Where do you like to write? At your home office looking out a big bay window on the sand and surf? Curled up on the couch with a blanket and your laptop, sipping a hot cup of tea? At the library using public computers in near tomblike silence? At a coffee shop with your tablet, a cappafrappalatteccino and your headphones? Continue reading →
This one will be pretty short. Probably. Maybe. Just go with me on this.
In a previous post about Maintaining Momentum I spent a lot of time talking about a lot of different things, all of them designed to keep you striding forward confidently and quickly. But one thing I barely mentioned is the concept of Saving Everything, which has nothing whatsoever to do with maintaining momentum, and everything to do with future inspiration.
Doesn’t matter where you are, who you’re doing, why you’re running from the police, when you’ll hit the ground, or what your fortune cookie says. Continue reading →
Anyone who read my first novel knows I was fond of big words. I went out of my way to use words like “peripatetic” and “eructation” simply because I knew them. It took a while to understand that this was a mistake. I’d artificially raised the bar for people to read and enjoy my novel with absolutely no gain.
When I was younger (and not very much younger) I had this mentality that “I’m writing for people like me” when “people like me” was a flimsy, shifting concept. Also a pretentious asshole.
My misconception was that the ideas would seem bigger and more intelligent if the language I used was bigger and more intelligent. This can be true; my grandmother read part of my first novel and then immediately put it down when she got to some words she didn’t know. The sentence structure was too complex for her. Her perception of the novel was that it was incredibly smart; too smart for her.
I had artificially raised the boundary to exclude people based on just a few words and needlessly complex structures. Continue reading →
Being one who is inclined to creativity, even in the less visual form that writing takes, I often have very vivid dreams that tap into whatever the hell is going on inside my weirdo head. I have an entire document – a dream journal if you insist – that chronicles the silliest, the scariest, the downright most awesome, and even the ones that make me question my psychotic profile.
The compulsion to turn these dreams into a story is strong. I have several unfinished manuscripts and even more short stories that started out as dreams. Yet I have never finished one. At some point there’s always this illogical transition that completely interrupts the entire sequence of events, and coincidentally enough it is that illogical transition that makes me want to make it into a story. But how the hell am I supposed to fit a serial killer murder mystery into a slice of life story? How should I make this ridiculous horror monster make logical sense in my court-room drama about getting divorced (when I’m not even married)? Continue reading →
I was once an insufferable little prat a teenager, discovering a lot about myself and the world around me in that clumsy way all teens have. I found out that women made me feel funny inside; that I didn’t really like slapstick comedy very much; that there was more than a surface level in books, movies, television, video games, and in people. I found that what I loved as a little boy (reading) wasn’t something a lot of people did (at least a lot of people I would come to know).
I also discovered that it takes a writer to make something a reader can read.
The very first time I can remember having written something that I genuinely enjoyed the process of writing it as opposed to reading the outcome was when I was in sixth grade, before 12-year-olds were considered junior high schoolers. My teacher was Mrs. Gardner, and we were given the assignment to write a short story about our lives thirty years in the future. Specifically we were told to imagine some technologies that might exist thirty years in the future, and to describe who we were as people in this crazy future world. Continue reading →
We are a gender-specific global society, whether men and women of the world want to admit it or not. Are we moving away from the idea? Sure. In some places of the world. In others, not so much.
But I’m not going to sit here and soapbox what makes men and women different, or even what makes them the same. This article isn’t meant to polarize one side or the other, and it certainly isn’t meant to drum up controversy, though that’s out of my hands the moment I hit Publish, I suppose.
But because we (global “we”) tend to have these gender-specific mindsets and roles, how the hell are you (the male reader) supposed to write a woman without making her dependent on a man? And how are you (the female reader) supposed to write a man without making him a big dumb oaf? Continue reading →
In a previous blog post about the Muse, I explored capturing the moment and riding the wave of inspiration to its bitter, soul-crushing end. The reality is, of course, that you cannot always count on the Muse to guide your path and keep the words flowing. This is true for many more things than just the process of writing fiction, that sometimes it just isn’t working.
But if you only ever write when you feel the Muse upon you, you’ll find you hardly ever write anything. I certainly found that out the hard way, when I was in my early 20s and I had this very romantic, juvenile picture of the Author in my mind. This Author would write for sixteen days straight, hardly taking time to do anything else but eat, sleep, and maybe take a shower. This Author would put down his pen, stare lovingly at his Creation, and call it a day. Continue reading →
There are few things in the world of writing and revision that drive me truly crazy. The first of these is simply that You Are Never Done. Which I will no doubt explore at some future point. But I’m not here to talk about that quite yet.
The second thing that drives me absolutely bats is description. Writing it, rewriting it, reading it. Anything that has to do with description really gets me into a bad frame of mind, because there are so many ways to approach description, and almost every way has merit to somebody. Continue reading →
Sometimes writing floods the page, and your fingers can’t keep up with the deluge of content bursting forth. You’re so excited, you’re typing a page every ten minutes, you know it’s not perfect, but it’s something, and probably something good. You tell yourself this is the way it should always be. You finish another page. You finish another paragraph.
Then suddenly all that momentum, all that excitement, all that content just dries up. If a gremlin exists inside your head, he just rigged the floodgates. The last dribble splashes onto the page. You sit there staring at words you hardly remember thinking. You try to trick yourself back into the flood.
But it’s too late. That moment has fled. The page sucked up the words like parched ground drinks the rain after a split-second break from the drought.
You try to force it. You keep going. Nothing is the same. Everything you put down now is polluted compared to the wondrous torrent of just one minute ago.
What happened? What changed? How did you have the Biblical Flood come pouring out of your head one minute, and only bring up dust in the pail the next? Continue reading →
To start off my Writing Advice series, what better place than “Getting Started”? This blog post endeavors to help you in deciding just how to begin writing a piece of fiction, whether it’s a short story 500 words long, a sweeping epic series with fifteen planned entries, or anything in-between.
This is such a common problem that no specific method will always be the best way to approach it, but I often find that some level of structuring at least puts me in the right frame of mind to put some words together in something approaching coherency.