So Many Questions

Howdy. Hello. Heya. What’s up? What’s happening. It’s a new day. The sun shines, birds sing, flowers bloom. The pandemic is gone. Hold up. Wait a second. That can’t be right. *checks calendar. checks new calendar* Shit. Fuck. Shitfuck. Fuckshit. It’s only, yikes, January. Wrong month. My bad. That’s totally on me. Well, flowers will bloom and where I live, birds are signing. And the sun shines. And fuck it, the flowers, they are’a bloomin’.

But the pandemic… Err, well… Yeah.

2020 was so, uhhhhhh, 2020. It didn’t even make the meh level.

That’s in the rearview. In fact, I’m sure we backed over it on the way out the garage and rolled over it a few more times, smiling, just to hear the crunch. Now, it’s 2021, damnit. And fuck, the first five days were wonderful.

And that’s enough of the rolling of the years.

What’s on the writing docket? Where shall we go from here? What’s around that famous corner we heard so much about back in, well, August, September, a lot lot lot in October, again in November, and uhhh, just a little in December? What are your writing goals? Do you set writing goals? What will you finish this year?

What am I working on, you ask? Well, *bats eyelashes* first, thanks for asking. I’m working on finishing 7 Sins (working title, rest TBD). And I’ve been working on it for… Fuck. Well… Holy sharkshit. Uhhhh… No way?! About… Are you fucking kidding me?! Too goddamn long.

But, alas, I think it shall be completed by year’s end and then it’s – fun times – queryville. So yeah, full title shall be creatively thought out by then.

But hey, back to you. If you write, surely you’ve heard the so-called Writer Commandments?

There’s lists…errr, commandments somewhere. Everywhere, really. And they change from writer to writer, just depends on who writes them. I know, doesn’t make sense to me either. You’re asking how can writing commandments change? Weren’t they set in cement or some strange shit like that? Isn’t it impossible to change cement words?

Didn’t some dude named Ken Kenobi walk through a fjord with a whittled down makiwara stick and hide from dragons while getting these writerly commandments from some booming voice – who it’s said sounded a lot like Samuel L. Jackson? And then form two triangular stones from bags of Quikrete and chisel words into them with a Leatherman? Wait-wait-wait. WAIT. That doesn’t sound… *checks sacred notes scroll* No-yeah, that’s right.

Enough of the truthful and factual way these commandments came together. I’m not here to guilt you with fictional words. This isn’t catholic school. I need only point out a lonesome commandment. It’s vastly overlooked, and most times, downright ignored.

KNOW THYSELF.

What motivates? What are your limits? Are you as creative as a wad of goobersnot? Are you lazy as a bullfrog on a scorching summer day? Does the thought of writing make your brain hurt. Do you have a brain to hurt? Do you tweet-timeline-InstaEverything-AmaShop-pandem-doom scroll until you’re fingerprints hurt?

Here’s an example for me: I woke the other day and noticed the ottoman was about four feet removed from the ergo recliner. Granted, I don’t use that chair much but for the footrest to be that far away seems a stretch, literally. My feet wouldn’t reach. So, I sat across from both on my couch and pondered why such a length was present. Did I do this? If so, why? If I did this obvious irrationality, what strange reverse gravitational pull prevented me from putting it back? Was I really this fucking lazy? Instead of getting up and pushing them together, I pondered more. Was I cleaning and moved it to dust or vacuum? Hahahaha. I don’t do those things. Do I have strange events taking place inside my house when I’m asleep? If so, does that explain why my bourbon is always gone?

Hmmmmm. I’m beginning to understand why 7 Sins sits, incomplete and laughing at me.

Or…

Are you a here, there, everywhere type who can write in a pouch, under a couch, or on the steps while you slouch? Maybe you are, maybe you’re not. Maybe when you write your pen just makes a dot. Fret none, get your writing done, and stare not at the sun.

Only you know you.

Go forth and make words happen.

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I Flash And You Should Too

Yup, I love to flash. I do it often. In a purely non-physical sense, of course *winks*. I’ve also done a few past blog pieces on the aspects of flash fiction so go back and have a read.

