Tag Archives: amwriting

As A Writer, Never Ask For Help

Don’t run your ideas and concepts by others;
They might be stolen.

Don’t ask for help when you get stuck;
They might not understand the problem.

Don’t let others see your early drafts;
They might see weakness.

Don’t ask your friends and family for the time to write;
They might be angry with you.

Don’t do anything that could help you meet your goals;
They might be out of reach anyway.

——-

Ever have these thoughts going through your brain?

Don’t.

 

dontfoolyourself

 

Friday Link Pack 1/29/2016

Just when I thought I’d done something as haphazardly and last-minute as humanly possible — I’m writing a Friday Link Pack post at 10 PM EST on Friday via airplane wifi in extremely turbulent air bound for snowy Salt Lake City after a long week of strenuous vacationing. Oh well, here goes nothing!

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As a reminder, because I know you all read two weeks ago and remember, I’m collaborating on #FLP posts with Drew Gerken, who wrote a great one last week. Check it out over on his blog.

WRITE-ING (Note to self.)

So you want to be a writer…
This is a lovely post by Hugh Howey about writing and what it takes. For example, don’t give up before you’ve started. Credit where credit is due on finding this one: thanks, K.M. Alexander!

How To Write Super Sharable Content For Your Author Blog
Yes, I’m coming back to Lauren Sapala again. I saw this one come up on my list yesterday, and it’s pure gold. I’m going to start following this advice once I start writing again in earnest next month! Did I mention that aside from offering great advice on Twitter and her blog, Lauren is a writing coach for hire?

CREATIVITY/INSPIRATION

Bluescreen Launch Series
One of my favorite Young Adult authors, Dan Wells, has been writing a series of pre-launch posts on his blog for the first book in a new series, Bluescreen. Check this one out and if you haven’t read any of his stuff, give it a go.

SCIENCEY

Sweat Puns Galore!
I could write several. More than several. What I can’t do is make this stuff up. Soon we will have wrist-attached sweat analyzers that can detect things like hydration levels, glucose, sodium, and body temperature. Imagine the applications just for diabetics.

GIF OF THE WEEK

Hoping for a landing less interesting than this:

Friday Link Pack 1/15/2016

HERE I AM — writing comments on other people’s blogs instead of writing my own posts. I mentioned recently that I’m planning to recommit to posting here in February. Let’s jumpstart that a bit.

It's Alive

Beginning NOW, I’ll be posting a Friday Link Pack every other week opposite this fine fellow. Drew is a friend and a member of, not one, but two of my writing groups. He’s a super talented writer and an all-around fantastic individual. You should follow his blog: Write Brained Ramblings. I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention that Mr. Gerken and I didn’t come up with this idea entirely on our own. Our fellow writing group member, and considerably more accomplished friend (and… cheerleader?), K. M. Alexander has written 100 (ONE HUNDRED!) Friday Link Packs over the past couple years. As his writing career has put him in a place where many of his readers are now fans and not just other writers, he has passed the torch on to us. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow K. M.’s blog. I’ll cheat and link to one of his recent posts below.

Anyhow, here is last week’s installment in case you missed it: Friday Link Pack: 1/8/16

WRITE-ING (Note to self.)

Self Critique and the Road to the End
Fellow writer and friend, J. Rushing said all the right things to motivate me today. He has a delightful blog and his reminisce/advice here is beautiful prose in and of itself aside from its obvious extrinsic value. Looking forward to more from him soon.

Cildaire, a Fledgling World: A History
Nope. I don’t think I’ve linked to Drew enough. Why do you ask? Just one of his many talents, Drew Gerken, is a master worldbuilder. Check out this first post in a series that promises to keep your creative juices flowing.

CREATIVITY/INSPIRATION

David Bowie on Stardust
Going back to the father of the link pack on this one. Great way to send him off, K. M. What a week. Bowie and Rickman. A couple of gentlemen I admired for years. Bowie, though, was an inspiration as an artist AND a creative. Rest in peace, fellas.

SCIENCEY

NASA’s Propellantless EM Drive
The article is a little dense; click at your own risk. The gist is this: a drive for spaceflight that doesn’t require propellant means we could create generational extra-solar colonization spaceships. We could send people to other planets! It would take multiple lifetimes to get there, but we could do it! This is not science fiction, folks.

Nadine the Human Robot
It’s a good thing this needs no words because I have none.

GIF OF THE WEEK

rickman.gif

It’s Not What You Do…

It’s what you don’t.

