Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is there something wrong with me?

So, I have a colleague who also teaches Creative Writing, and he told me of a very interesting questions one of his students asked him the other day. The kid, according to him, seems like a very passive, mild, sweet student, but she writes really dark, violent fiction.

My kind of girl, y'know?

And yet, she says people are telling her she belongs in a mental hospital because there's something wrong with her to come up with this stuff. Some of the ones telling her this are related to her.


Now, I haven't read any of her work, but my friend has read mine and says the kid's work is no darker, just a little more gore in some places. So who the fuck is telling this kid something's wrong with her?

Does that mean there's something wrong with me? I've got four very different stories out there, and each of them has something dark in it. Does that mean I'm crazy too? (Okay, ignore that one, I am)

Look, I'm all for a sense of propriety here. There are some truly sick people out there, and I condemn them for their acts. But that's just it...they are ACTS. Hell, Eminem says some pretty offensive shit in his music, but until he actually BECOMES a rapist in a Jason mask, I'm not going to sit here and tell you he's certifiable. And I damn sure wouldn't if I was RELATED to him. (He might come after me, if nothing else).

But hey, I'm very biased, so let's hear it from you guys. Are the "violent crime" writers among us truly sick in the head, or do some folks just need to remove the holier-than-thou stick before they sit down next time?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rescue of the Week: U-TURN

Okay, so once again it's been a while. Don't ask. At any rate, I have a little climber that shouldn't be left alone in a fenced yard, but would make a great addition to any active home: U-TURN!!
She's a full-grown 20 lb. Beagle mix, a little "senior" at 8 years old, and very sweet.
For more information about this animal, call:
SPCA of Wake County at (919) 772-2326
Ask for information about animal ID number A062812

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What's your style, and why?

Things are crazy at the moment, so I'm just going to drop in and ask something quickly: What's your plot-preparation style?

The reason I ask, to be honest, is we are getting into "plotting vs. pantsing" in my creative fiction class, and I'm just always curious how other folks go about their writing. I've read plenty of accounts of authors who can't start a book unless they know how it ends and what most of the major twists and turns will be. Then there are those who can't plan it out ahead of time because it is so boring to try and write after that, and they go on to a more engaging and NEW story to write.

Me, I'm actually trying something new. My first manuscript was one that I did as a half-and-half. I started with a rough chapter-by-chapter outline (really rough, and I rewrote--or at least re-ordered--the first third of the book after I had written it). Thing is, I was so excited about the story that I dove in right after finishing the rough outline.

Boy did that screw me. Granted, it was my first shot at a novel-length manuscript, but even for that it stunk. I've since gone through all the rewrites, and I'm pretty happy with it even if it never gets published. Maybe someday if I hit it big, I'll put it on my web site as a freebie or something, who knows. Point is, I am not a guy who can just dive in and go. I gotta know:

1) where I'm headed
2) how I plan to get there, and
3) if that plan is a sound one.

Yep, missed step 3 that first time....

So now I'm trying the Alexandra Sokoloff Index Card Method, and we'll see how it goes. Once again I'm really jazzed to get into the story, but this time I'm gonna make sure my plan is well-thought-out beforehand.

So what about you? Do you plot away the days before writing, or do you jump on the chair, strap in, hold on, and fly that story by the seat of your pants?