So, you know Kristin Lamb? I was just looking at…
No? No, seriously? Kristin Lamb? #MyWANA? http://www.warriorwriters.wordpress.com?
Oh, honey, you gotta get out more. Or stay in more. Or something.
Anyway, I was just looking at a recent post, “Ten ways for an ADD writer to be… OOH! SHINY!… Productive.” Now, first of all, this is a great post. GREAT post. Something for everyone (at least everyone who doesn’t have iron clad focus, which is most of us to one degree or another.) My favorite tip is her “Swiss Cheese Approach,” which is the same general idea as “Knock a Hole In It” — everything looks easier after you hack some chunks out of it. The really important point is this: once you have a solid sense of all the parts of a project, you do not have to start at the beginning. Unless you’re in construction — in which case yes, please, start with the foundation. But otherwise, if the very first part holds no appeal, by all means, knock a hole somewhere else.
Then, somewhat by the way as a sort of We Are Not Alone inspiration, Kristin Lamb wrote:
“It writes the words or it gets the hose.”
OH MY GOD. See, this probably seemed like just a quippety quip to her, something the muses flang her way in a moment of schmabulosity, but you don’t understand.
This is a line from “The Silence of the Lambs”. It is said to a character named Catherine Martin (played by Brooke Smith).
Catherine Martin is my HERO.
Now, the movie is not for everyone — what with the kidnapping and murder and eating of body parts with fava beans and a nice chianti — but Catherine Martin is, and here’s why:
In a nutshell, Catherine Martin is every straight-up awesome friend you have, driving back to her apartment complex one night, singing along to Tom Petty: “Oh yeah, all right, take it easy baby, make it last (make it last all night), she was an American girl…”.
She is, in fact, an American girl. Thus, when she arrives home, she is a) helpful enough and b) strong enough to take one end of the couch for the guy with the full arm cast who is trying (and failing) to heft it into his truck.
But she is an American girl. So if the bad guy is clever enough to get her into his truck and slam the door and take her to his spooky-a$$ lair and drop her down a dry well, he ought to be clever enough to know that you really shouldn’t kidnap an American girl and drop her down a dry well because she will lure your fluffy little one-stomp dog down there and she will kill it if you don’t let her out.
Oughtn’t he? He ought.
Catherine Martin is why “it writes the words or it gets the hose” is so brilliant as a motivator. Because when Catherine Martin hears those infuriating words (which, in the film, are actually “it uses the lotion or it gets the hose” but that’s a whole other story) she does not cringe or cower. (Much.) For the most part, she’s just mad as hell. And she’s using all that anger as fuel while she plots her escape. Which involves a healthy dose of revenge, because guess what?
She keeps the bad guy’s dog.
So “it writes the words or it gets the hose” works for me. Not because of the hose. Because screw you, that’s why.
Oh, and, P.S.?
I’m keeping the novel.