We now are inviting. Welcome to a writer's life my name is Dan Black thanks for thanks for downloading this it's
not an easy thing you know to devote yourself to something
to filling your head with something artistic and I'm not saying that I am artistic in particular what I am saying though it's easier to turn on the television it's easier tosort of tune out and do something else and instead the people who listen the podcast tend to be a little different a they they want to better themselves they want tolearn something more and I really appreciate you choose in this program as at least one way to do that we are in need of reviews especially to the U.S. listenerswe have a lot of international affairs listeners U.S. listeners are tougher to get to go over and review so that we can move up and along in the
rankings. So if you could do that would be wonderful and if you do let me know that you did it down at A.W.L. Show dot com Let me know what you did thenmaybe I'll send you a little something you know help you know you know me and to help you out.
Before we get going I want to I wanted to say something about
well some about beauty
and I am talking about aesthetic beauty obviously. And Hannah that's what beauty is about but it's more
I'm more thinking about the way to capture it. You see what happened was that a girl came in to the place where I work
and she was unbelievably almost cocky. Gorgeous
she was twenty one then. And please ladies bear with me I'm not being a massage Mister I'm telling you that this girl I say she is a girl because she ended uptelling me she was twenty one. She came in looking for a job and
she consented and she saw the I don't know where that where wherever
my employer posts there job job needs as you just saw the post of the job and I go OK So did you email someone did you talk to someone. His shit come in I justassumed she was here for an interview or something like that and she goes No I just came in just introduced myself and I'm looking at or this woman is thiswoman is gorgeous she has long brown hair that that sort of fluffed out and this and Joe like Fluffy. And it wasn't it wasn't over done her hair it was just beautiful.Towels can I describe it she has an adorable little face and I have probably one hundred twenty five pounds five nine super tall just beautiful. I couldn't I couldn'tbelieve she was come what are you doing here. What do you do in your I work we work here for a ticket for this shit. But she knew the job she didn't care whereshe gets it right. So.
I'm OK So she goes I just came in to introduce myself and I look at her and I go yeah that's a good idea and
I took that will be by work with but I said that now I meant it in a perverted way I said it like you know it's a good idea and then thank you for coming in and let meget a look at you and also
you know actually is a good idea for you for her because she comes in looking like she does. There's a good chance she's going to get whatever she wants. NowI'm not saying that it's right. I don't know anything about if she'll be hired or whatever
but she came in and decided to use what she had she had a beauty in an innocence. She was from Houston Texas and she didn't have an accent really but thatwas her home
and she comes in with all of this and Jellicoe aura
and simply takes the place over with with her looks and her and her little her innocence and it was adorable. It's absolutely adorable. Yes I would hit it. That's notthe point it was adorable
and I was really the only one there at the time obviously there were customers and now I was the only one there at the time
and I know I'm not the boss so I dig around and he'll be here. Actually no no. She came in the morning and I said the boss will be here about two thirty if you wantto come back then. There's no way she's going to come again she just came you know she has other things to do. She just thought she'd try it out. No she cameback at two thirty and she was there and the boss was and she ended up waiting thirty minutes forty minutes and I'm talking to her. I'm chatting this girl she isgorgeous. I I have to talk to this girl see what she's about.
I'm on the intelligence meter you know if
it's all bellow and Philip Roth or eight or nine people I rank in but for now I'm not being insulting. She was a dumb or anything it's just that you know if if we'retalking about AIDS and mines up there the literary genius is I use them because we have in common. Three or four of them all of that is that Doms are retardedshe just. Now let's say let's say young and naive her right and her naivete sort of exuded
off her person and it could have been the angelic or maybe perhaps she had the biggest brain in the world and I couldn't see it for all the beauty that that couldpossibly be it. Now she was answering me and I was trying really hard to listen and not just stare into her eyes and feeling like I was being called by the siren thatshe was going to dash my face upon the rocks at any moment. OK so she's come. She comes back in and I'm talking to her she talks of the boss for a few minutesand
I look at the boss and like you're hiring her you are hiring her goddamn it. Nothing good ever happens to me. Nothing nice nothing beautiful Nothing ever happensto me. She walks in the door. That's fate. You're hiring her. I have to look at her once a day to know that there is purity and beauty left in the planet. Please I knowshe's only a metaphor for beauty and purity but that's what I need. I er I don't think is going to hire. Not the point. So she leaves and then I get an e-mail the nextday from a co-worker the guy who works my position but he works on alternate days and he emails me one simple sentence. Tell me about so and so. My name isCassie. So what tell me about Cass. He
and I do this thing where if somebody ask me something I try to give them
I give them something that they won't hear anywhere else. I try not to repeat myself ever. I give my life. I do it anyway but I try not to and when somebody askedme something I don't like to give generic answers I always give them something they didn't expect. You know that's what I like to do. I like to do it because I don'twant to leave this planet going. I said the same thing ninety percent of the time. To everyone I met I want to see some different every day. I'm so that when I amout of people's lives and I remember that and
yeah no he was he was kind of an asshole but you know you never knew what it was going to say. You asked him a question you wouldn't give a generic answer.That's cool I'm cool with that asshole. Not generic. All right the tradeoff
can't be a tradeoff All right. So he sends me the e-mail and
he goes Tell me about Cassie and I thought about it and at first I was just going to describe her you know like oh man she was beautiful and when she left I madea big deal. I made a big deal because she was gorgeous and everybody who walked in the door stared at her for three or three or four seconds. And it wasn't like
it wasn't it wasn't dirty. You know it would be the same thing if there's this one guy who comes in he's a former professional volleyball player dude is like six four.She felt blond. This guy is the best looking dude I have ever seen in my life. I hate this fucking guts. You know why because he's also the coolest guy I've evermet. He's so cool and I look up at him and I have to look up at him
and we have these you know short conversations and he's so goddamned cool. If you look at I mean is it a sort of smile about you know whatever we're talkingabout tennis or golf or some like that. And and he look at me going you know we're having this conversation and he's treating me like a human being and this isthe best looking guy I've ever seen in my life. It's that kind of thing. She had that magnetism you know some people are good looking and they're nice and they justseemed
that they seem to put off this thing where it's not it's it's not purely sexual I'm sure some of it's sexual but it's more like you. You just want to take it in a little. Didyou know because it doesn't happen very often
people who are that good looking in that nice and that that have that that have been compromised or their character in some way you know you can tell thatthey've never touched a mess they've never
probably had an orgy you've been involved in or do you they've never done that kind of thing because they're just good people you know other good people alongwith being really good looking people. That's rare in my experience now maybe it's not rare where you are or I am not. Doesn't happen very often. All this to getaround the long way of saying
when somebody asked when a co-worker emailed me what's Cassie like I ended up writing him like a poem about her. Now it was is supposed to be funny youknow I was I was it was all hyperbole you know her and gel like or and all that stuff and it was you know maybe maybe eight or nine lines and I went on and on inthis you know short and fairly creative prosody and at the end I said another and that she was OK you know and you know just to top it off with a joke and he likedit he he thought it was and he said I was a master or brilliant or something like that which you know. What I like to compliment myself like that. I don't always thinkof myself as brilliant or genius but when others point it out on when you do need to say it now I don't know you know you accept it gracefully. I accept complimentslike that recently and I am master of my genius I don't know who's to say you know I don't know I don't think in those terms but if other people think you know youknow from the people saying all right all right and here's the thing what I realize that after I after I sent the email I had been writing all morning. Anyway you know.As a cool little break for me to do something fun but still keep it you know prosaic. So keep it so keep my mind on words
but sort of a little bit later what I what I realized about myself is that I was joking
but I took an opportunity
to take in the beauty of some kind
and what I understood about myself is that I don't. I don't do it very often. I did it on a lark. You know it's kind of a joke
but I don't know how often I do that in life
and I wonder if
my not paying attention enough or.
Let's see my lack of my like
my lack of being awake to beauty my inconsistency at taking in things that are beautiful
and I don't mean just aesthetic beauty I mean it could be sadness and anger that I see somewhere else. I mean more of the beauty of the human experience. Am Inot analyzing that enough and not sort of and I don't mean analyzing. Am I not am I not pouring it into my subconscious. Am I not allowing it all in. Anger sadnessbeauty serial angelic you know unbelievably low looking woman and we're not living that all in
because I used to. It's one of the reasons you write because you read something that makes you that that teaches you something you didn't know before. That'sone of the reasons you read I don't know that it's primarily to entertain. Like we've talked about it the other week he was on Episode twelve I think
and someone said that. They write to entertain primarily how we know about them. Maybe I don't know
but if I thought in my capturing enough
meaning is my brain open and I call it your spirit your unconscious whatever the hell you want to call it. Is it open
to the world. Is it taking in or are you so but you and me are you so self involved are you so often looking down at the ground wondering about your own existencethat you never look the fuck up and see that the world
is not only big but profound and not profound in a way that's hidden meaning if you just look up you'll see the mountains in the distance. But maybe there'ssomething beyond the mountain and you can see maybe it's a higher mountain maybe you step back and you look at the curvature of the earth.
