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Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

X Squared Divided By Y...

I hate math.

No, hate isn't a strong enough word. I detest anything having to do with numbers. The only thing worse than numbers is some sort of equation that uses letters too. That's just wrong. But you know what's great about math? There's only one answer.

There's no right answer with writing. I've been devouring books lately and I'll be honest- there are some out there that are not so good. But some I've recently tried to read and have barely muddled through are amazingly popular. A few are on the New York Times Bestseller List and others have won awards- one even garnered the Pulitzer. So what if Oprah loves a book? That doesn't mean I will.

Sometimes I wish writing a novel was more like math. Then someone smarter than me would be able to say, "Nope, you've so got this wrong. How many times can you drop a negative?" (I hate negatives. When will you use those in real life? NEVER!)

But it's not.

You know the great thing about that? Writing is a numbers game. I might not have the right answer for everyone, but for someone out there (or a few someones- an agent and editor at least) I've got the right answer.

It's just a matter of finding those people. And that's what I intend to do.

15 comments:

Bane of Anubis said...

Okay, smartass time. Sometimes, there can be two answers to a problem (hello quadratic formula :) and sometimes the answer is infinity (hello limits), which is kind of troublesome. And, technically, if you're using those letter, variable thingamambobs then there are infinite answers... etc... sorry, couldn't help myself.


PS - Despite my math geek reversion, I like your mentality.

PPS -- if it's on Oprah's list, it's pretty much off mine.

Amalia T. said...

Darn Skippy!

(Is that the way that expression is supposed to be used?)

I'm with you on this. Not that hating math-- I don't mind math much at all, and sometimes I even kind of love it, when I know what I'm doing. But the writing part! and the finding the person for whom your book is the right answer!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Bane- Leave it to you to be a smartass. :) I haven't read anything from Oprah's book club since she recommended The Good Earth. Since that was written in like the 1930's I thought it was exempt from Oprah.

Amalia- You can use Darn Skippy however you want around these parts. I only like math when I know what I'm doing. I made it through pre-calc, but seriously- that stuff is use it or lose it.

Matthew Delman said...

Dear sweet Jebus monkeys, I hated The Good Earth. Most Boring Book Ever.

Yeah, math is fun when there's only one answer. I never got into the complex maths that Bane's talking about, thankfully. I probably would've gotten crazy confused if that happened.

Michele Emrath said...

bane is definitely the smartass on this one!

I hate math, too, as should all writers. :P And for that reason, I am glad writing is not formulaic. I am also glad because I love lots of different kinds of books!

Writing Prompt Wednesdays today on my blog!
Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

Jemi Fraser said...

I've always liked Math - please don't hate me :)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't understand why some books become popular and win prizes!

Michelle Gregory said...

the only thing i like about math is that (except for Bane's examples) there is only one answer. other than that, i'd rather work with words, even though they can become quite pesky when you try to arrange them for a story and you're wondering what is the very best arrangement.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, girl, we are twins! I recoiled inside when I read your title - no, seriously. Bane's comment nearly sent me running to my room to hide beneath my covers, refusing to come out! :-)

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I’m with you on the math, and LOL my eyes glazed over at Bane's smartass rebuttal!

This reminds me of my son's theory that writing is like math, formulatic as in: (and I quote) "A-B+x+y+z=E... A is the protagonist, and B the antagonist. E can represent the environment, and x, y, and z the other missing elements. Okay, this sounds really oversimplified..." Ha!

The great thing about subjectivity is that it does offer us options. Good luck finding your match - you'll do it with your "I intend to do" attitude!

Bane of Anubis said...

What's with all the math hate, ladies? As a lover of Egypt, Steph, I'd figure you'd be more into the math love... at least geometry (no proofs, though -- those suck).

Linda Lee Foltz said...

Very nice blog. I love the design and layout. And the content struck my heart. Math has always been my nemisis, but at least you know when you're wrong. (which for me has been most of the time) Unfortunately, when it comes to writing, no amount of practice, or reading, or writing groups, can assure a successful outcome. Wouldn't it be great if there was some kind of a blue print against which we could measure our words?

L. T. Host said...

I never made it past Algebra 2. Barely made it there. I'm just not a math-brain type of person.

But you have a good point. Despite Bane's smashing the one answer thing in his first comment, we are subject to what seems like infinite answers in writing, and the odds seem impossible at times. However, statistically, if we hang in there, we'll get it eventually, right?

That's it. I'm going to go buy some monkeys and typewriters. They could probably crank out a bestseller sooner than I can.

Julie Dao said...

Math is the creation of the devil. Little numbers and symbols are supposed to be mixed together to come up with more little numbers and symbols? It was always mystifying to me. Now, words I get. I love that idea of finding those people out there to whom your writing is the "right" answer. They do exist somewhere!

Abby Annis said...

Math was always my favorite subject. Mainly because it's so exact, therefore, easy to learn. For me, anyway. Writing has been more of a challenge, but strangely, that's what I like about it. Always something new to learn.

Good luck finding "right answers"! :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

you've got my number! ;)