hello hello. Hey hey everybody this is a writer's life my name is Dan Black and I got a couple things to say today. Get some stuff on my mind. Not all bad. Try tocalm it down a little bit. I realized like I realize I get I get worked up you know so it happens it happens on the show and I can't help it because you know it'scathartic for me. The show and I love doing it and I get to talk about writing in who else who other than you out there listening. Can I talk about these things to you
A.W.L. Show dot com is where you can find me in all the episodes in all of that. An Apple i Tunes store you can click through an Amazon you can click through andif you'd like to support us you can do it through there and we meaning me I'll be very grateful. So
it'll be a shock
today. I'm going to get a haircut now I hate getting haircuts I hate it and I know it sounds like I'm being ironic but I'm not. The irony in the storytelling way is a badthing in the last couple of Assad's we were talking about that so this is not what I'm doing but I do hate getting haircuts but I had to get one I took a shower and likeall this hair is coming out just globs of fucking Sharon is disgusting and I hate it my hair is everywhere and usually gets this bad where I have to go get one and soI do my hair is getting a little long and I'm too old to have long hair and I feel self-conscious about it so I go get it cut tonight. Just before the show in fact and I tookmy book at. Right because I thought well I'm not really into the saying but I got to go if I'm going to get a haircut and before I have to do the show I gotta leave nowand so I do and I take my book in
and I start to read. I get maybe two lines and I notice there's music and hears blaring in this haircut shot almost a barbershop. Yeah like there's any of thoseanymore or if there are I probably couldn't afford
all the hipster shit is so expensive
which is weird because hipsters are poor right isn't that cool isn't it cool to be poor. It's one of the A for all the hipster shit expensive
vintage clothes than his clothing is something you get like a
pair of wool jeans one hundred fifty bucks for a vintage set of those who can afford to be a fucking hipster anyway so I go and I try to read my my my book whichI'll get to in a minute. Are sitting there and the music's the music's blaring and I can't I can't read with it in the usual I can block it out but it was so loud that I I couldnot concentrate on you and this book was too good to have to have your mind about it
so I put it down.
Now I understand where I had come from I had come from a home where I had opened the windows and there were there were birds outside in the wind wasblowing through the trees that are just starting to come come in the leaves it just start to come in so that the wind has this is a really cool sound it's not quite awhistle like you get with it full leave with fully is but it's more like a hiss more like a soft white noise I muted white noise it's really great and I was reading to thatand you know once in a while you look up or you get distracted by something by your own thoughts and when I get distracted by a thought while I'm reading itdoesn't mean the books back. It just means I need to start paying attention. My mind wanders it just doesn't and when I don't get to read as often as I would like it'smore difficult for me to get into it but once I'm into it I mean once in a while I looked up you know and listen I'm a
damn bird that when
my mind is going this is this is freaking wonderful. It's been it was a tough winter and I was unable to to read with in that kind of environment it's idyllic and youdon't really get it that often. Well maybe maybe I do and I just don't notice but today I noticed it was a great time to read I was really enjoying it and I didn't reallywant to stop but I had shit to do so I mean I got to go get a haircut so I go in I can't think man.
Well you know I started to wonder why why why is it that everywhere I go there is some kind of news blasting in my face. There's a there's a C.N.A. and there's athere's in the mall every store is blaring music. The common breezeway between stores that has music in it
and it's all this thumb piece stuff and if it's not thumping music it's you know seventy's rock usually I don't know some kind of classic rock I don't have a problemwith any of the music. Well I do a lot of his shit but that's not the point the point is it's always so loud in my goddamn face all the time. If it's not the music it'ssomebody talking on the radio it's a television with somebody peddling peddling whatever it's a commercial it's a T.V. program. A god forbid you walk by a DisneyChannel and the thing just assaults your face holes every all of your faces. So altered by that when you watch the Disney Channel. I don't know how anybody canwant to let their kids watch that shit. It's the worst
and it's meant to keep your brain going every two seconds the scene changes count the seconds between each shot in a cartoon or in one of those
Austin and alley cat whatever the fuck is
that count. Whenever the shot changes count the seconds that they stay on that particular shot. It's never more than three seconds. If someone's making a longtrek across the room they may give it a five but two to three seconds per shot
and it's loud and then there's a crowd laughing and then the news has bombs why oh I stop.
