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Friday, October 19, 2007

Writers are a good position if you want to be in a story

Guess what the most popular profession in stories is? Give up? Suprise, surprise, it's "Writer". Seems like five out of eight stories (short and long) I read, the main character is a writer, but not just a writer. A writer who's hasn't managed to write anything for months or years. A writer who can't make the payments. A writer who's dream has dissipated because either his wife died, he's not "edgy" enough, or the kids are watching Survivor and playing that thar PlayCube games (they're the devil).

I suprised, out of all the cliche lists I read, that this isn't on there - the main character is a bohemian, studio apartment, starving artist. And we're supposed to be sympathetic towards him. Why does this happen? Well, because the author has to write what he knows best. What he knows best is himself. What himself is is a bohemian, studio apartment, starving artist. Is this interesting to other writers? Maybe, but to me it's tedious and overused. Writers, by and large, aren't very interesting. In fact, I get jittery whenever someone asks me about my writing, and I feel like a kid doing something wrong.
There's no shortage of interesting jobs out there - deep sea salvage divers, WWII pilots, spies, middle school kids, astronauts, Hollywood agents, symbologist, gunslinger (points to anyone who can recognize the books I'm talking about). Writers are right up there with software engineers (also me). I know how to write code, but damned if I could write a story about it, at least one that would be interesting. Jobs like that are more a part of the characterization, like a dinner plate. If you make it part of the story, you'd better damn well have something good to put on that plate.
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