The Journal, Sunday, 9/6

No doubt on our way back from playing around in Gila National Wilderness or someplace just as wild. No entry today about the day. Just some musing and some silliness, as you will see below.

Few things are more enjoyable than writing a brand new story.

As I’ve been telling anyone who will listen, just give a character a problem, drop him into a setting, put your fingers on the keyboard and go for it. It’s an absolute blast.

I’ve already pre-posted Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s posts, and now this one. IF I’ve written anything during the weekend and IF I’m back early enough on Sunday, I’ll update this before it goes “live” at about 5 p.m.

Over the next day or two (meaning Monday or Tuesday) or however long it takes, I’ll update you on the trip. I like to share things like that, especially as they affect (or might affect) my/your writing. So I hope you’ll look forward to that.

For now, though, just in case I’m not back early enough on Sunday, or just in case whatever else keeps me from posting, I’m going to write one more Topic and add it below. ‘Cause from what I’ve heard it’s always wise to be prepared.

Topic of the Day: Using the Persona

Everyone who’s familiar with my work already knows I have used personas to great advantage as alter-egos. They were/are writer friends of mine who write things I am/was unable to write.

I stopped using two of them when Eric Stringer (it is strongly suspected) killed Nick Porter. Nick wrote mostly mainstream, serious stuff. It was relatively easy for me to take over that writing myself.

Some time after Nick was killed, Eric simply didn’t show up for work one day. It is rumored that he moved to a far-far-faraway land where he occasionally writes short stories under the pen name Harvey Stanbrough. Quite the jokester, our Eric. Anyway, Eric, at one time, was my borderline psychotic persona. Since he left, I have decided to “let my little light shine” in that regard. Stay tuned.

Okay, but here I’m going to talk about using the persona as a recurring character. I think that that would be valuable.

For one thing, writing your passion (note, I didn’t say writing ABOUT your passion) would be a lot easier if you did so through a persona.

The best known example of a writer using a persona to (ahem) distance himself from responsibility for his writing was Samuel Clemens. In his books, Clemens made social commentary that would rankle politicians and pundits alike. To distance himself somewhat, he allowed Mark Twain to write those books.

And in one case, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, arguably his strongest advocacy for social reform, he handed off the job to Mr. Twain, who in turn handed off the task to an innocent named Huckleberry Finn.

Now say I get a strong sentiment in my head. Just as an example, let’s use the (very) thinly veiled rhetoric in the paragraph I almost wrote (but didn’t) just before I started this Topic of the Day.

I can’t write stuff like that. Seriously. I might offend someone. Whatever.

But my characters can do or say anything they like. After all, they’re doing the talking. I’m just writing it all down. It’s like Don’t kill the messenger, right?

Wow, and I could have characters for all kinds of different genres.

I could have a hard-nosed detective, say somebody like Steven Zimmer, who goes around solving crimes. Plus he obviously is All Man enough to even take on cases that are not sanctioned by the local police department so you just KNOW he’s gonna break a few rules. And that’s always fun, right?

I could let Cranston Longdink III sink his family’s “old wealth” into a porn empire specifically for an untapped market roughly halfway around the world. The ensuing stories would be about the procurement of goats and what happens to the goats after they’re procured. (Of course, no underage goats would be used in the stories.) This might well spin off into documentaries concerning goat trafficking, national and international treaties on goat trafficking, and the link between goat trafficking and “medicinal” poppy production in certain parts of the world. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Film at 11.

I could have Rip Sternaman barge into hostage situations all over the world, muscles bulging, and call the bad guys names that are SO fitting for bad guys before he breaks every bone in their arms and then ties them together (by the arms) for transport to wherever he’s gonna take them.

I could have Dexter Murfee Nettleson, he with the radiant smile, walk happily into The Morning Store each morning to begin the day with a cup of sunshine sweetened with butterfly spit and stirred with the pinky finger of an eighty-three year old virgin.

You get the idea.

Of course, these are books that EVERYBODY would buy but that nobody would talk about or admit to buying. Well, except possibly the ones starring ol’ Dexter.

Anyway, regardless of what you think personally about these particular examples, you’re writers, so give the topic some thought. Value? No value? Seriously, I think if you write your passion through your characters, you can let ‘er rip.

And if we’re all very lucky, maybe I’ll get back on Sunday early enough to replace this with something else. (grin) But if not, just look at all the trash you will never have to write because I just wrote it.

Today’s Writing

Fiction Words: XXXX

Writing of Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 3213 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words
Day 2…… 1046 words. Total words to date….. 4259 words
Day 3…… 1858 words. Total words to date….. 6117 words
Day 4…… 1023 words. Total words to date….. 7140 words
Day 5…… 1587 words. Total words to date….. 8327 words
Day 6…… X943 words. Total words to date….. 9270 words
Day 7…… 1084 words. Total words to date….. 10354 words
Day 8…… 1056 words. Total words to date….. 11410 words
Day 9…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXXX words

I’m gonna leave up the numbers for ol’ Wes while my subconscious continues to turn the story over. If it doesn’t perk up and get with it pretty soon though, I’ll send Wes out behind the barn to think about what he’s done while I’m writing some other stuff.

Total fiction words for the month…………… 1590
Total fiction words for the year……………… 466631

4 thoughts on “The Journal, Sunday, 9/6”

    • Thanks Susan. It’s always a great break going over there. We were in the Gila River Lower Box Wilderness Area (something like that) north of Lordsburn NM by about probably twenty miles as the crow flies. Beautiful and very enjoyable. I didn’t even get upset that my phone battery AND writing computer battery went dead on the first morning. So no writing while I was there, but great scenery, great pics, great writing conversations. Who could ask for more? (grin)

  1. No need to outsource the goat trafficking, etc. to some third world country when you’ve got unemployed stump-broke billies and nannies right here in Texas, just waiting to turn pro in lieu of starring in a cabrito pachanga.

    • Aaaaaannnnnddddd SCENE. Almost makes me wish I’d left in the paragraph I took out after I got back yestiddy. 🙂

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