Talk is Cheap, Writing is Hard

This week I’ve got some writing to do, and with any luck a big announcement regarding Argo Navis Publishing. But right now the main thing I am concentrating on is the writing.

I got very little done last week. Well, very little physical writing, but as I mentioned in a recent post I was working through the mental stages of this next scene. I want to talk a little more about that now if you don’t mind.

I know quite a few writers and I always pick their brains or watch how they write and then adapt their methods to mine. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but the end result is the same: a finished story. It’s still funny, though, after all these years. I and many other writers take so many different paths and yet we reach the same goal.

When I write I make conscious and unconscious decisions about the story all the time. I guess everyone does. But I got to thinking about this. Sometimes when I write a story I do wrestle with it even if I don’t have a complete comprehension of what the story or the scene is about. And sometimes I step back and try to reason it out. But what is the balance point that makes me take one path as opposed to another? I can’t pin that down.

All I can go on is instinct. I am a big believer in my instinct when it comes to writing. If something feels wrong to me about a story I take note. I don’t push through that. I want to understand why it’s wrong. I suppose this is a holdover from my past as a physics graduate and science teacher. I am not trained to push through a problem and pretend it isn’t there. I want the understanding. I want the knowledge. I want the comprehension.

But having said all that I know enough about this profession to understand writing is many things, but it’s not a science. Maybe if it were it would be easier because there would be a protocol we could all follow. It’s more like a process, and an inchoate one at that. At least it is for me. I can’t speak for other writers, only myself. But this is how it feels to me. This is what works for me.

Okay, that’s enough for today. Talk is cheap. Writing is hard. When you come right down to it, I guess that’s the biggest lesson we can ever take away from this job. 🙂


Alcaeus of Lesbos and War Imagery

My favorite Greek poems by Alcaeus of Lesbos, which I bring you forthwith:

The great hall is aglare with bronze armament and the whole inside
made fit for war
with helms glittering and hung high, crested over with white horse-
manes that nod and wave
and make splendid the heads of men who wear them.  Here are shining
greaves made out of bronze,
hung on hooks, and they cover all the house’s side.  They are strong
to stop arrows and spears.
Here are war-jackets quilted close of new linen, with hollow shields
stacked on the floor,
with broad swords of the Chalkis make, many tunics and many
belts heaped close beside.
These shall not lie neglected, now we have stood to our task and
have this work to do.

What imagery!  You can feel yourself inside the hall, waiting for the dogs of war to slip.

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