Maybe there's a different kind of beauty that you can understand if you'd only keep your mind open long enough your subconscious open long enough
to take it in. Or another way to think about it. If you only stop thinking about yourself and your sorrows and the pitiful little things that are happening to you if youstop thinking about that long enough
to take other things in. It's almost like a like a like a water pipe you know water goes one way and it can go the other way. But I need to stop going if water's goingeast or west it's going to go east or west all the time until it clears. It's no longer there's nothing in the pipe and then something can go west to east in a pipe. Butwithout separation there's no it's one of the other. So you can be concentrated on yourself but you cannot at the same time. Concentrate on the external world andtake that in and notice it and use it for your prose
you can't do both
unfortunately and when one gives the other takes over. Now obviously we can't constantly be in a place of our mind being
open because we do have problems we do have things we need to take care of. We have pains or hurts wants joys desires. If you're a male you spend about halfyour time trying to get a lady married or not. Yeah that's right. I know your secret pervert
but me and if we could if we could and I'm talking to myself and I always said because I don't want to offend anybody because I really am talking about myself andhow do I make myself a better writer. How do I get better. It's not all technical In fact I think very little of becoming a better writer is technical. Anybody can learntechnical things. That's not the problem that's not the hard part to learn the rules is no great it's no great accomplishment anybody can learn a list of rules.
What what's difficult is getting your ideas down on the page in a clear and concise way in a unique way in a way that only you can do it. So how do you do thatwhen you're always thinking about your own self. Now some people have a way of getting out of this they do meditation in the morning. I think that's a great way. Ihave tried this way. I want to do it more. Getting up this chest can anyone else have a problem getting up if I get four hours sleep. If I get twelve hours sleep Icould not get up. I HATE IT I HATE MY LIFE. For the first forty five minutes of. Every goddamn day since I was six. Probably before
I can get up. Life is terrible for forty five minutes. Now to meditate or say well yeah well that's why you go somewhere quiet and you just think in your clear mindand I love that idea. I do I do it as often as I can but I can't seem to my mind my brain will not let my mind my brain will not allow me to shift my neurons won't shiftenough for me to get into the habit of doing that every day
and I know I can do it
but I have to get up earlier. They're scared they're getting off people off to work there's me going to work. There's it's a difficult thing to do.
So if you don't do that if your not a morning meditator
you're going to have to work a little extra to get to get that world in your subconscious to get that essence in your subconscious so that you can use it in yourwriting. Part of it is just being aware being aware and looking up
not internalizing every hour of your day thinking or you know it could be self-pity but it could be looking forward to something else. Whatever it is you're alwayslooking into your own situations and your own into your own feelings about things and really that doesn't. Whenever I find myself doing it I mean
why am I thinking about what's going to happen this summer. Well you know you got a plan or plan I mean it gets closer I mean it's more dreaming about it whatam I going to do pack now for my summer vacation. Four months away now. Stop thinking about it. Look up into the world. We'll see what's happening now what ishappening right this moment that I can take into my subconscious and that I can use to make my life better first of all and to make me a better writer. Pull out yournotepad and just write something down if you're at work if you're in the park if you're in school take notice of things if you're in school you're sitting you're takingnotes you're looking at the teaching you're taking notes and you're thinking about what he's saying and it's all this shit. But are you going to fail the class in is yourlife going to be any worse if you look at the chalkboard and notice the way the chalk dust is falling and you find a way to describe that going to become beautiful toyou to look up from the very thing you're doing and just take small notice of something because I promise you if you plant that in your brain you planted in yoursubconscious it will come out later
an older customer who brought his granddaughters in all the time
and I got to tell you what I do because I you know I
I get a brace of you and I have somebody you know somebody gets offended it's just a big fucking problem. So I try to you know keep what I do on the down lowand then count
ninety's so easily in the ninety's kids. The down low the D.L. fucking retarded.
has he retired. I'm sorry I mean if anybody. I think oh yeah this guy used to bring his his granddaughters in
and one time he brought his youngest granddaughter in and she was about eight years old and she had a book with oh you know but he read man she told meyou know some kiddie stuff
looking down on her down my nose at this eight year old or what you're reading there. Oh Harry Potter Good luck with that.
