Woof! Remember this iconic scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie with Baby Dan Aykroyd and Baby Albert Brooks? Boy, they sure did time their jump scares differently in the 1980s. It seems to me like Aykroyd is strangling Brooks for about half an hour there. And yet when I saw this as a young teen it scared the crap out of me. Our 2011 jump scares last no longer than 1.5 seconds each. Yet magically, we are still capable of perceiving them. WE ARE ENTERING THE TIME ACCELERATION, EVERYBODY! 2012! 2012!
But seriously, want to really see something really scary? Check out this list of Robert Heinlein's rules for writing, which are the newly adopted credo of the Write 1, Sub 1 gang:
Heinlein's Rules for Writing*, which shall heretofore be adopted -- except for the 3rd one, probably -- as our Write1Sub1 Credo:
- You must write.
- You must finish what you write.
- You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
- You must put the work on the market.
- You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.
*These rules originally appeared in Robert Heinlein's 1947 essay "On the Writing of Speculative Fiction."
Like I said - really scary. I am following these to the best of my ability. Even that pesky number 3 is helping me to let go of work when it's "probably good enough" as opposed to believing that there must be something wrong with a perfectly good story that I just haven't figured out yet.
(I'm not delusional enough to say that everything I write is good from the get-go. I am saying that there's a point when you've taken a story as far as you're going to take it. At that point, you probably should just send it out into the world, or at least to critique, or something. I'm working on a soft 3.)
Attempting to follow Heinlein's Rules for Writing is probably a wise decision in the face of what some genre writers have recently been identifying as a market shift back to the values of the pulp era. Kristine Kathryn Rusch, in her recent "Business Rusch" post, argues that
In some ways, we have returned - almost instantly - to the days of the pulps. The faster the writer is, the better the writer is at storytelling (not at writing pretty sentences), the more the writer's works will sell. The better the writer is at business, the more profit she will make from her own writing.
Want to see something really, really scary? Read Jason S. Ridler's post at SFWA on Frank Gruber, pulp fiction writer of the 1920s and 30s. If you're too scared to go over there and check it out, I direct you to Eileen Wiedbrauk's tidy summary: "Write more. Write faster. Get an Underwood and battle the pulp jungle."
Now that's scary. Scary in a good way.