This is something some writers don’t have. Okay. Well, maybe not some. Let’s just say me. I try hard to have it but ….
My head is filled with stories. It’s full of scenes, dialog and … things. I sit and as I write, it flows so much slower. I can spend a full solid morning and only have a few pages to show but in my mind, I’ve seen the beginning, the middle and the end.
So, with the patience comes focus. With that head so full of stories and ideas, its hard to stay focused on just one. I easily get something else caught in my imagination and start to document that. And typically, as I’m working on that, a new idea bursts forth.
I’ve learned that patience comes with discipline. To ease the chaos of my mind, I try to satisfy it by working on more than one project at a time. I’ve been asked if that isn’t confusing or difficult. To be honest, not really. But it does do, is: it slows down the process and extends the completion of the story.
So, I’m trying to focus on only 2 or 3 projects. I can rotate as needed but I feel it will help me and my blocks. But its not rigid. If I find that I spend all my time on 1 project, then so be it. And congrats to me. The only benefit to a slow process is that I get to think more about the story. I find places to make changes and fix problems. In the end, maybe thats the reward….
Oh, and with that: I use a notebook to catalog all those new ideas. Let’s just hope I can get to them one day!
I feel like I just woke up after spending all weekend immersed in authors panels and looking at art and reading about new writers.
I met so many fellow authors and new literary adventurists.
One of my favorites this weekend was Cinda Williams Chima, writer of the Heir Chronicles, Seven Realms, and Shattered Realms. My daughter was introduced to her writing back in junior high. She had read a lot of fantasy books and was sitting on her wall that the best book in the world was Harry Potter. Well, she read The Warrior Heir and the changed overnight. She brought the books home and introduced them to her parents. We became instant fans. Cinda was very nice and supportive.
Other writers: John Scalzi, Pierce Brown and Tricia Levenseller. All of them were very positive. All were more than willing to encourage you and your writing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you want to write for more than yourself, you need to find a community. And don’t be afraid to seek out even the big authors. Those that have New York Times Bestsellers books. Those that have the Hugo or Nebula or Locus awards. You’ll find most if not all are very humble. Yet, be respective and don’t try to be the new best friend. If you’re not careful thats where restraining orders come into play! (Just a little joke folks!).
I find that other writers inspire me. I’m sure they inspire all of us. So have fun and find time to meet your favorite authors.
So I’ve been reading books from this author for nearly 20 years. My first book of his I read in only a few days while working a tedious office job. I consumed it as it made my imagination go into over drive. Mainly because the topic was fantastical and wondrous – and in some ways, very possibly true.
It was Fingerprints of the Gods.
And the author is Graham Hancock!
Although he has dabbled in fiction, his books are mostly hypothetical pre-history investigations.
I find this stuff incredible fascinating and I like it as it questions orthodox understandings of our recorded history. I’ve always questioned many of today’s understood facts – say like the Big Bang theory. Like how do scientists even know this- they took some readings and guessed. Yeah, they don’t really know. Maybe Thanos snapped his fingers!?
Personally, I think it’s a bit of truth to something normally believed to be myth and fantasy. It’s a bit of science fiction but done in reverse. The superior tech was in the past not the future.
Mr. Hancock inspires my own creativity and fiction writing. And as a writer, one should meet and talk to those that inspire you. Let them know as it builds our small community and it scan truly be motivational to continue what we do. So go. Do it. Enjoy.
Here’s Graham Hancock signing my copy of America Before and like his other books will definitely be interesting and entertaining!
Well, one thing is I stayed off social media. I just read books and watched movies.
I avoided the negativity of people. Honestly, I think this negative attitude to other people’s ideas, opinions and art created an overwhelming sense of self doubt.
So, I’m back to feeling some desire to write again. I want to tell my stories. Perhaps they won’t be any good. Maybe no one will ever read it. Yet, I will complete them. I think thats the attitude I need and hopefully I can keep the faith restored….
On January first, I wanted to write on this blog every day for an entire year. As anyone paying attention (not sure there’s many) but that’s not happened.
