The Sizzle-Fingered Scribe
When I asked Karl Hubert what made him start writing, I didn’t know what to expect. One never can with Karl. His response was that he was very photogenic as a child, so I followed up with the question of when he started writing. Again, I was not disappointed. His response: “when I laughed at the end of Pan’s Labyrinth.”
And a new writer was born.
Karl is a stalwart member of our Ink Writers Group, but I’d mostly heard poems and short stories from him until he raised the idea of National Novel Writing Month (or more affectionately known as NaNoWriMo) last November. Turns out he’s been hiding numerous novel drafts.
If you’re not sure what NaNoWriMo entails, it’s simple. You write fifty thousand words of a novel draft in the month of November. If you make it within that amount of time, you win. It’s hard.
Karl’s won it six times. He’s been doing it for the past decade or so. Most of it is his own genre—a “fun and squicky” comedy-horror-sci-fi blend. Some of his completed drafts include “Needlin’ the Dermis,” a story of a tattoo parlor plagued with tattoos coming to life to kill people, and this past year’s “Meme the Dream.”
Having a particular personal interest in “Meme the Dream” (for it follows Karl’s character, Benjamin James, from our Unknown Armies roleplaying game), I asked about it. He admitted that this year’s winning draft came somewhat easily. It was a familiar character and a chance to develop the ten years prior to the game for the character’s background. It was a bit of Benji’s things fondly remembered and ranged to things that might have been able to happen to him. It even had his cheerleading girlfriend from high school.
The nerds always get the best girls, right?
There are many writing benefits beyond a draft of a book though. Karl feels that NaNoWriMo is a great experience for writers mostly because it forces you to write, whether you reach the final goal or not. He can ease your mind about it though—“No one’s going to hurt you if you don’t write,” but a good support group of people (like the ones you can find with NaNoWriMo or a local writers group) helps you. And you don’t have to write anything great—just write. If it’s bad though? Karl says if it’s bad, just cry, maybe drink, and then that’ll get you more to write about. And that’s the point.
NaNoWriMo isn’t all fun, however, but Karl encourages us to keep trying to get past the days of falling short of your daily goal, or when you can’t get in the writing groove. If you’re really stuck, he has the best advice that he shared with me when I had writer’s block: “When in doubt, write porn.”
It sure helps pad that word count.
Karl is a good example to follow. He’s been writing off and on since senior year of high school with not only novel drafts but a couple of novellas and a script about shark attack survivors on a cruise. You can, and should, write about anything that interests you in any form you feel like playing around with. And if you’re bored, just write. “Just don’t post any stuff on the internet that could get you arrested.”
Karl’s full of good advice.
Karl also shared that he feels writing has been “part therapy and part giving a louder voice to the voices in my head.” It can be easily done, and it’s pretty fun. And as “one of the oldest forms of entertainment, it’ll let people argue about your work for years.”
Karl’s always one to get people talking.
Find his works on his Deviant Art page (he’s “wendiigo”) or on The Game Chateau’s Ink Writers Circle, “Rolling the Dice” blog. He’ll also be reading at the Ink Writers Circle event, Unexpected Landscapes, on April 20, at The Game Chateau in Plains. Our theme is “Unexpected Landscapes.” Karl’s sure to come up with something unexpected, as usual.