“Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.”

Eric Hoffer

I know I’ve been silent for a little while. There is the usual excuse: I’ve been busy. There are others, but none of them really matter. The house is still in shambles, but the contractor is going to get us a quote today. We are hoping that this quote will be better for us. We are still seeking assistance, and if you cannot help monetarily, just spreading the word helps tremendously.

I’m begin a little hard on myself over not writing here in few days, I want to keep drawing in readers, and entertaining the ones I have, or at least trying to make sure they don’t regret the time they use to read my posts. That said, I don’t like using excuses, even valid reasons seem like excuse sometimes. However, I do believe that as long as we own up to our mistakes, and make efforts to resolve them, then we can forgive ourselves and, in turn, be forgiven by others.

Another phrase I detest is “it is what it is.” I think that’s a poisoned and stagnant way of thinking. Sometimes, very rarely is something immutable and only then should that phrase be used. Even the laws of physics are being expanded upon and changed as we learn more about the physical universe. Just think if we always thought “it is what it is,” then the human race would have never progressed. Being against that way of thinking is what generates change. The Wright didn’t think that humans couldn’t fly because, “it is what it is.” Marconi didn’t think we could only communicate over wire because, “it is what it is.” Bill Gates didn’t think that only business will have computers because, “hey, it is what it is.” “It is what it is,” is just a quick and lazy way to say, I don’t have a solution to that problem at this time.

Sometimes we don’t have a solution, and maybe the technology isn’t far enough along as a whole to get us that solution in a timely manner. But don’t shrug it off and blame the universe. Take the responsibility to give a reasonable explanation to why we cannot solve this problem. We are all responsible for our actions and inactions, if you can’t fly to another solar system don’t say “it is what it is.” Instead, try finding a reason why, “with the current technology I would succumb to old age before reaching the next solar system. So, for today I will aid in the progression of that technology, so the next generation will be closer to this goal, than I am today.”

Sometimes our goals are just to big, scale it back a bit, then accomplish great things.


The Writing Process: Part Three

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
-E. L. Doctorow

traffic-cars-headlights-head-light-bokeh-lightsNever a truer statement than the one above.

Last time I went on about how I plan and execute a short story. Now we’re going to talk about how much that can differ from writing a longer story, such as the novel I’m writing Dawn Vernalis (working title) . If you didn’t yet read the first article in this set, about my process for blog posts check it out here. If you want to know more about Dawn Vernalis you can see the synopsis here. With the boring plugs out of the way we can get to it.

The biggest difference, for me, when trying to write a longer work of fiction is the use of more words. All jokes aside, I mean that my notes are also more wordy and organized. I need more detail in the outline in order to save myself from reading my entire story everyday before I write. The beginning of the process is not too dissimilar from that of the short story.

First I imagine the main points of the story, setting, characters, plot, but it usually stops there. At this point I need to begin the outline. I write a synopsis from the world I’ve imagined in my head, this gives me direction. This direction takes me into the plot line and details.

The main section of notes begin with outlining the plot, like a story board. I’ll plan out the introduction of characters, including detail information like a dossier. This includes the physical features, as well as character quirks; I don’t like to call them flaws, since quirks make us who we are. I’ll include setting details, such as ambiance, features, and landmarks. I might also add lines that I feel need to be added to the story, things that I come up with while brainstorming that are so critical that they fit in the story word for word.

I’ll plan out maybe the first act or major scene this way, then begin to write it out. Most of all I try to avoid going back to make corrections at this time. There will be plenty of time for grammar corrections, spell checks, revisions, and name changes after the story is finished. Once the first act is written, I’ll take all the information up to that point and plan out the next just as I did with the previous section. Wash, rinse, repeat until the story is complete.

And, as I said, we have plenty of time to go back and polish the work once the story is complete. Just think if you start editing before completion you might change the story you imagined, this type of thing would lead me into a serious case of writers block. Writer’s block is just your mind telling you that something in your story doesn’t make sense. This is the only caveat to not editing until completion; if you get writers block before completing your story, you may want to go back and try to find the thing that doesn’t make sense. Once you get that resolved it should be smooth sailing, at least until the next storm.

I have a hope that somehow these three posts will help someone realize, that with time and effort they too can write. It’s not just about that one story you carry, but maybe the stories you can imagine to get you closer to that story. Writing is work, the more you do it, the better you will get.

Part One and Part Two

The Writing Process: Part Two

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
-Thomas Jefferson

twisty-treesIn the first part of this three piece article I covered my writing process for the blog posts I put together. I also included some of the things that I’m doing to add more oomph, gusto, pizzazz and a bunch of other outdated buzz words. As previously stated I’m going to shift gears and touch more on my process for slamming together a short story.