When it comes to flash fiction, I use it as a go to when I feel stuck while writing longer stories or working on 7 Sins. And we know how long that’s been. Or when just needing a break, period. Or, at times when sitting around and an idea gets shot into my head by the Jewish Space Lasers I’ve recently heard about. Words must hit paper fast.

Actually, 7 Sins started as a flash piece, evolved into a short story, and then, wow, holy sharks that shit, grew out of control to a novel – which yes, is still a WIP. Don’t judge me.

So, here, henceforth we shall dive into how
grasping the ability to write flash fiction helps with many other aspects of writing. That’s correct, I wrote henceforth. Why? No clue. Take it to mean that this current blog – the one you’re reading right now – shall speak to the whys of how writing flash is beneficial and a wondrous tool to enhance one’s other writing abilities and not the entire blogspot from here to eternity.

In Flash Fiction You Will Lose The Bullshit. It’s helps in editing out unnecessary words. Those words shall be slaughtered with the stroke of a delete key: and, the, of, to, too, then, really, very, but, or any combo of these like and then. If you use the word therefore outside dialogue, well, leave this blog immediately. There’s zero hope for you or your writing. Obviously, there’s more, but hey, you get the idea LOSE FILLERS.

You will become masterful with commas, dashes, ellipses, and just maybe, *looks away, gulps* a semicolon. I said, maybe. You will get creative in word choice. Your writing won’t be a fat slug of wordiness, but a tightly chiseled Adonis worthy of sitting on a white slab of paper.

Focus. Focus. And, Well, FOCUS.
Flash allows you to maintain focus on the story. You don’t get buildy charter and story depth. You don’t bother with back story bullshits. You don’t give a gnats ass about superfluous flashy words. And you damn-damn-damn sure don’t get mired in telling too much. It’s like feeding a lion: you get in, you get out. You don’t stay for selfies. You don’t mingle and chat, slurping hot coffee. You sidestep the huge piles of dung while running out the gate.

It Gives A Needed Break.
It’s helps writers get away from a major work for a short bit. Usually short enough to go back a little more focused and energized. Maybe with new ideas and creativity, too.

There’s The Fun Aspect.
Writing flash gives the writer a different hole to plug; step outside a comfort zone; and, take on subjects and topics not ordinarily conquered. It gives the opportunity to play with voice. It affords a wild side to creativity – nothing should be off limits – because if there’s something that doesn’t fit or you don’t like, it’s like the heart of thine enemy, you rip it out.

Think of it like a math problem except without numbers and all the brain hurt. You have a box on your page and need all the words to fit. Make the box smaller. And smaller. And a little smaller. Those words still must fit.

Okay, Unfortunately Size Kinda Matters.
As for the word count in your flash pieces, that’s up to you but work on keeping them tight, concise, to the point, and typically under that magical 500 word unicorn. I’ve read longer, but those feel more short short story’ish.

Go forth and flash your way to happiness.

Goodbye 2020, You Filthy Bastard

It’s cliché as hell to say the lonely writer. Ehhh, it’s expected, even. The words go together like fried and chicken. Peanut and butter. Happy and new year. Yet, it’s sticks better than super glue to flesh. And it’s true. This year it’s been worse. If you’re like me, your concentration may have been low, like the level of a concussed gnat. There was some shit happening, like the entire year, that grabbed our attention and slow-motion slapped it around then followed up with a hundred cat slaps just to be sure it had our full attention. But hey, we did manage to write some stuff. Shit got done…ish.

As writers, we run words through a blender, dump the whole heap onto pages and hope the story smoothie tastes good. Flows and reads well. Has a consistency of thoroughness. Just works.

The Solitary Beast
Let’s take a look at writing, from the writer’s perspective, shall we. That’s rhetorical. You don’t get’ta answer. You never really did. It’s just, well, I want you to feel like you have a say. You don’t. But you should feel like you do. But not really. Therefore, we shall take that look and you—you WILL like it.

Writing IS a lonely endeavor. It’s more than an empty white space getting filled with letters and words. More than a blank canvas awaiting the stroke of the artist’s brush setting the piece with abstract and color. More than a do-over with the strike of a back key. More than cranking the last screw on a master home.

