Category Archives: Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics

It Is The End, My Friends

Hello,

I’ve reached the end of my blogging for 30 days spectacular.

I’m pretty happy about that.

I found out that it’s really hard to think of thirty interesting blog entries sequentially.

But it has kickstarted my interest in writing and has gotten some gears turning again that I thought would be forever rusted up.

I’ll be back to blog here next week (Monday!) but I need a small cooling off period.

And I’m sure you’ll be glad of the break as well.

Thank you for reading,

-D-

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Write It Out

Hello,

I’m not a plotter.

I don’t like planning out my stories at all. It robs me of the thrill of discovery. I sometimes start a story having no idea where it’s going to go, but that’s what makes writing exciting to me. I can go on the same journey as someone reading the story as I go.

But starting a story with no particular place to go might explain why I have so much trouble finishing my stories.

But I’m tackling a story that demands I know the ending before I start, so I’m trying to write it before I write it.

So far, my notes read like a madman’s paranoid manifesto, but I think I’m getting somewhere. And I think there’s room to discover in between the plotting, the hidden secrets between bullet points.

I can keep the mystery hidden from myself this way, at least for a little longer.

-D-

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Writing Update

Hello,

I’m nearing the end of my experiment to write in this blog every day and I’m looking forward to that last day.

There’s only so much I can say, day in and day out and I’m sure there are days when y’all could tell I was checked out, especially on those 11:00pm postings.

But it’s made me think more and more about how I view the world, how I approach writing and getting me back into some kind of writing shape.

I feel I analyze things more, pay attention more, and put more effort into my writing in general.

So I want to thank you for bearing with me through this process. After this period is over, I’ll be going to a more regular posting schedule, down to two or three entries per week.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-D-

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An Update

Hello,

It’s been seventeen days since I start to write continuously, both in this blog and off the blog and I don’t know how this is impacting me at this point.

On the one hand, I’ve written more in this short two weeks than I did in the last six months prior to starting this experiment.

And I feel that it has been generally of better quality.

Well, I don’t know about the blog.

The blog has been the hardest part of this, constantly trying to come up with something even new to talk about without this just being an entire month of beer reviews and writing about writing.

I think, at the very least, I’ll level up my discipline a smidge.

And that might be worth this whole process.

-D-

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Public Writer

Hello,

I’ve never been someone who likes to write in public. The thought of setting up my laptop in the local coffee shop, which will most likely be a Starbucks, and proceeding to tap away makes me cringe inwardly.

But that’s what I’m doing this morning.

I have time to spare this morning, time to kill, and I’ll be damned if I let a spare minute slip away.

That’s been an interesting side effect of writing every day and really pushing myself toward writing more each day instead of just a hundred words here and there. I look forward to it and I’m starting to have things to say again.

Always write, always keep writing, if you want to do this for a living, you should always be writing.

I still don’t like writing in public though.

Feel exposed.

Signing off from a Starbucks in Waltham.

-D-

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Ideas

Hello Again,

I’ve never been someone that believes in writer’s block.

There’s always something you can be working  on, always something you can be making.

Granted, I say that as someone that has never needed to survive by writing on a deadline.

I can always flit back and forth from one story to another and that’s  large part of why I never get anything done.

See? I’m already losing the thread of this blog post and it’s been less than a hundred words.

Writer’s block, to me, is not so much about “can’t” and more “don’t know how”.

I don’t know how to tackle this dialogue. I don’t know how to tackle this scene. I don’t know how to move the story forward.

And every attack point is an exercise in frustration.

Moving forward isn’t an option because it feels incomplete and wrong.

So instead, I’d move on to another story or a blog entry and then maybe eventually come back to the story and try and finish the damn thing.

But most likely not.

That’s something else I’m trying to learn while I’m doing this. To continue to barrel through a story when it doesn’t feel right. To just get on with it and see where I can go and then when I have something completed, I’ll be far more likely to fix what went wrong.

Like Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap.

-D-

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An Update

Hello Again,

Whenever I do one of these insane writing challenges, I feel the need to beat myself up about not meeting the self imposed rules that are, often, brutally unfair.

That being said, I am going to say that as a result of this challenge (one blog entry, one five hundred word story per day) I do feel that I’m finally rebuilding writing muscles I used to have, but I’ve now let atrophy.

Atrophy.

That word seems pretty goddamn pretentious.

