Monday, October 26, 2015

How to Write A Bestseller Like a Writerly Writer

It just occurred to us in the many years we've been blogging that we've never taken you, the reader, on a journey into our daily lives as writers. Specifically, showing all of you how we put pen to paper and create literary magic. How we, as artistes, bring you "the craft", and with such success at that. So today we're going to share our step by step secret to writing a bestselling novel.

You see, writing isn't just as simple as sitting down and writing. No, that would be far too easy. Writing is a long, technical process that involves a myriad of rituals and preparation so as to show the world that I am writing a novel and it's serious business, you guys. So here we go.

Step 1: Put on your writerly facial hair. Every writer needs to have classy facial hair. Even women.


Step 2: Put on some writerly clothes. You really need to look the part.


Whoa, whoa, scale it back, there. We said writer, not hipster douchebag.


Ah, much better. Writers (for some reason) always have elbow patches, and as we all know a true writer is one who is dressed in such a way that you can never truly tell if they're homeless or a writer. Or both.

Step 3: Buy yourself a really fancy pen or two. Spend at least $50 on each to demonstrate that you're really putting some investment into your career as a writer.


Step 4: Now put it immediately in your pocket, because writers don't write with pens anymore, dumbass. That would be stupid.


Step 5: You're officially ready to begin. Take some time to step outside of your comfort zone and flesh out a unique character that you can breathe some life into.


If you've ever noticed that practically every novel ever written features a main character that's almost identical to how the writer is or just wishes they were, including the character being a writer (we're looking at you, Stephen King), that's because ideas are hard and sometimes it's best to just write what you know. That's not ego. It's just novel writing efficiency. Use this to your advantage.

Step 6: Wow, okay, this has been a lot of work so far. And cost a lot of money. You should probably treat yourself to a break. You know, play some video games, or surf the web for a few hours. Or a few days. You earned it, tiger!

Step 7: Make character sheets for all of your characters. Include things like height, weight, eye color, hair color. Likes, dislikes. Astrological sign. Allergies. Celebrities they'd probably be played by in the movie version. This shit matters. Also, feel free to exercise those killer drawing skills of yours and illustrate exactly what they look like.


Step 8: Draw an intricate map of your novel's world... even if it's not a fantasy story. Having a hand drawn map of your own hometown or a blueprint of your character's house will absolutely matter when your novel is done.

Step 9: Take another break. Watch a few hilarious cat videos on YouTube. Read that GIF-filled Buzzfeed article that's going to change the way you look at everything (#16 made me cry). Play that freemium Facebook game your weird aunt keeps sending you requests for. Writing is really hard work, especially when you haven't even written your first official word yet. Whew!

Step 10: Your story is complex, right? That means you need to make notes, and an outline, and notes of your outline, and then an outline of your notes. Leave out no details. Fill your entire wall with Post-It-Notes until you look like the deranged, sleepless detective that's tracking down a serial killer.




Step 11: Now would probably be a good time to take up drinking as a hobby. Or sport. Your choice, really.

Step 12: Spend an inordinate amount of time creating spreadsheets outlining your current workload and schedule. Outline all of your writing time.

Step 13: Realize you don't have any.

Step 14: Create an intricate musical playlist which will be crucial to the development of the story and will be listed as the unofficial soundtrack when the novel is released. Or finished. Or even started. And it had better include some Enya, because that bitch sets moods like you don't even know.

Step 15: Disappoint your parents.



Step 16: Turn your drinking hobby into full blown alcoholism to numb the pain of failure.

Step 17: Gouge your eyes out with your stupid, fancy pens and eat your own arms.


Step 18: Take another break. Eating your own arms is hard work!

Step 19: If you haven't already, you should really consider drawing the cover. I mean, I know you haven't even started the novel yet, but people will definitely want to see a badly scribbled sketch of what the book's cover will be like when done.


We didn't even think it was possible to be so aroused by color pencil, and yet here we are, awkwardly erect and simultaneously dying to read this "masterpyece."

Step 20: Pound your head against your keyboard until the sweet blackness of death releases you.


See? Writing is just that easy.

Okay, so that's not how you write a bestselling novel. But we figured this whole list was better than giving you a post that was only two words.

Just write.

See, the funny thing is, plenty of authors will tell you to do shit like the above post, and while creating 20 page outlines and making some cutesy stuff to help you get into the project is great, that's no substitution for just sitting the fuck down and writing. Really, there is no secret. Just sit down, shut up, and write. No amount of character sheets and drawings and soundtracks can make up for just writing the damn story.


That's how we do it, anyway. And we haven't once gouged our eyes out, eaten our own arms, or painted our keyboards in soggy brain matter.

Cheers and stay classy, friends,
B&B

Music: Not Enya
Beer: Breckenridge Agave Wheat



135 comments:

  1. You poked a nerve when you talked about writers writing about a writer. I hate that. It betrays such myopia that the rest of the novel is suspect. The only writer I think who has done the writer-as-a-protagonist was Michael Chabon in Wonderboys. But then again, what do I know, I'm only five character sheets, two postit notes and Enya's best of collection in to my novel.

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    1. Out of our whole 8 novels, 2 novellas, and countless short stories we did that whole "the main character is a writer" thing only twice. In one, we made him a homeless writer, simply because we thought that was hilarious. And in Bryan's solo novel, he made his main character a failed children's story author because he thought the idea of horrifying children with crude stories was... well, hilarious.

