Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Live to Write

“I lived to write, and wrote to live.” -Samuel Rogers

I write every day. Now, by writing I mean anything that has to do with stringing a paragraph together or revising something I've already written. After all, we writers know that it's not the first draft that truly makes us a writer, but the 13th. (I say that because I just finished Draft #13 yesterday. I need a gold star or a brownie button as a reward. Or a parade. I like parades.)

When I don't write, life seems a little less colorful. This could be because I'm probably sick or so stressed about a project at work that I can't possibly take time to smell the roses. But there is a secret little thrill of finding inspiration in the mundane to include in one of my novels. It could just be a line of dialogue or a character sketch from someone at the McDonald's drive-through (true story!), but I feel like being a writer makes me notice the details in life I might have otherwise missed.

What about you? Does being a writer make your life more colorful? Do you live to write and write to live?

Writing and Cultural Norms

When I was in college, I read the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. It stands today as one of the few assigned novels I actually liked, but that's neither here nor there. No, what stuck in my mind was how different the style of prose was from the American and British literature I'd read to that point. I think, and my memory may be faulty, that Things Fall Apart was my first experience with literature written from an African perspective about issues facing Africans.

All of the writing that exposed me to Africa prior to reading Achebe's novel was written from the perspective of the European "civilizing" the "Dark Continent" of Africa. It got really old, really fast, especially when I realized how darn boring all of that writing was (except for Egyptian history). And then I read Achebe's novel, and Africa came alive for me again.

Achebe's novel was powerful because of a strong connection to the issues at hand, and because he wrote it the way only an African can -- with respect for the issues faced by his protagonist, and acknowledgment that the issues are greater than fighting against the forces of "civilization."

Because see here's the big thing: We are all products of the culture we are raised in.

The resident of a particular country will always view their own nation different than a foreigner. Stories written by the member of a dominant culture in any country will almost always have elements of that culture inherent in it. I say "almost" because there are exceptions to every rule, and this one is no different. Regardless of that though, I'm certain that you can find shared themes across the mainstream fiction that comes out of each society, all the way back to the first stories told around the campfire.

For example: the Western republics have been trained that communism is bad. We're told it squashes freedoms, creates corruption, and is generally a bad deal to live under. However, someone living under a communist government might only see the safety of the streets and the jobs given to everyone, especially if they subscribe to the so-called "party line."

A secondary example is the Colonial period in world history. The Spanish monks who traveled to Latin America during the Age of Exploration saw themselves as bringing culture and light to the natives of the Spanish colonies. They ruthlessly stamped out the native practices that they saw as "barbaric" and "heathen," and thought nothing of it because they were absolutely convinced that their culture was better.

So what's the final theory I have to put out there? It's two-fold, really. Be mindful of your perspective when you're writing; are you advocating a particular type of culture over another? Or are you simply telling a story with the most objective stance you can possibly take?

It depends on you and what you want to write to be quite honest. As with other writing, there are no hard-and-fast rules -- except to tell a good story.

I do have a question for you though: can you think of a novel that made an argument so well you didn't even realize it was being made? Or have message-laden novels gone the proverbial way of the Dodo bird and moved out of the public consciousness?

Discuss in the comments please. I'd love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"YA" Boy Books: A Boy's Perspective

Still have intermittent access, but had to post on the reboiled hot button topic of last week (alerted to me by The Medicine Woman): the dearth of YA boy books.

Last week author Hannah Moskovitz's spirited post on the lack of YA boy books drew some strong attention within the Bransfordian writing community. This isn't the first time an author or WannAuthor has dressed down writers, publishers, etc, though it is probably one of the more well-constructed posts/rants on the topic.

While I believe Hannah's  (and others') points are well made, my take's a little different.

Boys, for the most part, do not want books that help them cope with their feelings, relate to the real world, etc. (i.e., much of the YA purview). At least not directly. We want escapism. We want to be the hero, save the world, blow up shit (lots of it - just ask Michael Bay). Sure, it's cool if the hero's got dyslexia and comes from a broken home (i.e., something we might be able to relate to), but that's secondary to story.

