Magic bullets

My critique partners have always hated this about me; I’m absolutely convinced that if I can just find the Magic Bullet — the writing Magic Bullet, not the sex toy or the blender, though I’m sure those are fabulous products too — that writing will miraculously, magnificently and most importantly magically become easy for me. 

My weakness is worse than chasing butterflies, because at least butterflies exist.

The intellectual understanding that the Magic Bullet doesn’t exist doesn’t stop me from believing in it, however.  And in my defense, my hopeless search has at least netted me a few gems to add to my collection.

Here are the two most recent additions:

Liquid Story Binder:
 I’ve always wanted some story creation/writing software.  I’ve poked around with a few free or trial versions of things but never settled on anything.  When a Rose City Romance Writers friend suggested Liquid Story Binder (okay, and it was half off) I decided to just do it.

And with screenshots like this — words! pictures! windows! more words! — what writer wouldn’t be suckered sucked in?

I’ve just started playing with it, but I already see the potential for enormous procrastination.  And power.  Isn’t that cool?  Now even my writing tools have a heroic flaw.

Donald Maass’ THE FIRE IN FICTION:
Maass is a literary agent and regular speaker at RWA conferences.  He also writes how-to-write books, perhaps when the frustrations of the slush pile overcome him.  His workshop in DC earlier this month dealt with some of the techniques in the books.

I will now quote my CP’s reaction to the workshop:
CP: (At the halfway point of the workshop): I’ve got so many great ideas.  I’m going to rewrite the first three chapters and resend them.
CP: (At the end of the workshop): Never mind.  I’m going to rewrite the whole book.

THE FIRE IN FICTION is every bit that good/bad.  The chapter on micro-tension — creating tension on every page, in every conversation in dialogue or monologue, in every piece of setting and narrative — alone is worth giving up permanent space on your craft bookshelf.

It’s not comfortable reading; I winced as I recognized my evils in many of the writers he dismisses.  But it is expanding.  Like a rib spreader.

The Sex Toy and The Blender
Now that I think about it a bit (a very little bit) the writing Magic Bullet — should I ever find it — will no doubt be a lot like a sex toy and a blender.  Not exactly sure how, but it has something to do with mixing things up and getting excited.  I just wrote that subtitle because I think it’s an awesome title for a book, or a song, or a poem.

The writer (a repeat offender)
sought a marital aid and a blender.
The bullet she found
brought her writing around.
The magic didn’t break but it bent her.

Yeah, sorry, it’s late.

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