Several factors have influenced this: internal conflicts of do I share opinions or touch on uncomfortable subjects, or simply share memories and reminisce about things I love; battling writers block on a couple projects that have diminished my desire to write; and, working through my fixation of my obsessive need for refinement (an oxymoronic statement I’m sure) and my never ending worry with having order in my process of work.
If the last reason doesn’t make sense, it’s probably because I don’t know how to make sense of my mind sometimes. There’s definitely something not right when I worry about every word. I immediately want to take it back. I should have said that differently or the anxiety of judgment due in part to the manner in which I talk or think.
So I failed but I still want to move forward. Confronting weakness or mistakes is the first step, right? Then again maybe artists don’t fire on all thrusters and I need to accept that. I’ll work on it. But realistically, I just want to tell stories….
I’ve always been intrigued by how people can exaggerate an outcome from a statement and completely come up with a ridiculous verdict that wasn’t even hinted at in the original statement. Let me provide an example:
Someone at a dinner states, “I try and donate $100 a month to my local animal shelter.”
The person-across-the-table returns, “So you condone animal murder!”
Now my first thought, where in the heck did this conclusion come from? I mean the person across the table took a typical good thing and turned it into massive negative. The look of surprise on my face is:
Thus, the kind and gentle heart that decided to donate to an animal shelter has to ask follow up questions. “Why is that?” The person-across-the-table heatedly replied, “because that shelter is NOT a no-kill shelter!”
Wait! So, a charitable donation, that helps feed and keep animals safe, is now a completely bad thing. The person is now judged as completely vile and immoral person while doing something good? WHAT KIND OF INSANITY IS THIS?
But, this is actually a diagnosis symptom. Yes, if someone you know does this, then they have been infected by the SJW-virus – causing normal people to spit out these outrageous responses. Do not be alarmed. It’s okay to confront the disorder and tell the person they need help. If we work together, we can battle this disease and return society back to normal.
Thank you for your support. Knowing, is half the battle. And, MORE YOU KNOW!
As a young aspiring writer back in the 90s, I constantly looked up to other successful writers for direction.
Back then, I was mostly looking to write for stage and screen. I may have dreamed about writing a novel or something but my true dream was to be produced as a playwright or screenwriter. I was in Film School when I realized that to succeed in writing films I must mimic those great film makers and screen writers. I went so far as to write the exact same way as George Lucas wrote his movies. When, I learned that George writes only on yellow legal pads, I immediately went to Office Depot and bought a case of yellow legal pads. I wrote my next 2 plays on nothing but yellow legal pads and then transcribed them into a Word-processor in the computer lab.
I took a seminar with John Patrick Shanely – the screen writer of Moonstruck and Joe Vs. The Volcano – at CU and couldn’t believe I could be so lucky. It was open to Film Makers and Creative Writing majors and I called the reserve line before I could finish reading the flyer. Sitting there with him for a few days, I wanted to know how he wrote. Call me funny, but my questions weren’t philosophical. I wasn’t asking him what made him a better writer. But how he physically wrote. Did he plot things via an online? Did he block it out with index cards? Does he handwrite his writing on paper first or just type it directly it into the typewriter or computer? I do recall him giving me a weird look each time I asked him a question. Not the: what-are-you-smoking-weird look, but that of a curious mind. Almost as he was trying to understand my intent.
So, that’s how I wrote in the 90s. I’m not sure if that was successful as I didn’t get anywhere. But I don’t regret it. Yet, I’ve learned since, just write. Write. It doesn’t matter if you use a pencil. It’s not important if you write everything with a pen. Some just sit at the keyboard and let it flow out.
I will admit. I still like to use pen and paper to throw down ideas and outlines. Yet, I’m also trying to be more electronic and do it all digital. That’s why I bought a iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. But I think I may just be too analog and old school….
Today, is a great time for writers. It’s also a scary time too!
20 years ago, when I started a real effort to be a professional writer, I knew it would be a very hard and vigorous journey. I also knew there were no guarantees that I could actually pull it off. It was like buying a lottery ticket. One could think about it, research numbers and then finally buy a ticket and still not win anything. That was just the publishing world. Not everyone was ‘lucky’ enough to get their break.
