Thursday, April 07, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The more I think about it, humans also just do what they do to survive. In fact, I believe a lot of how we behave is sub-conscious - tactics that help us to survive. Whether a predator or victim, abuser or abused, we have learned behaviors to survive this world. No one is really bad or good.
What do you think?
As an example, here is an article on depression as an evolutionary survival mechanism: http://www.suite101.com/content/evolutionary-psychology-depression-a298146
Monday, March 15, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Friday, September 04, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
"Usually, writers will do anything to avoid writing. For instance, the previous sentence was written at one o'clock this afternoon. It is now a quarter to four. I have spent the past two hours and forty-five minutes sorting my neckties by width, looking up the word 'paisley' in three dictionaries, attempting to find the town of that name on 'The New York Times Atlas of the World' map of Scotland, sorting my reference books by width, trying to get the bookcase to stop wobbling by stuffing a matchbook cover under its corner, dialing the telephone number on the matchbook cover to see if I should take computer courses at night, looking at the computer ads in the newspaper and deciding to buy a computer because writing seems to be so difficult on my old Remington, reading an interesting article on sorghum farming in Uruguay that was in the newspaper next to the computer ads, cutting that and other interesting articles out of the newspaper, sorting -- by width -- all the interesting articles I've cut out of newspapers recently, fastening them neatly together with paper clips and making a very attractive paper clip necklace and bracelet set, which I will present to my girlfriend as soon as she comes home from the three-hour low-impact aerobic workout that I made her go to so I could have some time alone to write."
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Laurel L. Russwurm, my sister-in-law and a writer, wrote a moving memorial to him called "Ode To A Fifth-Hand Dog. You can read it here.
Monday, July 06, 2009
The script is coming along, albeit slowly. Last night I couldn't sleep because the movie started rolling in my head - including camera angles and shots! Why is it that these scenes start right when I need to go to sleep?
Paperback Writer said she composed in her head before she begins writing, now I know what she means!
Sandy Sullivan says, "I will play music sometimes when I'm writing, but if I start getting into an intense scene, I'll turn it off so I can just sit and picture it in my mind. It makes it much easier to write it, if I can see it." Click here to read the full interview over on Absolute XPress Blog.
Diane Peterfreund says, "When planning out series, I often find myself imagining scenes years and years in advance of the moment I actually get to write them. I wrote the ... "sandbar scene" in summer of 2007. I first imagined it in summer of 2005. I recently wrote a scene into KU2 that I'd been imagining also since 2005." Click here to read her post on 'set pieces.'
One writer fixes a scene by imagining himself in it as the main character. Click here to read the post on This Itch of Writing.
"Imagine the scene and let your imagination fly" is advice for writing action sequences. Check out About Writing – The Personal Blog of An Aspiring Writer to read the post.
Jurgen Wolff talks about imaging scenes to write vivid novels and screenplay scenes. His blog, Time to Write, is here.
So let your imagination go, writers. Just be prepared not to get any sleep.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Monday, April 06, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Tips for Getting Your Fiction Writing off to a Great Start
Writing fiction can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences that you do as a writer. You are able to create your own worlds, characters, settings, situations, and thematic elements. Sometimes, however, just getting started can be the hardest part. Here are a few tips for getting you fiction writing off to a great start.
What kind of characters do you want your story to have? Will they be funny, realistic, or fantastic? Taking some time to create character profiles is a wonderful way to ensure that your characters are fully developed. It’s good to know what your characters’ likes and dislikes are, what they look like, what kind of emotional problems they may have, and any number of other details. Getting in-depth with your characters will help to make them interact realistically with on another as well.
Whether you have already started your work of fiction or are still in the planning phases, setting goals can make writing a large work of fiction less daunting. Set goals for each time you sit at your desk. Five thousand words a day may sound like a lot at first, but quickly becomes feasible if you make this part of your writing routine. If you want to become a prolific writer with lots of stories under your belt, you will need to learn how to achieve lofty goals regularly.
Shut the Door
Some of the best advice that can be given to any writer is to make sure that your time for writing isn’t interrupted by anyone or anything. You must make your writing time something that is non-negotiable and stick to it. This may mean late nights or early mornings are the best time to plug away at your story. The important thing is to communicate to those around you that you have set aside time to work and that you are not to be disturbed except in extreme cases.
You may start out with a great idea for a story and you may feel like you shouldn’t waiver from that idea at all. However, remember that your story is a living document that will change based on a whole lot of variables. This means that any number of things related to the telling of your tale may change over the course of its telling. Be flexible and willing to make small and/or significant changes based on where the story takes you as a writer.
