11/12/09

Writing a Novel …

… is like juggling ten things in the air at once, only, they’re not real things. They’re placeholders. And as you juggle them, you have to look around and find things to replace the objects you are throwing around, things that feel better. But as you do this, you realize that the new objects don’t feel right either, so you have to replace those, too.

Each time you replace the objects in your hand, you think, “Awesome! That’s the last time I’ll have to replace that thing!” Of course it’s not, but it feels good to think it. And all the while, as you keep replacing those objects, you need to keep everything moving through the air smoothly. And random people walk by and throw shoes and jars of peanut butter and pencils at you. And a midget rides by on a Saint Bernard, shouting “Long Live El Heffe!” And scantily clad women dance in the background. And monkeys. Lots of monkeys.

… midgets are heavy.

That’s pretty much it. That’s what writing a novel is all about.

11/11/09

Group Sects (My Critique Circle)

Dream Sequence: Last night’s dreams had a hundred different story lines, but the most vivid one involved a neighbor’s yard. Apparently there were bodies buried there, with actual gravemarkers and such (as opposed to the bodies buried in my yard, which have no markers and several pounds of lye on them). The newest grave belonged to someone I sort of knew. I looked around and noticed some orange flowers growing on the other side of the lawn, so I picked a few of them to place on his grave. The man’s wife, an older woman, approached me and asked if I had come to pay respects. I said yes, and showed her the flowers, but they had all withered and died. The dream left me feeling icky. 


Join a writer’s group. Go. Now. Do it. Don’t make me yell.

There’s nothing in this world that can help a writer more than joining a writer’s group. And it’s not just the critiques (although the critiques are probably the most quantifiable goodness of the group). A writer’s group is like a hot bath for your creativity; healing, soothing, revitalizing, cleansing, squishy, wavy, fun and dangerous if you fall asleep. Okay, maybe not squishy. And wavy is a little abstract. But everything else applies.

My writer’s group (G.D. Scribes, Repra’sent!) is the monkey’s banana. The best bunch of people you could meet, and an even better bunch of people to write with. No one has had a bigger impact on my novel than these people. And there’s no one in the world who understands what I am trying to do better than these folks. Even if they don’t understand that ‘hammer’ lowercase, is a rank in my novel, and Hammer (capitalized) is a nickname. Bastards, all of you.

… and leave this guy out of it.

So, if you don’t have a writer’s group, get one (I think there’s a sale at Target). And if you live near Fairfield County, Connecticut, let me know. I’ll let you into mine. There’s only three requirements: 1. You are serious about your writing.  2. You are not an asshole.  3. You understand that hammer, lowercase, is a rank in my novel and Hammer, uppercase, is a nickname.

11/7/09

Of Satyrs and Salets

Okay, something that bothers me fierce but could just be a touch of OCD. You’re reading a story, a fantasy story, set in a medieval-England style make-believe world. One of the characters mentions a satyr. Or someone “falls to the earth.” Or a siegemaster is bringing trebuchets to bear on a castle.

Do you see where I’m headed?

A satyr is a Greek word for a creature of decidedly Greek nature. How can someone “fall to the earth” if the make-believe world isn’t called earth. Trebuchets and salet helmets, both French, don’t bother me as much, but I ran out of examples, even though I know there are ten thousand examples that I can’t remember right now because my muse is angry at me for saying I would make her my slave. ((breathe)).

The point is, does it bother you when an author uses a word that is alien to the world that they have created? I know, it’s a little picky. Like I said, I ride the OCD Express when I write. But still. At least use the word Faun instead of Satyr. I think faun is more European.

“Je voudrais un casque du salet, s’il vous plait”

I know fantasy stories involve an understood translation of some sort, but shouldn’t the translation be consistent? Am I the only one who is bothered by this? And what’s the deal with dentistry? Isn’t it time for a revolutionary development in dental technology? Something to replace the old drill-a-hole-in-your-teeth regime? Christ’s sake, what’s it been, like two hundred years? It’s like a race for last place against the internal combustion engine.

11/6/09

Rise, blog, RISE!

Hello … ((tap tap)) is this thing on? Hello? ((tap tap))
Ahem … ah … hello world. My name is Roberto and I’m addicted to writing. My life is hectic to the breaking point, and I was inspired by a blog I saw recently, so I decided to add one of my own, just to see if something snaps.
I’ve been a reporter, a magazine writer and a magazine editor, and I have written creatively for as long as I could string together words. I am on the sixth draft of a novel, which, at this rate, means only another ten drafts or so to go before victory. Victory, in this case, meaning it is finished and I’m not dead.
I’ve been chasing my muse for thirty years or so. And though she’s been awful flirty lately, I am still no closer to understanding her than I have ever been.

Two muses. Better than one!

She’s beautiful, my muse. But cruel. She loves me and mocks me. She’s funny and brilliant and kind, but she has a habit of standing me up. Of leaving me when I need her most.
I’m convinced that one day I’ll master her. I’ll make her my bloodwife, forever at my side, whispering, her head on my shoulder. Subservient to my pen.
Um … I … ah … didn’t mean that. Just jokes, that’s all, baby. Don’t be like that. Come on. Wait … come back. ((sigh))
I’ve, like, gotta go and stuff. Welcome to my blog.