Archive for the ‘ On Writing ’ Category

Writer’s Log – 02.12.2014 – 0730

Essentials – A Poem in the Key of Me

Always open with a word,
Caffeine in my coffee,
A song in my heart
But, not on my lips
Writing, not music, is my art.

Remember, first drafts are shit.
Shit is good … enough
Correct nothing!
Drafts are rough.
Never, ever look back
Until The End.

Writing is collaborative.
Every author I read
Influences my work,
A reader I need
To complete our story.
In your mind’s eye.

© Frank Darbe
02.12.2019 (all rights reserved)

What’s Next in a Writer’s Life? Finger’s Banging Keys!

My daily grind, write a thousand words in my WIP, edit chapters in a completed novel, and fix a story I wrote that I am not yet happy with.
And, I suspect, back to post daily. One more thing, I am two assignments behind in boot camp. Catch you later.

Pro Tip by Emma T. Gitani

Creator Emma T. Gitani Editor and Author.

Emma T. Gitani is a writer and editor of my acquaintance. As a warrior in the eternal conflict between telling and showing, she provides professional tips for the Author-Warrior.

Remember: SHOW don’t TELL!

Emma T. Gitani, Editing Services

Emma T. Gitani Author Page

A Writer’s Bootcamp and Other Exercises

JaCol Publishing‘s Bootcamp for Writers

My publisher, Randall Andrews, and his company JaCol Publishing hold boot camps for writers. I’ve taken done this before, twice. I wrote my first novel, Shift, during a boot camp, and the wrote the bulk of my WIP Shadow Walkers in another. Having the means, and recognizing that I spend more in coffee in a month that than the cost per month of his course I chose to go through this again.

Of course, I will write the sequel to Shift (Title will be a single wort, but I haven’t a clue yet.). Apart from the novel, the boot camp puts me in contact with a group of talented writers and provides an excellent workout to remove those unsightly flabby adjectives from my prose.

An Author’s Platform

This morning, Toni Crowe’s excellent ‘“When Does This Get Easy?” — The Myth Of Author Platform‘ documented the frustrations of building an Author’s Platform, provided a primer to follow her successes and left me envious as hell of her drive.
When I published Shift, I had no idea what an Author’s Platform might be. I dreamed of writing and publishing a book and waiting for the accolades to roll in. I should have realized that books, being oblong with edges did not roll all that well. I am playing catch up without a guide.
Her article comes with a series of steps that I intend to follow. I will report on those efforts as they occur.

Elon Musk’s Stainless Steel Starship (ExtremeTech)

If you ever read or enjoyed images of ships from the Golden and Silver Age of Science Fiction, you would have seen silver rockets sitting on their fins.
Elon Musk’s BFR/Starship resembles those designs, but not our of engineering nostalgia. Stainless steel is their go-to material for good reasons, as Ryan Whitwam of Extreme Tech Explains.

“SpaceX is working on the initial prototype of the Starship rocket (formerly BFR) that could eventually carry people to the moon and Mars. However, CEO Elon Musk recently announced a significant design revision that seems counterintuitive at first. Instead of aluminum and carbon fiber, the company has decided to build the Starship out of stainless steel. Now, he’s explaining why. “

“Elon Musk Explains Why the Starship Will Be Stainless Steel” By Ryan Whitwam on January 24, 2019 at 8:17 am (https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/284346-elon-musk-explains-why-the-starship-will-be-stainless-steel

Do I Need to Redesign My Website?

Went looking for writers on WordPress, the agenda being to follow them, and when it is appropriate, quote them on the site to get exposure for my website. I found “26 Best Minimalist WordPress Themes for Writers,” which indicates websites that are better for reading and easy to manage.
I suspect that I need to research writers’ websites and make mine more like theirs.

What am I Waiting For?

I have four complete novels, along with my writing, I am going to edit them and get them ready for Beta Readers and publishing.