Now we're going inside to Harry Potter. Oh years those smart and I didn't do that I just I mean my mind I thought oh maybe she's one of those you know girls whowho are different who discovered J.D. Salinger early you know which is read Catcher in the right eight years old that's really inappropriate. Anyway
she goes and I asked her Well what do you want to do and corruption is a cute little girl a pudgy and her her sisters are older sisters are thin you know and she'slittle pudgy because I want to be a writer. Oh that's a great thing to be and say anything about myself
so I told her Well what do you like to read and she tells me a few books and I said Well have you ever just maybe tried Shakespeare she goes oh no no no I can't Ican't read that I can't. That's that's adult stuff I said yeah it can be complicated but listen all you gotta do is just read it even if you don't understand it just just readit you know read one play you know every few months and even if you don't get it all it's OK it's not a big deal just come back to it when you get older and I Ipromise I said I promise you that if you begin to read Shakespeare now I wish someone had told me this. If you begin to read Shakespeare Now when you getolder you will have already had all that material in your brain. And then you make connections and it all makes sense to you a lot faster than it would if you justwere introduced to it when you were you know sixteen or seventeen and it just blows by you because you think you're too dumb to get it. And my point was thatyou need to begin to input and put input all you can. Shakespeare poetry anything you can get your hands on that's creative and I'm talking about I can spythrillers OK. Anything. Get your hands on. That's a literary get it in the membrane getting your subconscious to
do that as much as you can. As young as you can. Now for you all shits and I'm one of you
if it is reading it is taking in literature and I do mean literature. Please don't make me define it. Taking in literature and looking up
looking at your universe seeing what they're seeing how you can describe it what is that what is that little. Somebody said something to you like you know well Iguess I'll see you later. He seemed like an innocent thing to say but you sense the tone you sense something in that. What was it that I said. He said Yeah well Iguess we'll see you later you know with that well in there. Yeah well I guess I'll see you later. The well could be a little sarcastic maybe it was a sarcastic maybe hewas thinking of something else but why would he say that that way and that nuance of language that you begin to dissect. And understand maybe even if you don'tunderstand it but you know it exists. That nuance of language maybe you can capture that attitude that character that subtle piece of that subtle phrasing that letsyou know a character's irritated and you use that that becomes usable later. As you build people and as you build the universe around your people
all of it is usable. It's a great it's a great thing because it will come back but you have to pay attention. I have to pay attention. It should not take a beautiful girlwalking in for me to notice that there are beautiful things on the planet like I forgot. Sad man. It's a sad thing.
I for it and it's affecting my writing. I noticed that it's affecting my writing after I finish my last short story I started again and noticed that I started to get too prosaicto purple. Michael why am I doing this. And I feel like it was because I was searching for something unique and if I had only been looking up for the past couplemonths I would have seen something I would have been able to use that stuff. But instead I had my eyes rolled in the back of my head
you know examining my own brain concentrating on myself not noticing anything around me. God damn it how many how much time did I lose how muchinformation did I lose because I was not paying attention. What stories could have or could I have told. Had I been paying attention of the world around me had Ibeen writing subtle feelings and thoughts in my notebook. Now I do that and I have been doing that but nothing great of profound is coming out it's all sort ofgeneric and I hate looking back in my journal going What the
hell are these plain ass thoughts. Everybody has these thoughts
and on one hand it's good to know that you're human because you're a dick
At the same time I didn't notice that I was that I didn't notice that I was noticing anything unique about the world and if there's nothing unique for me to say andthere's nothing for me to say there's nothing for me to write. Noticing is a big deal and notice we have to look at
all right when we come back from the break I'm going to get a little bit deeper into this and sort of go into
focus on the narrative. Getting that simplicity in to the narrative now and once we have all the information in our brain holes in our brain folds I mean brain holesHopefully your brain doesn't have a hole in it brings to a folder though. Took them into the fold let me have all all of that all my crazy ridiculous thoughts popped inyour brain falls were going to come back and talk about getting that getting that into the narrative how do we do that how do we get to get to a place where we'reunderstood in those thoughts that we put into our brain can come out clearly concisely in a concrete way. Stick around you're listening to a writer's life with DanBlack you can visit us on the i Tunes store and you can subscribe there and you can also go to A.W.L. Show dot com and get all the episodes there in also thoserecommendations there you can sign up for the newsletter. We're trying to populate that site with more and more stuff that will benefit you that will make you abetter writer. And also if you would like your poetry to appear on that page I would love to get it. So send me your poetry at Dan and A.W.L. dot com And if it's if it'sgood if we can you know use it on that page and teach other people how to do what you're doing because you're that good. You know send it on over. I'd love toput it up there. And if you'd like it right here I'd like to do that too. Stick around we'll come back and will will will take a look at the moving parts.
