On Writing (by a guy who is in no way Stephen King)

Posted: June 20, 2011 by joemu362 in Joe

the dreaded hate spiral

I had another friend – a very dear friend – ask me about my novel the other night while I was lying in a tent, half-caked in my own sweat and some dog hair, hoping like hell I wasn’t about to get blown away in a storm that seemed to have stampeded out of God’s own butthole. (It was quite the storm.) She asked, I responded, and the next day I found myself swarmed by people asking me how the book was going, when they could get their autographed copy, how difficult it would be to tattoo the finished product on their only child’s skin – hey, if they can write a full length of text on a grain of rice, I imagine a buttcheek could hold a book or two – the usual stuff. I love it, I really do. It makes me glad to think that people are really that interested in my work.

The only downside? Oh lurdy does it stress a guy out. But let me re-emphasize, for all the people out there who read this and love to ask me how it’s going and if they can see a snippet – I feed off of that, really. Anyone who says they don’t need encouragement on what they’re working on is either a liar or a robot. Or a robotic liar. Or a lying robot. Whichever. However.

Over at the ever-enlightening blog by Chuck Wendig, the man himself just wrote a new 25 Things list regarding my personal area of expertise (or so they say), which is novel writing. I’ve heard and seen most of it before, albeit not in as entertaining a fashion, but it was definitely helpful to see it again. From the list, here are the things I feel like I’ve needed to remember most.

2. That Means Momentum Is Key – I have a bad habit of going back and trying to rewrite scenes or slip scenes in where previously there were none, which often involves having to go back and make sure continuity fits. How to remember this: Make a note about it, keep going.

5. The First Draft Is Born In The Laboratory – For those of you who haven’t written a novel, they usually come out like a newborn infant; they stink, they look at you funny, and have no idea what the hell is going on. Then you have to plug them into an electrical outlet so they get up and dance. But no, again, the first draft of everything is shit. Seriously. That’s the one thing I tell everyone whenever I send them anything I’ve written – if it’s bad, sorry. That’s how it goes.

9. Know When To Bring In The Motherfucking A-Team – This is the one I’ve been trying to use more often. Asking folks what they think, seeing if they are fine with what they’re reading. Are the descriptions satisfactory? Are the characters flat? Do you remember if Remy’s smoked his last cigarette already? When your head’s that deep in the Noveling Sand, you tend to miss things.

10. Escape The Gravity Of The Hate Spiral – The Hate Spiral is an awful thing. Peaks and valleys, as Chuck said. There are days and weeks where I hate my novel. Then there are ones where I’m laughing hysterically over how awesome it is. (On the inside, of course.) But yeah man, when you hate it, you hate it. Right now I’m on one of the bumpy parts. Gotta keep at it. Gotta keep at it.

And, as always: 1. Your First And Most Important Goal Is To Finish The Shit That You Started

Alright kids, that’s enough from me. Stay classy.


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