The inestimable Michael Ripplinger once pointed me to this video (that granted is aimed at a tech audience) at one of the many times when I was feeling overwhelmed in the past year. It was the right thing for me to hear both then and now.

The gist is this: when you have a purpose, stick to the things that will further that purpose. For example, if you want to be a writer, write. Don’t spend all day every day reading other’s fiction, trying to find the best tools, getting the perfect location setup, and reading *gasp* blogs.

Spend the majority of your available time actually NOT doing those things.

Spend it writing.

Here is the original video by Scott Hanselman: It’s Not What You Read

 

Now allow me to charm you with a “don’t” GIF of Andre the Giant.

andre

Use Your Opportunities Wisely

Hi.

It’s been awhile.

No, I’m not quoting a song intentionally. It just came out that way.

I’ve been inordinately busy of late. I won’t make excuses. Just know that if I could have taken the time and energy to keep my Tuesday/Friday cadence going, I would have. Now, let’s get back on track with a short post.

Spending a few days in San Francisco on business is a boon I needed badly. Free time is at a premium due to hours of talks in hotel conference rooms, however, just feeling the hum of the city and seeing, hearing, AND smelling the masses of humanity here is exciting. Yes, I live in Salt Lake, but it isn’t the same.

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I’m in love with the concept of a walkable city where one doesn’t need to own a car. There aren’t many like it in the U.S., but San Fran is eminently walkable. I took the BART from the airport to downtown and walked everywhere. It is not only energizing, but it’s also enlightening. I’ve learned I’m out of shape, for one. I remembered that people come in a lot more varieties than generally show up in Utah. Also, I discovered that a lot of people here smoke weed walking down the street on their way home from work in the financial district. Blew my mind. The world is an ever-changing place.

On my walking trips, I spotted a dozen neat little shops, but the one that caught my eye was a hat shop filled with fabulous hand-crafted hats. As is my standing tradition, I bought one.

daHat

It is lonely and somewhat depressing to be away from family. Though sitting in a utilitarian hotel room and writing at night, with only the hum of the city to keep you company, does provide plenty of time.

All of these variations on life are experiences to capture for writing inspiration.

As a writer, I cannot afford to be frivolous. I must never leave my most peculiar days to the dismal gray of long-term memory.

And so I write.

See you Friday.

Gross Misuse – Flash Fiction In The RFR Universe

Happy Halloween! Well, tomorrow anyway. You get the idea.

pumpkin

Behold! A flash fiction story in the world of Rue From Ruin. It is not an official part of the story, but it is intimately related to it. I repeat, this IS NOT RFR – Part 5. If nothing else, it’s a bit more light-hearted than Rue. It also has a different protagonist. Thanks as always to my lovely sounding board, Meri, and also to my good friend Michael Ripplinger, for keeping me from publishing an unreadable Halloween nightmare of crappy writing.

At any rate, it was an absolute blast to write. Perhaps Gross Misuse is the start of a new tradition on the blog. Flash fiction for Halloween in the world of one of my longer stories.

I hope you enjoy…

Gross Misuse

It was usually quiet here. I remember the first time I was placed in my dark, narrow home with my brothers. So cozy.

The cleanings once happened regularly. Strong chemicals were employed, removing the buildup of time. But those days were gone, and it had been some time since the people in gray and white had come. My siblings and I were no longer our spotless and shiny selves.

There is absolute despair in disuse. Always lying still; never called upon for the job for which you were made. Though – I would never have wished for what happened this day.

The day passed slowly like any other but pass it did. The light of it bled through a crack in the door to our darkened home. I longed, as always, to be brought out into that light. The world needed to know I hadn’t lost my edge.

When night fell, my brothers and I lay in silence as our domicile returned to nearly complete darkness. We heard a crashing noise, quite strange after what seemed like ages of stillness. It startled me, but, of course, I could not jump. It is not in my nature to do so.

A terrible snarling followed the crash, and a high pitched sound howled into the night.

My home was torn from its enclosure, and everything I knew was turned upside down. The violence of this sudden eviction was such that my brothers and I flew from our confined space. Our oddly-shaped cousins from neighboring homes met us in mid-flight. The sound of our meeting was a cacophony of tinkles, clangs, and clinks.

During that split second in mid-air, I wondered if I would be stuck somewhere at the end of my impromptu flight. Would I be left, dulling, half embedded in some weaker material?

No. That was not to be my fate.

