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 Posted:   Jul 28, 2007 - 6:05 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

We have a number of writing threads, I just wanted to see how long we could keep a general writing thread going.

So--who's writing? Who's looking for an agent, a market? Anyone blocked? Hints, questions, suggestions, favorite techniques or writing books?

Anything goes.

 Posted:   Jul 28, 2007 - 11:47 AM   
 By:   scorechaser   (Member)

I love writing! I still dream of writing a novel someday, and I am, as you know, always keeping a lookout at good stories for screenplays.
Writing is somehow always on my mind. I absolute live for it.


 Posted:   Jul 28, 2007 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   scorechaser   (Member)

If you allow, Mr. Walsh, let´s extend the question to who our writing heroes are...

 Posted:   Jul 28, 2007 - 12:33 PM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

If you allow, Mr. Walsh, let´s extend the question to who our writing heroes are...

Oh wow, is the internet big enough for that?

My first writing hero was, on reflection, either the best one I could have had or the absolute worst.

I speak, of course, of Harlan Ellison.

 Posted:   Jul 30, 2007 - 12:39 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

You asked for it, you got it re Writing Influences:

1. Lorraine Hansberry.

2. Gore Vidal.

3. Donald Hamilton.

4. John Russell.

5. Wislawa Szymborska.

6. Walter Kerr.

7. Peter O'Donnell.

8. Steve Gerber.

A'course, this list is always expanding - and we haven't even included everyone - since we're learning how little we know each and every day as new visionaries appear.

But we make no distinctions for genre or field of expertise - merely how they blazed the trail and showed us the only limitations are the ones we lasso (and lynch) ourselves with ...

 Posted:   Aug 3, 2007 - 12:27 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck comics were the first comic books that made me think "What the heck is going on here?" It's not just the humor alone, because that I was used to--it wasthe combination of humor with his ability to make one care about the characters.

He did this in his Man-Thing issues, too, though I don't think he was right for The Defenders (a comic book series which, to me, never found its proper tone. It got really weird around issue 50, I believe it was, with the Zodiac--not sure if that was Gerber, but the weirdness was just getting tedious.)

Interesting choices, NeoT. It's always fun to look at one's influences.

Ellison is the writer I patterned myself after in terms of being a person who writes. As for writers who have been influential on me, it's very hard to nail down. The Russians (you know the ones I mean), Conrad, Victor Hugo, Andre Norton, H.G. Wells, Poe--all were early influences.

But two gay writers were enormous influences on me, along with Thomas Pynchon, Donald Westlake, and John Crowley, in the early 80's when I started to find my own fiction style. The lesser of those two was John Rechy, whose books of his gay sexual experiences are written in a vivid, almost garish style that made me see that one could write purplish without falling into fantasy. (I haveo nly recently discovered Lovecraft and his ilk, though I've been reading Clark Ashton Smith for a long while.)

The other, major influence on my writing (though not my STYLE) was Samuel R. Delany. I read his DHALGREN in high school and the setting was amazing, but when the homosexual scene occurs, in a science fiction context, I realized that THIS was what SF SHOULD be--not just spaceships and rayguns and fun action, but something actually challenging to one's being. As the novel progresses, issues of urban decay, poverty, minority community and others are added--this was just amazing stuff to a kid who didn't want to just write escapist junk. Everything he wrote after Dhalgren was a disappointment until his marvelous memoir THE MOTION OF LIGHT IN WATER.

Hemingway, Ethan Canin, Cheever, Shaw, many other, mostly American male writers were big influences, but there was also Danilos Kis, Borges, many British ghost story writers.

My reading background is heavy on American genre writing, but another huge influence would be Pauline Kael, like Delany more about ATTITUDE than style.

Reading these people who are very different from me (they grew up, variously, in the west, the south, the Bronx, were female, gay, black, liberal) proved to the younger me that all this crap about "dead white males" was bullshit--your skin color or gender didn't determine the quality of your work (which some people need reminding goes for white males, too), only the effect the work had on you determined that.

 Posted:   Aug 3, 2007 - 12:37 AM   
 By:   Michael Arlidge   (Member)

I've been writing a non-fiction book for a very long time, but of course other things keep distracting me, precluding me from completing the project. I've shown a rough draft (approximately 225 pages) to a couple of trusted people, and they are of the opinion that it's a decent effort. Time will tell whether they're right, or even if I manage to finish the damn thing.roll eyes

 Posted:   Aug 4, 2007 - 1:46 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

My biggest writing problem is focus.

I can sit here typing away like mad, but I have a huge problem finding "my" genre, or the type of book I want to write.

So I pop on a CD and write a story to some soundtrack. It's easy to focus for a couple hours.

 Posted:   Aug 11, 2007 - 1:03 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

I stumbled on this quote which has really inspired me:

"The purpose of fine art is to say, "Gee, this planet's not so bad.'"--Warren Zevon

 Posted:   Aug 11, 2007 - 9:13 AM   
 By:   TominAtl   (Member)

I've written 2 short film screenplays, and attempted a full length many moons ago.

For work, I've written an Operations Manual and many operation procedural memos.

