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Jun 142013

Part of world building is creating culture. Your people have to have a culture unique to their place in their world. Even if you are writing in modern America, it’s important to notice the influence of culture on the choices and assumptions that your characters make. However, since culture is a huge subject that spans several BA programs, I’m going to pick just one little piece to discuss today: Family.

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 012013

There is nothing funnier that watching the bad guys in a silly movie or TV show prove their incompetence. You know the scenes when all the good guy has to do is stay out of the way. In fiction, evil incompetence lightens the mood. Who doesn’t love a good laugh at Wile E Cayote when his inventions backfire and he ends up plummeting off the cliff to land in a puff of smoke? Or even the numerous minions in a James Bond picture who couldn’t shoot the broad side of the barn. Even the masters in those movies make stupid mistakes that allow everyone’s hero to triumph.

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 162013

Back in high school, I remember arguing with my teachers about how to take notes and outline papers. I get it now that they were just trying to teach me a method of organizing my thoughts and I really shouldn’t blame them for not realizing that my brain doesn’t work in the standard outline form. I made it through high school and on into college where the professors no longer cared how I took notes just so long as my papers were organized and I could answer all my test questions. That is when I learned how to take notes in the way that my mind actually processed things, and suddenly school became a lot easier.

Jan 092013

I have to start by telling you that so far this year is – for the most part – going very well on the writing front. I’ve already sent out my first submission for the year and have a full line up for editing and writing new stories and novels. So keep that in mind as I tell you some of the not so good things that are happening and their effects on my ability to produce.

Jan 012013

We did it. We survived another year and have made it to this (rather arbitrary) day we call the first day of the new year. Really any day would have done for it, so long as we all agree that it’s the first day. So there you have it, we’ve agreed that it’s a new year. We’ve also agreed to call this year 2013. We’re off to a good start.

Dec 122012

I know that they teach us not to insult people when we are growing up, and that’s good advice for dealing with real people. Really, if you want to get along in this world, insults aren’t going to do it for you. However, when it comes to characters in stories, insults are quite handy. Characters need to be insulted now and then – it adds to the conflict.

Dec 072012

There are three really tough parts to any writing project.

– The beginning

– The middle

– The end

As we have seen, there are land mines in every step of the writing process. Monday and Wednesday we covered the beginning and the middle. Today we will go over the end, but let me caution you. I’ve only covered the parts of the process where the initial writing takes place. Once the story is written, there is the editing process to contend with. But that’s a topic for another week. First we have to contend with the end.