So, here it is. The blog that I have been threatening to write for an age. Why have I decided to start it today? Well, I've got a deadline haven't I?
Okay, there is a more sensible reason. Maybe even a more noble reason, but that is not for me to say.
You see, it was only recently that I became aware of the online writing community. I discovered it partly through Ian Fenton's rather brilliant annual Story Engine Conference. And also because I started twittering... twatting... tweeting. Oh, whatever you call it.
And I love that this internet thingy is full of other writers. It's like the world wide web is our office and we're all tapping each other on the shoulder to say things like "Hey, did you see that episode last night? Wasn't it great/terrible?" or "How can you say that The Wire is the greatest show ever, what about Buffy?" or even "Look at this funny cat on Youtube!"
Yeah, the cat thing is usually universal procrastination but it's all part of the process.
Now, from what I have seen, most of the people writing about writing have good intentions. In fact, probably all of them do. And some of 'em, even know what they are talking about. And I intend to link to them for your viewing pleasure at a later date.
However, there is a significant minority who don't know what the fuck they are talking about. Sure, they've been to a McKee seminar (well, a fool and his money are soon parted). They've struggled through the first four chapters of Joseph Campbell and, as a result, think that Star Wars is the greatest film ever made.
More worryingly, they think that they can dictate to other writers on how to write, when to write, where to write... You get the picture. They have graphs and piecharts for characters and plot. Formulas on how to create a scene.
And it's all patronising bullshit - in my opinion.
I'm more of the opinion that writers are born. Not trained in lecture theatres or found amongst the pages of an overpriced book.
Real writers love words, they live their lives in a 3-act structure and they're always on the lookout for a good character. They do all that instinctively because they've been reading and writing stories since they first picked up a pen. As children, they embroidered fabulous fantasies that other people called lies. They extrapolate mundane situations into crazy adventures.
A real writer always makes a drama out of a crisis. Jeez, they make a drama out of a spilt pint of milk.
So, what if your addicted to charts and graphs and your best friend is Robert McKee? Just let it go, baby. Go cold turkey and then... write.
Write what you know. Write what you wish you knew. Write your worst nightmare and your best friends.
Still read the books and go to the odd lecture. Just don't feel bad that you're not writing in the way they say you should. If you're getting words on the page then you're doing something right. And once those words are on the page, then you can structure the hell out of them. You can whip 'em into whatever shape you want.
But real writing starts with passion, love, anger, a burning need to put fingers on keyboard and pen to paper. There are no right or wrong words when you're at that stage - only words.
Now, I'm not saying that writing is easy. That it should flow from you like water from the tap. More like blood from a stone. It should be painful, annoying and frustrating - just never boring, structured and mundane. If that's what you want, go and work for the council.
So, that's my messy idea of a mission statement. I'm not going to be giving you 20 top tips for compelling characters or inventing a new 15 and three quarter act structure. I would like to inspire, cajole and piss off. Let's see how that goes.