Writerly things

T.S. Bazelli is starting a new series of “Author Aerobics” on Mondays and has already produced one really compelling story as a result: “The Metal Girl.”

Lee Future/Mike Cook is not the first to compare writing to running, but I think his angle in “Running Through Writing’s Solar System” is a little different:

To many, authors are a magical species living on a distant planet full of money and free time and creative fulfillment. People want to go to this planet. When they hear that I am a writer, they often gush out stories of their own, about how they used to write, or how they write poetry, or how they have this great idea for a novel.

I do my best not to discourage people when they say these things. Writing always offers personal growth, and in that way, writing is like running. It’s a wonderful thing for anyone to do. It’s also important, though, to understand what kind of running one plans to do.

Most people who write, write like I run.

And chick lit author Gemma Burgess stole some words right out of my mouth:

Perhaps as a result of the actual writing being so enjoyable and instinctive for me, my weakest area is definitely plots. I’ve had to put an awful lot of extra work in to get them up to scratch. I also tend to want to write about normal girls doing normal things, and I don’t really like melodrama, which means I tread a fine line between ‘relatable’ and ‘inconsequential’.

(Ms. Burgess gives another awesome interview over here.)

I thought about making this a regular feature (Writerly Wednesdays) but let’s be honest, am I going to keep up with it? No way.

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17 Comments

  1. Very interesting quote from Lee. It seems like what he’s getting at there is people think we write for recreation, when in reality it’s more like something we’re compelled to do. Speaking of which, Henry Rollins’ performance last night reminded me of an essay I’ve been meaning to write. Another thing on the to-do list today.
    .-= • Recent post by Todd Newton: Friends, Followers, and Fans: The Quest for an Audience =-.

  2. I also relate a lot to Gemma Burgess’s quote. It was something that I needed to constantly focus on in my detective story. Novels in the detective genre are largely motivated by plot, and coming up with so many “things” to happen was something that had me chewing on my fingernails and renting my clothes throughout the entire process. Sometime next week, hopefully you can tell me if I pulled it off!
    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: Hello, private school! Buh-bye, money! =-.

  3. Thanks for the mention Kristan! Burgess quote also resounded for me. I prefer to write about ordinary people, but worry that because they’re so ordinary they’re also boring. It is a fine line!
    .-= • Recent post by T.S. Bazelli: Flash Fiction: A New Hobby =-.

  4. Les

    Someone else who hates plots! I’m not alone in the universe it seems…
    .-= • Recent post by Les: ArtFocus: Riyah-Li Designs =-.

  5. Todd-
    Interesting, I had another interpretation: people don’t distinguish between writing recreationally and writing professionally. And yet we would never confuse someone who runs 1-3 times a week with a marathoner.

    Sonja-
    I can’t wait!

    T.S.-
    ‘Tis indeed. Guess we’ll just have to be tightrope walkers. ;)

    Les-
    LOL we don’t hate plots. We love them! We just have trouble with them…

  6. Ah, I think that’s what I was getting at. People think we write as recreationally as they do, rather than a dogged, foaming-at-the-mouth, slaving over every sentence type thing. If they knew that was the case, they probably wouldn’t dream of trying their hand at a novel. Brevity made me miss the point I was trying to make.

    It might also be good to mention that I don’t want to create an “us and them” mentality, since I do think that anyone COULD write a novel (or a short story, or a poem) if they so desired, but I firmly believe many people just don’t understand how much work should go into one.
    .-= • Recent post by Todd Newton: Friends, Followers, and Fans: The Quest for an Audience =-.

  7. Gotcha. Yeah, haha, I’m not a fan of the “us vs. them” mentality either, although I admit sometimes I fall into it when I’m frustrated… :\

  8. I definitely agree with Gemma’s statement. Plots are my biggest weakness, and I’m having to do a LOT of extra work right now trying to build up my plot. It sucks, but in the end the story will be much better for it. :)

  9. I love writerly wednesdays…but no pressure to commit. ;) “Most people who write, write like I run.” hehe. That’s a great line. I would like to agree with the mentality that “anyone can cook” (you know, even a rat), but somehow I don’t. Some people just don’t “get” it. Everyone can sing, but that doesn’t mean they should do so in public.
    .-= • Recent post by Sarah: Buried Treasure =-.

  10. Kimberly-
    “It sucks, but in the end the story will be much better for it.” Precisely! We suffer for our art. :P

    Sarah-
    Oh man, Andy doesn’t even let me in the kitchen, that’s how dangerous a “cook” I am. And I occasionally sing in public, but I know I shouldn’t.

  11. OMG, I think Gemma Burgess might have to be my new best friend.

    I’m off to read the rest of the interview. Thanks for brining this to my attention, Kristan. I can always count on you to give me a case of the thinks before bed.

    – Liz
    .-= • Recent post by Liz Czukas: An Interview? Me? =-.

  12. Jon

    Great quotes. Agreed with Todd. Writers thrive on that us vs. them mentality, but most writers today (even the professionals) have lives and hold down jobs anyway–and then write. Think about T.S. Eliot, the man worked pretty much until he died.

    But nevertheless I like the quote. Writing is a lot like running. Anyone can do it. Few put in the time and commitment to do it well.

  13. Great quotes! I find I struggle most with plot, too – I can write 10 pages describing a scene but can I write what actually happens in it? Nope!
    .-= • Recent post by Emily Jane: What are you waiting for? =-.

  14. Lee

    Much thanks for the link, and for putting me with such good company.
    .-= • Recent post by Lee: Running Through Writing’s Solar System =-.

  15. PLEASE make this a weekly column! I <3 it. :)

  16. Could not agree with the Lee quote more. Whenever people ask for writing advice, one of the first things I say is to figure out what your goal is. “I love to write” is different from “I want to be a professional writer.” To the first, I say, “Then have fun!” To the second? I suggest therapy. :)
    .-= • Recent post by Carrie Harris: Lolzombie of the Day – Oklahoma! =-.

  17. Meghan-
    Lol I’ll think about it. But only because you used “<3". :P

    Carrie-
    LOL. So true, so true.

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