Haven’t posted here in a while, have I?
And my last post was (let’s face it), kinda lame. Right? I mean, does ANYONE even use pumice stones anymore?
Ha ha ha.
Hardly. There’s sandpaper and such, for that.
What have I been doing lately? Well, I’ve been stuck writing this BRILLIANT short story. It’s a sci-fi mystery. I mean, who even knew those two genres could be mixed?
But I’m stuck.
That’s right! The secret to writing and finishing books and stories is WRITING. So I’ve been violating my own personal rules about writing. By not writing. At least, not writing enough.
Let’s make this, then a PSA piece. My little gift to you, ME doling out advice about writing. Everyone loves PSAs and advice columns and writing advice about how to become the next GREAT WRITER.
Frame this. Frame it in giant black letters and hang it above your bed or your bathroom mirror and read it every day (I’m saying this because that’s what I’m doing right this minute–I’ve got one finger on my keyboard and one adjusting the level as I measure the wall thingy, nail. Or whatever it is.): WRITE EVERY DAY, YOU BASTARD.
I added “you bastard” in because you know that’s what you’re thinking when you’re walking around your office or your house or whatever, your building, like doing stuff that isn’t writing, and you’re like, “Damn. I still haven’t written my daily quota of 500 words/day.”
“You bastard,” you think to yourself.
Once you’ve written your quota, call yourself an AWESOME BASTARD.
“You got your word count, you awesome bastard.” Also you can insert other colorful descriptor words. For fun.
So basically I’ve been doing A Lot of Other Important Stuff that isn’t writing novels or writing short stories or blog posts. I mean, I’m trying.
But writing a book is like reading a book in certain ways.
Say you start reading a new book one evening, stretched out on your couch with a delicious bon-bon in your hand, and some nice quiet solitude around you. And then in the morning, your kids come back from sleeping over at nana’s, and you have no solitude for a solid week and don’t have a chance to read for 7 days, right? Well, on the 7th day, when you go back to the novel, you can barely remember what you read 7 days prior.
Right? I mean, that happens to you, doesn’t it? Oh. It doesn’t? Oh damn.
So anyway, ha ha, I don’t need to go to the neuropsychologist ha ha. My brain is FINE.
Writing a book is like reading a book. You have to be consistent and you can’t let up. Otherwise you forget the important elements making up the story. And to progress you’ve got to keep reviewing them, every time you spend too much time between writing cycles.
Great. Right? Easy enough.
Also, your imagination needs to be exercised every day. Writing a story does that. It takes practice to get your brain to a good spot when it comes to being able to make it do cool tricks and flips and crap.
I know this. I know this because I’m out of practice.
BUT NEVER AGAIN. I swear it. I’m going to start getting up at 6 a.m. just to get my daily word counts. I’ll totally do that.
New life goal: get up at 6 am to write. 6:30. Er. 7. I can totally do 7.
Here’s a clip from my sci-fi murder mystery (btw, I have no idea how to write a murder mystery. It’s coming out like a crime procedural. This is an experiment):
Usually a giant head wound meant it was murder, however.
Rising again, I dusted off my hands and pen.
I skulked around the room, looking for anything else I might have missed. I took out my own notebook and sketched out the layout of the place and the approximate locations of all the big items, including the big old dead body at the center. The fireplace. The gray-fabric couch. The console table against the far wall, near the door. There was an orrery on it, of Giganto and the six inhabited moons: Kota, Itzcap, Po, Joopa, Paradise, and Helo. It moved like an old clock, on gears that ticked softly, showing the orbital paths around the pale gas giant that filled our sky. The little machines were all the rage forty years ago, when the first trans-moon zeppelins began operation. The vic might have collected old oddities like that. “Something’s missing,” I said loudly to get Meiko’s attention.
Meiko came to stand beside me as I crouched to get a view of the dust coating the table like a light fur. She copied me. “It looks square, the empty spot. Maybe slightly rectangular.”
“What do you want to bet that whatever was right there, was the murder weapon?”
“Or maybe the vic threw it out. Or maybe it was just a box. And he finally moved it.”
“Unlikely. No one leaves an idle box on a table,” I said, straightening and swiping my fingertip across the empty spot, “and dusts around it.” I showed her. No dust on my finger.