That blank page is an enemy. A ruthless, mirthless, undying, unyielding fuckface of an enemy. As a crafter – artist of words – it’s the writer who must decide where to start. Where to place a word or phrase. Where to separate fact and fiction and where to smash to two together like word intercourse.

Sometimes, it’s careful research. Research we do on our own. We don’t have research assistants. It’s us. Our time. It’s too much research, usually, which grabs time and crushes it between a vise-grip, pulverized, never to be seen again. Sure, we may be able to text a friend who knows stuff about particular things and get an answer, but mostly, we grind away with the particulars of a Google search while diving deeper into some primordial rabbit hole than we ever intended. And yeah, that rabbit hole is of course filled with all types of non-essential shit from average toenail length to largest tea cup size to the best possible iron for clothes to the length of the omnipresent number two pencil to yes, German porn. It’s all just a vicious circle with really gnarly teeth. Not German porn, that’d be weird.

Writing IS being comfortable with yourself. I don’t mean in a modern, pseudo-psychological post-physical type way – although that might help. Perhaps you got a taste of the allure and took a big nibble if you worked from home during the Global Nightmare. Maybe you didn’t like it. Found it hard to adjust. Thought fuck this, gimmie an office and fluorescent lighting and bright way too small computer screen, and Nancy, the lady who jabbers about nothing and everything. Chews your ear off just to say more about your ear being torn up. Maybe you no longer were jealous of those who’ve worked from their comfy abode for a career. And maybe, just maybe, you weren’t comfortable being alone with yourself. It’s not easy. Sometimes we annoy us.

But hey, maybe IT’S not. It’s not so much that writers need private, alone, and quiet time to write and be creative. It could be we’re just misanthropes wary of eyeballs and wandering orbs. Back off, I said, could be. Probably though. At least solidly maybe. But at times we can write in coffee shops, outside at a café. Maybe in a park. Those are places with people. Doesn’t matter. Show me a writer and I’ll show you someone who’s happy with being alone. Happy with themselves. They might talk to themselves in the third person (that’s healthy, right?) but they get along with one another. They don’t mind them. I’m not saying they’re their best friend, that’d be strange.

So…

Writing IS writing. Work is work. Something is better than nothing. Progress one way is progress another way. If your process is like mine, you dabble with notes. Hint: this very blog spot is called Scattered Notes. Harder hint: it’s called that for a reason. Creativity is like a sneeze and can happen at any time, any where, and ideas are everywhere.

Being alone as a writer means we get comfortable with not having immediate results. It means we appreciate a long process. Sometimes it more tedious and yeah, we hate that but it also means we can handle a turtles pace. Sure, at times words come like being shot from a fire hose but mostly, not. It’s slow. Drips like a months-long hidden leak. And it’s calculated. And we’re fine with that because it takes time and we’re comfy with us. We like it that way.

Year end note: 2020’s been a dicksore of a year so be kind to yourself and especially to others in 2021. Open every door because you never know what lies behind. Closed doors closes us to new possibilities. Good Writing and Happy New Year.

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2020: The Year That Made You Wanna Kick People In The Nuts

No hiding from 2020

So yeah, 2020 was just one big jizz face. It was stepping on Legos with bare feet. A three-finger prostate exam. A complete fuckery. An Ikea store.

We moved from the teens to the twenties. The transition was smooth. Fine. Nonchalant. Meh. It went well.

For about eighteen days.

Then 2020 turned on us and spit fire. Spun on wicked, cracked heels, arched up, and showed long gangly teeth. The mouth opened and unhinged, releasing stingy murder hornets. Those fangs dripped with blood, death, scorn, hate, contempt, venomous despair, and an empty feeling of what the fuck. And 2020 lurched forward and sunk them in. Deep. Everywhere. In all of us.

And inside we went. Closed the door. Locked it tight. Bolted it. Put one of those old timey chunks of wood across it. And we waited. Waited for 2020 to walk away.

It didn’t.

