Monday, August 6, 2012

ADDENDUM - History

I read and write. I write and read. They go hand in hand for me. I tell stories. I make them up in my head. If you cross my path, I'll probably make up a story about you. That's how it works in my brain.

Right now I am standing on a Brooklyn street corner(ish) and the man in the plaid shirt is:

A member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He only joined because his older brother did. He hates spaghetti with a passion because it reminds him of the worms his brother forcefed him when he was four.

And so it goes...I do this for everyone.

That's writing and it is just a part of me. Has been since I could form a conscious thought.

I've written crappy poetry. Crappy short stories. Crappy plays. Crappy screenplays.

I've written some stuff I am proud of. But it's a small percentage.

Am I a good writer? Shit, I don't know. Read the Mavis Gallant journal excerpts in The New Yorker (with what looks like a Doctor Obama on the cover) and you will have an insight into how I think about writing.

I don't write because I'm trying to get somewhere (lies!) but because I have to write. (Both are true.)

Acting is parallel to and completely separate from my writing. One informs the other, but they are wholly separate endeavors.

If I didn't act, I would still write.

If I didn't write, I would still act.

I don't know where my ideas come from.

I like the idea of picking them like rotting fruit from the branches of the collective unconscious.

I also like the idea that I have a muse (somewhere) who feeds me all the good stuff. (Lots of food analogies, I must be hungry.)

I sit down. I open my computer. I put my headphones in my ears. I turn on music. I put my fingers on MacBook keyboard. (Outrageous product placement in hopes of free stuff! Apple, I'm talking to you.)

I try and write 1500 words a day (that's Monday thru Friday for me) and that's it. Thats me. Amber. Writer. Numbnut extraordinaire.

(take a bow)
(get off the street corner)
(@darkoverorg hope this clears things up and makes us even Steven on the cheating)


  1. I like it... what you're saying. I create too, and it doesn't matter if it's crappy or brilliant; it's just a need I have to constantly be producing something. My muses come and go... the last one inspired a huge oil painting. Right now the Willow/Tara storyline is a muse for me (I'm a late bloomer on the Buffy side and only recently started watching on Netflix). That particular muse is helping me veer into a whimsical side. Fun times.

    If you ever want to add another facet to your writing, I need help with lyrics. Mine are self-diagnosed as crappy. Check my profile's url and go to music, and click on "Give Another Try" ....this one needs another try, a little tlc, and a good backstory concocted by someone who knows how to do it. I'm sure it would be less than your 1500 words per day.

    Throwin it out there! :)
    Have a good day.

  2. So, in a fit of goofiness a couple days ago I asked Twitter where they get their ideas from. The three first rapid answers:

    @professorsmind A mix of personal experience and pop culture influence

    @professorsmind dreams, everyday life, the little things people say but don't expect to be heard/remembered, books, movies, games :)

    @professorsmind Life.

    Truth is, writers (and all creative types) get there ideas from EVERYWHERE, EVERYTHING. It's life, in all it's grand epic moments, and quiet sad moments, and silent, still moments. Gum on your shoe to losing your best seems like it's all fodder. As a writer currently mental blocked about writing anything down (though the ideas don't stop making my brain feel like it's exploding) I really enjoyed reading this. While being a writer can be something you DO, it seems that normally it's more something you ARE.

  3. Well that's just uncanny... That's exactly how I feel! Well, except for the man on the street corner maybe. But still, I recognize how you feel about writing. I guess it would be nice to be published one day, but even if that never happened I would still write. Just because I want to. Because I need to. Because I have to.

  4. Joe aka AmberAddictAugust 6, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    First off wow 1500 words a day that's impressive is that all on one book/project or is just what comes to you first? (when you are not on a deadline I mean) Secondly I think Apple should give you free stuff just because you are Amber Benson and they should kill to have talented, famous people to use their products. Thirdly It must take great discipline to do that every day. I really enjoy your work and it brings a smile to my face sometimes when I really needed it. Thank you Amber!

  5. I watch and write. I write and watcg. They go hand in hand for me....

  6. Mateus Antonio BittencourtAugust 6, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I always wanna write something... I wrote a fanfiction one time. After i started a few short stories, but I realize that is far more easy to write based on other stories than started your one. I think that creating a universe, doesn't matter if is a book, comic book, tv show or etc, is amazing...

    And because I tried a few times... Without success, made me appreciate even more the marvelous works that other do.

    Any person who can create something and be proud of the work they done have my respect...

  7. (darkoverorg again :))
    This is exactly want I wanted to know. Thank you. As I said, I'm in your debt, big time.

