I asked Paul what his best and worst writing advice was, and he sent this, it’s pretty meaty. I also used the above picture and the metaphor of “pretty meaty” without knowing if Paul Hanson Clark likes meat or not. I could be offending him right now, but most metaphors aren’t perfect, so there. Anyway, here’s what Paul had to say.
Agree or Disagree?
1. Keeping Your Writing Around? Agree.
I like the idea of keeping your writing around. In my case, it’s my first novella. This review site gave it a 33.0 even though I wrote that review myself. That’s right.
But even now I open it up and I’m like, EEEECH, OUUUCHHH, OOOO. It’s so bad you should check it out now.
Seriously or somewhat more seriously or not seriously at all because I wouldn’t want someone to take all of my manuscripts seriously, I have this crazy manuscript that has textboxes and definitions all over it and most people told me not to do it, but I wrote 100k words on it, the longest I’ve ever done and I haven’t looked at it in 3 years. I’m not sure what to do with it, I opened it up one day and saw literally 5 pages of dialogue and said EEECH, OUUUCH, OOOOO again at it so maybe I won’t return. All this to say, I think Paul’s teacher was right.
2. Write What You Know = Write What Bores You. Disagree.
Paul kinda said he disagreed with this now too and that he’s come around to it. Though I think “write what you know” is a little over done, there is some truth to it. I think it’s better to write some about what you know. Like take part of your personality or your interest and then blow that out all the way. I did that with Taco Jehovah I think. I like tacos and I like taco trucks and I visit them a few times a month, and it also has some religious themes in there which I’m interested in, so I included those too. Are those all of me? No. Is it part of me? Yes. Something else I’m working on features a career I once considered, so I know about it, but is it the only thing I know? No, it’s not. The problem with “Writing What You Know” comes in the form of those troubling “grad school” novels that every MFA program seems to turn out, with a professor in it and that stupid stuff. That’s taking it too far, come on now, add some creativity to it.
3. “In any case, it’s difficult for one to write better than one actually writes”–Caesar Aira. Agree.
This is sad. We’re all doomed. I guess you could get better…but then you’re where you are again.
Here we are. There you are. Here I am.
Here’s a great piece on Paul Hanson Clark from Banango Lit. And I think he’s publishing something I wrote in a journal (full disclosure). My favorite stuff from him are these voiceovers on Rihanna songs. Find them here.