      What we're saying is that everything we do is purely for the lulz, but if we one day write a serious story where the main character is a writer you have our permission to fly across the country and punch us each in the face for being pretentious twats.

      Delete
    2. I've seen tons of movies with characters who are writers. Adaptation, for one. If I named them all, I'd go on forever, and no one wants that!

      Delete
  2. Good thing facial hair really isn't required as I have a difficult time growing more than stubble.
    People with their spreadsheets and using Scrivener - it all confuses me. I do make a basic outline and detail the characters, but then I just write until it's done. Simple. Not easy, but simple.

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    1. I can't grow stubble either, or even a mustache, without looking like a teenage boy who hasn't been taught to shave yet. ( - Bryan)

      And ooh, that's a good one! We forgot to list all of the programs you should download, like Scrivener, WriteRoom, Dragon Text to Speech, etc. Meanwhile... we just use Microsoft Word for pretty much everything. I once wrote two chapters of a novel with my phone via text message to myself because I was running a marathon in a gorilla suit and under an intense deadline (good times, good times).*

      *true fucking story

      Delete
  3. The "writers fill half their work time with unproductive activity" meme needs to stop. I don't even know if it's true or not, but it does huge discredit to the folks who actually slave away at their story 16/6.
    But yeah, the "just do it" advice applies not only to writing, but most every activity. "I wanna learn how to code", then just fucking go and learn how to code, damnit.

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    1. You'd be surprised how many writers fuck around when they don't have a deadline. We've even been guilty of it. I mean, I won't lie, there's a few times I know I should be writing and instead I'm beating up hookers in an online game because I feel like a need some kind of imaginary break. Or beating up hookers in a back alley because I feel like the bitch ripped me off. I have rage problems.

      Delete
  4. Not only shamed by a man with a fanny pack but a man in a PUG T-SHIRT! Gawd, the humiliation of it all! And by the way, is Shia LeBoeuf constipated? Looks like it to me.

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    1. He usually wears those super classy and overly dadly wolf t-shirts but I figured I should take it to the next level for this post. Love you, Dad, terrible fashion sense and all.

      Also, by the way he's posing (and because he's crazy as shit) I think Shia is just trying to flex hard enough that his skin rips off and he can finally reveal the alien lurking underneath.

      Delete
  5. There are an awful lot of older writers who teach literature, and an awful lot of their novels are about professors.

    That kind of novel can happen to anyone, I suppose, but mostly to Robertson Davies, Don Delillo, and Phillip Roth.

    I don't bother with writing what I know. If I have a good title - something like "Immortyl Kisses - the title itself can launch me halfway across the story before I even know what I'm doing. And don't even get me started on Book 2 of that series!

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    1. And it scares me when those books about professors have them falling in love with one of their students. I mean, we get it, you're a dirty old man and you want to fuck the pretty bimbo that's failing. Do you have to write a novel about it? They've already written plenty of stories about that called porn.

      Also, I hope in book two she finally just gets together with that weird flaming phoenix thing because the whole time I was reading book one it was just like oh my God will you fuck already?

      Delete
  6. The problem is people never accept simple answers. I've found this to be the case with my weight loss too. "Oh wow you lost a lot of weight, how did you do that?" "Uhh...I ate less and moved more." "No, but seriously, how?!" It's the same with writing. No one ever accepts that all you need to do to write is to just sit your ass down, load up your word processor (or pick up a pen) and write.

    Having said that it is definitely good to have some measure of a plan. You don't need to make a 20 page plan and codex but it helps to have a plan at least. No kidding though a friend of mine who wanted to write wrote a full damn codex for her first novel. The really sad part about that is that she abandoned that novel. Then she lost her notes. That's a lot of work she'll never get back.

    The plan for Immortal Space was two pages at most. The plan for The Spirit is about 1 and a half. The longest story I ever wrote, 185,000 words, was written based on a ONE PAGE plan.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. See? This guy gets it. Also, I love that you used the word "codex." Now that's just beyond extreme on her part.

      I also think people are scared to write. Scared to fail, scared to write something bad, so they preoccupy themselves with things that loosely concern the novel so they can still justify it but ultimately just enable their procrastination.

      Delete
  7. I miss you pretentious twats. I need to spend my snow day going through your shit.

    P.S. Will you please write a novel called Lock and Load? I think that would make an excellent book.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You missed us so much you posted your comment three times. We miss your pretentious ass as well. Welcome the fuck back.

      And see? It's been so long that you completely missed our Lock and Load series. We're already on book seven, "Lock and Load: Revenge Served Cold: This Time It's Personal: With a Vengeance" (Working title).

      Delete
  8. I feel like I really need that cat shirt. With National Novel Writing month just a few days away this post was exactly what I needed to get started. I'm thinking my novel will be about a cat hoarder that wants to be a writer. Yeah that sounds unique.

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    1. You mean the pug shirt? I mean, they make them in cat too. And the cat one is 100% more awesome.

      We didn't even think about NaNoWriMo going into this, but hopefully this post will help all of those looking to shit out words like they have diarrhea of the mouth. There's no time for outlines or maps or planning of any kind when you have to spew out 3,000 words a day every day.

      Delete
    2. Cat shirt is second pic down, almost covered by a purple hoodie but you can't hide a cat shirt around me, I spot them a mile away :)

      Delete
    3. Damn, good catch! I had forgotten about that because I push all hipster shit out of my mind immediately. Also, there's no shortage of hipster cat t-shirts out there, which is either awesome or awful depending on how you see the whole thing. Won't lie. I'd rock one. Probably something I got from my dad. :(

      Delete
  9. Oh thank God I was exhausted before #11 just reading this.
    Off to YouTube for my cat video reward.
    This was hard to get through for a novice.

