The Soup Of My Boiling Imagination
By Kevin Shamel
It usually begins with Post-It Notes. They surround my monitor as I type this.
If not those sticky, colored squares, then it’s a ragtag collection of paper bits that start my stories. I get ideas in droves and jot them down for later use. It’s also how I organize what I need to do. If I can see it, I’ll remember.
The stories that shoot into my head have to be noted or they’re lost to the soup of my boiling imagination. Seriously, it’s soup in there. I write bizarro fiction. It’s the genre of the weird.
My publishers like to call bizarro the literary equivalent to the cult section of a video store. We write entertaining, amazing fiction. Bizarro encompasses many other expressions: noir, horror, westerns, fantasy, science fiction, and many other genres. It’s a lot of fun to write and to read. It makes for interesting soup.
So at the moment, beside the burning novella that’s mostly finished (I only have the writing it down part left to do), I have purple and yellow Post-Its to tell me what to write.
Once the littlest kid is fed, clean, and off to preschool, I sit down and concentrate on a note. Or I might first do a load of laundry, play with the dog, make a salad, grab a mocha, clean a toilet, paint, or play on facebook for an hour, then concentrate on a note. It might also turn out that while the kid is involved in video games before school I’ll have a few moments to work on something. Say, a bit about how I write?
Music comes next. I devote time every week to building up my playlists or culling Pandora stations into something I can let go and use to tap-tap-tap my stories out. Currently, Die Antwoord, Love and Rockets, and Modest Mouse make up the majority of my office ambiance.
I have a bit of A.D.D. creativity. Writing is often interrupted by other artistic pursuits. I usually have several projects going on at once. Some begun years ago have yet to be finished. But I’m not usually nailed to my chair when I write.
However, I’ve been initiated into a certain style of writing that I’m coming to both appreciate and enjoy. I’ve not yet done it strictly by the rules, because I didn’t have the time involved. Carlton Mellick III, the Grand Master of Bizarro Fiction, has come up with a three-day writing marathon idea. What he does is spend three days doing nothing but writing a novella. He barely sleeps, eats, or gets up from his chair until his book is done. He comes up with simply brilliant stories that people love.
I tried this in a two-day format and wrote nearly an entire twenty-five thousand word novella. The first two days produced the bulk of it, while I sat in my very hot office with very little clothing on and wrote. Later in the week I had a couple of days to go at the rest of it leisurely, and finished it up then. Certainly, after such a marathon one must go back and edit, but surprisingly, not that much.
I’ll soon be doing a full-fledged three-day marathon. We’ll see what I can come up with.
Normally, I’m up and down. Like today. While writing this, I’ve played with my son, fed him, clothed him, and I’m about to clean him up. I’ve answered messages and played around on facebook. I’ve picked through my favorites on YouTube and stared at my half-done painting. I’ll come back to polish this up after I take the kid to school in twenty minutes.
Then I’ll paint.
That’s after I take down one of these Post-It Notes surrounding my screen. It’s over there on the right. It says, “How I Write for Fine Line”.
That’s how I do it.
About the author:
Kevin Shamel lives with his family in a happily haunted house in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. He writes Bizarro Fiction. Strangely, he usually involves animals in his stories—sometimes completely by accident. He’s also known to do terrible ventriloquism with zombie cat sock puppets. His book, Rotten Little Animals, was released by Eraserhead Press in October, 2009. More weirdness at Kevin’s website, Shameless Creations. www.shamelesscreations.com
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