Friday, January 22, 2010

The Contents of Your Asylum

The one fantasy common to most writers is to make enough in royalties to quit their day jobs.

Don't do that.

Part of what makes stories interesting and unique is the flavor enhancement known as CONTENT. These are the little ideas you've been carrying around in your head for decades, or years, or weeks, that you cleverly slip into a scene here and a dialogue there.

Content makes your characters more interesting--like that big hair you added to the description of an old witch--the one your old boss used to have growing off the bottom of her earlobe that curled back like a hoop earring and you always wondered why in heaven's name she could never see it in a mirror, and then wondered if she knew about it all along and was testing mankind to see who might be brave enough to tell her about it.

That's content. That's interest. That's why older writers are a little better than younger ones, because they have content. It's a secret recipe you've been working on all your life and you add it to everything you create, making it sing on the tongue.

The point here, Newanda, is that your content reservoir doesn't fill by itself. You've got to be out in the world--and I don't mean Starbuck's--to keep topping it off. No matter how wonderful your view of the backyard, or how many interesting folks you meet at church, you're going to need to siphon a little of the sea of humanity if you want to maintain the outgoing flow of interesting bits.

And what better place to siphon content and money off a strangely-furred employer than at a day job? I can't wait to quit my current employment, if only for the freedom to examine the boss's oddities on this blog and elsewhere. (*See conveniences of having a pen name...)

So quit wanting out! Take a look around and pretend you work in an asylum, because brother, you do.



Phyllis Campbell said...

My dear friend...your blogs are always fun to read!! I love all the help you can give me.


stanalei said...

Good thing, too. 'Cause the Monday morning blues isn't going away anytime soon.
Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it's back to work, ya know.