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Sexy Writing Fu

August 25, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, The Craft  0 Comments

How does one deal with sex in a novel?

I remember getting into a discussion with a man from Germany about contemporary American attitudes about sex. His contention was that Americans were too uptight and formal about sex, nudity and what have you. For example, children must not see a single boob on Prime Time TV, yet there was a push for mothers to breastfeed their children. His point was the boob was not sex. It was a boob. Yet we were treating it as such.

I told him there was a segment of truth in that, especially considering that my solution as a parent who objected to the occasional boob would be to take away the TV. But that is a different discussion.

I pointed out however, he was parroting a common European media-fueled stereotype. Witness the firehose (ok that’s a badword) of porn coming out of California. It’s a mountain of porn. And don’t get me started on the interwebs. It’s everywhere.

No, I asserted, our cultural issue with sex has less to do with being uptight, and more to do with political correctness. It is not that we are adverse to sexy things, sexy things right now are politically incorrect. I also made a strong case for There Aint No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. If I want sexy programming, I can pay for HBO or such and get a show like Big Love.

This bias against sex can be found in novels. Either the sexual tension runs its course and the consummation of desires happens behind literary closed doors from the reader, or it is gratuitous and silly. It is a rare gem that actually attempts to deal with two passionate people in a sensual and beautiful way.

I have heard the argument that sex runs better in the imagination rather than in your pages. To a small extent this is true, to a large extent I feel that is an exaggeration. It’s like any other characterization. If you want to establish the character for the reader, ignoring that person’s sensuality can lead to a flat person. A more believable bias against sex is that sexy sex is difficult to write. If the sex is there to sell your book, like 99.99% of the video porn, it’s now just people having sexless sex for money.

I overcome that difficulty by cheating. As a young man I used to write erotic short stories for my lovers, and received appropriate feminine feedback. Soon I was able to tell what my friends liked to read, and what they didn’t.

In Bunny Trouble, my characters are sensual, playful people with a sense of humor and an eagerness to experience life. They have sex.

Any you, dearest 7.3 readers of my blog, get to watch.

“That would be ‘Your OODA Loop is Fucked’ technique… sir,”

August 24, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  0 Comments

Another 4,000 word day. That’s with doing some chores, fixing dinner, going grocery shopping, hanging with the kids… and blogging. Am I insane? What is wrong with me? How is that possible?

I am 13,000 words from the end of the book. The last chapter plus the epilogue will take 10,000 words, and I only need about 2000 or so to get to that point. The End is Near!

Here I thought I would go over 150,000. Ha. Bunny Trouble is looking to be 145K to 140K words after I take out my knife.

I’m really enamored with my writing today. Here’s a snippet from Super Terrance on page 326:

“Just what technique do you call that?” one of them asked.

“That would be ‘Your OODA Loop is Fucked’ technique… sir,” said Terrance.

He he he.

More fun then a basket of kittens.

Medic!

August 24, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  7 Comments

4,000 words yesterday! Plot points intersecting! Characters introduced at the beginning of the book have grown and learned, their fates their own, their lives coated in meaning.

The Good: The end is near! I can see the end of the book as clearly as if it was already typed.

The Bad: I need to cut 10,000 words. Ten Thousand! I refuse to have a 160,000 novel not just because I promised myself to stick to my limit, but because I honestly think there is 10k of crap buried in the manuscript. Maybe 20K.

Soon the rubber will hit the asphalt. It will be my true test. Can I polish this book down my second way through it? I think, dear readers, you demand nothing less.

Sleep now.

Hot Topic: Your Writing Ability

August 23, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  3 Comments

Ken started a great topic (look at all the replies!), but since Nicole took it up, I wanted to circle back and expand on it here.

My writing routine
I come home from work. Work does not come home with me. I make an espresso from The Wife Unit’s snobby Italian one-button press Espresso Magic Machine of Love™. If the kids are home and are in a mood to be sociable, I play with the kids, the dog or a combination thereof.

If not I look at the Honey Do list, feel 3.5 nanoseconds of guilt, and fire up the laptop while sipping said espresso. Left alone I can write and average of 24 words a minute. I can type 60, but with self-editing and looking up the occasional factoid, it drops to about half that.

