Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the challenge

You know what, my maybe handful of readers? It is time to put up or shut up. I, personally am an English major that has accumulated a staggering amount of knowledge on craft, editing, story structure, and voice. So, now I ask you (and myself) this: What have you done with this, Mister Pitts? If that is your real name?

My answer: Nothing.

The facts are as follows:
1 – It has been two years since my name has appeared in print.
2 – I am failing my best friend as his editor.
3 – The best idea I have had to date, has been allowed to stagnate to the point that I wonder if it can even be written.
4 – I am only as good as a two year old byline I submitted to piss someone off.

I have to start classes in a month to finish my degree earning process, and my writing ability has come in third to my card playing skills, and my unholy addiction to online video gaming. This is no way for anyone, you, me, or anyone else, who wants to be a writer to live. If this sounds like you, oh my handful of reading Droogies, then this month should also be a challenge to you. By the end of September, in the year two-thousand-ten (Ano Domini) you and I shall have a story worthy of publication. Worthy of us being called writers.

I leave you with this: You are only a writer if you are writing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Editing, Editors, and new Writers

Lately, I have been working as an editor for a friend who has an amazing gift to put words on paper. His gift primarily is to do so in massive amounts, but he's also pretty fucking good for someone who is an untrained writer who jumped head-first into writing a two hundred page novel.

My assignment here started as just making the work he had already done more readable, and formatting it in an acceptable way to be sent to a small scale publisher. However, I no longer feel this is doing this friend justice. His talent, and his story deserve more than a little sandpaper. Here is why:

A writer does not need to agree with his editor, and the editor with the writer, either. But, the writer should know enough about craft, agreed with or not, to defend his work with the editor, with the publisher, with the critics. A writer worth his pages knows why he did something this way, and not that way, and more importantly should be able to argue his correctness. And even if that writer does not win that argument, plant a seed of doubt in his detractors. That writer should know why people he disagrees with do the things he disagrees with. That writer should know the rules he is breaking or following, and how they are being broken or followed, and why.

The editor is only around to push the writer, make the story better, but remain invisible in the finished product. Your editor cannot make you a better writer, but he can point you to your strengths and weaknesses.

Assault Prevention

I stole these from a post on chuckpalahniuk.net, but i thought it was funny, and it has just maybe inspired a satirical story on my part...

Please distribute this list. Put it up in your place of work, in your university’s library or wherever you think they might be read:

If you or somebody you know is thinking about sexually assaulting a loved one, co worker, stranger, or mail man, please read the following.

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.