There are plenty of MG books geared toward boys, particularly in the fantasy (hero) arena, so why aren't there more YA "boy" books, at least in the world of make-believe? Um, there are. Just check out any ole Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror section. Chock full of books that would satisfy a large group of any-age boys. Some of us boys might grow up a bit faster and want those 'feeling' books where boy-centric 'YA' would definitely have a niche before we move onto the heavy hitters (Emerson, Thoreau, Joyce, and others beyond this dog's comprehension), but many of us don't want to explore our inner darkness just yet... or ever (I know, shocking). Lots of us will play video games til we're 50 and laugh at fart jokes til we die. Be glad if we learn to put the toilet seat down.

Anecdote: After I finished reading The Chronicles of Narnia in 3rd grade for the second or third time, I skipped right over the "YA" books to the "Adult" books. And while some of them truly were more adult (e.g., Duncton Wood), most of them were "kid" books.

Terry Brooks? David Eddings? Robert Jordan?... YA fantasy authors. Michael Crichton? Orson Scott Card? Yep, YA sci-fi. You want to label 'em, go ahead. Nothing like putting things in a box, right? But do that, and perhaps you don't go after the books next door by George R. R. Martin... definitely not kid books, but better written than many - more dynamic, more 3D characters (10 year olds and 80 year olds, males and females, all fucked up and human as can be).

Guess it comes down to do we want to protect our children or allow them to decide for themselves during their "YA" years? If the latter, stop wanting to label shit so damn narrowly. Yeah, the publishing industry wants to label everything YA (for girls) like the MPAA wants to make everything PG-13 (for boys), so we're confined to the game a bit, but let's not try to make everyone the quarterback.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Treatise On Clutter

It's Monday. Which means I'm supposed to write something in the blank space on this blog.

I'm working on that.

Which brings to mind something else:

I'm working on a lot right now. I'm itching to have something accomplished, for once, because I have a lot of chainsaws in the air and I can't seem to set any of them down. After the wedding, I keep telling myself. After the wedding, I'll have more time.

Which is inherently true-- when the party for 100 of our closest guests is over and done with and the fiance and I are completely, wholeheartedly married to one another, I will have more time based on sheer numbers. I won't be planning the party anymore, for one.

But I hope it's true in practice, because I am really good about filling my free time.

I'm good at filling free space, too.

I've been noticing a lot of clutter in my life lately. Which is interesting because it's not like it magically appeared overnight; rather, it's been slowly building to the point that I've noticed it. There's a bookshelf at home that is supposed to house decorations that are currently invisible because they're covered in old mail and receipts and wedding papers and real estate sheets and notebooks and note-covered copies of my MS's. My desk at work has assignment calendars with the heading of "April 2010" peeking out under old reports and data entry forms that need to be recycled.

Our car STILL has the tent in the trunk from our trip two weeks ago.

The thing is, I am more than capable of keeping this kind of thing under control. And it irritates me that it's gotten so far out of hand. But the clutter isn't just in my physical space, it's in my mind, too. It's keeping me from writing out the ending to my mystery. It's keeping me from safely setting down any of the other forty chainsaws I have. It's keeping me from blogging regularly (on my personal blog), commenting regularly on others, and please don't even look at the last time I tweeted, for goodness sake.

I'm not saying I'm free from the blame here. I'm not. This is ALL me. But I'm wondering if the physical clutter is a sign that something's stuffed full upstairs, too. Maybe if I clean out the mess I can touch, I can clean out the mess that I can't find.

How do you deal with clutter?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Necessary Evil

I love editing.

Many of you know how much I detest first drafts, but I truly adore editing. Going over my own work with a red pen gives me a secret little thrill, coming up with a new sub-plot, or even better- finding just the right word to turn a phrase into a gem on the page. That's when I feel like a writer.

So with that said, I will now admit that I am not a fan of the first edit.

Ernest Hemingway once said, "The first draft of anything is shit." The man was right.

It's pretty painful to go through a first draft of anything and realize how far it needs to come before anyone is allowed to read it. A necessary evil.

So, where are you in the writing process? Slogging through the first draft of your first book? Putting the final spit polish on the manuscript before you query? Somewhere in between?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rainer Maria Rilke and Becoming a "Real" Writer

"Don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer." -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I first heard that quote in the movie Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Kind of a random place to hear such a fantastic quote, but there it is. And yes, I know that movie wasn't all that great but I don't care. I like it anyway. This post isn't about my enjoyment of oddball early '90s films starring Whoopi Goldberg though; rather, it's about what that particular quote means to me and how it's influenced my writing.

