How amazing we fiction writers are that we take ourselves so seriously that we forget we are entertainers first. Topic of the night below.
Made it to the writer’s meeting just slightly late. Fun group. Then Kris and I worked on her office which is also just off the sound studio, setting it up. We got done with that around 4:30 and headed out for a walk to a quick lunch.
After the walk I worked on workshop stuff until after 7 p.m. Then groceries and home to cook dinner.
After dinner it took me until almost eleven to do e-mail and finish my steps, writing a quick 500 word article before I got over to the novel.
Went great and in one hour I got 1,250 words done before going to watch some television.
Made it back into my writing chair by 2 a.m. and got another 1,100 words done by 2:45.
Short break, then another 1,050 words by 3:30 a.m. Book humming right along.
Short break and by 4:20 a.m. I had another 1,000 words and called it a night.
And along the way I finished my 10,000 steps as well. Total milage exercise for the week at about 38 miles. Ramping up slowly but surely. Weight down over ten pounds in just over one month.
Below is a fun photo of the night. Our indoor feral cat Cheeps is becoming easier to touch and pet and now pick up every day. He’s a full-blood Red-Point Berman like my Walter was. Kris got a picture of me holding him in my reading chair tonight. I picked him up and sat down with him and he lasted almost a full minute, purring. Progress.
Topic of the Night: Entertainers.
It is flat impossible for beginning and early stage writers to think of themselves as entertainers. Flat impossible.
The focus early on is on the words, on learning how to tell stories, on learning the business and so on.
Oh, sure, you might give lip-service to “getting readers” with your awesome promotion tricks, but you have no idea who those readers are early on and what “getting them” even means.
You treat readers like a fish and you are dangling a bare hook in front of it wondering why it won’t bite.
In the online workshops we do, I try my best to remind writers that there are readers on the other side of the words and that the point of learning craft is to help the readers enjoy your stories more. The Expectations workshop that is going on right now is all about that, actually. Expectations of what a reader wants to be satisfied with your novel.
The other day this young writer wrote me a nice letter, asking me a good question for his level of learning. I answered and he didn’t much like my answer because I didn’t tell him, in one form or another, that writing was serious work and a serious art form.
This nice person was lost in the myth taught all of us as we come up. Somehow, especially early on, writing becomes work to writers who come home from work to go to work at their writing. It’s amazing any writers survive for long that kind of thinking.
Fiction writing is something I am always telling people to have fun with.
And I am always telling people to practice, the topic of two other good letters I got this week.
But see, if you think writing is a serious art, and that every word you put down is carved into stone, or out of stone as the case might be, practice is a dirty word to you.
And having fun is just head shaking.
So let me break this down as clearly as I can here. If this makes you angry, I’m sorry.
1… Do the best you can with everything you write. Write clean copy, no second drafts. If you write sloppy first drafts, you are not doing the best you can.
2… Everything you write should be practicing something or other, even if you sell it later. Writers flat don’t understand practice or how to even apply it to writing. That comes from everything a writer writes being carved in stone and also being slow at writing and having little time to write, so those few minutes or hours of writing can’t be “wasted” and practice would be wasting them. That’s how the thinking goes. Sigh.
3… Writing and making up stories should be fun. Might be stressful at times, like riding a roller coaster, but still fun. If you are calling your fiction writing “work” you might want to change that habit. Sitting alone in a room and making shit up isn’t work. Sorry. It’s play.
4… You are an entertainer. If you forget that and think your work is serious fiction, it might be “interesting” to a small sub-set of readers who like that sort of thing. But it won’t be entertaining. And if you feel you must get your “message” across, you might want to write nonfiction.
Simply put, your mission with your fiction is to entertain your reader enough for a few hours that they will want to buy more of your work.
If you take the attitude that you are always learning, always having fun, always practicing and trying to entertain people, you will discover you are more productive and sell more.
If you are having fun, entertaining yourself while you write, then your readers will feel that and be entertained as well.
You can sell your practice sessions, folks. Practicing has no pressure on it. Write clean, keep learning, and keep having fun.
That really is the secret.
I wish I had learned that secret ten years before I did. I’d have a hundred more novels published than I do now.
September Online Workshops
Click the workshop tab above for description and sign-up or go to www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com.
Questions about any of the workshops, feel free to write me.
Class #21… Sept 6th … Author Voice
Class #22… Sept 6th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Sept 6th … Speed
Class #24… Sept 6th … Writing Mysteries
Class #25… Sept 6th … Character Development
Class #26… Sept 7th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Sept 7th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Sept 7th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Sept 7th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Sept 7th …Expectations (Writing on the Rails)
The Writing of Freezeout: A Cold Poker Gang Novel
Day 1… 1,050 words. Total words so far… 1,050 words.
Day 2… 2,850 words. Total words so far… 3,900 words.
Day 3… 800 words. Total words so far… 4,700 words.
Day 4… 4,700 words. Total words so far… 9,400 words.
Day 5… 3,200 words. Total words so far… 12,600 words.
Day 6… 3,100 words. Total words so far… 15,700 words.
Day 7… 3,400 words. Total words so far… 19,100 words.
Day 8… 3,500 words. Total words so far… 22,600 words.
Day 9… 2,200 words. Total words so far… 24,800 words.
Day 10… 2,100 words. Total words so far… 26,900 words.
Day 11… 2,150 words. Total words so far… 28,050 words.
Day 12… 2,300 words. Total words so far… 30,350 words.
Day 13… 1,500 words. Total words so far… 31,850 words.
Day 14… 4,400 words. Total words so far… 35,250 words.
Totals For Year 4, Month 1, Day 7
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,053
Over 10,000 steps streak… Day 38
— Daily Fiction: 4,400 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 12,450 words
— Nonfiction: 500 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 500 words
— Blog Posts: 1,000 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 3,300 words
— E-mail: 9 e-mails. Approx. 300 original words. E-mails month-to date: 91 e-mails. Approx. 5,600 words
— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 0 Covers
— Year of Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories finished to date: 8 stories.
— Yearly Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 0 novels.
You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.
Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.