Fast forward to today, and now almost anyone — actually everyone can write a book and get it published. Granted, I’m referring to the new ability to self-publish. I could have self-published in 1999 as well, but it would have been horribly expensive and a financial burden to my family.
With services like Lulu and Amazon, you can now get your book placed digitally on the internet. They offer consumers the ability to buy your book, both digitally or print-on-demand, and you can financially benefit from it. Now, you still need to put some work into marketing and publicizing it or it will just get lost in a sea of thousands — millions of new books.
Now, I will consider the self publish route so I get more control of my creation. I will still shoot for a traditional publishing contract too. Yet, I have a new fear. A very real one. That fear is the — INTERNET! Or more precisely SOCIAL MEDIA.
It has been weaponized. And it can destroy people’s careers. I say this as a worst case scenario of course. But it should be a real fear for writers. What-if, my book is successful? What-if, I’m the next J.K. Rowling?
And then, someone is offended by something I wrote. What if they interpret that my book as something it isn’t and go to social media. Now I have to defend it. Or defend my life and my career. Because today, creators can be accused, tried, and punished by popular opinion and its far more damaging than a court of law nowadays — and usually this destruction bipasses due process and the courts. And this is scary.
So, everyday I tell myself to be kind. Be humble. Tell my stories they way I want and how, if I was just a reader, would like to read them. This is my confidence — AND I will SUCCEED!
Let me get a bit personal. I don’t do it for your sympathy or compassion. Just something that I’ve thought a lot about the last few years — maybe a decade.
There was an old episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that always perplexed me. The episode I’m referring to is: Homeward. It’s a season seven episode where Worf and his adopted brother lead a band of people from a primitive civilization on a simulated journey in the holodeck so they can transplant them on a new planet without them knowing. Yeah, has violation of the Prime Directive all over it. Yet, it’s a very interesting episode for several reasons.
One, it intrigues me how a story universe can introduce a brother to a character after nearly 7 years. And it techncially doesn’t hurt the cannon simple because the excuse could be, “well, no one ever asked if I had a brother.” Or something like that. Yet, in this situation we accept it. And on top of it, Worf and his brother, Nikolai, did not have a good relationship. Possibly why Worf never mentioned him before (except for one line of dialog in season one to another Klingon). The crew of the Enterprise seemed to be surprised by the revolution of Worf’s step-brother. But I digress.
Second, the story proposes a theme of societal change. The culture that Worf and his brother are trying to save have had a very ritual way of life for many many generations. Now they must learn to adapt and go to a new place, find new food, find new shelter and adapt as a civilization. We experience this yet in micro-changes. This alien race is facing it as a macro-change. This is even more evident when one of the members of the primiatve culture sees and discovers the world around him isn’t what he thought it was. He accidentally escapes the Holodeck to discover he’s actually flying in a starship through the vast galaxy. He doesn’t understand how its possible. Is the crew of the Enterprise gods? Or something else? Picard and the crew explain that they just have more advanced science and technology and they are no different than him.
And lastly, because it tackles the question of how does one accept the life altering information. How do you continue living when you know something that is so different than what you were accustomed to? Can you live with that information? Or do you not do so? [spoilers] Because in the episode the character decides to commit suicide than continue living with the experience. He was the tribe’s historian, scribe and teacher. He was proud of thier laws, their morals, their culture, their way of life. Now, someone has told him there’s so much more! And perhaps what he cherished is too different than what it seems everyone now accepts or wants.
See, when I was a kid/teen watching that episode, I was like that was a stupid decision. Why would you kill yourself? Why not just adapt? Embrace the optimistic idea that in the future your culture will possibly develop starships too and fly around the galaxy. Nothing is stopping you for living and going about your life. But that’s not how he saw it. I’ve always said that dying isn’t a solution to change. No matter what, one can work through it — and adapt. Nothing could be so bad, to find yourself saying you had no way out. (Did Jack say that in Titanic?). Until, recently.
