Kung Fu Master Pen Monkey Chuck Wendig likes issuing flash fiction challenges. A while back he asked for a three sentence story, and I condensed a revenge tale of mine called “Two to Tango” into three brutal lines for him. He liked it so much he sent me a copy of his e-book 250 Things You Should Know About Writing, a compendium of his hilarious and incredibly helpful advice for writers. Go get it now, really. Okay, if Lawrence Block is reading this, he doesn’t have to listen. Or Neil Gaiman, he’s exempt. But the rest of you, including Philip Roth, should pick up a copy (it’s okay, Phil, it’s not a novel) and enjoy the hot knowledge injection to your pineal gland.
But I forgot that Chuck also said he’d send me a postcard, and it arrived last night. And let me tell you, it made my night. And my day. And my next night, and my next day. It’s like cocaine. Only better.
See, as a writer, I am plagued with Doubt. The Duke of Doubt from the ’80s Burger King commercials, he hovers over my shoulder and tells me things like, “just because readers like your stories doesn’t mean you can tackle a big ol’ novel. So what if you’re 42,000 words in and closing fast on the brutal climax (ed. a great name for a rock band -Dave Barry) and you’ve finally gotten to the really fun parts where all three storylines converge and you realize, childhood, prison and a revenge spree have a disturbing amount in common? You should stop writing it, and go write a story, because that’s EASY. You know you can write one of those.”
And that’s when Chuck Wendig’s postcard flew out of my mailbox and severed the Duke of Doubt’s pharynx like a pen monkey shuriken laced with special sauce. Repeat after me:
I am the Commander of these words.
I am the King of this story.
I am the God of this place.
I am a Writer, and I will Finish the Shit that I Started.
It was like that kung fu flick Circle of Iron where the dude fights for this secret book that shows the secrets of mastering his art, and he opens it, and there’s a mirror. He also wrote some cute ‘n cuddly stuff on the other side that you will not be privy to. Let’s just say we’re both married men with wild thatchy beards and do a web search on “hot bear man love,” and you’ll figure it out. And because there’s nothing wrong with that, I am very proud to be Chuck’s special bear buddy.
(This is how I check to see who reads the whole blog post).
But seriously folks, to name my favorite Joe Walsh album, Chuck gave me the boost I needed. And he has a couple books coming out soon that will kick your ass. One’s called Double Dead and is about a vampire- not one of them pussy vampires either- vs. a horde of zombies. But even better, he has an e-book series about a bullied high school girl named Atlanta Burns who racks the slide and serves up an Elvis-size portion of SHOTGUN GRAVY. I got my copy, now go get yours. His kind words about my writing would only mean so much if he weren’t a mad-killer wordslinger himself. Quit denying yourself the pleasure like a tantric sex weirdo, and go get some.
© 2011 Thomas Pluck