Progress Report

Or: A Retrospective on My Writing Journey

Nearly a decade after starting my first “real” story (i.e. the first one I realized I wanted to finish, no matter what), I am still not finished with a complete draft. That might be depressing to some who aspire to finish their newest tale in under a year, but I knew when I started that I was undertaking a large task in attempting it: the story includes an enormous cast of characters, creating their world from the ground up, setting up a history of at least two hundred years, putting political systems in place (and the different monarchs use very different systems of ruling!!), learning about military campaigns…. The list never really ends, and the stories of minor characters have moved beyond my control, so that now when I mention it to friends in-the-know, I lovingly call it “The Epic.”

I didn’t set out to spend ten years trying to write the thing ( I probably would have balked at even starting if I’d known!) At the time, I wrote to keep myself awake through long midnight shifts at my job. The story grew out of an idea for fanfiction that quickly passed the bounds of those characters, and as I begin coming up with their names and feeling out their story, I realized that I had something unique, and for the first time started to consider myself a writer, and not just someone who liked to write. Continue reading

Becoming An Expert (The Writer’s Way)

How many times have you heard “write what you know”? It’s good advice – to a point. Because if everyone only wrote what they knew, we’d have no space odysseys, no dragons, no magical words, no elves or dwarves or krakens… and we’d be poorer for it.

So where does one draw the line between what you “should” write and what you can write? I’d say there isn’t a line, and if you’ve been limiting yourself, STOP! If you can make your readers want to enter the world you’ve written, no matter how unrealistic or crazy, then you’ve still succeeded in writing something good (i.e. interesting). You don’t need to be an expert in fighting to write a fight scene, or on trains to write about your characters taking a train ride. Same goes for flying on the back of a dinosaur, or piloting a ship through outer space – if you can make it interesting and immersive for your readers, only a few are going to nitpick the details. ♦  Continue reading

What Writing Specialty Do You Have to Be Thankful For?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving lets take a few moments to be thankful for all of the blessings we have. When it comes to writing what do you have to be thankful for?

Take inventory of your writing

Good story boils down to these four factors: plot, character, setting and craft.

While there are countless other elements that make up the intricacies of a good book, these are the backbone of a good story.

Odds are, you already know what you’re good at. If not, ask your friends or writing community—anyone who’s read your work. Or you can take this quiz to find out. What’s your specialty?

Are you…

The World Builder

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Journey to the Stars: Discoveries Shaping Sci-fi

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One of the joys of writing Science Fiction is how quickly tomorrow’s technology can surpass a writer’s imagination. Computers the size of your palm? Done. Glasses that help you see 3-D worlds? Done. Real Pokémon lurking in your backyard? Well, sort of. And 30 years ago, no one really expected those inventions to become reality in their lifetime.

So what does that mean for a science fiction writer? Should we all retreat to fantasy? No!

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Critical Things to Do Before You Write Your First Novel

Hindsight is twenty twenty they say. Before I ambitiously embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime, I had no clue what to expect. Sure, I’d read many novels and books and blog posts on how to write them.

What I quickly found out was reading about writing, and actually writing, are totally different. It’s like thinking you’re a good singer because you watch America’s got Talent and belting out off key tunes at a karaoke bar. Time for a reality check.

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How to Write Hair-Rising Suspense

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Suspense.

While reading—it keeps us turning the page with sweaty hands.

While writing. . . sometimes it’s just downright a pain.

If I can cause my reader to grow a few extra gray hairs from my writing, I count that a success. *I apologize ahead of time to any of my readers hoping to keep their luscious colorful locks hair.* Here are some of the basics for adding suspense I use.

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How to Write Amazing Action

aIt’s hard to write believable action when the most exciting thing you’ve done this year is spike your cat’s water bowl.

I say this because I’ve had a pretty action packed life and the action I’ve lived, I can write. One of my most infamous memories is of being attacked by gang members a couple years back. Thanks to that encounter, I can now say with confidence black eyes are not my style, a broken nose isn’t as flattering as I’d hoped, and hard as I try, I can’t rock stitches.

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