3 MINUTE WRITING EXERCISE: LEGIT JUMP START FOR BITTER NON-PRODUCTION?
Results May Be Highly Relative Or Subjective
By Joe Moore
For anybody experiencing a rare, subconsciously self-induced, frustrated detour of not being able to write (or write enough) I am going to try the 3-minute writing exercise recommended, among others, in the PDF The Author’s Publish Compendium Of Writing Prompts from authorspublish.com
Whether you’re writing as an intended income stream (ranging from online freelancing to specialized niches such as violent genre fiction), being shrouded in a temporary cocoon of under-or-non-productrion will sabotage the best of writing intentions.
- After the 3-minute exercise your batteries will be depleted of doubts and cynicism (for now) and re-charged with optimism.
- This is sometimes a back and forth process but as long as you stay stubborn and keeping on learning about marketing of freelancing (realizing after the fire that optimism alone is maybe 3% of the equation, by no means leading to success) you’ll at least know how things turned out.
- Be persistent well past the stage of self-deception and self-illusion.
Your motivation should return after times of disgust and doubt, and your own writing enthusiasm will show in your re-animated state a few weeks or months later, depending on the kind of writing you’re doing:
- Updating blog posts?
- 3,500 word short stories or essays to national magazines that are altruistic enough to consider non-agented submissions? And sometimes send individual disinclination letters to recognize your writing potential?
- The screenplay that will single-handedly revitalize the action-and-surgical-levels-of-revenge genre?
Okay, 3 minutes have elapsed since the first paragraph, and this is what has occurred to me:
Writing Subjects In 3 Minutes
You can write an book review or profile, without regard for the transient, 4th-grade-reading-level, tabloid nature of what’s “trending” online.
In other words, instead of being a rehash of whatever is on the current bestseller list, your article can review the fiction or non-fiction of your favorite current or past authors, from whichever decade, whichever century, which is a way of recommending lasting books (not including overrated “classics.”)
2 WEEKS LATER:
Depending On How Much You’re Making, A Conventional Employer’s Pay Cycle As Motivation For Freelance Writing
- Your author or book profile, which I will demonstrate here, doesn’t have to pertain to what’s considered canonical literature or high-concept.
- Your author post can be a series of thumbnail sketches (while you’re keeping in mind the minimum 2,500-word length and overall cohesiveness of your post) or it can be a detailed, researched, near-dissertation.
- You can promote (or excoriate) interesting, lasting books.
- Your novels or non-fiction books under scholarly review don’t have to necessarily feature reader-flattering characters of either gender vetted by blurbs from known authors’ press agents saying these are the kind of characters they would like to hang out with.
As a side note, you probably won’t see any publishing house’s PR Department-written blurbs in the name of whichever totally-agented-and-published-with-a-big-6 (or is it 5, now?) author saying, outwardly anyway, that they’d like to hang out with characters from a James Ellroy, Cormac McCarthy, or Pete Dexter novel.
JAMES ELLROY’S CRIME NOVELS NEED TO BE READ TO BE BELIEVED
It Will Only Take A Paragraph, If That
Until recently I’d stopped reading Ellroy’s online interviews since they got monotonous and repetitious with him saying the same things over and over, usually coinciding with whatever fiction or non-fiction book he’s just published.
Some Spokes Of Ellroy’s Well-Worn Schtick
- Interviewers always say that Ellroy doesn’t have a cell phone or a computer, and that the only books on his shelves (although he is thoroughly read in traditional detective novels) are his own.
- Ellroy has stated that the Don DeLillo novel Libra (not exactly known to this reviewer) was a significant influence on his famed LA Quartet, which combined real, 1940s-50s historical events and characters with dark, nocturnal, glass-shard detective fiction trappings, as he would in his subsequent Underworld Trilogy.
- 10 years ago an interviewer asked Ellroy does he read the other, select crime writers whom he (supposedly) writes blurbs for. He said no.
While Ellroy has been known to expound at derogatory length about certain movies he’s seen, he has since moved to Denver and co-hosted a series of Noir films at a downtown theater.
The online piece mentions the tepid audience response to Ellroy’s 1980s routine of being The Demon Dog this and The Growling that, calling the audience names they’ve heard 100 times. The reported threadbare response to his vulgar, threadbare, alliterative routines.