Perhaps growing older has made me cynical, sarcastic and a bore. I’ve had the realization that I now understand my parents and grandparents before me. When I was growing up, they were grouchy all the time. They disliked technology. They hated prices going up. They disliked change. And they seemed annoyed at the younger generation. As that younger generation, I criticized them for being closed minded. Moving forward was a good thing. Not a bad one. Yet, now I feel I’m the closed minded one. All the things my parents taught me — to make me a good person — seem irrelevant. Say no to drugs! (Well, society says “these” are okay now), Don’t be promiscuous! It leads to disease and misfortune. (Well, society says no go for it! use this stimulant to go longer and just use condoms) Majority rules. (Well, society says not really. We need to insure the minority is the favored one, all others can suck it!) Remember your parents saying, “if everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you do it too?! I think you see where I’m going.
So I feel out of place sometimes. A lot sometimes. I’ve become the one to fear change. I think about the past all the time. Those were better times. Yet, I do like my iPhone. I think I discovered anxiety. But I have a loving family, great friends and I can always value who I am. Society doesn’t rule me (I can resist the peer pressure!) The one thing I truly thank my parents for: teaching me tolerance….
As a writer, I worry that my writing needs to be accurate yet I want it to be dramatic. So, I usually just write the scene to be the most dramatic effect. Then I wind up spending hours, sometimes days researching it. If I can fix it, I will. I fear that I will be exposed for not doing my homework. Or just being a hack….
Our foster dog, Merry, goes to the Orthopedic surgeon tomorrow. Like many of our foster Brittany Spaniels, she has a bad hip. Sometimes, this is genetic and sometimes it can be to an injury in their puppy years. Since we don’t know everything about her past, we can’t speak for certain. Yet, we believe she was injured during those formative years growing up.
Last night, I was having a bit of writers block. I just couldn’t get the words to hit the page (…computer screen). So, I read a bit and watched a movie. Then, this morning I had a bit of an anxiety issue. Not debilitating or anything like that. But that feeling you had back in school when your big report or thesis was due. Nothing was planned today. So, I tried to figure out why I was feeling that way.
I believe it was Merry. I know she has no idea whats going to happen tomorrow. But I do feel compassion for her. She is so soft hearted and loving. I believe she was abused at some point in her life. She has lived a few years in constant pain. The surgery is a big one and will in deed be painful. The orthopedic surgeon will basically saw off the femoral head put it back in the hip and let the muscle build and keep the femur in place. Within a couple weeks, she will be fully walking again. And with a few more months of therapy and healing, she will be pain free.
It feels good helping these animals that have come to need our help. I just wish more would realize these animals are emotional and intelligent creatures….
So I spent most the day writing but my spoils of the day’s progress was only a page and a half.
Granted I was working on a script vs prose. Yet I think screenwriting is just as hard. Writing a scene has to be blocked out, rehearsed, reviewed and then rewritten. Every detail is critical. Writing a novel or even a prose short story lends for some embellishments. The script, on the other hand, can’t relish in this outcome.
The script is in every sense a poem. It’s poetry for the camera and filmmaker. The writer must convey a voice for the story. The words create the tone and substance. Scripts just like any other written form has an identity and can be very unique. Not to say, I’ve read very dry scripts and I’ve read very descriptive ones. Neither was done incorrectly. Yet if there’s something added that doesn’t resonate reasonably in the scene then it shouldn’t be on the page.
So, 1.5 pages today …. tomorrow will be a day for more until that magic 120 is reached!
I’ve been on the internet since the mid-90s. I remember when there were providers like AOL, Compuserv and Prodigy. It took 5 minutes just to log on (Dial number – type password – wait for beep – tolerate the screeching and boops and bleeps) to the internet. And since I was an AOL user, “you’ve got mail!”
Those days were so exciting and cool. The country – world – was connected for the first time ever. And it only cost $6.95 plus how many hours you used. Yeah, remember those days. The internet was like a 1-900 number. You could log on but you were smart with your time. You checked email. You maybe went into a chat room to talk to girls (or boys). You checked a bulletin board or a posting forum. And we used egg timers and log off. Like early cellphones, you used them but only for really important things. We weren’t so consumed by them. Well, until AOL did this: they offered “unlimited” internet for only $19.95!! At the incredible fast speed of 28.8 kbps!