After dinner, Dearest Wife and I attempt to be social with the kids. Sometimes they want to play, sometimes they want to go outside (if the weather is nice), and sometimes they want to play board games. I treasure these moments. I have banned electronics after dinner, and it is a great way to talk and have fun with Thing One and Thing Two.

Through attachment parenting techniques that—wonders of wonders, work for us—the kids are in bed before 9:00 after reading time. While they are sleepy, either I tickle them or we simply talk.

Around 9:10, well that is when the flood starts. The TiVo hard disk is full and deleting things I would love to watch but cannot find the time. The Xbox 360 is lonely. The wife is playing her online game. The dog is sleepy. You cannot find the cats. The laptop beckons. The fingertips engage.

The torrent has started. It will not end. I drink a glass of wine to make me sleepy or I would stay up too late.

This is how I write 1,000 to 3,000 words a day, every day. On the weekends, I add an hour or two to the routine.

It is a flood

It is water to the parched

It is a sunrise to the blind

It is music to the deaf

It is an addiction both wondrous and frightening

It is euphoria.

Household chores, my lovely wife, fixing dinner, special occasions, the piano, the kids, going to the firing range and in-depth research will pull me from this routine, but inadvertently I snap back on the rails.

I will let you in on a little secret: analytical thinking is a skill and if you are good at it, you can write with your outline solely in your head. There is no plotting. The plot simply is. The Zen of Writing is now caressing you like a lover. Your characters breathe. They are sitting in the same room with you. In this state, it is possible to write as fast as you can type, and your brain is running ahead of your typing ability to pave the way to the conclusion. Some can write this way. Others cannot.

Left alone, one day I wrote 13,000 words. It was easy. I wrote a 150,000-word novel in three months. That was easy too. Research… ugh. Not so easy, but research is fun.

On Word Counts
I have fallen into a rhythm while watching my word count. I use it both as a progress meter but also as a bloat detection device. Free-flow writing has its disadvantages. You go off into places you should not go. Now I use my word count to stop screwing around and get crisp. The word count is a great tool: Do I need to go forward? Or do I need to back up?

I am approaching 600 words now. See? If this were not a blog entry, I would start deleting things to make my point in 500 words. 400. Can I do it in 300? I believe the six readers of my blog will forgive me if I let the dog out and clean the bathroom a bit instead. Life is wondrous, I must have it all, even the mundane parts.

I assume…

August 23, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  7 Comments

What are your writing assumptions? I assume…

My readers are smarter than I am.

One singular grammatical error will cause my peers to taunt me.

The passive voice is a Spawn of the Devil.

Readers do not need to be spoon fed plot details.

When walking along the Maine countryside, do not read obelisks that will summon Cthulhu. Do not visit, sleep in or drive by any town Stephen King may have stayed.

Readers do not like it when you build up a steamy sex scene and then turn them away with a closed door.

Bad things happen to good people. Bad things also happen to bad people.

My readers understand the proper response to the serial killer entering your home is to shoot him with your personal sidearm.

Conflict is all. Fake conflict is insipid.

Life is sensual.

Many readers appreciate good research.

The cliché is both a festering pit and a tool.

Women readers will roll their eyes at the hot lesbian kisses. The men will think that is hot. The women will read it anyway.

Sarcasm is an appreciated art form.

Men still think of their honor.

Real equality means firearm parity.

Passive Aggressiveness is not conflict. It is just a reminder how crappy our society can get.

Justice shall not be denied.

My readers are critical thinkers.

Everyone likes a good back scratch.

This teaser is for David

August 22, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, Plot, The Craft  3 Comments

Being the sixth reader of my blog has it’s perks!

In refeence to this post:

Terrance leaned back in his chair. “This case needs to go by the book and we need a conviction. Because this case will piss off my guy. I’m not sure a death sentence is necessary—there is suffering in rotting away as a living reminder of the Dendel family failure. Nevertheless, if we don’t get a conviction, then I will turn Mr. Fallujah II loose and he will be the Hammer of God. I will then let free my own honest fury.”

Bill opened his mouth to say something but Terrance continued.

“No fuckups Bill. Consider this. You’ll be hard pressed to find two other living people on this planet with more experience in raw, righteous killing. I need your help Bill.”

