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Two Pages (05/10/16)

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  • I ended up writing at around 0230 this morning. I had a minor surgical procedure, and in my usual hopeful bravado, neglected to consider what was actually coming in terms of pain when the local anaesthetic wore off. The answer is agony each time I swallow, not that you were asking the question. I tried to sleep but ended up twitching and restless, so I came downstairs, switched on the VP debate as background noise and wrote.
  • Everything goes away when I write. Exhaustion, pain, upset all get the volume turned on them when pencil hits paper or I am working on the computer. It isn’t always the most sterling work, but it gets done, then it gets excited and at some point, you cannot tell the rough pages apart from the good ones. I’m 230 pages into Lawful Evil, there’s other manuscripts with the agent and things are moving in the right direction. Not that you care, and why should you? That is a liberating question for me, as a writer.
  • Why should you read my writing? Why should I read yours? I’m not being rude in that regard, but it’s the sort of question that comes up when the initial rush of fear and enthusiasm smooths out into the contemplation of how you’re going to approach things in terms of whether you stay with writing as a hobby or move beyond it. That question of why you should read my writing, is that I believe that I tell a good story with characters that are interesting and my books range from stories of ambition and personal growth through to confrontations with the supernatural. I write, for and about women, and that’s in the obvious understanding that there are no typical women readers out there. I don’t usually go much beyond that in terms of analysis because it feels pretentious.

If there is a special hell for writers, it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works. JOHN DOS PASSOS

  • History shows us that there is an ugly seam of the artist, focused on their craft and meaning, getting absolutely murdered financially, both in the short and long term by management or distribution. It’s why Prince changed his name to a symbol. Why The Rolling Stones didn’t make money really until the 70s. The Rolling Stones, who have so much money that they can clone themselves and send them out to colonise other planets with rootsy blues that never got better than Exile On Main Street. I am a Beatles man, myself, mainly because McCartney’s bass playing was a thing of slinky, melodic wonder and I loved the psychedelic period with a passion.
  • This is a perfect example: http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/cases/. I’ve said before and will say it again, money should flow towards you. A reputable agent won’t ask for your money upfront. If you’re paying for a service, then that should be explained to you in terms of what you are getting for your money. The problem is that we spend more time poring over the details on a new smartphone than attending to our financial affairs in respect of our writing careers. I’ve not been ripped off at any point, my agent is warm and encouraging and has been instrumental in my improvement in terms of craft and learning. I’ve also had the benefit of working day jobs for far longer than I’ve been writing. I also like to learn from other people’s mistakes or cautionary tales but that doesn’t mean I am smarter than anyone else.
  • Passion is wonderful but it clouds your judgement. The creative community is inclusive and warm but it can be exploited, as I have said before. It’s shitty because legitimate practices with transparency and clearly understood goals and objectives make more money for everyone. It’s not something that I obsess over at all. Victoria Strauss does a far better job than I ever could. I work on myself and my writing because that’s all that is within my power to control. It doesn’t mean I am some polymath, just smart enough to know my edge and lean into it without denying or being consumed by it. I know people who work in finance, who can read a contract and explain it to me like I’m five. Some of them, I don’t listen to that closely which is why my marketing strategy is like fighting WW2 with wit and candour.

Thank you for reading. Please leave comments, questions, challenges for rap battles and interesting dancing suggestions below.

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