I brought up the part about imagining the basics of my story. Such as, but not limited to, the setting, characters, plot, climax and whether there will be a resolution or not, and what that resolution might be. I might write these things down, or I’ll keep them in the ole noggin. The latter generally being considered bad form, but it happens. Then I might start to hash out the first few paragraphs, introduce the main character(s), giving them some detail and body. It’s usually at this point I stop and open another writing application (I prefer Google Docs, but more on that some other time).

In this second document I’ll start writing high level notes of the story that I began to write as well as what comes next. I will generally work on a three act system for both short stories and longer works. Acts one and two come easy to me these are mostly exposition, plot and character development and some build up. The climax and fall of act three are often a little more work. I know that these are things that I have steadily increased the hype about for the first parts of the story, so this is something that must blow the reader’s mind. Because of this I usually wait until all the details of acts one and two are complete before making notes about act three.

The notes contain only the most important of details, everything else is setting the scene. That comes to me as I write. I visualize the scene in my head, all the details, then I find things that stand out to me, where did the blood flow too, was the painting crooked, did the killer leave any evidence, what color are the unicorns; well you get the picture. Getting the picture is the idea, however, I don’t want to force you into my frame of mind, I just want to put you in my world and let you see it how you would see the world around us. That’s why I write, not paint, if I wanted you to see exactly what I see I’d paint it, and you would probably still see what you want.

Act three comes with the climax, the big shebang. All that effort was for me to control your emotions. That’s right, writers just love to toy with our emotions and anyone who tells you different is probably lying. I want to make you anxious about what’s going to happen next, so I have to be sure to include that in my notes. Then I either want to make you feel good or completely dash all your hopes. Which ever I chose be sure I put effort into the outcome, and I felt the same before writing notes about it. After I have the notes I take myself into that situation and write out everything I would notice if I was experiencing it. If it’s a game of cat and mouse most of the details will be a blur, if it’s a battle field you will see a commander’s bird’s eye view, and if there is an unspeakable horror you won’t see the forest for the trees.

I left titles alone here, for the simple fact that titles are personal. If you can write the story, but can’t come up with a title, try that one phrase you wrote into the main character. The one you said out loud three times after you wrote it. Or don’t, I’m not the police, I’m just trying to explain my writing habits.

More to come in part three, the process for writing a longer story is, as luck would have it, more work.

Part One

The Writing Process: Part One

or What Comes Down, Must Go Up

“Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”
-Ray Bradbury

duck-river-flood-126051297201343SpxPreviously I wrote a little about how my life has been quite disrupted by the breaking of a pipe. We are without running water in the house right now, which is rather inconvenient. Maybe inconvenient is too soft a word, a more accurate phrasing would be “a terrible inconvenience” or “a disaster.” I’m sure anyone can imagine, but it is something many of us take for granted.

Besides my home life being disrupted, work has become rather demanding again. The holidays are often slower for our business, than the rest of the year. With the holiday rut firmly in the past we are kicking things back into high gear and pushing to complete some projects. Of course, like many businesses, the upper management fails to understand the magnitude of the projects they have set forth. This leaves us, the peons, with the dilemma of completing tasks in an unreasonable time frame or not completing it on time. We usually opt for doing it right and taking the deadline hit on the front end, that way we can follow up with “see how good we did it.”

Most days when I get done with work I’m either thinking about the house, work, or trying not to think at all. But enough about earthly pursuits, let me embellish about my writing. I have a “process,” if it even qualifies as a process, that is less than professional. First, I’m going to talk about the shortest task, blogging. Then I’ll follow up with the short story, such as The Return Of the Cult. Finally, I’ll finish up with my process for writing a long story, such as the novel I’m working on (working title: Dawn Vernalis).

These blog posts have almost no process, but I’m working on that too. As you can see I’ve started adding a quote at the top. I haven’t quite decided if that’s a hook or just pretentious, but I’m not afraid to be pretentious if it’s right or I just like it. I try to find a quote about writing or inspiration and a photo that is obscurely referenced, even in hyperbole, somewhere in this blog. Most of the article topics just come from my head at the time and I’ll be honest most are written while I have down time at work. The titles usually come from the topic, but I commonly just pull something out of my hat and think, man that sounds good when you say it out loud.

Besides the quote, which I really liked the one I posted at the top of this, I’ve also started trying some other things to draw in readers. You will notice I’ve tried to include a photo in most of my posts. I’ve taken one of these myself, the rest are from public domain or are free stock image sites. I’ve also started scheduling my blogs for peak traffic time. It’s somewhat like predicting the weather; often close, but when it’s off it’s way off. Additionally, if you read this entire post you’ll see that I’m trying the time release article for longer lasting relief as well as acquiring repeat customers.

I will continue in the next article. We still have the short story and the full book process to cover, covers are another topic entirely.

On Writing and Finding Inspiration

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying”

–Oscar Wilde

Writing a story that is in my head, I find, is far easier than writing a blog. When I write my story my mind just takes over sometime; then, when I stop I look back at the words and think to myself “wow, did I write that?”