Stop. And I thought why are we always running from silence. What makes being alone with our own inner voice so terrifying. The great experiences that I havethose peaceful ones with the birds in the wind. It sounds like I'm being I'm not trying to
be a silly poet here
I'm just trying to explain something that I something that's coming up in my head a lot and
it has to do with writing. But it has to do with life. Also
it seems like the greatest experiences come from
taking some sort of delight in the things
taking delight in things that don't that don't give a fuck whether you delight in them or not. But why do why do the birds in the wind. Why does that seem so pure tome. Why does it seem so pure to me and has for centuries poets have tried to capture that. The essence of nature
and I think is because you
get something that can't be named and yet you get that essence not because the birds in the winter giving it to you but because you just happened to be therewhen it happened
like a pleasure in some sense is derived from happenstance from the coincidence. And of course we all know that's true it obviously you can get pleasure fromthings that happen spontaneously but
how does that happen you know in a daily life when everything is in your goddamn face all the time. How can you give me happenstance with all the commercialsin the music and the endless Moose and all the other things desperately trying to get your attention. Everything is coming at you every second of the day. At whatpoint are you going to experience spontaneity or just some random random event. We've always got our goddamned faces in the foam as writers where what arewe going to draw from
if we're doing what everybody else is doing what could we possibly draw from that someone would find unique or interesting to read about. You see I think thatpurity in nature.
It comes with the fact that that those things in nature just don't care if we see them and we know that they don't care. And that's that's one of the things we loveabout it is that we can experience that experience is peer there is there's nothing we can give the bird. In fact if we feed the bird it's bad for it. The lack ofinteraction
the lack of interaction makes for a laboratory of sorts like oh I get a laboratory where we were. We have an exchange where we don't connect. There's anexchange without without anything being
knowingly exchanged and I don't really know how else to put it it's just
we're getting the proper pleasure. They're doing what they're doing and we just happen to be what we're doing. But there's a cross that happens and there's adelight that happens in that. Now I've often wondered what on earth makes reality television so compelling. I don't really know what it is I mean I have an answerfor you I still think it's nonsense. I can't stand it
but I think that even those people those people who are engaging in the gross prostitution of themselves
there's a nonchalance about them and you know they trick the public into thinking there's spontaneity involved and some people buy into it and most people I thinkare on to it but they watch anyway. But part of it I think.
Is that these morons don't really care that they're being watched these reality people you know cater to being launch watched they've become the replacement
for the pleasure we once took in nature at least in some measure and so we watch the animals like they're in the wild you know. I wonder what's going to happennext although I wonder who's going to get the next who are going to watch next week to see who is going to get shit on. To see who was ostracized
because he was going to sleep with who. As if that mattered to us why would we why would you care. I can't fathom caring. I can't and if you watch it I'm sorry. It'sjust it's just dumb. I cannot explain reality television is the stupidest thing is not reality. First of all and even to this to the extent that it's not scripted the situationsare set up so that they go a certain way and obviously it's just like. Scripting as is the same thing
only Larry David does it better and funnier. So let me lay this metaphor new reality stars in the sense that they've replaced nature reality stars or like
I like the song they like the song birds of our time only they don't really know any songs. And if the song birds could reach their eyes with their talons they poketheir fucking eyeballs out for a few bucks and an a Maybelline endorsement deal. You know
why why do we watch these people who are just there. That's not the point the point is.
When you write when I write. What are we doing. Why do we do it. I
there's no right or wrong answer. I'm not I'm not trying to give any moral pure answer here. I just it's something everybody has to answer for themselves
and I think that before we ever know if we're going to do something meaningful with our art we've got to ask the question why are we doing it. You don't have tohave an answer. But you have to be aware that the question is there right. Do you do it and I was and I mean you I mean me I'm asking myself I asked myself thisshit every day what do I need the attention. I could certainly use the money but am I doing it for the money my doing it
to be loved or appreciated or accepted
many things none of these things are bad per se per se itself by themselves. This is not a moral dilemma. I'm just wondering what are we looking for as writers.Why do we do it. I have a you know I have a par. Actually answer for myself and then me work for you may not
but I think what it comes down to is this
that everybody writers especially for some reason
but we're all desperate for some kind of some kind of sense of discovery or some kind of mystery. We want something to happen in our lives sometimes we wantjust anything to happen take us out of them in Danity a little more something strange in a predictable and weird and harmless but oddly something has neverhappened before just every day ease
and television. They've tried to give it to us over the years but now they're trying too hard and it's just a bunch of noise
and we're all looking for this experience of some kind and that's not happening we don't know why zapping and just because we're not paying attention
and this experience that everybody else is trying to sell us I mean that's what they're doing right. The news they're trying to make you feel but their products they'rejust trying to make you the trying to make you think that you're going to experience something if you buy their shit. There's nothing wrong with advertising by theway I am not getting into a moral quandary. I'm just asking questions.