it was terrible I read a story by I'm not going to say who
I think I talked about it last week I did but there was this one story and it was that whole circular nonsense you know that whole that whole thing where
let's say there's two characters and one is
One was the torturer. Right so when you're pregnant if you know fine. When was the torture I was going to say the story was one of the torture a guy goes into helland the torture is torturing the hell out of him until he tells the truth about his life and then at the end of the story the torturer leaves and another guy walks in andthe
the one who is just being tortured has now is now burdened with having to torture the next guy that comes in. Oh how circular and how cute. Freaking lame it wasso. LANE How many times have I read that goddamn story how many times have I read that story. One million one million into now one million three. OK I'm tiredof that. Stop stop doing the M. Night Shyamalan Milan where we got to have the twist. All right we got all the twists no more twists can happen. Let's give the twistif you have a twist one hundred year rest there's a moratorium on twists and short stories. OK no more.
That's really good but it's going to be so good. It's got to be something no one ever thought no one's ever thought of before. Then you can do the twist.
If not if you think that it sounds twisty leave it out or abandon it do something else because we got all the twists twists and turns all right you need some real Giveme some profound that's what I want to read about. That's just me. How do I know. All right so on. One of the given to talking about simplicity in an area and howto do that now. Like all things when you get into that to the deeper stuff of writing it gets a little vague and that's on purpose. You cannot describe the formula forwriting a good story or becoming a good writer or writing well it can be done if somebody could figure that out then there would be a lot of people writing reallyreally good stuff. And there are quite a few but there never seems to be an embarrassment of people who write well it's always very few a handful considering howmany people on the planet. And considering how many people call themselves writers.
Just like you're not a writer if you know
you're not really a writer if you write or in that nano nano November thing
that doesn't make you a writer
and makes you a person who writes During the nano nano thing
right. Let's define let's have some parameters for right. We have parameters for professional baseball player professional football player professional plumberthere are things you have to accomplish to be all of those things right. Professional pool clear professional mover licenses there's all kinds of stuff you've got to gothrough to be called one of those things. Let's be a little bit more stringent on the the writing the calling someone a writer
being an asshole again and it stuck.
Simplicity in narrative this happens I'm going to I'm going to tell you what happens to me
and what happened to me a while ago was that I realized I was getting too close to the character my narrative was coming too close to the character. OK so I'mgoing to try to explain this is best. Can there are different ways to write third person. All right you can write it super distant Some people call that omniscient butthat's not really what I'm talking about. Omniscient isn't
omniscient doesn't know shit means knows everything right the narrator knows everything but it really means that the minute that the pros are I'm sorry that the
that the writing is pulled so far away from the character that we never get to see inside what's inside the mind of the character and usually if the if we do happen tosee in there will get a he or she thought in you'll get the Kalak shit you know that Alec. I wonder if I'm going
to do. We don't act Alex. Let's stop the attacks.
Well what happens is you get super far away from the character and he can become bland because it's very very difficult to tell a story this way because a lot ofthings have to happen and things have to move to be interesting. You have got to be so chock full of ideas in every line because you're now occupying your spacewith someone's thoughts. You're occupying it with truth and history and it's a difficult thing to do well. Garcia Marquez a master at this. He had sort of a fairy tale.Not all the time but his voice was very fairy tallish you know if he was describing the thoughts of somebody he would say he thought that he would do it quickly andyou would not get into the brain of someone like John Updike would he had a very distant narrative voice
in what happens. What's become popular I would suppose. Now I I read three or four pages of a lot of things and throw it away. I don't want to I don't want to readit. Any more I get tired of it I don't want to read it. Why don't I want to read it. Because nothing happens because I'm not an attorney no because they're badwriters. Barnes and Noble is packed with bad writers on those shelves. And I'm not saying that because of sour grapes maybe a little bit more though
that there needs to be what's happening in literature is that the writers are getting far too close to their characters
so that we're using third person style but the voice might as well be first person because we're so damn close to that character we get to see is every thought weget to see why he makes decisions. What process what mental process as he goes through to make decisions what's happening inside how is he feeling. And Iwould
postulate I would I would put to you.
They're really kind of like in real life. Nobody gives a fuck what you're thinking you have to be really really in love with somebody to be sitting in silence and goWhat are you thinking right now I want to know what you're thinking. I'm not really thinking about it and you see well it's impossible not to think about something.Well I'm just sort of thinking you know about what I was going to do. Well come on this no your thing about I saw the look on your face you go through this wholething but you only do that with people you love you don't want to know the thoughts of every goddamn person on the planet and you say well you know it's hischaracter I built this character and I want to build interest in the character. Nobody's interested in the thoughts of a person to whom nothing is happening andhere's my point
that the thoughts here character matter far less than what is happening to him what he is doing or what others are doing to him.
