General

#writingcommunity 4 This Sunday

I am again at my fatherโ€™s in Pennsylvania for a few days:

[View out of my dad’s guestroom, Bushkill, PA, this morning, September 15, 2019.]

We went to dinner last night at a favorite place of his:

This visit unsurprisingly puts on hold proofreading my manuscript out loud until I get back to the splendid isolation of the Catskills:

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Helllllllllllo.๐Ÿ—ฃ Uh, is there a world out there? ๐ŸŒŽ Just double-checking.๐Ÿค” . Yesterdayโ€™s fog and rain is gone.โ˜€๏ธ Also just finished some garden work. When you are alone up here… you are really *alone* up here.๐ŸŒฒ๐Ÿ” . Now pondering the universe here briefly, it just dawned on me that – so you know if youโ€™re ever in these parts and are so inclined – seemingly every Catskills town (even tiny Ashland down the road) has a yoga studio. I canโ€™t see myself doing that; itโ€™s not really me. To unwind Iโ€™ll stick to working around the house, walks, and sitting on the porch having a read.๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ˜‚ . #travel #alone #Catskillsny #Windhamny #video #views #mountains #trees #forest #walking #authors #writers #writersofinstagram #authorsofinstagram #expats #humor #books #reading

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So I decided to give the manuscript a rest for a couple of days. What else to do? Hmm. Maybe loiter around the office “water cooler?”

Last night, I made the mistake of scrolling again through #writingcommunity Twitter:

I’m not answering a question like that. Iโ€™m not insane. My wife reads this blog…

โ€œOh, so you like her…โ€

As pleasant as many appear to be – and I am โ€œchummyโ€ with a few – I don’t overall care much what other authors think. And I donโ€™t expect any – “big name” or not – to give a wit about what I think. My view is I care mostly about only readers and what they think, and that they are entertained.

My uncle would sit at his PC and just write whatever came to mind. He would brainstorm. (“So what are we going to do today?” he would ask his characters.) You gotta start somewhere.

I do much the same. I found out also only after doing it that I was also accidentally broadly following the now late Philip Roth’s method. I type and type and after a few paragraphs I may feel I have a good sentence… and after a few more pages, I may think I have a good page… and that good page may not be the first page, but a 35th or even a 217th… and then I write a few more paragraphs… rinse and repeat over and over and over.

Roth explained in a 1984 interview – and if you write, or want to, you should read this in its entirety:

[From The Paris Review, Philip Roth, The Art of Fiction, No. 84, ISSUE 93, FALL 1984.]

The first words I recall I wrote of my first book became part of the New York City subway scene of its eventual seventh chapter.

I decide to buy based on the blurb and the “Look Inside.” I detect too much game-playing in Indie book reviews and pay little attention to them. Very few books are *really* honestly โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ.

โ€œFiveโ€ means to me it canโ€™t have been done even a scintilla better. Is that ever truly the case? I do think the ratings should be 0-10, with 10 tops. That allows for a broader spectrum. A 7 or 8 book would be, to me, excellent and worth buying. A 10 means it should be read for millennia – it is that great and culturally significant.

I have also never written an Amazon review of any book.

When you are finished. It is too late only then.

Until you write the last word, it is still an, uh, open book.

Write it as you want to write it and as you feel conveys the story best.

This obsession we see now with how there is some โ€œone wayโ€? It drives me bananas. Inventiveness is what writing is about, not conforming to someone elseโ€™s idea of a preferred template.

Personally, I find reading too much โ€œI thought,โ€ “I did,โ€ “I ran,โ€ โ€œI jumped,โ€ โ€œI kissed,โ€ on pages gets on I I I I I I I-ing MY nerves. I had some fun with that “first person” POV obsession in my third book…

[Excerpt from Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997, on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

…when I decided to re-present a scene from my first book as perceived and experienced from someone elseโ€™s perspective.

To start, you need a large scope – epic – event as a backdrop and a story driven by a series of interlocking smaller happenings amidst the large scope event.

Take the, uh, say, French Revolution (1789-1795) and drop fictional people into that era:

[Excerpt from Conventions: The Garden At Paris, on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

It is definitely not easy to do – sticking only to one character’s “point of view,” that’s for sure.

I get irritated by being cajoled over who and what my characters should be. Their personal characteristics are what I want and need for my story. If another writer wants those characteristics… well, write them then.

I do also have such female characters… and also others with other characteristics, including, uh, imagine, some – perhaps extra-appropriate here for a Sunday – Christian religion:

[Excerpt from the coming Tomorrow The Grace, on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

And you cannot write a story beginning when characters are age โ€œ21โ€ and have it progress nearly 20 years… and still have them be age โ€œ21โ€.

That’s idiotic.

Or you are writing fantasy, of course.๐Ÿ˜‚

I am not a fan of bad language and my characters use little of it – so when they do there is a good reason for it. It is never f%#^*g about what I feel! Dammit, it is about if it is appropriate from the character at that moment.

And on that note, visiting with Dad, it will be an afternoon likely next of the NFL.

Have a good what’s left of your weekend, wherever you are… and whatever you are reading or writing. ๐Ÿ™‚