Posts Tagged ‘writer’

I don’t quite know what made me do it, I wrote a short story while my second novel was going so well, but I think I just had this idea that had to be addressed. Months before I published my short story, I wrote a poem entitled The Racer. I had this picture in my mind of an old man remembering the glory of his youth.

Glory of youth… that lead to the idea of writing a young adult parody. So I hit the keyboard and churned out the thing in less than a week. I love to mock young adult fiction, but now I have done it in style. It is not that  I believe that writing YA is wrong, it is that I believe that most authors are going about it in the wrong way. Maybe I am just a grumpy old eighteen year old.

“Get of my lawn!”

The End takes place in a clinic at first, but after the administration of a new drug the old man is healing from his dementia. So much so that he is sent to a place where there is Trials. Here he must cope with a bunch of older “lab rats” to survive. He meets a guy who tells him how everything works. He meets a smart guy. He meets a bully guy. He meets a mysterious character. I am not only writing clichés, but I am having fun pointing them out. The story remains unique and funny. If you are interested you can buy it here.

Have you written a parody lately? WThe Endhat inspired you?

Art is part of the human nature and there is no way around it.

Writers, you probably have heard the saying: You can’t write if you don’t read. (there are hundreds of paraphrases) Usually an author or reader tells you this smirking, whilst having a firm grip of a five hundred page monster beneath their arm. Sometimes I wonder if they can be used as some sort of armour. Anyway… the person telling you this have a logical case for interrrupting your thoughts. There are many writers out there who are better than you and you need to learn from them.

What do you have to learn from them? I don’t believe you need to make it your mission to adapt your writing, but  rather that you need to read their work critically and make mental notes. However as soon as you approach your story you need to have forgotten about them. Reading will only make you a better writer in the same degree studying art makes you a better painter or photographer. Even though you can be influenced. It is through the trials of errors that we learn and really hone our skills as writers. I would suggest that you read less, but that you do it more critically. If we can pick up good habits subconsciously then surely we can learn some bad ones too. Just take a hard look at life and I dare you to disagree with me. Your subconscious does have faulty filter.

If I still haven’t convinced you, I want to present my logical argument that reading should not be glorified to the point that authors miss the point by neglecting their writing. Take a literate human being and give him some novels to read. He does not have to be an avid reader. He just needs to be fluent in a language. Now tell him to critique the novels. The chances are that his critique will be almost as valid as a critic’s. Why is that? Remember my opening? Art is part of human nature. We know if narrative isn’t working. We know what bores us. We know what excites us. We know what makes a story good. We know these things… not because some great writer told us these things, but rather that we are part of a curious species that wants to be entertained.

So I wholeheartedly disagree that reading a lot makes you a much better author. If you can speak, you can write. (assuming of course that you are literate) I laugh at the fact that authors preach this idea of reading like an obsessed person, yet they fail to tell us to watch more movies or to go see plays. I am not saying you shouldn’t read. No, I am saying that you should write more and read more critically, because there is a little voice inside of you that knows the truth.

Write till you can’t. Read your own work and others’. Criticize it. Do this over and over and over again. Broaden your skills using any method necessary… even if it is only watching TV and reading the occasional book. (critically) I am telling you… art is in our nature.

Alpha Critic

Posted: February 2, 2015 in Pointers
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Hello writers. We all know what beta readers are, we love and hate some of the things they say about our work. However… we don’t fear them so much as the critics. Of course not… because when the stars shine and we feel lacking it can cause a huge blow to our psyche. When the reviews come pouring in… our hearts start to pump blood at faster rates. We just know it… we do.

Rule number… I don’t care: Watch how critics work and read a lot of books. Also, deliver your own critique. If you are being critical a sense of guilt will hopefully remind you off all of your mistakes. Another thing that I would recommend is to watch things like Cinema Sins and Honest Trailers. They criticize movies, but not only are they funny, you can learn a thing or two from how they tear art apart. Not that they are always right… cause their nitpicking can be quite irritating.