A Writer on Any Given Sunday

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Wake, and …
Suspicion creeps down my neck.
Not a thinking day. No!
A lark day.
A play day.
A crawl back in bed and mess around day.
Chores, wait till tomorrow.
Hobbies, paint yourself.
Writers deserve days off.
Right?
No stress.
No worries.
Hakuna ma watch-u-ma-call-it
And all that jazz.
So what if …
I left a character
A breath from death
No clue how to live.
An alien shadow
Outside of time
Creeping through the pores in his skin.
I stopped yesterday, not knowing how to save him.
Should I kill him?
Why not?
Abel Ruse, not real.
Not breathing, hoping,
I know what color of underwear he wears.
I know he has the hots for Gaia,
And thinks he is in love.
Not old enough to know
Love from lust?
Or is there a difference.
And he’s changing.
Oh, my!
And the change scares him
More than the knife
Literally at his throat.
How can I desert someone
Living in my head for months
When I know his hopes, dreams,
That his frozen thought
“What color of panties does Gaia wear?”
Not knowing if he will ever know.
Because real people never know
Until the knife at their throat
Cuts.
And then, nothing…

Hard-Earned Writing Wisdom

Does this owl make me look wise?
Photo by Jessy Paston on Unsplash

“Good things happen to those who work at it, but never in a hurry. “
Frank Darbe expressing his sense of frustration by paraphrasing an old proverb.

“Hurry up and Wait is a thing.”
Old Navy saying Frank Darbe relearns every freaking day of his life.

“If at first you don’t learn something, bash your head against the wall a few more times. Wisdom penetrates thick skulls only with encouragement.”
Coined by me, Frank Darbe, while taking three Ibuprofen after a learning experience. 

“Avoiding work is the quickest route to failure, but it proves I, too, can be spectacular at something.”
Anonymous, but really, we all know anonymous is Frank Darbe.

“Coining fake hard-earned wisdom proverbs is avoiding work, by pretending to work and takes more time and effort than work. “
Refer to Frank Darbe’s previous Hard-Earned Wisdom Snippet concerning the avoidance of work.

“A writer pours out both heart and soul for his audience. Though it may only be an audience of one, the writer himself, one can be a damned appreciative audience.
By (applause, applause) the Writer himself. Frank Darbe.

“A 100-word logline is a thesis, not a logline and proves that the writer requires remedial courses in grammar and salesmanship.”
Paraphrased from words spoken by an agent to Frank Darbe at his first Writers and Editors Convention. To which, Frank answered, “What’s a logline?”

“If you never failed at something, you never learned anything. Do you think coming up with good pithy phrases is easy?”
Said by Frank Darbe to his wife when he failed to carry out the trash while coining pithy sayings. Trust Frank, leaning that was painful. He doesn’t sleep well on couches.

“Do not wait for success as a writer. Throw words at your keyboard until the screen vomits, and then self-publish.”
Frank Darbe says, rescue me, I am trapped by a deadline set by monkeys forcing me to write words at random until they become wise.

“That’s it. That’s it. You’re perfect, said no writer ever after penning the first sentence of a fantasy epic for the thousandth time.”
Frank Darbe didn’t say that, and it wasn’t a thousand times really.

“Lists of Hard-Earned wisdom are like goodbyes spoken to visiting relatives, they go on too long but are sincere.”

Just Finish the Darn Book

Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash

Walking Shadows

At fifty-four-thousand words, Walking Shadows is close to the end. It has been a long trip, starting, stopping, starting, stopping due to depression, grief, doctors, medicine, and recovery,. Better, I see it within no more than two weeks of “The End.”

I’ve avoided picking it up again because of a bad habit. Hit a rough spot in the book or emotionally, and I start something new. Chasing the new and shiny story is my worst habit as a writer.

Worse, I avoided it because I lost the narrative thread, and because the ending no longer made sense to me. Realizing last night, I was being both unprofessional and a fool, I dusted off the data file. After dithering, I realized that I know how it ends, I just was not sure how to get there from where I last wrote. I started the novel project of writing the last three or so chapter from back to front. It sounds backasswards (one of my favorite words form my Oklahoma childhood) but I can set down and write the last chapter without a hitch, and once I get that done, I will extrapolate backwards until I reach the point where I stopped writing.

And there is something very comforting in writing the last chapter of a long work.

Walking Shadows: After Able Ruse’s mother dies, he is forced to leave the religious community where grew up and live with his strange Grandfather in Scapula, California, haunted by Walking Shadows that stea the souls of children and and and take over their lives.