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    1. Reward based systems are where it's at. Like, after responding to every comment, I eat a piece of candy to reward myself.

      Since we get 100+ comments a week, I don't think I have to tell you that I have some nasty diabetes.

      Delete
  10. B&B:
    ROFLMAO - And THAT is why I only blog...(no more "novel" attempts at novels).
    Might have had something to do with erroneously TRANSPOSING step 1 with step 11?

    Sure glad you provided that PROPER multi-step program for us.
    (if only I had this down thirty years ago...I could have patches on MY elbows.)

    I've got lots of OTHER "fun" things that cause the SAME effect as writing a novel...how the hell does THAT happen?
    Maybe I don't (really) want to know...but I do have a nice pen and facial hair every morning (that gets shaved back off).

    Excellent post (as usual).
    Thanks for the tips, too.

    Stay safe out there, guys.

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    1. Yeah, yeah, rub in the glorious facial hair. Meanwhile, I have to glue mine on like some kind of little kid in an elementary school play.

      And yeah, it's not just novel writing. Procrastination rears its nasty head with just about everything. I still have chores around the house that need doing... but first, let me whip up this next character sheet...

      Delete
  11. lmao to getting shamed by a guy with a fanny pack.

    Ugg to all that crap. It's like they want to have the idea of writing a novel to pretend they are doing something when really they just want to sit on their ass all day and be a welfare bum or drunk.

    Oops, I'm writing one about me being a writer now and falling in love with myself, work that one out. I worked in the dancing bear in a tutu though. Does that keep away failure?

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    1. It's just sad because it's true. My dad rocks the neon-colored fanny pack. He has too much to carry in his pockets, and doesn't want the hassle of constantly taking a backpack on and off. Apparently function beats embarrassment.

      Also, I hope that book becomes a series. You can really draw out the angst. You break up with yourself, you get with the dancing bear in a tutu, then you realize it's a mistake and drunkenly call yourself for a late night booty call to rekindle the flames.

      Delete
  12. Whew, you guys really scared me there for a minute. I have the drinking thing down, but I had laser hair removal, so I thought I was gonna have to go out and buy a fake mustache to get started.

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    1. Oh no, a true mustache isn't grown. It's earned. Just like an angel earns their wings, a writer earns their mustache. And you've definitely earned yours. Wear it with pride. And glue, lots of glue.

      Delete
  13. That is all anyone needs to do for anything they want. Get the hell out there and just do it.

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    1. Nike was really onto something. So is that Shy LaBeef guy.

      Delete
  14. I read - write a story for yourself then write it for your friends and finally write it for publication. I also read the Just Write advice which I must say I agree with. But I have decided that unless you are young and full of angst you probably won't write a book anyway.

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    1. It's true, we know a ton of writers that seek to just write a book for a fad/trend instead of writing for themselves. Doubly sad when they waste all that time and upon finishing the book that particular fad is over. A good book will always stand the test of time and needs no trend to keep it regarded.

      Wait, did that almost sound like advice? I think the old guy is starting to get out, the one who is very much not angsty in the slightest. Time to drink him back into suppression.

      Delete
  15. Whoa, now! You mean, if I wanted to write a novel, I actually...have to...WRITE it? How does THAT make any sense?

    **Pretentious facial hair falls off in the wake of my shock**

    PS: "Pretentious Facial Hair" is an excellent name for a rock band.

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    1. You know, I feel like this post is just ripe with bad hipster indie band names.

      "My Father's Fanny Pack."
      "Pug Shirt."
      "The Dadliest Mustache."

      Okay actually it's not even the post, it's just my dad. But as a guy with a porno mustache who wears fanny packs and wolf t shirts (and does not give one shit about confirming to fashion norms) I feel like he is the OG hipster.

      Delete
    2. Wow. I can't even decide which of those is my favorite. If we were to base band names on my dad, we'd probably have to go with:

      "Black Socks with Tevas"
      "Polo Shirt Brigade"

      And, of course,

      "Harley T-Shirts"

      Delete
    3. Those are some sweet band names (and I bet he doesn't even ride a Harley, does he?). Now we just need to find a small army of dads to occupy them. And each band MUST have at least one dad who's a kazoo player.

      Additional names:
      "Hawaiian T-Shirt in Church."
      "Yelling At The Drive Thru."
      "Uncomfortably Short Shorts."

      Delete
    4. He certainly does not own a motorcycle of any kind. (Not that he hasn't tried - and failed - on multiple occasions to convince my mom that it's a great idea...) I don't know if it's a Harley, but he and my mom do go on a motorcycling trip with some friends once a year. I mean, they wear the 'do rags, leathers, and everything and ride motorcycles up through Idaho, Montana, and a bit of Wyoming. (And if you knew my conservative parents, you'd get a chuckle out of that mental image!)

      In addition to the kazoo players, we'd need some guys to play the triangle and the tambourine. They are all equally important parts of these bands.

      PS: Those "additional names" have given me a most excellent late night, post-studying-for-a-test laugh. So thank you. (Of course, to be fair, at this point of the evening, I'd probably laugh at a video of a cat batting at a butterfly...Hee, hee, hee...can he catch it?...Oooh! Nope! Ha! Ha! *Snorfle*)

      Delete
    5. It's just amazing to me that when you see some guy on a bike with a 'do rag and full leather that he could either be an ex-convict who got sent away for beating some dude half to death in a bar brawl, or he could be a mild-mannered dad who's just enjoying the nice weather on the ride to church. But he's gotta hurry because he plays the tambourine in the choir and they start early.

