22 June 2011

It's Manifesto Wednesday!

I want to write strong novels that are exciting and fun and sell a million copies. Just like everybody else in the world. Scary thought, ain’t it? Not to mention that it will never happen.

Then I thought, Remember back when I was a kid? I wrote because it was exciting and I loved to make things happen. I loved writing just as fast as Emily the raccoon ran as she fled the coon hounds, my pencil barely keeping up with her flight. I was a kid who wrote adventure because she WANTED adventure. In my stories, I ran like crazy everywhere I went. It was great.

Then I read So You Want to Be a Wizard when I was in junior high. Holy crap. This exciting, complex world of magic captivated me. The dark world that Nita and Kit fell into was this incredible intense place that they had to fight their way through. Talking stars and predator sports cars and everybody running like hell all the time. I’ve been reading it again and it’s still crazy awesome great.

I want to write stuff that calls up this same quivery excitement I had back then.

The nice thing is that I’ve been writing in earnest since 1995, so I have this huge warehouse full of experience, plus years of writing stories and articles and beating deadlines. I’ve written 50 million novels, resulting in four finished, salable novels. Since I started at Hamline, I’ve been accelerating, becoming more wily, learning more tricks of the trade.

The problem for me … is trust. Even with my skill, I don’t trust myself to succeed. Why? Because that bossy old-woman brain of mine keeps barging in and saying, Don’t do it like that, this is wrong, this is boring, this’ll never work. You’ll never write strong novels that are exciting and fun and sell a million copies.

Let’s quash that voice. I’m going to start a new partnership, right now. Where’s that kid I once was? Get her in here. Kid, I have a crazy idea for you. You write the stories with me. Give me stuff you’re crazy about, stuff that you’ve always wanted to do. Put it in a story. Make sure there’s lots of running and drama and maybe a few explosions. Mix in some scary stuff. Then you and I will pitch in together and fix those puppies up. You and me, we’ll make these stories the coolest dang thing that anybody’s ever seen.

The way to win is to not be boring.

The way to not be boring is to have a ton of fun.

Not so much fun that the neighbors call the cops, but you know what I mean.

So let’s do it.

4 comments:

Diane Duane said...

Aww! Good to know I was getting the job done on SYWTBAW.

Don't be afraid! Just write. Everything else will take care of itself.

Best! D.

Melinda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melinda said...

*falls off chair!*

Wow, good to hear from you! I've been rereading your Wizard books lately, mostly to study a number of effects -- pacing, avoiding the infodumps, characterizations, use of emotion -- it's good stuff. I hope to reread more of your books before residency at Hamline starts up. And of course borrow some of your techniques to use in my own writing!

BTW that giant wave in Wizards on Mars was just amazing.

You know I'm going to be grinning all day because you stopped by, right? *grin*

Thanks for everything. :D

antiquesparrow said...

Great p post melinda. (apparently I stutter when I type) let that kid in you run rampant!