Author Archives: Stephen Pickering

How to Write Fiction

A story starts with an image.

Any image will do as long as it gets you jazzed. I was thinking I had nothing to write about, and then just now I realized I’ve had this image swirling around my head for several months. I think the reason I repressed it is that didn’t respect it. It’s not literally fantastical, but it has a lot of magical fairy dust in its feel, in the feelings swirling around it. A sort of Disney, bubble-gum, cheesiest of romantic comedy element, that made me dismiss it out of hand. The last image that drove me to write a novel and several associated short stories a couple years ago was solidly based in realism, and so I guess I never took this one seriously.
But what does it matter as long as it gets you jazzed enough to sit down and start writing? You only need a way in. Can you imagine, for instance, if you’d had the original idea for Harry Potter? And then telling your friends about it before it had been written? They’d have been positively embarrassed for you! So, throw all judgment out the window especially if you have an image that gets you jazzed.

CRAFT

I mean if you can afford to go to Iowa or audit a college level fiction writing class that would be great, but I think that 90% of it is just reading, reading, reading—any and all of the fiction you can get your hands on, breathing it in like air, soaking it in like sunshine. And then interviews with successful fiction writers on the nitty gritty of their process. And then the other part is simply putting your butt in a chair. How many hours did you have your butt in a chair last week writing? That’s a key question. An image is a huge motivator. There might be one or several swirling around your head even as you read this that you haven’t been acknowledging. Go with it. It’s Hermes appearing in your mind. It’s the magical aid of fairytales showing up to guide you, to sustain you. Even if you’re having to work odd, dull jobs to support yourself your subconscious will be working on it all the while.

The Best Romantic Relationship Books According to Whitney Cummings

  • Getting to ‘I Do’ by Pat Allen — [Google Search Link]
  • Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix [Link]
  • Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow by Marnia Robinson [Link]

This info was shared from Whitney’s appearance on Nikki Glaser’s Sirius XM show “You Up,” which is a lot of fun to watch in and of itself.

The Secret of Success: Having Fun

I’m having a blast. It’s really fun. I don’t know why… But it’s just been a joy.

Conan O’Brien Jan. 12, 2020, “Nikki Glaser” 1:12

Why were you trying to find my extension?
I have a friend who’s opening up a new restaurant in Soho and I was hoping you’d go with me.
What?
Do you want to go out with me tonight?
Why?
Because it would be fun, and you seem cool.

30 Rock S1 E11 4:39
“Did you ever imagine that your podcast would be…like where its at right now is crazy, man.”
Joe Rogan: “No, there’s no way I could have imagined it. I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Tom Segura: “It’s so nuts.”
Joe Rogan: “It’s just…yeah, I just thought it was fun to do.”

Let me ask you something, why do you do what you do?
I don’t know. The only time I really feel alive is when I’m singing

Jennifer Hudson’s character in ‘Sandy Wexler’ [-1:55:54].

Johnny Cash is not cast in amber, this is the guy before he was canonized, when he was just a musician, when he had runway in front of him and was less worried about getting it right than just doing it. Yup, when done right music is here and then gone, you had to be there, that’s one of the reasons live is such a big deal these days.

— Bob Lefsetz https://lefsetz.com/wordpress/2019/12/04/matchbox/

“And one does it not to be good for you, but just because you dig it. Because at last you find yourself in the center, the eternal now, in which past and future drop away, in which divisions created by words drop away.” — [YouTube Link]

Alan Watts

Something I do for like no reason besides the fact that it was just like for fun………Mmmm mmmm, I mean because making music is messing around. [Youtube Interview Link]

Billie Eilish

You’ve got to find something that you love to do in an of itself that could also become a career. I would even go a step further: the actual doing of it and navigating all of its challenges (like an adventure) actually gives you more pleasure, feeds your soul even more, or if you want to get unromantically scientific about it, releases even more dopamine, than all the other possible accoutrements it could give you (money, fame, sex, adoration).
That’s a big ask. But I think it’s the key to not only giving yourself the best shot at not only the accoutrements, but producing work that is worthy of them. In another words, work that gives more value to the audience (and keep in mind, especially in today’s world this could literally be anything: arts, business, science, etc.) than the money and attention they are giving to it. This is the key fundamental law of business: B = V + D. Business equals Value plus Distribution. But it’s an equation that can be applied to any career. And thanks to the internet, or more robustly “technology” the definition of what a career can be (“Youtube Star”) has grown at least by an order of magnitude over what it was when I graduated from college in 1989, maybe two.