Read your own work over and over again. At the first sight of boredom and stupidity you can start to write your ideas down or just think about all the mistakes you have made. Remember that you are the first to criticize your own work. It belongs to you and many writers let mistakes pass them by just because they can’t let go of a biased lens. I know that it is difficult. That is why you should have a fun meter. You should try criticize yourself, because you are the only critic that you are in love with. In time, with self confidence… you can learn to only slightly dislike other critics.

Even if you have messed up in a big way… do not let their opinions be more important than the alpha critic- you.  For we know that if they get to you… if they get their mold around you, you may write like many people want you to write, but that you have forsaken what than author stood for. To sum it up: Be vigilant in reading and criticizing both your work and the work of others, but don’t try to change according to their wills. The most important opinion of all is the one of the alpha critic.

Silver is not white (1)

Posted: February 1, 2015 in Pointers
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It has been a few months after I have completed my first novel’s first draft and I have started on my second novel. I am going to send the first one to an editor I have met and then I will self publish it.

Today I want to talk about one of the mistakes many writers make, because of their love for the silver screen. It is important to distinguish between films and novels. Sounds simple, right? Yes, it does, but we do love to try and implement things that doesn’t work in novels, because it works in films. How do I put this? Subtlety is the master storyteller.

We tend to do what films do subtly: we will focus on expressions by characters and point them in detail. However, this only works in films, because of its subtlety. Writers on the other hand also have an awesome tool that they either utilize too much or too little. It is has almost been declared a sin in many films. Though I think it can work to great effect, comically. We have the ability to put a characters thoughts down. In film, the best way this can be done is through gestures. No novelist wants to over explain gestures. That is bad writing. I am not saying that you should leave it out, but I am saying is that we could tone it down. I also firmly believe in the show and tell. (Not don’t tell, because that would make it kind of impossible)

Writers need to utilize the thoughts of their characters more often, because we lack an ace of spades that directors do not lack. A soundtrack. Imagine a heartbreaking scene with the violin trying to tear the audience down. As a writer I would love to make my readers emotional, but I can’t use lighting and music. However, I can slip in a subtle thought of a character or perhaps a memory. Dialogue will of course work in both. We are working with the differences.

Remember dear writers that we don’t have an orchestra. We don’t want to use too many angles. We don’t have lighting or acoustics. We can however explain these through the eyes of our protagonist or antagonist. We have a strong POV and we need not forget this. I also love movies and have made these mistakes. One day I would want to write scripts as well.
Just know that silver is not white.

Killing Tales

Posted: January 24, 2015 in Pointers
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Sometimes the best way to be strong is to protect one’s weaknesses. It can also be a very good thing to look at how people fail and why people fail. More importantly, why we sometimes fail. When it comes to stories you only need an attitude to kill it.

After you have toiled through hours of typing, plotting and writing, you get time to reflect. Usually this can only happen if you care about the story you told, but many times authors look back at half a story or sometimes even a first draft and they get that blasé feeling. The root of the problem can be that you have lost that caring feeling. You don’t really care about characters, but about writing a book. The problem with this attitude is that writers’ own feelings will only set the amplitude of what they had written.

Let me explain what this amplitude means. It means that no one will care more about your story than you do, ever. So if you want your readers to not care, then all you have to do is write till the end with this attitude. Writing is like an endurance race in the same way that life is. To kill a tale is as simple as cutting off all love and care for characters and the world where they live. I know it sounds weird, but the cave rat told me that is what I need to tell you. (Just joking. That’s a reference to a game you guys won’t know.)

The real question is whether you can repair your relationship with characters. Of course you can as characters are only a subset of your own mind. Treat your characters as if they are real, because the readers (at least the majority) will not do this unless the author does. Get ready for some tough times, because they will happen. Then think whether you want to kill the story or not. In my mind it is murder, ’cause that’s how much I care about those figments of my imagination.

