[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]
SUMMONING NEIL GAIMAN
Hello All, Melanie here!
Writing is tough work but, as Sir Terry Pratchett once said, “it’s the most fun anyone can have by themselves.” Or something to that effect.
As I’ve been reading Writer X’s emails, I have noticed that she’s writing a lot less than usual despite her best (flawed) efforts. I’ve been thinking long and hard what advice I would give her to get her novel written if I thought she would actually listen to it. It’s been harder to come up with something than I thought.
What I have noticed is that she doesn’t seem to know what her novel is about and, if you don’t have some sense of this, however vague, you won’t have anything to write. I think one place she might like to start is by journaling and free writing on what she wants this story to do, what sounds fun to her. Sometimes the best way to get started on a novel is to get started on dreaming.
Or, you know, you could do whatever it is she’s got going on here.
Without further ado…
Subject: THINGS FOR THE RITUAL
I have a writing emergency. I am going to need you to bring me the following items:
- A High Quality Fountain Pen
- A Loaf of Sour Dough that is SHAPED LIKE A CIRCLE BECAUSE THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW IT”S REALL!!
- A black Leuchtturm 1917 Hardcover Notebook
- A pair of black Dr. Martens 1460 boots
- Five or Six black tshirts
- A black sweater
- A coat with many many pockest
- A head with perpetually mussed hair
- A signed copy of SANDMAN
- A chimney sweep that can remove this bloke stuck in my chimney [UNRELATED]
I’ll explain later.
Subject: Getting to the bottom of this!!!!!
Let’s cut right to the quick. As you know I am the next big epic fantasy writer of all time and I have one question for you?
WHY HAVEN’T I PUBLISHED A BOOK YET??????
And I finally have the answer: IT’S NEIL GAIMAN’S FAULT
I know, I know, it took me a LOT of thinking to figure this out, but let me explain how I discovered this.
It all started yesterday when I went on a writerly inspiration trip to BAM! As you know, I have cut off ALL of my non-writing activities, but going to BAM! to surround myself with THE GREATS is basically the same thing as writing actual words.
Only instead of being inspired by the 30% price stickers on the faces of all the hardcover fantasy books, I was FILLED WITH HORRRORER. I saw a LOT of books by new authors I DON’T RECOGNIZE in the FANTSAY SECTION and I don’t even know what is happening anymore!!!
If anyone deserves to have a book published, it is DEFINITLY ME and yet I have LOCKED myself in my isolation box for the last two weeks (which is my bedroom with seven locks on the door) and haven’t come out except for my trip to the Walrus party and my trip to BAM! and the three trips I made to the farmer’s market in the town green to load up on pumpkin projectiles, the brief escape I made when I got a groupon for 55% off an indoor surfing experience, and the one teensy weeny time I ran down a locksmith van because I thought it was a taco truck and in spite of that INCREDIBLE dedication
I HAVEN’T WRITTEN ONE WORD!!!!
Meanwhile, my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod Boakins, has informed me that he has written 21,000 words to his second novel and I can’t have him publish yet ANOTHER book while I’m sitting here producing NOTHING.
Every day I sit here and I get ready to write my brand new story but then I ALWAYS find something else to do. That looks like a GRAND CONSPIRACY to me, Gladys!!! When are these words going to write themselves?????
Then I went through my notes and I saw that at this time last year I was getting A LOT of writing done on my abandoned-book-that-shall-not-be-named. Obviously I have been able to write a lot of words int he passed so that means that not getting any writing done ISN’T my fault.
That means it’s someone else’s fault and through careful and complex calculations I was able to deduce that it is NEIL GAIMAN’S fault.
And you know how I came to that conclusion????
Hang on, Gladys, it just occurred to me that I haven’t told any of this to the man stuck in my chimney yet. I’m going to go talk to him and then I’ll send you another email with the rest of my story.
Subject: THE REST OF MY STORY
And you know how I came to that conclusion????
Last year I was visited IN A DREAM by Neil Gaiman. It’s extremely clear to me that the reason I haven’t been able to generate words in my new story is not because I haven’t “made myself sit down, turn off distractions, and learn how to put one word after until a draft is written” (thanks but no thanks MISTER TOD BOADKINS for THAT little piece of USELESS advice) it is OBVIOUSLY because I haven’t been visited by the Neil Gaiman Book Fairy.
Now, I don’t know what Neil Gaiman has been up to that has made him forget to visit me so that I can write my next big epic fantasy novel, but I have learned that, in life, you can’t wait for things to come to you, you have to SUMMON them with a magic ritual on a full moon.
Please see my email from a frew hours ago in which I sent you an itemized list of all the things I will need in order to summon Neil Gaiman to my house so that I can finally get WRODS on a pAge and be published like I DESERVE!!!!!
And if you don’t believe me that this is the best approach, then you should definitely believe the man in my chimney. He says that he’s very evil and had been sawed in half in 1823 but is kept “quickened” by dark forces, and has some experience with magic rituals and says that OBVIOUSLY this is what I need to do. Although he did talk a lot about setting up soul traps in the “hinterplaces of thine keep” so that he could finally be joined together again and become the great and powerful undead warlock of West Grape Street as he once was when he was a living and mortal man, but I think he kinda got off track there.
Anyhow, Gladys, waiting for you to bring all the things because this draft won’t write itself!!!!!