      You're welcome for the late night laughs, which I hope when "study-sober" are funnier than something like this.

      Delete
    6. I am officially "study-sober" right now, and I can officially say that you are funnier than the cat vs. butterfly video. Thanks for giving me the chance to test it out. :)

      Delete
  16. Ha! My husband and I play "Hipster or homeless?" all the time. We live in a university town, so there are a lot of both. My fancy writing clothes include flannel pajama bottoms and my Teen Titans hoodie. It allows me to leap over outlines, fight off urges to watch cat videos, and just write. I do have a fancy pen and I don't write with it... but it was a gift!

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    1. Yes! "Hipster or Homeless" is one of our favorite games, if only because we are ALWAYS wrong.

      My writing uniform: sweat pants and an old Cheech and Chong t shirt that's seen more mustard stains than a hot dog stand in an earthquake.

      Delete
  17. Glad to hear you're not listening to Enya. No one should ever listen to Enya.

    I admit I now write with an expensive pen. It's not my fault though. I used to swear by my dollar store fountain pen, but then my boss bought me an expensive pen and it is in fact a spectacular pen. Even if the ink refills cost $18.00 each.

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    1. An $18 ink refill sure beats having to throw it away and buy another pen. And at least you write with it. I gave up on writing with pen and paper. My handwriting is so atrocious I just end up having to decipher it after, like some kind of archaeologist decoding hieroglyphics.

      Also, I have never met anyone that likes listening to Enya, and yet she has millions upon millions of hits on YouTube and something like 15 albums. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

      Delete
  18. Ah, crap. I write my few pages of outline with G-2 pens that I buy at Target. Now I have to go rewrite the entire thing. Butt in chair and write is the best advice ever.

    Susan Says

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    1. Ah, so you have one of those fancy Tar-JHAY pens. I'm more of a Bic kind of guy, in that they come in packs of roughly 1,000 because they know you're just going to lose all of them.

      Delete
  19. I have a fancy pen that I actually write with. I'm completely in the "just write" school of thought. Except right now I'm wasting time blogging instead... (But hey, I already did 40k words this month and that was a lot of work.)

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    1. I wouldn't consider blogging a waste of time, at least not compared with the alternative of reaching level 129 on Candy Crush. And 40k this month? You're like your own personal NaNoWriMo.

      Delete
    2. That's true.

      I was actually aiming for 60k, but... meh.

      Delete
    3. Wow. Dream big, right? I don't think I could write that many words in a month even if I just pounded my hands against the keyboard until I broke all of my fingers.

      Delete
  20. Fuck! I'll never be a writer! Oh, never mind, I never had that kind of ambition or imagination. For a moment I thought I might have to listen to Enya until I shove a (expensive) pen in my ears. The only parts I have right are the crappy clothes and facial hair. Hey maybe someone will mistake me for a writer if I get drunk, too! Cool! Now I know what I am dressing as for Halloween! Thanks, guys!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The old adage always holds true: "Fake it till you make it." Also, if you're worried about looking TOO homeless, just put on a pair of glasses. That's really the only defining difference between a homeless person and a writer.

      Delete
  21. I love all you do, and this is no exception - especially because I loathe people expelling formulas for being a successful writer. Like you say, just shut the fuck up, sit down, and write.

    How did you get that dog face on the disappointed dad's shirt? That's awesome stuff. And thanks for making me laugh with the insertion of "dumbass."

    PS Excel spreadsheets go in the same category as counting words and using fancy pens. If only people would just read your full post, shut the fuck up, and write.

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    1. Oh suh-nap. You fucking rock, did you know that?

      Also, that's not "disappointed dad". That's MY dad. He has a porno mustache and wears those cheesy wolf t-shirts and yes, wears a fanny pack. And I still love the shit out of him. I got that pug on there using Photoshop (as God intended).

      And hey, I'll have you know I wrote 20,000 words last week. They aren't any good and they're just going to be self-published and read by no one, but I still wrote them, SO BE IMPRESSED! (Can you tell NaNoWriMo is coming?)

      Delete
    2. In that case, your dad fuckin rocks and pink fanny pack. The pornostache? Not so much.
      God's Photoshop: Proof that life works as it was meant to.
      20,000 is impressive, no matter the quality.
      You fuckin rock too. Though some might consider this blogging thing a waste of time, I wouldn't have met you otherwise. Plus, doh, it's a highly effective means of furthering our writing careers. There's that.
      Happy Monday.

      Delete
    3. Let it be known that uploading relevant GIFs via blog is NEVER a waste of time.

      Delete
    4. Not at all. I just watched that creature type two weeks worth of NaNoWriMoFo. He's halfway there, and he's just a GIF.

      Delete
  22. Funny stuff. I confess I've done a few of these things. I haven't made a soundtrack for my novel, though every now and again I hear a song and think, "Gigi would dig this song." I don't think that's the same thing, but who knows? I do remember reading something in which someone said they listened to ONE song on repeat while they wrote an entire novel. I know if I did that there would be no novel. There would be one crazy person ready for permanent residence in the mental hospital.

