Tag Archives: haiku

The Writer’s Job Description

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WANTED: Writer

The world is looking for an organized and motivated writer to entertain, inform, and affect us. Candidate should be able to elicit a wide range of emotions at the stroke of a few keys.

Skills and Abilities:

Must be proficient in a wide range of plot choices and tropes as well as character quirks and flaws – but make sure they aren’t  too flawed or quirky.

Self motivated, independent and highly-driven to get the words just right is strongly preferred…in the editing stage. In actual writing the eh-eff-it-it’s-good-enough-for-now words are, well, good enough for now.

.An aversion to adverb-filled dialogue tags and purple prose is a plus.

Capability to slaughter your darlings mercilessly with minimal tears is required. And by slaughter I mean move to a Cut or Delete file to use on another WIP. Jeez, we’re not monsters here.

Duties:

  • Maintain extensive knowledge of your characters’ jobs, quirks, personalities, nicknames, clothing preferences, hair and eye colors from two books ago if writing a series.
  • If writing romance, ability to keep track of body parts is a must (avoid the oops he’s got three hands scene). If writing sci-fi, ability to keep track of species, planets, etc. is a must. If writing fantasy, ability to…you get the picture.
  • Elicit customer satisfaction on the endings – if you’re gonna leave a reader hanging on a cliff, a heads up is essential. You can leave them crying or leave them laughing, just leave them satisfied.

Qualifications/Requirements:

Familiarity with grammarology is required. They’re/their/there are not interchangeable.  Ditto for your/you’re.  Those who think otherwise need not apply. You may also silently correct other people’s grammar. To do it out loud is a writer faux pas, also known as being an asshole.

Must be proficient in Word or Scrivener or similar writing program. Long hand scribbling on yellow legal paper is fine but no editor or agent will touch that, so learn it, love it, and BACK THAT SHIT UP. Trust me.  *sighs* June 27, 2016, the day I lost it all (well, most).

Words that strike fear into a writer’s heart: hard drive unreadable. Omg BACK UP YOUR SHIT

 

Must be able to lift 30 pounds of ideas daily and discard 29 pounds nightly without crying…much.

Flexibility to work nights, days, weekends, and lunch hours at our day job for little pay. Enjoy!

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Ability to go days without showering. Maybe that’s just me?

Must maintain plentiful stash of coffee, brain food i.e. peanut M&Ms, and a variety of alcoholic beverages on hand during the sprint to deadline. This task can be passed off to family members who may be frightened of you during this time and looking for an escape anyway.

Proven experience leading and implementing a project across multiple locations, fancy talk for extensive travel to coffee shops, backyards, and libraries with laptop (or yellow legal pads and multiple pens) will be required.

But that moment when the story comes together – omg

It. Is. Bliss.

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That makes it the best job in the world.  Lucky, lucky us.

WRITE ON;

This (now updated) post originally appeared on the awesome Em Shotwell’s blog June 2016. She’s the author of Blackbird Summer. Check her out at emshotwell.com

Dumping the muse

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I don’t have a lot of time today so here’s my haiku for today:

The  elusive muse

dances coyly near then far

Eff off I got this

Blasphemy? Nah.

Fiction writers are fiction writers because of our imaginations, not because of some ethereal muse who may or may not show up when you need it. BREAKING: you are your muse.

Or to be more precise, your brain is your muse. If you loll about on your couch waiting for a muse to sprinkle backstories and plot twists and character flaws down upon you like fairy dust you’ll be lolling and NOT writing.

So you march that idea of a muse right the eff off.

Instead you’ve got to exercise your muse (or more precisely called the cerebellar oblongamakeshitup center, or COC, because it sounds a little dirty and I like it).  Instead of counting steps or reps, it’s butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

But Anna, you wail, I write best when I’m inspired by my muse.

That’s awesome. But also bullshit. Inspiration isn’t an outside force. The call is coming from inside the house. It’s your COC.

For example, when starting a brand new story I love lolling about on my oversize rocker (I now very much love the word lolling ) but my brain is sifting through possibilities. All drawn from experiences and interests and things I’ve read, seen, smelled, heard, tasted, etc.. that make my COC uniquely me.

Just as your COC is uniquely you. No one can write YOUR story, so only you make it happen.

Get them all down – seriously, you WILL forget some – and continue stimulating that COC (what? there’s no way in hell that my main character could be a giant forced into the seedy underbelly of the dwarf-throwing world. Unless…).  Once on paper or on screen you can whittle them down. Sadly, my giant-in-dwarf-world MC didn’t make the cut…this time. But I’m still calling dibs. DIBS.

Just like there’s no crying in baseball, no I in team, no fire without a spark, no place like home, erm, sorry off track a bit.

There is no fairy dust in writing.  So  when you pull an idea from your own COC that is amazing, absolutely freaking perfect for your story, you should happy-dance, do the Kermit flail. It’s a beautiful moment and it’s muse-free.

It’s all you, baby.

WRITE ON;