/* ]]> */
Mar 152013

A roll of the dice. A flip of the coin. A spin of the wheel. All good ways to get a thrill and maybe a good pay out. But are they good ways to get the love of your life?

Luck is a random event. You can’t plan on it. You have to “make your own luck” which means it isn’t luck at all. Rather you should plan. Make careful lists and check them twice or three times. Set up a schedule and stick to it like glue. This is how one avoids the need for luck.

Mar 132013

There are two schools of thought about writing (in the most general terms). The school that says that you must wait for the muse to come by and give you inspiration. And the school that says you should sit your butt in the chair and write even when the muse is vacationing in Florida. As with anything of this sort, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Getting writing done is a lot about getting in the groove. That sounds a lot like waiting for the muse, except that getting in the groove is something that you can control. You just have to figure out how to find your groove reliably. Because unlike your muse, your groove doesn’t go on vacation.

Feb 222013

As a writer I sometimes struggle with the idea that words aren’t as important as we think they are. As a linguist, I’m fascinated by this reality of communication. Depending on which studies you believe, anywhere between 80% and 90% of interpersonal communication has nothing to do with the words. Linguists call this meta-linguistics – the parts of communication that aren’t words. Meta-linguistics is broken into two categories – the things that are directly related to the language and the things that are communication unto themselves (eg. Body language).

Feb 202013

When I’m not writing, I work as an educational or freelance ASL interpreter. Lately the differences between those two environments has been a minor source of stress in my life. In freelancing, I am sent out by my agency to do a variety of jobs. Most assignments over 30 minutes I’m sent with a team. I get almost no prep materials, and if I’m lucky I might get a few minutes to chat with the consumers (both Hearing and Deaf). In school, I am sent solo to one 45 minute class after another with only the 5 minute passing time afforded to the students to clear my brain and get ready for the next class. On the plus side I do get prep materials and a chance to get to know the students and teachers.

Feb 132013

Did you ever notice how many great writers of all eras were friends with each other? It was something that I found rather hard to believe back in high school every time my teacher to assign three books by three different authors who all just happened to know each other. How was that possible?

Well it is possible and more importantly a reason that they were all so famous. You see writers are the best support for other writers. When you get in a group of like minded people you will egg each other on to greater and greater heights. You’ll push each other to fix your issues and improve you craft until you are all at the top of you game. Then you push higher. Great, so how do you find the other great writers to make your little group?

Feb 082013

She looked up and there he was. Walking up to the other end of the bar – the perfect man. His dusty brown hair just long enough to get messy if she ran her hands through it and hanging like curtains around his deep dark eyes. His nose lead down from there to kissable lips surrounded by just the hint of stubble. She could feel those lips on her own from over here.

Feb 062013

How long is your story? How long should it be? Is a novella better than a novel for a first time writer? Should you write something as epic as War and Peace or keep it under 100k words? Such weighty problems that some new writers obsess over are really simple to figure out once you realize what the real questions are.

First a brief discussion of the different story lengths. These are rough estimates and can be flexible depending on the market you are submitting to. Be sure to check the guidelines. If you are self pubbing, it’s kind of up to you but your readers will expect something like this:

Feb 042013

Among the writing rules is one that I actually agree with most of the time: torture your characters. That sounds a little extreme, but for the most part it is good advice. Why? Because good story rise out of conflict, conflict comes from adversity, and adversity means that things are going wrong.

Jan 302013

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I’m sorry. For all my good intentions I’ve been a total slug when it comes to writing here. I could sit here and tell you that I’ve been sick – which is true, but not really helpful. What I’m going to do is illustrate how to use your life as a research opportunity while whining… I mean telling you about recent experience with the local plague.

Jan 232013

Characters are interesting pieces of your imagination. For many writers they are autonomous being made up of our experiences but different from us in fundamental ways. This at least is my experience, and by anecdotal evidence that of most of the writers I know. You hear it in interviews all the time – authors speak of their characters as though they are living, breathing people. Many of them talk about the characters telling the story and they are just there to write it down. It sounds crazy; in a way it sort of is.