The Book(s) of Secrets

I just got home from a short vacation, and I am in no position to write a long and involved blog post tonight.

Furthermore, I used up my latest “post something funny from the internet” material last week when I broached the subject of Terrible Writing Advice.

So perhaps it is time for me to do something a little bit outside the box.

Why don’t I take this opportunity to tell you, in part, about the secret of this blog’s name, and how it got that way.

Would you like to hear that? I promise to leave out the gross parts.

Well, most of them, anyway.

Forbidden Knowledge

For those of you who are completely new to this blog, you should be aware that this is, first and foremost, a blog about writing.

And writing is an often esoteric discipline. There is a part of it—a large and even dominant part—that is intuited by the practitioner on the spot, without rules or rhyme or reason. There’s little point in trying to teach that part of writing, any more than you could teach people how to perceive color or know what happiness feels like.

But there is also a part of writing—a fundamental and indispensable part—which is reproducible. This part is subject to rules and formulas, patterns and principles. And if these can be deciphered, codified, and followed, then it becomes easy for the writer to accomplish the rest.

Yes, even the part of writing that is largely intuitive can be made easier if the part that is objective can be brought under control.

But here’s the trouble: the rules themselves are hard to define. The ones who know them have internalized them so deeply that they find them hard to put into words. They’ve become second nature, only a step removed from the intuited part of writing.

But I believe that a well organized mind can still grasp the form of these fundaments without losing the ability to define them. I’ve made this my study, as I go about my writing. I try to build great writing on both a conscious and subconscious level. Or, you could say that I try to consciously recreate the greatness of subconsciously written writing.

My study of iconography (documented on this blog) has been part of this.

As has my study into the evocation of emotion through writing, which I have compiled on this site.

More Secrets to Come

Inasmuch as the subjects I’ve explored here are off the beaten path, yet may bestow a significant advantage, I like to think of them as the secrets to good writing, and even assert that they deserve the title.

But I would be lying if I said I had revealed everything I knew here. Some secrets are, for the moment, proprietary. As a writer, I want to give myself an advantage, and my own trade secrets are worth protecting until such time that I am so established and free to publish what pleases me (should such a day ever come) that I feel comfortable in letting go of some of my most precious treasures.

To that end, I want the world to know that I intend to one day write one or more books about writing. And I know that every writer who attains even a modest level of success thinks that they have a duty to teach the world how to write. The list of writing books by writers snowballs year upon year.

But my books will be books of secrets. Not treatises on style, or monomyths, or thinly veiled autobiographical narrative. These will be books of arcane knowledge and unfair advantages, which would normally be hidden away from the eyes of the uninitiated.

It is for this reason that I call the blog “Mr. Horne’s Book of Secrets”, because the end goal is to discover and eventually reveal that which is unknowable about the craft. Or, at least, to reveal the things I’ve discovered from my own experimentation and study and which, from what I can see, only I have yet discovered (unless a lot of other people are also keeping secrets, which admittedly seems more likely).

Put a Pin in It

I’m sure to revisit this subject later. Rest assured, for now, that you know the reason for the blog’s name (though there are secrets within secrets).

And none of this will make any kind of difference in the world unless I actually get some success as an author, and I still can’t promise that yet, though things are always happening in the background. Rest assured that I have not given up, and I am still moving forward, one week at a time.

Thanks for waiting with me.