Just Stuff

Yesterday was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday. He was born on September 24, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota:

[David Brown, Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Photo by me, 2020.]

Recalling his birthday led me to want to visit once more with a relatively random few of Twitter’s writers. It can be a useful exercise to think about some of their questions/comments they just “toss out” there. Here we go:

I wrote it in secret.

Seriously. If you are new here, I started writing it to prove to myself I could write a book as my uncle did. (He had been a published crime novelist since the early 1980s.) I had always felt I could. (And by the end of the 1990s he was telling me I should write a book based on my experiences.) By 2012 I decided on a fictionalized memoir because about that time I had read online some agent declare that he was being inundated with memoirs and fed up with it and wanted writers to know that unless you are, say, “Nelson Mandela,” no one cares about your life. He urged writers: DO NOT write a REAL memoir. He added, though, that if you are still determined to use personal happenings that you should in particular jazz it up where matters may not be all that interesting to an outsider. Simply, write it all as fiction.

Not wanting anyone else to know what I was trying (in case I made a complete mess of it), I tap tap tapped away before the TV with my Microsoft Surface in my lap, or in our office at home here in England, or at “5 AMs” on my desktop PC when we were spending a lot of time (during 2012-13) over in upstate New York. When I finally – probably six months into it – told my Mrs., she was stunned. She was the first one to read the full manuscript… and suggested that I email it also to a girlfriend of hers for a more objective view.

And that was where it all started.

One of my problems over the years has been I (although American) may inadvertently mix British-English and American-English and I am on guard about that when I write. In fact that English girlfriend of my (English) wife’s was the one who warned me that she noticed I was using both haphazardly in the narrator – which led me to go back and make sure I wrote the narrator in American. A major English woman character in that first book of course speaks in British-English, too.

Sometimes, though, something may just slip by. Yes, “towards” is rather more British usage and “toward” is more North American. But the distinction is not as obvious as, for instance, “labour” or “labor.”

All in all, it is probably a better use of one’s time being “pet-peeved” about something else.

No. Any “roadblock” should be viewed as an opportunity. You would be surprised what new ideas might flow around it… and thus by the time you are done it will look like you planned it that way. 🙂

That sounds a lot like someone else.

Who said it first?

Uh, that is not what this writing thing is about.

Who are you? Dear Leader in the White House? LOL!

There is no reason to put out a devastating negative review for a friend. If you do that, they won’t be your friend any longer. Better to discuss it with them privately – and to attempt to be constructive.

As for a stranger, it is entirely up to you – and your conscience.

For the record once more, I have never formally reviewed a book online – at Amazon, or anywhere else – in my entire life.

I cannot write outdoors. When I have tried, I keep thinking it is bad for the eyes – a bright sky combined with a bright screen. It is not good.

If you are using a non-screen – a typewriter, a pen, or a quill – I suppose writing outside is fine.

I was not upset when I started writing, for example, this…

[An excerpt from Frontiers: Atlantic Lives, 1995-1996. Paperback. Copyright 2014. Photo by me, 2020.]

…but I was upset (again, recalling it, nearly two decades after the event) by the time I had finished it.

It comes from a real experience, about a real airline disaster.

That disaster possibly changed the course of my life.

Don’t “give up.” Just take a break.

Meaning perhaps a Dean Koontz book vs. War and Peace.

I write what I like to read and hope others will like to read because there is no way to write for every reader’s taste.

If that makes sense.

I use Word.

In my most recent one a seventy-four year old version of him is being told by his seventy year old wife to help their twenty year old Irish housemaid coax an uncooperative horse into the stable.

I do not know. I save my files based on date, but do not always change the date if the changes I make are not major. So I guess I have probably about “500” date files per book by the time I finish.

I write about difference, friendship, family, love, travel, war, death, faith, and the passage of time…

[Amazon.com Author page. Screen capture by me, September 24, 2020.]

You know, just stuff. 😉

Have a good weekend, wherever you are. 🙂