Let’s talk writing for a second. As people who put words in sentences and eventually on paper, we tend to be a solitary beast. Not unlike the Krayt Dragon. But alas, we appear for pretzels and chocolate chips. And sometimes we combine the two with radiation. And come out of hiding for bourbon. Sometimes we answer the door. Mostly not. Otherwise, we hole up in the corner of a semi-dark room constantly complaining about the goddamn light being dim and say we’ll turn it up after the next sentence. Or paragraph. Or chapter. We never do. We ask Alexa for the time. Maybe the weather, too, but we don’t really care about the weather. It’s just conversation. We’re not going outside. The minutes turn to hours and the hours, well, shit, they’ve turned the page into the next day. And we write, constantly clicking control-s like it’s a nervous tick because, fucking 2020.

We realize we’ve been writing since sometime around…March. And we’re not done. We now have 137 works-in-progress. But nothing got done. We finished nada. Completions, zero. A big fat haha fuck you.

Holy shitballs. Where’d time go? Why do I have nothing finished? What the serious fuck?! Is Quarantimes over?

As we smooth out the dents and perma ass print from our chair, we realize it’s December. Yeah, that December. The exact last month of the year. 2 zero 2 one ahead. And we’ve been in solitude. And we realize hey, we kinda liked that. But we glance at our writing spreadsheet and see those WIPs. And we stress. A lot. But the bourbon helps.

We then flip month after month counting on one finger after another. It makes us feel bad. Disappointment hits like the underside of the desk after we dive down for a paper clip. Oh, just me? Whatever. Don’t judge me.

Is there a point to this?

Why…why yes, there is and thank you for asking.

The Point: whether you’ve completed a book, whether you finished a short story, whether you’ve done neither but have all those WIPs, don’t be deterred. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t partake in self-ass-kickery. 2020’s done that enough already. Don’t get down. Be kind to yourself. To others. Keep writing. Those works will get done.

So…

As we bid a fond farewell to the one-year decade that was 2020, we shall box it tight, label it Shark Food, and sink it into taurus infested waters of the deep blue giving it a one-finger salute before it glides its way to a watery grave. But for sure Satan will intercept with tentacle-like fingernails, tear open the crate, remove 2020 and pet it like a cute kitten all the while gurgling, “My precious.”

WHAT TO DO DURING YOUR PANDEMIC-QUARANTINE-ISOLATION-SELF-DISTANCING-DETACHMENT FROM SOCIETY

I dunno, maybe you were planning on building a social-distancing pillow and blanket fort. Maybe you were gonna watch Contagion because, you know, the current global pandemic isn’t scary enough. Or, and this is a hypothetical, you’re set on perfect harmony of zen and nothing go will get to you.

You do you. 

But…

If COVID-19 has taught us anything besides that hands get pruny like a Kaffir lime from being washed two-hundred and seventeen times a day, and that Americans really, really – like seriously really – love their toilet paper, it’s that having to stay at home can become excruciatingly monotonous.

Let’s face it, if you aren’t prepared to stay inside for the next couple weeks with food and supplies, you’re already screwed. Grocery shelves are empty; restaurants are closing; toilet paper is gone. All of it.

Whether you’re dragged kicking and screaming into quarantine or told to self-isolate, you must now prepare yourself for weeks of delivery foods and, I dunno, lots of showers after using the toilet. But alas, here’s some ideas to keep you occupied during your social hiatus.

Why not DO NOTHING?

Why?

Uhhhh, why not?

It goes without saying, doing nothing is easy. Lounge around. Sloth away. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Allow the gods of laziness to whisk your mind away to wherever the fuck lazy people laze.

You could EXERCISE

Staying active is good for the body and the mind. It invigorates the soul and all kinds of other healthy bullshit. You don’t need fancy equipment, or any equipment. Google it. Figure it out.

Binge-watch NETFLIX and MAYBE CHILL

While any streaming service will do, the chill part might be a little tricky especially if you’re truly maintaining a social distance. Binge-watch EVERYTHING.

CLEAN your dirty house

This actually depends on the level of messiness one has in one’s domicile. Do you need to tidy up a bit? Is it the-interior-paint-is-rotting-off-the-walls dirty? Are we talking pigpen style living? Does the toilet look like a rusty car bumper? Does it stink so bad even the dogs want out? If that’s the case, clean. And maybe change your living habits, I dunno.

Be Tom Cruise in Cocktail and ALCOHOL

I’m not advocating that drinking will aid your blues, but if I had to be quarantined with you, I’d drink. A lot. Become a master of the mixing game. Learn to sling a cocktail like the pros.

