Sunday, April 15, 2007

The SHÄDY ÄCRES creative writing course

The great SHÄDY ÄCRES literary competition has created quite a stir. It has become something of a sensation, a sort of a So you think you can write meets American Wridol kind of a thing. Already the candidates are flooding my inbox with their hopeless drivel, many of them asking for editorial help and writing tips. My answer is always the same:

1: If you want to write something you need a pen, maybe a typewriter or a computer keyboard, but make sure it’s connected to the computer. Saying the words out loud doesn’t count as writing.

2: The writing process is very complicated. Great art cannot be created in under an hour. You don’t just slosh something together.

3: As Hemingway once said to Picasso: Trying to write while you’re drunk is like trying to masturbate with your left hand: It’s amusing at first, but it takes forever to get the job done and you’ll just end up falling asleep.

4: The difference between poetry and prose is that poetry came first, which makes it the older, slightly gay brother.

5: The protagonist should never, ever go to the bathroom for any reason, ever.

6: How to tackle writer’s block: A writer’s block and tackle is a compound pulley where several pulleys are mounted on each axle, increasing the mechanical advantage. Plutarch reported that Archimedes moved an entire warship, laden with men, using only compound pulleys and his own writer’s block. This should serve as an example to us all.

7: If you’re going to fire Chekhov’s gun in the third act, you have to load it in the first act and aim it in the second act. And then you have to ask yourself: Do you feel the fundamental fruitlessness of all efforts? Well, do you - punk?


Blogger suttonhoo said...

re #3: unless you're left-handed. or ambidextrous.

(will no one stand up for the rights of those who are not right-handed? must I wage this lonely campaign all by myself?!?!?!)

5:37 am  
Blogger Mikkel said...

I would give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

7:54 am  
Anonymous ungovernable said...

fundamental fruitlessnes, my new middle name!

12:33 pm  
Anonymous ungovernable said...

fruitlessness goddammit! ssss

12:55 pm  
Blogger Lasse said...

Mikkel that is the funniest comment in years - I laughed SO much!
Very helpful words on writing.
I already feel my writers block lifting!

4:01 pm  

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