Monday, September 16, 2013
Two Authors Discuss Writer's Block
Mont: Hell, I don’t know what it is, Hal, but I’m not in the right place right now. Every time I set aside some time to sit down and write it’s like I’m setting down some time not to write, which is crazy because that’s what I’m doing all the time.
Hal: Yeah, sometimes you just end up in the wrong place, I suppose.
Mont: Hey, I never said I was in the wrong place, just not the right place.
Hal: But you kind of inferred it. And that’s how it is with writing, for me. I’m either writing or not writing. There’s no grey, no fuzzy, no in-between.
Mont: You want my opinion? I think that’s just a crime writer thing. Everything in black and white. Right/wrong, either/or — works for the genre I suppose.
Hal: Quit confusing me with my genre, willya? What you say about crime writing is true — it’s very clinical in those either/or terms — but I’m a regular guy, and to assume the lack of fuzziness regarding my craft either reflects upon, or dictates, my personality or my character or my soul — or whatever aspect of me you wanna discuss — well that’s just crazy.
Mont: So you’re saying you’re not fuzzy right now? If you have writer’s block you gotta be fuzzy as hell. That’s the whole problem, surely?
Hal: Said Mr Fuzzy Guy Fuckin’ Central.
Hal: You gotta admit, fantasy kind of lends itself to fuzziness, and I wonder sometimes if you’re not just making it all up about your writer’s block, like you’ve written a Tolkienesque trilogy and you’re just keeping it under your hat, playing like you have writer’s block so you can surprise me three months down the line when Iain Banks’ agent takes you on as the new Iain Banks.
Mont: So you’re saying fantasy is crap?
Hal: I’m saying fantasy is a shedload easier to make up than crime writing, and when it comes to writer’s block, you know shit all about it.
Mont: The hell I do! Remember the script I showed you last autumn?
Hal: The dwarves in the flying longboat?
Mont: Exactly. I took your crits onboard, and revised the whole section with the dragon — remember the dragon?
Hal: How could I forget the dragon...?
Mont: Exactly. So I got five hundred words in and dried up. Couldn’t figure what the hell to do.
Hal: Your point being?
Mont: My point being that I had writer’s frickin’ block!
Hal: No you didn’t. You just couldn’t be bothered to follow my suggestions about losing the dragon.
Mont: The dragon made the scene!
Hal: Or the longboat.
Mont: How in hell are the dwarves going to fly to the promised land without their friggin’ longboat?
Hal: Or the dwarves.
Mont: Fuck off, Hal. You’re just a smug smartass of a crime writer who knows jack shit about...jack shit.
Hal: So what am I doing sharing a bottle of Southern Comfort with you on your couch barely an hour after you rang me up, in tears?
Mont: Throwing you the hell on out. That’s what I’m doing. Fuck off, Hal. Fuck the hell off.