Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Look into My World

I don't think the way I write is particularly novel, but I don't hear about many authors that do it the way that I do. So below is a quick rumination on how I begin short stories and chapters. It pretty much explains why most of my stuff has this one great part, filigreed with flimsy shit. I'd be interested to see if anyone else writes like this. It's the only way that I can start a new project, as outlines and other tools of the well-established and well-intentioned author can do to their heart's content.

  1. Open a Microsoft Word blank document. It is absolutely imparative that the blank document should read "Document1 - Microsoft Word" in the top left hand corner. If it's any other number, you MUST close down the entire program, and restart so that it is 'Document 1.' This is because I am insane and therefore, by extension, so are you.
  2. Make sure that the document is in Print Layout view, all margins are 1", left-justified, and change the font to 'Times,' not Times New Roman. Why? Because fuck Times New Roman, that's why. I'm bucking the establishment, people. Follow or get out of the way.
  3. Now take a break. You've just tamed a digital beast. I recommend flipping through your "favorite words book" that currently resides on the corner of your desk next to six dirty coffee mugs that you keep there because you are a "nester." Flip through the book and laugh at particularly disgusting words. Great. Now we have some material.
  4. Return to your 'Document1,' and write the first sentence that comes to mind. It can, quite honestly, be anything. (I did one yesterday where my first sentence was "Molten lead looks as though it should be squeezed from a frosting bag in the cavernous kitchen tucked cozily away in the lower levels of the Fortress of Solitude." I have no idea what that means.) If done correctly, you have tapped some unthought thought. It should sound awkward because you haven't been thinking about the unthought until now.
  5. Now, expand that into 2 paragraphs. Read it. It should be thoroughly ridiculous.
  6. Can you see anything in it? In the same way that people used to predict the future through mediums like tea leaves, I have found that some of my best work comes originally from an amalgamation of unthoughts that slowly solidify into something readable. However, sometimes it's just an absolute catastrophe. At that point, the best trick is to close Microsoft Word, reopen, and look! An untarnished Document1! (And you don't just backspace because the words were already there, of course. Duh. [Remember: insane.])
  7. Now that you have the makings of a new short story, I recommend that you delete 'Document1'. Chances are you won't have any need for that particular one ever again.

And that is all there is to it. For me, it's a great mental excersize. I always feel like I'm finding something out about myself by doing it this way. It's always interesting to see what your mind will come up with when given free reign to do whatever it wants to. I hope that you'll try it out and let me know how it goes.


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