Finishing Things

I’m working on my third million dollars. Yes, I gave up on the previous two…

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Character Thievery

Damn their eyes, these characters!

They say things you didn’t expect, do things you didn’t think of, steal your gosh darn story right out from under you.

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A New Boss

You’re a writer, you know how it goes. You settle on a project, or maybe two, and you burn the midnight candle until it’s just a smoldering stub, and you tell everybody what your project is and how it’s your end-all-be-all raison d’etre and stuff…

But it isn’t. You fight the words and wrangle them into place. You beat yourself silly trying to find that structure, that style that sets you apart.You work until your mind bleeds to find the description that’s never been made.

But it doesn’t come.

It’s all the same hack.

I know. I’ve been hacking at the same project for, like, ever…

What to do, oh what to do.

Here’s something terrible that I shouldn’t tell you, but maybe you’ll see it.

I invented a producer, my writing boss. I gave her, (she’s a she) the complete and total task of managing my writing.

With Sydney (her name’s Sydney) in charge, I can mentally offload the task of managing my production to her. It sounds crazy, and I’m certain that is, but it has made my writing much easier.

Sydney’s a breeze to work for, because she doesn’t really exist, which means she hardly ever yells at me!

Yes, it’s nice to have a boss in the writing biz, even though, and I know you’ll agree, it’s crazier than a bag of wieners.

Now I just have to figure out to hit her up for a raise!

Don’t Look Back


You’re a writer. You know how it goes.

We work our brains out on a piece, twisting it, turning it, ripping it up, tossing it out, starting over again. And that’s just the first paragraph. It’s like trying to knit with a garden hose. Or a snake. Or your cat’s tail.

Eventually we win the day – the paragraph, she’s perfect. Not one word out of place – the Pulitzer committee is about to call any old second – gosh, I hope they have my cell phone number. I’ll just said the ring to uber loud so I won’t miss the call… you know, if I’m in the tinkletorium or something.  Maybe I’ll take it in there with me…just in case.

The words, they flow like spilled milk on a linoleum floor.

Hello? Pulitzer folks? Oh, it’s you, Mom. Can’t talk – I’m doing brilliant work right now. Have to keep the line open for the ol’ PC – of course you don’t tell Mom that, but it’s in your head.

And then pass the days, the weeks, the months. We sort of give up on the Pulitzer folks – clearly they don’t have our cell phone number.

And then, quite by accident, we glance at a sentence in our epic piece, the piece of OMG-This-Is-BRILLIANT literature, and we spot a typo. The guy’s name is Phil, not Phirl.

First comes disbelief: how did we miss that? How come spell checker didn’t get it?

Then comes justification: well, that’s why we hire editors, right? Don’t they catch stuff like that?  What’s one typo? Nobody’s perfect.

But, a piratey ghost enters the room. What do we know about pirates? Thieves and brigands, right? Out only for themselves, right? Ne’er do well cads. What do we know about ghosts? Scary, totally dead folks, right? This is a bad combo.

The piratey ghost tells us we’re a lousy writer. We glance at a single page of a 75,000 word tome, just one page, and we spot Phirl. Holy crackers, how many Phirls’ are in there? What else did we miss, if we missed Phirl? Real writers at least spell their character names right. Real writers don’t make stupid mistakes like this. Rookies and dimwits do stupid stuff like this. No wonder we have our day jobs.

And, the thing about piratey ghosts is that they speak with such conviction…with the occasional whoo-OOOOO-ooo thrown in to remind you that they have otherworldly connections. They must be speaking the truth. I mean, why would a piratey ghost lie?

Well, you’ll find not one but TWO chapters of my Phineas Caswell novel, MARIGOLD’S END, over there on the left. Chapters 9 and 10. And, in copying ’em onto this site, I spotted a, well, a slight… well, it’s fixed now.

They are both bang-up chapters. Full of that stuff that makes you go -say, that’s good stuff. Bang up. Read ’em, let me know what you think of ’em. I’ll sit right here by the Comments box. And, if you’re on the Pulitzer committee…

Aaargh, and whoo-OOOOO-ooo, matey. Ye cannot write yer way out of a Martha Stewart luminary. Har HARRR!

But you’re a writer. You know how it is. You know that 99% of the goomers who want to be writers are sitting at home wondering why they’re not writers. You did it. You wrote a book. Or several books. You did it.

Begone, piratey ghost entity! Take your snide comments with you! Blast your infernally eternal ectoplasmic hide! Pick on someone who hasn’t written a book – someone who hasn’t ground their keyboard to dust looking for just the right word, precisely the right image, the heart, to make a scene come to life. Begone, useless spirit. You ain’t nothin’ but a bit of bad cheese!

Take heart, my writer friend. You are writing – bingo, you’re ahead of the piratey ghost. You work and work and work to make your stuff better and better. You might inadvertently type Phirl instead of Phil, and sort click on ignore by mistake when the spell checker finds it. It happens. Around here, a lot.

Take heart. Omelettes are not made with complete eggs. You have to whisk the batter to make a pancake.

Don’t look back, except to see how much you have accomplished.


Stupid piratey ghost.