Archive for the ‘ On Writing ’ Category

Whole New Day, Whole New Disaster

Seventy-five-hundred words into the first Novella of a trilogy, writing my first big disaster, with all kinds of conflict and I realize I do not know who the antagonist is. Of course, neither does my protagonist, but that is no excuse. I am neither a character in the story or a reader. How can I write a good disaster if I can not put a name to the instigator of the loss? Perhaps disasters should be explained.
Segway to the Snowflake Method.

Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson
Available from Amazon and as a dynamite program.

Snowflake is an outlining method that divides the novel into four parts. Each of the first three parts ends in a disaster where the character faces a disaster, and metaphorically or in reality is slapped in the forehead with failure and reevaluates his entire life as he sees it.
I may have exaggerated there, of course, but if you take each of these disasters and call them setbacks, you will get to a more conventional way of teaching outlining. I highly suggest that writers check out his Snowflake Method. It may not be for you, but it teaches a great way to think of novel writing.
Oh, and Pantsers, I suggest you get the book, also. No, no, no, I don’t mean you should give up your way of writing. While Pantsing a novel or a short story, or editing said works, they are a great way of thinking out where your character is in the story.

In my case, I have the novella plotted out, I know how it will end, I know there are two groups after what he doesn’t know he has, and Eureka. I now know who the the Antagonist is in the first novella. It is right there in my plans as a subplot. Now, I know that it is critical.

The best way to work out a story problem when you slam hour nose against it is to write it out. Got to run.

Stay tuned for the Knowledge’s Ashes Universe Part I: Starjacker.

Writer’s Log 01.16.2019 – 0859

One day I’m dancing in the rain and singing “Everything’s coming up roses,” and the next there is this headache dead center of my third eye. But that is no excuse. Time to write, tickle the keyboard, drive the nib of my men into my wrist and bleed fiction.
So bear with me, please, several things I want to do.

How to use theme in writing.
Using Them in writing.

The first goal is to work on an article for Medium on a theme in literature. I have been avoiding this like the plague. (Cliche alert!) Going on, I think I am going to use this as a sounding board for my understanding of the subject, which I admit is not very significant.
The image above, which I saw posted by a friend and writer, Anna Dobritt, author of the Ravynwyng Chronicles, links together three critical aspects of literature.
I have a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and no teacher ever explained it to me in this way. Before, I remained blind to the theme, thinking of it as the “moral of the story,” which it is not.
One of the primary themes in Harry Potter was

NOTE: I did not get far with this today. Tomorrow, I will make progress.

“Literary theorist Roger Fowler notes that: “A theme is always a subject, but a subject is not always a theme: a theme is not usually thought of as the occasion of a work of art, but rather a branch of the subject which is indirectly expressed through the recurrence of certain events, images or symbols. We apprehend the theme by inference – it is the rationale of the images and symbols, not their quantity.”
Harry Potter and the surprisingly poignant literary theme

Writer’s Log Supplemental: 1648 wrote 1521 words on the Novella. it is going very well. I even succeeded in screwing around for a while.
Next month, I intend to take Randall’s Bootcamp and use it to write a sequel to Shift.

Writer’s Log Supplemental: 2156 An interesting evening, and I’ve made one serious decision. I have so many short stories, I intend to publish a book about 100 pages long. Thanks, Angela L. Lindseth. (Check out her published works. Sanity’s Threshold, Unconfined Delusions, and more.)

Busy day. Goodnight, y’all.

Resources: Theme (narrative)
The Literary Element of Theme
What is Theme in Literature?
Literary Themes

Writer’s Log 01.15.2019 – 2311

Just a short post today. Actually posted a piece of flash fiction earlier. I continued to write the novella and wrote 1340 words on the project, and you can add around 500 for the Flash.
That is a good day, no matter what you think
I am I am hitting my stride. The antidepressant I take–I am not ashamed–has allowed me to get my mind functioning. It is the fourth I have tried. The other three, over the years, had terrible side effects.
I am having an amazing period of creativity, flash fiction, short stories, a Novella. I need to get back to editing “The Jungian Gate” and plan a novella sequel to Shift.

Goal: I am thinking I will edit and tighten up all my short stories and put them together into a book.

Well, I think this is it. It is about time to hit the sack. My late start this morning happened because I stayed up to one in the morning.

Damned I’m not Not Late Getting Started Again

Damned if I’m not late getting started again, but it’s not my fault this time. No, I blame day, that being last night.
How can I blame a period of time equal to a fraction of the rotation of the earth? Easy, I went to sleep at 0100, that is 1:00 AM for the twenty-four-hour clock challenged.
You see, I sit up with my lovely wife until she falls asleep, approximately 2345. (Subtract 1200 form the number to read the time.) Then, after watching a few minutes of The Late Show With Steven Colbert, I decide why not read for a while. One thing led to another, and I start editing back over yesterday’s writing.
Suddenly, it’s 0100. (If you can’t read that go back to my second paragraph.
See what I mean, not my fault at all.

