12.10.2008

Writing and such.

They say a writer writes, always. Sure, it was an actor who most famously said that (Billy Crystal in the monumentally funny Throw Momma From the Train), but that doesn’t make it any less true. A thousand words a day appears to be a very difficult task at first, but here’s hoping it gets easier over time.

Oh, didn’t I tell you? I’m a writer now. I’m a writer who illustrates. Or an illustrator who writes, I can’t remember. It turns out that when I recently said I had one singular dream to be an illustrator, I lied. I have two dreams; writing is the other. Fortunately, I started reading the “Writing Great Fiction” series of books, getting Plot and Structure from my local library yesterday. That book suggested the thousand-words-a-day thing. We’ll see how it goes. But Nick, you’re thinking, you suck at writing! So?! Maybe it’s not so hard, you don’t know.

I haven’t gotten to the part of the book where I can actually put any tools to use or practice an exercise in constructing a dynamite plot. Pretty much the whole book has been about the necessity of plot, regardless of genre or intention of the writer’s novel. That’s handy and encouraging, because I’ve yet to find a genre or intention in any of my writing.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dreamed of writing the Great American Novel. If you scour the archives enough (or if you’re one of two people I can think of who frequented this site back then), you can find previous attempts at writing. Not unsuccessful attempts, too, if I may be so bold to say. I can write a few paragraphs with relative ease. That’s never been the problem.

The problem is that I can’t write an entire book. I got about 15,000 words in to my grandest attempt and discovered that my plot was stinking like so much mold gathered on the studs of the walls in my basement. I wanted to join up with National Novel Writing Month this year, but was cut short by so much mold gathered on the studs of the walls in my basement. It’s been that kind of autumn. It’s probably for the best that I spared the world from that kind of literary monkey dance.

One thing I was able to recently do that’s not really related to writing—-at all—-is free up some time last Friday for illustrating practice. Now, don’t be harsh, but this is one of the three things I made.


You may be a kind person who has something nice to say about this, but please don’t. I think it’s terrible, and I won’t be talked out of it. This is not a ploy to gain sympathy of any kind, it’s just I think it’s terrible. And the reason I think it’s so terrible is because it came close to my objective before going horribly awry.

Where did it go so wrong? you ask. Well, the ink, in short. My proposed sequence for media on this one went: pencil, watercolor wash, watercolor crayons, watercolor accents, ink, acrylics, ink, and crayon. It was the second ink application where I went from areas of ink to lines of ink, and that was where I failed. I tried a couple other processes later in the day (while waiting for the mold remediators to not show up) and I’ll post those results another time. They were also unsuccessful, for other reasons.

I’m doomed to partial failure in all my creative endeavors until I decide to stick it out and really learn the craft. For illustration, that seems impossible without going back to school. For writing, luckily and hopefully, there will be the possibility of improving with practice and library books. Here’s hoping.

Six hundred thirty-one? Whatever. I’m through.

2 comments:

John said...

I can say some of your greatest writing achievements (as far as creating laugh hysteria) have been greeking back cover copy. And not "Lorem ipsum . . . " I know that's not an encouragement in this context. But you do have talent in written communication. Some practice will help a lot, which is where I like the 1000 words/day.

I've found that I'm more of an essay writer than a book-length writer. Two reasons: 1. I've never tried a book. 2. I don't have a thesis. On the fiction side, I guess you would say plot. And those are fairly lame reasons.

Thanks for processing this on your blog, cuz it makes me think about my dream of writing a book.

jan. said...

They say the best two things you can do to improve your photography is to take photos and to look at other people's photos. the same applies for writing or illustration i am sure. I think the ones that suck might help more at times than the ones that are a success. well, unless you think things that suck are successful. then you are just lame.