Tug of War

Posted: January 22, 2015 in Writing
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Something is certain: to commit yourself to writing is hard when you have many responsibilities like a job or if you are a student. Only holidays can truly set you on your way or maybe a retirement. The thing is we can’t only write when we have time. Nothing is free and time is so precious. Thus, we need to sacrifice some of our so called free time to write. If you are a successful writer then things are different. Most writers aren’t and might never be. The statistic can make you feel so small and yet we all know that sales should never be the measurement of quality when it comes to things like fiction. No doubt, some of the best sellers are indeed some of the best works of fiction in the world, however they are sometimes also the worst.

So life can tug you back to reality where you need to return to the never ending cubicle or maybe also a fun job, but we don’t lie when we are in reality. Writing is the thing. That’s what keeps me going sometimes. Both writing and life can be like two parties in a tug of war and the ultimate solution would be balance until, if you really are great, a writing career. Even then you will need balance. I can probably write a book on why I write fiction. One of the reasons, like I have said before, is that I couldn’t imagine a life with no fiction or art. For a second I took away all writers and it scared me. Take away engineers and it is also scary, but that is obvious. That said, story telling is an ancient skill and today people will pay money for it. Why not?

Writing is a lot more than simply putting down tales and ink in some sequence. It delivers a message like any other piece of art and in some of the best ways. Don’t get me wrong, I am not an art nut… because I am not. I love subjects like math and physical science. I just can’t place myself as a leader in that field and be happy about it. I only pray that my day job doesn’t kill my writing, because that would be a pity. You should never stop reminding yourself what you have written and why you have written it. Writing has a lot to do with worldview and morals. That is one of the reasons why I love writing. Sure, we can write a sappy one if we like, but that is something I won’t do.

Be committed in whatever you dream to change it into goals. Be it writing or not. (assuming you guys are authors)

Immersion

Posted: January 17, 2015 in Pointers
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Let it not be said that writing is free. It is not. It takes a lot of thinking and time. I don’t know if I am a good writer, but I can write and found writing a novel quite easy when I was sixteen. Now it is easier and the word counts keep going. Write’s Block is a monster from a children’s dream and I am loving the journey. Every now and then people tell me that they would never be able to complete a novel and I understand. There is something you need to do before trying to write a novel.

I am talking about immersion. Though this can also be coupled with method acting and writing I set this apart. Any author can become a character or act like one of his character. Maybe it is a form of method writing. It would be an extreme form and I will tell any non outliner like myself to use this. The act of knowing characters like real people and considering them as such. If this is done you won’t talk to them as pieces on a paper, but rather as friends and enemies. Their goals become like the goals of a friend. Yes, the more I think of it, the more it becomes like method writing. This can also be the danger. Sometimes your characters become much more likeable than real people, because lets not lie… people can be irritating. There is no greater bond between a writer and his characters. They are a part of you. Don’t question my sanity… this is the lengths I have gone to create characters and it is emotionally draining as their losses become real in your mind. Let it not be said that you can’t fool your own mind. You can. This immersion drains you emotionally and mentally.

That’s the reason I listen to music when I write. It is like a quick charge. At first artificial… then real. Listen to me… I am not a mentor. This is my journey and besides, if your need a mentor I will gladly redirect you to some of the best outliners in the business. The outliners tend to be the better teachers. K.M. Weiland for example. Writers don’t write the same way and rightly so. It would be a crime against humanity if we all were to do things the same. That’s why if you are not outlining you will need some form of immersion for a number of reasons.

  1. Avoiding logical errors: Doesn’t make sense? This guy sounds nuts. The mind works around them because the author is in his own world. (Still nuts, but not my problem)
  2. It creates more real characters. Like people, your characters will seem like living beings.
  3. Fun. Yes, this makes writing more fun. More fun leads to more working hours

This is not the plotter versus pantser debate. This is the price I had to pay to write. This is one of those lonely pieces of advice I can give.

sCold comes the night terror

Posted: December 27, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I am not afraid of many things. I don’t have many phobias, but the ones I have are so highly irrational that I keep them to myself and debate my conscience into oblivion. Every other night I lie there thinking: What if I wake up tomorrow and I lose my ability to tell stories. I hate that thought. I’d much rather be chased by a monster probably because I can extract a story to tell from that. In fact I love to have nightmares, because they work like stories.

