Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday 20

The Rules of Write Club

1st Rule: You do not talk about Write Club.

2nd Rule: You DO NOT talk about Write Club.

3rd Rule: If the muse says "over the top", calls your protagonist a wimp, or wants cheesecake, the writing is over.

4th Rule: Only one coincidence per novel.

5th Rule: One plot twist at a time. Okay, maybe two. But that's all.

6th Rule: No shoes. Bunny slippers.

7th Rule: Writing will go on as long as it has to, or until it's six hours before you punch in, or someone wants their dinner, whichever comes first.

8th Rule: If this is your first shot at Write Club, you HAVE to write.

Man, I see in write club the strongest and smartest writers who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. Gosh darn it, an entire generation sick with con crud, waiting for the PW starred review; slaves with pay-upon-publication collars. Working day jobs we hate so we can buy widgets we don't need. We've all been brainwashed by People magazine to believe that one day we'd all be millionaire bestsellers, and vidlit gods, and Book-TV rock stars.

But we won't.

And we're slowly learning that reality (now everyone, wave to your editors.)

And we're really, really pissed off.

Which is why we need the bunny slippers.

Any rules you want to add, or any questions for me?

34 comments:

  1. Go, Writers, Go!

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  2. To go along with number 7. "Or until the dog wants out for the 16th time, then howls to be let back in because he misses you."

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  3. 3rd Rule: If the muse says "over the top", calls your protagonist a wimp, or wants cheesecake, the writing is over.

    What if the muse is demanding chocolate chip cookies, with walnuts, and a big glass of milk? Can you still write then? *-*

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  4. "I think the person who wrote this is very, very dangerous."

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  5. 3rd Rule: If the muse says "over the top", calls your protagonist a wimp, or wants cheesecake, the writing is over.

    So that's what I've been doing wrong! I've been feeding the muse whatever he wants to eat!

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  6. ... do Tigger slippers count? ;)

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  7. Peggy Kurilla11:53 AM

    The advantage (and disadvantage) to having hung out with you for all the years before you started PBW is that most of my questions have already been answered.

    So no question, just an honest thank you for all the time you've spent (and I hope will continue to spend) sharing your knowledge and experience.

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  8. bunny slippers?

    I couldn't write with bunnies on my feet. Those eyes... staring at me...

    nope.

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  9. Only one plot twist at a time? Really? Two tops?

    And define coincidence...

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  10. I didn't see any mention of chocolate--not for the muse for me.

    And since I'm judging a contest at the moment, Rule # 9 Spellcheck is not enough. Really.

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  11. I've got one...

    Her heaving bosoms

    this line is an absolute NO. Unless you are writing a parody, it's just NO.

    (Actually, I think the word BOSOMS oughta be stricken from the dictionary.)

    and sadly, i had a lady tell me ocne that she wanted to write a romance and that Her heaving bosoms would be the first three words of the book.

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  12. Mary wrote: Go, Writers, Go!

    Yes, but do you like my hat? Lol.

    Debbi wrote: To go along with number 7. "Or until the dog wants out for the 16th time, then howls to be let back in because he misses you."

    Or tries to eat one of the bunny slippers. :)

    Zornhau wrote: 9th Rule: Plan.

    Amen.

    Nikki wrote: Great post.

    We aim to please. Thank you, ma'am.

    Andi wrote: What if the muse is demanding chocolate chip cookies, with walnuts, and a big glass of milk? Can you still write then?

    If the muse makes it quick. Cheesecake takes time. And many moans of bliss.

    Charlene wrote: "I think the person who wrote this is very, very dangerous."

    Only on Mondays. ;)

    Bernita wrote: I'm barefoot...

    Aren't your toes cold?

    Milady wrote: So that's what I've been doing wrong! I've been feeding the muse whatever he wants to eat!

    Cheesecake, I'm telling you. It's the breakfast of champions.

    Nonny wrote: ... do Tigger slippers count?

    Yes, but only if the tails are still attached.

    Peggy wrote: The advantage (and disadvantage) to having hung out with you for all the years before you started PBW is that most of my questions have already been answered.

    We do go waaaay back now. And I'm counting on you to squash all the rumors about me and John Grisham after I'm gone.

