Monday, September 17, 2012

Breaking the rules & Bull nuggets.

I'm writing this post despite that I said I wouldn't come 'round here 'gain 'til finishing the second draft (spoken like a western).
But we've already established my blog is way too cool for rules.

I was texting back and forth with my 13 year old brother the other day.  He sent me a detailed text as to why he hadn't done something he had meant to do earlier.  It stank faintly of BS.
So to his tale I replied, "I'm stoopid.  So I beleev yu."
He said, "What part of the text didn't you believe?"
This got me thinking.  I didn't know specifically.  The whole thing just felt dishonest... too many details over way too arbitrary a subject, especially from one who can't even remember bigger details like what he ate for supper the night before and who all was there at the table.
So my initial response was going to be, "I'm not going to put forth any effort determining what part of your story was true or what wasn't.  There's really no way for me to know for sure."
Instead I (like I usually do) came up with an analogy for him.  I said, "If you watch someone make a big pot of chilli and it looks delicious... but then they drop one nugget of bull crap in it, would you eat a bowl of it?  Or even a single bite?"
Of course he, being who he is, said, "I would eat the whole pot of it with my hands tied behind my back"
So I ignored and continued, "Of course not.  Despite that the chilli looks and smells great, you know there's one turd nugget in the mix and that's enough to ruin the whole pot."

By now you're grossed out.  I'm sorry.  I really do have a point.

This got me thinking even further.  I haven't pitched my first manuscript to an editor or agent yet.  But when I do, I won't consider it the first time.  I started pitching stories as a child and continued from then on, until I matured enough to recognize the value of the truth.
I pitched my first stories to my parents, after destroying something of theirs.
Then to my teacher after punching another kid in the face.
Then to the cops after... let's stop here.
My point is, each time I pitched to them a story, it was of my own creation.  I was submitting it to them to review and examine.  Some stories passed with flying colors.  Some stories crashed and burned.

Because of this I think I have adjusted my way of thinking.  We writers aren't just trying to pitch a "great book" or "good story idea" to the agent / publisher.

We're trying to convince them this story is real.

And if it isn't real for us, at least for a time, it's not going to be real for anyone else.