Websites were very simple. The more photos and sparkles the longer it took to download. Internet video was nearly unavailable. I remember spending 3 hours in 1998 to down load the 2 minute The Phantom Menance trailer. And that was at a tiny QuickTime movie that was only about 3×4 inches on my screen. We are completely spoiled today because I can down load an entire movie in 1080p high definition in less than 2 minutes – 3 minutes if the internet is slow!
Things would come through your email that made you smile. Correspondence from old friends. Sometimes, you could talk your grandmother into using the computer at the library to send you an email instead of the old handwritten letters. For the first time, you could get on mailing lists from fan clubs, your favorite websites and stores – like Toys R Us and Kenner toys. (I was really into Star Wars in the 90s). And then there was the: “Congratulations you won Somalia lottery!” It would read: “hello sir, You won our Somalia lottery. i have been instructed to reach to you to get some important information.” Then, they would want your SSN, a bank account number – you know to send the money to – and your mothers maiden name and date of birth. Seems legit, right? Even back then I would ask myself how did I enter a lottery in a country I have never been? Or a country I didn’t even know where it is? So, I never fell for it. But I know many did. I always felt sorry for those gullible folks.
It’s been over 20 years since those days. That’s a lot of time to learn the scams and the tricks. I’ve seen some strange stuff out there. I’m pretty sure that some of the girls I talked to in chat rooms (when I was still a very young man) were really just hairy dudes in their basement trying mess with me or they were just sick and demented. So, why is it in 2019, I’m still getting emails that try and convince me I’ve won some lottery? Or had some money willed to me by some dying king and queen? Or that a trunk was found at the airport loaded with cash and gold? Really? Why don’t this people just keep the gold themselves? Do these scams still work? I mean I didn’t fall of the internet truck yesterday…..
Daughter went back to NYU. She had been home since just before Christmas. We were getting used to having her around but it was time for her to go back for the Spring Semester. It will be a bit quieter around here.
Today was the first big day to break down a project of mine. It’s this script that I’ve been working for a while with some old friends and colleagues. I was about half way done but just couldn’t shake this odd feeling that it just wasn’t right. I wanted to like it. I wanted to be happy with the progress. Yet, it was all wrong. So, now I’m shuffling some scenes around. I believe I determined the issue: the flow was off.
Work also continues on some prose stories. I really hope to start seeing more of them out of my head and onto paper. I’ve set some hard deadlines for myself and I know I can make them. That deadline: May 30th for a rough draft.
Then there’s a comic book project with another friend. Story is approved and scripting is moving along. Concept art should be starting.
Woah! Maybe I have too much in the hopper? Maybe I should slow down and focus. Actually, I think this will help me to push me out of my hibernation. Time to get to work. Push for those dreams….
As a writer, I struggled for so many years and worried over so many stories on whether the details were realistic. Could the events happening in the story really happen? Would the characters really do this? Does the law of physics allow this object to move like that? Which one is better: fission or fusion? Can a horse jump that high?
When you’re writing science fiction, the science really makes me stress. I’m not a scientist and I’m not the smartest crayon either. But I do have an interest in learning. Science intrigues me and fascinates. I’m not so good on the math or the equations but I can usually grasp the basics. I want the details to be realistic yet not embarrass myself either. And it can’t just be techno-babble either. I feel when I do that it does sound a bit too Star Treky.
Like, I stated it took a long time to overcome the hurdle. My own grounded mind kept my stories plagued with believability. When you read a story, or watch a movie, you sometimes have to suspend your disbelief. This is true and exists as the author and creator of the work. Before I completely learned this, I just started writing fantasy or science-fantasy. This allowed me to make it up. I’ve returned to writing science fiction but I’ve decided I’ll research it the best I can, but in the end, it is my tale.
Hint: the writer just has to believe the story. It doesn’t always have to make sense. It doesn’t have to meet some set of rules or laws. It just has to be fun. It just has to entertain. So if you believe a man can fly or a ship can travel between the stars, it’s not important that you explain it. Just tell the story!
(This theory is why I think some films and books fail. Something that I think George Lucas may have lost. More to come on that….)
