Posts Tagged ‘editing’

Legends of the Dark Crystal

Legends of the Dark Crystal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey, kids, how you doin’? I’m pretty much just posting to let you all know that I’m still alive. I’ve been stuck in novel mode while working around hell at the day job, so I haven’t really been able to even think about anything to post here, let alone actually post (I was actually meaning to post this bit a few weeks ago).

So, update on things. ‘Stiym’ is making progress, third act should be underway and things should be coming to a close (hopefully). I should be, with luck, requesting betas and proofers soon.

Results for Dark Crystal’s short-list came, and they said I was too awesome for them and they just weren’t worthy of me (their words, I swear). So, Dark Crystal is a no-go, and I’m now left with time to work on already running projects (never stop moving forward).

Last week while in a really shitty mood, I started working on a short set in ‘Natural Selection’ that takes place where everything left off (think of that with said shitty mood, and you get the basic idea of the story)—it will probably undergo a rewrite at some point later, but as it is, I my plans for it will depend on how it comes out—meaning, if I can get it to stand on its own, I might try throwing it at mags before throwing it here (I love you all, but I love your money more).

And… that’s about the gist of things. I’m lost in work with only hopes of finding my way out and getting back to keeping this thing moving.

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Playground Temporarily Closed :-(

Playground Temporarily Closed 😦 (Photo credit: Adam Arroyo)

Well, it would seem that it is coming close to the time for me to take my traditional annual hiatus from the internet that I just started last year (it’s a tradition now). Though, last year it was for NaNoWriMo, this year I am not participating with NaNo (this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t—unless you’re also too busy with paying projects), and I’m taking off a month early. I mentioned a list of things that I’m trying to get done, ‘the Dark Crystal’ submission, a couple contest submissions, etc, and I’m really trying to squeeze all that in, and so to make that more doable, I must temporarily remove the land of the internet for a bit.

So, much like last time, I’ll be popping in to check mail and such, then popping right back out to never see it again until the next day to check mail, all the while writing ‘til my fingers cramp and arthritis themselves into permanently awkward positions.

But, being as how leaving this place unsupervised for a month last year allowed some of you to wander off and completely forget your way back here altogether, I will at least try to bombard you with reasons for why you hover here to begin with before I go. I have two ‘How I Write’ posts that I will be posting (the POV thing that I promised forever ago, and one about openings), I have at least one flash that I’m going to throw in, plus I have a review that I plan to do for ‘Agents of SHIELD’ (I’m waiting on the second ep before I do a review—plus, since I normally do two reviews for TV stuff, I need to find something else to review… open to suggestions). And, I haven’t done a food post in awhile, I’ll see about throwing something in… not sure what right now, since I haven’t really done anything new lately (though there are a few things I would like to do).

So, yea, next week, I’ll throw all that at you, then you will no longer see me until… dun-dun-dun! December! Assuming that I have the Dark Crystal thing done and ready to submit by then… which I should, but still, that’s my key goal with all this, but finishing my novel for submission on top of everything. So… yep.

I’ve been on vacation from the day job this week. For those who bother to care, you noticed I skipped my blog for the week… that wasn’t entirely on purpose. I’ve been busy working on ‘Stiym’ as much as I can (plus a wedding, and getting drunk with southern family members, etc), and next thing I know, it’s Thursday now. So… yea…

On that… i actually have nothing in mind to post on right now… i do have more exercises in mind later, but i’m bum-rushing this entry as it is, so, that will have to wait. For some time in the future though, I will be shitting out some reviews for you people that like to bitch about things they saw, then go around the net and find other people that bitch like you. I haven’t work on any new recipes lately, but I will get around to something… if anyone has any suggestions for stuff they want me to try doing, feel free to share…

So… blah’blah’blah… i wrote a blog this week… yay me… get back to work…

20100829aI think I put this off long enough… or have I…?

