Saturday, November 9, 2013

How long will she be dead?

How long will my life be? Will I be dead in the next three or four hundred pages? Or will he forget, or will he make me kill, and then I’ll go to jail and the door will slam and he’ll write “The End” and I’ll be left in limbo for eternity; a true immortal. I ought to find that funny, a triumph for me, the character. I win, you lose. The author dies, but the character, being an idea, can never die. But it’s not funny. It scares the shit out of me. What if he dies before the book is finished? Do I just stop in mid-stride, mid-orgasm, mid-scream, and hang there, freeze-framed until the universe goes cold?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Character in search of an author - character's POV

Nothing I do or say is going to make a difference. He’s already made up his mind. If you look for the word ‘frustration’ in the OED you’ll see my ... no you won’t, because apart form being 5’ 7” with long blond hair and blue eyes, I have no idea what I look like because the bastard has never described me. Oh Christ! My face is a blank. If I look in the bathroom mirror will anyone look back? But that doesn’t make sense: I look in the mirror a dozen times a day. I mean, I must do, mustn’t I? But has he ever said I do? Has he ever said that I looked in a mirror? What would happen if I went back to page one and did it all again? Would I know any more?

Character in search of an author - the author's POV

This woman thinks she’s slipping out of my control. I know it’s generally believed by the gullible public and artsy-farty wannabe writers that characters take on a life of their own and start doing things you don’t want them to. But that’s bullshit. They’re words on paper, figments of my imagination, and they bloody well do what I want them to do. Jesus Christ, they’d better because I made them and I can unmake just as easily. Which way you want to go? Car smash, cancer, a bullet between the eyes, or something really inventive and agonizing like being burned alive as a witch? ‘Cause I can do it, and there’s bugger all you can do to stop me.

     Then again, maybe she is getting a bit uppity and I’ll have to slap her down. I’ll string her along for a couple of chapters and then, wham, out the left field something’ll leave her wide–eyed and gasping and she’ll be bloody sorry she ever screwed with me. I think that calls for a couple of fingers of Scotch. I always write better when I’m half loaded. The words come easier and there are none of those fatuous inhibitions and cringing servility at the altar of political correctness. Fuck political correctness. I write and if you don’t like it, don’t damned well read it. Chuck the book in the fire. Write to the Pope and get it banned – yes, please do that: the free publicity would send sales through the roof.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ode to the Typographical Error

“The typographical error is a slippery thing and sly;
You can hunt till you are dizzy, but it somehow will get by.
Till the forms are on the press, it is strange how still it keeps.
It shrinks down in a corner, and it never stirs or peeps –
That typographical error, too small for human eyes –
Till the ink is on the paper, when it grows to mountain size.
The boss he stares with horror, then grabs his hair and groans;
The copyreader drops his head upon his hands and moans.
The remainder of the issue may be clean as clean can be,
But the typographical error is the only thing you see.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

There are no rules

Despite what everyone likes to tell, and they’re usually people making money out of teaching courses or writing books like this one, there are no real rules to writing fiction. That is, apart from spelling, a modicum of correct grammar, and punctuation to make it readable and to get your meaning across. Note: “Eats shoots and leaves.” “Eats, shoots, and leaves.” And “Eats shoots, and leaves.” You won’t learn how to write from classes. You’ll only learn what someone else thinks. You learn from reading, and writing. You learn from yourself.

The Thrill in Thriller

How do you put the thriller in a Thriller? Conventional crime stories play upon the audience's conventional fears of lawlessness, violence, death. But the Thriller goes far deeper. It reaches into the audience's unconscious mind to arouse the gripping, irrational fear of a fate worse than death, a fate that would make you beg for oblivion. The key to this intense terror is the writer's creation of an extreme offset of power between the underdog protagonist and the ruthless spirit of evil lurking within the antagonist. The greater this imbalance, the greater the thrill in the Thriller.

The Right Words

I'm reminded of a line of Hemingway's. Someone asked him how he knew what to write and how to say it, and he replied that he only used certain words. What words are those, they asked? I need to finish it?