Hi, I’m Lincoln Crisler, your guest blogger for today and the following two days. Since this blog is geared towards readers, I thought a short series showing some of the behind-the-scenes work of writing, publishing and promoting might be a treat. So, without further ado…
Let’s get started. There’s a blank page or a blank screen and quite possibly a blank mind. What are you going to write about? After all, If you don’t write something new to follow up your last publication, people will forget about you. Swim or die, right? Like a shark.
Think, think. All those advice articles say to write no matter what. Even if it’s garbage. Just write. You can always edit and delete later. Just write. Something will come / the magic will happen / the force will be with you just write and it will come.
But it doesn’t. And you’re still stuck in front of the blank screen, the blank page. With a throbbing headache. So you go watch Galactica: The Next Generation SG1 or play Grand Theft Auto MCMXVIII or Hey honey, still need me to hang those drapes? Some days are like that. But life goes on.
Other days are a bit different. You’ll get an idea and run with it. What if the Egyptian pyramids were built by zombie labor? You already have the mummy stories to set a backdrop of undead magic. Before you know it, you’re waist-deep in research, or perhaps you already know enough about the material to dive right in and polish the details later.
Or you’ll be reading stuff online and come across something that just slaps you upside the head. Some whacko in Georgia has married a robot (I won’t go into details, but if you’re interested seach for Zoltan). She dumped him once during the course of their ‘relationship’ and he wiped her memory and started over. I’ve just written a robot story, so I’m not too keen on another one so soon, but applying that mind-wipe/relationship scenario to human interaction? Yeah I can dig it.
Perhaps you go through a life-changing turn of events, do something awesome or, in my case, fight a godawful legal battle and the best way to handle the emotions you’re feeling is to write a story. It happens quite often, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Change names to protect the guilty, fictionalize a bit to make the story more entertaining and in the end either publish it for the masses or keep it to yourself, but yes, writing can be darn good therapy.
Heck, you might even have a story you’ve lived through or been told that’s just perfect as-is. And half the work’s done for you! All you have to do is write it up, shine it up real nice, give credit where credit is due and send that puppy out into the world. I’ve read a few real nice examples of that type of story.
In the end whether it’s by research or emotion or just living, you get the story you want. The pages are filling up, your fingers are clicking away and your body’s finding it hard to keep up with your mind. Before you know it, either by way of a marathon session or several short trips to the well, you get what you came for. A finished work. Your story.
Guest blogger Lincoln Crisler plays live-action GI Joe; in addition to various stateside assignments he’s served overseas in South Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. After a long day of playing Army, he runs to the nearest phone booth and becomes a mild-mannered author and editor. His debut collection, Despairs & Delights, is available from Arctic Wolf Publishing and Our Shadows Speak Vol. 1, his 2006 anthology, is being re-released by Steel Moon Publishing. He’s currently reading for two new anthologies and pursuing a variety of outlets for his fiction.