I've written a lot over the years: short stories, drawer novels, news articles, blog posts, research papers, academic articles, and the list goes on and on. I try to write every day now, whether it's a post on Free the Princess, a random freelance article I had an idea for, a short story, or a guest post for a friend's blog. I put words to paper (words to screen, what have you) at least a little bit every day. Sometimes it's only 5 minutes, but that's 5 minutes more than I wrote before.

I'm pretty much constantly thinking about writing in some form or another. It's not always the novel I should be writing, or my non-fiction Steampunk work, or any one particular thing, but I am always thinking about it. You might imagine then that this gets a tad confusing in my messed up little head. Not really, truth be told. I've done this juggling act long enough that keeping the proverbial plates spinning is actually pretty darn easy.

The full crux of Rilke's quote didn't hit me until a few years ago. If you're a writer, you should write. It doesn't matter what it is, it doesn't matter who sees it, and it sure as heck doesn't matter if it's good or bad. Just write. That's what I think Rilke's main point was -- no one can tell you when you've become a "real" writer because there's no such thing as a "real" writer.

Am I a real writer because I write as much as I can wherever I have the opportunity to do so? I think I am. Do I think about writing from the first moment I wake up? More or less -- my typical first thought is actually "oh crap it's morning already?" -- my second thought is definitely about what writing I'm going to do that day though. If we go with Rilke's quote as the determinant for what makes a "real" writer, then I'd say I qualify.

What about you? Is your first thought of the day about writing?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Control Theory 101

I'm gonna go super-geek nerd analogy here, so if that floats your boat, keep reading.

My educational background is in Controls and Dynamics, a subset of engineering used in various applications, most notably robotics. The key idea behind controls is to control something (talk about a big reveal). As a simple example, say NASA wants to launch a rocket to Mars, but to conserve fuel to make it to their destination, they need the rocket to travel at 300 miles/second (note: these numbers are completely fabricated). No faster, no slower. The rocket speed is controlled via a propeller (note: rockets do not use props for propulsion, they use rockets, but for simplicity's sake, we're using a propeller).

After launch, a good control algorithm (e.g., nonlinear, adaptive) will adjust the propeller speed in such a way that we quickly get to our desired cruising speed of 300 mi/s and stay there. The problem with these algorithms is that sometimes they can screw you and go out of control (and there ain't no coming back when that happens). Safe algorithms (i.e., linear: pole placement, PID, etc. -- warned you this was super geeky) will always get you to your speed, but usually they will overshoot and then fluctuate around your desired setpoint (300) before eventually settling (a dampened sine wave).

A writer's arc is in many ways analogous to a control algorithm. We don't hit our desired setpoint right away, usually. We tend to overcorrect based on feedback, rules, etc, but eventually, if we iterate enough, we can find our setpoint.

PS - I'm off the grid at the moment (hopefully somewhere in Yellowstone not getting eaten by bears). 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hello Beautiful World!

I'm back! I'm sure you're all ecstatic about that. I know I am. Mostly.

I'm only not ecstatic because the trouble with vacations is that you have to come back from them. And, boy, was that a vacation I could live my whole life doing. Ah, for infinite money and time to pursue silly dreams.

Anyway, firmly back in the real world now, I have, of course, had a lot of time to think and plot and . . . do absolutely no writing whatsoever. That's right-- all my puffing about "uninterrupted time to write" equaled me not even once cracking open my laptop while we were gone. To be fair, I was busy enjoying NOT having anything to do (and too much to do) all at once, which I like to think is a fairly strong excuse. Ahem.

Now, inspiration is a whole different animal. I'm totally feeling inspired. So much so, in fact, that I got a new book idea (dangit!) that's all pretty and new, but I'm still loving the ones I have in progress, and therefore have written down all the notes I can on the new one for later.

It has occurred to me that I will be writing for the rest of my life, and I certainly hope it's a long one.

This blog post is going to be like the movie TITANIC, where the first part is all fluff and already long enough to be a story unto itself, but wait! There's still an epic disaster to get through!

I mean, an epic post! On to business:

I'm right near my one-year anniversary of this crazy blogging thing. A year and two months ago, I had the inkling that I really ought to have a blog. But why write one? What about me was special enough that someone else would want to read it? (And those of you who follow me, I thank you for your sacrifice in the face of my frequent inanity and commend you for answering that question for yourselves-- it's still a mystery to me).