But the companies will say something I'll come check out our tablets and come check out our our cleaning products. We've got the what we got the wet wipes toreplace your toilet paper we've got the disinfectant wipes to wipe down your kitchen and we've got the new the new green stuff the green toilet cleaner safer theenvironment that doesn't work you have to use twice as much. Like that's exciting like that's going to give us some sort of experience to look at me is these fuckingcompanies. The toilet paper and their rubber insoles all cool. I gotta get some of those. Why does everything have to be cool. Why can't things just work
they have to be cool they have to make you cool Why can't I just do what it's supposed to do and then that's the end of it we can move on with our lives but nowwe have to be so we have to be inundated in pressed in on and pressured and that's all I feel from all this stuff because it's happening too often now everybody'sdoing it even with the books read my book in and with the constant e-mails and the pop ups in the Do this do that. Man I'm guilty of it too. I'm just wondering why inmy adding to the noise in my in my doing anything different. Why why why. One of my adding here. What can I possibly offer anybody and I don't think I can offeranybody anything. I really don't I really don't. As a writer I just I just write
I just write.
now while having the reading The newest book make me smarter and yeah I guess it will. But why did why does it have to be like that why do I have to be sold likethat I can I just I wish there was a more natural organic way to discover these things. I will have an i Pad and pray I knew I had a brand new computer make mecool or make my life a little easier. Yeah I guess so I just I just want something the watch Madmen on that's all I want or that second generation and it's only H.D.and it's not it's not super H.D. five key interlaced L.E.D. plasma trauma plasma traumatic will it's not the new thing. It's only second generation or did it come out intwo thousand and eleven. That piece of shit that i Pad that piece of shit. Can I watch Mad Men on it. Yeah I'll take it just give it to me. It's fine I have to have thenew thing. So much fucking mad men and Deadwood again and Breaking Bad again just about anything on H.B.O. again. MC
and seen the Saul thing better cos all wanting to look at that. African time now
you believe it or not I found Breaking Bad on my own and that was the cool thing is that I discovered it now I know I know that I didn't discover it I mean. But in myown little world I happened to come upon it and even know how I think it was meth when it came on Netflix it's like in Breaking Bad I mean they're telling I don't buycable because I can't stand it I can't stand the inundation so I don't watch television so I have no way to learn about it or see it
breaking down any yellow suit on the front and holy shit it opens up with a guy in a R.V. I care I think he's broken it down the road and there's shit all over the placeand looks terrible even of God damn underwear I mean how what how great is that something great is that.
I discovered it I felt like I discovered that it was my goal I saw that first before anybody else did which is of course is not true. There's been five seasons up of thetime I first saw it so but the point is that I felt that way I got something strange and new for myself
and they were just doing what they were doing the show was just doing what it does and I happen to come upon it and that was the beautiful thing that was abeautiful thing about it and you had it when your kid when you read the book you know when you finally discover that book and it's been out for fifty sixty years butyou pick it up and go holy shit this is unbelievable. You finish that but you know that was the best experience I've ever had in my life. Some of you it was Lord OfThe Rings some of you it was probably I don't know a Star Wars book or something like that it doesn't. Or what it is it doesn't matter how good it is as a matter ofbad it is you had some sort of discovery experience and you you you look for that thing the rest your life you're hunting it down day after day just give me that oneexperience I have when I was a kid with that book. Let me see something on television or a movie that gives me something new
to me an experience again
and I'm not sure sure that when we write if we write for the masses if we are right to be discovered. If we write
with a sense of marketing in mind how can we give anybody.
And what's ironic is speaking of irony
What's ironic is that
you can't want to give that to them they have to discover you on their own you can write for them you
can write for anybody in my very humble opinion I think the only the only person worth writing for is yourself because it's your sense of discovery
that creates an interest. That's why I write I write to discover maybe a little bit about myself. I did I write to discover something I've never seen before. Hopefullyyou know it's probably didn't been done before but it doesn't matter. It's new to you. Plenty of people had seen Breaking Bad before I got to it and it didn't matter. Itwas new to me. It was great to me
that gets that infects your writing in a good way. It gets into your writing that sort of excitement that strangeness that sense of discovery. I don't I don't know howelse to put it. Maybe it. I'm going to put it in either way. Maybe it's maybe it's just that I know for me it is just that you know
when you go into a bookstore James Patterson takes up what six shelves how many books like I mean we know what he writes Right. But for those of us whohave to actually write our own books but
I don't know if that's true I don't I just seems like please. He doesn't write all those books right. And they finally got around I think somebody probably you knowdiscovered the fact and now there's two writers on there by the way. There's nothing worse than a collaboration book. Man I'm sorry if you're doing one of thesecollaboration things it's just it just make a movie. You're not you're not writing literature you're just you're writing your movie it's a collaboration and he seems tospring from your mind you go what about the aging at the all the paintings Yeah they're all trying to make it better and but they're not writing it with you this is not acollective consciousness writing this book either. They're simply giving you notes on how to make it better so I wouldn't call that a collaborative process. Anyway Iwant to go there maybe another time we'll get into that. Yeah but but but for those of us who do have to write their own books.
