Go Big, Go Weird, Go You, And Fuck Fear Right In The Ear

I got an email.

The email contained the following paragraph:

My Dilemma, Dr. Wendig, is that I have a book I want to write, something that is kind of… ‘out there’ and totally different to anything else I’ve written or published so far… and the fact of the matter is that I’m SCARED (ugh) to write the damn thing. To really go for it. I mean, we’re talking about just being willing to let it all hang out and write something off the wall and ‘dark’ and ‘edgy’ and all that good stuff. It’s just downright… weird. And I don’t usually write stuff that’s all that weird, but this story is DEFINITELY fucked up. You know? And you’re a writer who… if I had to find something that unites all your work so far, it’s just… FEARLESS. You’re never afraid to go there. Wherever ‘there’ happens to be. I mean, I’m sure you have moments of pant-soiling terror while actually doing the writing – but you still do it. You still write whatever particular twisted weirdness you happen to be vomiting onto the page at the time. :)

It’s a great question.

I have thoughts about this.

I have strong thoughts about this.

As I have noted before, I wrote several books before I actually wrote the one that would become my debut novel (Blackbirds), and those several books were a mixture of hot barf, garbage noodles, and books that were sorta-maybe-not-terrible but that weren’t really me. They were all books where I was trying to figure out just who I was as a writer — I was chasing the market, I was chasing the success of other authors, I was chasing my own bewildered ass. I knew I very badly wanted to succeed, and in trying to succeed I forgot why I wanted to write books in the first place, which is because books are awesome. Books changed me. The characters and metaphors and ideas in those books grafted themselves into my DNA. Their effect on me was irrelevant to their success in the marketplace. The effect that mattered was that the books that I read throughout my life and that I connected with were a success to me.

When it came time to write Blackbirds, I was besieged by a case of the FUCKITS. There existed a part of me that felt like it was possible this would be the last book I’d ever write. Because, yeah: fuck it. I didn’t know if I would have the courage to try and write another suck-fest literary tire fire, so I figured if this could be my last, I would go out with a bang. I was just like fuck success, fuck selling this book, fuck being someone else, fuck writing rules, fuck it, fuck it all. I was dealing with some heavy (but standard) shit in my life — the recognition of the mortality of those around me and by proxy the recognition of my own mortality — and as a result, I had this book inside me. It was a cantankerous, mean little fucker. It was a bitter, acerbic, snarky book. It brooked no shit. It gave no shit. The protagonist, Miriam Black, was haunted by death. She knew how other people were going to die and felt powerless to stop it. And that created in her this special kind of venom, this peculiar kind of wayward rage that I found somehow necessary. And so I wrote the book. It took me years to figure out how to even write this book, but I did it, and in writing it I didn’t care about how everyone else thought books were supposed to be written — I only cared about how wanted to write this book. I clumsily, defiantly broke rules. I inelegantly put to paper this human tornado protagonist who whirled about the narrative, messing up everybody’s plots. She didn’t care about you. I didn’t care about you. I cared only about the book.

The book landed. Got sold. Got pubbed.

Like, the book I wrote is damn near the book that is (once again!) on shelves.

And that book has sold somewhere north of 50,000 copies by this point. Which, by the way, and I say this with no small pride, is pretty great. A book that sells that many copies is not necessarily common — especially a book that I considered marginal, edgy, a bit gonzo, a bit black-hearted. (Though the blackness of her broken heart is contrasted with the few veins of gold that keep that particular organ together in a kind of magical kintsukuroi.) It’s a book with two sequels and three more coming.

I learned a vital lesson in that, which is to always write the book I want to write.

Because fuck you, that’s why. (Er, not you personally. I like you! I mean the general you. The you that tells me I shouldn’t do that.) I write my first drafts with me in mind. I write the first draft like nobody is watching. Though of course I edit the second draft like everybody is watching. First draft is for me. Second draft is for you.

I have no fear when I write.

Because I’m looking to please me, first and foremost.