Ok, I have… fine. Those that read my Images in Your Head post are probably wondering about how that “study” has progressed. Well, incidentally, I plugged it through Reddit, mostly to test the usefulness of Reddit for a friend, and after 2 years of finding that most people are the 2/3 and only couple some-of-somewhat-vaguely 1/3, I have discovered that all the actually fully 1/3 seem to be on Reddit… I’m not really sure what that means for Reddit, but shit, I got a lot of hits from there.

What does this have to do with the exercises? I originally re-posted that bit to try to figure out the non-visual types better because I wasn’t sure how my exercises would work for them. Now… I am still rather less than completely sure, but far as I can tell, they actually might not. But, as stated at the start of all this, “this isn’t the definitive guide to how everyone does or should write a story, this is only me doing the best I can  to tell you how I write a story,”  so the best I can do, is give you the exercises that I do to write a story as such. But, for you non-visuals out there, if this doesn’t help you in the least, do not feel discouraged from writing if that is really what you want to do with your life—remember that the existence of you people was brought to my attention largely by a pair of writers. I have yet to meet CE Murphy, however I have had the chance to meet Faith Hunter via conventions and FB, and have had at least enough random conversation talk with her to tell you that she would be willing to help you if you only ask (and possibly bribe her with cake).

And for those really curious about the results from my “1/3 search”, I may try to put together a follow-up at some point, possibly containing a mini-interview with Faith if I can get our free-time to be in existence at the same time.

I know, I know… shut-up… gees…

The exercises…

To find inspiration… so many ways… Take in stories from everywhere: books, TV, movies, music, people watching—lots of all of it.

As an exercise, go to a mall with notebook and pen in hand (I upgraded to a smartphone for the sake of making it easier to follow the most important rule of writers: always carry a notebook and pen). About mid-way in the mall, there is usually a bench, no matter which entry a person comes in, they will more than likely pass that point… sit there. Relax, and just sit and watch… take in everything… if you want you can add the music element (give the watching a soundtrack). If you’re in school, even easier… you’re surrounded by so many people of so many sorts… look at all those different people… dear god, you have a full cast of character sitting before you… the awkward, the popular, the jock… introverts and extroverts of all scales, shapes and sizes.

Go to this school/mall/public place where you can sit in the background…

  • pick one person… anyone… they’re your main character now. Give them a name… give them a history… don’t even worry about the story forward yet, just tell me about that one person’s life… who are they.
  • Now… pick another person… anyone… another character… how does that person’s life tie to the first? Are they friends, enemies… the person that passes up the first every day at school and doesn’t know they exist? Why?

Do this… do this often… on paper, in your head, doesn’t matter… just keep doing it until you’re doing it without even thinking about it anymore. Remember… it’s all wax-on/wax-off one moment, and beating a guy to death the next… now get waxing.

Another exercise along similar lines—remember that music mentioned before? Yea, did you try it with the people watching? Did it help? What if you can’t get out of your house for whatever reason, but the music is still there? Well… I’m presently listening to Volbeat’s new album ‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies’ on Spotify, and I’m finding myself needing to fight back the demons of inspiration screaming to work on ‘Natural Selection,’ but I say, “Fuck you, demons, I have to finish ‘Stiym’! Shut-up-shut-up-shut-up!” (Don’t worry, insanity just means you’re a writer now—and I will be doing more with ‘Natural Selection’ eventually, it’s unavoidable at this point, but I have to finish ‘Stiym’ first). As I was saying, get hold of an album by whatever means you do that these days… I won’t ask questions. Doesn’t really matter what you pick… well, let’s lean more towards lyric heavy music for now, but styles otherwise doesn’t matter for now. Listen to those songs, so many metaphors… but of course, you know that metaphor is actually about drugs… and that one is just sex… and I’m pretty sure that one is just something he looked up in a rhyming dictionary and hoped no one asked. Listen again, instead of translating the metaphors to what was probably intended, make them more literal… the dragon is now a dragon. I wrote a few different songs drawn from Pantera’s ‘Far Beyond Driven’… ‘Syn: Eternal’ was started with no more than the randomly yelled line “head-butts of broken glass!”… and at least one story can be considered completely original since I later found out I had almost all the lyrics wrong… good times. Simple task… listen to the lyrics… take in each word, create a story with them, try to apply this to the people watching later even.