    Shiloh wrote: I couldn't write with bunnies on my feet. Those eyes... staring at me...

    I understand. I feel the same way about the Snuggle Fabric Softener Bear.

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  13. Bethany wrote: Only one plot twist at a time? Really? Two tops?

    Okay, Bethany can have three.

    And define coincidence...

    Romance: "Why, it's John," Marcia exclaimed to her mother. "The longlost brother of my deceased husband whose plane crashed in the Amazon shortly after we announced our engagement. I do hope he's not here to contest my husband's will on the grounds that our marriage was not consummated due to his brother's unspecified health problem, or because he's never gotten over falling in love with me and plans to sign the family estate over to me once he learns that I'm still a virgin."

    SF: "Why, it's John," Mary exclaimed to her robotic maternal caregiver. "The longlost scientist who founded our multi-species colony shortly before his ship disappeared into a temporal anomaly. I do hope he's not here to relocate the colony on the grounds that the planet should never have been terraformed due to a microscopic life form which has been unsuccessfully trying to communicate with us as we've been building or because he's never gotten over falling in love with me and plans to take me off to Altares-7 once he learns that I'm still a virgin."

    Mystery: "Why, it's John," Marcia exclaimed to her secretary. "The longlost brother of my deceased partner who was never fully exonerated of responsibility for his death during that tragic drive-through teller shooting shortly after we announced our engagement. I do hope he's not here to contest my former fiancee's percentage of the business on the grounds that our marriage never took place, or because he's never gotten over falling in love with me and plans to give up the P.I. business once he learns that I'm a complete idiot at it."

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  14. Darlene wrote: Rule # 9 Spellcheck is not enough. Really.

    Beautiful.

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  15. Shiloh wrote: I've got one...
    Her heaving bosoms


    My bosoms never heave, oddly enough. In fact, they refuse to budge without assistance. And yes, I'm going to stop right there.

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  16. Can I become the official pastry chef of the Write Club? I'll give all members a 20% discount, sez she who's looking for more ways to procrastinate but already has 2 cakes in the freezer.

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  17. Rule #10 (since there are already suggestions for #9):

    The internet is off-limits during Write Club sessions. Visiting PBW's blog or others with similarly amusing anecdotes will be restricted to after the Writing has been successfully completed.

    (In other words, I've been procrastinating, but enjoying every minute of it...)

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  18. Cheesecake...Godiva chocolate cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory...mmm.

    My muse is really, really in need of a treadmill.

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  19. but you just wrote about write club. Does that count?

    if the muse goes on strike, don't you have to trudge on without her? (Hoping she'll catch up with you in a paragraph. . . or a page. . .or a hundred pages. . .or the next novel.)

    Effing muse.

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  20. PS. I have a snuggle fabric softener bear. Someone gave it to my kid. It's even scarier in person.

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  21. Anonymous9:23 PM

    So... I'm feeling pretty down lately about my writing. Any tips on rejuvenating? I feel like I can't work at the comp I'm at (no way to back-up right now, terrified of losing stuff) and the rewrite I've been doing has gotten so stale... I know that it's not very good, too; the characters are quite flat, and I'm sure the dialogue bites. Help? I wanted to have it finished by July, and I've written hardly 2000 words since then. :(

    Jess

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  22. Milady wrote: Can I become the official pastry chef of the Write Club?

    You already are. You mean, you didn't get my memo? Crank up that oven, woman.

    Nicole wrote: The internet is off-limits during Write Club sessions.

    Miss Kate wrote: but you just wrote about write club. Does that count?

    Oh, I didn't write that. I'm just the puppet figurehead who beats herself up for fun.

    if the muse goes on strike, don't you have to trudge on without her? (Hoping she'll catch up with you in a paragraph. . . or a page. . .or a hundred pages. . .or the next novel.)

    I tend to be the one who goes on strike. The beast drags me, kicking and shrieking, to the keyboard. :)

    PS. I have a snuggle fabric softener bear. Someone gave it to my kid. It's even scarier in person.

    It's the eyes. And the way it giggles on the commercial. Beyond creepy.



    Memo to self: make Nicole second-in-command.

