June 12th, 2005


Don't call me Leiningen

Really, a slow week in the country.

The cold and cough I picked up at/after BEA is still bugging me; I've had better weeks. I was feeling somewhat better yesterday than the days before, but I spent a portion of that feeling better rushing off in all directions in search of "safe" anti-ant measures. According to a half dozen stores and any number of fellow searchers, ants are *a really bad problem* this year in Central Maine.

Yesterday's heat was a drag on me and it didn't help me sleep... but you probably don't need a full Pepysian monologue, and besides, I have no interesting maids to sneak off to and coyly mention in passing... meanwhile the Orioles got bombed yesterday -- let's hope they'll make up for it today.

The writing goes slow as well. I've made up my start file for The Tomorrow Log follow-on; I've got a very broad outline in place; and I've got some of the big ideas identified and placed over top of the outline to remind me.

I find that talking (or writing) about writing sometimes precludes getting any writing done. In the last week or so I've been drawn into a several online discussions of writing, discovering along the way that I'm still wanting to get that chapbook about character done -- even after giving up because so much of what I wanted to discuss has been said -- piecemeal -- elsewhere.

But, to a point, the writing about writing and talking about writing this week has covered two extremely different facets of writing. The recurring discussion of characterization shows that new writers often seek short-cuts and gimmicks instead of working on better insight about their own characters. I can understand wanting to open the manual to the "young female protagonist in trouble" section of the three ring binder and just follow the standard outline.... but if you do, you're asking extruded character. This isn't to say you shouldn't read the section and understand it, but it means knowing that changing the hair-color just isn't enough to differentiate one YFPIT from another.

The other facet under discussion (widely, it seems) is payment for writers and the continued and perhaps accelerating habit of calling non-paying outlets for words "markets."

Alas, I write for money. I'm glad I can since I tend to write anyway, but really, asking someone to give away their effort and saying it's OK because they'll get exposure, or that it's for a good cause, is a sort of feckless way to give-up in the face of frustration. Too, I think it leads to a casual "This is good enough to give away" evaluation of a writer's own work, thus short-circuiting creativity, originality
and growth.

Well, saved by the bell. Dinner time.
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