Writer Zaide’s: Advice for Wayward Writers

Zaide Himself

My Main Character Dies Halfway Through the Novel. Can Lesser Conflicts Bring Adequate Tension to the Plot?

In Empire, Orson Scott Card wrote a novel where the POV character in the first half of the novel is shot in the head by an assassin and dies midway through the book. After his death, other characters carried the POV. The Death of the main character did not conclude the crises that started the novel.

In Card’s Novel, the plot was not solved by the death of the main character. It was a political thriller where other characters picked up the plot and conflicts. The novel did not hinge on the Main’s character’s conflicts.

Whatever your central conflict might be, it should work like a relay race, where the next person takes the baton and runs with it. Dealing with the death of the original main character became a subplot for his friends, wife, and children.

I do not think that “lesser conflicts” will work. Your readers bought into your main characters crises and conflicts. The death of the main character should be a failure in the novel’s core conflict that others must rise to face.

A Delicate Truce by Ben Douglass

Ben Douglass, A Delicate Truce is a brief report of a generational collision between a father and a daughter, both anchored by their own experiences that leave them unwilling to cross the generational divide. The adopted daughter Lisa lives in a world informed by revolutionary youth, a young woman seeking to understand her roots in a world she does not remember, having been transplanted into a middle-class Jewish household. Arnie Sussman, a father who loves his child, is lost in the face of the young woman she has become and find himself unable to understand how the world he sees filtered by nuance and gray tones is for her slashed with jagged lines of black and white.

Their truce for the duration of a family evening at the theater proves difficult to broker. More of difficult cease fire, and their clash though not epic is familiar to parents who often look at their children in dismay.

I enjoyed this Flash Fiction, and found its portrayal of two very different people, both blinded by a version of privilege but unwilling to see past their blinders.

Ben Douglass and Mercury Flats Publishing

Indie writers and publishers go hand in hand. They range from small, boutique publishers providing editorial and publishing services for a price to sole proprietor publishing houses created to handle the works of one writer who serves as Writer, Editor, Publisher, Artist, Book Designer, Bank, and chief cook and bottle washer.

Mercury Flats falls under the later description, operated by author and owner Ben Douglass. His works are available from Amazon.
Konstantin’s Birthday: 4th Revised Edition
Inmate DET-3
Confession of a Former Zombie: A Memoir
This Ain’t The Waldorf Astoria, Honey!
Raw Beginnings: An Omnibus

Dreams Noxious Delights

Swift Essay in Surrealism


Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

I sit trying to begin, delete my words, try again.
Seeking something to unlock my dark, gilded passion. Lost, lost. My lament, my dream of noxious delights, found at the bottom of a bloated body bag.
My nightmares die, their hollow bellies swollen with words I never pen. Close my eyes and begin blind, see the keys of my board with prints of my eyes, where keys melt like the Dali’s clocks, letters running away from misconceptions, abandoning me at the edge of a lake of lice, my fingers chasing the stretched words, spiders pinning letters to a board, sucking their dry radish souls.
The ears, watch for the ears, they hear what eyes do not feel.
An epitaph: Calamitous Sensuality!

Writer’s Log 01.27.2019 – 1055

Yesterday I faced the beast embodied in a big photo of the seat of my pants. Non-obligatory pantser joke. Realizing my novel went in the wrong direction, I backed up and figured out where I went wrong. I asked questions about motivation, conflict, how scenes contribute to the end.
I’m losing some words, but it will be a better book.

STOP THE PRESSES!!! I DID NOT TAKE MY MED!!!

I know that may seem hyperbolic, but anti-depressants put my mind together, and without it, I will be mired in self-doubt and playing Wizard 101 for hours between starting a new novel every other day before flushing it down the crapper. There but for the grace of Doctor Sitapati go I.
Some may be taken aback by my confession. Some may label me weak, or crazy, or DEPRESSED, which society often considers worse than the others.
If they break an arm, they see a doctor. No harm no foul.
If they have cancer, they see a much more expensive doctor. It’s their health, and there is no shame in taking care of themselves.
People who are depressed, or suicidal, or schizophrenic, or labeled as having some emotional problem, should tough it out. THAT IS WRONG! If you are sick, you are sick. Don’t be shamed or feel ashamed. GET HELLP!

Now to get to work.