We are we writing to add to the noise. Or are we writing because we're fucking writers and that's just we don't have a choice this is what we do. I get up in themorning and I write I don't I don't know what else to do with myself
in a fight. If I wake up in the morning
you know for forty years and discover that all I did was make you know fifteen twenty dollars an hour and I scaled up this small ass ladder for fifty years of workingand that's what I got up in the morning for I'm going to be fucking pissed. I'm going to be. Pissed off I wasted my life I wanted to get up and I wanted to be a writerand I should have done that I should have lived on what I could lived on
you know you have no choice you write because you do and if somebody happens a notice it well they're going to find something unique and strange in brand newand guess what. I may not be for everybody. Maybe for the birds. Like how about the shit around nice
may not be for everybody but it's genuine and their discovery of it is going to be genuine and organic and it's going to be something special. You're going to givesomeone the experience that you once had of picking up that book someone is going to pick up your book and go holy shit I didn't know I didn't know that this waspossible. Someone showed me something new. After all the people trying to give me an experience the new the music television shows the movies theadvertisements the constant phone in the tweeting in the texts and the e-mails all of those people trying to get my attention.
But this guy this guy wrote this book and he gave me an experience he took a piece of my soul or give it back which Over
all I mean is there's an exchange and neither of us meant to do it it was this beautiful discovery
that's amazing. And that's that's something we look for. And like I said ironically you can only give it to somebody by not caring if they had it
not caring if you give it to them
you have to write for your own sense of discovery and if someone's come along for the ride. Come on in. That's how I write that's what I do the show listen I don'tcare for anybody I don't have anything to sell. I'm not selling anything. I hope. That it'll pay for itself you know I hope that I can quit my job one day not from podcasting but from
your writing and creating for myself you know a life that has many sources of whatever income I can find as long as one fucking work it work it work that's not true.I like work I just I could be writing if I wasn't working to be writing or reading I could be doing what I want to do but I have to do it we've got to do it we all have to doit another way you do about it. We do what we have to do. Fuckin right and some jump in there for I'm sorry I don't mean to be offensive. I'm just I'm a potty moutha little bit of a dirt bag. I guess you'd say dirtbag
kind of inappropriate
like the ladies are snobbish about books in writing I can't help it it's just the one hand and that's what that's what I mean that's what I mean that's what we write.Right like that do that whatever you want to discover. Do that and I guarantee no Uyghur fucking T. it will work out in the end.
Not money. Maybe nothing maybe not massive adoration like you wanted but it will be satisfying. You will have lived a satisfying life you will have lived. Oh are youready for this Cheese Boy you will have lived a writer's life
you see how that shit around. Did you see that God is God so good why am I so good at everything. It's kind of unfair if you think about it. Kind of unfair. No coughbutton here folks. We got great mikes used to be a sound engineer me you know.
Good mikes good everything. No cough button. You know why. Stream of Consciousness baby. How we do this show when we come back I'm going to tell youhow not to write a novel. That's right not to write one. Maybe not you know I want to know I will do that because some of them I think it's important if information issounds easy to do then as a writer you should be suspect and so I came across a couple of things that that I thought we should be suspect of. Stick aroundthrough the break and I will get him to the moving parts.
OK everybody this is Dan Black. Now if your life is a screwed up as mine is then you might enjoy another podcast of mine. I do with my wife Joe Black and we talkabout marriage and family and you know careers that jerk across the street. Society and culture and its effect on our little unit our little slice of heaven that we callfamily. We do it very inappropriately there's lots of innuendos and lots of nasty talkin. We know we could count everything if you think you might be interested inthat. Look this up on i Tunes It's called uncoupled with Dan and Joe Black and we look forward to having some very inappropriate conversations with you.
All right welcome back. If you're sticking around. A.W.I. dot com It was into a writer's life. My name is Dan Black and I talk about reading. Right but I do what I dohere anyway. I spend all day not talking and I come here and talk and it's really weird to listen to my own voice which I don't like by the way but I do it because Iwant to have a writer's group of want to have a discussion a deeper discussion about writing something that's so surface. You know I want to do something thatmaybe you can hear anywhere else. So I try to make it very personal and try to tell you things that are happening to me the things that I have discovered abouttrying to live some kind of artistic life that I imagine I don't know is pure imagination right now I'm trying to get to it and to some degree I had it and I needed to startbeing a little baby about it and appreciate the distance I have come to attain what I want and there's nothing wrong with having more to go. You know it's a lot lessthan I was before a few years ago. Anyway when we take a look at the moving parts here I want to teach you how not to write a novel. That's right how
to write a novel.