Ok, last exercise for now… close your eyes… well, not now… finish read this first… then, close your eyes:

  • You’re sitting on the ground, you feel the grass below you, and you smell it all around you. Somewhere there is a stream babbling in the distance… to your left someone says something to you… Who are they? What do they say?
  • The person leaves your side, you see them walking in front of you, they’re about to leave your view… How does this make you feel? Should you follow them—should you stay—why?

As I once told someone that greatly inspired my decision to try write this how-to, a lot of story writing is mostly just you coming up with a vague idea, and then after that idea is written out, and you now have to figure out where to go, it will just be you asking questions. The more you do the people watching and the music listening, etc, the less this question asking will be conscious… it will just be you beating a guy to death.

(…to be continued…)

Richard Vernon as Slartibartfast in the 1981 T...

Richard Vernon as Slartibartfast in the 1981 TV series. Vernon first played the character on radio in 1978 and on the subsequent LP rerecording of the first radio series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok… pardon if this entry seems a bit forced, but I just never really woke up today, and I’m craving a nap, but before I do that, I gonna try to get my Tuesday post done.

Mentioning NaNo last time, combined with all the other NaNo talk lately (because there is apparently a NaNo in April thing going on right now that I knew nothing about—I’m clearly not participating, but it’s a thing), I thought about a comment made on one of my NaNo posts:

Writer / Mummy says:

October 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Good luck with Nano, I really hope you win this year! I write Romance so there’s no world building – I admit I don’t know how you do world-building and write quickly! Sounds like you’ve got lots of ideas though so may the words flow for you. I wrote something daft like 17k words in 36 hours last year to win, so I am a true believer that anything is possible…

Anthony Richer says:

October 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm 

World building is actually pretty easy, all you do is sit back and let the world pull itself together for you. At least that’s as easy as it usually feels like… basically think about it as a child’s imagination, at no point do they first stop and plot out the details of their worlds before they start playing in them, they just play in them as if they were always there, they just happened to be the ones with the key to get in.

So, this is going to try to elaborate a bit on how I world-build.

My response really is about how world building actually is for me, although, as I mentioned, I do have at least a map that I quickly drew out for Stiym, and for some of my other stories I have multiple details of maps, I find it hard to call that building, because for me, it’s just taking notes so I don’t forget the stuff later… otherwise, I just copied down what was already in existence.

Maps, there is no trick to creating maps. You could just quickly draw a squiggly circle on a piece of paper, then start drawing other squiggles in that circle, and boom… it’s a map, now start telling us a story about people that live there.

Or you have the typical method of taking a map of the real world, and slightly changing it. If you look at the maps at the front pages of most fantasy books, you’ll notice a lot of them tend to look oddly like the UK, or Europe… go on, look at Game of Thrones, or Lord of the Rings real quick. For ‘Ravenblood,’ I zoomed into the Detroit area, and then drew that with a larger scale, ‘Stiym’ takes place in a few areas in Michigan. It’s easier when you’re pretty much just writing slightly altered versions of stuff that’s around you all the time.

In addition, the idea that romance doesn’t have world building is false… I assume the characters were in a world, and even if the world was simply New York, you still have to create a building for them to be in (or many). Although, I don’t think too much about this when I write, I do see the structures well enough, that if I was asked to, I could draw them out it detail (I took drafting in highschool, and did if for three years as my first job—it’s rather natural for me by this point)

Next part about world building is technology, or magic, etc. Technology is simple, come up with an idea that makes sense to exist and poof—don’t over think it, you don’t have to figure out how the thing works no more than you have to figure out how anything you use in real life works unless you for some reason are writing about an engineer who has to fix this stuff… then it was just a bad idea for you to break the rule of ‘write what you know,’ and now understand why that rule is there (despite all the people who say the rule should be ignored—don’t ignore it, just learn and experience more).