In all humility, I've been asked by previous and current bosses and fellow writers and such "Why in the hell am I working at my 'going nowhere' job and do more creative writing?" I've wondered that myself. Writing a screenplay is quite easy once I start it but...ITS THE GETTING STARTED that's tough. I will admit that I am lazy as shit. I've also have always wanted to write a fictionalized account of the drama that ocurred for 2 decades between my mother and my sister. My excuse for not writing regularly is "I'm too damn tired after work" and "I don't have the time".

I may or may not have the talen, but it seems the ambition is lacking. Damnit!


 Posted:   Aug 11, 2007 - 9:22 AM   
 By:   TheSeeker   (Member)


 Posted:   Aug 13, 2007 - 12:08 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

If you have the desire to write, you'll write.

Sounds to me like you're surrounded by people who would LIKE you to write. Do YOU want to write--or just to have written?

We all have the same 24 hours each day. I've never, ever bought the "I don't have time" thing--if you want it, you'll do it. If you won't, you won't.

Don't beat yourself up about someone else's dream for you. Decide to write and write, or decide not to, and don't.

 Posted:   Aug 17, 2007 - 1:39 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

Yesterday I read a quote from some writer, not sure who, who was asked why she writes. Her answer was because while writing should support freedom and justice, we can only name one or two which have actually CHANGED anything in the world. So, in her view, writing was fun, and that's about it.

I actually tossed the book back in its place and dismissed her for her sentiments (I don't want to even paraphrase her politically-tinged comments) and crankiness, but after I realized she had a point.

 Posted:   Aug 17, 2007 - 2:08 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)


Another fine contribution!

 Posted:   Aug 17, 2007 - 2:09 AM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)


Another fine contribution!


 Posted:   Aug 17, 2007 - 11:36 PM   
 By:   JSWalsh   (Member)

I've been enjoying working with some of the students at my residential school using prompts.

One of the best resources for building focus is to play a film music CD and have the student listen and write along, trying to form some kind of narrative.

For myself, I just downloaded a bunch of art and am working on a story based on the images--when I run out of ideas based on one, I move on to the next.

 Posted:   Sep 9, 2007 - 5:55 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

"... a fact you ought to learn very early as a writer and usually (because, I guess, it's too early) cannot: ENERGY - whether born of love or hatred or need, whether it is driven by what others call good or whether profound in its selfishness, whether the writer who possesses or is possessed by it may seem, at last, indecent or heroic - energy (call it passion, call it focus, say intensity or drive) is huger than craft and is what will matter most in the lives of readers.

... Life is long and art is hard, and craft is the harmonica hummed at by critics. Craft is the xylophone made from something's rib-cage and played on with sticks in dissertations. Craft, of course, does matter. Like the bones and cartilage of ribs, it keeps the flesh of fiction from folding in and draping itself damply over the lungs, the heart. But the heart is invented, and required to beat, by talent and by energy and no one can give or teach either.

... None of us teach the other of us how to write. No one can teach us how to love. One can buy those manuals about placing that part of your body here, so your lovemaking partner can place her whatchamacallit thus - but, so very obviously, you cannot get her to love you that way, and neither of you may be able to sleep with gladness afterward.

Technique is so very far from love; narrative passion is the same long distance from craft.

... The simple, horrible and undeniable fact is that no one can teach us to be good writers. Other writers' examples and their vision and their skill can be studied and we can learn from them.

... Needing to be a writer is, alas, an ailment, and many have it. The ability to be a writer is another kind of curse, and many seek it.

Writers, meanwhile - they can never tell you how, precisely - write."

- Frederick Busch.


 Posted:   Sep 9, 2007 - 9:07 PM   
 By:   Jim Cleveland   (Member)

"..Will we still be writin',
in approaching years..."
Man, what a song!smile

 Posted:   Sep 9, 2007 - 9:10 PM   
 By:   Jim Cleveland   (Member)

Actually, we have a very distinguished(And talented as hell!) author here amongst us! He's not only a dear friend of mine, but until last year, we were also neighbors! He never frequents this side of the board, though.

 Posted:   Sep 10, 2007 - 7:06 PM   
 By:   Jon A. Bell   (Member)

I've written various essays, editorials and product reviews for computer magazines (1982-1990 or so), four computer graphics books, and contributed chapters to several other computer books.

Haven't published any fiction, although I've written some for friends and as writing experiments, including various novella-length pieces.

And, as I've said before (and this isn't a joke), I'm actually writing a screenplay for a serious "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" feature film. I've had this idea for years, and it's taken me years to thrash out the exact structure (and do a ton of research into the technology I want to present.) But, I've gotten it licked now, and I'm cranking away on it.

Bottom line: it's set 30 years in the future, deals with terrorism, serious global warming (triggered by a fairly plausible madman scenario), and has some kick-ass action scenes, including an end battle between the Seaview (which is armed to the teeth) and a Big Bad Guy Sub, which is also armed heavily, with a weapon the Seaview can't defend against conventionally. No giant monsters, but it DOES have a VTOL-equipped Flying Sub. smile

And my #1 choice for Admiral Nelson is Robert Duvall.

-- Jon

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