Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Spaz As Writer

I think I mentioned before that I'm juggling way too much shit. The sick thing is I sort of like it.

I finished story 120 almost three weeks back. I normally tell you guys the titles of the stories, but I'm on the fence about that now. I'm probably being stupid. It only matters if editors are reading this blog, but hell, no one is reading this blog. I could post my social security number here and it would be pretty safe. See, the thing is, if an editor is reading this blog and they see that the story I sent them was named here ten months ago, they can reasonably assume that I've already shopped it around to a couple of other places, therefore it's been rejected by other places and the current editor wasn't actually number one on my list. But openness is supposed to be the wave of the future isn't it? Transparent business and all that? The World Tree House. There. I said it.

You might have thought that I was going to be writing a story a week this year to achieve my 52 in 2010 goal. I probably thought the same thing as well. For about half a second anyway. What I've found though, is that if I crank out a story in one week, it's not terribly good. The main thing it lacks, in my opinion, is resonance, the bit that's going to stay with you after you walk away from it. To get the magic resonance, I need to write a first draft, then leave it alone for a while. Then I need to write a second draft and leave it alone for a while, and so on. My subconscious mind needs to chew on it and so when I sit down to rewrite, it gets considerably better. Where I really get cranking is in the final drafts where it's just tweaking and polishing. So what all of this means is I'm going to be doing all of my first drafts early in the year and all of my final drafts late in the year. I'll look like I was slacking for months and then had this incredible burst of productivity near the end of the year.

Right now, I've got one story completely done (see the second paragraph), I've got two first drafts done, I'm working on about ten other first drafts and I still need ideas for thirty-nine more stories. Insane? Hell, yeah! But this isn't really terribly different from how I normally work. I always have loads of stories in production at the same time and I jump from one to another as the mood strikes me. I've got a really short attention span, so this is what I do.

If you're fucked up, or outside of the norm (and we all are in one way or another) don't try to fix yourself, because you probably can't and you'll just drive yourself crazy on top of everything else. Instead, shift your life around so it works with your particular issue and ignore the rest of the planet. If you're a lefty, don't struggle to play a guitar like a righty. Turn that guitar the other way and play it like a lefty. Put your freak flag up, Jimi! That's my PSA for today.

15 comments:

Elke said...

No one reads this? Is that a remark on our importance, an open dare, or may I put that part down to it having been one in the morning? Although you might have a point about the SSN. I doubt Larry Santoro practices identity theft.

If you've found your best working method in the percolating drafts, then more power to you. I'm still in the trial & error stage for half the stuff in my life...where I've been for so long that maybe that's the way I sort of like it. Hmm, maybe I'll put that on my flag.

Anonymous said...
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eldritchhobbit said...

Put your freak flag up, Jimi! That's my PSA for today.

Woohoo! Testify! :)

Christie said...

Well, Elke's reading it, and I'm reading it, and we've all apparently got our freak flags flying (a phrase my family uses pretty often.) Freak Solidarity!

I'm amazed at how prolific you are - I work much slower. I'll probably produce a tenth of what you do this year, but I'm okay with that.

Staggering the drafts that way might end up working really well for you. I hope you'll report back regarding whether you think it's given your stories up a notch.

And if it doesn't, well then there'll be something else to try. :)

Good luck!

Matthew Sanborn Smith said...

"I'm amazed at how prolific you are - I work much slower. I'll probably produce a tenth of what you do this year, but I'm okay with that."

Hold on there, Christie, I haven't done it yet!

Thanks, you guys, for proving me wrong. Somebody is reading this. You're not an editor, are you Elke?

(Yes, I know you are, Amy!)

Anonymous said...
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Julio Marchini said...

Check, reading this too...
Great title, I'm very curious to see the story that follows it...

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Elke said...

I think I'd be quite happy editing a modest quarterly or so, but, sadly, you'll have to count me as merely an appreciator.

For your amusement, count another appreciator: my mother loved "Saturday Night, Wasted at Bill's" on the Hairy Mango. This week, each time my father forgot to save or keep a copy of something, or likely wasn't listening to the request, didn't make it in time, etc., even when the battery died in the garage door remote, she said, "sh... er, stuff like this is why we can't get ahead!"

Matthew Sanborn Smith said...

I love it!

Matthew Sanborn Smith said...

I should have added: You have an awesome mom!

Wendy said...

I don't want your SSN, but a credit card number--that might be really useful. ;)

For me, I like to write a 1st draft of a piece and then force myself to wait one week and revisit it. Then I cruelly make a friend or two read it. Edit it. Send it out. It's a 3 or 4 week process, but it works for me.

I know just what you mean about losing resonance when I go too quickly! I have a hard drive crammed with portions of leaden stories. Sometimes, fun ideas just don't pan out.

Looking forward to reading some of your pieces!

Anonymous said...

I truly believe that we have reached the point where technology has become one with our society, and I am fairly certain that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.


I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further develops, the possibility of downloading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could encounter in my lifetime.


(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://www.leetboss.com/video-games/r4i-r4-sdhc-nintendo-ds]R4i[/url] DS BB)

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