That's sounds I know you're not supposed to use negative titles for what you're doing but the thing is that there's so much of the same nonsense out there
and it's actually picked it's it's how to write this story I came across it by Dan Peacock
more I got it for us from Errol Graham again a couple of things I got from there. Anyway he works for the the Novello award which I think is in the U.K. because theprizes are in pounds
but he has like Top Ten Things
top ten ways to read and I didn't even write the title down. Damn I'm the worst. Seem like it or anything and
he goes into the ten things you know ten. Top Ten Things to Remember when you're writing the Vela and this really bothers me because this makes this is gearedmore towards the people who maybe have lost hope a publication or just don't and this is the stuff that's out there so that when you and I who want to dosomething with our artist's lifestyle whether you're a screenwriter writer a novel writer your you do creative nonfiction you're in and you're an artist whatever youhappen to do painters or
whatever you happen to do as you are your comedian goddamn comedians and they have a tough job. I could not I could not fathom being a stand up comedian.That's that's tough. And you got to be so smart I am terrified of ever meeting a stand up comedian because they're good at finding that one thing you're insecureabout I'm just going at you biting right into your insecurities and they're so smart you have to be incredibly smart and quick to be a stand up comedian and I'mterrified of them. I'm fucking terrified. It has kept me I love stand up comedy I love watching stand up comedians on television. I will never go to a show. There'sthat little fear in me that says if I sit anywhere in that room they're going to point at me and then to laugh at me. They're going to find that one thing that I hateabout myself and are going to call me up on stage and they're going to make me take off all my clothes and are going to point out one by one all the things that I'minsecure about.
No my sponsor isn't one of them. OK has to be massive. That's disgusting. That's gross I don't even see that part about writing here. Cameron All right let's getinto it then. If you're sufficiently grossed out how to write a novel
but I'm novellas here but it's writing in general. OK So he starts out the first thing I was and I'm not going to shit. As article I think it's a fine article. But when youget past the beginning stages of writing you really start to take it seriously. These are the things that kind of fuck you up. These are the things that are going totake you down as a writer because you're going to read these simple ass stupid rules over and over and over again you can go why can't I get it why can't I writewhat I want to write what is wrong with me and it's because because we've been fed his whole business is nonsense for so long that it's hard to get rid of once youstart getting serious about becoming a writer. Now the first thing he says
is that you have to plan. Now what's wrong with that at all or nothing you should plan a novel. You shouldn't be meticulous about it. You shouldn't plan plan planplan plan do all the things you can the plan you're going you're going to suck the life out of your narrative what you should do what you should do. One of the oneof the ways you can sort of get beyond the simple outlining thing is begin to craft for yourself an entirely different world in your head and maybe you live there for awhile. There are these people there that don't exist. There is I don't I don't know any number of things that don't exist but they exist to you in your forming thisworld full of people that do certain things not always entertaining things not always interesting things but they do certain things they have certain traits and theysimply live there in your head. And when once you've created the world in the universe
then you begin to write because then you have a good understanding of what these people love and hate and are ambivalent about and just don't care about. Heyguess what people in novels don't care about things too. They just don't care. Just like real people do. Not everyone has to be a cartoonish version of himself. Nowright.
Plan OK we plan but don't plan like don't write out the beats of your novel. You know if you're an outliner fine lots of people out line. If you're not an airliner. I'm notan outliner But if you you know if you really have that you have every day has to be new to you as a writer. Be sure you know what the fuck you're doing. Have adirection have a universe in place. But beyond that just see what happens when you're waiting to get rich from being becoming a writer. You've got to get this bookout because you need the money because you can get rich once you finish this please take your time
and just let it go man just let it go
the go. It sounds familiar because the song or some of the movie I feel like I've heard it before I don't know where. Silly sounds like a silly thing to say. Silly thing toput in a song. The next thing you do is to describe your novella in one sentence if you can do that why don't you just write the one sentence and publish that. Let'snot bother with the book. That's a lot of work. Pain of anger frustration self-doubt a lot of joy to your rubbish. Listen if you can just get the story out in one sentencejust to write that you know tweet that shit and you're done. You save yourself a lot of trouble a lot of time and when I go swimming. Summer's come and go for ajog do some else some else
described him once. Shit if you can describe your Novell in one sentence than just this forget the whole damn thing OK. Leave it to somebody else to describe inone sense you write your ass off. You write something so compelling you write something that nobody else could write. Let someone else figure out the one. SinceOK
and the next thing he says. Start with a conflict please for the love of God Don't start with a conflict. Start of the universe. Start with a place not a place as in setthe scene. That's not what I mean
what I mean is change starting with a conflict there's nothing wrong with that. Or starting with an interesting occurrence. Nothing wrong with that. The problemcomes when you start to think of these things as you go on as a writer. So let's say you've written three novels before and you just can't seem to get past thisbarrier in your mind tells you well you gotta start with a conflict you gotta start with some interesting. Well that hasn't worked the past three times or in any of theten previous short stories I wrote. So but you keep starting with the conflict because we see we hear constantly star with the conflict. Give give give the character awant and then put an obstacle in front of that lot. There's nothing wrong with saying that but that means to be in the back of your head it cannot be in the front.
