One, two, five–three, sir!–things make a post

1) Not that the world needs more of me babbling, but fellow Odyssey alum A.J. Cooper was lovely enough to do an interview with me over at his blog.

2) I’ve spent far too much of today transfixed by the internet train wreck that is Weird Tales and their now-revoked intent to publish the first chapter of the “thoroughly non-racist book” Saving the Pearls. If you somehow missed the WTFery, you can find a summary and related links here.

5) After getting back from vacation a couple weeks ago, I was determined to get lots of writing accomplished before before the fall semester craziness begins. Sadly, I have been failing miserably at that. I’ll have a brief burst of productivity only to then turn into a total slug. Today, I was particularly slug-like. My brain, being the uncooperative evil thing that it is, seems amused by the irony that, after hosting a discussion night at TNEO called “Buffy the Rejection Slayer: Defeating Doubt, Procrastination & Other Writerly Demons,” I am now totally getting my ass handed to me by those very demons. I think it’s time to get out the stake.

A letter from my brain

Hello blog readers,

I’m Barb’s brain, and I’m here to tell you that she’s been AWOL from this blog because she doesn’t love you anymore. It’s ok, she doesn’t love me either. I wanted to watch this bad movie the other night, and she wouldn’t let me. She seemed to think the critique she was working on was more important than my entertainment.

After that, when she looked at her friends page and saw just how many posts you had all made, she insisted that we couldn’t stay and comment on them all. Something about having to figure out the schedule for TNEO. Please, like writing workshops need planning.

Then, when we could have been watching a hilarious YouTube video with a cat playing piano, she wanted to work on a short story. This time there was some excuse making about a deadline. I know what you’re thinking: how selfish can she get?

And even though neither one of us enjoys it, she insists on doing work for her day job. Every weekday! I don’t see what a paycheck has to do with anything.

So there you have it. Now you know how horribly abused I am having to live in Barb’s head. I would cut off ties with her immediately if I were you. Or start a fund. People United to Save Barb’s Brain. Or something with a catchier acronym.

Barb’s Brain

More conversations with my brain

Oh, brain, must we have the same conversation with every first draft?

ME: Ok, brain, let’s get to work.


ME: What’s your problem this time?

BRAIN: You can’t do this.

ME: Why not?

BRAIN: Because you suck.

ME: That attitude is helping no one.

BRAIN: And the attitude that you don’t suck isn’t helping your solitaire score.

ME: Way to focus on what’s important, you lazy piece of–

BRAIN: Face it, you don’t know how to write anymore. All your character has to do is walk from point A to point B, but you don’t know how the hell to describe it. You don’t even have a clue where you’re going with this story.

ME: You said that with the last story, yet we got through the first draft and saw how wrong you were.

BRAIN: That was an exception.

ME: And the story before that…

BRAIN: Another exception.

ME: And the one before that…

BRAIN: That was–hey, look, something shiny!

In other words, the current WIP has been far more a slog than it should be. But as always, I plow through regardless. I think I might even be able to finish the first draft this week. But still, stupid brain.

My brain is a vengeful brain

So, that last post where silly conversations with my uncooperative brain eventually led to me outlining the rest of the short story I’m working on? Well, yesterday I sat down to write, confident that I’d now be able to crank out some significant wordage and maybe even finish the first draft, only to discover that, somehow, none of the outline had saved. I’m rather obsessive compulsive about constantly saving my work, so how I managed to completely lose half an hour’s worth has me completely baffled (not to mention annoyed as all get out).

So instead of finishing the story, I spent most of yesterday’s writing time redoing the outline.* There were many frustrating moments of “I know my protagonist was going to do this next, but for the life of me I can’t remember why.” Eventually, though, my plot came back together. Who knows, maybe what I have outlined now is better than what I had originally. But still, the whole process took far longer than it should have.

I suspect that my brain did some self-sabotaging and made me unconsciously delete the original outline as revenge for me subjecting it to Battlefield Earth. The movie was on TV the other night, I was morbidly curious to see if it was as horrible as I had heard, and wow. Just wow. The sheer dreadfulness overpowered my ability to mock. I only made it through half an hour–approximately the same amount of time I spent doing that original outline. I think my brain decided, “You wasted 30 minutes of my life, so I’m going to destroy 30 minutes of yours.”

*I normally don’t outline short stories, but this one is the type where having a road map will be a huge help to my writerly sanity, even if I ultimately decide to take a different route.