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What I Did Last Night

by Jonathan 6 Comments
Grab your boiled leather and prepare for intrigue.

Grab your boiled leather and prepare for intrigue.

My brother and his wife came over and the four of us delved into A Game of Thrones board game. This was the second time we played since I got it for Christmas. The rules take a while to get down, but once we got rolling, good stuff. If you like games, especially ones with a little meat on the bones, check this out.

Altered States

by Jonathan 2 Comments
One of my all time favorite King reads. It kicked the movies tuckus.

One of my all time favorite King reads. It kicked the movie's tuckus.

I went for a run last night around 9 PM. I don’t run regularly, but I do it when I can muster the motivation. About half a mile in, the endorphins kicked in and my brain started to work. Dare I say, it may even have been better than a hot cup of strong, black coffee. As I ran, I worked at some issues with my story and came up with what I hope are nice additions to help flesh some things out and tie some things together that had been nagging at me. It felt good on so many levels.

I don’t have a whole bunch of ways to ratchet up my gray matter, but the ones I do use are coffee, running/walking, sleep (good rest goes a long way), reading excerpts on writing, reading excerpts of what I consider good writing. Anyone else have any suggestions? I’m always willing to try something new.

I don’t foresee myself going the Sadie Plant route (although I wouldn’t mind reading her book), so if psychotropics or opiates are your bag, well, bully for you and keep up the good work.

Writing Standards?

by Jonathan 7 Comments

I’m an avid reader of fiction writing sites such as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America or any of the blogs on my blog roll. I can’t get enough of learning how other people write, what elements make for good fiction, character development, etc. The more I read this stuff, though, the more it occurs to me that anyone can have the formula for writing, but they still need to the ability to write (or at least cultivate it) to make the story fly.

Im hanging on to read the next chapter

I'm hanging on to read the next chapter

I was thinking specifically of the concepts of beginning chapters with hooks and ending with cliffhangers that I came across at Fiction Writer’s Connection tip sheet on revising your manuscript. Does blindly following these techniques result in homogeneous writing, i.e., if you put all writing done according to these guidelines in a bin and pull one out, can you distinguish one author from another? I suspect the answer will be sometimes. Ultimately, it will be our ability to write well and develop a compelling story that will set us apart.

As competitive writing (commercial writing?) is a new concept to me, I’m trying to sort through all this stuff without worrying too much about it. It’s easy to slip down that rabbit hole and never find my way to completing my current project.

My five favorite sites for writing resources are:

  1. Wikipedia – Quick and easy reference for just about anything on earth. I find it a nice way to get an overview on a subject or delve into the particulars. Lots of links to other related sites within the side. Loads of outside links as well.
  2. Dictionary.com – Part of the larger Reference.com – Fairly self-explanatory.
  3. Google Alerts – I subscribe to alerts related to writing fiction. That’s the coolest – you can subscribe to any search terms relevant to your interests – just type in your keywords. I recommend the digest format to keep your alerts to a minimum. It’s a nice way to find things that you don’t see in your regular blog feeds. If you don’t subscribe, I highly recommend it.
  4. Any number of Agent Blogs (or all of them), especially those in your area of interest. These blogs are incestuous, but in a good way – Et In Arcaedia, Ego., Nathan Bransford, BookEnds, LLC, and Janet Reid.
  5. SpecFicWorld.com – a nice clearing house for all things speculative fiction.

Still going…

by Jonathan 0 Comments

I’ve been able to do at least 2,000 words over the last three days. It definitely seems to help that I’ve gotten over the middle of the first draft hump and the story’s direction is focused. I’m a-hoping I can keep it up. I’ve actually been able to really get some good flows going using the 2k goal.

I talked to someone today who asked me if I had a working title – my answer was lame, lame, lame – “I did, but the story has changed so much it isn’t really relevant any more.” I’m sure that’s not unusual, but I should probably have something to tell people.

I also need to come up with a ten second overview I can tell people. Plenty have asked. When I’ve gone into an explanation, they usually glaze over and start looking for other people to talk with. I did write a back cover piece just to distill the concept, but it’s a little melodramatic for conversation.

“Hey, what are you writing about?”
“In a world where good and evil share the same mind…”
“Uh, never mind.”

Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly like that, but I need to get it together so I sound like I know what I’m doing even if I’m not always sure.

P.S. Can’t say that I’m enamored with the quick post feature here on WordPress.