15 Things About Writing and Me

Continuing the memage, the writing variation of the book meme, which mutated here. Looking at the others who have done this, I see that for once I am rather short-winded. I think this is because this entire blog is about writing, and more than enough to make up for my terseness here.

  1. At one time, I wanted the notation “- 30 -” to be the only thing on my headstone (it is one of three symbols proofreaders can use to indicate the end of a manuscript). My wife thought it was “too final.” Now I just want to be cremated.
  2. The first lines of dialogue I can remember writing (in a home-made, hand-drawn comic book about war):
    SHOOTING MAN #1: I’LL KILL YOU!
    SHOOTING MAN #2: I’LL KILL YOU TOO!
  3. Before I got interested in writing novels, I wanted to go to New York (to work for David Letterman’s daytime show) or Atlanta (to write for Bill Tush’s sketch show on TBS).
  4. I’m still hoping I can still take the path of John Jakes and Dean Koontz and find my way into mainstream fiction. But I no longer lose sleep over the fact that my writing career isn’t where I want it to be. I have great kids and I’ve been married to the same woman for 25 years. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that I knew enough to walk away from the word processor when I was needed. And many times when I wasn’t.
  5. I once was ghostwriter on a celebrity novel. When I wrote it, I did all sorts of stylistic things I had seen other people do in novels that I promised myself that I would never do in a novel of my own.
  6. Writing this play is going so well (when I have time to work on it) that I’m wondering if I should go back to writing plays.
  7. I can look at a writing style and, in most cases, imitate it. A boss once gave me a book about how to write direct mail copy. I skimmed it and gave it back the next day and said, “Yeah, I can do that.” That was the beginning of the end for me in that job because she had read the book over and over and underlined or highlighted almost every other line and still couldn’t do it.
  8. That same boss is why I no longer say that anybody can learn to write.
  9. When I talk about writing, I ask my host what direction they’d like things to go, and then I wing it. I was once told that my talk was the best organized speech that had ever been given in her class.
  10. I think I’m good at writing dialogue because I started off writing plays.
  11. I think I’m really good at writing relentless action scenes because I started off writing short stories wherein thinly veiled representations of bullies and tormentors came to brutal, horrible ends…
  12. …and naturally, my High School creative writing teacher thought I was going to end up on a water tower with a high powered rifle. The final piece I wrote for her class actually changed the rules for what was acceptable to turn in for the short story assignment.
  13. I once wrote 24 60-second radio spots in one 12 hour day. I was working at a radio station at the time, and it was seven days before Christmas.
  14. I once wanted to have all my plays and novels connected by a thread of characters and events because I thought it was so cool when Heinlein and Vonnegut did it.
  15. My two favorite words in the English language are “bastard” and “narcotics.” I love the way they sound. Too bad they’re not the kind of words you can go around saying all the time.

Other participating writers that I know of:
Cherie Priest
Naomi Kritzer
Flickering Flames
Byzantium’s Shores
Notes from the Shadows
Kristine Smith

Special thanks to Weirdwriter for pointing these both out to me.

Listening: Eels, “Her” (via iPod Shuffle)

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