Claim Your Writing Space

This article is posted in Brain2Page.

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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

Write It Down, Write It All Down.

This article is posted in Brain2Page.

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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

Big Words Don’t Make Big Ideas

This article is posted in Brain2Page.

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

Dreams Should Stay In Your Crazy Head

This article is posted in Brain2Page.

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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

My Brain is a Genie that Grants Everyone Wishes!

This article is posted in Brain2Page.

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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

I’m a Dude, Writing a Woman. I’m Gonna Screw this Up.

Alternate Title:

I’m a Chick, Writing a Man

What Can Go Wrong?

It’s hard to write a story without having both men and women in it. Even stories that more or less attempt this tend to just supplant some of one gender into the gender roles of the opposite sex.

See: Y The Last Man, Oz, and to a lesser extent stuff like 5ive Girls.

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

Brain2Page: Maintaining That Momentous Momentum

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