Strut, Baby!

Novel Progress

After getting lost in the brambles of chapters three and four, I’ve wiggled through chapter five and am on the path again! Soon, I’ll reach the fallen Kansas ranch-style home and grab those ruby slippers before that assassin Dorothy… wait…

Writing Advice: Be PROUD of What We Make You Do!

Continue reading “Strut, Baby!”

You’ve Been Shyamalaned!

Novel Progress:

Rough. I had a rough time redoing chapters three and four. There were a few dead ends that I had to write my way around… usually by deleting.

Writing Advice: Surprise Endings!

Who doesn’t like a good surprise? Me, for one. Especially when you know there’s a surprise coming up. I mean, they’re okay and such, but sometimes it feels like the whole narrative was written for the “GOTCHA!” moment at the end.

I mean, write a surprise if it’s good. Plot twists are awesome. But sometimes it feels like nothing more than an “it was all a dream” moment.

Remember, once the surprise is finished, the narrative is finished. There’s no point in going back. “The Sixth Sense,” for instance. It’s fine movie. However, it’s not one that needs watching twice. Once you get the “ooOOOOH!” moment at the end, there’s no fun in watching the movie again knowing Bruce Willis was a ghost the whole time.

**SPOILER ALERT!**

Oops. Placed that wrong. If you haven’t gotten to it in the last sixteen years, here’s another spoiler for you: Bruce Willis is overrated and manifestly uninterested in acting.

Maybe I can understand a person watching it a second time to catch all the clues. But if you find someone who says “‘The Sixth Sense’ is my favorite movie! I’ve seen is twenty-seven times in a row,” make no furtive movements around that person. Back away and call someone to tell them your location and who you’re with.

Speaking of useless surprises, did you know that Bruce Willis released a blues album in the 1980s? Don’t seek it out. I don’t know if it is out of circulation, but if there is any justice in the universe, it is. Some people use their star power to fight hunger. Bruce Willis used his star power to play harmonica and sing with the robust vehemence of a drunk uncle at a seven year old’s birthday party.

Oh, Uncle Matt. We told you to get help…

There may be someone out there who says that really it’s not a bad album and that if one listens to it without prejudice they’ll find their foot a-tappin’. And to that person, I say, “shut up, Scott. Again with the ‘Return of Bruno’ reappraisal. There’s only so many times you can polish a turd.”

A neat thing about writing is that you always win the argument.

So when it comes to surprise endings, keep this in mind: Scott wouldn’t know a good song if it crawled up his nose and poked his eye out from behind. I wish to hire a songwriter to write a song that does exactly that and test my theory. Know anyone with the chops?

Also, knowing the end of a surprise story is like knowing the end of a joke. Once you know the punchline, there is zero need to go back and hear the joke again. So don’t make the surprise the whole point of your story.

Also, Bruce Willis sucks. Yeah, I went there.


 

What is your opinion about surprise endings? Hackneyed, or only the most exciting thing to ever happen to art. Ever. Perhaps there is a happy medium in there somewhere.

A Writer: What The Heck Is One?

Novel Progress: Slooooooow!

First drafts are easy. Second drafts, not so much so. In fifteen days, I’ve gotten four out of thirty four chapters “finished”.

Writing Advice: How Do You Know When You’re A Writer?

I’ve seen this bouncing from person to person over the years – differing opinions on what a writer is. Some say that you’re not a writer until you’ve published something. Others, that you’re not a writer until you get an audience. Others, that you’re not a writer until you’ve had a liver transplant from all of the drinking and whining you’ve done.

And to all these ideas, I say POOH! Sorry to cuss, but there it is. It’s a bunch of ridiculous nonsense.

A writer writes. The end.

There’s nothing mystical about it. It’s not a holy order or a priesthood. It’s not a secret society, nor is it laden with heavy destiny. It’s not a knighthood, an honorific, or like being a Jedi.

If you only write ad copy, you’re a writer. If you only write fan fiction, you’re a writer. If you only write technical manuals, you’re a writer, etc.

There are lots of flavors of writers. There are novelists, poets, columnists, journalists, translators, screenwriters, historians, etc. Anyone who says that one is definitely greater than the other is, at best, a cretin.

Now I have my own preferences. I don’t like poetry very much. I used to love it, but I’ve moved away from it. But I would never say that a poet is inferior to, say, a screenwriter.

Mad respect to ANYONE who can carve an idea or information out of words. Words are a terrible medium, because language is messy as hell! Sometimes it is like building a tower out of mud.

If anyone says different – if someone says to you “oh, but you’re NOT a writer yet because…” then thank them gratefully. They have now let you know that you don’t have to pay attention to anything they say from now on. Very nice of them to let you know. If only more people were that kind!

So are you writing anything? If so, congratulations! You’re a writer!

However, you’re an atrocious speller.

 

But I Don’t Wanna!

Novel Progression

I’m doing the second draft rewrites on chapter three, which actually means I am doing everything I can to distract myself from doing the rewrites on chapter three.

Writing Advice: This Is Hard Work!

Writing IS hard work. If anyone says differently, here is my suggestion to you: poke them in the eye. Then explain that since in the land of the blind the one eyed person is king, you have just ennobled them. They should feel honored, but with power comes responsibility.

Continue reading “But I Don’t Wanna!”

Serious Moment!

Writing Advice: SAVE NOW!

I took the day off from writing because my computer blowed up on Tuesday evening. All was going well, then one reboot later… KABLOOEY!

A-tip-typing on the computer is the way I write.

However, no fear from me. I’ve saved all my writing on three different cloud services. Why?

It pays to be paranoid!

I actually lost a novel once. In 2011, I had completed the first draft of a novel when my hard drive crashed. I don’t think it was an editorial statement from the hard drive, that the work was so bad that the hard drive committed suicide rather than store another bit. I tried not to take it that way, anyway.

Since I hadn’t printed out the novel, it was completely gone into the aether, along with everything else I’d written prior to 2011. Kill your babies, indeed!

So I have been studious in backing EVERYTHING up on various online services. Currently, I use OneDrive, Dropbox, and iCloud. Save for massive EMP caused from multiple nuclear explosions in the upper atmosphere, I feel pretty safe about things.

So when my C: drive went kerflooey, all was… well, not FINE, but I wasn’t hyperventilating either. I had no pictures or documents on that drive that I didn’t have elsewhere. The novel I am working on is both saved on multiple remote servers AND printed out for markup.

So SAVE EARLY, SAVE OFTEN! Whether you need to print things out or copy everything onto an external drive, do it! Safeguard your thoughts. Not only CAN it happen to you, given enough time it WILL happen to you!

Trust me on this one.

Share your horror stories, IF YOU DARE!