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    1. I kinda feel like any good writer worth their salt (whatever the hell that means) is just one shared idea away from being committed to a mental hospital. I've heard of writers that have "special writer socks" and can only write in them. Our gang is full of crazy. But because we're classically introverts, we don't share a lot of that out loud. Thank God.

      And hey, we've done a few of these ourselves. As mentioned, it's not a bad thing, just don't get carried away. You have a completed novel whereas others would just have 100 pages worth of character sheets and quotes they really want to squeeze in there somehow. I'd say you've got this writer thing down okay.

      Delete
  23. Wow I never knew you're lives were so interesting or dangerous!

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    1. When your job is just to make shit up it's easy to have an interesting/dangerous/sexy life. Just make it up. For others it's lying, for writers it's called fiction.

      Delete
  24. BIC - Butt in chair, a writing mantra I learned on another blog, and then the writer has to pound that keyboard or as you say, actually create words. And that can be hard when everything and everyone wants to interfere. . . however too much BIC will cause other problems, so a little walking and musing and using that grey matter (as Poirot says) will help. Creating long sentences is sometimes effective, too. Creates a literary effect. I wonder how 'looking like a writer' differs for women as opposed to men - the elbow patches, ok, facial hair, no, drinking - only French wine pour moi. Probably the Boho look would do for women. . .thanks, guys, I learn so much at this blog. PS - I prefer moustaches to beards, unless you're going for the Hemingway look.

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    1. I don't think either of us have nearly enough white in our hair to pull off the distinguished beard that Hemingway rocked. I guess we'll just stick to shaving and getting mistaken for adolescent boys.

      BIC - Butt in Chair - I like that. And isn't that the truth? It's already hard enough to find quiet writing time without getting interrupted by a phone call or a text or your spouse wanting to tell you their every thought or a dog projectile vomiting. I'll take all the BIC time I can get. I can't imagine using possible BIC time for just slacking off. My grey matter depends on it!

      Delete
  25. So that's what I've been doing wrong. Or is it right? Actually maybe I'm not doing many of these things.

    I do carry a nice looking pen in my pocket. It's not a $50 pen, but it looks like it. In fact my wife borrowed it to write a check a few months back and got really pissed off at me because she figured I had some girlfriend who had given me a fancy pen as a love gift. I should be so lucky. Actually the pen was a free gift from some fancy literary folio society that wanted me to buy their overpriced books. It took a while for me to convince my wife where I actually got the pen.

    During the summer my granddaughter asked me why I always carried a pen in my pocket like I was some kind of anachronism. All right! No wise ass comments from you guys.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Don't you love that if you suddenly have something really nice in your possession, the wife has to assume it was given to you by a lover? Like there's some magical woman on the side showering you with gifts. My wife didn't even shower me with gifts when we were first dating. What makes her think some side hoe is going to do that?

      Also, no wise comments here. We say better to keep a pen in your pocket than not. You don't know how many times we've gone to sign a book for someone and realize that neither of us has a pen. Then we get the invariable "ah, a writer without a pen" joke. So it seems you can't win either way.

      Delete
    2. Actually, when my wife and I were first dating one of the gifts I gave her was a fancy pen. Hmmm, maybe I planted those seeds of suspicion.

      Arlee Bird
      A to Z Challenge Co-host
      Wrote By Rote

      Delete
  26. I was getting worried there for a minute, all of that stuff that I just wasn't doing! Relieved to know that all I have to do is write.
    Then again, I find that hard enough!

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    1. Yeah, right? Just sitting down and writing well is already hard enough without cluttering it up with a bunch of unnecessary busywork. "Well, I should probably work on the novel that means everything to me and would ideally launch my career, but first I should probably Google celebrities that I think would best fit the characters and make a collage." Who thinks like that?

      Delete
  27. That's probably the best thing I've ever seen everyone's favorite insane actor do.
    And I've liked some of the things he's done.
    And I know some of the people that do this stuff.

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    1. I think he's the right type of insane for now. He's not unlikable. He's not yet Gary Busey. Or Tom Cruise. Who are the bad kind of insane.

      Delete
  28. Do bangs count as facial hair? I don't do outlines, or sketches (lousy at plotting and drawing) but I did skip straight to the alcoholism and banging head on the desk. Shia is growing up nicely; think he's datable yet?

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    1. He's yours as soon as he's out of prison. Or detox. Or prison detox. He gets arrested a lot.

      I find that for banging your head on your desk it helps if you've been drinking. And if you have killer bangs. Creates a bit of cushioning. See? You've got this all figured out. You didn't even need us.

      Delete
  29. Sounds like a lot of hard work. I just skipped straight ahead to step 15.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think 15 is a prerequisite to becoming a writer. Especially once they learn you won't actually ever be making any money.

      Delete
  30. Shut the fuck up, Shia. I refuse to be bullied, rejected, and sued. That's what would happen if I wrote something other than my blog. I'm surprised I've gotten away with my blog this long.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give it time. The trolls will come. And when they do, they aren't gonna know what fucking hit them. Everyone else probably knows better than to mess with you.

      Also, we've always kinda wanted to be sued. It would be hilarious, and surely laughed out of court (parody protection), and frankly, an excuse to leave the house for a few days.

      Delete
    2. I've had some nasty comments. I even made my blog private for a while. Then people stopped picking on me and turned up for the silly stories and movies reviews and FRANKLIN FRIDAY. I don't have much trouble, but I can't write a book. It would somehow lead to a lawsuit. I'm alone. I can't cope with that. Penelope definitely can't handle it.

