Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Post 900

This being a milestone, I decided to do something special. I considered committing suicide and leaving you all hanging, but that amount of irony is more appropriate for post 1,000. Then I thought about railing against religion, something I haven’t done in awhile, but my blogpals are picking up the slack on that one so instead I’ll blog about a moment of truth I faced last night.

I have noticed that many of you consider yourselves unique. Whenever you blog about your uniqueness, I resist the urge to leave a comment saying “Yes, you are unique – just like everybody else.” I, on the other hand, am truly unique. I know this because it impacts everything in my life and gets thrown in my face constantly. Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy most of the time and I like my myself because I’m superior to all of you in every conceivable way (especially my innate sense of humility), but sometimes I just wish I could fit in with my fellow human Americans instead of defaulting to the group created by the other outcasts. As it happens, I’ve never found a group in which I fit – too weird for “normal” people, and not crazy enough for the truly insane.

My writing (my real writing, not so much the blog) is a true reflection of me. I prefer commercial writing to nonsensical, self-aggrandizing literary claptrap, but I’ve found acceptance in the writing community to be difficult as well. My writing is not incomprehensible enough for me to be hailed as a literary genius gasbag, but it violates many editors’ rules, and yes, the creative community is riddled with rules, not merely guidelines. Ironically, Sci-Fi and fantasy editors tend to be the most old-fashioned and inflexible and many will not accept any work which strays across genre lines, especially if they dip into that most lowly of human inventions (shudder) – humor. If this doesn’t make much sense to you, it’s because I’m eschewing a lot of detail in favor of brevity, or because you’re a moron, or some combination thereof.

As to writing, I’ve always said that if I have to work in Corporate America to pay the bills and write at nights, I won’t consider it a wasted life. I do dream of supporting myself by my writing, but I don’t want or expect fame or riches. The writing is the important thing, and if I can be true to myself and my craft and scratch out a meager living at the same time, I will consider that my personal nirvana.

I’ve been writing a manuscript for a novel – my third and personal favorite – but the writing has become increasingly difficult, and last night I realized why. I don’t plan my writing or write from an outline, so I have little idea where the story will go or how long it will take when I begin, although I do admit I have a vague idea how it will end. I began this novel last November in an attempt to write a short but complete novel (no trilogies, in defiance of the federal laws governing genre fiction), the kind that is easiest to sell for mostly unknown writers (200 – 300 pages). I breezed through the first 50,000 words, then forced out another 30,000. That puts the story at about 280 pages, but it’s nowhere near complete and can’t possibly be told within the confines of a single book. I had begun unconsciously trying to end it while the story was still gaining momentum, despite sensing the presence of other characters standing to the side, awaiting their turn to contribute. Without meaning to, I started a series, one that would be great as graphic novels or serialized chapbooks, but not as a single brick-like offering.

Unfortunately, I’m not in a good place in my life to write this story. Work is busy, and my nights and weekends are already partially filled with studying Japanese. Besides, I don’t want to spend the next several years of my life writing the full story only to put myself in the position of trying to sell my first novel by approaching the publishers and saying “Hey, I just wrote ten books that don’t neatly fit into a single genre (humorous horror). Will you publish all of them?” I feel I need to work on smaller projects at this stage of my life – short stories and simpler novels. With this tale I may be looking at my opus, and I’m not ready to write that.

So, in a difficult but important decision last night, I decided to shelve the book until I’m prepared to face the task. The story will be told (assuming I don’t die in the interim) and it will be told like it wants – no more trying to force this dodecahedron-ical peg into a square hole. I thought I would feel like a quitter, but instead I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted. Cliché, but true.

And with that, all the joy in writing returned. I can’t wait to jump on my next project, whatever it will be.

In closing – fuck the Pope.

38 comments:

Enemy of the Republic said...

I will pass on your offer about the Pope. I've never been able to write a novel--short stories, poems, articles, boring long academic stuff, but a novel, never. Novelle, yes, but I get strange about my fiction--it's really dark and sexual--I wrote erotica, both blogging and professionally for a while, but this stuff really deals with the dark side. I even scare myself after I write it. My poetry has more success because it isn't as dark, but no publisher will go near my fiction even though I get compliments and even suggestions on where to send it. So I suppose I will just die and my son will get someone to publish it, and then I will get my reputation posthumously. At least he'll be rich.

And yes, you truly are unique. We all pale in comparison to your great superiority in every way.

Mr Q said...

I got a buddy who is a struggling writer/director, I mean, he doesn't have a freaking job. I wish I could call him a loser but he has talents that I do not. I work for money, creativity comes second to my basic instincts. I enjoy reading about uniqueness and agree with anybody who thinks they are special, in a short bus kind of way. I can never catch that bus when is leaving, but maybe is better that way, maybe I am better off not going to school and staying a freakin' idiot.

