brain matter writing.


I’m just NOW getting to finish Act I of a television screenplay a couple of friends and I started seriously attending to over Labor Day weekend) (sorry, A & B, if you are reading this – I have had a TIME of it since Labor Day weekend, gah. Emailing it as soon as I’m done).

But I’m also starting to write short stories again. Here’s my problem with writing stories: I start out strong, get to the middle, and then pfffft! I peter out and never really finish. Or I finish but the ending is rushed and/or hokey. So I’m thinking I need some help with maybe an outlining program. (Here is one suggestion I found that I may try.)

I saw something on social media several weeks ago – a news article with a photo that shows JK Rowling’s (Harry Potter, Casual Vacancy) outlining process. It was amazing and magical but also it hurt my brain. My brain is clearly not as smart as Jo Rowling’s. How does one person’s brain matter even come UP with all of that imagination and story?! I tend to draw from my own life experiences and then flip them into outlandish story arcs with characters who resemble absolutely nobody I know so nobody I know can sue me.

I’ve also heard you should “interview” your story’s characters to develop them into fully formed and realistically believable beings on paper. Which I’ve tried, but then I always feel like I’m actually interviewing myself and this is no good. I am the least interesting person I know (which is why I’m drawn to telling stories, I bet).

You know what I need? A story developing ghost writer. Like, normally? Ghost writers take YOUR ideas and stories and write them all down for you and you take all the credit. What I need is someone who will help me ghost write my ideas and stories and then I’ll write them all down and…I would not take all the credit. It would assault my sense of justice to take all the credit; I would make sure the world knew it was a collaborative project (but I did all the sweat work).

OR! Maybe what I need is someone to just walk me through the whole process of telling one story. I would like to sit at the feet of a master storyteller and have them tell me exactly what they’re doing and why. The problem with this is that writers are by nature mostly solitary creatures – we make up worlds and stories in our heads and then sit silently “talking” them out on paper or computer…kind of like I’m doing right now in this blog entry; “talking” to you about my thought processes in regards to how to write a story in a way that won’t drive me insane or leave me feeling like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.  The other problem is that every writer’s process is different. TC Boyle (Drop City, The Tortilla Curtain – two of my favorites) likes to do things organically – I got to hear him talk at the Margaret Mitchell House once and he said he kind of just starts writing and sees where it takes him (which is sort of my process, too, but the problem is – unlike TC – I never actually end up anywhere, or if I do it is not good…it is not good).

And some writers like Kate DiCamillo (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Mercy Watson series) write 2 pages per day, edit those pages, revise, re-outline, and then go on to the next two. And then there are the fantastically magical writers like Jo Rowling whose brains put the rest of the human race to shame. (Why is Jo not just running the world?) (Actually, she probably is – Harry Potter has reached every single and even most isolated corner of the globe…even if, like me, you haven’t developed an obsession with the books/movies, you know all about Harry Potter, you understand it is storytelling at its finest, and you are sufficiently awed by the entire fact that it’s currently uniting entire generations of humans and will most likely continue to do so until the end of the world).

So I don’t know. I’d like to be placed in the hands of a master storyteller whose process is or isn’t like my own, but really I just want to see how they do it. I want to talk to them as they’re developing a story and then watch them outline it, and read their 1st (shitty) drafts. And then see how they go from there. And watch them go through the process of trying to get a story published.

And if the master storyteller is tall, from the UK, and has light-colored eyes? Then I’ll have reached some sort of pinnacle of complete bliss and I’ll write a really great story about it.

In other news, I don’t have to work tomorrow! I feel like I have time to get everything accomplished that I want to get accomplished. (Which is basically: sleeping in, lazy mornings, more reading and writing, and today I’m going shopping for a home decor idea I have. Hoping it works out, because I’m pretty certain the people who made these apartments I live in used reinforced steel made of alien kryptonite as the framework and just slathered drywall on top of it all.)

And I want to fix my mermaid. My mermaid (who I loved with all my heart) that was hanging in my bathroom fell off the wall when Miss M slammed a door and has broken in several pieces. I need Gorilla Glue and clamps. I wish everything was fixable with Gorilla Glue and clamps.

I mean, seriously. Does this not hurt your brain? Even in college my notes didn’t look this crazy. This, to me, looks like how I write when I’m at my angriest and venting my spleen into my private, hand-written journals. Journals that I am dictating all be immediately burned upon my death.