Terrance looked out at the ocean.

“I need you to remind me to be a member of society.”

One of my characters is kicking my ass

August 22, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Plot, The Craft  0 Comments

Stephen King takes an interesting (or soon to become interesting) character and sticks him in situations that run from the absurd to the horrifically fatal, and sees what happens as he is writing the story. He does this without an outline in mind. Sometimes they die, sometimes they triumph. Sometimes they die triumphantly.

If it works for King, I thought I would try it. I put one of the main characters in an absurd situation. As the story progressed and this poor fellow overcame his hardships, he went from war-weary mild-mannered coastal citizen to a man of firm convictions and outstanding moral character.

Granted these problems were not horrific in nature, rather social and tactical. Now, he is able to apply his former Army experience to his social situations.

Well, damn. That was unintended. He is overcoming problems with such acumen that he might become uninteresting to read about.

Dude, stop that. You’re smudging my plot. I’ve got my eye on you.

Murder Most Foul!

August 21, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Plot, The Craft  3 Comments

Last night one of my pretend people in Bunny Trouble solved a crime. And now, he is righteously pissed. As an upright and moral man, he wants to bring the bastard to justice and watch him squirm in court. As the warrior champion against evil, however, he wants to hunt the murderer down and rip out his heart.

It’s a moral quandary. Terrance lives in a sick society where the wicked go unpunished and there is no justice, only the illusion of justice (much like the difference between being safe and feeling safe). He has decided to take matters into his own hands, but I think he might get talked out of it. Convinced, if you will, to use The System to his own ends.

It was a great bit of writing, and I will take unholy delight in turning this cliché inside out after running it through a blender. For in my world, the victim has the final say. The world belongs to the living, but the dead sometimes have their revenge.

All this over a nice big glass of Little Bear Creek from Woodinville Wine Cellars. Damn I love being me.

10% Jetlagged

August 20, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  1 Comment

Small Bunny Trouble update: About a thousand words and many edits, most consisted of grammatical and readability fixes. Right now a lot of people in Bunny Trouble are busy having sex. What else are you going to do on a cold rainy evening on the Washington Coast? I’ve been there and let me tell you, your choices are read a book or engage in lustful play. Usually there is alcohol involved, most likely coffee. Of course in the real world we are not being stalked by nefarious agenda fill…

I digress, for it is impolite to taunt my five potential readers about a book they cannot yet read.

In this blog post I write about talent and ability. Here’s a blog that is full of energy and makes my point. Mr. Kiser writes 900 words a day, six days a week. He calls it easy.

If you have the talent and the ability, it is easy. It is easy because Ken Kiser is a writer. He has already written one book, and cannot wait to write the other. It may take him years to get published, but is that really a concern?

If you have interest in writing check out his site. Not only does he have blog entries, but wallpapers and a forum. If you would like some niffty detail on world building, check out this category.

Girl

August 20, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  0 Comments

Girl

There was a certain sensual flow in the lines
The wood stock, the bolt? handles, even the barrel
I thought they would look evil somehow,
But obviously the manufacturers of many of them
Were concerned with a pleasing appearance

“Why are there so many,” I asked,  “why not just two?”
“It is that boy thing we talked about,” she said, smiling.
She smiled more, lately
It was nice

“I think we should pick two each,” I said.
“Did he say what we should do with them?” I ask.
“This cabinet he said to leave alone until.”
“Until what?”
“He didn’t say,” she said.
She points. “This cabinet has what he thought we would like.”
I unlock the cabinet. More pretty rifles, and several black ones
Those were not so pretty

“What about the rest?”
She shrugged
“Would he be mad, if we sold them?” I ask.
She thought for a while.
“No. Maybe he would think they should be used,” she said.
“Yes. I think so.”

“Who will teach us?” I ask.
“One of his friends, I think. Men, they like to teach guns.”
There was something in the way she said that
I give her my version of The Eye
“Is he married?”
She laughs
“Not anymore,” she admits.
“Does he have any kids?” I hold my breath.
“Yes.”
Joy!

Later at night I think about a black rifle
I picture myself shooting it
Looking down the… optic?
Then I wonder if I have a dress that goes with it
Black goes with a lot of things
Girl enough to know that one