Rules of the Written Road

Kurt Vonnegut came up with eight rules for writing fiction, nicely referenced in an interview with Andrew O’Hagan, and noted there by O’Hagan as: “His rules for good writing are entirely bogus – he knew it, too – but they are not un-useful. Rules are just a bunch of things someone adorned into precepts while they were on the way to getting it wrong, but Vonnegut got it right now and then so we’d do well to listen.”

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The Balancing Act

We’re building a house–it’s a passive solar adobe straw bale hybrid, meaning we’re inventing some things as we go and learning a lot. And we’re working damn hard. As in laying actual adobe bricks. Which also means my life’s out of balance. Again. This happens with obsessive-compulsive types, but I can’t moan too much about being that type since it also helps with the writing. But…a little more balance is needed. As in I need to carve out my writing time again.

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Traveling on Empty

Going someplace always sounds like such fun–I’m just back from a trip to Florida. And, yes, it was fun. It was also exhausting, stressful, and I’m so glad to be back home. Which makes me wonder–do we take trips just so we can be glad to be home? And either airplanes have gotten noisier or I’ve gotten more touchy about it, but I’d be happy to skip any more flights. Amtrack here I come. But I always think that I’ll do more writing on these types of trips than I manage.

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Writing Conference Rules

It’s the NINC writer’s conference this week (that’s Novelists Inc.), and with beach and folks talking writers as the lure, seemed a good thing to do. But I’ve learned over the years that writers conferences are always a mixed affair. It’s great to get together with other folks and talk writing–and at a good conference you actually do learn things. But these things can be exhausting, too. Being an introvert means being around people all day drains me–add in being around folks all day and most of the evening and I start looking for some place to hide. So I’ve had to learn how to do conferences in a way that works for me. So here are my rules.

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Remembering Patty

The news came this evening by phone—Patty died yesterday. This was a double shock in that I’d known her health was bad, but I didn’t realize it was that bad. You never know.

What I do know is that Patty wrote as Patty Glen. Go find her books—there are only one or two. They’re funny and sexy and a lot like Patty—bigger than life and great to have around. But Patty is no longer here, and that great big western epic she was planning will not be written. Nor will so many other stories she had in mind. You never know.

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Creating a Mess

We’re in the process of building a house–it’s passive solar, adobe/straw bale and very cool, and a whole lot of work. And it has reminded me just what a mess the whole creative process is–seems like you can’t make anything without first making a lot of clutter and tearing things up. But, somehow, each time I start any new project, I keep thinking it will be different. I think it’ll be smooth and go as planned. It’s the same when I cook–the kitchen ends up looking like something exploded. Right now the house looks about the same–a skeleton and a whole lot of mess, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. And it’s just the same when I write.

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