Well, only so much exhaustion can be fixed with a cup of coffee.

Ah, much better. Now, where was I? Oh, yes.
The alarm blares at 0520. I wake up, stab my alarm to death with my finger, and glance at my wife and say, “Time to get up, Dear.”
“Five more minutes,” says Dear.
What is a man to do? So, I give her five minutes.
“Five more.”
Now I start feeling like the witch hunter in Salem, Massachusets who in trying to seduce a confession from a suspect witch dropped a rock on his chest only to hear, “More weight.”
You probably see where this is going but being a writer, I can’t stop.

It’s like an addiction, and there is no twelve step program.

Five minutes later. “Dear…

“One more minute.”
“I have to wake up the boys.”
“One more minute.”

Then up she pops like a devil from a Jack-in-the-box. Strip from her Tee-J. (That is a t-shirt she sleeps in.) Bathroom break. Brush teeth. Shower.
A few minutes while I wake up my son.
Dressed, we run downstairs where she fixes breakfast to eat from her desk at work and takes most of the coffee.
Son #1 comes downstairs, bleary-eyed. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug and the door.

I need to compress time here, a bit, so consider this a brief trip through a small wormhole. (Obligatory Science Fiction Term.)

Boys fed and dropped off at school, I return home, sit my cold cup of coffee on the end table and recline with a lie to myself. I will just close my eyes for a minute.
1100, Oh, shit!

Damned if I’m not late getting started again, but it’s not my fault this time.

Now that we’ve reached that sudden moment of Déjà vu for you, I need to go to work.

Plans and Portents

Royalty Free Image "fotolia by Adobe."
Plan of Action

NOVELLAS: Yes, yes, yes I will get around to my writer’s log, later. This is just a note covering my change in direction. since I am self-published, I’ve decided to write a series as Novellas. Each book will be between twenty thousand and forty thousand words. They will be complete, in that I will present a beginning, middle and end with rising action a climax and a denouement. (Yes, I am showing off my literary chops with that word.) But Each will be one part of a series of two or more books.
That requires writing one thousand words a day. I can do that.

I also intend to continue blogging about writing. This blog will expand out to more than one page, covering my printed works. along with the blog here, I will publish at Medium at least once a week.

Honestly, I’ve never been that disciplined, but it is past the time that I learned. I’m old enough, and I’m good enough.

First Novella will be Starjackers. Watch this bog for more.

Writer’s Log 01.12.2018-0758

Good morning all you beautiful people!
Woke a bit earlier this morning, and begin what has become a comforting ritual, beginning my Log. Putting words on a page may be tedious to some, but I find the quiet pop of keys falling, and the appearance of black letters on a white screen soothing in a way that escapes my definition.
Of course, there is the annoyance of the occasional misspelled words or grammar mistake that I must fix, but that annoyance is more like biting into a peppercorn in a delicious meal, a rush of pepper than gone.

Shift, by Frank Darbe
“Two o’clock in the fucking AM on a smoky night with no clouds and only the light from the overglow of distant fires, Toss sat on the goose seat of a Harley Sportster with his arms around the waist of a beautiful woman. He lived a young man’s dream, and all he could think about after hours of driving East was that his ass hurt from his knees to his neck.”
Chapter 3: Chasing Ghosts
Available at JaCol Publishing and Amazon

Writer’s Log – Supplemental – 1628: I wrote a Flash Fiction piece titled, “The Path Most Demanding” using the painting by Johann Georg von Meyer. 812 words.

Painting by Johann Georg von Meyer

A Writer’s Plan:
So far, I have pursued this without a pl;an, other than published a book. Well I’ve done that and now I need to move on. I intend to try something a little different. Writing a series of Novella’s that will add up to a larger novel. Novella’s can be as short as 20,000 words and upwards to 40,000. I want to aim at 30,000 words. I can write one in thirty days or less. For a series, I can have each novel complete on its own, and series arcs.

I am already working on a Novella. I am going to make this either a duology or a trilogy. It will be Science Fiction of the Space Opera genre. It will run like a series of modules in a game, one leading to the next but each being independent, capable of standing alone.

Writer’s Log – Supplemental 01.13.2019-0048
I have written the basic background for the series of Novellas. I suspect it will be a Trilogy. The first novella will be the gathering of the three primary characters and their escape from Breakersbore in search of an ancient colony ship.

Writer’s Log 01.11.2019-1524

Been one of those days, know what I mean? I stepped on a water hose and fell and twisted my left ankle. It doesn’t hurt bad, but with my Achilles Tendon being a bit calcified, it means that it can take months to heal up. I don’t think it is that bad, you know, but I probably won’t know for sure until tomorrow.
And now, Grammarly ( a great program by the by) is telling me “know what I mean” (written as a tongue in cheek salute to my childhood in Oklahoma where that phrase appeared multiple times in any conversation, know what I mean) wants me to change it for “uncertainty.”
Why in holy hell would I want to do that?

