Mighty John F.D. Taff, Wordsmith & Wordwesson, graciously invited me to be a part of this pass-along the blog thing.
I'm not sure what this is really called. You DO NOT want to know what I think #FF means on Twitter. Or a Hashtag, for that matter. In any event--except the Internet going down globally--below I answer 4 questions regarding my Writing Process.
John Taff provided his answers to these queries in this post at his blog last week. Read his words. Live by them. See where that gets you. Then check mine out, or not. And then go check out Adam P. Lewis, who will be posting next Monday (April 21st), whether or not you checked mine out or not . . .
I working on?
A novella for a 4-author anthology. As with all great ideas, my fellow author John F.D. Taff came up with the concept whilst occupied within a bathroom stall. I think. Anyway I like to imagine it thus. Or I don't even like it, but I've got no choice, that's the way it occurs to me. Written on the wall of the stall, John saw the ominous declaration:
I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD
This phrase stuck in his mind, like skin to a rash. Finally he can't take it anymore! He must contact J. Daniel Stone, Joe Schwartz, and the Guy I call "I," and suggests we each pen a novella with the same title:
I CAN TASTE THE
Now we're each working on our pieces for this eventual collection.
It's strange, because a novella of mine just came out in The Chapman Books, another shared-theme anthology, along with cool novellas by Adam P. Lewis and Aaron French.
So I guess I am Novella Guy now. Which makes me think of Nova Scotia, only far less so. Anyway I think the novella is a great format, often superior to the novel proper and La-la-la, here's my big opinion, La-la-la, and &c.
So what is my:
I CAN TASTE THE
BLOOD novella about?
It's in progress . . .
But I can say it involves large quantities of the following materials:
*The only Stillbirthing Center in the Nation
*A cage, inhumanely overcrowded with rabid creatures, fighting to eat
the living, human head that wears said cage tight round about it as a
deep-sea diver's helmet.
*Mandibles, mandibles and more mandibles
my work differ from others of its genre?
My work differs because on my summer vacation I did this and that and this and yours was a different summer, a different vacation, sucked worse or rained more or I don't know.
I love horror (when, like anything else, it's done right). But I also love Pynchon and Mikhail Bulgakov and Tony Burgess, and cheesy Fu-Manchu novels. And they all influence me in one way or another. So I don't think in terms of genre. I am a writer and happen to have a naturally dark imagination, so it's natural I've gotten most of my work published in the horror genre press—alongside some great authors, incidentally.
And excerpt from my draft-in-progress of . . . I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD:
What am I?
You could say “Ghost" for lack of a better word—
but isn’t every word used for lack of a better one?
—or "Man with Moments for a Face"
I had a body once, never recovered,
but covered and recovered with tight-lipped Dirt,
deepest dark in the sun, deepest dark in the dark . . .
The whole world oblivious to its unwavering devotion
truest deity, to whom the greatest obeisance is lack of homage,
such that you can't offer anything to It but Itself . . .
I write what I do?
In a recent interview (at the wonderful Ginger Nuts of Horror site) I describe how, each time I sit down to write, I feel like:
"If this is IT, I might as well go out with a Bang to remember me by . . . Go ahead—try to jump across the East River, go ahead and drown, DO IT ! But don't just bloat and bob under the Brooklyn Bridge. Make sure that once in the water, the clothing sloughs off your corpse in stages, and discovered in a corresponding serial fashion: They find your shirt on a narrow strip of sand. Then your undershirt a mile downriver. The next day, it's your socks caught by a fishing line, and soon afterwards, your shoes wash up somewhere, followed by your pants snagged on a jetty. . . And then, finally, a week later they get the whole naked body near the sewage treatment plant. As though you weren't a suicide at all, but an accomplished striptease-artist."
your writing process work?
Huh? Hubba What?
Why are you sitting at the keyboard like this?
You have not a freaking clue, so you write a few sentences.
You walk around.
Come back to the keyboard. There's not a single question in your head, you are certain as an expiration date—And yet you don't know what to do.
Erase all the sentences.
Write a few more sentences. These are OK.
The plot is always a draft.
You're not constructing a house or handing in a 2nd Quarter Revenue To-Date report.
You are sort of building, sort of composing, sort of reporting, being shady, self-engrossed . . . The plot is a special kind of draft that is equally inexplicable and revelatory at the same time.
Don't think about why you are writing. Sweet Babies, man!— throw psychology out the window but keep reality firmly in place. You know . . . that place. Where it goes. I mean stays.
Suddenly phrases pop in your head: My God, did you ever realize our tears are the same color as the air that's all around us? and
INAPPROPRIATE SPLENDOR . . . Good Title? Credo?
You hope these become important. You just need to wait.
Notice the plot has completely changed, as has the principal actors. Also the tone is different. Like all you have to do is turn your front, and it's been replaced . . .
Remember, no matter how old you are: Your parents have NOTHING to do with this . . .
Oh . . . here comes that boredom that obscurely—yet very loud-and-Clearly—threatens violence against your existence.
Let a few days go by. Weeks, months. Six years, even.
I accuse Bullshit on
“Write every day!” and “Whatever you start, finish it!”
Get back to the story and you suddenly don’t care—So Dump It.
DO NOT CONTINUE.
Would you sit through a three-hour director's cut of D.C. Cab?
I accuse Bullshit on
“Always write in the 3rd person!”
As though anyone has any idea who they are anyway—as though “I” is not just a 3rd person, named "I" and with given nick and surnames.
Doodle a character, a scene, a place . . . Work when you haven't eaten for a long time, drift into a light-headed state . . . two or three sentences worth keeping come out of this.
Get insomnia because there are so many ideas flowing you can’t stop it, and you are delighted but tired; it’s like you are astrally projecting with three hundred pound weights tethered to your chakras. Suddenly, in these moments nobody would ever want to share with you, you become acutely aware that these are the moments you are dying to share with someone. Even people you will never know.
I accuse Bullshit on
“Never start a sentence with Suddenly!”
What, nothing ever happened to you suddenly?
Suddenly, CHANGE THE ENTIRE PLOT.
I told you, psychology OUT THE WINDOW!
Psychology is theoretical, pragmatic, developed with specific purposes in mind.
Reality, on the other hand, doesn't care what you think.
It's reality you're interested in here.
Patient, be patient.
Raise your arm like a conductor before the orchestra.
THERE ARE NO RULES –
BUT IT WILL BE OBVIOUS IF YOU ARE CHEATING.
Sit at a computer, pay no attention to hundreds of pages of extensive notes you wrote up on paper; observe and thrill as your mind leads you in a new direction that has nothing to do with those copious handwritten ideas that you'd been considering the basis of "The Story" until now.
I declare Bullshit upon
“Write what you know!”
Who knows what the hell you know? Certainly not you.
This isn't like sitting down for a long-overdue heart-to-heart.