A strange, strong grip plucked me out of the air. It was firm and rough; more so than any hand that had held me before. It also seemed to… smoke. That’s probably not the right word. It was like I was made of dry ice and evaporation was squeezing its way out from between where we touched. Having been forged at over nine hundred degrees Celsius, I knew it wasn’t I releasing the foul-smelling vapor into the air.

The hand seemed to tremble as if in pain but tightened its grip in response. It bubbled a wet and putrid ooze against me. The hand’s owner ran, chasing a second form at the edge of sight. The figure was difficult to make out at such high speed. I caught a glimpse of my captor as he wiped his scruffy face with the back of his arm. We had burst out into the moonlit night, and his rough features were mostly visible. He was hairier than most men I’d seen. Unkempt. Something was off about him as well, but I couldn’t quite place it.

There was no time to ponder the strangeness of it as my abductor sprinted and leaped to catch his prey. He slashed out powerfully with me. I found my target and reveled in the feeling of slicing through skin, flesh, gristle, and even bone. I hope you’ll pardon the cliche, but I was like a hot knife slicing through butter.

The feeling was exhilarating at first. I was meant for this! Cutting, chopping, carving, slicing – but no, not into a living being. Not like this.

I was an instrument of the glorious kitchen. Made for working with food, not killing things like some crude slaughterers implement.

Still. I cannot deny the pleasure I felt in my heart at being put to use.

It almost distracted me from the howl of pain and the stench that rose from the body I had cut. It was the same reaction that came from the seething hand that held me. I noted that there was blood on me now, and it was boiling and steaming as well. The odor sickened me.

My captor leaped at his prey knocking him to the ground. He laid my frothing blade against the neck, daring the creature to move. A thin wisp of mist rose from the spot where my edge rested firmly. I couldn’t quite see my victim’s face. Its neck was enormous and was covered in unusually thick, coarse hair. This creature was even stranger and stronger than one that grasped me.

I resigned myself to the fact I had become an instrument of death. I would probably end up in an evidence lockup.

Then, my wielder began to speak.

Perhaps this day would end without a death on my conscience after all. As a silver butter knife, I never expected to be holding onto that hope so feebly.

—–

If you enjoyed Gross Misuse and are unfamiliar with my serial story Rue From Ruin, you should check it out. I have a least three readers who think it is extra neat!

Can I Have A Writing Mulligan?

rolledGolfCart

I’m not a big golfer –the last time I golfed, I rolled a cart– but the word mulligan has found its way into my vocabulary.

Recently, the idea of a writing mulligan came to me. As I’ve been working on Rue From Ruin, I’m increasingly conscious of how much more work I need to do on my upcoming novel, The Galaxy and All Her Charms. I started TGaAHC almost a year ago (November 1, 2014) and over time I finished approximately 15,000 words. This was disheartening because I had already sped my way through half of the planned plot, and my intention was for the finished book to be between 90-110k words.

I had such grand plans and they seemed to be in ruins.

I felt like a putz.

Boooooo me.

Eventually, I began posting here. My goal was to refocus. At first, I just wanted to write something I could actually finish. I had taken a long hiatus from blogging on my family and tech-geek blogs, and it was good to get back in the saddle of writing –and finishing– regularly.

Next came a lucky break. I had a writing prompt that resulted in the first part of RFR. This was a real turning point. I wanted to share it on the blog, but I also didn’t want it to have to stand alone. There was more story to tell. So, I went back to my plot exercises and came out with something I thought would be decent. Here we are, two months and four parts into the serial. Everything is going to plan, although perhaps a bit slower than I initially hoped. I’m using deadlines and great beta-readers to produce something I enjoy. I’ve heard from at least three of you who like it as well!

Some members of my writing group started talking about working on new novels at the same time, providing chapters and critiquing one each month. I agreed to participate and started sending out completed chapters of TGaAHC even though I knew they were flawed. The group’s feedback, combined with reading and critiquing their work, has me thinking: maybe conventional wisdom is wrong for me.

Maybe I shouldn’t just “write to done” my first draft of Galaxy. Maybe after I finish Rue, I’ll start Galaxy from the beginning again.

I’m not saying I’m going to throw everything away. The bones are good. I’m just going to flesh it out better. Give the characters added depth. Add more internal thought. Write better descriptions of locations and objects. Include new scenes and more buildup. Do all the things a longer work needs and deserves.

I think I’m going to take a writing mulligan.

Side note: I have what I hope will be an entertaining piece of fiction lined up for Halloween (or the day before). It may or may not be RFR-related… but it probably won’t be anything like this:

halloweenTakedown