Thursday, October 1, 2009

Who You Are and Who You Ain't

Who You Are and Who You Ain't by James N. Frey

Maybe I should have saved this for about mid November but I needed it now. This should be mandatory reading for every writer. Here's a paragraph.

"But by becoming a writer, not only have you joined another faith, you’re a member of the priesthood.

By mastering your craft, by bleeding through the forehead, you are gaining a sort of supernatural power, the power to create stories that cause people to enter into a kind of trance, to be in the story world that you have created, to think and feel things they never would have thought or felt in their ordinary life. You are creating stories that tell people how to live and how to believe. You can actually bring change to the world; you can give voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless. People with this kind of power are scary."

I have James Frey's How to Write a Damn Good Mystery and LOVE it!!!


  1. Excellent, excellent article. Thanks for sharing it. Here is where he hooked me: "Of course writers don’t play golf or go fishing or play frisbee with the dog. Few writers even have dogs. Who the hell has time for dogs? Writers don’t go out to a lot of movies, or baseball games, or picnics in the park. Writers don’t do much of anything but write, think about writing, or talk about writing. We go into our little rooms, turn on our music, and turn on our machines and stare at the screen until blood comes out of our foreheads. That’s the writing life."

    That is my life. Do you know that the TV isn't on the entire time I'm working? I go to my office at 8 a.m. and except to find something to eat or switch over the laundry I am here until 3 p.m. when the girls get home?

    Now, a lot of that isn't writing, but it is book promotion related, and I am thinking writing the entire time. I'm definitely ready to consider NaNo and want to get some feedback on the three ideas I am pondering.

    Off to Tweet!


  2. I totally love this post of Frey's.

    I'd planned on talking about characters and their flaws but found this and had to share it.

    And the paragraph you quoted is so true. Most of the time one of my last thoughts at night is novel related...I've dreamed novel stuff and one of the first things in the morning I think about is writing.

    The other Sunday, I was doing the bulletin for church and as I typed the prayer requests, one of them was Jack. My first thought was "What's wrong with Jack, he was fine yesterday?" It took me a moment to realize it wasn't Jack from my book. Sigh:-)

    And, Saturday as I watched them tear down the stage and stuff after the concert, I kept thinking how I could use the info in a story.

  3. LOL! Do trolls set up stages? They probably tear them down really well. This article will be good for Sun too, who just posted about a rejection yesterday that was very upsetting.