That sounds callous. It seems selfish. But it’s really the only way to write that book. You can’t write to please everyone else — in part because EVERYONE ELSE comprises this monster blob of competing desires, and also in part because what EVERYONE ELSE wants is unknowable and unpredictable. But what I want? I know what I want. And what I want is to write the book that lives inside my arteries and capillaries, the book that flows through me sure as blood. All I gotta do is chew open my fingertips and type the tale onto the page and it’s mine. I own it. That red is my red, those streaks are my streaks. All the fingerprints belong to me.

All your fingerprints belong to you, too.

You know the book you want to write, even if you don’t think you do. Shut all the worries and anxieties and uncertainties out of your mind and really, you know. You know the book that sings to you when you’re not expecting it. You know the idea that haunts you, that scratches at your brain-stem like a cat dragging its claws across its scratching post. You know what book you’d write if you were the last poor fucker in a world where everyone else was dead.

You know what your own fingerprints look like.

But too often we worry about what everyone else’s look like.

We think we’d rather that our work look like their work. It’s easier that way. Almost like we don’t have to own it, as if we can absolve ourselves of responsibility that way. Like we can just be them instead of being us. Like we can write their books instead of our own.

Nope. Sorry.

Too many books appear and those books chase trends that already exist. They try to be something else — stepping carefully in the footprints of what came before so as not to do differently and mess up the sand. They consume the successful stories and then process them bodily and excrete them back onto the page in some gross literary replication of The Human Centipede. But the books we remember aren’t the ones that carefully tried not to leave footprints, but rather, the books that ran batshit and screaming through the sand and the surf. We remember the books that left their own ragged, looping trails, that cut through the underbrush, that kicked over rocks, that changed the landscape rather than fearing to disturb it.

Trends are bullshit. The books that set the trends are the ones we care about — not the books that carefully hurry after, trying to draft off its speed, trying to cloak itself in the scent of the former as sure as a dog rolling in squirrel diarrhea.

Look at it this way.

Assume you get one shot at writing this book.

That’s probably not true, but hey, it might be. You might write one book and then get hit by a bus. You might get gored by a bull or sucked into a jet engine. We’re all gonna die. It’s just a matter of when the carousel stops turning for us. So, again, assume that it is at least possible the book you write now may be your last.

Make it a good one.

Make it yours.

Don’t be afraid to write the book you really want to write. Fear is what stops great stories from being told. Fear is complicated by the industry — but you can’t worry too much about the industry. Fearing the industry (which by the way is an unknowable Byzantine puzzle box anyway where nobody really knows what works and what doesn’t) is a good way to halt your breath and stay your fingers and stop the story from ever happening. Concentrate on the thing you can do, which is write the best book you can, and a book that you draw from your heart and your genital configuration as much as from your mind. Everyone wants you to stay inside this neat little fence. But you know who stays inside fences? WAKE UP, SHEEPLE. You know who jumps fences? AWESOME MOTHERFUCKERS WHO GO HAVE CUCKOOBANANA ADVENTURES. I mean, stories are rarely about people who play it safe. And so why should authors be encouraged to run counter to what makes our characters so interesting?

Leap the fence. Seize that chaos. Whet your own edge. Go weird. Go buckwild.

You do you.

I want to read the book you want to write.

I don’t want to read the book somebody else wants you to write.

I mean, what kind of advice would that be? Play it safe. Be a little boring. Write somebody else’s book instead of your own. Quiet your voice and diminish what makes your story special. The one thing — the one thing! — you get to bring to the story that nobody else has is you. So, shunt fear and embrace the terror and goddamn just go with it, you know?

And now, if you will, a revised version of the Rifleman’s Creed, for us writer-types –

The Penmonkey’s Creed

This is my book. There are none like it, because this one is mine.

My book is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My book, without me, is useless. Without my book, I am useless. I must write my tale true. I must shoot straighter than my fear who is trying to kill me. I must kill my fear before my fear kills my story.

My book and I know that what counts is not what others have done, what sales we make, what tweets I have twotted. We know that it is my heart that counts. 

My book is a living document, because it is my life. I will learn it as it is my kin. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its characters and plots and themes. I will put my heartsblood into the book and it will put its heartsblood into me as we become part of each other.

