W is for Writing

                                              A-Z Blogging for April
                                                           
by Jeff Salter 

            Well, actually, W is for Writing … and for Writers.
            Writers are a strange breed, aren’t we?  Whether we produce non-fiction, articles, essays, short stories, poetry, children’s stories, YA, or adult fiction.  Whether that adult fiction is novella or opus, whether it’s ‘literary’ or lame, comedy or tragedy, regardless of the genre … or the hybrid genre — we pour into it our blood, sweat, tears, and toil.  Some even say we pour our souls into it, but it may the other way around: it may be that writing actually fills our souls (rather than empties them).
            I don’t know … I’m no philosopher.  But I believe that writers write because we have to.  We’re wired to write.  I’ve known some people who say they just “decided” – one day, at some point in their adult lives – that they were “going to write”.  But I want to believe that more people are like me — having had the genuine conviction since about junior high school that writing would have to be a major part of my life.
              Now, I’ll warrant that many of us don’t ever have the luxury to write “full-time” (which is a misnomer I’ll address at some other point) … because most of us have adult responsibilities, whether in the workplace or at home (or both).  Quite sincerely, my hat is off to the many authors I know who balance being wives, mothers, workers, homemakers … plus remain involved in their communities and places of worship.  How on earth they find time to write is totally beyond me.  But many do … and many do so with little or no support from family or friends.
             But lest we take ourselves too seriously, have a look at this clip of the famous author Kurt Vonnegut, as he draws the ‘shape’ of three archetypal story plots.  [Sorry for the quality, but it was the same in every source I checked.] 

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1664963/kurt-vonnegut-plots-the-shapes-of-stories-video

             I’m very glad to see Vonnegut approach this with humor.  Some writers takes themselves too seriously; some like to mimic the tragic anguish of famous writers they’ve seen depicted on screen on in literature.  Heck, some writers even mimic the writing of other authors!
            I say we should enjoy what we do.  No, I don’t mean that we’re giddy all the time.  But I believe if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, we should feel some deep-down ‘rightness’ about it.  My wife came across this anonymous quote on a bag of produce … and she stuck it to the dash board of my truck:  “The happiest people are those who discover that what they should be doing and what they are doing … are the same thing.”  It took me over 57 years to reach that point.
            We aren’t all going to have the success of John Grisham or Janet Evanovich.  But we are going to produce the best dadgum piece of writing we can manage.  And we’ll love it … and nurture it … and groom it … and finally send it out into the brutal world.  Then wait patiently – for months, or even years – for the call … that it’s finally found a new home.
            Ah, yes … “the call”. 

Questions:
            Have you experienced “the call” yet?
            What do you think of Vonnegut’s three plots?  What other plots did he neglect to mention?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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24 Responses to W is for Writing

  1. Louisa Bacio says:

    These days, most calls = an email! Some day I may get a CALL! (There’s still time.) Like your description of writing filling the soul!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Louisa. Yeah, most ‘calls’ are emails now-a-days … but I’ve still heard of writers answering the phone in the middle of McDonald’s and it’s a call from their prospective agent (or whomever). Probably livens up McD’s.

      Like

  2. Tonya Kappes says:

    No one understands a writer, like other writers. Even at the call stage of the game, a writer still worries, but the pressure is greater. Once you get the call, it’s not just you that is relying on you….now your agent is and the publisher….it’s a whole new set of issues on top of what we already have….sigh….

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Right, Tonya. BTW, when your agent contacted you, was that by phone or by email? Just curious. You probab. indicated in a post, but I’ve forgotten.

      Like

  3. jbrayweber says:

    Oh, what a great video of Vonnegut. I hadn’t seen it before and I might just steal it. 😉
    As for the call…yes, I recieved it. Two weeks after I took the Indie plunge. But nevermind that. I still ended up with a two book deal. However, the initial call had me in all sorts of fits. Excitement, anxiety, fear, validation, and the surprising need for a cigarette – I hadn’t smoked in 15 years. LOL!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I wish I had a better quality video of Vonnegut’s presentation … and wish I could see more than those few moments.
      Jenn, I knew your call had come after your first book, but had not realized it was so soon after. Very cool.

      Like

  4. crbwrites says:

    I’m a fan of the Cinderella story. Thanks for the link to the Vonnegut video!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      You’re certainly welcome, Chris. Yeah. It’s a great story. Vonnegut’s drawing doesn’t really do it justice, but he was going for the laughs.

      Like

  5. Love the quote your wife found. I’ve been lucky enough to have that in both my careers. Blessed for sure. Great post, today!

    Like

  6. Vonnegut,too funny! I will have to steal this for my fb. What did he forget…well, scine I’m in the off-the-wall mindset after being exposed to K.V., there is the one where someone isn’t content, has an experience of another time/place and then finds themselves happy at home,or feeling they should have stayed home…countless SCIFI stoies and of course, The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland…
    Have I received the call??? Oh, yeah.I answered the call along time ago but kept putting it on hold.
    Now,I have heard enough ‘elevator music’…I have the CALL on my cell, online and email! I typed away all last night on something new.
    Do we writers need to try to understand each other and support each other?Yessserrie Bob! (Anybody know where that came from?People used to say that). We need a support group like anyone else with an affliction…ours being crazed minds with ‘the itch’.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I remember “Yesserrie Bob!” Though I can’t recall where I’ve heard it. Seems like I always heard it growing up.
      Yeah, I’d like to hear Vonnegut’s take on those time-travel plots … or other SciFi devices.

      Like

  7. Laurie Ryan says:

    Even though it was a digital publisher, I actually got a phone call. I was at a doctor appointment with my mother, so she (and everyone else in the waiting room) got to share in my joy. 🙂 Great question, Jeff. As writers, I think we ALL love to talk about that moment–the call. 🙂

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      That’s cool, Laurie — getting the call while you’re helping somebody (in this case, your mom). How on earth did you keep your composure?
      I see all these articles about “ten questions to ask the agent who’s offering representation” … but I wonder what the people do who are out on errands when that call comes in? Ha.

      Like

  8. I’ve heard of writers who refused to leave the house for any reason and of one woman who put phones and phone jacks all over her home and farm waiting for THE Call to come in.Thank goodness for cell phones!

    Like

  9. Sherry Gloag says:

    Great post and the funny clip of Vonnegut :-). The Call, when I received it, came by email. DH just looked at me as though I’d gone mad until I told him what all the fuss was about.

    Like

  10. Lindsay says:

    For me ‘W’ stands for whisky (whiskey) and wine

    Like

  11. lisa orchard says:

    Great post Jeff! Keep up the good work! When is your book being released?

    Like

  12. Meg Mims says:

    LOVE the video, Jeff!! He’s got it down all right. Great month of posts — good luck with your galleys. Many sales to you…. 🙂

    Like

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