The thing that you start your story with needs to come
it needs to come.
Man is struggling with how to say this. Oh he's another thing by the way. If something is easy to describe if someone gives you a piece of advice as a writer andit's so simple that you can't believe we didn't think of it before it might be true
if the explanation is a long thing it seems obvious but in the sort of like
start with a conflict let's say somebody tells you start with a conflict. Well I mean that's kind of obvious right you want to be interesting but why is that a major rolewhy that sounds too simple just part of the conflict. It sounds silly simple not
not profound simple and there's a difference when you hear something that's so simple that it's just kind of silly
to check. Out the window and don't do that. There's plenty of people starting out with exciting conflicts you can find a million of those on Amazon. Nothing wrongwith Amazon not making a moral statement. All I'm saying is and there's lots of people doing the conflict thing the book I picked up now. Oh I forgot they were thebook was
if you go to all is that in Japanese He's British
wrote the book called The Perry giant god damn it this guy's good man Oh I picked up that but I'm only like I don't know one hundred pages in
and I have that feeling we were talking about in the last segment. I had that feeling where you pick up the book and you read the first couple pages you go yesyes. Yes I got that feeling when I was a kid you know the that you pick up a book and it's so special and I judged by its cover by the way
beautiful cover the pages are just the perfect thickness be the type is Baskerville. It's got these thin lines super clean no believe beautiful book aestheticallybeautiful book and so you pick that up and you get this experience and then you read in all of a sudden you're just in this place to the start of the conflict no Okothlike guess what. He starts out describing old Britain. Yeah a paragraph of description of old Britain interesting as fuck. No conflict no freaking conflict I'm sorry Idon't mean to get so upset. Convention is Convention for the people who do not have the stomach to go on as a writer as an artist. Those people need theconvention. What we need is an essence and essence is always difficult to explain. In our super intelligent writers and artists. No way to put that simply. And theyoften do and we know when it's profound simple profound to the point where if they can do that the convention tends to be silly like. Describe your novel in onesentence. Describe your novel no novel novella your short story whatever and start of the conflict
and here's here's an exit gesture. I feel like I need a cab yet again. Dan Peacock here writing this article for whoever for error Carol Graham. That's where I got it.Nothing wrong with the article just fine. He's not saying anything wrong. What I'm trying to get out of myself is this idea that writing is so simple that all you have todo is start it with a conflict the next suggestion is to consider writing in the first person. If you're if you're in the university you've already created in your head thatyou've planned out.
you can experiment with writing in the first person but these sort of things should already have occurred to you. A story is only what it is and so vague I know Iknow. Being an asshole so big a story is what it is and I cannot help but be what it is. So start writing it
and don't say
I think more people would like this or I think it would be better is more you it would be easier to swallow would be easier for me to write but easier for me if this wasin first person. No it should not come to your mind like
that it should it should be. Oh man I can't believe I missed the story the story belongs in first person that's just what it is I just didn't see it. There's a coming aroundthe back way. There's something to be said for that. Coming around the pack sounds. So
there's something to be said for that though the going the long way around. Given the long reach around to a problem where you didn't you didn't see you can seeit at first but then you realize you're telling the story in the wrong way. Listen I'm picking I'm I'm picking nits here. This is small but new shit petty shit
and I hope you understand that I understand. Yes
but the way we think of these rules can inhibit us the way they infect our brain can stop us from doing creative things and they can get us to do things the way thatpeople who don't write who don't who don't do this.
God God I'm conflicted here I really am I'm conflicted like I am every show because I'm conflicted do I think about these things and I think man I have been so hardon everything and everyone and everything and why are you such an asshole why are you so bent out of shape and and in upset over these things and I don'treally know except to say that I'm upset at myself
for having believed this stuff and having having to think about it for so long by myself staring into space going minute.
That's not how you think of it. It could be true it could be a an ax you know fine
but it's the wrong way to think of it. And it's this whole idea of pulling back and seeing the essence of something and that's difficult. That's not easy as a person oras a writer or anything else. He's got a few more here. Minimize the number of characters avoid too many subplots increase the pace increased. So the pace isthe pace the book is the book you're discovering the book for yourself as you write it. There are cuts you make
do you make cuts for pacing. No you make you make cuts because it just doesn't belong there doesn't do anything for you. It may have happened in New Universebut it's not part of your story. It doesn't come in. I think there's plenty of room you know. Alternatively Conversely I think there's plenty of room for narrative piecesthat don't go anywhere. I really do and that and I don't want to say don't go anywhere and certainly you can't do it for too long you can't do a chapter let say butpeople do things that don't make any sense. People do things that happen that produce nothing but that and that happens in life.