So modern writers
you know on and off the shelves maybe you do this I did this this is why it annoys me so bad by the way the things that annoy me the most are the things that Iused to do because I'm embarrassed about oh my God I don't want to know that I used to do that. So whenever you hear me getting outraged at somethingbecause that's where I did what I did. The difference is that I try to fix it and get better
where most writers will stick with their nonsense and sort of become better storytellers. But the writing is just as awful as it ever was. That doesn't improve theirstorytelling ability proves and then you know someone's around to tell them which pieces to cut and then they go on and on and live the rest of their lives readingthat way.
That's not good enough for me. It's not if I know that I do something incorrect or or do something unnecessary that isn't there isn't adding to my to my point or mypassage or my dialogue. If the thing that I'm writing at the time is not revealing something about the character about the story about the events about truth then itshouldn't be in there. In most of the time what your character thinks is irrelevant because most of the time what everybody thinks is irrelevant. It's kind of sad.Everybody wants to think they're important but not every thought of every human being not every thought of every interesting human being is important to the storyyou want to tell. So don't get if you get so close
let's say we're at a family dinner. OK there's a there's a family dinner out a lot can happen at a family dinner. Right
but more often than not what I see
is that the writer the author is in on one character and what happens is all we get to do is watch the events through the character's eyes through his point of view. Iam not shooting on point of view but what I what I am saying
is that if it's not happening to your character and that your character is simply there to see what happens
you somebody else use another character to whom the event is important and do it through his point of view
because all that's going to happen is we're going to be. Describe the scene. That's all that's going to happen and then we're going to hear that character's thoughtsabout a scene and nobody cares
nobody cares. The thing that invests if you want to put it in these terms or put it in the
opera in the white Writer's Workshop terms the thing that is going to make is care about your career. Tours are the things that happen to them.
The things that happen to them. Now these are all made up things by the way. You're making up their thoughts you're making up these events it's all fabricatedthings but it's very important where these things come from because if something happens to your character it's far different than your character thinking about theeffects of what's happening to him. What's important is is what's happening so spend your time
on the reality of whatever situation you are offering whatever your character is going through. Don't list his thoughts
please don't list his thoughts are going to bore the shit out of me. If you have to list anything
list what's happening to him not inside. Outside
if if if an author is going to get so close to his character that he is writing his every movement and thought this happens so much. If an author is going to do that
he has to be super disciplined about what this guy's thinking about what is happening to him. It's going to have to go by quickly. What I realized about my ownwriting is that when I was doing this I was stalling because I didn't know what the hell I was doing I didn't know where I was going so I had to stay in one place for awhile for a while and write out the thoughts right out the feelings. What if I have to do a put in the Writer's Workshop terms I had to show and not tell. That's whatwe have to do right when we get stuck show not tell.
It's in correct. It may be the correct thing but the way everybody takes it is incorrect. Your characters
if they are not doing something or if something is not happening to them
then they can't possibly advance the story. We can't possibly move on. Now there's a little room for description. And here's another thing is that when you are tooclose your character your description becomes muddled
it becomes unreliable which is great. I love unreliable The problem is most authors don't know they're doing it. That is they'll notice an object or they'll notice aperson who is who is supposed to look evil save the bad guy and then you make your character notice some negative things about him the way his eyebrows arethe ways eyebrows come down in the middle or his greasy hair you know.
In the way he notices things may not. You're you're leading us you're giving us a leading attribute. You're telling us what to think
instead of this instead of stating the facts and letting the reader letting the reader come to his own conclusion. One of the one of the best ways you can learn
how to write well is to learn how to hide yourself. You know what I mean by that is to remove yourself from the narrative. Take out every hint of the author. Theauthor does not exist.