I think it’s important to challenge yourself as a writer, but I also think it’s important not to let the failure of those challenges discourage you. Things like NANOWRIMO are meant to be hard, meant to be tough and are meant to push you passed limits. The only way you grow stronger is to test yourself, constantly. If you just do the same thing, in and out, day in and day out, you will never get better, you’ll just plateau.

If you fail, keep going and try and do better next time. You won’t win every race, won’t win every match. The most important thing is that you pick yourself up and you keep going.

The people who persist are the people who are more likely to succeed, even in light of failure.

Persistence is what matters, even over basic talent. If you have basic talent, but don’t have the ability to persevere, you will not succeed. Always keep battering against the wall, always keep fighting. And learn from the people who have broken through.

I have a story to write.

And I know you do too.

-D-

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Entry X

So! For the second time this year, I’ve forced myself to write ten entries in a single day. I’d feel bad about making this last entry a cop-out, wrap-up entry, but I don’t.

So there.

In the future, I’d like to avoid this little bit of tom foolery. Shouldn’t be too hard. All I have to do is actually update my blog in a reasonable fashion so that I have the proper number of entries up per month.

Ha!

Anyway, it’s been fun, but I’d really like to go watch Hellraiser now. If, for some reason, you missed any of the entries I wrote today just click on the following links.

Entry IX

Entry VIII

Entry VII

Entry VI

Entry V

Entry IV

Entry III

Entry II

Entry I

 

Thank you and good night,

-D-

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Paring It Down

For most people, editing is about excising. You trim out all of those unnecessary words and details and phrases and commas. You said too much. You described too much. You gave him too much to say. Stephen King even comes up with a basic formula for editing your story that goes as follows:

First Draft – Ten Percent= Second Draft

It’s one of the more difficult challenges for most writers because you have to determine what’s actually crap and what’s actually good, what actually helps the story and what hurts it. Even if that paragraph is utterly brilliant in terms of language and artistry and characterization, it’s unnecessary. And that’s the key word: unnecessary. Pare it down, clip it out, get rid of it, especially it doesn’t help the story go forward.

I don’t have that problem so much. Yes, I do clip out my fair share of badly used and superfluous words, but, for the most part, that’s not my problem. My problem is my first draft is always anemic and pared down already to the point that the story is skeletal. I’m an impatient reader and viewer and I’ll rail against authors who spend their sweet time getting where I want to be going. And when I write, I do the same thing. Why show this? The reader understands! Why show that? The reader can figure it out.

My murder mystery looks like the following: The body is found. The detective looks at the body. Ah-ha! He says. He captures the killer. Fin

I ignore little things, insignificant things like: personalizing the victim, describing the investigation, adding in a second murder to really kick it up a notch. I know the tropes and the cliches and the tools and the frameworks; I just choose not to utilize any of them because I want to go from A to B in the fewest number of steps.

So my editing process ends up being the exact opposite of Mr. King’s advice. I fatten. I add. I write more pages and boost the word count way up and flesh it out and grow it out. It’s the process of adding flesh to a skeleton. For me and for writers like me, it’s more:

First Draft + Twenty Percent = Second Draft

What about you? How does editing work for you? What do you have to do after completing that first draft?

-D-

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A Little of This, a Little of That

A lot of the books I read end up adding to what I write. Characters, words, worlds, even just that mix of tones (a little darkness, a dash of magic and a small smidge of humor); it all affects how I write.

There are authors who energize; who help me get off of my ass and start writing again. There are the writers who function like literary warning signs. Danger! Do Not Mix These Genres: Disastrous Results! There are the writers that show me that what I’m doing ahs been done over and over and over and over again and maybe I should head down a different path.

I steal styles and I lift characters. I shuffle off with piece of plot and I make off with ideas. Every book I read, every story I see, it’s a jolt of inspiration. Not to take the whole thing. That’s just intellectual thievery.

But every writer borrows. Every writer finds his or her ideas. They lay about waiting to be discovered time and again. They find them, they piece them together, they work them into something new that hasn’t been seen before. They take those old ideas and make them shine like new again. They find new truths buried in ideas that have been kicking around since Man was capable of intelligent thought.

It is the job of an artist, whether a writer or a painter or a sculptor, to take those old ideas and breathe themselves into it.

And that’s…not that hard, really. Art isn’t hard. It’s just the follow-through that some might find troublesome.

Dylan Charles

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