Last night, literary superhunk Neil Gaiman tweeted a link to this Minchin Christmas song:
I was surprised by how . . . beautiful it was.
Quite different from the majority of his work, though it still has a touch of sly humor. Here's another favorite, a poem called "Angry (Feet)," the sort of thing I'd normally expect from Minchin (R-rated language, for those who care). LOVE this one, as it's weird and creepy, and I am fond of weird and creepy:
Also on Twitter last night, editor Cheryl Klein linked to this fantastic post by novelist Jennifer Crusie about plot structure. If you're a writer, check it out! I liked it so much that I printed out a copy.
And to continue the randomness of this post — I am still not quite over the flu, so I'll blame it on that (but it's really just because I'm lazy) — here's a question from my friend Amber Nicole Brooks. Amber and I were in undergrad together, and she's a FABULOUS writer. She's also the first person I trusted to read my "professional" writing. [Which was really, really bad, you guys. So, a round of applause for Amber!]
How do you stop yourself from re-reading, and re-reading stuff you've already written? (I mean stuff such as the prior chapters you've drafted for the book.) I like to do this, as some sort of punishment or procrastination.
How to answer . . . how to answer . . .
Okay, the truth is this: I don't know. I honestly don't know. We're stepping into Achilles' heel territory here. I am pretty much one of the worst writers I know when it comes to re-reading work and not moving forward. I am a CHAMPION re-reader. WORLD-CLASS, A++ PROCRASTINATOR AND SELF-PUNISHER.
I loooooathe moving forward. Or, at least, I'm bad at it.
I enjoy tinkering. Tinker tinker tinker! I am an EXCELLENT tinker-er! If I could prettify and rewrite preexisting scenes all night long, I'd be a happy Stephanie. Unfortunately, scenes do not write themselves. And eventually it comes down to this:
Move forward or quit.
The only thing I hate more than moving forward? Quitting. So maybe you should post that above your desk: MOVE FORWARD OR QUIT! Unless you're prone to quitting things. Then it should read: MOVE FORWARD
Other ideas to try:
(A) A quick, ugly draft. Ask a friend to set a deadline for you. One that seems absolutely ridiculous. And then . . . power through it. Remind yourself again and again and again that beautiful writing comes LATER. It always comes later, because you don't know what you're writing about until you reach the end. You may think you know. But you don't. So it's best to let the early drafts be fast and ugly, because chances are high that you'll have to rewrite the entire thing anyway. Sorry.
(B) Bribe yourself. What do you want? Congratulations! Now you can't have it until you move forward. HA.
I find that a combination of (A) and (B) works best for me.
Anyone else have any advice to offer on this subject? My ears and blog comments are wide open!
Also . . . because I love him, and because several of you who read my blog also love him, and 'Tis the Season and all that, here's My Live-In Celebrity Boyfriend Chris Martin singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with Conan O'Brien:
Oh, what the heck. I'm in a video-y mood. Here's another silly one, for Coldplay fans only. It was their 2006 Christmas message. The costumes make me so happy!
Oh. And Chris wants me to tell you that he's kicking Wee James McAvoy's butt in Clue right now. They've been very competitive with the board games this year.
And now he wants me to tell you — in case you ever find yourself playing Clue with him in the future — that he is always, always Professor Plum. And Wee James is Miss Scarlet.
OKAY, CHRIS! ENOUGH!
Now he wants me to tell you Happy Christmas. So "Happy Christmas" from Chris Martin.
And now, of course, Wee James is shouting at me to tell you Happy Christmas too, but to make it in a LARGER PRINT than Chris's message. So:
HAPPY CHRISTMAS from JAMES MCAVOY
He also wants me to include a picture of a pygmy goat. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it's Wee like him?
So there's your pygmy goat from James McAvoy.
And now I'm going to stop typing before Chris makes me post a picture of a juggling hamster or bicycle shaped like a pickle or something.