Thursday, September 13, 2007

Liar Liar, Pants on ...

Hello, my name is Travis and I make stuff up. I could have used a different word, but liar comes with such negative connotations, but isn't that what fiction authors do?

Lie for a living. Tell you fabulous, but totally made-up stories for your entertainment?

Now let me tell you first and foremost I call myself a writer, not an author because at this point I have yet to sell a single one of my novels.(But I will someday because I'm too stubborn to quit) I have this crazy notion that to actually be an author you must have a book with your name on the spin sitting on a shelf in some far, distant bookstore.

Now I have had a few short stories that have been accepted for publication including one I recently sold to an E-Zine. It will be available to read in November and I'll pass on details then. But my real goal is to be a novelist, so until I reach that point I am merely a writer.

So what does that mean? Being a writer? It means I miss a lot of sleep, I often talk to myself, at any given time I have half a dozen different voices whispering in my head, I spend lots of money on postage, printer ink, and paper. Also I have one gnarly, kick-ass collection of rejection letters.

But writing is my escape, I do not see it as tedious, laborious, or futile, and despite the constant questioning of well- meaning, but clueless friends who ask daily, "Have you sold you book yet?" I do not think my goal is futile. The process is slow and difficult and no one but fellow writers understand the entire business moves at glacial speeds.

I do have a few supportive non-writer friends but for the most part people are excited and a bit impressed when they first find out I write, then months later -- when they have yet to see my name on the New York Times Best Seller list, they say things like. Whatever happened to that book you wrote. Or Don't tell me you are still writing. But you don't have a thing to show for all that time and work?

But I'm not gonna focus on the negative today I'm going to talk about the positive side of writing. People think of it as an arduous task and really it's not. Over on my regular blog, One Word, One Rung, One Day, I try to make Thursdays my day to talk about the craft of writing, but I decided to pop on over here to this fine creation of Duck's and post it here instead.

First off, everyone is a writer, just most people never seek publication. Don't believe me? You say I've never written anything. To which I say, BULL! Everyone has a written a scene along these lines.

You're sitting there at work minding you own business, doing you job. Okay, maybe you are pretending to care about the new productivity numbers while scoping out that new hot chick(or dude if you prefer) they hired in accounting. Then your arch rival, Mr. Conceited catches you. And then he saunters over and laughs right in your face the says, "I saw you eyeballing the new babe. Well give it up retard because I already locked up a date with her this Friday." Then as the jackass is strutting away you say something lame like, "Like I care. I wasn't looking at her anyway."

Then the writer in you kicks in and all day long you rewrite the scene. You'll think, I should have said, "That's okay, I'll be busy with your momma come Friday night." and then you'll think about of a retort Mr. Conceited would have came back with. Then you'll add another witty line from yourself. By the end of the day you'll have an entire imaginary scene written out.

Am I wrong? Don't we all do this. Writing a novel is no different. Take a years worth of scenes, string them together and you got a novel.

Okay now you're gonna say but that's just adding to something that really happened. I could never just come up with something out of the blue. Again, I say BULL! But I've rambled enough for now, so you'll have to pop on over to my regular blog next Thursday if you want to hear my take on creating story ideas and sparking your inner muse. And if you like football, read my weekly, Tales of the Yellow Flag every Sunday. They are humorous, true stories about my time as a high school football ref here in Texas.

PS - Sorry Cher, no time for pictures today.


Tena said...

Hi Travis,

We've got to stop meeting like this! :-)

Phats said...

I think it's cool you're a writer.

alternatefish said...

a liar and a Stars fan...tsk.

interesting little thingy going on over here, I'm going to observe for a bit longer before deciding if I have the time/gumption to join.

Rocketstar said...

A fellow blogger put a series of his posts together and published a book. I thought about doing the same. it cost about $1500.

The Duck said...

Great post Travis. As usual, I feel deficient as a blogger after I read your posts... Thanks for the pimpage as well.

Oh and alternatefish, enough with the thinking, time to join up. You know you want to! Look how cool we all are! ;)

rocketstar - well at least he wouldn't have to sell too many to make it worth his while I guess.

Travis Erwin said...

rocketstar. You have to be very careful of these types of vanity presses. A lot are scammers and besides very few stores will carry books from these companies. But it all depends on your purpose for wanting a book.

Me, I'm gonna outlast the traditional publishing houses and one of these days they are gonna pay me for the right to publish my words.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ever read the book "Telling Lies for Fun and Profit?" It's well worth checking out.

Terrie Farley Moran said...


Great description of what we fiction writers do and how we do it. I love the talking to myself part. I'm always muttering and people are always asking, "What?" They startle me because when the exact scene change I want suddenly jumps into my head in the middle of brunch with friends, my mind leaves the table until I play the scene a time or two. I hate when I have to store it and come back to the present.


WordVixen said...

You know, I never thought of it that way, but you're right!

cher said...

ya, no pictures, that's why it took me so long to get back here and read this...have you considered writing a pop-up book? that would definately get and keep my attention....

oh and by the way, i was just wondering "Have you sold your book yet?"

Travis Erwin said...

When I die and get sent to hell I have a strange notion Cher will be there sitting beside me -- tormenting me for all of eternity.

Probably chattign away about VW's only to stop every ten minutes and ask, "Have you sold your book yet?"

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