I was inspired by one of Chuck Wendig’s posts about 25 Things You Should Know About Writing a Novel. Number 3 is titled “The First Draft is the Beach Storming Draft” where he paints this picture of writers fighting for their lives or perhaps the lives of their novels. Ever since I read it, I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind.
I wanted to take the metaphor further.
If writers were indeed soldiers and we were at war with procrastination, self-sabotage, boredom and evil non-readers, what would that be like?
I was the lowest ranking private. No stripe or whatever our rank insignia is (quills perhaps?). I crosed the beach in November 2008, but I didn’t land a single shot since then. Shooting someone means submitting your work and killing means you sold it. I wasn’t even trying to shoot anybody, too afraid. I probably got shot a few times. But I did make it. I had the draft.
The beach is dirty and bloodied with corpses, those that didn’t make it. They’ll awaken as zombie and return to the sea to try again or perhaps never to be seen again. Those that did make it joke about the horrors now that it was over and are eager to go again. Some are traumatized, unsure of what to do with horrible memories and the crappy draft they now had to fix.
At the camp, there are all the higher ranking soldiers, those we aspire to be. I’d go and report to Chuck Wendig, who’d be sitting in a circle with his peers, a monkey smoking a cigar on his shoulder (I don’t know, go with it). He was a Sergeant or Staff Sergeant.
The officers are my heroes. Brent Weeks and maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of the handsome British officer Jonathan Stroud with a djinni disguised as a imp on his shoulder (apparently my heroes have familiars, though I don’t know what Weeks’ would be…leave me alone).
Of course, the famous ones weren’t there. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, even Stephanie Meyer, were either four star generals or those awarded with the Medal of Honor for killing the most people (Meyer was the latter).
There were medics, also soldiers, but they were the support, the beta reader or the writing partner that dragged you up that beach.
The agents were the ones who carried the radios to report the war effort to the higher ups. The higher ups, of course, were the publishing companies who send us out here to kill ourselves for their acceptance…and a paycheck. Of course, there were the mercenaries, the rebels, the hired gun, those that fought and killed on their own terms — in other words the awesome, self-published author.
“What are you gawking, writer?”
I turn my head back to Wendig, who’s giving me the dirty eye.
“Sir, nothing, sir.”
He looks me over and nods as his monkey takes a deep drag. “You got potential. Maybe. Show me what you got at 2500 hours and I’ll show you how to shoot properly.”
“But sir, there’s no such thing as 2500 hours.”
I said the wrong thing of course. He jumps to his feet, monkey squirming on his shoulder, screeching and throwing feces.
“Haven’t you learned anything? If I say 2500 hours, it’s 2500 hours! And you call yourself a writer. Drop and give me a thousand words.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
Yeah….this post makes no sense.
But I wonder what other metaphors and world building can be imagined for the writing profession.