Before the Muse that I have shackled to the radiator in my office, I swear this creed. My book and I are the representatives of who I am. We are the masters of our fear. We are the ink-stained fools who press our fingerprints into the page for all to see. We are story and story-teller, one and the same. We are the gods of this place.

So be it, until victory is mine and I have finished my shit — fuck yeah and amen.

* * *

Miriam Black Is Back (In Print)

Miriam Black knows how you’re going to die. This makes her daily life a living hell, especially when you can’t do anything about it, or stop trying to. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides. She merely needs to touch you—skin to skin contact—and she knows how and when your final moments will occur. Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But then she hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, and she sees in thirty days that Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and Miriam will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

“Fast, ferocious, sharp as a switchblade and fucking fantastic.” — Lauren Beukes

Indiebound | Amazon | B&N

77 comments

  • I have many of my own words, but right now, if you’ll excuse me, I want to use four of your words:

    Fuck yeah and amen!

  • I must be thinking too loudly. Once again, you’ve answered the question I’ve been thinking-asking-tormenting myself with for the last few days.

    Thanks for making sense, and for not being a pretentious wanker.

  • That’s the good part about being a first time author…you don’t have to worry about what other people want you to write, you keep writing for you and just let it go!
    And I am fucking fear in the ear tonight. Getting tazed…just because. Holy shit!

    • It admittedly gets a little harder when you’re an established author — especially one of the mid-list, or at least mid-career. But the advice remains to continue to try to write to your heart rather than anybody else’s — otherwise, you run the risk of ending up inside that fence with the uncertainty of whether or not you can jump high enough to escape.

      — c.

  • I read the description of Mary Robinette Kowal’s short story seminar nearly two years ago and it scared the bejeesus out of me. Here was someone who was teach me more about writing in three days than I’d learned in the previous 20 years. And it sounded like it would work. Then what excuse would I have about not finishing the stories I’d started? Where would I hide?

    So, of course, I went to sign up. And it was sold out. So I got on the waiting list. Then I got an early invite to the next one and actually signed up. Then life intruded on me as well as on Mary and that class got delayed.

    But I finished it in March of last year and have finished several stories since. (None of them have sold, but I did receive a very nice couple of rejections.)

    For me, the fear was the signal that this was very much something I needed to do.

  • “You must never be afraid to go there.” Jack Ketchum (who goes there).

    Great post.

    The best stuff I’ve written I’ve cringed knowing my parents would read. Being uncomfortable and having my own jaw drop as I write, having my fingers talk back to my brain and saying; “you really want me to write that? well, okay, here it goes.”

  • The other thing I’ve noticed is when I see other people doing Things, I assume they felt no fear, that the fear was simply my own failure or weakness. When I read cool, beautiful, weird books, I think “Man, this author totally made this gorgeous book baby, of course they know how awesome it was. Of course they knew it would sell and people would love it, because it’s awesome.”

    But social media tells another tale. Those authors comment on how they wrote the book for them, but thought it wouldn’t sell. Wasn’t sure their editor would buy it. They wrote the book because it was the way the book needed to come out, but there was no safety net for them as established authors, either, and if anything they were more concerned they would spend all this time on a book their editor wouldn’t like, and then what?

    Thank you for this wonderful creed. Printed it out and it’s now next to the Kick Ass Outline. :D

    • Oh my gosh yes. I’m always surprised to hear that someone I admire was afraid or insecure about their own work. It gives me hope and reminds me to keep going even if I’m afraid. Thanks for reminding me of this today. :)

  • I have 2 books that fall into this category
    one because I’m a bit afraid I won’t be able to handle the subject matter as well as it deserves to be
    the other because, honestly it is kind of fucking out there and nuts. that’s saying something cause I am all for whacky ass shit and THIS makes eve me go “oh man I don’t know”

  • Thanks Chuck. I needed this. And my problem was kind of the opposite of the penmonkey in the email: I was trying to be snarky and acerbic and fucked up, and it isn’t me. I love reading it, but writing it? I can’t. I was trying to be someone else because someone else seemed cool to be. But it meant the book was never going to work. I need to go back to writing for me.