James, James, Jack Carter got you by 60 years.
Lee Earle, admit brother Jack—rest in peace—heavily or solely influenced your promotional persona.
I saw Mr. Carter on Sanford And Son, and later a bit part on a no-holds-barred, run-what-ya-brung HBO special. He never claimed to make any guest appearances on The Cosby Show or Family Ties.
Maybe Mr. Carter will make a chronologically accurate appearance in one of Ellroy’s planned, mid-40s-and-beyond, post Perfidia novels.
Whatever sort of person Ellroy may be, which I’m sure I can do without, I’ve bought his books for 15 years. There’s a darkly humorous cynicism to his novels (background issues of severely corrupt characters, outlandish, ruthless schemes on both sides of the law) that will make you laugh sometimes.
As for Ellroy’s view of Cormac McCarthy’s writing he is surprisingly dismissive (“Why doesn’t this %$#@&*^%$#$@! use quotation marks?”)
McCarthy would seem to be a kindred spirit to JE, both literary and personal, in view of his own grotesquely violent, direct-ancestors-of-Ellroy-characters presentation and identical social sentiments of The Judge (among others) in Blood Meridian. You’ll never view a Western movie or novel the same after reading that one.
ACADEMIC REVIEWS OF NON-ELITIST LITERATURE
Humor And The Less Noble Aspects Of Human Behavior As Hand-In-Glove
I first heard about the novel Tobacco Road, by Erskine Caldwell, in a book called The Comic Imagination In American Literature, by Louis D. Rubin, Jr., an anthology featuring different scholar’s interesting takes on different writers and books.
The particular chapter is The Humor Of Tobacco Road by Robert D. Jacobs.
Tobacco Road does not flatter human nature by any means, and even presents the baser aspects for the reader’s extended amusement (just like any bestselling novel or Number 1 opening movie since.)
The esteemed Prof. Davis:
One might think that the novel might be
tragic instead of comic. But tragedy
centers upon characters who have the
sensibility to comprehend their own
predicament, and by such a measure
Tobacco Road is no tragedy. Yet in
view of the appalling things that
happen in the novel, so we dare call
it a comedy?
Tobacco Road was a book of considerable interest for its’ time, mainly because of the author’s well-intended but leisurely take on the incongruent subject (the unenviable straits of the characters.) Such a perspective must have surely been considered lurid at the time of publication—-think the height of the Great Depression.
According to Mr. Jacob, only a few thousand copies were sold on the year of publication, then massive sales when the paperback edition came out. There’s a lesson in modern online marketing there somewhere, but I don’t know what it is.
Many novels that didn’t rotate the earth in hardcover sold like gangbusters in paperback. Choose your favorite author for verification.
TR seems like a comedy or satire, rather than a serious examination of a family both poverty-stricken and dysfunctional, which the narrative presents as co-dependent predicaments. As for a lack of prosperity creating aberrant behavior, sentient readers of ‘Road know better.
Jacob’s chapter also examines frontier humor of the 1800s (as a progenitor of TR), based on the real-life, one-on-one, in-the-pines violence of the time.
Mr. Jacobs continues:
It was in 1836 that an eminent gentleman, distinguished
judge and educator named Augustus Baldwin Longstreet,
published a collection of stories about backwoodsmen in
Georgia titled Georgia Scenes, and these scenes contain
horror enough, although they are intended to be comic .
. . . ears and noses are bitten off and stalwart young men
are maimed for life in imbecilic brawls . . . in the old
frontier tradition of the Southwest (the geographical
South, in modern times, jm) even the loser avoids
pathos by the way he loses. If he has fought a good
fight, he has his share of admiration . . . thus, when
these tales of violence and derring-do were written
down and published, the audience that read them
thought of American backwoodsmen as a Medieval
audience would have thought of elves, gnomes, and
trolls. One can laugh when a goblin loses and arm or
leg, for he can always grow another.
So, this is an overview of how you can write an overview of any sort of author or book, fiction or non-fiction, regardless of the subject or which century it was published in.
- Your book list can bring new readers, or writers who want to expand their reading repertoire to improve their abilities.
- Whatever your favorite books are—-biographies, history, the traditional literature of various countries—-you’re introducing readers to authors and books they might not have heard about.