More importantly, who did I think I was, trying to tell someone else how to write?

This is also a question I still don't have the answer to. In fact, it makes me nervous to talk about writing technique a.) because I'm not exactly a reliable source, being as-yet un-agented, un-published, un-pretty-much-anything validating my authority, and b.) everyone writes so DIFFERENTLY. Some people need or want to write by the rules. Others, like me, would shanghai the whole palace of them if given the chance.

I've managed to putter along for a year giving a mix of my opinion and gentle wit, and hoping that the readership I managed to attract would understand the difference. Luckily, for the most part, you have. But it always burns inside, any time I write a post about, well, writing technique, because I don't feel like I'm the one to be giving you these tips.

Except I realized something else. Writers write about writing. Authors write about authoring. Publishing professionals write about publishing.

If you look at the blogs of published authors, their blogs generally aren't full of writing technique. Maybe they used to be, but now they're full of editorial notes and book signings and new covers and release dates. They're full of the things an author and their readers find important.

If you look at the blogs of publishing professionals, specifically those dealing with un-pubbed writers, their blogs are full of what they and their readers find important, too-- how to make things tighter and smoother to the benefit of everyone.

And if you look at the blogs of writers, who lean on each other for support during the bad times and the good, their blogs, too, are full of what's important to all of us: writing. We are in the pits, figuring it out for ourselves, hanging on the edge of this wild train as it flings us round bend after bend, and we rely on the support of others like us to validate that maybe, just maybe, we can do this whole crazy thing after all.

Maybe, just maybe, we can turn into authors and the need to write about writing will ease and we will have covers and signings and dates to talk about, too.

Until then, I still vow to try and lecture as little as possible and talk about more things that are up my alley besides writing. You know, to keep you crazy cats around.

I'm waaaay waaaay behind catching up on blogs, by the way. I'll be working my way through the backlog this week but it's like trying to run up a stack of loose paper-- entertaining, but difficult to get to the top.

Do you write about writing for a different reason? Or not at all?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who I Really Love

I'm in Greece right now (yay!) so you'll have to forgive the brief post. I've been thinking about protagonists a fair bit lately- most of the books I've put down in the last year have been set aside because I simply didn't care for the main character.

Several of these books are bestsellers so I know I'm probably in a lonely boat, but it makes me wonder which protagonists people really like. (Or don't.)

Here are some of my faves:

1. Scarlett O'Hara & Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind
2. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games
3. Percy Jackson, The Lightening Thief Series
4. Sayuri, Memoirs of a Geisha
5. Jamie Fraser, Outlander

Which main characters are your favorites?

And BTW, if you haven't entered my contest for a Barnes & Noble gift card and some fabulous Greek swag, you need to!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Revisions, Revisions, Revisions: How Much is Too Much?

Yesterday, Alliteratus Bane talked about how revisions don't necessarily make the story better; they merely make it different. He also said that in order for revisions to do any sort of good in terms of improving the story, then they have to be done right.

I agree completely, as I tend to do with my fellow Alliterati (and no, we don't discuss these posts with each other beforehand -- I'm saying this after having read the post yesterday), and would add that I feel the best way to do revisions is systematically. Write the first draft with the first thing that comes into your mind: go ahead it's fun, all you need to do is get words on the page after all (full disclosure: I attempt to do this myself -- it's kind of hard being the research-oriented type I am).

During revisions, I attempt to approach things at different levels. The first is to examine the text for plot holes and inconsistencies. Did I say the character had green eyes on page 25 and blue eyes on page 300? Did I give the character 2 different names? Is a character introduced twice? (Actually happened during a previous read. I'd rewritten the opening chapters of Callarion at Night and Nicolai ended up accidentally getting introduced twice). Can xxx event really happen this way?

Second step is to make sure all my research is reasonably accurate. I say reasonably because you don't have to necessarily have everything be spot on; you need only be consistent. Consistency is key, even when you're wrong about the way something could happen. So long as you're consistent, your readers will forgive pretty much anything.

Third step is to repeat steps one and two a few more times. (I'm convinced you need a few passes minimum for the first two steps.