If you were if you were telling a story and it's too close to your character you're too close to the character and then you start to reveal yourself because you start totell everybody what to think
through your character
and I try to make it look like it was his thoughts. But it's almost impossible because I'm human. I'm human and I'm trying to tell a story
and the problem is I am telling the story my way and that my character's way and if you if your narrative is that close if you're in a really close third person and yourcharacter's having your thoughts your thoughts are going to cross. My advice the way I fixed it was to pull way back tell a story like an old fairy tale write a storylike an old fairy tale. There's going to be a lot of was or is and there's going to be a lot of statements about what is happening and short this is not necessarilysomething you'll publish but you want to pull so far back out of your character's head that you're telling a story purely on what happened to him. What you'lldiscover is that one
it's more difficult it's far more difficult because more. Things have to happen
and it's difficult to do. Also to have more things happen and keep yourself from describing simple actions that don't matter. Like he walked or he said or he wentyou know dumb things like that
don't don't find other words for he saw
just dart the description of what he saw. You know I have to say he saw him coming you say and came
it. The biggest the biggest thing I see with writers
is one that they don't know how to write which is fine. Everybody's everybody's there at one point or another and nobody has ever figured it out. Nobody ever will.And once you learn how to write
you'll think you know how to write after finishing a project and then you have to learn all over again on the next project. Going through that now. I wrote a story thatI think is my best story that I've ever written. The prose it's clear the story is the story is not there's no chop in it it's fluid it makes sense
and I have no idea how I did that. None. No I'm going to go in to morrow
I will write tomorrow morning I'm a start something new and I don't know what I'm going to do but I don't want to start I don't know how I did that
and it's super frustrating but there are a couple of things I do know and I do know to stay away from. And one thing is getting so close to the character that I am I Iam myself as an author and inserting my opinion I am guiding the reader I am taunting him towards an opinion
and the really good writers don't do that. If you're going to do that you need to know that you're writing an unreliable character which is fine I love those stories todo well is not easy though for you to write in first person. Another thing really difficult to write in first person to do well. Now a lot of people do it and are terrible at it.And there have been a lot of ice is just a bunch a bunch of eyes on the page and you're in you can sort of
hold the book away from yourself and see all the eyes on the page it's not just that's when you know not to read that story. We see a lot of eyes in the world thatthe walked. Things like that. But man how much will your prose and prove how much are your story telling and proof if you simply tell what happened. Tell me whathappened.
And I'm not saying that the story then and now Neil Gaiman's thing is that a story is what happened next. I don't really I don't know that. Actually you know when Ihear a little quip like that my my instinct is to shut it down. And they hate it. Like the show don't tell thing that bothers me. I don't know why it bothers me. Itprobably helps a lot of people I have no idea why it bothers me or when somebody says you know what a story is what happened next. I did add you're reducingyour reducing our art into something that you know this sounds so stupid and simple. What happened next
that's entertaining. Right
now it's not a movie. It's it's prose it's different than a movie people. We read prose for a different reason and we watch a movie or
movies or movies and novels are novels and short stories are something else entirely. And poems fucking forget about it. Who the hell know little poem is or howto write one well
that's a that's a thing that that I hope we get into one day
but it's so subjective that it may not be worth getting into because everybody has an opinion on poetry and you can love it or hate it. And
now we can't make it would it would be me getting angry and I'm already angry I don't mean to be angry. Here's the thing. Here's how you can fix it. OK Numberone do that exercise where you pull way back in you're almost in a fairy tale style. Once upon a time this happened and then this happened and then thishappened.
You're your plot if you want to think of it that way. Your plot will run a lot cleaner because things have to happen in a certain order and in a certain way becauseyou've set up a series of events of occurrences of happenstances whatever it is
it will get super clean. The next thing you can do is you can go through your own current writing and ask yourself
how many things are going on in this passage or in this chapter in the section whatever you got how many things are going on. And if you have to say well there'sthis one person who's trying to understand the other and you know one person. OK let's let's clarify. If you have
if the thing in your story in your passage is not one thing you need to rewrite
the set again another way. If more than one thing is happening in your passage you need to rewrite it. There needs to be one thing that's happening in eachsection. Maybe it's a paragraph I don't know how long the length doesn't matter. You're only doing one thing at a time
and if you're a distrait imagine describing what's happening in the in chapter four of your book you write to a friend. Well what's happening in chapter four. Well mymain character wants to is a young girl and she wants to go live in the city by herself and New York and she's going to sit at a dinner table and she's going toargue with her father and her father wants you to understand that is really dangerous in New York and she should not go. And her mother chimes in and hermother is an alcoholic so she knew you know no one really knows. I think when she speaks but their letters because she gets really angry and who knows who'sgoing to get a punch in the face at some point. So they're all trying to tell their point of view and stop such a sub sub sub sub sub sub it's not a movie. You'rewriting a movie scene you're writing a dinner scene for a movie. What's happening in that passage. The father is trying to tell his side of why his daughter shouldnot go live in New York by his Oh no no
that's not it. The mother is a raging alcoholic and we're seeing her problems arise and she's sort of seeing herself in her daughter and how she came to be like thatand she doesn't want the same thing for a daughter she is getting to know. No that's not what's happening in this passage. What's happening. The daughter wantsto get out of her house
she wants to live in New York. That's it.
