In today’s Journal
* Why Does Anyone Believe Anything We Say?
* Of Interest
Why Does Anyone Believe Anything We Say?
A fiction writer, by definition, is a liar for hire. Why does anyone believe anything we say?
Lawrence Block (IMHO, with Stephen King the other Stage 5 writer working today) even came completely clean. He wrote a nonfiction book titled Telling Lies for Fun and Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers. (The paper edition is actually less expensive than the Kindle edition at the moment.)
I understand there’s an unwritten agreement, that it’s all right, even preferable, to lie when writing fiction, but not when writing nonfiction. So a blog for example. Or in my case, this Journal.
But who knows? Everything I’ve ever written in this Journal might be a lie. At this very moment, there might not even be a manuscript tentatively titled The Stirchians. I might not be on the 26th writing day today. I might never have written so much as a word. I might have simply made it all up.
In fact, I might have made it all up every morning, then piled into my pickup, driven to a lake, and spent the balance of the day fishing. Indeed, some days I wish I had. Unfortunately, I don’t wish it strongly enough to actually get up and do it.
Instead, I check websites, add links to “Of Interest,” and compose the rest of the most recent edition of the Journal. Sometimes, when I have very little to say, I skip it. More often, I write some silly little bit like this, then publish it, then swivel around in my chair to my writing desk and—start putting new words on the page.
And none of those words in any combination comprise lies. I promise. (Well, unless this is.) Instead, they comprise the truth of the story that my characters, not I, are actually living. Maybe they’re in my mind. Maybe they’re in another dimension that I’m fortunate enough to be able to access with my creative subconscious.
Well, you know, once I’ve set aside my disbelieving critical mind. Because the true purpose of the conscious, critical mind is to safeguard us. But (ahem) Nothing In My Characters’ Story Can Possibly Hurt Me, so what would my critical mind be protecting me from? What purpose would it serve to allow my critical mind to second guess everything? Or anything?
I just pull aside the edge of a curtain and peek into the life (story) my characters are living as it unfolds.
For an instant, most of the time, the characters are all standing around on the stage amidst boom mikes and little rolling carts (one of which carries a coffee maker and a stack of Styrofoam cups and little blue and pink and yellow and white packets of sweetener but, strangely, no powdered, non-dairy creamer), and cameras and camera operators.
As they enjoy light conversation and cups of coffee, grips are coming and going, and various assistants with clipboards and microphone-equipped headsets (and elevated opinions of their importance) are moving about jerkily here and there as if looking for someone who (psst) Doesn’t actually exist.
To one side, nestled among power and data cables strewn hither and yon across the stage floor, a director is slouched, probably drunk again and soundly asleep, in his folding chair.
Then one of the characters notices me in his periphery. He freezes a tiny bit, then turns away again, a little conspicuously, as if to convince me he’s seen nothing. But he (slightly too stiffly) takes another sip and whispers beneath slightly raised eyebrows, “Don’t look now, but that guy’s back.”
And the coffee cups and sweetener packets and the coffee maker and the little rolling carts and the cameras and camera operators and boom mics and grips and assistants disappear. The director might actually still be there, but if he is, who cares?
The characters flash into action and the vacuum sucks me onto the stage even as it’s transforming into the next setting. And we—the characters and I—race through the strains of the story, them flashing through dialogue and from scene to scene and setting to setting and me doing my level best to keep up and Just Get It All Down.
Of course, I might have made all that up too, but I don’t think so.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Humans to live on the moon by end of this decade” at https://interestingengineering.com/science/humans-to-live-on-moon-nasa.
See “Coming Clean” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/coming-clean/.
See “Negotiation Secrets for Writers” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/11/negotiation-secrets-for-writers.html. Not about contracts.
See “When It Comes to TikTok, Authors Must Manage Their Expectations” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/when-it-comes-to-tiktok-authors-must-manage-their-expectations/.
The Journal…………………………………… 770 words
Writing of The Stirchians (novel, tentative title)
Day 21… 2621 words. Total words to date…… 42178
Day 22… 5133 words. Total words to date…… 47309
Day 23… 1240 words. Total words to date…… 48549
Day 24… 4535 words. Total words to date…… 53084
Day 25… 2867 words. Total words to date…… 55951
Total fiction words for November……… 29842
Total fiction words for the year………… 191367
Total nonfiction words for November… 15470
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 191100
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 382467
Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 68
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: Because It Makes Sense, I preach trusting your characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living. Duh. This practice greatly increases your productivity and provides the fastest possible ascension along the learning curve of Craft because you get a great deal more practice at actually writing. This is not opinion. It is all numbers and facts.