The fourth and final step is to read for sentence structure, grammar mistakes, and spelling errors. Once you've done that, and repeated these steps as often as needed, then you should theoretically be good to send it to beta readers.

Then you get to do it all over again. Great, right?

So how much revision is too much revision?

Simple answer: When you find yourself changing something just to change it. i.e. rewriting a sentence just because you feel you need to find something to change. Once you find yourself doing that, then it's probably time to send your work out.

These are just my thoughts of course; what do you think?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Staining The Fence

Recently finished staining our deck, fence, and porch. Brutally painful. And it wasn't even hot out. The whole process got me analogizing about revising  thinking about revision. How when we revise, we make something that looks better. How it's painful, monotonous, tedious. How some things we're better at than others (me: brute strength; the missus: detailed work).

But just because it looks better, doesn't mean it is better. We might have covered up the blemishes without creating any real improvement. Sure, that deck looks pretty, but unless we pretreated it with deck cleaner, swept it with a pressure washer (followed by a few days of drying and another go with a broom), our pretty layer of is just a concealer, not an improver.

Revision sucks. But to do it really well, revision must really suck.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Inspiration is a . . . you-know-what

As you're reading this, I'm probably trying to keep my sleep-deprived fiance from drifting around ALL the sharp turns on the coastal highway we're taking on our way up to Northern California. I'll let you know how that goes for me.

In other words, I'm going on vacation! Woo! Something I haven't done for a very long time. In fact, something it seems like I've never done. Most of the trips that I've taken away from my hometown(s) during my life have been with a purpose: visit family, attend funerals/ graduations/ weddings, etc. This is the first time in a long time that I've taken a trip just for the heck of taking a trip. And that is an amazing feeling.

We're going to spend two nights in a bed and breakfast on the coast, camp for two nights, and even spend a night in a little seedy motel just to round out our accommodations tour-de-force. But the part I'm the most excited about is the bed and breakfast. It's a real Victorian house, literally right on the ocean. And I mean literally. It goes house--> street--> beach/ocean.

Okay, so, not LITERALLY in the sense that we are floating in the middle of the water or something, but pretty much way closer than I was expecting to get.

And the reason I'm excited? Well, aside from me just loving all things Victorian (and the ocean), I'm excited because it means inspiration. And maybe even quiet time to write-- a true luxury these days-- and the possibility of new material for my mental bank of settings and images.

The whole trip will be rich with inspiration, actually. We're camping in the redwoods and plan to do some hiking, which always opens me up to connecting with my artistic side. And on our way back down south, we're going to stop at the mother of all opulent estates this side of the Mississippi: Hearst Castle.

As long as I have electricity, I'll have some time to write surrounded by nothing but inspiration. Priceless.

And you know what awaits me when I return home (aside from a house hopefully not shredded by our cats in protest of our long absence)? Pumpkins!

I'll have an update on those soon. In the meantime, wish me luck keeping us awake and safe on the road. I won't be able to respond to comments on this post but I can read and enjoy them at least, so, tell me: what places inspire you?

Friday, July 9, 2010

GUEST POST: Seven Ways to Stay Motivated in Tough Times

Camille LaGuire is author of the funny western mystery HAVE GUN, WILL PLAY.  She keeps herself motivated with a blog called The Daring Novelist.

Life is out to derail your writing career.  Every day you're bombarded with motivation to do something, anything, other than write.  It may be fun stuff like the internet, or horrible stuff like a car accident.  You may have to pay attention to some of these, but if you're ever going to get any writing done, you have to bring yourself back to writing.

And you do that by motivating yourself.  Here are seven ways to keep yourself motivated.

1. Eyes on the Prize.

You need a goal you can put your finger on.  Forget vague things like "Be a famous author."  Be specific. You want to sell a book, or sign a three-book deal, or sell the rights to Hollywood.  It can even be something less practical, like being interviewed on TV about your book.

When you make your goal specific and concrete, you can start taking the smaller steps to get there - like finishing your book.

2. Eliminate the Negative.

Don't just ignore negative things that sap your enthusiasm.  Hunt them down and destroy them.  It doesn't matter if it's something you can't get rid of, like a good job in a bad economy.  If you really want to write, and something is interfering with your writing, you have to resolve that problem.  Be creative. Question everything.  Is it the  job or the hours?  Is it the people?  Or are you worried about money, and the job would be less stressful if you didn't spend so much?  Find the root of the problem and go after it.

