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Codexian Writing Quotes: James Maxey

Writing

Continuing my series of quotes from writers I know through the online writing group Codex, here are some memorable thoughts from James Maxey, author of the Dragon Age trilogy and the superhero novel Nobody Gets the Girl. James’s latest feat, which floored a number of us at Codex, was writing the first draft of a novel (the sequel to Nobody) in a week. The resulting book, Burn Baby Burn,┬ácan be read in its first draft form as a series of blog posts on Maxey’s Web site. More on this particular accomplishment will show up in a week or two in my “Brain Hacks for Writers” column on Futurismic.

James is quoted often on Codex, so I’ll be breaking up the large selection of his quotes I put together into two or possibly three posts.

Swagger when you lie.

If the WRATH OF GOD couldn’t make this character give a sh**, I don’t know what might.

The worst novel you ever put onto paper is better than the best novel you are walking around with in your head.

On the other hand, I may be underestimating the appeal of my main character, a homosexual, drug-addicted, Republican, vivisectionist zombie. Sweet merciful Jesus, I wish that last sentence was a joke…

Momentum matters!

I can’t sing, play an instrument, dance, paint, sculpt, or act. So, in my early years, I drifted toward writing as my claim to some sort of creative ability simply because it seemed like the easiest talent to fake.

But a completed novel is always going to be haunted by the novel it might have been.

If you have affection and enthusiasm for your characters, then the readers will follow you into some very dark places.

If you and your partner find yourself co-owners of a project that gets optioned for a motion picture and I hear you complain about it on this forum, I will personally drive to your house and slap you about the head and shoulders with a rubber monkey until my envy is abated. And I can be very, very envious.

If anyone wants to power a time machine, the deadline for the first novel you ever sell from a proposal has amazing time acceleration properties. I can only imagine that committing to a whole series must propel you straight into old age.

My motto is, little by little, the writing gets done.

Is Batman really making the world a better place by wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants and clobbering muggers with boomerangs? I think that having your characters learn the wrong lessons from their private tragedies is the key to making them interesting.

… the key to writing a good novel is to first write a bad novel. You’re just piling clay onto the wheel at this stage. You aren’t spinning the wheel to turn it into something until the second draft.

But, I don’t yell. I write. I turn our presidents and judges and televangelists into dragons and I send heroes (or, more frequently, anti-heroes) out to slay them.

Look, I’ve had it up to here with people dismissing all Yellow-Eyed Beasts from Hell as “evil.” The idea that Judea-Christian labels for morality apply to creatures from the pit is an outdated, human-centric view of the world that I hope we, as a society, are finally outgrowing. Baby-eating and stabbing people with pitchforks may seem taboo to most Americans, but what right to we have to impose our values on the denizens of the underworld?

For me–and I can’t speak for anyone else–my formula was stupid stubbornness. I kept plugging along despite rejection letters and harsh critiques because I was too dumb to understand that I really was no good at what I was doing and it was time to give up and move on to something else.

The one thing you can do is buy a lot of lottery tickets, metaphorically. Every short story you write might be the one that wins you an award. You never know. Any book you write might be the exact book that a publisher is dreaming of publishing. Productivity is key.

If Jesus himself were to tell me the sky is blue, I’d argue the point. I mean, sure, sometimes the sky is blue, but a high percentage of the time it’s black, or gray, or white, or any of the zillion shades of pink or purple you find in the bookends of day.

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