Writer’s Log – Supplemental; Off to a late start today, so don’t “twizzen” judge.
A question came up in the Novella I am working on, how do I handle profanity. I do, indeed, want my characters to speak, and at least one of them is as profane a man as you might ever find, especially when he wakes up in a body bag. He is surrounded by people who are less profane only in that they do not have as much dialog. I am going to come up with my own choice words.
Twizzen – Galac Basic word for extinct American English slang “fucking.”
Galac Basic – The common language spoken in the region of space where the story takes place. Galac Basic varies from star to star.
I will add other choice words, and post them separately as a page, perhaps.
Working on Space Opera novella.

Writer’s Log – Supplemental-2019: Some days you write the bear, and some days it runs off with your mind and shit’s it away in the wood. I’ve written some on the Space Opera Novella. Interesting work.

Writer’s Log 01.10.2019-0807

Sometimes, a writer must take the seat of their (gender neutral pronoun) pants firmly in hand and lift themselves by their belt loops. Yea, the metaphor could be improved, but this is about pantsing, writing from the seat of their pants, not the game where jocks (I was never one) jerk the pants of nerds (that’s me) down around their ankles. Lot’s of fun for observers, bullies, and jocks, loads of humiliation for nerds. Besides, I am not complete pantser. I know how this story ends and begins. I know the main characters, just a little hazy about everything in between.
Read my Novel “Shift.”

Slipped off that subject, I suppose. Well, for the morning I am working on my upcoming Novella, writing the first draft of a scene titled, “A Body Bag With a View.” More on the flip.

Writer’s Log – Supplemental 0839: Trying to decide in this Science Fiction Novella if I should just let the profanity rip, or if I should create a profane lingo.
Think I will go with my gut and create a lingo or jargon for profanity. Beta readers and editors can change my mind if they want to try.

Writer’s Log – Supplemental 0947: Wrote 357 words. Not bad, but not good either. I need to go do a load of laundry. Latter.

Writer’s Log – Supplemental 1153: After a load of laundry, I edited Chapter Eight Scene 1 of “The Jungian Gate.” The work continues.

Writer’s Log – Supplemental 1510: More editing on Jungian Gate, continued with the sequel.

Writer’s Log – Supplemental 1529: Finished Chapter 1 Scene 1 of the TJG’s sequel.

Book Review: Night of Masks by Andre Norton

If you are a dietitian, doctor, insurance adjuster, mechanic, or most any occupation continuing education is critical to the performance of your profession. Authors, novelists, writers, and poets also require continuing education. That education, however does not come as a Grammar class (thought some could use one) or other formal seduction. Continuing education for an author consists of reading.

As part of my Writer’s Journey, I choose to read extensively both within my preferred genres and from both fiction and non-fiction. This keeps my writing fresh and teaches me how others did it.

Night of Masks

by Andre Norton (1964)

Grand Dame of Science Fiction Andre Norton created a complex universe for her Science Fiction and expanded them with each novel. The shared world that she uses with her stories is perhaps her strongest suit. Tightly written, the book contained no excess verbiage or unnecessary scenes. Night of Masks is one of Norton’s many Juvenile Science Fiction Novels. Her characters are sympathetic and relatable to her audience. Having read the novel as a teenager in the mid-1960s, it was like meeting someone I knew briefly a long time ago. It was better than my expectations because I am older and able to appreciate the world building aspects of her work. She writes clear, concise prose with no frills. It is not great literature, but it is appropriate. This book harkens back to a kinder and gentler age. At no point did she stoop to inappropriate. Night of Masks is not a book to change your life. It is entertainment and escape.  Falling within the subgenre of Space Opera, it is a bit dated. Modern tastes run to grittier and more realistic tastes. Her depiction of the “dipple” would be at home in any dystopia, but readers of Space Opera will find it mild. For me, the investment was a great value, both as a good story and from personal nostalgia. I recommend it to readers of science fiction and space opera.

Writers and Holidays

Working writers have few days off. The stories are always there, constant companions demanding freedom. Characters, both the living and dead, drop in for a cup of coffee, and afternoon drink, a glass of wine, to discuss their worlds, which are more real than the default writers space.

The Fourth of July, a day like any other, a work day, with the manuscript calling demanding closure for plot holes and poor grammar and character flat character arcs.

Which leads me to my upcoming novel, Twilight’s Child.

“Twilight’s Child” is a Young Adult Fantasy Novel (12-18 years old) of 94,000 words (74 Scenes divided into 36 chapters) going through a final edit, and due for completion on July 31. I am seeking Beta Readers, an editor, and cover artists.

Twilights Child Elevator Pitch:

An eleven-year-old boy discovers he is a changeling, a faerie exchanged for a human child as part of the Tithe to hell and returns to the Twilight World of the Fae to rescue the child whose life he took.

Read “Shift.” Now Available at Amazon in eBook and Paper Back Formats.