The blog game comes with the fairly standard request for stories. In this case, ten details about myself. Since I’ve run a few of these already, this time I’ll try to restrict myself to only listing things about writing. And I promise not to list “I’m writing another novel” as one of them.
1. My class in second grade was paired up with fifth graders to learn about and write “Historical Fiction.” My fifth-grader educated me that it was any story set in real history but with events that didn’t really happen. Within seconds, I asked if that meant we could write about George Washington riding Godzilla into the Revolutionary War. She seemed enthused to explore the topic.
2. I Mary-Sued my way into at least two things in middle-school. I will not admit which, but if you guess them in the Comments, I will fess up.
3. I still use composition notebooks. I believe I was the only person carrying one at the last writing convention I attended. I even ran into a senior citizen who wrote on an IBM ThinkPad, and was very defensive about his device being seen as too old-fashioned.
4. By the end of high school, the longest thing I had written was 180 pages of an unfinished novel based on Broli from Dragon Ball Z. No, I am not in it. No, you may not read it.
4. At a certain point my family computer was corrupted and I lost my digital copy of that Broli novel. It turned out the floppy I’d used was also damaged. It was a year later when I discovered a printed copy of the novel in an old teacher’s filing cabinet, stole it, and re-typed the entire thing, adding improvements and extending the story as I went along.
5. It was while walking between classes one day that I gave up on the Broli novel. I had the epiphany that all of the things I most wanted to write weren’t my invention. Lord of the Rings, X-Men and Dragon Ball Z were neat worlds with appealing characters, but they were all someone else’s worlds and characters. I felt annoyed that I should have to invent my own, especially since those three concepts were already taken.
6. Before Sophomore year in college, I was unaware anyone on earth disdained Louis L’Amour. I was stunned that anyone had the free time to both read a bunch of Westerns and systematically hate them. That really opened up the way academics look at literature for me.
7. One of the most formative lessons I got in college was a comparative literature assignment, pitting two articles against each other. The first was by a popular thriller writer I won’t name, who was generally perceived on campus as utter rubbish. His article described his writing process as exciting, joyous, and altogether like a daily Christmas unwrapping session. The second was by an author whose name has long escaped me, but whom was deeply literary, and who described her process as dreadful, tense, and decried that she had never once enjoyed writing – only having written. The experience was revelatory and demanded I figure out where in-between these two I’d want my process and my work to fall.
8. I took such a heavy course load in college that eventually I ran out of free time to write anything of my own. I became afraid that after graduation I’d be unable to write anything without a professor’s prompt, and so began the exercise of the Bathroom Monologues. Whenever I got up from studying to use the bathroom, I’d improvise a monologue or story about anything other than what I was working on for class. If I was studying Kafka’s nightmarish prisons, then I could spin yarns about orcish politics, or immigration reform, or the expiration date on the world. It’s seemed to work out.
9. I was surprised in exactly the way you won’t be to find that my early dramas all got rejected, while even pro-rate publications loved nonsense humor. Most of my early sales, and my first pro-rate one, are preposterous. Actually, even the query letter for my first pro-rate sale was a deliberate parody of query letters.
10. I spent about ten years building the worlds my recent novels are written in. Before I actually started writing the novels, they felt like a colossal waste of time. Now, they feel relievingly reliable.
As for my picks, I hereby bestow The Kreativ Blogger Award upon: