I'll send the wolves that hunt at night, charging through the shadows with a thunderous whisper, tickling the air with fetid breath that smells of death. Teeth glint like steel in the moonlight, howls calling for blood. They hunt within the dark, blackish coats reflecting hell fire. One bite and you're forever theirs, forever mine. Don't fight the wolves, give in to the sinful desire. I am the wolf. I am Christian Jensen.
I really like opening my blog to guest writers. Not only do I have to do very little work, but I get to introduce new voices to those of you reading. It's intrinsically important to broaden our horizons and find new weavers of tales, to listen to different opinions and story tellers, to learn, to grow.
This week I have 2 guests, the first of which is the brilliant Mandi M. Lynch. So sit back and read her words. Learn, grow, and be better for it.
The Detail is in the Tale
I just read a line* from Neil Gaiman.“There was a girl; her uncle sold her. … That
is the tale, the rest is detail.”Maybe
that is why writing is both so easy and so difficult at the same time.
Sure, we can all come up with a simple storyline.Okay,
there is a guy and he’s suspected of being a terrorist… But then the
problem becomes that we have to make our story be different than a thousand
other stories that have exactly the same story line.There’s
a guy, and he’s suspected of being a terrorist, on the InterPlanet Hree,
orbiting the Nth galaxy’s inner sun…
And then what if you write something that a thousand other
people wrote that you didn’t have the luxury of reading yet?So you spend how many hours writing a story
and then you send it to your beta reader and they’re all like… “Oh, I just saw
this movie last week!” Damn, now what?
My problems tend to come when real life decides it has caught up
(No, fiction doesn’t imitate real life – it’s totally the other
I had a book just about planned out that I was working on some
minor plot issues and character development for.A lot of it had to do with the spread of a
virus, and a few political things going on, and… and then the political things
sort of happened and we had that month long Ebola scare.And then what do you do? Do you write it
anyway and wait for potential readers to think you’re ripping things from the
headlines, or do you hold on to it for six months, a year, more?What do you do?
Of course there are no answers to it.The number one thing that drives me crazy as
a writer is listing to other writers ask if they can do things like there’s an
absolute list.“Am I allowed to write my
story in <point of view>?”Um.
Yes?“Can I put <character type>
in <place>?”I don’t know, can
you?“No, I mean, am I allowed?Because I see other stuff where…”Okay, but are you trying to do exactly what
the other stuff does or are you trying to be your own writer and do your own
This is the tale, the
rest is detail. And if you’re going to be a writer, you put on your big girl
panties, and you start putting details down.And who cares if the next person over wants to psychoanalyze whether or
not your curtains should be blue or green or polka-dotted with contrasting neon
zig-zag trim and pompoms dangling?
As writers, we have a target audience.It’s exactly one person in number, and it’s
ourselves.You write to yourself – the
story that you want to tell in the way that you want to tell it.Because even the most brilliant story becomes
total crap after you let a thousand so-called-potential readers tell you what
you have to do.You know that artist
you’re writing about with polka-dotted curtains with the contrasting neon
zig-zag trim and pompoms dangling?Six
beta readers later, they might be black leather, designed to block the natural
light that your artist so desperately needs.
So be true to yourself.And do the easy part – tell the tale – but then settle in for the long
haul and do the hard part, too.And
don’t let others muddy your story by telling you how they want it.If it were so easy, they’d be doing it
[*American Gods, hardback p 252]
Mandi M. Lynch wrote her first story at
the tender age of six, pecking at the words on her mother’s typewriter.Although the crayon drawings are marginally
better, the spelling has not improved.Aside from being a writer of speculative fiction, a blogger, and an
editor, she publishes Ink Monkey Mag and a variety of anthologies, and is
programming director for Hypericon, a speculative fiction convention based in
Nashville, TN.Her next anthology
release is The Tomato Anthology, which makes its debut this August, and she has
several horror stories in the works.Lynch lives in the suburbs with three cats, none of which write due to
their lack of thumbs.