Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ants in the Pants Syndrome

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Title: Street Tap
Are any of you what I call kinetic writers? I find that I have trouble sitting still for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a stretch, then as soon as I finish a particular passage I have to get up and walk around.  I’ll go down the hall and use the bathroom or look out the window for a minute or just get up and walk around the room for a minute before I sit back down and jump back into the writing. I haven’t figured out yet whether this is slowing me down or helping the neurons to fire. Obviously there is time lost in all this moving about, but it’s like sitting and writing builds up a static charge and I have to get up and release it. I don’t have a choice.  The charge builds faster if I am doing a more intense part of the story, like somehow the prose are loaded with their own electrical potential and it courses back through the keyboard and into my body as the words flow out...conservation of energy or something.  It causes me to have to get up more frequently when the story is really hopping or getting more spirited. The Ants-in-the-Pants syndrome.  It’s a good sign for me though, that I am doing impassioned work. Something is clicking in the story and I am on a roll, so I really don’t mind, and the interruption is brief, just a quick burst of energy blown off, like letting your gun barrel cool off after firing several magazine loads. I don’t know any other way, if I am in a place where I can’t get up frequently the charge builds up and creates a buffer of sorts that slows down the words coming out. I have to stop and do something else for a few minutes until the buffer clears.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Got Conflict?

Photo Credit: Shiny Things, Creative Commons
The thing to keep in mind when we are writing is that the core of a story is conflict.  I know I have caught myself going easy on my protagonist.  Sometimes I just miss opportunities to heap a little extra conflict on because I start thinking  how I might react in a situation and then write my way out of it instead of letting it unfold in a way that will actually increase the drama, and the stakes for the character, making the story a little richer in the process.  Without conflict there is no story.  And even though we have sympathy for our creations, maybe even love, we still have to punish them for the sake of the story.  Conflict is the engine of our story and if we keep finding an easy path out of trouble it just makes for a lot of prose without a whole lot actually going on.  The fiction becomes lifeless.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reflections on Residency One


Last week I was at Seton Hill University for my first week of Residency for my Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction.  Thanks to my classmate Jenni Spoon for letting my use this picture she took last week. Check out her blog!

I spent the weeks prior getting ready by reading a book that was assigned and doing critiques of ten other writer's work. I also prepared and sent in a ten page piece to be critiqued.  I thought I was going to do my thesis on the work I had already done for Revelation Void, and that was what I edited for submission, but I'd been working on a new piece and during the course of the first few days I realized that piece was going to work out a lot better for me.

I have Clear Ether out to be critiqued, but I realize now that it is far from being ready for submission.  It's going to require a major overhaul to be in any kind of shape that I would be satisfied with.  So Clear Ether is going on the shelf for a bit, along with Revelation Void.  I'm cool with it. I have some good ideas to explore for both of these books, but I am switching my focus to my new story.  I have just over 15k words so far, but they need to be polished.  I am going about this novel in a completely new way for me.  I'm actually outlining it first.  I actually know how it ends already.  I'm also trying something new with the type of story. It is firmly grounded in SF, but this one will be a mystery. The working title is Requiem for Memory, but I'm not completely sold on it and it may change at some point.

Monday, January 14, 2013

NINJABREAD COOKIES!!!!!


I just finished a plate of NINJABREAD cookies...or did I? Perhaps they finished me...perhaps they are still there...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sprechen Sie Writer?


I've been at this writing thing for several years in earnest, but every now and then it becomes painfully obvious to me that I should've paid more attention to my college English class or read more about certain genres or pop culture references.  I’m actively compiling this list to benefit writers of varying levels of emersion in the waters of authordom, to help us look less stupid or simply to help you navigate the world of writing a little more confidently.

I am taking suggestions to add to this list, it's not complete by any stretch.  I am particularly interested in ‘writer-culture’ words. Or, perhaps you disagree with my definition. I’d like to hear about that as well.

I’ve broken it down by categories.

General Terms

Active Voice                           Writing where the subject of the sentence is carrying out action

ARC                                       Advanced Reader Copy, printed before the actual print run on a new book

Auxiliary or Helping verb         A verb that goes with another verb (have or do)

Back Matter                            Back pages of a book that have appendixes, indexes and endnotes