      Delete
  31. Good grief. Everything was going good until you threw Shia in there. Just Do It!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let him serve as a warning for all; if you don't follow your dreams, a deranged Shia LeBeouf will come yell at you.

      Delete
  32. There's great truth in this blog bit! (Well, there's some truth, anyway.)

    Yeah, in the first screenplay I wrote (it was also the last) my main character, Billy Withers, was a young, nerdy White writer who gets drunk often and makes bad life choices. That was secretly supposed to be me.

    My second main character, Billie Clayton, was a young, hip and sassy Black chick who gets drunk often and makes bad life choices. She was ALSO secretly supposed to be me.

    You'll note that both characters were young. ...And drunks. ...And made bad life choices. That's how you could tell that both characters were secretly me. (And here I thought I was being so original and cleverly concealing the secret.)

    My next screenplay is going to be about an old, White security guard who gets drunk often and makes bad life choices. I'm gonna go in a totally different direction next time, and stop putting aspects of myself into the characters I write. Maybe I'll find more writerly success that way. And if not, I'll just go on to become a freedom fighter fighter dude.

    ~ Stephen
    'Loyal American Underdog'

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    Replies
    1. You might think that it's a secret, but we all know you're a hip, sassy black chick. It shows in your writing. Maybe one day people will notice in our writing that we're really a 6 year old Chinese boy creating blog posts in the basement of a Nike factory.

      Delete
  33. Yikes... a fanny pack. So you have your mom's eyes and nose and your dad's eyebrows. I had no idea. But then again, I'm not very imaginative, so it's a good thing to know what I should wear and do in order to become a first rate writer. Thanks for the tips. Yikes... a fanny pack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually do have my mom's eyes/nose and my dad's eyebrows. I guess my cartooning has gotten good enough that I can convey that. I did not inherit my dad's love for the fanny pack, however. I'm more about that sexy ass manbag.

      Delete
  34. The stories I have written (which have never gone past hand-written first draft, for all their potential) have always been written like I'm reading a comic book- plot twists at the end of each chapter, can't wait to see what happens next- and never a clue of where it's going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That could either be really awesome or really terrible depending on the plot twists. Like, if you're going the Mexican soap opera route and the twist is that Eduardo's wife is really his secret twin sister who got a facial transplant, then yeah, it's probably bad.

      Delete
  35. All your parents need to do is add a little white lie....."My son, the millionaire, sits around in his underwear eating Cheetos all day..."

    You're certain to earn more than a million dollars over your lifetime, and will probably amass more than that in your retirement account, so at some point you will be a millionaire...they're juts bragging about it now.

    It's just like lying about your age to get into a bar when you're 19. Only different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Retirement account? What's that? You mean the piggy bank on my dresser? Yeah, that's got a pretty solid $3.67. Hoping to save up for a bitchin' car wash.

      Also, I'd try that, but those old ladies are pretty nosy and pushy, which is a terrible combination. "If he's a millionaire then why are you still driving your old beat up car? He doesn't even love you enough to get you a new car with alllllll of that money he has?"

      Delete
    2. It's because you're an eccentric millionaire

      Delete
  36. The internet taught me how to evaluate your conclusion... If I agree with you, you must be right. So you're spot-on, my friends. Just write.

    I've told people that a number of times... just get something down; you can make it pretty (or make it make sense) later. That's when it's time to "Just Edit."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pssh, we're always right. Just wait until election season when we tell you how you should be voting. 2016 is all about the write-in. We're pulling for Chef Boyardee but we're waiting to see how Joe Mama does in the primaries.

      Delete
  37. haha - This was delightfully funny to read. I know I've never written a novel but, I have a couple of rough draft short stories. Sometimes, when I write I like to open some wine and put on some music and let the words flow. I once went to the wine store to get a bottle as I felt like writing and relaxing not that I needed said bottle of wine but, it loosens up the mind. So, I go to the store and they are having a wine tasting and there are a few people there and the owner pulls me over to taste test. Instead of a sip he is giving me full glasses and then tries to sell me the expensive stuff and he says this would go great with steak. I said look I'm not cooking dinner, I am going to write some poetry and he looks at me puzzled and says would that be red or white? I just about spit my wine out laughing So, what do writers drink red or white? I read an article that drinking red wine makes you dream more vividly so, perhaps red. lol..ok not sure why I shared all that..quietly leaving...

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    1. Maybe it's all the red wine? Either way we enjoyed the hell out of your comment. That might be the most whimsical writing distraction either of us has ever heard of. Like, when ours are interesting it's usually something like, "Figured I might go to the liquor store to grab some beer for while I write. On the way there a homeless guy started throwing scabs at me and screaming that I was reading his thoughts."

      I don't know what all writers drink, but I drink white wine because I'm clearly a small child and I need sugar in what I drink. A dry, unsweetened red wine, on the other hand, tastes like paint thinner to me. And I don't know anyone who can write well while drinking paint thinner.

      Delete
  38. OMG, so glad I cMe by today. Turns out I've been dong this writer thing all wrong. I generally just sit down and let the ideas flow into the page. YIKES! I better run right out and buy an expensive pen, that facial hair is gonna.be a problem, though.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You can just buy glue-on facial hair. That's what I have to do. Between the baby face and the Native American facial hair traits (or lack thereof) I have this to look forward to for the rest of my life.

      Delete
    2. THAT? Looks like a misshapen manpart, not anyone's head
      I am impressed. Is he single?
      XoXo
      ~ PolishSpring

      Delete
    3. Trust me, you don't want to date that guy. He's a bit of a crybaby and he still shits himself from time to time.

