Monday, June 14, 2010

File It Under, “My Characters Amuse Me”

“Reverse psychology,” Jack said.

“Re-hoosit-whatsit? I just thought it was scamming.” Mikey slapped Jack’s shoulder and leaned against the railing.

“Yeah, well, they’re pretty much the same thing. People just use the big words to make it sound less shady.”

Writers love to talk about craft. The hard stuff. The stuff that makes us feel all accomplished and whatnot. But the reason we keep trucking through all the dejection, rejection, and unavoidable lows of a very tough profession is because the high points are just fucking fun.

My characters sometimes pull out my heart and stomp it into a million little pieces leaving nothing but hollow space and an inability to breathe. But more often than not they make me laugh out loud. The biggest hope is that whatever I’m feeling translates on the page and someone else will get to feel it, too. Those few lines at the top of the post cracked me up... weird, right? There are people in my head, telling jokes that give me a physical reaction. In normal people circles, that’s called crazy. But we get to balance on the tight rope of split personality and delusional tendency and other people marvel at our creativity. I don’t think you can really ask for better than that. Okay, you can ask for millions of dollars and a harem of smoking hot pool boys, but God tends to frown on delivering those kinds of things...

And we can get into craft... Do those words move the story? Is there a point to that little exchange or am I just amusing myself with my own wit, or lack thereof? Some of my silliness will, rightfully so, get cut in revision... in fact, a lot of my silliness will get cut in revision... along with, hopefully, all of my purple prose. But right now I’m just taking the journey. I can think about the destination. Dream about it so much I can taste it. Envision it in my head until it feels like a well-worn reality... and still, the road beckons more than the destination today... and I hope every day to come.

How’s your writing going? Care to share a scene from your wip that spoke to you, tickled you, or you hope moves someone else? Care to share one that’s hitting the cutting room floor? And what’s your priority today – the road or the destination?

And guys, if you haven’t yet heard and congratulated her, head over to Ello’s and share her much deserved high point with her.

Monday, June 07, 2010

An Open Love Letter to Stephen

This week we’re celebrating Stephen Parrish, at The Year of Parrish. It’s a weeklong extravaganza with games and blog parties and probably a bit of cyber debauchery (if I know this crowd, more than a bit). I could say that it’s an attempt to bask in the light that is Stephen, or share with him his more than deserved success... but mostly, it’s to fuck with him make him feel shiny and happy.

I could tell you that he’s a brilliant writer. You would already know that if you read his blog or, better yet, devoured his debut novel. That’s not the real reason so many bloggers and writers, people who’ve never met the man face-to-face, came out in the blog-o-sphere with every intention of making him feel spiffy. Hell, there are some damn fine writers out there and I’ll certainly buy their books... but there are only a few people who would get this big of a following of true friends who’ve never met them.

I could think of more than of few examples that make Stephen a cut above the rest in the friendship department. Like the time one of our blog friends had a fire that completely destroyed his home, and it took Stephen all of a day to get up a blog to help him rebuild. That’s an extreme example. I think I’m safe in saying it’s not the only one... he’s a better friend to most of us than some of our real world friends could be.

For the writers in our little circle, his insight and wit has been priceless. He lets us piddle away our time on his blog rather than the real work of writing, and then kicks our asses for slacking off. Let me tell you, it takes a special brand of brilliance to kick your ass and make you like it.

For me, personally, Stephen’s been the best cheerleader (are ya picturing him in the short skirt with pom poms? Ya know you are). Somehow we missed each other back in the Miss Snark days, but I finally met him when I hosted a book club blog for a fellow snarkling’s debut. He was so dead on, insightful, and funny, I just had to follow him back to his own blog. And a cyber-friendship was born. From blog exchanges to emails, to pestering the hell out of him on his facebook wall, Stephen’s one of my true favorites. He’ll give you the real deal, with a bit of humor. And in the solitary world of writing, he’s been one of the bastions of community and understanding that keeps a lot of us trudging through it.

He’s always good for a word of praise or silliness, and sometimes he’ll just pop me an email to check if I’m writing, if I’m holding my own with the whole life sucks and when is it my turn dammit thing, to pass on a word of praise or heads up for someone else in our little cyber world. I’ve got to say, it’s more than once that Stephen’s emailed out of the blue with a back-pat at just the right time. Because really, if someone as brilliant as Stephen thinks I can write, maybe he’s onto something.

So, Stephen, my friend, enjoy your week of festivities. Bask in your much-deserved success. It’s been an honor to take this leg of the journey with you, and I can’t wait to see how far you’ll go. Yer gonna be famous.