Saturday, June 26, 2010

Time to Type a Little Faster

"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood.  I'd type a little faster." ~Isaac Asimov

When I was a teenager one of my obsessions was getting my fiction written because who knew how much time I would have to write it? Somehow that energy was lost, or at least diverted, as I did things like go to college and get a job. Since then I've been dragging partially written manuscripts behind me like Marley with his chains.

Now don't worry, I haven't received some dire news of impending disaster. But it has occurred to me that simple math indicates I'm much closer to my eventual demise than when I was thirteen (and furiously scribbling to complete that Dune rip-off I was so attached to at the time). That NOW might be a good time to reinvigorate the panic that fueled me in those years.

But how do you rediscover a sense of urgency? 

It is certainly a bit disconcerting that time flies by now. Earlier today my sister and I commiserated that three years used to take forever (1987 to 1990) and now it feels like yesterday (2007 to 2010). But that truth (or perception) doesn't make me panic so much as sink into a sense of ennui, which certainly doesn't help with a burning need to complete stories.

Don't get me wrong, I still know how to panic but it's mostly confined to things like due dates at work and that turns out to be counter-productive to caring about things like writing. It leads to settling deep into the couch and watching hours of television.

But even though I've not been as productive (to this point) as Asimov, my reaction to thinking there would be a limit on my time to write would be the same. It would strip away all the other b.s. and focus me on the flame that burns within. The need to create, to express, to communicate, to influence through the power of words.

So yes, it's definitely time to tend the fire and type a little faster. How about you?

This was a "Find a Quote About Writing that Inspires You" exercise. While I chose the topic of a sense of urgency to write (and a beloved sci-fi author), Jen "The Amazing" Stayrook chose characters to write for her post Why "Real" Characters Matter More Than Anything Else in Writing. Go check it out.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Five Question Friday: The Play at Home Version

Aaron Polson interviewed me for Five Question Friday last month, but turns out he CHANGES the questions each time he does them. Although very cool it makes me want to play along with the home version. So here goes.

1. If your books could only have single color covers, what color would it be?

Wow, that's a hard question. But after mulling it over for quite awhile I'd have to say white. not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black...God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. - G. K. Chesterton

2. Pick a character from anything you've written. Who is it, and what are his/her top five movies?

Well, guess I'd better pick a character who is on Earth, contemporary, and might actually go to movies. That knocks the list down quite a bit.

Jennifer Graves, crime scene photographer (A Grave Mistake).
  1. Se7en
  2. L.A. Confidential
  3. Duck Soup
  4. Psycho
  5. Being John Malkovich
For the record, Jennifer is a lot weirder than I am. No, seriously, like....creepy weird.

3. If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any job on their planet, what would you choose?

Ok, so let me get the criteria straight. I can have anything I want, but I have to go to their planet and take the job of my choice. Well, first I'd better pick something I can take with me. Second, I need to know a little bit about their planet. But that's ok, I'll make it up.

4. What three things are always in your refrigerator?

This is a scary thing to think about. Lessee....
  1. Filtered water
  2. Grape Jelly
  3. Horseradish
Assumed you were looking for the truth, no matter how ugly that truth might be.

5. Is the book always better than the movie?

I'm pretty firmly in the camp of "the book is better than the movie." If the author is a real hack and by some miracle of grace they get good screenwriters, actors, director, etc. then the movie will probably be better. And then the author will probably hate it. *cough cough cough Sahara cough cough* "She seemed to float above the ghostly evening mist like a menacing beast rising from the primeval ooze"? Seriously, Clive? Talk about purple prose.