Of course, not every day is like that. Many days are truly work, I plan out the process in a sort of outline, I says “sort of” because it isn’t really intelligible. Then I work from my outline; drawing, coaxing, and pulling the details out of my mind. Yes, it is work. However, I have stories you want to write so I work for those days where my thoughts just flow into words.

This medium of writing that you are reading this moment is a tool. I use it to purge the my thoughts of writing that do not pertain to my stories. More importantly it is a way to connect with readers. Those who might find my stories, thoughts, inspiration, strength, weakness, or various other aspects of what I write, interesting or inspirational as well. I’m also using this tool as a way to learn more about successful writing methods and receive criticism on my writing.

Please check out the part’s one and two of my story The Return Of the CultEven if you’re not familiar with H.P. Lovecraft this is story is a mystery, horror, thriller written from perspective of a former professor gone mad during a rare lucid moment. I’m really looking for feedback. If you are a reader I want to know if you are enjoying the story up to this point, and if it’s easy to read. If you are a writer I want a little more than that, maybe some pointers or constructive criticism. I know, many people say they want constructive criticism, but what they really want is praise; that’s not what I’m looking for, I’m very open to critique at this time. I truly want to build on my writing skill and grow as an author.

You can leave a comment on either part of the story, or you can leave your comment right here.

March On

spring-flower-and-snowA new month has begun and with it the hope of things to come. Spring is on the way. I’m still on the lookout for a new job. I’m still trying to progress my writing, both here and my book. It has been slow going, however.

Work has become rather taxing and it is important to keep an income especially now. Just last week the water main under my house busted. This has pried me away from my computer and kept work short when I have time for other pursuits. I would like to build this blog into something that can provide a supplemental income, but that means providing quality content for the, you, the readers. I am having a hard time doing that with everything going on and the responsibilities that come with them.

I will be writing my book some more this week, and I will be trying to post a new part to The Return Of the Cult (here is pt. 1). I will also be creating a page for The Return Of the Cult to collect all the parts together to make finding simple. I am going to edit in navigation links at the bottom of each part of the story as well.

Stress is definitely something that is getting the better of me right now, but I’m trying to channel that stress into something useful. Please bear with me through all of this and you might get some entertaining words out of the deal. In the mean time, spread the word about this blog. Someone you know might enjoy my stories and anecdotes. Even when my wit escapes me I will try to bring something interesting to read to the table.

Clock Fighting

Alarm_Clocks_20101105One of the most universally hated sounds known to man is the dreaded alarm clock. It pierces into your dreams and forces you to stir from the comfort of your bed. You might be watching the TV at the start a new episode of your favorite show, while the protagonist is peacefully sleeping the sound of their alarm clock kicks in and you say out loud “Turn that off!” Driving into work, while listening to your favorite radio station they cut to commercial and that incessant buzzing nearly drives you into a ditch.

The alarm clock is a much maligned piece of technology that is a necessary evil for many of us. It is probably the thing I despise most about punching a clock at work. Most of us would wake up at an acceptable time without the alarm clock, but when we have a schedule to keep we don’t risk it.

These days we use our phone, and we still try to find the most annoying, ear piercing, high pitched sound we can find on our phone. Why, because we are gluttons for punishment? Maybe. More likely because in the grand scheme of things the alarm clock is a minor annoyance. However not making it to work on time, or to a scheduled appointment, might make a serious impact on our lives. The alarm clock, however, makes a serious impact on our day and our nerves. And do you really trust your subconscious or your body to wake up at the correct time? I know I don’t. I might be up before 8:00 am, but there is no way I’m waking up before the sun comes up without the aid of a digital rooster.

Then we get to work just to wrestle with another clock, known as the time clock. As if there was some sort of clock that measured distance or volume. I highly doubt that the time clock was invented to benefit the worker, even if it does not create a detriment. The time clock was created so the employer was not robbed of precious time by the work force, but, much like a locked door, it keeps honest people honest.

After we are at work we start to feel that we are at the mercy of the ever present clock. Some people even throw out and cover up clocks to avoid feeling the pressure of waiting for the clock to strike closing time. As we look at the clock it only gives us the feeling of time dilating. Seconds turn into minutes, and minutes into hours. Until the relief of close of business.

Then we go home to start it all over again.

I hope to one day break free of the clock. To not be on such a strict schedule that I require an alarm clock, but only set it for my benefit. To be able to perform my duties without the close eye of the time clock, to keep track of how much I’m engaged in my work. To not have to watch the clock to wait for anything that I dread to end, but only for something I enjoy to begin.

I’m only conveying my opinions, but I’m sure there are many folks who long for that as well. If I’m lucky I will free myself of the clock some day soon; until then, I will carry on, furthering my goal while maintaining my regularly scheduled day.

Is this a goal of yours? How do you plan to liberate yourself from the monotony of the time piece? Leave it in the comment.