Monday, March 14, 2011

Why I am in love with Ray Bradbury

Yes, I said “in love” up there. I’ll explain that in a minute.

Let me start off with my weekly update. Work progresses on my current WIP. I stumbled a little with the bad guy, but I’ve gone back to basics with him and now he’s working much better. I was trying to make him all nuanced and maybe not a real baddie, but it ended up making him really clumsy and uninteresting, so I ditched all that and just went back to him being a bad guy, pure and simple. It’s a little black and white, but the subtleties of his personality came come out later.

I’ve also settled on a short story plot for my submission I plan on making to the Splintered Lands site. I’m rather happy with it. Next step will be to read some of the Splintered Lands stories already written, so I can work mine into it a little better.

On the submission front, I did a single submission this week, which was to send of my novella from NaNoWriMo, The Life and Times of Aries Webb, to a contest. The grand prize is a professional edit from a Del Ray Books editor, and a shot at getting said book published. That would be awesome. Everyone keep your fingers crossed.

Now, to the title of this little rant of mine. I’ve been reading Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury recently, and with what he is saying in there, and the lecture he gave at a Learning Annex I went to a few years back, I’ve realized the secret of his profile writing, and why his stories are always so engaging. Love.

For those of you that know anything about him, this is probably not a shock. He says it all the time. Find out what it is you truly love, he says, and write about it. Find ways to combine things you love. When you were growing up, did you love army movies and dinosaurs? Write a story about WWII soldiers that find a secret Nazi island where they are breeding dinosaurs to fight the allies with. On second though… don’t, that’s an awesome idea, and I may have to use it later.

For him, it was circuses and trains and dinosaurs and Buck Rodgers. These all lead to Something Wicked This Way Comes and the Martian Chronicles and a hundred other stories he’s done over the years.

So, I’ve been thinking about what I love recently. And amid the other things I’ve listed (D&D, video games like Mario Brothers and Zelda, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Hobbit and others) I’ve come to realize that I’ve been in love with fantasy and sci-fi since I was a little boy, when my dad first introduced me to it.

He gave me books like E.E. Doc Smith’s Lensemen, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and a little book called Fahrenheit 451, by a Mr. Ray Bradbury. I realized that along with my love of space ships, laser guns, sword fights and dragons, I was in love with Ray. I’ve been in love with him and his passion since I was a little boy, and I’ve rekindled that love recently with this book. I’m itching to go back through my collection and find the books of his I still have. In addition to Fahrenheit 451 and the Martian Chronicles, I have a few short story collections of his. His passion and his love shows through in his work, and even today, those words of his and that passion of his influences me in my writing.

And what I’ve come to understand is that I want that passion and that love to show through in my writing as well.

Because this is what people are talking about when they say “write what you love, not what will sell.” Because if you love it, and I mean REALLY love it, to the point that you would be willing to break up with your girl friend because she wanted you to stop playing D&D (true story on my part), then that love will show through when you write about it.

So, while I fall in love with Ray all over again, I’m going to keep writing, and hope that my love shows through.

I hope you will too.

1 comment:

  1. Good post

    I have been reading for over 6 decades now - all kinds - every genre - indeed would say I have no favourites! When I set out to write my own I desperatly wanted it to be genre free - it was a story pure and simple about what I felt passionatly about - resisting all the way folk who said I was writing Sci Fi! - I have given in and now say it is dystopian and think back on those writers who obviously had an effect on me Ray included - Tolkein most certainly - Clark and Wyndham - Doc Smith and so the list goes on. Some of the short stories I remember the best were sci fi from 40 years ago still haunting quiet moments.
    I have gone in and out again of crime, passion, historical but it seems always have time for sci fi and a bit of fantasy

    I still write my dystopian and am still trying to get it genre free but I think it is a lost cause- others know me better than I do!!!