So, right. I saw this thing yesterday on one of the writing pages I follow on Facebook, Ray Bradbury was quoted as saying “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
I thought, “Well, that’s horseshit.”
Because you know what, there are people who’ve never written anything good in their whole entire lives, that’s just the facts, and also, there are people who got a raw deal, okay.
Like for instance, I remember this one fanfic author–but let me just stop myself right there and say, there are some brilliant, gorgeous, incredible works of fanfiction, okay, it only has a bad reputation because people who want to laugh at fans seek out the dumbest, cruddiest, sleaziest stuff they can find, as if nothing dumb, cruddy and sleazy has ever made it to a publishing house.
This was a slash author (an author of romantic and/or erotic same-sex pairings of canonically heterosexual characters) and bless her soul, she’d set herself the task of writing tag and/or fixit stories for every episode of this one TV series.
It was a terrible series, okay, just, just breathtakingly stupid, and poorly written, besides, and the performances, my God, the performances, that crap shack had more ham in it than the Meat section at Safeway on Christmas Eve. Besides all that, it was one of those shows with a revolving door of love interests, which…
Look, put yourself in this author’s place. You have created an alternate universe in which the two men you’re writing about are in a loving, committed, ongoing relationship, and you’ve set yourself the task of writing that into stories about every episode of the show they’re in, even as they bang lady after lady after lady on that show.
That, and the usual assortment of conflicts and rifts shows use to create dramatic tension between the characters you’ve come to love, and the Weird Stuff specific to this series.
My point–made at considerable length, I admit–is that this woman wrote 52 bad short stories in a row. 52 bad short stories at least. And she wasn’t a bad writer, okay. She wasn’t great, but she was all right. Serviceable. There was just no possible way she could achieve what she’d set out to do and not send it straight down the terlet from the git-go.
You can only handwave all those ladies as smokescreens or involuntary, drug-induced accidents or undercover operations or etc. so many times before it becomes obvious that you drank yourself to sleep right after the credits ran. You can only have those guys go home and snuggle or whatever after some interpersonal catastrophe so many times before they start to come off like a couple of horny psychopaths.
You can absolutely write 52 bad short stories in a row, without even trying, and my goal is to prove that over the course of the next year. I may not reach my goal, you understand. I could die. I could get bored with it, like I did when I decided to write a poem every day. But I’m going to try, and if even one of them turns out to be worth your time, I’ll… I don’t even know what.
I’ll boggle; yes.