  • I needed this!
    I’m writing a retelling of Poe’s Masque of Red Death and it’s turned into a sort of Love Jones meets Hunger Games.
    I’m already a published author so I’m sitting here like. . .”Kenya, what the fuck are you writing? You’re the interracial romance girl. That’s your thing. This is good and fun, but can you sell it.”

    YET. . .I can’t stop thinking about scenes. It’s writing itself in my head. And I sit down to write today, dragging my feet on what I’ll do next.

    I get your email.
    Boom!

    FUCK IT!! I’m moving to chapter 3. . .

  • Another fantastic post about the heart of the matter. And hey man, you mention how BLACKBIRDS was written when you abandoned the outside pressures and thought it might be your last book, but it has become a series. I’m wondering what you’ve learned along the way about writing sequels. You’ve done more than a few now. I’m doing my first and finding it both easier and in some ways harder than a stand alone. Have you ever blogged about that? If so, I must have missed it, but I’m curious about your thoughts on the topic.

  • Well said! Again!
    Have you considered writing as a career? You’re quite good at it! Giggle!

    When I was young I did almost everything in ways I hoped with impress or sound like so-and-so. Writing, talking, dressing, dating. The only thing I did that was always authentically ME was dance. Complete freedom and self expression! If I was the type to open her eyes while dancing I’m sure I’d have seen many an exorcist standing by, certain I was possessed by something trying desperately to escape. To me, dancing was (and is) freedom and there’s no way I was going to try to do it right or pretty or cool.

    Thank goodness I had that experience; that place where I’d felt what it is to just tap into ME. Because once I started writing again (having taken a break to play with my four sons) (stop looking at me like that!) (okay, fine, having taken a break because I was afraid) I struggled through the trying to sound smart and like so-and-so phase rather quickly. Knowing what it is to be completely free and completely ME from years and years of dancing in my living room and at dive bars, I slipped almost naturally into it.

    It became fabulous and fun! Addicting and soul nourishing!! And then people started expecting things from me… guest posts, articles, interviews. Yikes! It felt almost like starting over because I’d want to be smart and a good writer and insightful and sound like so-and-so.

    I’ve started reminding myself that they asked ME, invited ME, so they should expect ME to write said requested article or to call into said podcast. Then I fall back into what has become the comfortable place of being ME.

    *I hope that I’ll be able to remember this tip when I’m writing all those novels I’m going to be writing for all those people who are going to be wanting me to write them. I’m quite confident that there will be many people. I have a really good imagination! Also, I live in a tiny town so I consider seven to be a lot of people. tee hee!*

    I’ve gotten comfortable finding my voice and shifting the tone a bit for certain publications without ever contorting myself so much that I’m no longer ME. Admittedly, though, it’s relatively easy because I don’t expect to make money. Eventually, yes, but for now I’m just pleasantly surprised when I do.

    There is, of course, also the truth that because I write so authentically, I feel it’s ME who’s being rejected when my pieces are rejected. (Actually, I’m certain that even if I was writing to impress it would feel like ME being rejected. Writing is a vulnerable thing, no matter who we’re dressed up as.) It really hurt in the beginning. But I’ve gotten better at finding the places where they find ME interesting and valuable. It’s easy to want to fit in somewhere I don’t, submit to places I think are cool precisely because they are different from ME. But I’ve gotten better at knowing when I’m a good match.

    I still get rejected, and it still hurts, but far less. Meanwhile, I’m saying things I mean, writing them in ways that move ME, and falling deeply in love with this whole writing thing.

    Dancing I do completely for ME. I do it entirely selfishly. It’s fabulous and fun!

    But writing is even more addicting. Like sex, I don’t want to do it completely and only for ME, but I do want to be authentic and real while caring about and serving someone else. Hopefully lots of someone elses. (Ummmm…. I won’t continue with the sex analogy. Not that it wouldn’t be fun, but I do have sons who read this blog!) When I write I feel like I’m disappearing into more of ME. And while I’m there I have a unique opportunity to examine and tweak and shift and create while I consider how it will be received and understood by unknown others.

    Wow! Sorry I’m talking so much about ME!

    Apparently I’m not only comfortable being authentic, but I think other people want to know all about it! I’m getting a bit self centered.

    I’m going to go dance in my living room now.
    Hugs!!!!

