Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Now That I'm a Writer, What Do I Write About? Some Thoughts On That ...

 Another Meandering Blog Post by David Hunter >>

You picked up a book a few years ago, curled your lip in disgust, tossed the book down and barked 'I can write better than that crap'!

Sure; easier said than done.

My obsession with writing began in earnest in the summer of 2007, right after I flunked out of art school. The door to commercial art was forever closed to me (READ: Slammed Shut) when my professor told me that my drawing made him physically ill. He softened the blow by telling me that I was a great 'idea' man and that I should pursue writing instead. And so, with a trail of broken dreams behind me (Music, and now Art) I decided to go full-tilt boogie into another love of mine, writing.

Easier said than done ...

When I discovered Twitter and all the thousands of writers that lurk there, I found a like-minded tribe to call my own; we ate, breathed and slept writing; I was buoyed! I started a blog (This one) and started planning a book (Aren't we always planning a book?) and was generally stoked, I was going to fulfill a long-dormant dream.

Two years later, I still have no book.

There are lots of chapters of various manuscripts, of course. They lay strewn across my desk, or languish in color-coded files on my shelf. I have lots of ideas, lots of characters chirping in my head, some that won't go away no matter how I try. It's not that they're horrid and misbegotten, it's just ...

That first book is such a pain in the ass!

We all want to impress with that first manuscript; it's the one that demonstrates how much game you got, establishes the tone of your work. The trouble is, what road do you go down? Which genre? Do you need a genre at all? Decisions.

Another roadblock: I have lots of interests, maybe too many; Sci-Fi, Crime, Fantasy, Comedy, Action, Thriller - I have book ideas for all of them. I try mainstream, but get swamped by possible story-lines, or the story seems too mundane. I try action-adventure, but get swamped by minutia and detail; I 'ain't Tom Clancy. And the stuff I read is not necessarily the stuff I'd write. I love Stephen King, God love him, but I can't write in his genre. I love Edward Abbey, but I've never been to the desert. Then there's the voice in my head that says 'write a book that everyone can read! Sell the movie rights!', which is a concept that gives me the willies. I'd have to talk that one over with my soul.

I've toyed with the idea of creating my own niche; I love westerns, but not the Louis L'Amour type.   I love detective stories, but not the Sam Spade type; too cheesy.  I love fantasy, but wizards with long beards and and unpronounceable names make my face itch. I guess you could say that I have a particular way that I want to tell a story - and I haven't yet found the vehicle for it; that one story to hang my ideas on.  It's out there somewhere, I know it.

The good news: lately I've re-focused and have started outlining a new novel that I hope to complete (Correction: WILL complete). I'm not going to qualify it; it's not a western, a fantasy, or Sci-Fi; it could possibly be mainstream, but I fear nothing I write could be termed 'mainstream'.  Hopefully this new non-genre style will help me along the way. Maybe not. I think I just get bored too easily ... stupid internet and quick-edited movies! You've ruined my attention span!

So, what to write?


  1. Hey, everyone! Thanks for visiting the Writer's Den. Do any of you have the same problem, or do you know exactly what you want to write? Kindly let me know. I'm honestly curious ...

  2. All I know is when I write - I HAVE to...which may explain why I'm not more prolific in my efforts.
    I wish I could be a great storysmith and create worlds like Edgar Rice Burroughs or plot lines like Anne Rand... but what I generally write about is the simple stuff. The stuff we all recognize and connect to... the joys, epiphanies and struggles of doing what we do.
    Maybe I just haven't invested myself enough to dive deeper in thought and dig out the stories, but the stuff that bubbles to the top and insists on spilling into words is the writing that relieves me, comforts me... wow. I just realized that I'm a really selfish writer... but ya know what? - That's okay.
    I write for me...always have...

  3. Me too. Selfish, that is! But I'm trying to make a living at it .. somehow ...

  4. Oh! Me too. I actually recently picked up a book, read the whole thing, tossed it and told myself that I could write better than that.
    I too have been writiing my first manuscript and I stuggle with so many of the same issues. Funny how the bottle of wine doesnt help. Some times I think I am trying too hard so I loosen up, have a glass, let the thoughts flow. Then the next morning I wonder what I was thinking and I end up erasing most of it (Not really, I have a file folder just for drunken writings) and I try again.
    I have stories, characters, plots, ideas. All of them floating around in my head fighting for attention.
    I am just glad I found your blog. It's nice to know I am not alone. I started writing my own blog, more for my own therapy than anyone elses.


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