It may take time to make a change in your life, so pin it to to your goal.  Fixing your life is a part of achieving your dreams.

3. Love your writing.

If your writing is to survive all that life throws at you, you have to find the pleasure in it. If you're one of those who thinks your writing is junk, you HAVE to get over this.  Maybe you can't believe your skills are good enough, but you always remember that the story is worth writing.  If you don't write it, it will never exist.

Some writers write a fan letter to themselves about the project when they begin it.  They write about all the things that excite them about it.  Then they stick it in a drawer.  Whenever they get discouraged about the project they pull out the letter and remind themselves of why they're writing.

4. Set quotas you can beat.

Nothing is more motivating than success.  Especially when you repeat that success every day or ever week.  So set a daily goal that you can achieve more often than not.  If necessary, adjust that quota from week to week.  By meeting that quota, you will constantly prove to yourself that you are a writer.  You can write, you can produce.

5. Report your progress.

We're writers.  We're pretty good at imagining things... like that you achieved your goal even when you didn't. (Well, you know, you were close enough.  Three sentences away....)  Make your progress public.  Use Twitter, or a blog, or just a forum among friends.  But state your quotes and report whether you met them.  It's amazing how much this will motivate you to write that last sentence, and then maybe one more, and another.

6. Get yourself an audience.

This really goes along with #5, but it's worth mentioning on its own.  Whether it's a best friend, or a critique group, or your mom.  Having someone waiting for your next chapter can force you to actually produce it.  (Writer buddies are better for this one, usually, because they understand that too much pressure can make you freeze up.)

7. Train Your Muse.

Set aside ten or fifteen minutes every day to train your brain to obey.  Have a task and focus on it.  Maybe you brainstorm ideas, or titles.  Or maybe you write opening lines, or description.  Just for ten or fifteen minutes. Set a timer.  you can't do anything else in that time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

To Prologue or Not to Prologue

Since most of this week at the Secret Archives has been devoted to ranting, I thought I'd continue the trend. (I'm kind of a like a lemming sometimes.)

I like to follow the rules of writing most of the time. But I really enjoy breaking the rules on occasion. Like with fragments. I love a good fragment.

But the one rule it really hurt to follow was when I nixed my prologue. I know agents don't like prologues and I understand why (voice changes, story relevance, etc.), but I enjoy reading prologues. And I liked the prologue I chopped. A lot.

So now I'm curious. Have any of you chopped your prologues? Do you mind reading prologues in published novels?

Open Post: What "Rule" Bothers You the Most?

I think we can all agree that it's pretty much impossible to follow Bane's post on Voice from yesterday with anything approaching that level of awesome. So, in true pragmatist (or maybe lazybutt) fashion, I'm not even going to try.

Instead, I'll turn the spotlight around onto the Alliterati readers. I've talked about my hatred of writing rules over at Free the Princess already, and L.T. Host has detailed her loathing of the same here, but I'm wondering ...

What "rule" bothers you the most?

I'm curious to see if there's one particular admonition that people keep getting annoyed by, or if it goes pretty much across the board. Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Voice, Fuck Off

Seriously. You plague my head, you bastard catch-all phrase wielded by insiders as a shield. Didn't connect with the voice. Not feeling the voice. Great voice. Love the voice. Didn't connect with the voice. What does that mean? You know how to use sentence fragments? Inverse phrases? How 'bout snarky snarkiness so oft seen on blogs or urban words in a clever manner (like crozzled, Mr. McCarthy)?

Snark's easy voice. Dialogue's easy voice. Easily cultivated, grown, harvested, replanted. And razed.

Hard voice? Related to style? Flow? Rhythm (isn't that sort of like flow... uh oh)? How do you know when you've got it? Or do you ever? Is it something that comes easy or just seems to? According to "writing" books, you're not supposed to think about voice -- well, here's something for you, how 'bout you stop brining it up. Like saying don't look down. Assholes.

Voice, bane of my thoughts, I search for you hard, but until then, fuck off.

Friday, July 2, 2010

In Lieu of Guest Post

We ran out of guest bloggers with Davin's entry last week, so there's a whole lot of slots now open for anyone who wants to write for us. In lieu of a guest post today then, by consent of my fellow Alliterati, I give you ....