This photo, as always, has nothing to do with this post. I just like it and I took it yesterday.

This photo, as always, has nothing to do with this post. I just like it and I took it yesterday.

Here we are again, it’s Tuesday and I’m asking myself that question: Did I Write This Week?

Answer: Yes. But not very much.

Previously, I talked about how irritating it was to me when an author purposefully withholds information from the reader to artificially create tension. I brought this up on reddit and a user hit the nail on the head with what bugs me about the technique (u/vivifiction to be precise):

There’s talk of magicians in another thread here, so let’s think about that. I think writing is a lot like performing magic. If you’re watching a magician and you see one of their slights or moves, it ruins the whole trick. It’s not because you thought the magician was actually using sorcery and the disbelief has now been crushed—of course you know it’s a trick—but there’s a sense of wonder that accompanies seeing something you logically accept as impossible but also created.

It goes the same for writing, but it’s on an emotional spectrum rather than a physical one (meaning the magician is physically performing a trick). A scene like the one you describe can be executed well if the author has emotionally primed the reader for the revelation. As it currently stands, it seems cheap because, as I’ve said, the reader is left in a space where they realize, on some level, “The author knows who this is, the character knows who this is, but they’ve both decided to not tell me because they’re trying to lure me to the next page.” It’s the same as seeing the magician’s card up his sleeve, and you think,”well, that’s sloppy.”

That’s what I hate about the technique, it’s sloppy magic.

So, how did I do with the writing this week:

It’s nearly a constant struggle to try to make a little bit of time each week for a creative endeavour. This last week was no exception. In fact, if I hadn’t have forced myself to just sit down and knock out about 45 minutes worth of work, I would be stuck in a situation where the answer was no.

It wasn’t much, I reviewed the last two parts of Zombies and Loathing and did a bit of an edit on them, and then hammered out maybe a few hundred words on the subsequent part. It still counts!

Also kind of nice is knowing the pace of how the next 3 parts will come together and conclude the story. I talked about this in one of the first editions of this little journal how it was a bit of struggle to force yourself to write something when you knew the outcome, but now I’m finding it pretty refreshing to sit down and be like “Character X is going to tell this to Character Y, this is going to be triggered, this will be the outcome.” You’re basically just playing connect the dots with the story.

The downside to this is that I find myself not always taking the time to flesh out the inner monologue.

In Zombies and Loathing everything is told through St-Brigid’s inner monologue, borrowing (stealing) heavily from gonzo style journalism. So a big part of the fun is the occasional long, rambling descriptions mixing metaphors and exaggeration and commentary about even seemingly small, mundane details. It’s fun to write, even though it can kind of end up being a bit of filler. I also find that it can be fun to read. It helps the reader lock in to the inner workings of the narrator and how he sees the world.

And that’s the whole point of gonzo style, right? Where the reporter inserts themselves into the news instead of just objectively covering. They basically become part of the news.

Anyhow, that sort of insane rambling came easily when I wasn’t exactly sure of where the story was heading, but now that I know the direction I’m going in I find myself sort of kicking the story along faster than I used to back when I started the piece. I find I have the tendency to just race from one plot point to another.

To kind of offset I found myself working out the story elements and then going back over what I had written and I kind of forcing myself to write little tangents for the narrator to make it feel somewhat similar to the earlier parts of the story. So far it seems to be working and I also think it might be good practice for the approach that I ultimately use for novel. The more I can get away from writing in a linear “start-to-finish” way the more freedom I’ll have to jump around to different spots in the story and be able to consistantly contribute to the overall story.

Hopefully it pays off.

In the meantime, I’m also trying to actively just think about the novel while I finish off the Zombies and Loathing stuff. I’ve had discussions about relationships, back story, world building, etc, with a number of people and I’m starting to really get excited to sit down and start this thing off.

One thing at a time though.

Oh, and we’re also buying a house so there’s that to deal with too.

Keith does all sorts of things here on, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.