All Mammon and no other stuff makes Dan a, hmmm, guess I should have had a way out that sentence before I got into it. Makes Dan like an Old Testament guy or something.
So, some other stuff.
The Winchester Mansion School of WritingFirst, a little clarification on the Winchester Mansion School of Writing, since you ask. Well, Maggie Carroll asked, anyway. (I call it the Winchester Mansion School of Writing in honor of the Winchester Mansion. The house, something like 160 rooms in all, was in constant construction for 30-some years without any kind of master plan. The widow Winchester just kept adding stuff ad hoc as she went. No way to build a house, I know. I mean it’s got staircases that don’t even go anywhere. But the thing is, people still flock see it. Lots of other houses have been built since with fine, well-crafted plans. Nobody’s going to see them.)
The Winchester Mansion School goes like this – screw the outlines, forget the character bibles, skip all of that stuff. Just sit down and write the story. I’m not saying any of that stuff is a bad idea, just that it’s not the way I roll. If I know what’s happening in the next chapter, I’m ahead of the game. I usually start out with one character in a situation I find interesting. I sort of follow him around my head and take notes. He (or she) makes new friends, new enemies, stuff happens. Kind of like life. Write that stuff down. Not an approach that works for everybody, but it’s certainly an approach anybody can try.
Have I tried the whole outline, character bible and what have you approach? Yeah. Thing is, I make an outline and my characters rebel immediately. They’re gonna do what they want anyway. So far as the character bible stuff goes, why should I know more about my characters than I do about the people I interact with everyday? Hell, I don’t even know why I do stuff half the time. So I treat my characters like I treat real people – I find out about them over time, on their terms.
Also, all that outlining and what have you? It takes time. It can end up being what you do instead of writing. You’re gonna have to write eventually so I figure just go ahead and dive in.
Insert the Chuck Wendig Memorial Disclaimer here: By the above, I ain’t telling nobody else what to do or claiming one way works better than another or making any claims for the efficacy of my approach. Past results may not predict future performance. The previous information is provided for educational purposes only. Please consult a professional before ever listening to me.
Going Nowhere Fast – The Treadmill Desk Experiment, Week OneOK, so what else? Oh yeah, the whole treadmill desk experiment thing. That’s going great. Turns out writing while walking is pretty simple. Also, walking along at 1.5 mph or so, as long as you got something to distract you, like writing or working or watching YouTube videos, that doesn’t ever feel like exercise – most of the time, I don’t even remember I’m doing it. A couple lessons. One, I’m glad I built the desk top so it is adjustable – I do adjust the angle a little bit once or twice a day, seems to take some carpal tunnel pressure off or something. Two, you build up a pretty good static charge tromping away on the thing, so every so often, the ‘puter gives me a little jolt. Just part of the deal. Three, shoes matter. I was wearing a ratty old pair of Nikes the first couple days, and the dogs did get to barking. Go a nice, new pair with the padding all still good and my tootsies are much happier. Finally, going to be a tough summer on the AC bill. I like it cool anyway. In the winter, back when I was just sitting on my ass all day, I was fine with the thermostat at 65 or so. Been pretty cool around these parts this past week, but I’ve been working in shorts and a t-shirt with both my office windows wide open. Come summer, I may have the AC down around 50 – otherwise the office is gonna be redolent with the scent of sweat, not just genius.
But is it working, you ask. Hey, I’m a week in, I’m down four pounds. I feel a little better. And, because this was never really work, I was never really sore. Legs get a little heavy, maybe, by the end of the day, but that’s about it.
Ever Eat Gravel? Some of it Ain’t Half BadSome other time I’ll have to explain the Great O’Shea Diaspora, by which my wife lives most of the week off in the wilds of Southwest Wisconsin (the ancestral home of Dan Ames, and the environs of which I’ve already immortalized in one flash fiction piece and in an upcoming short for CrimeFactroy) while I remain here at the old homestead. Anyway, as part of this new arrangement, she’s taken to leaving certain healthy food stuffs for me and the oldest to eat in an attempt to offset the anticipated ill-effects of a diet consisting entirely of manfood (see Baconsanga).
This week, it was quinoa. Never heard of it? Me neither. Here’s a quick overview from Chet Day’s Health and Beyond. The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. . . .The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity.
Hey, you catch that, Hilary Davidson? Gluten Free! Hilary Davidson, for the unschooled, is the queen of gluten-free cooking, of dark fiction and of travel writing. She also scares me, so I try to plug her whenever possible to avoid her wrath.
Anyway, the wife left a box, so we had to try it. My expectations were low. Turns out it was easy to prepare (maybe fifteen minutes on the stove), it has a pleasant, nutty flavor, and, in the recipe the wife left (throw in a jar of corn relish and some feta salad dressing), it was pretty damn tasty – for something with no bacon in it. The only downside? Twenty four hours out, you’re gonna be shitting gravel.
So stay tuned, foodies. I’ll be playing with this stuff some more.