Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Writers Write Writing

Warren Ellis tweeted a link to this at his Whitechapel Internet cathedral: Warren's Pub Table: [Sticky] IGNITION CITY: Portents And Strange Rumbly Noises
We're approaching the point where IGNITION CITY will be properly announced and publicly scheduled.

So, every few days, I'm going to leak out something on the book. As it were. Not quite a production diary, but... something. Yes.

In which there are links to blog posts he did back in -- get this -- 2006!

One of them contains this gem:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all these years of writing professionally, it’s that you need to go with the flow. I’d be a fool to ignore a story that was writing itself.

Emphasis added by me.

I've seen too many writers complain about not getting writing done. They start, get stymied, they stop. They give up.

Sometimes it's right to give up.

Sometimes it's just not the right time to do the story. The writer isn't ready.

Sometimes it's not a story worth telling. That happens too.

Sometimes the writer isn't writing what he should.

This last one is deadly. Writers often begin from being inspired by writing they've read. The thought process can go like this: "That made me feel good. I want more. Maybe I can do that too."


What made you feel good, underneath it all, was a writer doing what that writer can do.

It's his story, it's -- at core -- that writer.

When I spoke to Ken Bruen one time, I asked him if he had always wanted to write crime fiction. He did. He had read a lot of it.

But pick up a Ken Bruen book. It's not Raymond Chandler, it's not Cornell Woolrich, it's not any of those other writers who inspired him. It's all Ken Bruen.

I cannot use the phrase "those who teach writing" because I don't believe in that. So let me say those who offer advice about writing always say the same thing: Find your voice.

But even that I don't agree with. Because it summons up images of impresario Mel Blanc playing around with his vocal cords to perfect the voice of Bugs Bunny (who, if you've ever seen the first Bugs cartoons, sounded nothing like he eventually did).

Don't "find your voice." Find yourself.

Writing isn't a thing "out there." That's reportage, that's journalism. At worst, that's gossip.

Writing begins inside.

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