*this asumes you have a plentiful range of spirits on-hand. If not, I’m sure your local grocery store will be abl to help; just don’t go for toilet paper.

Become manly and GROW A BEARD

Sounds easy enough, but you’ll need patience. And persistence to get past the itchy part at about ten days. Push on man, push on. If your partner doesn’t like facial hair, fear not. You’ve unwittingly, and successfully, handled the unable to Chill part of Netflix and Chill.

RESEARCH…ALL THE STUFF

Pick a topic. Any topic will do. Learn about it. Read about it. Become an expert. Get to the end of the Internet on said topic. Tell all your friends the wondrous things you learned about the Hercules beetle while in exile.

Or…

Learn how to flatten the curve. Check to see how far is social distancing. Understand what an incubation period is all about. Look up the terms quarantine and isolation and know the difference. Find out what Public Health Orders actually mean. And get the rest of the key terms whilst under lockdown.

READ a goddamn book, would ya

Pretty much goes without saying. If you’re dying for a good read during your detachment from humanity, go here. If you’re not, learn how to contemplate life while stroking your freshly grown beard and dreaming of ample supplies of toilet paper before mixing your new favorite cocktails and starting the next Netflix series all while lounging in your clean house.

WRITE like a motherfucker

Did you think I’d leave it out?

It’s a writing blog.

Duh.

WIPs, finish them. Ideas, write about them. Characters, develop them. Plots, construct them. Endings, finish them.

See where this is going?

No?

Okay, FINISH YOUR SHIT. You have time. A lot of it. Maybe too much.

AND

If you’re really, really mind-numbingly bored, start a podcast like everyone else on Earth because, why the fuck not.

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The COVID-19 or as I’m calling it, THE TOILET PAPER SHORTAGE OF 2020

 

*looks over shoulder while hugging remaining Charmin rolls. shifty eyes feel someone’s watching*

I write this wondering what‘ll happen if there’s a real apocalypse. First, we‘ve come to know how Americans really feel about toilet paper so that’ll disappear faster than free cake. Second, we know anything toilet paper related-adjacent-in-the-vicinity, will disappear. And third, yes, ALL toilet paper will be gone.

I don’t recall seeing any pre or post apocalypse movies where hoarding toilet paper was a thing. Ever.

*checks internet*

Nope. None.

I see pictures of Costco carts full of food. Do you have any idea how hard it is to fill a Costco shopping cart?

*tries to figure equivalent quotient of toilet paper to groceries purchased. says fuck it because math is hard*

Imma back up.

I should explain. There’s a backstory here. Once upon a time in the very recent past I was given a task: pick up toilet paper.

I laughed. Sure. No problem. I’m on it. Not too difficult. Pfft, whatever.

Until…

I had no idea that during CORONAPOCALYPSE the first thing panicky humans would hoard would be…
Toilet paper.
Toilet paper?
For a respiratory virus.
Toilet. Paper.

No-no. It’s my bad. I absolutely got it wrong.

I. Didn’t. Know.

I developed a strategic plan.

It was early. So early, the darkness was comfortable and I was still blurry-eyed. I wiped the sleep sand from my eyes.

I ambled through a store where carts were pushed like guided missiles. Tunnel-visioning shoppers were on a mission. Like an army of ants, they scurried one after the other, carts to assess, straight for the paper goods aisle. My pulse quickened. I waited to cross a main artery from kids clothes to paper goods. My super-secret shortcut didn’t work. After I Froggered across, I too found emptiness. Like a vault wiped after a robbery, fingerprints didn’t even remain. Mother Hubbard’s cupboard was bare. Bone white shelves shined under high fluorescent lights. Not a single roll. Panic-buying empty.
I thought about laying a fifty to make a backroom deal with a stock person to text me when the next shipment arrived. I turned to the has-any-and-everything-of-consumer-goods god, Amazon.
Nothing. Out. Damn.
Confusion set in. I dreamed of being back in bed and hiding under a heavy blanket. I zombied through the store grabbing some needed food stuffs. And then, well, it happened.

The gall of someone to sneeze. I was more than a social distance away. I stared. It quickly turned to a glare. Eye darts. My misanthropic self kicked in.

