October 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The subject of “buzzwords” has come up often lately, for some reason, and my wife has informed me that “intentional” is definitely one of mine, and here I am using it twice in a single title. New personal best.
Intentional writing time is something writers talk about (or at least blog about) a lot. They say that if you want to be a writer (at least in a professional or semi-professional capacity) then it’s important to set aside time specifically to write. It’s not time to check facebook or respond to emails or to organize your messy desk (times when I’m suffering from a case of writer’s block are the only times cleaning sounds appealing), it’s time to sit in your chair and scribble or type, even if it feels like the worst thing you’ve ever written. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 21, 2012 § 5 Comments
Or: My love-hate relationship with deadlines
Yesterday I told my wife that I need to start writing more short stories. She promptly responded that I should give her one each week and in return I would get, da-da-da-da, “the red plate”. Now the motivational aspect of the red plate is a curious thing. I can’t say why I am so covetous of it, but it holds some mystical allure for me. Growing up, whenever any of us kids did something worthy of praise like getting good grades or making a sports team we would get “the red plate.” It was a big deal. I don’t know why, it just was. So when I got married, my wife and I were given a red plate of our own, with which she can motivate me cheaply.
Really though, the red plate was just icing on the cake. One short story a week? That sounds nigh impossible. Challenge accepted. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 2, 2012 § 5 Comments
First off, I apologize for the few new posts as of late. I’ve talked about the Three Stooges Syndrome here before, and I happen to be struggling with a bad case of it. I’m trying to crank out another short story or two to get in the submissions merry-go-round, finish the young adult steampunk novel that I’ve been working on for the last year (draft six, here I come), and a few new projects have come down the pipeline at work and are taking more creative energy than usual (which is a welcome challenge). Too many ideas have been trying to get out of my brain all at once, and hence none of them were making it through the door.
I had to cut back on something and, compared to work and writing, blogging isn’t my top priority. What that means is for the next few weeks (or until things begin to lighten up) I’m going to blog only when I’ve got something demanding to be shared with you folks.
Which segues nicely into what brings me to my keyboard tonight…
I’ve had Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, a young adult fantasy book « Read the rest of this entry »
January 16, 2012 § 5 Comments
(Note: for anyone hoping for the second post on book trailers: It’s coming, but I haven’t had the time to put it together properly yet, so be patient)
Recently I found myself in a bookish conversation when my fellow reader took issue with the use of the word “id” in a fantasy story (though I can’t remember which story for the life of me). The argument was that id is part of a theory of the psyche that was developed by Freud, and since Freud had never lived in this fantasy world, the characters wouldn’t have any idea what id was.
I’ve raised similar issues before regarding technology or terms that don’t belong in a given fantasy world, my favorite being « Read the rest of this entry »
January 10, 2012 § 4 Comments
I read oodles (the technical term for it) when I was in elementary and middle school, a lot in high school, and not terribly much in college (aside from what I was reading for classes, which took the majority of my reading energy). Fortunately I’m rectifying that error, by reading more than ever these days. The ‘real’ world, with mortgages and bills and full-time jobs isn’t all glamor and glitz, but it’s one major redeeming quality is a total lack of homework. I’ve taken advantage of the extra time in my life (and the fact that my wife who is in grad school still does have homework in the evenings) by reading more this year than in the previous eight years combined.
Since I began writing seriously, the way I read books has changed significantly, for better or worse. I’m more discerning of everything from adverb overuse and cliches to strong and original characters. Most of the books I read « Read the rest of this entry »
January 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
I just got back from two glorious weeks away with family and friends for the holidays, hence my silence on the blog front. My house is currently a minefield of partially-unpacked luggage and despite the fact that it’s only 6:30 in the evening, I feel ready for bed because I spent last night (and the wee hours of this morning) having way too much fun with college friends I hadn’t seen in way too long. All that to say that this will be short, sweet, and unrevised but I wanted to get back on the proverbial blogging horse. So here are my belated Christmas gifts to you, dear reader: « Read the rest of this entry »
December 15, 2011 § 9 Comments
I hate to admit it, but I’m a lazy writer. Given the opportunity, I will tell rather than show (despite what the psychologists say) and I have the bad habit of rushing through the last quarter of my stories because I’m so anxious to get to the end. With How to Run a Five-Star Restaurant in the Capital of the Elf Kingdom, my fellow author and beta reader, Jay Swanson told me he loved where the story was going, but that right about where a climax should be, it just sort of fell off a cliff into an ending (he was a bit more diplomatic in the way he phrased it). Even before he said something I’d known it subconsciously, so I dutifully took pen in hand and dove back into prewriting, trying to flesh out a proper climax and conclusion. « Read the rest of this entry »
December 13, 2011 § 7 Comments
The other day I was writing a three-hundred word bio to accompany my short story being published in Andromeda Spaceways (it’s actually happening, I swear, just a month behind schedule [I'm still crossing my fingers for an absence of phallic cover art]), which gave me a great opportunity to reflect on why I write.
First, let me just say that I loath writing bios or anything about myself. I’d rather be locked into a Matilda-style spiked box, “the pokey” (not to be confused with Mario’s strange cactus-like enemy) than write about myself. There’s so much pressure to come across as funny, but also serious about writing, and not to use too many adverbs or exclamation points. In the words of Liz Lemon: blerg. But I digress. « Read the rest of this entry »
December 11, 2011 § 5 Comments
Over the years, I’ve been known to say that everything worth knowing in life can be learned from The Simpsons. That’s a lie. It’s also a pretty good reason to question why you’re reading the blog of someone who gives such terrible advice. That said, The Simpsons have taught me a thing or two over the years (don’t judge me).
In season 11, in the episode “The Mansion Family” (thank you Google, yet another reason you are my Obi wan Kenobi) Mr. Burns learns that he has every disease known to man (as well as all the unknown ones too). The only reason he hasn’t died yet is because in something called “The Three Stooges Syndrome,” which amounts to all of the diseases trying to kill him at once, but by doing so are preventing all the other diseases trying just as eagerly to get through the proverbial door. « Read the rest of this entry »
December 8, 2011 § 4 Comments
When of the most common things an aspiring writer will hear about writing is “show don’t tell.” I come across it ad nauseum in blogs, books, and conversations. “Don’t tell me he was upset,” they say, “show me he was upset.” But there are a lot of other “rules” in the writing world that are founded on the current literary climate and personal styles, rather than laws of the writing universe. It’s hardly worth mentioning that storytelling methods have evolved over time and people don’t write today the same way that Jane Austen wrote, who didn’t write the same way as the authors that came before her, and people breaking rules is how that evolution happens. For example, I think the fear and loathing that is often expressed towards adverbs is overstated and (at least for me) counterproductive. Despite their overuse, there is a time and a place to use it, like any other part of speech. This has left me to ponder the age-old struggle between showing and telling.
Enter the psychologists. Joan Peskin and Janet Astington, who have studied the effects of showing and telling on children. « Read the rest of this entry »