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!

Time and the Fragile Character


You’re a writer. You know how it is.
The time to write…when is the right time to write? Now? Nope, busy reading this post. When you finish this post? Maybe. But, if you’re like me, there are a million other things to do. More important things. Scrub the toilets. Sort the recycling. You know, I’ve been meaning to seriously detail my Barcalounger.

And so, there the project sits. The characters have all gone speechless…nothing to say because you’re busily sorting the soup cans in the kitchen. Arranging the forks just so in the silverware drawer.

Life can be so crazily hectic that it becomes nearly impossible to cleave out the time to work on a project. And yet…and yet…maybe not so, grasshopper.

There is another agent in the mix…something to which you and I should pay attention. You won’t like it.

Once upon a time, a motivational speaker said that everybody’s tired. Tired of this, of that. Too tired to make a change. But, she said, what if I gave you a hundred thousand dollars of mad money? Then you wouldn’t be so tired, would you? You’d feel fresh and vibrant, alive with joie de vivre.

So, it ain’t the tireds. It’s the motivations.

That book gathering dust on your word processor? It ain’t the lack o’ time, me bucko. It’s the lack of motivation.

Well, jeepers Mr. Monkeypants. How do I fix that?

Good question, Sullivan.

Abuse some characters. Chop ’em up, or blow ’em up. Or make them say things so horrific that their world is forever altered.

Does it mess up your story line? Oh, heck yeah. Does it mess up the whole book?

“No,” Mr. Monkeypants says firmly, “your book was already messed up. That’s why you were busily knitting underwear for the pet salamander you were thinking about renting. That’s why counting the holes in the colander is more appealing that working.

Your. Book. Stinks.

It stinks so badly that even you, yes you, don’t want to put energy into it.

Admit it. Face it. Fix it.

Kill somebody. Blow something up. Sink the ship, burn down the house, turn Uncle Ray into a zombie. Ch-ch-change it.

Challenge your characters and you challenge yourself.

And if your book is so boring that you’d rather sort socks than write it, you need a good stiff challenge.

The time is there…are you?

Okay. I’m, like totally out of breath after writing that stuff. How about you?

You’re not writing your book because you’re reading this post.

So, I’m not working on DROPPINGTON PLACE because I’m writing this post. My bad.

Promise me you’ll do something to spark interest in your work.

Thank you. Now I have to figure out which guy to kill in my book! Continue reading “Time and the Fragile Character”