Why is that person breathing? Cart abandoned.

Now it’s time for Netflix, panic-eating donuts, and pandering Amazon for unneeded shit. While you’re there, I mean, it can’t hurt, so go here for a good read during your 14-days of solitude.

But wait…

Did I…am I… I’m signed up for…toilet paper notifications? Holy hellshit.

Final note: 

Remember, Social-Distancing can be another meaning for introverted misanthrope. Also, I’ve decided to sit this apocalypse out for now and not wrestle any panic shoppers.

#spareasquare #coronapocalypse #toiletpaper

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You Wanna Write?

So…
You wanna be a writer?
Why?
All joking aside, really though, why?
Do you really need less sleep? Do you want more stress? Don’t you have enough misery in your life? What, you don’t loath yourself enough already? You haven’t reached that specific plateau of self-hate quite yet? 
Do you wanna wake at two in the morning with a one-of-kind-out-of-this-world idea only to blurry-eye your way through monkey-tapping and fat-thumbing the keys on your phone in such a way that when you wake it’s all red underlines of mish-mosh fuckery and you go apeshit nuts trying to decipher your own damn words only to say, “Fuck this,” and delete?
Do you want your friends to always ask what a word means? Or worse, ask, “Hey, what’s a word for that?” like we’re fucking dictionaries slash thesauri. Or, because you’re now a writer, would you like friends to ask about your thoughts on their ideas of stories they’ll never write. It’s like a test to see if you’re on top of your shit? Oh, WRITERS ARE ON TOP OF THEIR SHIT. ALWAYS.
But, I ask, who needs it?
This is not to deter you from writing. In fact, quite the opposite. If you have ideas, get them out. Write ‘em down. Let the creative flow. Writing is art and you need to art hard. Make writing notes a daily part of your life. The story in your head needs to be told or extracted surgically, and hey, that sounds like it’ll hurt like hell…so write. 
Here’s the WARNING disclaimer: writing, it’s a lonely endeavor. Like solitary-sit-in-a-cave lonely. It’s you, a computer, and thoughts. Lots and lots of thoughts. And loneliness. And more thoughts. And then the loneliness. And then the decisive settling of dread. That’s the part where you think your writing is awful. And sucks. And well, bad. And there’s coffee. And probably scotch, maybe, but pretty much needed. 
Enjoy. 

The Flashing

No, not the DC comics character. And NO, I’m not flashing anyone. Ever. Mostly, anyway.

Flash Fiction. Not just really short fiction either. Flash fiction IS its own genre.

I thought of the regular cliches when writing this: tell, don’t show; don’t get wordy; don’t get too descriptive; and, choose an effective title. And then…

Well hell, if you don’t understand those already from writing in general, then you’ll find no help here. Sorry, but not really. Actually, not even a little bit.

There’s a lot of useless information on the Internet. No-yeah, I know. It’s true. Write flash fiction in just 25 steps. Read now: 13 steps to writing flash fiction. How to write flash fiction in ALL the steps.

Damn, I’ll just assume that each and every one of those regurgitated the points almost verbatim. And, you should assume it too. While it’s true, not much is original anymore (geez, thanks Internet), that doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful. And it doesn’t have to be outrageously long to be good advice.

So, Inkateers, here’s my flash blog on flash fiction.

Make The Title Earn Its Money: Don’t be afraid the create a title that tells more than, well, the title.

Start Sooner Than The Beginning: Huh? you ask. You read that right. You need to jump in. There’s no building a dramatic story. In fact, consider starting smack in the middle where there’s immediate conflict or action. No backstory, flash forwards, or prologue either.

Be Precise: To the point. Don’t get moored in a quagmire of details. Know when to end it. And, keep it short. Under 500 is a good rule of mind, although I’ve seen some under 1,000. I like under 500 because it challenges me as a writer. Makes me cut out any unnecessary bullshit.

Cut The Bullshit: Don’t allow morass to bring you down and ramble on. It’s flash fiction, not a novel.

Don’t Be Afraid To Have An Ambiguous Ending: Allow the reader to imagine more; paint a picture of the mind; or ask, what the fuck just happened. Also, see my last post on ambiguity in writing.