Like your shots man.

fatty ~ said...

i'm too boring and normal to write fiction. i'm the kind that sees things without words, kinda go "look there is the answer, can't you see it? isn't this inspirational?" and have no urge or ability to describe it.
this could be affected by the fact that i think words constrict and confine meaning and shape the intangible - which thereby loses it original shape. Friggin post-modernism at work again.

you're unique, just like everyone else. but if everyone else is unique, i'd rather be weird - which i hope i am. or at least appear weird.

Liz said...

I'm sure you will find some one to jump on quickly. Maybe combine it with your last statement and jump on the Pope.

Congrats on #900. Does this mean #1000 is the end? I want to prepare and buy popcorn if it is.

Doug Murata said...

Write a story about the Pope! And a serial rapist. The two meet and wacky hijinks ensue!

Tracy Lynn said...

Yeah, you may be unique, but your grammar sucks. And hit the spellcheck every once in awhile would ya? For feck's sake.

Tai said...

Fuck the Pope?
Is that an option???

Being a 'dodecahedron-ical peg' myself, I do feel your pain.

Kerry said...

Hopefully during your break from writing... the story will come to you. I've started reading the story you emailed me (sorry its taken so long but been kinda busy this summer). I believe many great writers take years upon years to kick out awesome stories! It will come... and when it does... you better sign my copy!

SJ said...

You are not that unique... I could write pretty much all of the second paragraph about myself.

I have thought about writing but so far never actaully done anything.

SJ said...

Oh and congrats on #900.

~Deb said...

Well congrats on your 900th post. But the question at hand here is, if you did decide to commit suicide, would you leave 'us' hanging...or you? Hmmmm... ;)

While writing my second book, I find that I get into these little lulls that sometimes discourage me. I put the manuscript up on the shelf so to speak, and wait for a rush of inspiration. Busyness and life in general will do it to ya, but a nice hot cup of black coffee or espresso will help you increase 'thought'. Years and years ago they used espresso for writers and editors to give them a little boost for the brain.

I know you're all into that green tea and J-food stuff, but remember, a little ole' cup of Joe could do the trick!

And yes. You are right. You are unique! ;)

Regards,
Giant Atomic Chicken Corporation, CEO

PBS said...

I think writing has a life of its own. My characters came alive and responded to each other in ways that I hadn't planned. An unruly bunch! You are the caretaker of your story, so only you can write to the ending.

GirlGoyle said...

If the expresso should fail, there is always the option of absenthe. I hear it fueled the literary world back in the days and it now legalized. And the Pope isn't my type...so you feck him.

mal said...

I will let you have carnal relations with the Pope...he is not my type

patti_cake said...

Feck the Pope - ugh no thanks.
Grant you ARE unique and I applaud you for coming to this realization. Humorous Horror, what a genre. I'd like to read something sometime. You have my email address.

Angie said...

lmao @ ~deb. Maybe you should try harder to fit in with your fellow Americans, Grant. The resulting insanity may increase your level of unique-ness thus allowing you to finally fit in with an existing group! (yes, the paradox was intentional)

Congrats on #900!!!!

Grant said...

enemy - I've had similar experiences - no really bad rejections, just a lot of editors who say my work isn't for them. Nothing to do but keep plugging away.

mr. q - thanks. Living the life of a struggling artist is not for me. I've been poor before, and it's not a life I want to lead.

fatty - so, you're boring, normal, and weird? Maybe you should write non-fiction. It generally sells better anyway.

liz - I'll have to do something special for #1,000. Go ahead and buy the popcorn.

doug - maybe I could write about the pope being a serial altar boy rapist. Pissing off holy mother church is a good way to sell art.

tracy - any perceived mistakes are deliberate. As a published artist, I get to employ poetic license. Nanny-nanny boo-boo.

tai - yes, it's an option. Use a really huge strap-on.

kerry - okay, go back and re-read the post, reading all the words this time. :p The story is flowing fine, but I'm not comfortable tackling it right now. It feels right for a time later in life.

sj - maybe you're my Indian counterpart. Stay out of America - one of us is all we need.

sj - thanks.

~deb - I'm not facing a lull, or taking a break from writing. I just feel that it's time to work on something smaller. And when I go, you'll probably hear about it. I plan to dress in a cheesy devil costume and take out a church with a suicide bombing. :p

pbs - yeah, I think the best stories are allowed to come alive and be themselves. I don't care for writing from an outline.

girlgoyle - I think I'll stick with German beer and American whiskey.

mal - he is creepy-looking, isn't he?

patti_cake - thanks. I'll send you something soon.

angie - I think everybody should work harder to learn to accept weirdos like me.

Seven said...

Don't think the Pope will go for it....unless you have little boy readers?

JohnB said...

I'd rather try to smash a tetraheadron into a square hole, but that's just me. Good luck...

Doug Murata said...

That could be like his catch phrase or something! "C'mere, Johnny and fuck the Pope. Slow the feck down, Billy, there's enough penis for everyone."

Party Girl said...

Fuckin' A, that's awesome.

Me? No system. It comes, it must be purged out, I wait for the next epiphany, I write some more, I send it out in eager anticipation for the rejection letter.
I am happily and joyfully being rejected in several places now. In fact, I organized my rejection binder yesterday. Ah, the love.