    I have 2 problems in the way of my writing right now. The first is I have so many ideas, images, characters floating in my mind right now, I don't know how to start. Or even how to freeze frame them long enough to see what they are saying (or maybe I'm just schizophrenic, I haven't rules that one out yet). The second is figuring out how to start. So, in the mean time, I guess I will forget all that an just write. I started a blog (mostly for myself), and will do some free writing there. At the same time, I'm using one of those mind mapping tools to try and trap some of those ideas, and maybe later organize them into something bigger.

    Again Amber, thank you very much. I owe you a big debt of gratitude.

    1. A lot of ideas is a good thing. Allowing them to flutter about inside your head without having a way to capture them...well, I would call that frustrating at best.

      May I make a simple suggestion? Buy a stack of notebooks and start writing down these things. Even if they are faint glimpses of characters and ideas. Whenever I allow things to just flitter around inside my head, I'm as apt to loose them as to remember them over a prolonged period. Ideas, like dreams, can vanish when the conscious mind awakens to do whatever menial tasks need to be done throughout my day.

      However, if I can capture even a part of the original idea and the energy that came with it, I find I can more naturally expand on it, or maybe it gets used in some altered form down the line.

      Writing takes a bit of time and planning. If your sitting down to write and find yourself lost, or that not enough of the idea has emerged to tell a complete're not in foreign territory. On the other hand, as a novice, if you're expecting miracles to occur when facing the blank page, or some magical muse to give you ideas that are whole and complete, then I'm afraid you'll be waiting a very long time.

      These things happen very rarely. Writing takes work. And like any of the other arts, takes a lot of practice. The good news here is that you are totally and completely the god of your creative world. However, the characters need to be both interesting and flawed, have problems both relatable and insurmountable...and from those problems, needs, and wants, a plot is born.

      So a writer needs to be a bit of an architect, planning the layers that will eventually become the structure for your character's tale.

      The Beaty of capturing those ideas in a notebook is that you'll soon find on that sparks the strongest urge to write about. Give that character their own notebook and start asking questions about them. You could create a short biography, giving reasons as to why they feel and act as they do. Or you could start listing obstacles that will come between your character and reaching their goal. And if an IDE seems too cliched, or doen't spark the magic for me, I'll play agame of twenty questions, forcing myself to list twenty different options, then choosing the best one.

      How much planning you put into it is really up to you. I try to work my characters to the point that I feel I know them well enough to understand how they will respond to the situations i see occurring around me in daily life, on the news, or in other books I'm reading. And once I've lived with them for a little while, I'll find my writing about them goes much more smoothly.

      I may still have to stop and weigh the options along the way, but like all art, a basic sketch is needed at the very least before diving in.

      A pocket recorder is another good way to capture your ideas quickly.

      I hope this helps.

  8. I love the way you think, thank you for sharing!


  9. 1500 words a day... that's a really good idea!
    A bit ambitious for me... perhaps I'll start with 500 ;)

  10. I tell stories. I make them up in my head. If you cross my path, I'll probably make up a story about you. That's how it works in my brain.

    I'm pretty sure that is how it works in every (human) brain. We create stories same way we see face where there's only two dots and line. It is programmed into us. Most of those stories just stay inside of the brains that created them and soon new story flushes old one away.

  11. I've gone thru bursts where I write soemthing down on a regular recurring basis, but mostly it's brainchewing for me.

    PS If my story "Trayvers" is ever published any resemblance between character Camelia Garner and any real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  12. To say my muse is capricious is putting it very mildly. Sometimes I'll start a story, and three pages into it I get an idea for another one (not just a "Ooh! Here's a fun idea!" - a fully fledged plotling that needs to be fed or it won't ever shut up) and run with that one...until I get a thought for the one that got interrupted, or yet another idea for a different story.

    Sometimes, though, I go full-out on just one story and write until it's finished. And I don't mean just typing on the computer - I've been known to carry a notebook to work so I can hurriedly write between bites of food on break, or even eject register paper and scribble between orders in drive-thru. (SO glad I'm not working fast food anymore!)

    Sometimes I do worry about my muse, though, because some of things she comes up with...actually disturb me. Turning Giles into a vampire wasn't too bad, it's what he wanted to do to Faith that bothered me.

    I have scraps of unfinished stories floating all over the place. Some are fanfic, some are my own ideas. Some I pick up & start working on years later, a few I've actually thrown away (or deleted from the computer) because I didn't care for them.

    But, other than my fanfic, which gets shared with a small handful of fellow fans, most of my work goes unread; it just isn't that good. Just like the Breyers I repaint, or the dreamcatchers and medicine shields I make aren't good enough to sell. I create them because I have a compulsion, but the end product is usually only enjoyed by me.

    As for acting...I had a big huge blog all planned out in response to your teaching an acting class at Dragon*Con at the end of this month, but I didn't end up writing it because it just would have come across as a pity party for myself. I don't have enough readers I can afford to drive any away.

  13. 1500 words a day... This is a very good idea!
    An ambitious person, I... Maybe I will from 500; )
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