Sunday, November 9, 2008

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self

Jesper gave me some grief about not writing enough, over drinks on Friday night. Fair enough. See, I'm more of an editor than a writer, really, in the sense that I'm very bad at writing sprees and can't put anything to paper or hard drive without thinking it through over and over.

First thing's first. Writing spree? I'm not sure where the term originated, but it's used within the context of my creative writing class, where it signifies the act of putting pen to paper and just writing, writing, writing. The point of a writing spree isn't to write anything good or worthwhile, the point is writing. Anything. Any words that come to mind, even if it's just “I can't write for shit. I can't write for shit. I can't write for shit”.

Now, as I said, I'm not a writing spree person. Why? Because I can't live with writing something that I don't like. Everything I put down must be worth something to me.

In some ways, I can find the essence of this in a quote from Stephen King's “On Writing”:

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair--the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.

I don't come lightly to the blank page. I need an idea, or a character, or something, ready in my head, to be able to sit down and write. Usually I turn this one thing, maybe a paragraph or a plot or something, over and over in my head for days before I commit anything to actual words. I over-analyze everything.

I have maybe two or three dozen embryos of stories sloshing about on my laptop. I'm going to let you people decide which one of the following I'm going to finish and polish and try to get published. Yes, published. Not here, on my blog, but for a literary website of some sort.

The stories are:
- Love at Stake. A man believes his new-found girlfriend is a vampire.
- Aquarium. A guy buys an aquarium that includes a miniature Bermuda triangle.
- The Weird and Wonderful Hair of Mrs. Atkins. A woman, with bizarre hair, finds magic in her attic.
- Roof Top. Two strange men meet on a rooftop on New Year's Eve of 1999.
- The Word Thief. A man kills another man, because he believes he is stealing letters and words from the world.

Right. Which one then? Or rank them. Or whatever. Let me know.


eva said...

Hm, klurigt jag vill ha mer av alla.
Min ranking är som följer:
1. Love at Stake (jag är svag för en bra vampyrhistoria)
2. The Weird and Wonderful Hair of Mrs Atkins
3. Aquarium
4. The Word Thief
5. Roof Top

Jesper Bylund said...

Jag röstar för The Word Thief! Skulle gärna läsa någon/några av dom andra men vill inte dela upp fokus. Jag tror du som känner kreativ ångest skulle kunnna nå långt in i en person som får psykos över saknade ord. :)

Eh.. That's actually a compliment, just to make things clear.

Martin said...

Aquarium eller The Word Thief låter mest spännande spontant!

EGE said...

I'm choosing C. Because I can't imagine a. how hair could be all that bizarre, and b. if it were, why you would also need magic in the attic!

Anonymous said...

Aquarium or Word thief, or the hairy lady!

beardonaut said...

And the winner is *drum roll* The Word Thief. With Aquarium and Mrs. Atkins' hair closely behind, Love at Stake fairly far behind and Rooftop laughably last.

Thanks for the input. I will keep you posted on progress.