Making Something Important
I said last night I had started a new novel. And told the story about how I had wanted to do this set-up (no idea where the book is going) for some time now.
Oh, oh… I’ll explain below in the topic of the night. A nasty problem that got me today. And I am aware of this problem. Sigh…
Put in a turkey to bake, then headed to the grocery store and then WMG Publishing. I worked there on moving a bunch of stuff and getting ready for movers to come in on Saturday. We’re doing a big move-around inside the two-story seven-thousand-square-foot building. A ton of work, but will be great when done.
I also did a preliminary cover for the issue of Smith’s Monthly that will have the book I am working on, Bad Beat. The cover is below. I sure like it.
Then home to take a nap and work on dinner.
I also needed to do a bunch of walking, but ended up after doing a little e-mail taking another long nap. Then watched some television and didn’t get in here until around 1 a.m.
I had done the prolog last night, and cycling back through that to get started I liked it. And I had typed the character’s name to start the first chapter.
I just sat there and stared at the name. Nothing.
Not at all like me.
So off I went to do something else, get some more walking in, then back to stare at the character name.
So out to the kitchen I went around 3:30 a.m. I grabbed a book of essays to read one that Kris wanted me to read. It was a good one, but the next one in the book just make me shake my head and put the book down because of how “important” the author thought they were.
Then I realized what had happened. I had made doing these new characters in the Cold Poker Gang important. I didn’t want to mess them up or do something that would conflict with the first four books.
I started laughing, realizing that I had done what I warn others to not do.
The moment your writing becomes “important” it freezes down, just as it did for me tonight.
I’m not saying I don’t do the best job I can when I write. I do. With every story.
But I just tell stories for me.
It’s really not important what I write. I just tell stories.
Yet for a very short time today, I had made this book important. It was something I had thought about doing now for a few months, and because of that, I couldn’t write a word past the prolog.
So back to my writing computer I went around 4 a.m. (shaking my head at my own stupidity) and by 5:15 a.m. I had finished the first 1,200 word chapter and had started into chapter two.
And I was having fun.
DECEMBER ONLINE WORKSHOPS
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Class #51… Dec 7th … Advanced Depth
Class #52… Dec 7th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #53… Dec 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #54… Dec 7th … Ideas into Stories
Class #55… Dec 8th … Character Development
Class #56… Dec 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… Dec 8th … Plotting With Depth
Class #58… Dec 9th … Designing Covers
Class #59… Dec 9th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #60… Dec 9th … Designing Book Interiors
Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.
Topic of the Night: Important Comes in Many Hidden Ways
As I described above, making my writing “important” froze me down solid. That writing voice I have trained to trust said, “Nope, writing this won’t be fun.”
If I hadn’t figured the problem out, I would have gone on to another book that would be fun in short order.
So what are some of the signs a book or story has become “important?”
— You are afraid to start because you have outlined the thing to every tiny detail (But it doesn’t feel like enough).
— You feel you don’t have enough research to start writing. (You need to do more to feel confident because heaven-forbid you get something wrong in fiction.)
— You are chasing some mythological “market that will sell.” (Kris talked about that this week.)
— You have a project you really want to do, so it must be right. (This one got me tonight.)
— You have a project you have talked out with family and friends. (You know, to the point you mention the story and their eyes glaze and they sprint for the bathroom.)
— You want to write a better book than the book before it. (Don’t we all. Just don’t think that way. Keep learning and the next book might be better. It might not be. But by what yardstick?)
— You believe that if the book doesn’t work or sell, you will quit. (Quit before you write it, you and the book are doomed anyway.)
— You believe the book must be rewritten to be “good.” (And that your English teacher knew how to write novels, but never did because they loved teaching you high school students more.)
— You have stopped having fun with your writing. (Or you always believed writing couldn’t be fun if it was going to be good. You know, the stupid tortured-writer myth.)
— You start calling your writing work. (Go find a job digging ditches to understand “work.”)
— You have put the pressure of your living on the next book. (Get a real world job… your writing is doomed.)
— You have bought into all your good reviews and need to do it again. (Stop now because if you read your own reviews, your ego is in a mess already.)
— You just can’t find the time, or the book is so important, it needs hours of time when you sit down. (Critical voice tool number one… I just can’t find the time.)
And so on and so on and so on…
Fiction writing is sitting alone in a room and making shit up.
Nothing at all important about any of it.
Have fun, do the best you can, keep learning, and entertain yourself.
The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery
Day 1…. 700 words. Total words so far… 700 words.
Day 2…. 1,200 words. Total words so far… 1,900 words.
Totals For Year 3, Month 4, Day 26
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 837
— Daily Fiction: 1,200 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 64,850 words
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words
— Blog Posts: 700 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 20,600 words
— E-mail: 8 e-mails. Approx. 300 original words. E-mails month-to date: 534 e-mails. Approx. 30,000 words
— Covers Designed and Finished: 1. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers
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