  • Thanks Chuck! This bears repeating over and over til it goes through my thick skull and sinks into the brain. (You said something similar at PL last year but apparently that just went into my skull and bounced around like a superball.)

  • October 13, 2015 at 11:39 AM // Reply

    Yes, absolutely! The other thing is that even if you are making your best effort to write the book you want to read, it’s okay and normal to create a draft with lots of issues. Writing books is hard, and fiction can be very personal. There’s tapping into what you want to write, and then there’s also learning enough craft so that you can create a way for readers to connect with what you’re saying. I like that this blog post mentions Chuck’s early attempts at books because I’m betting that even though he hadn’t zeroed in on the book that he wanted to write, the work of writing the previous books made him a better writer who was then more able to execute Blackbirds.

  • You have no idea how serendipitous your post was. I was waddling on the precipice of doing something truly idiotic and forgoing what I’m writing but you’be covered me in a phlegmy coating of FUCKITS so its balls-to-the-walls now. So, thanks.

  • See, I think I have a disadvantage. I don’t drink. So many great authirs were also great drinkers. And drinking loosens your inhibitions. So I feel like I have a handicap right off the bat. LOL.

    I wrote something recently though which I did while I was sober, but whose inspiration came from a really bad fentnyl trip in the hospital combined with ICU psychosis. And it was great. It made my writing group get all mind bendy and one person complained that their closet door in their bedroom is busted and they had to sleep with an open closet door after reading my story which freaked her out. And I think wtf? Do I have to go insane to write? Do I have to pull a Jonathen Strange to get this?

    In general my writing is good. But I rarely blow minds. I think I am not brave enough to think up the mind blowing stuff on my own. Obviously I can write it without the aid of brain manglers, but what do I have to do to rip it up out of those recesses of my brain. Because trust me, whatever story comes out of it, psychosis is not worth it.

    By the way Chuck. You know when I talk about you to people I say that you are “one of my personal writing heroes” – just in case u needed an ego boost. Right now on my list of heroes it’s you, Felicia Day(for her business savvy and general geek girl power), and my mom(for…duh…fill in with whatever amazing mom stuff u can imagine). Not in any particular order.

  • You have a key logger on my computer, don’t you, you hacker of my writing heart, you!

    I’ve decided that I need a tattoo on the inside edge of my index finger and thumb that says “Be Fearless.”

  • Thanks. I wrote a future fantasy.The ‘What-if’ was what would a society where males vastly outnumbered females look like. The result was ‘Ashamet’, which told the story of a prince facing an arranged marriage in a society where females are no longer considered sexualy attractive – oh and he’s worried he might be forced to pretend to be a god, and a mysterious new slave has no idea where he’s come from. And – of course – someone’s trying to kill him.
    I wrote the book cos I wanted to, and I loved the characters. Sent it to two publishers. One said no, one said it was ‘too difficult to market’. I gave up on it. But then word of mouth led to a publisher in the USA [I’m a Brit] asking to see it. And now it’s getting five star reviews.
    The moral appears to be : rite the d*** book, cos you’ll have to anyway, and you never know!

  • You know, all of your posts are pretty effing amazing, but this one cuts right to one of the biggest problems most writers face. So this will likely be the number one post I point to when someone I asks where to start with this whole writing thing.

    Kudos!

    Nox

  • It amazes me that of all the writer’s & writing blogs I read, yours is the one with the right answers at the right time. And then I can’t share the posts because of the ‘choice’ language. (Sorry, but I live in a very conservative community in a very conservative part of a very conservative state. “Nice” ladies don’t use words like that. And no, moving somewhere else isn’t really an option.)

    I was debating whether to write the NaNoWriMo novel I’ve outlined, or look for another idea. If I don’t write it well, and true to my vision, it’s gonna look like just one more trend-surfing bundle of mundanity. If I write it well, it will be…mine. A neat little story that looks sweet curled up on the table, and then stretches out, gazes soulfully into your eyes, & takes a bite out of your brain.

    And after I write it, I will have to deal with the fact that “nice” ladies probably don’t write that kind of story, either.

    Thanks for yet another post that gives me the courage to write!

