Monday, February 22, 2010

Ballad of the Long-Distance Writer

Apologies to "You Gotta Have Heart" from Damn Yankees
Dedicated to Fred Shafer (Instructor Guru)

You're gonna need arc!
Lines, and lines and lines of arc
You may have lost it, my friend,
But if you know the end
Before you start,
You're gonna have arc.

You're gonna need plot!
Pages and pages and pages of plot.
Keep the stakes in your sight,
Let the characters fight
Making your readers hot.
You're gonna have plot.

You're gonna need theme!
Now's the time to share your dream.
Whether message, mayhem, or play
You've got something to say
Forget the critics who live to ream
You gotta have theme.

You're gonna need place!
Country, city, outer space.
Location's like real estate, my mate,
Venues from start to end
All deserve a human face
Then you're gonna have place.

You're gonna need voice!
Let your heart decide your choice
What your soul can confess
Your words will express
Moving readers to rejoice.
You gotta have voice.

You're gonna need love!
All your characters crave your love:
The good and the bad,
The happy and mad.
Just pretend you're God above,
You gotta have love.

You gotta rewrite!
Piles and piles throughout the night
Digging deep to discover or die
To laugh and to cry
Till the story's start is out of sight.
Then another rewrite.

You gotta persist!
Til your hand deserts your wrist
Til you're over the hump
You write with your stump
Although you're thoroughly pissed.
You gotta persist.

You're gonna need Fred!
Hours, hours, and hours of Fred.
Relentless, he'll prod
Not sparing the rod
Until your writing's published and read
You're gonna need Fred.
You're gonna need Fred.