That's what's happening. Nobody else matters. If you want to tell it from another person's point of view then do that one thing. Go over to the Father. You as anauthor sit behind the father event and watch what he does
but trying to get across several things in the span of a passage doesn't make any sense. Take your time there's no way to invest. It's in a character and it's going tobe impossible for you to pull yourself out of that narrative. You're going to get too close because you're going to have an opinion as an author and you're going tocome down on the side take yourself out of it. You as an author need to disappear from the narrative you do not exist you are reporting what happens
using hyperbole. You were telling me what what is happening with one thing. Just do that just you that will be happy. I promise you I promise you that the yournarrative will have direction. It will finally be focused. It will move along it will tell a story
in a way that in a way that you cannot possibly tell it from a close point of view or from telling your buddies thoughts which nobody wants to hear by the way
I mentioned that none of us here. All right I thank you guys for listening to me Go on I hope you got something out of this. Like I said it's really difficult to explainthese things that I have come upon now and they're just my opinions. You know you don't have to do this this is what I have found this is what I have learned fromthem from them. This is what I've taken away from the Masters now they didn't specifically teach me anything.
But when I read them when I think when I'm when I'm reading Updike or Garcia Marquez and I'm thinking how does he do that
and it's not that you want to mimic them exactly but you do want to know how to do it. You want to know how how do you think it's focused How do they see somuch with so little
and this is one of the ways one of the ways is to pull back to pull back from that close third person that ever. What he likes to do makes him feel artistic and makeshim feel like an artist. Like they're getting at something like they're getting into the character and you know you can get into the character by what what they do
by the the actions that they the actions they can that they commit after something happens to them. That's what we see that's what gets us into that character. Butyou know Thomas what they think and then showing us what they do what they do all the time every little thing that they do showing us how interesting not only isit not interesting it's something anybody can do. Anybody can list thoughts anybody can write down their thoughts. We have to do it a little bit. Only we have tocome at it a little bit more objectively as a writer as an author you're telling a story. We're not psychoanalyzing somebody we're telling a story
and I think if we can come to that place where we're doing where our authorship comes from more of a pure place rather than of me trying to get my philosophicalpoint across or me
trying to open up the heart of a character and trying to be this
artist with the brae on him what we're really trying to do here is now all you're trying to do is tell a story that's all you're trying to do any better put your fucking faceout of your character's ass because no one's going to want to read it and I don't think you'll be happy with it I'm not happy when I do that because I read it and I gowhy I think doing this and I showing off here and I showing off by describing this character spots in such a way. If your character is going to think something one ortwo sentences out of. Do it. You ought to be able to do it that quickly. Maybe in the next couple paragraphs your character has another thought. One sends twosince as quickly as you can get it out get it out and let the reader know that that's not you that's not the author but the character over there I mean I'm not here.Author gone
authors on the shitter he quit a long time ago. He wrote the first sentence and bailed out on us. So now we get to read the story of ourselves we have to finish thisby ourselves. He is know what's going on. Going to Dick
an asshole there so we're on our own with the story so I guess we'll just read what happens right. Right. Add
to knowing patronize. I'm the worst for the most of the best. Cassie come on home girl A.W.L. Show dot com is where you can go for all the good stuff. I haverecommendations of the books you have to read if you're a writer you have to read these books you have to read these books is one of them twilight.
By that on my list. You do we'll show dot com I got a newsletter there that you can get in and there's going to be unique stuff and there is stuff in the news thatyou're not going to get anywhere else these are my own personal things to the writers how to write how to write well how to get the most out of your time on thisplanet. As a writer. Well maybe I don't get that existential but it will be useful. I promise you that. Well once again I thank you guys for being here thanks fordownloading. Thanks for telling people about the show about a writer's life about how it's a little bit different and perhaps the old Dan Black a little abrasive. Maybehe's not quite the guy you'd want to have over for dinner with your religious parents. It will interesting. No comes at it from a different point of view. Listen I don'twant to I don't want to put words in your mouth. Whatever you say
but read the word to your writers friends to your readers groups you know.
It's a tough thing to write. Writing is a really difficult thing to do but if you've decided to do it get all the help you can take things that other people have learned to
use what you need to throw away what you don't need but whatever you do become a better writer. Just start getting better by doing it by taking advice bythrowing away the bad advice. Some of the better buy is going to come from the show and I can lie to you these are things that have worked for me may not workfor you. That's cool brother Co sister
I was little I think
that might not have have minority cool. We call ya right. All right love you we'll see you next week and I am right.
We now are inviting. Welcome to a writer's life my name is Dan Black thanks for thanks for downloading this it's