  • If you think your story idea is weird, try reading young adult/teen fiction from another culture. They often have very different themes, settings, and ideas due to (you guessed it) cultural differences.

    For example, Light Novels (Japanese Young Adult fiction) have rather unique tropes and concepts. One such trope is a “harem”, which is when multiple characters all seek a romantic relation with the main character. This sort of… setting is, for the most part, nonexistent in mainstream novels, as most European religions have been against polygamy for centuries. This shows in how most polygamous relationships, at least in the novels I’ve read, belong to the corrupted, the rich and those in power, almost always displayed in an unfavourable light. In China however, less than a century ago, (rich) people were still taking concubines. That’s just one example of variations in historical influences and their effect on literature.

    They have very different writing structures, oftentimes so uncommon that they would probably never get published (traditionally) in the West.

    TL;DR If you think your story is weird by your cultural standards, try reading a foreign text. It may damage your mind.

    • In hindsight, I probably should mention that that particular trope/element is usually used for comedic elements, often in a genre called a “romantic comedy”, which, as far as I know, is practically non-existent in western fiction. As foreign fiction has different influences, its tone and style will vary. Thus, to one unfamiliar with them, it might be completely incomprehensible.
      Also important is the fact that these light novels do not, by any means, represent Japanese fiction; they are only one aspect, though probably the most well-known outside of their country.

  • As I’m about to embark in a new direction with my next book, your post was very timely and very fucking inspiring! The Penmonkey’s Creed will be printed out and stuck to the wall in my writing shed. Cheers Chuck.

  • When I started out writing, I was terrified of stepping of people’s toes, of hurting people’s feeling and of embarrassing my family and friends.

    My Mum told me that I if I wrote something that was in a certain genre, it might put out a particular light about me that people won’t like… for about a year that bothered me.I was writing my memoirs – well starting to – as I have a dreadful time remembering things; so I write them as I age, instead of writing them at the end of my life. Mum didn’t like me writing my memoirs – and still doesn’t like me doing it – as she thinks I don’t have much to say.

    Then she met Hugh Lunn – and Aussie writer – who told my Mum that an author writes what is on their mind and shouldn’t be edited by anyone but themselves and people who will help them get published. He advised her that I am my own worst critic and have most probably written books she’s never seen or heard about simply because I’ve lose faith in her as my First Reader (because she used to be, but after she told me what she thought of one of my books, I had nowhere to go). He said to Mum to stop holding me back… and after that she apologised to me.

    I said to not worry about it… that I didn’t take much notice of what she said anyway and I was writing much better because I didn’t listen to her.

    For me, writing is a way to get the demons out, the Angels out, the ego has a go, the mind gets to have a say at what goes on and yet, it keeps on telling me stories long after I’ve closed my eyes and gone to sleep… writing has been a way of life, writing is oxygen… without it, I suffocate and no longer live … life around me goes on without me and I’m left behind without a road to travel down.

    Writing is my pathway – be it dirt, bitumen, through the clouds and into the darkness of space and beyond – it’s my pathway to creation, to be a God of my own world, planets, and creations of which are mine and mine alone. In these worlds, I don’t give a flying fuck who likes me, hates me any anything else – it’s all my world until I have to turn off my computer and leave my office and return to the bleak, disgusting world of reality.

  • Very glad I signed up to follow your blog on days like this. Definitely needed to read this one.

    I agree that a post about sequels would be great. I have issues with trying to put in backstory without a big infodump. I’m considering a “previously on” kind of thing for my novella series, if I ever publish it.

  • This was by far my favorite post. Maybe, because as an aspiring author trying to publish my first book while writing two more, what lies ahead is like a black forest. I get a compliment from a beta reader, then two, three… it is easy to get drunk with attention and praise. Then the rejection emails fly in and I feel like a bird that didn’t see the window. Smack. It fucking hurts. Watching Facebook, Twitter, and other social media authors obsessed with selfies after reaching tens of thousands of likes from eager fans, doesn’t help. It is like being in one of those high-school movies where everyone is fucking mean.
    Then through all that, the fogginess of social media, the trying to figure out what others want and why… I realized that the only way back to what fulfills me as a (wannabe) writer is actually going back to step one. To that day when I started to write the story I wanted to read. That’s what fills me in a way that cannot be drained-or even touched- by others.
    Fuck all of it.
    It is back to that day.