Last Sentence Holds The Meat: Make that motherfucker count. It needs to hold up its end of the story. Seriously. Needs to tie a lot together in just those few words. If you end it with, The End, you will be hunted and hurt.

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The Art Of Ambiguity

Which way does your writing go?

I’ve said it before, Don’t be afraid to have an ambiguous ending. Allow the reader to imagine more; get all up in their kitchen and paint a picture in their headspace – and then own it (their head, that is); and, allow the reader to ask, what the fuck just happened.

I know what you’re thinking, “Shit, Chris, I’d prefer to understand just what the hell’s happening when I get to the ending of a story. Tidy that shit up nicely so I can just kick back knowing fully what took place. I don’t want to think. Thinking, well, it sucks.”

I get it, few things are more interesting to people than not fully understanding something. It’s like goddamn algebra. It’s like they’ve been cheated out of all that precious invested time in understanding characters, the plot, a few twists, and then the ambiguous whammy kinda feels like a sledge hammer upside the skullbox. No one likes a sledge upside the head. Probably not, anyway.

But, an ambiguous ending or character can lead to other things. It offers the reader a chance to wonder. To ponder the intrigue. To suggest to themselves a different scenario of final events. Or, to elevate their senses on the finality of said events. Is it really over? Could it have ended that way? Did she really die? Can’t be. Say it ain’t so. Emotion overload. It also gives the writer an out. Do we write another story or book as a follow up?

The ambiguous ending should leave the reader wanting more, not cheated. It should spark their curiosity for more. That’s the entire idea. As the writer, it’s imperative we don’t give definite answers in an ambiguous ending. Seems a little obvious, but as people, we too like things wrapped in a cute little bow. This bow must go fuck itself. The bow must die. The bow is not complex, ambiguity is complex. Bye-bye bow.

A way to work on ambiguity in your writing is to practice flash fiction. Super duper segue here: come back for my next blog post at this spot for flash fiction must haves. In other words, the do me’s and don’ts of flashing.

Writing IS Hard

I could just leave it at that. One singular sentence to sum up writing. Fits perfectly. Very apropos. But, no. There’s more. Lots more. It’s hard like getting out of bondage. Or a straight jacket. Or an insane asylum.

For simplicity, I’ll give you five reasons as a teaser.

Writers are artists. The canvas is blank until we cover paper with words. Magical, fantastic words that the reader uses to create a vivid picture in their mind. The creative effort is long. To say it’s painstaking doesn’t describe accurately the work involved. And, art takes time.

We punish ourselves. There’s stress. There’s sleeplessness because when we wake, we think of the goddamn story and tweak it at two in the morning. Or we create a character and develop her at three in the morning. Or we sit in a movie theatre and excuse ourselves to the restroom because we just got a great idea and need to peck it into our phone’s notes.

Why?

Because the story imprints our brain. It sticks with us long after the final words get written. Even after it’s edited and published, we wonder if it could have been better. What we coulda changed. We do this to ourselves because in some sadistic we, it’s how we thrive. And keep going to write again. Or…

We stress about writing. Or, we don’t write when we like and stress about not writing. And then we stress about the writing we’re actually doing. And when we write and jump to another work or social media, we stress about that because, well, WE’RE NOT FUCKING WRITING. But when we do write, you’d think the stress would go away, but then we stress about the actual goddamn writing and if it’s even any good. Then people ask us if we’re writing, and we answer yes, but think Mother of Christ, am I writing enough? And when people ask us for sample of our writing and we don’t have enough to give, STRESS. And we even stress about if we’re blogging enough. So, holy shit. *rips out a gob of hair*

Writing requires focus. I’ll be honest here, I’ve yet to meet an artist who has laser focus all the time. We I tend to jump back and forth in writing projects so yeah, there’s a few WIPs hidden on my Mac. Also, see the above paragraph. Now, where was… Oh yeah, focus.

Writing requires diligence. This is not to say that writers aren’t a diligent sort, but making the full commitment is well, a huge commitment. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes dedication. So yeah, the diligence thing is hard. And damnit, diligence takes persistence.

In summary, WRITING IS HARD. Very. Fucking. Hard.

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