Thursday, February 5, 2009

Adequately Laid Plans

So one of the purposes of this blog was to keep me honest about a writing schedule. I figured if hypothetical people were keeping track of how much I hypothetically wrote, it would motivate me to write more, hypothetically speaking. This is requiring, of course, that I update the blog on a regular basis.


The past couple of weeks have been pretty dramatic, both at work and at home, and only some of that drama was useful for the short story I'm writing right now. Pacifying drama is a very necessary skill for a writer to have, but difficult to cultivate.

In real life, you want to calm things down first off, identify the source of the problem, and find a way to correct it that leaves all parties walking away sated, if not happy. In writing, especially fiction, this is exactly the opposite of what you want to do. Action movies would have muscle-bound guys speeding towards grocery stores before the last Cadbury egg was bought, political and medical dramas would be a bunch of smiling people agreeing with each other, and the soap opera genre would be dead. Dead. Without emotionally driven people devoid of empathy to take things out of proportion and mess things up for the maximum number of people involved or not, most fiction would read like a stereo insturction manual. I don't care if it's written in iambic pentameter from the perspective of God-King Xerses and penned in the blood of a dragon, an instruction manual is not the aspiration to shoot for.

It should not be surprising when you read about a writer or any artistically-thinking person acting like a moron and throwing away what appears to be a wonderful career. Odds are it's because of some clusterfuck of a personal situation that probably never would have happened if someone had said, "Well, I can maybe see you point..." six months prior. Drama sells. Drama has a wide audience. People love to see drama if for no other reason that to identify what they have successfully avoided in their lives. And if an artist is able to understand and present drama well enough to sell, the risks that they won't be able to handle real life drama responsibly go higher than Amy Winehouse locked in a hospital pharmacy. (Okay, that was a cheap shot well out of date, but you get the idea, right?)

This is not a confession to some grand error in judgment on my part that is leading me away from writing and to hermitage in Montana, though I understand that's a good place to go for such things. It's as much a reminder to myself as a warning to any hypothetical readers: there's a distinct difference between fiction drama and nonfiction drama, and handling both right is crucial to prosperity and very likely posteriors.

By the way, I'm 4,139 words into the story, and I could easily have enough written by the end of the day to start showing my test people. Occassionally I manage to do what I say.

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