So I wake up and start speaking  to myself and my characters. ”What if?”

That is probably the strongest line a writer can speak and also the biggest danger. What if the readers and critics hate me? What if I get a two star review and then another? What if my mom never makes me coffee again? What if I am so poor one day that I can’t even buy coffee or what if I grow intolerant to caffeine? What if I get panned by critics and have to hide in a cave for years?What if these what if questions become so boring that my fellow bloggers leave it?

A year ago, a sixteen year old boy asked the question: what if I write a novel? Simple yet so elegant. And then I started to ask myself some questions. Characters and plots became a tide of water and I did not care what the world thought. The story I wrote is my biggest gain. I got to know some imaginary people. I had fun. I am not a positive speaker yahoo. I know life sucks and that is how I see so many plots around me, but I will keep my phobias at bay by reminding myself why I write.

Post your most irrational fear if you want to. By the way I am not afraid of heights and no that afraid of falling… I am afraid of breaking my body after the fall, but oh am I in love with climbing. That’s true and also an analogy for writing.

The lenses we gain

Posted: December 27, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I doubt many authors will disagree with me if I told them they changed the way they look at life literally. I am talking about observational skill and effort to observe. It became so natural after I became I writer. I would look at people and see characters and listen to their worries and their joy to see plots. It became a nuisance quite frankly, because an author can’t resist and perhaps that is a good thing. I am the kind of author that will only write a sentence then start writing a novel. So it became a good bad habit to observe people and situations. I think about their lives and their jobs and how that can be translated into a work of fiction.

I believe many authors do this because they know what is necessary to stay ahead. Tell tales. Simple as that and we don’t want to tell the same thing over and over again. We want to be innovative, but since true originality doesn’t exist it is nice to ”borrow” certain pieces from peoples lives and create a story. I can exaggerate their role and I probably will. I am a collector. I break down and I build up. A piece here… a piece there. That kind of thing works for me. I have my own creativity and certain aspects that I clearly thought up somewhere. The chances are that I got the information somewhere. This is what we do. We need to tell tales worth telling. We need to tell them well.

That said it, is good to read, but I won’t say necessarily to get ideas but rather to improve skill. Ideas can be found anywhere. I mean anywhere. Under a plant or on your roof or in a coffee shop. Mmmm coffee. I am currently reading Sand by Hugh Howey and I will write a review later.

Watch and Tell

Posted: December 9, 2014 in Genres
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No one wants to be branded a Jack of all trades, because ever since mankind became dumb we only thought of  the ”master of none” tail to the saying. However, this was not always so.  In the old days some people did many things and were great at some and good at others. Some were masters at many trades. This used to be positive saying. This is my refutation to the argument that specialists are always better. I am not saying that being a specialist is bad, but if we take writing as a skill with different aspects and different genres many people will call themselves an ”insert genre here” writer.

Now, how can this only apply to the creation of fiction, but not in the observation? Few skills are as writing where there is a great relationship between user (reader) and creator(writer). The statement that a writer needs to keep to a certain genre and get good at it rather than do one and then another is absurd considering we like different tales. Sure, we like some more than others and loathe certain genres, but again this boils down to a thing called taste. No one can convince me that a great writer of any genre can’t attempt to write a novel in another. The only reason many writer’s stick to one or two is because it has worked before and they do really like it. In fact many people will grow to only write in a few genres.

My first novel is horror, but this is not the only type of novel I’ll ever write. I had a story to tell and I did. My second novel is going to be science fiction. I always had a tendency to write science fiction for school. I know I will complete this story. However, it can be guaranteed that my second novel will be written better, because writing is a skill improving in a detached manner from it’s genre. It improves as a whole. The writing of a certain genre does improve, but this can easily be accomplished and this increase in skill is nothing compared to what writing does to a writer as a whole. Your mind does not shift from thriller to drama, but you do apply your skills differently. You may want to focus on atmosphere in the former and maybe more on relationships in the latter. This may also vary. You can’t put a definite genre on your life and neither can you do it to your characters. So stick to what you are good at, but be good at learning so you can stick to what you love… writing.