Friday, December 2, 2011

Just a quickie for the new design and hopefully, the sign of more to come. It's taken a long time, and nearly a decade of self-pity and total lack of self confidence, but I'm finally doing something consistently and with dedication every day. I'm writing a novel, tentatively called Leylined. I've been writing for a couple months and it's 60,000 words long. Is that good do you ask? I have no idea. But I write at least a thousand pages a day and it is working. Is it pulpy sci-fi/fantasy? Yes. Yes it is. Will anyone publish it? Who knows.
The point is to keep writing.
I great motivator was when I heard an interview with a musician (I forget the name) on NPR who had written a novel in a year. While touring, while writing songs, while probably partying his ass off after doing all of those things. Terry Gross (I can remember her name at least) asked him "Wasn't that difficult? Writing a novel in a year?"
He said no. He thought it was actually pretty easy. And why? Because he just wrote everywhere. Wherever he was, he had a notebook and a pen, or something. He wrote on the tour bus, he wrote while they waited backstage, at a bar or something else. Because he wasn't ashamed. Write! Write! Is your idea crazy and stupid? Do you worry if anyone will like it? His story was about a WWI vet whose horse is possessed by a regularly mean-spirited guardian angel. Does that sound absurd to anyone? Does it sound like "hell yes I want to read that shit?"
It didn't to me. Then he read it, and it was beautiful.
Tim Powers is an excellent example of what I am trying to get at. His books are about the most ridiculous, totally absurd scenarios. Vegas cardsharks are wizards? Werewolves threaten time-travellers in victorian London? There's some kind of magic beer? All his books have insane premises, but he makes you believe them. Why? How? Because he could believe it. Because he saw that it was ridiculous, that it was absurd and he said Hell Yes.
And you need to as well. Within reason, perhaps, but have the plots of major hollywood blockbusters been impressing you lately?
Sometimes, a new idea, a strange idea is ridiculous, and is laughable. The supposedly scientific explanation for humor is that it makes our brain work in a different way than usual, challenges our expectations, and surprises us.
So when you tell your friend that you have a crazy idea for a story, or a comic, or a movie and someone says "who would want to go watch that?" and laughs at you?
Challenge their expectations. The best comedians are smart - Dave Chapelle, Eddie Izzard, Jon Stewart. They point out the absurdities in our world, to make people remember that what is normal to us can also be weird, and stupid.
So have faith in yourself. Believe in your world, your story. Because no matter how absurd or strange, if you can feel like its true, then so can someone else.
We are only human, after all.