Sunday, March 23, 2008

Enter: Harlequin

Enter: Harlequin

Okay, so today’s entry (yesterday’s) is a little late, but I was sleeping because I’m sick, so suck it. What? I know that’s a lame excuse. Get off my back!

Today I went out for brunch with my uncle, aunt and some of my cousins. My uncle, whom I’ll refer to as “Harlequin” is a writing teacher. One of his courses essentially gets the student to write a novel in a month, not that my uncle has ever done this, but he sure reads a lot of books on producing writing. (He says that whenever he reads something, the first question he asks himself is, how can I make money off this? His favorite quote: “The good writers borrow, the great ones steal.) I guess it’s high time he wrote his own book, huh?

So over brunch he told me that he has plans to write a Harlequin romance set in New York City, and involving a romance publicist, fittingly enough.

After brunch, he and I went to Chapters, where he pointed out some of his favorite books on writing and publishing.

I thumbed through Ronald B. Tobias’ 20 Master Plots, and it occurred to me while reading this that I still have a bit of figuring out to do when it comes to my stories, since a fair number of them are combinations of these essential 20 plots. I can just hear my old writing teachers scolding me now. “Just pick one. The rest can still be there, but they’ll take a back seat. They’re subplots. Your story needs a center. What is at the core of your story?”

While we stood there with our books in hand, Harlequin made a joke about simplicity. Once at the bookstore, he found a self-help book on simplifying your life. It was all by itself on the shelf. I thought that was funny, and added that my plan is to own as little as possible. As I’m sure I’ve said many times before, and will many more, I hate clutter. He says he’s just the opposite. He wants his life to be as complicated as possible.

“It keeps it interesting,” he concluded.

“That is interesting,” I said, because it’s exactly what I was thinking. Some crave complication, some crave simplicity. Who’s to say what’s right?


Shirtless windswept pirate said...

I think this is kind of bad for writers who don't write in between the lines. All the critics and editors have that same set of traditional ideas of what a book should be.

About Harlequin's quote, I would have to say that the good ones write for money, but the great ones write because they have to. Which would make pretty much everyone on blogspot one of the great ones.

ema nymton said...

The good ones write for money, the great ones write for fun, whenever they want, because they have so much money that they can afford to. Just ask Stephen King. Not that I'm a fan of his work or anything, but man, he sure knows something I don't.

Anonymous said...

The great ones write because they have stories to tell, and so do the not so great ones, I hope.
Books about writing crack me up. I mean, why not just read a really great novel and learn from that? It's more fun.
-seven ravens

Malice Blackheart said...

How about this then? Great writers have great stories to tell, tell them well, and know how to pimp their work. Good writers obey the rules of writing and know how to pimp their work. Lousy writer spend years writing poetry about how much they miss vinyl records, where our tails went, and always wear cut-off jeans for some strange reason. They spend years drinking themselves to oblivion whilst taping butterfly wings to film emulsion, and die in obscurity, receiving public adulation decades later. Then a great writer comes along and steals his life story.

Anonymous said...

writers get hepatitis
painters get syphilis
actors get herpes
Systems analysts don't get laid

spookygreentea said...

Is it too much to ask to have ordered chaos?