And you can reproduce that has to be skilfully it has to be done exquisitely and shortly and without adverbs like I just used but it can be done and why not why thehell not this is your book this is your creation this is your universe you may have to defend it later but at least have a defense right. Right if you get to a publishergo have the supply this doesn't go anywhere. Yeah I know it doesn't go anywhere but it was part of his life and if you don't understand that piece of that character'slife you understand a little bit less about him and that's a good defense to good ass defense and good has different ma'am I'm just I'm just going to get latersomething I've gotten on the mind you know what happened when and when you do a show like this if things get on your mind and I just I don't I need to stop andstop saying everything I think. So increase the pace or is or was a lasting avoid too many subplots increase the pace keep it fluid fluid Man films that
I don't know what I mean. And then is his last one is revise revise revise. No The last one is relax have fun. So revise and have fun and at the end you discoverthat it's about entries into a novella prize
submission pricing. I don't do that stuff. Let's have fun. Yeah have fun. But what does the fun come from. The fun comes in the conquering in the writing in thebeing involved in the discovery. If you don't if you're not seeking mastery you may never get there. Getting there at attaining the goal matters a lot less when you'redoing something like writing because there's no such thing as winning. There's no such thing as writing the perfect book or the perfect story you're simply writingyour story the one in your head in your universe the one you've uncovered for yourself and for us. Just do that.
Don't be the guy adding to the noise. Don't be the guy who is screaming for attention in his narrative who just wants to be seen. I'm putting together a
few essays that I'm going to offer in the newsletter that I'm doing
and I may offer him later on to everybody but you can initially they're only going to be people who sign up for people who sign up in the newsletter. And I'm notselling it so it's free. And one of the things I've been writing about
is the lengths that we as writers should go to to hide ourselves. When you write
when you read a book you shouldn't be detecting the author
if the author has done his job. He has hidden himself. He's no where to be found
his fingerprints can be seen on it. If you look at his style if you're paying attention to a style but his narrative and his story he's gone. He doesn't exist in that world.He's making you believe something by removing himself and if he screws up that illusion. If the author
keeps inserting him or herself into his narrative and the reader notices he may not be able to put it into words. The reader sometimes doesn't know why a book isbad
but he'll know something and something will be off and it's because the author's voices and the author's mind isn't it. His existence is present on the page and itruins the illusion. Rogen and sketch comedy they call the fourth wall right comedy.
It's broken and you can't get it back. You cannot get it back. You watch Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon's always when he was on S N L He's alwayslaughing at himself. He's always coming out of the character
and you know the first time. OK things are so funny that you can't you can't hold him. But then a fuckin became his thing. Jimmy Fallon is the worst. He is the worsthe is the
keep every skit he was in for a while had him laughing at it and that was his thing
and it broke the illusion of the skin broke the illusion of the writing. COM Well I want to compare them. That's not cool. Well I'm going to pair welfare on the otherhand that guy funny is balls right. Funny is one of the funny. These guys on the planet. He can just look a certain way and I will laugh. He's so goddamn funny.That guy did a skit and it was rare for him to break a smocked to break the fourth wall to crack a smile. He wouldn't do it. He was good man
because he knew something because if he came out of it
the funny became something else. The funny wasn't the character the funny wasn't his ability to portray the character the funny was well fair or
not the guy in the hot tub. God it was a funny skit. Everything I want I don't know what it's called but it's just like suave older to do and how him and his wife meetpeople and like hotel hot tub so he calls it a hot tub.
Larry and I go home and watch exists is one of the funniest things. And every time they did that skit the people around him would be dying laughing not becausethey're professional but because Will Ferrell is so goddamn funny they could not hold it together. They could not hold it together. And Will Ferrell for the most partdid I mean he knew that if he broke the illusion the whole thing would fall apart
in you know that too. You may not be able to define it at the time when you're watching it
ma'am. So funny. You mean we do that too and as writers we do that too. If the reader can detect you in any small way you've not done your job. And let me tellyou something the best way to say look at me I'm here is to use some of these rules. You can insert yourself very quickly into a narrative into your own prosewithout even knowing it. When you use these rules. Conflict because they will automatically seem contrived. You will be forced into irony in the fire and icesituations in the black and white situations your characters have to become cartoonish because they stand for one thing and they hate another thing. There's nomoral ambivalence in your characters because you've used the rules. We've been reduced. Irony. It's not acceptable I mean more I mean more. There was aplace for it in time. The realists brought us out of it. Dickens brought us out of that sort of storytelling where we get into the real
we get into the innards of people
I guess or maybe in a spiritual sense. I mean more that more in a metaphysical sense
we can see the inside of a man's heart a man's mind by what he does
by the way he treats others. These are the things that we're interested in
not black and white cartoonish characters who love some things and hate other things and who lack ambivalence
and who lack any amount of turpitude honestly. Doesn't everybody have the capacity to do the wrong thing once in a while.
