Thursday, May 7, 2009

Serial, Please. Hold the Milk.

Wednesday night, after a month or more of wrestling 5,000 words into a decent story (and then scrapping half those words in order to write a new version of them), I turned in Episode 8 -- "Endgame, Part 1" -- of Thieves' Honor, my science fiction serial for Ray Gun Revival.

"Endgame" is nothing original, as far as titles go, but titles are not my strongest skill. Sometimes, ya gotta go with what works, not necessarily what's flashy.

This experience -- writing a serial -- has given me a renewed appreciation for the old-fashioned "hacks" who churned out story after story, and on a deadline. Check out the magazine, though, for the entertaining stories by non-hacks. Good stuff.

Hats off to Johne Cook, an Overlord at RGR, for the pointing readers to Disney: Animated Spoof of '50s Pulp Science Fiction, a YouTube humorous gem of a jab at a beloved genre. Had me laughing all the way through, which is an all-too-brief three minutes and a half.

A Look at a Working Writer's Process! over at Alexander Field's blog, The Mystery & the Magic, features a video clip of Jeffrey Archer discussing how he schedules his writing days (and they ARE scheduled). I left this comment in response:
I don't know if I could be so regimented, because I write when I can, and I've sat/stood/paced for hours, willing the words to come, and they don't. I've written just plain awful pages, waiting for words to come, and they don't. Then, sometimes, in the middle of some other activity (work, for instance!), I'll have to stop and scribble down all the ideas pouring from my brain to my pen.

I do agree with Archer, though, in how hard this writing gig can be. A teenage Club kid who's moved across state has been e-mailing me this past week, and telling me about his latest writing endeavor. This one he likes, he said, because it's coming so easy. I had to tell him that, if he wants to be a writer, he's going to have to expect and be prepared for the dry spells, when every word is agony. How's that for encouraging a newbie?

But he has talent, and I told him I'd like to read his work when it's finished. When I was in elementary and junior high, if it weren't for the teacher and the older writers who praised what was good and pointed out what was bad, I don't know if I'd be writing today. God bless 'em.
As a young writer -- youthful in age as well as experience -- I did not take criticism well. If there were flaws pointed out, well, that meant the story had to be scrapped. Flaws also meant I was fooling myself, and that I could not possibly ever be a writer. I was doomed. Doomed!

That's hormones and angst for you, as well as a more-than-generous dose of teenage insecurity.

To tell the truth, in the writing life, the insecurity never quite leaves. Oh, there are times we can swagger and talk big, and believe we're God's best gift to literature, but then there are the dark wells of doubt that seem to tunnel forever into our souls, and-- You get the picture.

Maybe the cure for the writer's curse of the braggadocio-then-despair rollercoaster is the work itself, the act of putting words on paper.

Alrighty then. (sitting at keyboard, flexing fingers, stretching arms) Serial, please. Hold the milk.


The Texican said...

I have tried every cereal on the market and haven't found one that really facilitates weight loss like they say. What writers really need more than anything is readers. Too bad so many people are missing the joy of discovery by not reading. Once you've tried it, you realize how much other media lacks. Readers often become writers in self defense. I'm glad a few talented people continue the craft. I'm glad you write about it. Have a great weekend. Pappy

Keanan Brand said...

Those advertisers. (shaking head) Don't do cereal much anymore, but I had oatmeal last week. (laugh)

Thanks, Pap.

Alexander Field said...

Congrats Keanan on turning in another story - pretty soon here you're going have a entire book ready to publish! And I have to agree with your parting lines, that insecurity always seems to be there, no matter what...thanks for the shout out too!

Phy said...

I'm so delighted with the RGR serials. They're all fun, and (with the exception of my own, which was started to serve only as a proof-of-concept) all worthy of the novel treatment when they're done.

Keanan Brand said...

Alex - It's been a fun gig so far, despite those moments of insecurity. I recommend it as a forcible solution to writer's block.

Phy - Except your own? C'mon! Perhaps the pestering has not been impatient enough. (jumping up and down beside the computer) Next episode, please!

Yeah, I know, I know, you're dealing with a wedding and all, but don't you know this is all about me? (laughing)