Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 4 Update - Down and Dirty with Pulp Fiction

Today's Progress: 3233 Words
Running Total: 8446 Words - to complete Chapter 5

8446 / 60000 words. 14% done!

Aside from doing two chapters today (including one of my favorite scenes, in which Mick and Casey get the unwanted support of their colleagues) I also finally resolved an issue for The Serial which will make it much easier to write when I get around to it. And I had some good ideas for the George and Karla series.

I'm all fired up, but not doing as much work as I'd like. Part of it is because the New World Order of modern publishing has so many possibilities in it; it's over-stimulating.

It's like this cat I had. Bubba. He was a little Siamese chocolate point, but he was built like a bulldog. He loved to play, but if you got his toys moving back and forth really really fast, he'd start racing about madly and randomly, and then run straight out of the room. He was just so thrilled he couldn't stand it.

What I'm excited about most is that so many of us out in the indie publishing world seem to be thinking along the same lines. We've all noticed that the freedom of indie publishing has made writing fun again. But we're not used to being quite as free as all that. It's like we're all sitting here, jazzed about our new cat toy, but we can't quite believe it's really as cool as it seems.

I have heard writer after writer this past week use the words that I've been using for a while: we're in a new pulp fiction era. It's okay to write fast and fun things again. And not only can we write it... we can now read it! And hearing them say it (especially when they are all established pros) validates my thinking about it.

One thing I should add, for those who have a certain image of pulp fiction -- the pulps weren't just violent and lurid men's adventure. They also included romance and children's fiction, and 'true life' travel and coming-of-age stories and pretty much anything you could think of. The thing they held in common was that they were intense and distilled, like a great cartoonist's drawing, and the only rule was "thou shalt not bore the reader."

The other thing about pulp fiction is that the stories were usually middle length. Short stories were longer, novels were shorter, and there was every length in between. This allowed the stories to be easy to devour, AND also meaty enough to be satisfying. There was room for subplots and twists and turns.

My only problem is that as I sit down and start to do this I can hardly believe that this dream has come true. I can actually write what I want... and then I run in a little circle and race out of the room.

Tomorrow's a Day Job day, but I expect to move ahead with one more chapter of transcription... but then I'll have to start coming up with more new material. I'm looking forward to it.


Ursula said...

Daring, this is a GREAT post. You capture the essence, particularly writing being fun again. But I think there's this other thing too. Did you ever see the movie Untitled? (If not I think you'd get a kick out of it.) The main character is a brilliant and talented musician who is focused on atonal music. He's devoted to it, and critics kill him for it. he gets no where, or so he thinks. Later, he meets the guru of his art, at a live performance of the man's music. The same critics come up and tell the guru the same stuff, and he thanks them and waves it off. The main character is floored. He says to his guru "how do you handle the criticism, the rejection?", to which the guru says "the artist needs to find meaning in the process." And in the midst of this black comedy/farce, it really struck a chord . (No pun intended). I'd seen it a while back, in december,when I was mulling over my own next steps and evolution and all that existential stuff. In the midst of the paradigm shift it's fun again because the process is fun again. You're not clouded out by the white noise of which track will you jump into and then what other wheel will you labor at, and for how long, and why? You're detached from the vagaries of the cold, distant, and often capricious 'machine' and as a result, the grinding of those gears fades away and you can think - can create - can experiment and can enjoy. Its different, invigorating, but yes, it's the cat toy from hell, isn't it?

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Ursula.

And I think the freedom is not so much from things like critics. Those of us who have developed a thick hide shook that off a while ago... the thing is that we also have freedom from things that we've internalized.

"That's too short to publish." No it's not.

"That's too long to publish." No it's not.

"That's too silly to publish." It sure as heck isn't!

I've been having fun reading some of Dean Wesley Smith's challenge stories on his blog. The one about the magic socks in particular was just too much fun -- but it would never make it into a real pro magazine.