It's not like I'm on a high horse but I'm talking to myself This is a writer's group and I get upset at the things that I feared doing. I'm really afraid and I'm going toend up making something trite and ugly and something that's been done a hundred times. So one of the ways I stop myself from doing it is to rail against it in myown head and you know in the writers' group between you and me right here in a writer's life. One of the ways I do it so I hope I don't offend anybody and I don'tmean to offend I don't mean to shit on anybody's work. That's not my ultimate point. But being animated about it gets me. It gets my subconscious in a state ofmaking sure that subconscious doesn't spin that that crap out because there's too much of it around and it doesn't need mine to
you and I you and I need to be different and unique
and that comes with thinking about things differently. Getting beyond those cheesy rules we all learn at first throwing those away and start coming around backand start giving the old reach around. Your prose
what. But what are you saying now. No that's not how I meant it. The reach around. Disgusting. Writers tend to be disgusting. Yeah you ladies too. I know we'resupposed to be intellectual and soft spoken and very N.P. or alike impures nothing wrong with you
we can have this picture of artists that you know is very high.
Having voices that don't go too low.
Let me stop me. Sorry I
like everything else this is not this may not be for everybody. I understand that I understand people want the simple rules they want how to write a novel. Give methe steps tell me what to do. Tell me the things to avoid and tell me how much money I'm going to make once I follow all the rules and understand that I was thereonce
but then I got really kind of bitter and upset when I discovered wait a minute that's not the path the great writers took they were trying to do some. Different theyignored everybody's they didn't follow the rules they just kept discovering themselves and rediscovering themselves and see what they can with what they did.That's what I want to do. I may not be a genius and my genius is for no one else to judge anyway doesn't it doesn't matter. But I want that for my life
I want to be on the path of discovery. I want to be sure that I'm doing everything I can to make something unique and it's never been done before. Is it going to beunique it never been done before. Probably not. It's not the point though this is my life and my journey in because I can't know everything. I can only know whatI've read learned experience discovered
and I'll use that to guide me
not the rules that everybody else has. Norman Rush has a book called mating. It's got no action and there's a lot of the conflict there's an inner conflict of thewoman but there's not a whole lot in terms of James Patterson like excitement
but it's a wonderful piece of work. I don't what about about rabbit run cows. What about Barry giant. There's some great stuff in there.
I'm like oh I don't know anything about it because it's the greatest thing to pick up a book and not know anything about it you just in for the journey you're in for theride. God it's wonderful love that stuff. Open a book of a leader Pale Fire. Believe it has a learned attraction. I know that there's a taboo thing about it that makes it
attractive to us as readers but if you look at the language
if you look at this that the
psychos. So the main character act and that's convincing the polka is nowhere near that narrative. We have a sense of his greatness because he's you know he'sgoing to he's in the pantheon. So as we read we have a sense of his greatness but it's not
he's not writing about his own greatness. You know what I mean. He's just pulled us into a universe of this sick mind this very sick man and it's it's one of thegreatest works of literature ever written. Man I want to do that. Maybe I won't get there. Maybe you won't either. I don't know it doesn't matter whether we get thereor not give up on the point the point is
is that we try to give ourselves and perhaps our audience that sense of discovery in our work and it can be done folks. It can be.
We will show is
the Web address if you want the newsletter this little package of essays appearing together on writing. Go sign up for the newsletter on A.W.L. Show dot com Youcan see my brick amended book of the month which is going to be the berry giant by name because he she I cannot I cannot not say it and some kind of Japanesething I'm such a freakin racist
because a girl OK great great writer wrote the remains of the day I think you want
something. Maybe the Booker Prize a kitten or what was once something Dan Patrick right or my recommendation of one month to go to our site A.W.L. show oryou can write me a day and either we will show dot com do that you can see my recommended list. American made the reading list sign up for the newsletter.Send me an email. Tell me what you think and review us on i Tunes if you could if you would really need those reviews to move up in the rankings and to get more.Well listening to the show so we get more people writing properly writing well and kind of ignoring all the simple stuff
going on with us if you don't mind. Again my name is Dan Black it was my pleasure to join you in this great writers group today. I will see you next week wherewe're going to talk about some else. I don't know you never can tell. But can I get the fat lady to give me an A man whose