I recorded a video wherein I drive and ramble about the role of self-doubt in a writer’s life. TL;DR, it has no role. But you knew that, didn’t you?
Category archive: Writing
February 19, 2020
Raylene Kim for Lincoln Continental, Umbra, California
I ran into an old friend earlier this week, and after we’d caught up, I asked him for his email address so we could stay in touch. When he told me it was email@example.com (not his actual address), I thought it was some kind of joke. I pressed him on why he wasn’t using his full name with a reputable email provider, and he replied with a question: when did it become uncool to remain anonymous?
In a moment of panic, the overloaded server, unable to tell Danny from Tanzy, striped their bits in an alternating sequence in a single location, such that for a brief, wonderful cpu cycle, Danny felt closer to Tanzy than all the matter in the universe seconds before the big bang. He smelled her perfume, felt the memory of her tattoos climbing her legs, and somehow, like a second conscience, heard the soft, childlike voice of Cleo pitch to shrill alarm as she tried to warn of some ill-defined danger in a nearby construct, one close enough to swallow the echoes of her screams.
One of the best things about Stephen King’s On Writing is the way he breaks down scenes and tells you how they were constructed. Being told not to use adverbs is great and all, but really getting into the mind of a good writer and seeing the process behind the art can be an invaluable experience. That is why, when I stumbled upon this article, The Philosophy of Composition by Edgar Allen Poe, in which he breaks down the construction of one the greatest poems ever written, I stopped what I was doing and read it through completely. Twice.
In this episode of Late to the Game, I want to talk about a game I purchased on sale and loaded on a whim and then stayed up way too late playing for several nights in a row. We won’t be discussing the game itself, but rather the story that drives the gameplay, a story that, if I may be so bold, supports my claim that all great Science Fiction writers should play video games and their wives should let them.
Brains are unreliable, not that they’d ever admit it. A perfect example can be found in the proofing of a novel. Even on the tenth or twentieth read-through of a work-in-progress, you can still find typos and missing words and the like. And why? Because the brain has had enough of your piddly story, and in an effort to get back to thinking about how that drinking bird toy works, starts glossing over your text and missing the mistakes. Fortunately, there is an answer in technology.
I listen to a lot of Children’s music, and it got worse when El Matador was born. Usually, it’s just playing in the background as an alternative to the black silence that will someday consume us all. I’m a big fan of Charlie Hope and Caspar Babypants, but a song that recently caught my ear was called Marzidotes in Pandora. If you stop bathing your child and actually listen to the words, you’ll realize you’re hearing nonsense. And then it gets interesting.
As an author, it’s important to see the characters you create as real people. That may sound like a contradiction, but it’s true: if you don’t consider your characters as humans with feelings and thoughts and motivations, your readers won’t either. I don’t think this is a controversial opinion, but I also don’t think anyone with a normally functioning brain can pull it off. To write multiple people, you have to be multiple people. Forget the duality of man; embrace the infinity of identity.
It’s a beautiful night for writing. Jack is in the Coke, treason is in the air, my fingers are in the mood to fly, and also Jack is in the Coke.
I don’t use the highlight feature on my Kindle very often, and when I do it’s usually for something funny or interesting I want to remember. Sometimes, it’s for a sentence or paragraph I find particularly literary and beautiful and poetic, though that is rare when reading contemporary works. Last night, after a shitty day to end all shitty days, I opened my Kindle to continue reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and stumbled upon the most arrestingly beautiful line I think I’ve ever read.