In closing, I think you're fucking awesome. Just sayin'.

krisbtterfly said...

you used my favorite quote "yes, you're unique- just like everyone else". congrats on your 900th post.

p.s. have you been sucked into myspace yet?

Prata said...

If you need someone to strike the final blow during seppuku (as that's the only way I would commit suicide) then my katana and myself are at your service. I've practiced the death blow for nearly 3 years. No, not on people that you can prove...perhaps I've said too much.

On the other hand, I've studied and applied kenjutsu for about 4 years or so now...I won't mess it up promise! I've working on the script for Sakura Dorei, it's coming along nicely now that I have a general form. I write the same way by the by, no outline just run with the story until I feel it's time to end it. I'm sure that's not healthy lol

Grant said...

rick - I had a blogpal who was a baby who smoked, but he seems to have disappeared.

johnb - smashing stuff is fun.

doug - now that's sounding more like a good foundation for an anime series. Get to work.

party girl - thanks. No system rules. Art shouldn't be made like a business presentation or college paper.

krisbtterfly - my favorite quote is from George Carlin. "The existence of the flamethrower is proof that at some time, somebody actually said 'Gee...I'd really like to set those people over there on fire...but they're just too far away."
I have done MySpace, but it seems more for people looking for a hookup instead of exchanging ideas - not really for me.

prata - I think the 50 lbs. of TNT I plan to use won't leave enough behind to skewer with a toothpick, but otherwise you're the first person I'll approach when I decide it's time to die. You're a real pal. A lot of those other jerks would probably try to talk me out of it.

Death Warmed Over said...

I don't plot my writing either. I find it much more interesting to discoer what's going to happen in a story AS it happens. I've written chapters that were complete suprises,and for me that makes writting fun.

And don't quit writing, write something, anything. When I'mtried of writing I alwayspicture my characters standing around waiting for something to happen. WhenI finally feelsorry enough for them, I usually write some more.

Kerry said...

I did read the whole thing. the first time :P

I know you're not 'stuck' but the timing is off because you dont have the time to devote to it and you keep writing and writing volumns of pages... well, taking the break and coming back to it might be what you need.

Was just sayin'

:P

fatty ~ said...

non-fiction? im too irrational and way to bias. not to mention lazy

Enemy of the Republic said...

Doug--way too funny--you made me think of movies about boys going to Catholic School in Ireland; I guess we can call it dark humor, perfect for Grant's page.

Melissa said...

Well done on 900, Grant. You were quite right when you said that a story won't bend to what you want, it has to be told on its own terms. I've found that to be one of the harder tasks of writing.

Joe said...

First of all, congrats on post number 900.

Secondly, if the book is as good as your blog posts, then I'm anxious to read it whenever you find a publisher smart enough to look beyond the norm and publish something a little different.

I was going to suggest that you ask the Pope to intervene on your behalf, but you appear to have burned that bridge.

Kira said...

Is it really horror if it's funny? I think of Evil Dead when I think of funny horror stuff, and the humor sort of sucks the "scared" out of it, ya know?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Oh, I dunno about the SciFi/humor connection. Have you ever read The Stainless Steel Rat series or the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

Good thing you passed on the suicide. I'd say self-immolation is always a hit with the ladies, though.

Just Some Gal said...

Wow...

900 already eh? Thats rather cool. And yeah, you're way more unique than me! ;-) All hail your evilness!

On another note, jump on NBD... She might like that more than being tied up in the closet...

krisbtterfly said...

i'm on right now- check me out if you'd care to. your opinion was my original perception of the site, but as i've browsed around, i've found much more than that. film-makers, artists, musicians... maybe even writers, but i haven't looked into there yet. i've found some great artists that i really like, and even bought some of their work.
come and say hi. :)

http://www.myspace.com/krisbtterfly

Grant said...

death - yeah, structured writing is best left to the classrooms. And I'm not quitting or facing a block - I just don't feel ready to tell that particular tale.

kerry - I'm not taking a break from writing, just that project. Now I'm focusing on getting more short stories in circulation.

fatty - okay then, stick with modeling lingerie.

melissa - thanks. I am brilliant. :p

joe - actually, I think my fiction is far better than my blog posts. I try to keep the blogging as brief as possible, and it's something I just casually toss out with no real effort.

kira - it will be what it will be - I'm not trying to be deliberately funny or scary. Although the two emotions can conflict, I think one can heighten the other if they're not fed to you simultaneously.

saur♥kraut - I've read HHG, which is great. But even with it and other funny sci-fi series out there, many sci-fi editors are reluctant to touch anything they don't consider serious. Some of the most widely circulated magazines have very strict rules about submissions - "Absolutely no humor will be accepted." Ironically, sci-fi and fantasy editors tend to be the most rule-bound.

blondie - keep it up and you'll probably catch me before long.

krisbtterfly - thanks, but I'm happy with just Google blogger. I barely have time for it, so I'm not branching into other online communities.

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