Thursday, January 31, 2013

lessons learned about writing

After almost eighteen months of this writing thing, I wanted to talk about the things I have learned.
1.       Commas, they’re important. They go before the quotation mark. The next word is not capitalized unless it is a proper noun.
2.       If you make the character too snarky, it reduces the tension. Things can’t be that bad if they’re making jokes all the time.
3.       Not enough internal dialog makes things sound like a list. He did this, and then he did that, followed by him doing the other thing. The story comes across as flat.
4.       I focus too much on getting information to the reader and not enough on creating the emotions in the reader. This is a holdover from twenty three years as a radioman. Being trained to be precise and emotionless in my communications.
5.       The main characters names should not start with the same letter. It confuses the reader. Every time they have to think it makes it harder to get down the rabbit hole.
6.       If the scene is not critical to the story then remove it. Will the reader’s knowledge or emotion be impacted by the scene, if not remove it.
7.       If you show a gun in the first act, someone needs to shoot it in the third act.
8.       Don’t head hop. Pick a POV and stick with it for the entire scene. It will tighten things up. No more than five POV’s per novel. The more POV’s the farther away the reader gets from the characters.
9.       The POV impacts the story, Star Wars told from Han Solo’s POV is a totally different movie.
10.   Rewriting/Editing is hard. Wait awhile before going back and rewriting you story.
11.   Don’t use clich├ęs. Simile’s and Metaphors should be original. Readers will skim over trite saying. Too much skimming and they stop reading.
12.   It is critical to get readers down the rabbit hole. That place where they are in the story, in characters head. Being amazed, amused, frightened about what is going to happen. Once you are there you can stretch reality, push the unbelievable stuff. But if you are not there, the reader will stop reading and usually end up throwing the book against the wall.
13.   Not all readers are the same. What one finds as great, another will think of as boring. And vice versa. Write your story, do the best you can and let the chips fall where they may.
14.    Conflict drives every story. It is the difference between a novel and an instruction manual.
15.   If the characters don’t grow and change, then nothing important happened in their lives.

Friday, January 25, 2013

High school vs Dystopia

Why do Young adults or as I like to call them, Old Teens, like dystopian novels so much. Simple really, High School is the most dystopian world you will ever find. It is made up of unwritten rules and experienced by newbie’s who must navigate their way through a maze of trials and monsters. All of it designed to weed out the weak and ruthlessly promote the powerful. The world was so much better in the olden days (Elementary school) where there was a benevolent authority that provided a solution for most problems. In high school and most dystopian worlds you have had to rely upon your own wits, you have to find your inner strength. Most of all you have to grow and become someone else.
Young adults like dystopian novels because they live it everyday.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

WD Contest

Entered the Writer Digest contest with the first part of my story.

I was pretty sure I wasn’t the last person on earth, it just felt that way. Sitting on the ledge of the cathedral’s bell tower, like a modern day Quasimodo six stories above the street. I pushed the hair out of my eyes and draped my arm across the ugliest of the gargoyles. Scanning the city I looked for movement, inspecting everything, each street, building, and back alley for signs of life. Smoke, moving cars, recent construction, anything. But the city looked deader than the bodies in the church below.

 Everything my father had said on his death bed about avoiding people, keeping hidden, all of it, I totally blew it off and walked out of the mountains on my eighteenth birthday.

 Disregarding his guidance had been tough. Hell, the man practically walked on water in my opinion. But I couldn’t stay up there all alone, living like a hermit. Not anymore. Something inside was pushing me, an unknown force, driving me to stretch the limits, to break some rules. Ignore what was smart and do what felt good instead. To hell with the consequences. But then the end of the world will do that to a guy.



Lesson Learned

I have to work to write fewer sentences that start with pronouns. (He, She, I,). Too many of these together make everything seem like a list. I should use discriptions between these sentences to give them life and meaning. But too much discription will make things seem fluffy. Like Goldielocks, the trick is finding the "just right" combination. When I am writing I am too focused on capturing the action and not enough on the prose that will capture the reader.

At least I am beginning to see some of my problems. I haven't completely fixed them, but it helps to know what to look for.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


In literature, Sex is used to make the story better. In erotica the story is used to make the sex better.

G.L. Snodgrass

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year
- I have got to do a better job of updating this blog. I have been so busy between the holidays. trying to get my daily writing done, and oh yeah, a full time job. No excuses. My plan is one entry into this blog per week, by Midnight Friday. without fail. I promise, so help me god. Unless I don't. In which case I was filled with good intentions.