This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of the best online colleges. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Here's another picture I took from roughly the same location a few weeks ago during a wind storm. We seldom see whitecaps on this lake, so it's quite exciting to see waves. The storm had winds up to 129km (75mph), which is worthy of a Category One hurricane. The winds took out a 40' tree on our neighbouring property. Missed our house by 1 foot but killed the fence.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It has been suggested that lack of funds may have contributed to proper upkeep of the building.
Please take a moment to make a donation to your local humane society - or if you can afford it, to the Durham Region Humane Society.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
In her post, she describes how her her characters evolve as she writes. Sometimes, it is in the interest of the story, but other times it's because she gets to know the characters better.
I've had the same thing happen--to the point where I end up changing the entire story because the character is leading me.
And, sometimes, my protag evolves into an entire new character.
Does this happen to you?
One of the things I enjoy doing before and during writing a story, is to continually develop my characters. I fill out a character questionnaire or two and watch the world for interesting quirks, hobbies, habits, obsessions, mannerisms, etc. to apply to my characters to help develop them. When I'm in the middle of writing story, even when I'm not actually writing, my mind is always acutely aware of my story and its characters. So, when I notice something in a person in real life or on television, for example, I will directly realize that the trait I see belongs to my character. Sometimes these traits seem to come out of the blue.
I believe a well-developed character (both in the story and behind the scenes) will lead herself in a story. The reader should never be surprised (I am not referring to plot surprises here) in how the protag responds to or avoids things (and, yes, I know there are many exceptions).
Here are some interesting articles on character evolution and how to make your character interesting without becoming a two-dimensional cliched stereotype:
J. J. Dare discusses how to keep character from becoming charicatures by using the Character Police.
How to Develop Interesting Characters discusses the need to show how the character grows and reacts to elements of the plot and story.
How to Develop a Character gives tips on developing characters and how or when to reveal these characteristics.
How to Develop Your Characters focuses on goals, obstacles, arcs, and traits.
How to Develop One-of-a-Kind Characters for your Fiction goes more in-depth by suggesting to create a resume, shopping list, journal, and more from the viewpoint of your character.
Holly Lisle's Create a Character Clinic. Very comprehensive. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Got any good character building links to share?
On a different note, for all of you programming geeks: here is a funny program for Putting up the Christmas Tree.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
I don't have a set outline or my plotting done yet, but I have many ideas floating around in my head. I met with my friend Melly last evening and we went over some ideas. We plan on getting together a few times throughout the month (both virtually and physically).
A couple of NaNo articles / posts of interest:
How do you write 50,000 words in 30 days?
Some helpful links to writing tools.
2007 NaNoWriMo Pep Talks
Routines for Writers - lots of great articles and tips for Nanoers.
The 13-Step Method to reach 50,000 words
More great Nano articles
One writer's journey through NaNoWriMo 2008
Another writer's NaNo journey
Good luck all! And don't forget to friend me!
Monday, October 20, 2008
My hope is that a fantasy world will give me more room to be creative so I won't feel "stuck" as often. My goal for NaNo this year is to just get 50,000 words down in a somewhat understandable format. More specifically, learn how to apply myself to the act of writing.
I have a loose plot outline floating around in my mind but I haven't committed anything to paper (or computer) yet, other than some ideas.
I did come across this, tho. I realize I need to do a little soul searching not to be cliche. With a new genre, come new rules.
Here is The Fantasy Novelist's Exam by David J. Parker. It seems it's not easy to be original. I will take this exam tonight and see where I'm at with my floaters.
- Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages?
- Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?
- Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it?
- Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?
- Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
- How about one that will destroy it?
- Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about "The One" who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?
- Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information?
- Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
- Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?
- Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician?
- Does "a forgetful wizard" describe any of the characters in your novel?
- How about "a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior"?
- How about "a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons"?
- Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around?
- Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?
- Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals?
- Would "a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword" aptly describe any of your female characters?
- Would "a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan" aptly describe any of your female characters?
- Is any character in your novel best described as "a dour dwarf"?
- How about "a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage"?
- Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different?
- Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief?
- Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy?
- Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?
- Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like "The Blasted Lands" or "The Forest of Fear" or "The Desert of Desolation" or absolutely anything "of Doom"?
- Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you've read the entire book, if even then?
- Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?
- How about a quintet or a decalogue?
- Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book?
- Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your "story"?
- Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books?
- Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far?
- Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group?
- Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm?
- Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names?
- Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables?
- Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
- Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?
- How about "orken" or "dwerrows"?
- Do you have a race prefixed by "half-"?
- At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines?
- Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG?
- Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG?
- Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast?
- Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls?
- Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don't?
- Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?
- Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won't break the plot?
- Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as "fireball" or "lightning bolt"?
- Do you ever use the term "mana" in your novel?
- Do you ever use the term "plate mail" in your novel?
- Heaven help you, do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel?
- Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs?
- Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest?
- Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?
- Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it?
- Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar?
- Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor?
- Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more? [info]
- Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains?
- Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns?
- Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger?
- Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man?
- Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an "on the road" meal?
- Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead?
- Do you think that "mead" is just a fancy name for "beer"?
- Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion?
- Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves' guild?
- Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death?
- Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute?
- Is "common" the official language of your world?
- Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before?
- Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings?
- Read that question again and answer truthfully.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
"It's a pleasure to see a building named for Ernest Hemingway," he said.
"Actually," said his guide, "it's named for Joshua Hemingway. No relation."
The visitor was astonished. "Was Joshua Hemingway a writer, also?"
"Yes, indeed," said his guide. "He wrote a check."
A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."
A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."
A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.
She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.
"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."
A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.
"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"
"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."
There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.
When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"
He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.
How many science fiction writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two, but it's actually the same person doing it. He went back in time and met himself in the doorway and then the first one sat on the other one's shoulder so that they were able to reach it. Then a major time paradox occurred and the entire room, light bulb, changer and all was blown out of existence. They co-existed in a parallel universe, though.
How many publishers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Three. One to screw it in. Two to hold down the author.
How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two. One to screw it almost all the way in, and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.
How many screenwriters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Why does it *have* to be changed?
How many cover blurb writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
1st draft. Hero changes light bulb.
2nd draft. Villain changes light bulb.
3rd draft. Hero stops villain from changing light bulb. Villain falls to death.
4th draft. Lose the light bulb.
5th draft. Light bulb back in. Fluorescent instead of tungsten.
6th draft. Villain breaks bulb, uses it to kill hero's mentor.
7th draft. Fluorescent not working. Back to tungsten.
8th draft. Hero forces villain to eat light bulb.
9th draft. Hero laments loss of light bulb. Doesn't change it.
10th draft. Hero changes light bulb.
Scooped from here.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a ThighMaster.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
Monday, July 28, 2008
* Writing and Editing are two separate, and different processes.
* Writing and Editing are two separate, and different processes. It is that important.
* Write first. Edit later.
* Write first. Edit later. It is that important.
* Outline only if it works for you.
* Write every day.
* Write what you want to read, not what you think someone else will.
* Keep a ritual.
* Stick to it.
* When you are not writing, read.
* Read a lot.
* Read everything: comics, newspapers, novels, magazines, screenplays, poetry, billboards, tattoos, mustard wrappers, everything.
* Read your own writing. Out loud.
* Read other people’s writing. Out loud.
* Don’t read to comprehend. This is about writing.
* Read to write. Notice the context, flow, and tone.
* Listen to people speak.
* Don’t listen to comprehend. This is about writing.
* Notice the context, flow, and tone.
* Write with different tools: keyboard, pencil, ink pen, crayon, dirt, whatever.
* Write on different mediums: grid paper, lined paper, blank paper, cardboard, LCD, canvas, dirt, whatever.
* Write in different places, but keep and maintain a Writing Home.
* Tell everyone you write: your family, your friends, the postman, the prostitutes, everyone.
* But don’t tell anyone exactly what you are writing: not even the prostitutes.
* Strike dead every should you have about writing.
* Put aside this list, and every other piece of advice, or book, or adage about writing ever offered.
* And write every day.
Snatched from here:
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Friday, December 28, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
1. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
2. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
3. Bustard (n.), a rude bus driver.
4. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
5. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
6. Dopeler effect (n.), The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
7. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
8. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run
over by a steamroller.
10. Foreploy (n.), Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of
11. Frisbatarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.
12. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavoured mouthwash.
13. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
14. Glibido (n.), All talk and no action.
15. Hipatitis (n.), Terminal coolness.
16. Ignoranus (n.), A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
17. Inoculatte (n.), To take coffee intravenously.
18. Inspissator (n.), one who inspires covert micturation.
19. Intaxication (n.), Euphoria at receiving a tax refund, which lasts until you realise it was your money to start with.
20. Karmageddon (n.), It's like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's
like, a serious bummer.
21. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
22. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.
23. Osteopornosis (n.), A degenerate disease.
24. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
25. Pokemon (n.), a Rastafarian proctologist.
26. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.
26. Reintarnation (n.), Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
27. Sarchasm (n.), The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the reader who doesn't get it.
28. Semantics (n.), pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood.
29. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
30. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
Monday, August 20, 2007
"Writing is like skiing - you will fall when you hesitate."
"Do not reduce your story to outlines and sketches, notes and 3x5 cards. You will make your story finite this way and it will suffer because it cannot grow beyond your outline."
"Let some stuff that you think is interesting drop away."
These quotes are from Advice for Writers by David L. Robbins.
"You Are Enough"
"Work With What You're Given"
"Writing Begets Writing"
These quotes are from The Three Cosmic Rules of Writing by Dennis Palumbo.