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All I Know About Writing I Learned From Blanche Devereaux

April 12, 2010

On the Season 5 openers “Sick and Tired (Part 1 and 2)“, the focus was on Dorothy’s continuing struggle with what we would later find out to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which mirrored show creator Susan Harris’ real life struggle with CFS). But there was also a story arc going in those episodes about Blanche deciding she was predestined to be a great romance novelist. Being a budding writer at the time, this resonated with me as I also had (okay, have) a complex about being meant for greatness. I took note of Blanche’s writing technique in the first episode, which involved talking a lot about writing and having writer’s block but never actually writing anything. While I had no trouble writing or coming up with things to write about, Blanche’s grandiose “I’m a writer” talk was something I looked to add to my repertoire.

It takes a lot out of you.

I tend to start writing at night and then stay up well past a sensible time for someone with a job they have to actually be awake at in the morning. So when I’m left to my own devices my technique tends to mirror Blanche’s technique in the second episode: staying up all night writing, then deciding what I wrote was crap and starting over again, only this time, more delirious and less sense-making. Although I don’t think I’d write 5 notebooks worth of crap before realizing what I was doing (I hope). Ah, the glamorous life of a writer. After watching this episode again I’m thinking I need some silk pajamas and a dressing robe.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2010 11:29 pm

    Blanche also decided to try her hand at illustration in the episode “Two Rode Together” (Season 4).

    I loved this analysis! Golden Girls week in the face!!!

  2. April 13, 2010 12:00 am

    Just doing my part to keep this place jam-packed with Golden Girls content.

  3. msjacks permalink
    April 13, 2010 10:42 am

    I love this!

  4. April 13, 2010 11:03 am

    Hmmmm… Perhaps we should all have silk jammies with “I Fry Mine In Butter” embroidered onto the back.

    You know, for inspiration.

  5. evmaroon permalink
    April 13, 2010 11:35 am

    I’d wear mine! Tasha, great post! I laugh at the advice, but some of it is down to earth, actually. Or rather, Stephen King wrote Carrie in 72 hours and got famous, so I suppose Blanche’s path to greatness is possible. (Please note I am not calling Stephen King great, only famous.)

  6. April 13, 2010 12:02 pm

    @poplife Because nothing is sweeter than the sound of silk pajamas tearing?

    @evmaroon Stephen King is an awesome role model. He’s so prolific. Have you read “On Writing”? It’s super short but really informative.

  7. April 13, 2010 12:07 pm

    Please note I am not calling Stephen King great, only famous

    He’s pretty amazing, actually. I love his Entertainment Weekly columns. I also second Tasha’s recommendation (if it was in fact a recommendation) of King’s “On Writing”. It’s the only “writing” manual I own.

  8. evmaroon permalink
    April 13, 2010 12:15 pm

    I had read every Stephen King book from his first through the end of his days with Penguin, devouring even long ones like The Talisman and It like they were TV Guide. But at some point I looked back and saw a lot of misogyny in his stuff, and in my sense of conflictedness, I’ve held his work at a distance since then, I guess. That said, On Writing is really incredible, and it’s on my shelf too with a few others, although in my defense, all the others are Peter Elbow books that I had to buy when I was a TA. I’m not a nut for books on writing, I swear.

  9. April 13, 2010 7:06 pm

    I had read every Stephen King book from his first through the end of his days with Penguin, devouring even long ones like The Talisman and It like they were TV Guide. But at some point I looked back and saw a lot of misogyny in his stuff, and in my sense of conflictedness

    Agreed. Definitely something for me to consider.

  10. msjacks permalink
    April 13, 2010 10:46 pm

    I’m gonna have to concur about Stephen King’s “On Writing”. It’s pretty genius. I also have to recommend Eudora Welty’s “On Writing”.

  11. IrishUp permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:42 pm

    “But at some point I looked back and saw a lot of misogyny in his stuff, and in my sense of conflictedness, I’ve held his work at a distance since then, I guess. ”

    Oh, this! Because it’s really really there in big swaths of his work. AND YET, “Gerald’s Game”, especially the Gerald’s Game part, and the internal hating voice parts, gets it so very right! Also Dolores Claiborne. And the way he talks about his family, Tabitha King’s work, his own shit, all seem to me like Stephen King IRL would be like the SK in my mind who becomes my bff after I get to stand on a line and chat with him at a grocery store (this is what I am secretly hoping any time I’m in Maine, since I was 12yo).

  12. Heather Cotton permalink
    December 21, 2010 11:47 pm

    That episode is on WE right now. I love that whole line she does from Shakesphere “to sleep perchance to dream.” Hilarious!

    Writing after staying up all night, deliriously, gives you a lot of random, sometimes really good stuff! Sometimes if I don’t lay down right away and fight sleep when I take my Ambien (I have insomnia but sometimes I take it too soon), I get like that without having to stay up all night!

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