That’s right. I never plan a book before writing it. I never know what the ending will be, or what the major point of conflict will end up as, or any other information beyond a main character and the very bare bones of a plot. This often leads to excessively long periods of writer’s block, but I honestly can’t help it.
I’ve recently begun working on a new book. I am exceptionally proud of it. I feel like it could be the one. You know that one book you feel will be the best book you ever write and has a higher chance of scoring you a publishing deal? Yes – that one. It’s still at the very first stages, and all I can reveal about it right now is that it’s (probably) going to be titled, “THE UNDERWATER LIBRARY”, and that it’s set in the 1930s, 40s and 50s… or to be more specific, pre- and post World War 2. As you might imagine, this means that it’s a bit grounded in the bloody history of that time period, and – yep, you guessed it – it also means it requires a whole freakin’ bunch of research.
Five years ago I wrote a post about how I always avoid profanities in fiction, declaring my stance against including swear words and sex scenes in my books. To begin with, let me just say I’m still fixed upon the non-inclusion of sex (except maybe in fade-to-black-situations), but recently I’ve found myself budging when it comes to swearing.
When before I didn’t think they have any merit, I realise now that there are some situations that call for the occasional f-bomb. When before I thought I could find squeaky clean alternatives, I instead found myself struggling with authenticity. Try as I could to make things work without resorting to profanity, it just wasn’t working this time.
I’m working on a book (currently) titled “Mail Order Thief”, and my main character is as cynical and rude and angry as they come. When I set out to write him, to draw the outlines of his character, I tried to wash his mouth with soap but he spat it out and snapped at me. He was not amused, not in the slightest, that I was trying to drown out his voice just so I wouldn’t bruise my ideals. Continue reading “Revisiting the Swearing Question”→
Inky hands, correction pen stains, crumpled up paper, doodles on the corners… that was more or less my perpetual state as a writer when I was younger. Then computers came along and I migrated to the digital forms of writing, leaving my notebooks behind to collect dust while I sang the praises of Microsoft Word, with its pristine fonts and formatting options and the ability to start over and delete words with the click of a button.
Lately, however, I have been having difficulty even coming up with words to delete.
To be fair, when I was younger, I never had to approach a computer screen with a work mentality – it was a tool for fun and procrastination, but now I mostly associate it with translation and proofreading. I was also not involved with the Internet as I am now, and knew only a handful of websites. Social media wasn’t rampant, and my attention wasn’t diverted every few seconds by new tweets, Instagram posts, blogs, videos and forum replies.
I knew I needed to take a step back if I were ever to pull myself out of this neverending loop of distraction, disconnect a bit from my laptop, build my focus… and so I decided to go back to the basics. I think I went too far back though, because I bought myself a typewriter.
I’m not talking about actual cheese here – though I did have a yummy grilled cheese sandwich this morning – but rather the things that make us go, “God that’s cheesy.” They’re a common occurrence in romance movies, though they do slip in occasionally in other kinds of movies; they’re not limited to sweet moments of unconditional love. A speech or a fighting scene or even a gory scene from a horror movie can be cheesy. But of course it’s not limited to movies, cheesiness is something that worries writers day and night.
While cheesiness in real life can be endearing and okay, for some reason it’s frowned upon in books. Even movies get cut some slack for some reason, while a book can be criticized heavily if deemed cheesy by the readers. But is that really fair?