‘Ravenblood’ is so far my only place with magic, although my system gets rather complex, because I tried to make it somewhat sciencier, it doesn’t really need to be that complicated. At most, you usually want to give your magic a restriction—this makes it so you don’t give the user the power to just poof his way to Mordor, or have every fight begin and end with him just snapping his fingers.

For more elaborate world building, we look towards ‘the Hole World,’ there, I have about 8 maps, a dictionary for 3 different languages, and a few different creatures. The languages were the harder part… I don’t really know how to explain how to even do that one, other than study languages. In most of it, you need to find a pattern that repeats enough to make it all feel like it’s all part of one thing, but not so much that you aren’t just saying the same words all over. The different maps were not that hard, they were just details I found I needed. I have a map for the science compound, and have a map for two villages, I have a map for the mountains, I have a map for the over all planet, then the solar system… and so forth. I didn’t create any of that though, I just wrote it down.

So, yea. That’s the best I can poop out for now. I’m trying to plan do put together a few exercise that works along the concepts of what I’m trying to explain here, I will try to post those next time, because I really get the impression that people are doubting how simple I’m saying all this story writing stuff really is (perhaps this is why the Flash Round isn’t going anywhere)… but I will convince you.

(…to be continued…)

Line art representation of a Quill

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, I made a page to get the Flash Round started, but apparently we can’t put tags on pages, so this is me allowing tags to exist and draw you people in. 🙂

You’ll notice up there ^, there’s a link to the page (in the header, next to all my other fun stuff), plus here:

  1. If you are a writer, then you are required by the writer gods to play or risk being smited.
  2. If you are not a writer, I here-by declare you a writer. Please reference rule one.

And in reference to my earlier Flash Challenges post, I am still looking for any ideas…

Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday to You! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, yes it is…

Not much planned for it, but I at least have today off for it (but I worked yesterday, and i go back tomorrow, so mostly today is just recovering and preparing–so, yea). At best though I will probably be working on here to try to gradually tweak things, try to at least finish up the link list (if you’re a writer and/or a properly obsessed reader, you should be clicking on a good portion of the links I’m giving you people–I did all the searching for you, now all you need to do is dive in). At some point today I will hopefully be able to get some actual writing done… might try to write the next part to ‘Natural Selection’ (it will be posted here for now, but it will be moved at some point), and I’m going to at least try to work on my novel.

What novel, you say? Oh, right, I never got around to mentioning the other reason why I really don’t put too much effort into pushing my stuff towards magazines. Basically, it takes too much time away from the novel I’ve been working on since… beginning of last year now. Most of the short-stories I’ve been trying to push at all, are stories that stem from the novel. I tend to write short-stories when working on a novel as a means of working out characters sometimes, at most, I send the stories to whoever (Intergalactic Medicine Show has actually been my go-to ‘magazine’ lately–simple, quick submission rules, absent most the dancing and running around of some others–they’ll be in the list soon, stop looking over there, damn’it, I’m talking now), since they’re there, and if they get published, then super, i have money to help hold me off easier while I’m writing the novel, plus they can help give a little recognition for the novel before it’s even a thing yet (no better means of advertising), but if it gets rejected (which so far, I’m 0 for 2 for this one), then also, the stories were written more as a brainstorming tool, so it’s also no real big deal (I mean, on a scale of what bruises my ego more–rejecting the short-stories: whatever; rejecting the novel: if your car hesitates when you start it… run).

What’s the novel? Well, I’ve read in a few places that writers shouldn’t talk about what they’re in the middle of writing… I don’t actually remember the reason why right now, but it’s a thing, so for now, I’ll say the working title is ‘Ravenblood: Death Trap’ (which i’m really saying is a working title because I really have lots of intent on changing that, don’t mind ‘Death Trap’ because it works off a play on words that you’d have to read the story to understand–blame IGMS for depriving you of being inside–but ‘Ravenblood’ is just too generalized, and it bugs me–it’s named after the main character‘s last name–Daniel Ravenblood).

And so, that’s what’s up… now, to continue tweaking and writing…