    Larissa wrote: My muse is really, really in need of a treadmill.

    I think mine needs a gastric bypass.

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  23. Jess wrote: So... I'm feeling pretty down lately about my writing. Any tips on rejuvenating?

    Three things that work for me: Shake things up, make a personal committment to write every day, and reward yourself.

    You can shake things up by alternately working on something new for a short period of time, or changing your writing space, or doing some writing exercises from your favorite how-to book or writing sites on the web. Sometimes I use one of the story generators on Seventh Sanctum just to job my brain with a new (and often silly) idea.

    Writing every day, no matter for how long or what your produce, trains you to think of writing as part of your daily routine. On a subconscious level, you'll start to feel weird if you don't write every day. It doesn't have to be 1000 words, or a full page. I often advise people who are blocked or depressed to start by writing ten good words in one day. The next day, write twenty, and then the next day forty, and keep doubling it until you find a daily wordcount that is comfortable for you.

    Reward yourself with a personal paycheck. Every time you meet a writing goal, do something good for yourself. Before I was published, I used to rent a movie or buy myself a CD if I made my goal for the week. If money is tight, try rewards like a long bubble bath by candlelight, give yourself an hour of surftime on the internet, spend an afternoon at the library or take a walk through your favorite nature spot.

    I feel like I can't work at the comp I'm at (no way to back-up right now, terrified of losing stuff) and the rewrite I've been doing has gotten so stale...

    On not being able to backup, I'd invest in one of those USB storage drives (check around and see which are the most reliable.) I know writers who swear by them. Or, if that's not possible, can you upload your work file and e-mail it to yourself or a trusted friend?
    I know Yahoo gives free e-mail accounts and you can get a certain amount of free e-mail memory (and file storage space through Yahoogroups, if I remember correctly.)

    I know that it's not very good, too; the characters are quite flat, and I'm sure the dialogue bites. Help? I wanted to have it finished by July, and I've written hardly 2000 words since then.

    Sounds like your internal editor is being a complete bitch. I'd let her edit the story once, then shove her out of your head and do the rewrite. If she's still trying to edit while you're rewriting, she's not doing her job or letting you do yours.

    Rewrites are also exhausting, and often depressing, especially if you have a lot of changes to make. Every writer feels they should be instant bestseller material; we hardly ever allow ourselves to learn from our own writing because we want it to be perfect from the minute the words hit the page.

    I'd try to go into the rewrite with this attitude: you're writing to tell a story, and the story is teaching you how to write. Maybe this one isn't great, maybe it is. That's not as important as what you learn from the experience. You may not be where you want to be right now with the work, but I really believe that the only way to progress is to keep writing.

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  24. Rule 10 (another suggestion)
    The words "I can't ..." do not excist in Write Club. You can, and you will ... if you want.

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  25. OKay, I keep forgetting that stupid spell check rule. *slaps forehead*

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  26. Anonymous12:35 AM

    I am Joe's Keyboard said...
    Great post!

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  27. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Thanks, PBW.

    That's some solid advice. I'm feeling better today - I went and reread some of the relevant articles at Holly Lisle's website; love those articles. I'm giving myself permission to work on a new project that has me excited about writing, and in the meantime, I'm plunking out about 50 words at a go. Which is still progress! The choking feeling goes away when I tell myself it's okay if I don't finish it... that makes me want to finish it more than if I think I actually have to. Strange, how reverse psychology works. Or maybe I'm just a stubborn mule. :) I'm actually off to world-build.

    Jess (oh - we have two computers, and wouldn't you know I write on the one that doesn't have the Internet? The USB idea is good. I had one, but it wasn't compatible with the school computers I do most of my writing at during the year, so I ditched it for my floppies, but the home comp doesn't do floppies.)

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  28. You just had to open your big mouth about cheesecake, didn't you?

    Oh, yeah. And write every day. Every. Day. Every. Every. Day.

    Got it.

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  29. Hmmm, where's the chocolate, icecream, beer or wine?

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  30. I don't have anything to contribute here other than -- bunny slippers sound very very comfortable.

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  31. Thank you - I think I will join you, but the bunny slippers might be a problem...

    When is the next meeting?

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