some wonderfully memorable prose.