My promise to myself in 2019 was to write here every day. Because if I’m writing here, I’m writing on other things. It truly is helping. I’ve done more this year than I did in 2018. But….
I feel like these posts are all over the place. Perhaps its just my OCD.
All through my life, I felt secure when things were organized. Maybe organizing things simply provided me the satisfaction of security. I had control of those little things. And all together, I was in control!
So, maybe, I should find some focus here. Should it be a motivational journal? I’m not so sure. I’m no psychologist. And I’m definitely not a motivational speaker (living in a van down by the river). Yet, I hope my readers do find useful nuggets here. Even if its just mindless entertainment or laugh (at my ignorance?).
I’ve really thought about starting like a serial or some ongoing creative project…. (feel free to post)
It’s easier to show a side of honesty than trying to deceive or misdirect.
I’ve always believed I’d rather tell the truth than be shamed by being dishonest. Perhaps I had a great teacher – my mother.
It’s a virtue I hold higher than most. Yet I still have a filter and don’t always share my true feelings. I wish I did not do that. Maybe it would be liberating. Yet I try to be non confrontational and wish to be liked by all.
As I grow older, I’ve discovered cynicism and pessimism. I wish I hadn’t.
But I think if we were more honest with each other maybe we wouldn’t get so easily offended by insignificant things. Because the honesty would developed a tougher skin. It can make us stronger and push us further.
Our lives move so fast that it’s hard to slow down. There’s nothing wrong with going slow. I think it’s something we’ve lost in the evolution of our society.
We have been spoiled to get things now – right now! Today isn’t fast enough. I need it yesterday.
I realized how this impacted me so greatly while tried to each lunch at Steak n Shake yesterday. I had nothing to todo that day. I was calm and patiently waited to be seated. All was good. Our order was taken and I chatted with the wife and daughter. We were having a good time and hadn’t realized that our food hadn’t arrived and it had been 30 minutes. They were busy but we don’t get Steak n Shake often so we went back to talking. Then another 15 minutes passes. Still no food. This got me to thinking. How long is too long to wait for food? These are hamburgers and shakes not made to order steak and lobster ….
So at the 45 minute mark, we got up and walked out. They may not have noticed we left but oh well. Almost feel sorry for that food arriving to an empty table. We crossed the street and had our burritos within 10 minutes.
Is there a life too slow? I do like being able to wake up and just spend the day with no plan of attack. Wasting time doing the fun things — reading or sitting!
Going back isn’t an option. It took me years to stop worrying about what I didn’t accomplish. The worrying had turned to regret. I regretted not going down certain roads — turning right when maybe I should have turned left. I knew that I shouldn’t regret where I was. I was on this path because that is where my destiny took me. The regret may have caused anxiety of missed opportunities; the path dreamed of a better life.
Things may have not gone to plan but I’m still moving forward. I’ve learned so much. I’m stuck my foot in my mouth several times. There was a time where I would have told someone, I will always collect Star Wars toys. Well, I’ve not collected a Star Wars toy in a decade. (Golly! Has it been over ten years since the end of the Prequal Trilogy?) Then there was a time that I would have told someone, that I will forever keep my collectibles. I’ve sold most of them and I’m continuing you sell and purge the things I don’t need. (I’m really moving toward a life of simple and minimalism.)
As I child, I had a hand in so many geek things: playing D&D, collecting Star Wars and Star Trek, building plastic model kits of naval ships and World War II airplanes, and reading / hoarding comic books. Some of these hobbies have come and gone. As I head into the second half of my life, I’ve found that some of those hobbies have returned. At first, I criticized myself for not being more true to those past hobbies. Figuring that if I had been building model kits for the past 20 years, I’d be much better at it. Then, I realized that actually I have something I would have lost—the ability to enjoy the discovery. So, I’ve returned to building plastic model kits. Instead of stating, “I’ve built that and that and that. what’s left to do?” I can say, “I can’t wait to build that and that and that!”
Life takes us where we are meant to be. We don’t get a rewind button. Nor should we have one. Know that your core will always be true but the small details can and will change over time. Embrace it!