      Delete
  39. Wait, where's your kitty break, and snack break, and second lunch break, and another kitty break....? It seems you have forgotten things, good sirs.

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    1. We figured it was a given that the cat would be along for the entire ride, and that there would be plenty of snacks for everyone. Any writer with a cat can tell you that their workstation looks like this at pretty much any given time that they're working.

      Delete
  40. Step 6 is often my favorite, so naturally I laughed at it until I realized it had my name all over it.

    I make intense backgrounds and then get bored with whatever story I was getting into. It served me really well when I made a Zork-like game years ago. It's impossible to write something like that without intense backgrounds, and for some reason I never left the habit.

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    Replies
    1. I know that feel re: Step 6. I'm a rewards based type of guy. But I'm really fucking bad at it. "I just wrote one paragraph. Let's play 2 hours of video games to celebrate." Why, at the time, does that seem like a logical thing to do?

      As for backgrounds, we're the opposite. We're more in the camp of "let's make this all straight forward and if background stuff comes up, we'll deal with it then. Fly by the seat of our asses. And, you know, just hope it doesn't fuck everything up." And hey, so far so good!

      Delete
    2. I reward myself for an opening sentence every time I write about an album. Every time. It works, though. I think for me it's a confidence boost. As for the backgrounds, no, you guys got it down. There's really only minimal background necessity to make a story happen. I just.. like that process.

      Delete
    3. Now about this Zork-like game...

      ( ͡°╭͜ʖ╮͡° )

      Delete
  41. Not gonna lie, I would totally wear a fake mustache to write a novel. Then I'll be like, "Yeah two drunk guys from the Internet told me to and now I'm a rich book writer person!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! And then at that point you should probably whip out your gigantic burlap money sack with a dollar symbol on the front so as to demonstrate your appropriate wealth.

      Delete
  42. Someone pointed out that Westeros is basically the United Kingdom flipped upside down

    ReplyDelete
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    1. No kidding. If that's the case, then... WHAT THE HELL TAKES HIM SO LONG TO WRITE THOSE DAMN BOOKS?

      Delete
  43. Sorry to your dad but I refer to fanny packs as colostomy bags. I have a friend who would love that Pug t-shirt since she is a bit, how should I say, freeko for pugs. I have read all these suggestions about writing which has actually scared the living S&*%$ out of me...not that it is living but you get what I mean. Now I don't have arm pads on any blazer and only own a bic pen but I have used tweezers to pull an errant hair off my chin, does that mean I could be a future writer?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. No hurt feelings here. I think that's hilarious. In fact, I'll have to remember the colostomy bag remark. Brings a whole new meaning to giving him shit about his bad fashion sense.

      Also, you painted one hell of a picture there with the colostomy bag reference and the description of tweezers plucking an errant chin hair. I can still see it in my head. It haunts me. If that isn't a writerly accomplishment, I don't know what is.

      Delete
  44. Sooooo, in other words...dress like you are a hipster who has just moved to Portland? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! You want to be able to exude a hipsterish level of smugness that says "You may think you understand writing, but you'll never understand it like I do."

      Delete
  45. No facial hair, no hipsterish anything, only occasionally smug... damn, I'll never be a writerly writer.

    Oh wait, I knew that already.

    Your man card is hereby revoked btw and your manly epaulettes ripped off and tossed in the bin. S when do you want your case of beer? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you more than make up for that by writing words that don't suck. We forgot to mention that, but your average writer isn't very good (sorry, cold hard truth) and about 80-90% have to fart around with all of the stuff in this post as compensation.

      Also, let's be honest, I probably lost my man card years ago. What you have is just an expired punch card for frozen yogurt that I scribbled "man card" on. I blame it on too much dance walking, which may or may not have appeared mysteriously on Brandon's alleyway security camera one day.

      Delete
  46. Dear A Beer For The Shower,

    I was very disappointed in your "latest" "post." I have been writing "The Antoine Annals," which begins with Volume I ("His Formative Years") and concludes at Volume XIV ("Epylogue") and details the adventures of an academic who is pursuing his masters in post-Kennedy-pre-Nixonian world literature but who never quite gets his thesis completed because he is constantly having to save the world from a variety of mythical creatures that get unleashed from his imagination while he sleeps, and also he gets to at least second base with the barista from Peet's down the street, and here you go MOCKING the Process?

    What do you know about "writing" "books?" I have many writer's guides on "my" "shelf" that demonstrate how well the Process you are mocking here "works." Someday when you line up outside Borders to buy Volume VII ("The Barista And The Dragon And How They Were Saved By Someone Who Is Not Merely An Avatar Of The Author") you will wish you hadn't laughed at this, especially when you see that I am cast as the lead in that movie. Also, I am going to make the gargoyles in the spin-off series of shorts I am planning to help promote each volume look like YOU. So that will teach you."

    In closing, as Thunderware The Eldest tells Grimlock The Undying in what will probably be Volume XII (tentative title "These Are Real Names Tolkien Might Have Used") "Mock me not, mere mortals, for you will never understand me."

    Sincerely,

    A Better Foe Than Some.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear author,

      Thank you for submitting your comment to our webpage. Unfortunately, we can only accept a certain number of comments, and your comment just does not seem like the right fit for our webpage. We will be returning your 500,000 word manuscript, along with the 7 foot by 4 foot hand drawn map of "West Southfrenulum" and the heavily pornographic gay fan art sketches of Thunderware the Eldest and Grimlock the Undying that you keep insisting on sending to us. Please stop e-mailing us. You're making our intern vomit.

