If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Monday, July 5, 2010

What Mr. Ed Contributes to Writing

Mr. Ed, a talking horse featured in a short-lived 1960s TV show, never talked unless he had something to say. That’s how I feel about writing, and why I can’t understand why writers discipline themselves to write every day. Why write if you have nothing to say? Writing just to write is like talking just to talk. It doesn’t fill any purpose other than to fill the page, and if you throw the page away, what has been accomplished?

I weight train. Lifting weights also means not lifting weights. One day lift, the next day-don’t. Why? Muscles are broken down while lifting weights. The next day, taxing muscles in repair isn’t smart because you risk reinjuring the muscle. The process of lifting, breaking down, relaxing, repairing and then starting the process again strengthens muscles. I contend that the same process strengthens writing. It’s the process of revision, but revising what you’ve written is more than restyling a sentence.

My novel Sparkle Days is on a rest and repair stage. I question my approach and take a step back, evaluating the attributes and detriments of what I’ve written and mentally try out new approaches that might enhance the story. I fear that I’ve included backstory in the beginning that I should have kept secret and doled out in small allotments, keeping the reader guessing. But then, the story seems to have no logic without a basis. There is an approach, satisfying my needs, I just haven’t thought of it yet.

If I continue to write the story, using an approach I doubt, my dilemma is compounded, not solved, all the while being disciplined and virtuous, but to what end? I’d rather take the Mr. Ed approach and not write more until I’m sure that I’m taking the right angle. Once I decide on how to proceed, the writing won’t be a problem. I’m as disciplined as any writer is. But I have no need to write neurotically, just for the sake of writing. Without purpose, writing for the sake of writing is like brushing your teeth or hair to an exact count. It’s why I don’t join writing fests, in which writers try to compete against each other for the greatest word count. What’s the point if what you have written isn’t any good, or on revision cuts half of what you write, or worse, results in a major rewrite that is too daunting to contemplate?

Most writers keep more than one project at a time going. In my novel quagmire, I’ve written and revised two short stories. Some writers have two novels going at the same time. I’m envious of them because writing two novels at the same time is too complex for me to manage. Short story writing combined with one novel is a way for me to keep writing without bringing disastrous effects on my novel.

The two novels that I have written haven’t sold. I think that they’re good, but it’s the agents’ and publishers’ opinions that count, not my own. Writers write, but the writing is only one small part of their job. Knowing how to tell the story, tailoring the characters for the story and providing the clues and the right amount of backstory are all just as important if not more important than the writing. Don’t challenge yourself to write as much as getting what you write, right. If you don’t believe me, ask Mr. Ed, but if he greets you with silence, that may just be his horse sense talking.


Ramona said...

Isn't it interesting how different writers work in different ways? I am a member of the "do it every day" club. If I skip more than a day, I find it difficult to get my head back into the story. I waste a lot more time getting back into the groove than I would with writing something I may eventually discard.

But I also know writers who take the complete break approach, as you do. They pull away from the story for a while, so that when they get back to it, their eyes are (metaphorically) fresh.

Whatever works, I say.

MichaelEdits.com said...

I've always loved Mr Ed, and "Writers Who Kill" is one of the coolest blog names ever.

But in addition, this is a damn fine article. The first paragraph should be framed.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks Michael. I'm glad you liked it and hope you'll come back. We trying new things on and taking old things off. So, stay tuned and sit tight. PS-I loved Mr. Ed too!