Tuesday, July 21, 2009

WIP Wednesday; On Not Naming Names

Well...yes. Wednesday again?

Here goes. Loathsome stands at 23K--not a huge jump from last week, but I'm managing around 1,000 words a day. Funny how I write less in the summer when I have more "free time". (I also have a wife and two kids sharing the summer with me...and projects. Ugh...projects. I know Mr. Eyberg likes projects, but me? Meh.)

An excerpt (I'd mention a spoiler alert, but then, you don't know any of these characters, do you?):

It was early in the morning when we woke to Greig’s cries. Silas and I took turns running the shirt to the river for fresh water. We sat up with the dying man for until dawn, trying to cool the fever and make him as comfortable as possible. Just as the sun began to break over the ridgeline to the east, Greig opened his eyes.

“Get me my pipe, will ya, Yank?”

I nodded and rummaged through his personal effects until I found his pipe, a hand-carved thing from mahogany, dark and beautiful. My hands shook as I filled the bowl and fumbled with a match. Meanwhile, Silas helped prop his back against a piece of driftwood so he could sit and enjoy the smoke.

“Thank ya,” Greig muttered. He closed his eyes and puffed. The smoke wreathed around his head and melted into the morning mist. After a few minutes, he plucked the pipe from his mouth and started whistling the tune to “Dixie”. His voice gradually fell silent, and his head rocked back.

Dead.

__________

As an addendum to yesterday's post (according to Statcounter, my most read ever--not sure what to make of that), I want to be clear two things:

1) The frustration that poured over into words had been building for some time. The comments of Mr. Professional Writer were the proverbial straw that broke my back. To mention the writer by name on the post would be unfair to him (I did call him "Mr.") and me. The comments and behavior of quite a few individuals led to my open letter.

2) I am fully capable of disliking a person's behavior without having to attack the person. Welcome to the world of being a parent. Do I stop loving Owen when he throws a dirt clod into the open window of my car? Of course not. I try to make this clear to my kids. I don't know Mr. Professional Writer personally. To name names would be unduly snarky and very personal.

Look, the internet has enough of that negative karma already. That was one point I was trying to make.

I'll sign off with a quote from Mort Castle's introduction to On Writing Horror:

"Come in, and we, all of us together, will explore the strange art and demanding craft..."

Wow. "All of us together." That's a nice thought, eh?

11 comments:

Benjamin Solah said...

I liked that you didn't name names. Whilst I could see that it was probably directed at one person, I also sensed that it could be directed at many, or parts of writers.

I've known a lot of writers (even some small fry) who have shown certain traits.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I don't necessarily 'like' projects, but I am good at them. I would rather be spending time with the family or writing.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Regarding your comment on yesterday's post: well-said again. It would be nice if we could all get along and treat each other with respect (or at least professional courtesy). Don't think that it'll happen. All we can do is control how we are percieved by others and live by example. Seems like you're doing pretty well with that...

Regarding your excerpt: Well-written again and reeking with atmosphere (mind you the name Silas, for me, conjures up images of self-flagelating Albino monks...)

Aaron Polson said...

Benjamin - some writers can be very...nasty.

Jamie - I hear you. I wish I had your skills, though. I've seen some of your woodworking.

Alan - thanks, I'm trying to project the best "me" I can. Silas...nice image of the monk, unfortunately mine is a bit of a rough, woodsy type. He does have a mysterious past...maybe, just maybe he left the order for a life of lumberjacking.

Lawrence Dagstine said...

Yesterday I was confused as to which writer you were talking about. Then it finally dawned on me; why, who else could it be? There's only two people with split personalities in the dark fiction communities I can think of who match that trait. You showed a lot of professionalism on your part not naming names, and trying to bring up a valid point. What I find amazing is the level of hate where someone would not call a writer merely a hack, or just an amateur, or just plain rank. No, it's got to be "rank amateur hack" -- three words, in seering anger, no less. That and this person is middle-aged (which is sad). Still, good post, Aaron.

Catherine J Gardner said...

You, as always, are a gent.

Nice excerpt.

katey said...

Exactly.

On the excerpt: Your writing is always stellar, but I have to tell you how much I like that you just had a character die while whistling Dixie. Brilliant!

Aaron Polson said...

Thanks, Cate.

Katey - I thought the whistling Dixie bit was a bit over the top, but it certainly fits his character.

K.C. Shaw said...

I love the whistling Dixie death too. The excerpt's great--I really like the feel of the story. Good luck with it!

Natalie L. Sin said...

Of course you're right, it's better not to name names. People who act like massive tools make their own bad publicity.

Jodi Lee said...

Excellent excerpt, Aaron. I'm looking forward to seeing more. :)

Sometimes it's hard not to name names. I've named in the past, and when it comes to that individual, I'd do it again. Others, I keep to myself, although... ;) Sometimes it is pretty darn obvious. I echo Cate's sentiment, too.