Monthly Archives: January 2010

Ray Bradbury Quote

Wired: So, no Internet, no computer, not even a driver’s license. Is the modern world passing you by?

Ray Bradbury: You don’t miss what you’ve never had. People talk about sex when you’re 12 years old and you don’t know what they’re talking about – I don’t know what people are talking about when they talk about driving. I grew up with roller skates, a bicycle, using the trolley and bus lines until they went out of existence. No, you don’t miss things. Put me in a room with a pad and a pencil and set me up against a hundred people with a hundred computers – I’ll outcreate every goddamn sonofabitch in the room.

Interview: October 1998

He was 78 years old in 1998. I doubt much has changed in the past 12 years.

Repeat: Method Writing

All the best columnists do it. I’ve been blogging since 2002 so there are a lot of Oldies but Goodies. Perhaps current readers (all 5 of you) weren’t around back then. Even if you were, it’s something to fill up this space.

The below originally appeared November 1, 2002

Winona Ryder is on trial for shoplifting.. It has been said that part of her defense is she was doing research for a role as a shoplifter. The concept of the Method Actor is well-known. The actor who “becomes” the character in order to best portray the character.

It’s not much different for many writers. We have to portray our characters with words, and in order to do this, we need to know how our characters would think, feel, and act in the given situation.

This doesn’t mean if we are going to write about a character who murders someone, we need to go out and murder someone too. But….there is a question of where to draw the line…I am sure there are authors out there who might wonder what goes on inside the mind of a shoplifter. And how else are we going to find out?

Oh sure, we could interview a shoplifter, but that’s no fun. We all need excuses sometimes to do things we wouldn’t normally go do….

For example, I’m writing a book right now involving some 15 and 16 year olds, and I haven’t been that age for a few years. Okay, more than a few. The last time I was 16, today’s 16 year olds weren’t born yet. So I have been watching a lot of the WB lineup lately. It’s mostly 20-something year olds pretending to be teens, but still, it’s a start. I’m learning the lingo, refreshing my memory on how high school kids talk.

But that’s just the first step. I discovered recently that there was an “issue” that was creeping up on me. Watching the TV shows, and reading some young adult fiction, I am beginning to remember what it felt like to be a teenage boy. But not all of my characters are teenage boys. I have no recollection of what it feels like to be a teenage girl. I don’t know how to put on a bra. I don’t know how one gets measured for one. I don’t know what it feels like to wear panties. I do know a little about makeup as I did a little acting in High School, but I realize what the male actor puts on his face doesn’t really compare.

So I am beginning to wonder if I should adopt the “Method Writing” approach. Take a trip to Victoria’s Secret and ask to try some stuff on. In some of my strangest moments, I’ve thought about doing it before, but never had a reason. Here’s my excuse, will I take it?

I may have to go to a different city though….If I do this where I live, there’s no telling who will walk in…

(Oh, Hi there Mom, How are you today?) At least it would be something I could definitely write about….

Note: The news link at the top of the entry STILL WORKS. CNN deserves credit for maintaining its archives.

January 7, 2010

Due to a computer crash a year or so ago, and the fact I had a tendency to have several copies of works in various states of completion spread throughout my computer, I lost most of a novel I had gotten half-way through or so, because I had only backed up an early version of the file with only the first few pages and lots of notes about what I wanted to do, and not the later one, where I actually was writing it.

It was the second book of a potential young adult f/sf series, and after submitting a completed draft of the first to the critique of my writer’s group, I decided it was time to start rewriting the second book, from scratch. I knew it would be different than before. I feel my writing has improved, and others agree with me. Those in my critique group who heard some of the chapters of my early lost version have told me what I am now writing is better. So this all makes me feel good.

It also makes me wonder a bit about Book One. Writing from scratch in some ways is easier than revising. But when I finish this draft of Book Two, I know I am going to need to return to Book One and address the critique it has received. The two books fuse together as a complete story arc, so I plan to market them together. I could focus on getting Part One ready to circulate among agents and publishers, but I think most would prefer to know that the rest of the arc is complete in at least draft form. And there is a small chance that the break in the story arc that separates the two books could change.


Meanwhile I have lots of unpublished poetry, and two different competing urges.

Urge One: Put together another chapbook. Distribute it among friends/family.
Urge Two: Try to get some of this poetry published first.

Lots of markets don’t like publishing previously published material. Some of them don’t consider chapbooks with very limited distribution as previously published, but many do.

For a long time I’ve used this as an excuse not to put together another chapbook. And I have also refrained from submitting the poetry to those hypothetical markets. It leads me to compare myself to Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, who murdered a lady, and took her money — arguing she was hoarding it, and so much could be done with it — and then he buried the money.

If I’m going to murder my chapbooks before I write them, at the very least I should be submitting those poems somewhere. Or I’m no better than Raskolnikov. Or so the analogy leads me to conclude.

New Years Resolution

Not including my NaPoWriMo posts in April, 60 entries over 12 months. Five posts per month on average. A little more than one a week.

Many would be happy with that, but it’s probably been the lightest year here in awhile. And a lot of the posts haven’t been more than displaying funny webcomics or interesting videos I’ve found elsewhere.

Of course, I’m blogging heavily over on my genealogy blog. But there is another side of my life, I’ve just not been blogging about it much, as my blogging has been elsewhere. But I continue to write poetry and fiction. I continue to read, watch, and imbibe science fiction. (Yes, you can imbibe science fiction. Ever heard of Romulan Ale?)

New Year’s Resolution: One Post A Week here on my Literary Pursuits. I realize that doesn’t necessarily increase the quantity of posts, but it should increase the quality.

Yes, I know I have to make such a post later today or I have already failed. I will not count this post for this week.