In a society that so values monetary success, understand that the immediate lack thereof is not a sign of failure, nor is it a symptom of bad writing or flawed ideas, though that’s an easy go-to excuse.
I’d like to bring your attention to Komatsu’s last line, which I believe to be the best: “What you can eliminate from fiction is the description of things that most readers have seen.”
As a writer, not all of our ideas can metamorphose into a fully-fledged piece of expression, and it’s important not to invest too much energy into the ones that aren’t working.
So, trying to will your book into viral popularity is like the guy I saw driving down the freeway with a mattress strapped to the top of his car and one hand out the window, as if he could stop a freakin’ mattress (read: fluffy, spring-loaded SAIL) from flying off his car.
According to me, there are at least 100,000 known writing strategies. Maybe even more (and that’s why we shouldn’t destroy the rain forest). Working at a college writing center has really opened up my eyes to all sorts of writing processes that professors recommend, and even though most of them have nonfiction, academic papers in mind, I think that we creative folks can glean something from their recommendations. The particular process I have in mind is called the Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge, brought to you by Betty S. Flowers, and…
When the time comes to edit, and I have to pour over my manuscript with an eye for the minutiae, I need music that keeps me from throwing my keyboard or getting in such a bad mood I start needlessly deleting content. This music is always Rachmaninoff, because Russians are really good at doing “sad” and hearing Sergei’s “sad” makes me feel a little better about editing.
It’s snowing again in Northern Virginia. There’s not much accumulation, mind you, but a friend of mine pointed out how oddly we Northern Virginians react to snow. As he says, we know that it’s going to snow every year, and yet it still manages to catch us off guard.
And everyone knows, a good villain is worth twice their body-weight in death rays.
BUT lo, there is a critical mass of character pain, after which you, dear author, will begin to look more and more like a sadistic bastard and the novel will become less and less enjoyable. You are drowning your plants in fertilizer.
Character pain sounds like a bad thing, and it is. Audiences don’t like it, writers don’t like writing it (the empathetic human beings among us, that is), but nothing could be more quintessential to high quality entertainment.