  • Holy moley, the Penmonkey’s Creed pretty much sums up how I feel about my current w-i-p! Even when I want to kick its sorry ass for taking so long (and occasionally in a language I’m sure doesn’t exist) to transfer from my brain to my keyboardsylexic fingers.

    Thank you so much for this post, Chuck. I am printing this out and pinning it up somewhere I can see it every day of my life. Even if my son points up at it and says “Mummy, that’s got naughty words in it – you don’t let me see stuff with naughty words in…” ah, to heck with it, I’ll cross that bridge, etc.,…

    *rushes off to work on w-i-p*

  • “…a book that I considered a bit edgy, a bit gonzo…” Honestly? I think that those are the books that many readers (including myself) are hungry for, at this point. The thing about industries (publishing, film, whatever) is that they find a formula that “works”, and then they just produce a metric fuckton of whatever that formula happens to be, and throw the rest out. The industry mechanism strangles its own market, because the mantra is “same=safe”…and they just do the same damn thing, over and over and over, in every genre, until their customers get sick of it and just want to see something NEW. So yeah, thank God for every writer who’s willing to go a little “gonzo.” We, the reading audience, need you.

  • October 16, 2015 at 6:51 AM // Reply

    I was nodding along, muttering “fuck, yeah” under my breath, and then you said “sheeple”. What is it with everyone thinking sheep are docile, easy to lead, and happy with the grass on this side of the fence?

    That’s people, dammit! Humans are the creatures who act like that, they just don’t want to admit it. Put a flock of sheep in a lovely, lush pasture, and I guarantee they’ll all at some point at least try to break through the fence to nibble the grotty weeds on the roadside verge. And glare at any traffic that dares to try & use the main road to get from A to B.

    And easy to lead? Really? Most livestock you can move from one place to another with the promise of food. They may take a bit of time to learn to trust that you’ll give them food, but they do. Not sheep. Sheep need to be chased. Driven. Have a predator snapping at their heels and maybe a machine roaring along behind them.

    People are like sheep, but not for the reasons most people think.

    This not-as-ranty-as-it-reads rant brought to you from the mountains of Mid Wales where sheep probably outnumber people (& lamb is very tasty)…

    • Mwahahahaahhhrgh! Love it. This from someone who doesn’t love in Wales but has been there quite a bit. And commiserations about the rugby, Wales played really well.

      Cheers

      MTM

      • October 22, 2015 at 5:04 AM // Reply

        Thank you! It would’ve been good to get through but we did so much better than I thought we would, especially with all the injuries! Dan Biggar really showed how good he is & that we needn’t have worried so much about missing Halfpenny. All the boys played their hearts out :-)

        Really looking forward to the Six Nations now :-D

  • I love this post. Great stuff. I write the books I want to read. I wish some other fucker would get off their arse and do it but they haven’t, so I have to. Fine words.

    Thanks.

    MTM

  • I listened to the naysayers. I rewrote my half-written novel, trying to make it what others wanted. And then I put it aside for five years, because it didn’t feel right anymore. Now I see why — I can only write me. MY brain, MY story, MY book. You want something different? Write it yourself.

    • My novel is currently nowhere near what it was supposed to be, thanks to everyone who wanted to turn it into an action movie. It’s been pretty Frankensteined over the last two years, since I thought everyone else knew better than I did and so I added and cut whatever they told me to. I’ve written sequels to it that all sound much better than it does… but I have to get the first one to a point where people would want to read on! LOL.

  • You are one of the most inspiring people I have ever come across! You cut straight to it and you don’t fuck around by trying to be nice. This post, and every other post of yours is pure brilliance. I am going to print out that writers thing as soon as I can, it is awesome.

  • 1) You are a wonderful, generous person, Chuck. Thanks for all your blogging and your bookery.

    2) I deleted everything I wrote after this point because it was a confessional gushfest about strange fruit, and only 1 sufficed. You and your lovely family have a beautiful holiday! XO

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