      Regards,
      Admin

      Delete
  47. I just finished reading The Dark Tower series, and though I thought it was a pretty fun read, I cringed every time Stephen king forced himself into the novel. He then painfully tried to make himself seem dopey as to not come off as egotistical, but damn, if those weren't the worst parts of that series.

    Also, I shamefully admit that listening to music while driving is where I come up with most of my ideas for writing. Also, I outlined my current work, but when I started writing, I completely disregarded the outline.

    Also, one thing that's been suggested on Reddit countless times is to spend at least a third of your lifetime editing the same piece of writing.

    "Hey Reddit, I've finished my novel, now what?"
    "Edit some more."
    "But I've already edited it three times. I think I'm ready to submit it someplace."
    "Is that a joke? You should edit it at least eighty-two times, and that's only if you don't truly care about the novel."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We both loved The Dark Tower series and always think back on it fondly... but I think I willfully forgot the whole Stephen King writing himself into it thing so as not to ruin the entire series, because everything about that particular part was just bad. And cringeworthy. Writing yourself into your own novel is just its own special breed of "what the fuck" egotism. Dear writers: don't do that. Ever.

      Also, gotta love Reddit writers, where everyone is an expert, while having only ever put out really bad fan fiction or creepypastas. "Uh, you should listen to my advice, Chiz. My creepypasta DID get 300 upvotes last month, so I think I know what I'm talking about."

      Delete
  48. Dang. And all this time I was doing it wrong, although I do have the facial hair down pat. Guess I'll go bang my head on a keyboard until inertia sets in. Or a concussion.

    Amazon

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sometimes I like to bang comments into the keyboard with my forehead and if I do say so myself hghsshfgssh kjfgjh jhsgsgfhgh hh; sg6

      Delete
  49. You mean to write, I just write? No pens. No alcohol. No garb that makes me feel like La Femme Nikita? No outlines, or procrastination?

    Just write, huh? Well, damnit! If I could just sit my ass in a chair and write every day, I'd pump out books like Danielle Steele and Nicholas Sparks. :D

    *sighs* Woe is me. I'll get that bestseller published by the end of the year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The output you really want to shoot for is James Patterson, where you put out so many books you no longer even write them yourself. And I mean, how great is that? You don't even need this post because you don't have to actually even write!

      Delete
  50. I failed at the first step - not having facial hair. I'll have to work on that. ;0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like everything else in this world if you can't grow it, buy it. Sure works for boobs.

      Delete
  51. *snort* It's only funny because it's true!!! ;)

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  52. Are you sure that you've included enough breaks throughout the day? Writers need to spend hours keeping up their disheveled appearances, and fake mustache grooming doesn't come easy. Sadly, I'm starting to look like one of those writers, sans the elbow patches. There was a corrupt prison guard on Orange is the New Black named "Pornstache," but he didn't wear a pink fanny pack. This was great, and I'm sure your parents are proud of you!

    Julie

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    Replies
    1. We were going to include a part about taking more breaks but we ended up just taking a break instead. Writing blog posts is hard work!

      I've seen that character, and I'll have to start calling my dad Pornstache. He's been rocking it since the 70s (the true pornstache era) and just never stopped. Maybe it just hasn't stopped raining ladies since 1972.

      Delete
  53. Where can I get a tshirt like your dad's???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can get one right here and if you're smart you'll order 7 so you can have one for every single day of the week.

      Delete
  54. Well damn!
    I already have a womb broom. Full beards are out of the question, though. Just think of the novels I could write with a full beard...

    Oh, and by the way, I haven't started reading Lovely Death yet because the delivery guy slipped it between my screen door and my front door. Who the hell uses the front door. It sat there for a week. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonus points if you grow a beard so thick it connects with your chest hair.

      Also, we're convinced that delivery guys are just all out to fuck with us. One time a small, completely flat package was put under my welcome mat... and I didn't notice for a whole week. Stepped on it all week, too. The delivery guy hadn't rung the bell to signal that he was here (I'm home all day), and it was something sent by a friend as a surprise so I wasn't expecting its arrival.

      I understand wanting to hide it, but if you hide it and then sneak off without so much as knocking, that seems like it kind of defeats the point.

      Delete
  55. I'm currently taking a break from my first break, because *that* break was tiring. Then, I'm working (mentally) on my playlist, because you guys are right . . . the playlist is essential for good writing. In between the break and the mental playlist, I'm also practicing to not drop my alcohol on my laptop while I work, it takes practice, but I'm up for the challenge.

    Eventually, I'll just sit down, shut up, and write. Maybe . . . . I mean, if it wasn't so much work. ;)

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    1. Whew, I'm exhausted just reading this comment. Better take a break before I dive into that playlist I'm going to create for our next novel. There is going to be SO much Adele. Bring tissues.

      Delete
  56. You forgot to burn "inspiration" scented candles all around your office while standing on your head to increase blood flow to your brain.

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    Replies
    1. Last time I did that I passed out unconscious and burnt my house down but maybe I'm just not a good enough writer.

      Delete
  57. How did I miss this post? It was awesome. For me though, the best part was "music: not by Enya!! I'm still cracking up.

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    1. Hey, thanks! Enya makes us laugh, too. But not her album sales. As starving artists, that one's kinda depressing.

      Delete