“Rock the Boat” and Thoughts on Writing

The winner of the “Rock the Boat” short story “Creature suggestion” contest has been decided.  The rest of you poor unfortunate souls are going to have wait until the story is complete to learn who it is.  Sorry, but I’m just cruel.  And actually, I’m not sorry.  I’m sitting in my chair, laughing the laugh of an evil genius.

I’ve not gotten fully into the story, but once I chose the winner, everything started falling into place.  I should be done with it in a week or two, at which point you get to read it.  Fairly soon after that, the artist starts work on the cover and it’ll get delivered. 

But enough with the updates, to the real post for today. 

I’ve been writing fairly regularly for the past week; nothing spectacular, no 2K a day streaks, but definitely steady writing.  In that same time, this last week has been kind of exciting and not necessarily in a good way.  However, after spending three straight hours under the greasy chassis of my awesome 87 Ramcharger and doing assorted other not-so pleasant things, I discovered something.  The more “interesting” your day is, the more you enjoy writing at the end of it.  Also, it makes your writing that much more interesting.

Nobody particularly enjoys dropping a bolt in their eye while jammed under an oil pan; doing it DOES make you a lot happier to be writing rather than pulling wrenches and it gives you so much food for comedy that it’s incredible.  I mean, when was the last time YOU dropped a bolt on your face?  Or discovered that engine oil in your eye doesn’t hurt as much as you expected it to, but more than you wanted it to.

My preferred genre is the action/adventure/comedy blend that I call the “Hunter Stories”.  I’ve never fired a shotgun at a charging rhinocerous-monkey, or made snippy remarks at my arch-rival in the Hunting business.  But the little stuff, the stuff that really makes you laugh, or cringe, or cry… most of that stuff comes from stuff that happens in my everyday life.  The secondary antagonist in “Eye in the Storm”?  Her lightning wit and no-nonsense approach to Hunter’s disarming banter is a dead ringer for my oldest sister’s approach to…. me.  Blowing out a fuse in the middle of a Pyre-ant nest?  Yeah, car fuses can go at the worst possible time… or they could save you 100$ because that expensive turn-signal controller didn’t actually need to be replaced; it was just the fuse.

So, next time you’re complaining because “life” gets in the way of your writing, drop the act.  A REAL writer knows that you don’t have to do research in the library, on the web, or on some pricy “field-research” trip.  A real writer knows that the research, the inspiration, the realism of writing comes from the experience we get everyday.  Learn to use it.

2 thoughts on ““Rock the Boat” and Thoughts on Writing

  1. I agree that real life really does help with writing. Watching people, how they react, how you react, listening to conversations, emotions, etc. all helps with character building. However, I don’t know everything. Such as, the invention of the gas lamp, for instance. Magic, herbs, crystals, healing, all these things I’ve researched as they are a part of the world in my novel. I’ve also done a lot of work on mythology, especially European, which I didn’t know a lot about and is also a major part of my novel. If I hadn’t done the research I don’t think I would have come up with a lot of my other ideas. I research, but also turn a lot of things on their head, and other things I just make up out of the whole cloth of my imagination. Personally, I think writing is a combination of things, but I do know that some authors don’t do any research or very little and some are my most favourite writers with amazing books! It’s all a matter of personal preference. What works for one, doesn’t work for everyone. But, living in front of a computer screen isn’t real life, either. When I travel, or go out, I observe as much as I can, and also take a lot of notes, as my memory isn’t as good as it was, plus there is so much in there, room is at a premium. Maybe I need more shelf space…

    • Yeah, more mental shelf space is always good. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a shop where you can buy more…. :/ Also, as you know, the point wasn’t that you didn’t need regular research, just that we too often forget that the important stuff in a story IS the everyday lessons we’ve learned. 🙂

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