Repost: May 28, 2018: I wear my sunglasses at night

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I was going through some writing that I had half-way finished last year before the trouble hit me hard and I dealt with a car accident, a move, and illness. As I read my the words, I had a shock. What I wrote last year was on a different level than what I am writing now. I could see where I had gone off track and could delete entire paragraphs. It was a break-through.

I may be a talented writer, but it has taken ten years for me to get there. This included two years of not being able to write during my cytoxan/prednisone phase. I could drift back into the hallucinations and memory problems, but if you want to talk about what I went through, I have a book for that–In The Shadow of Death. I wrote this while on some heavy duty medications for Wegener’s Granulomatosis.

What I am talking around is that a good writer–writes. If she doesn’t write than she doesn’t get competent, even though she is the most talented writer in the world. As Shakespeare wrote, “Therein lies the rub.”

But writing every day is not enough. I learned this when I was writing for a now dead online magazine called Helium.com. I had to write with them for a couple of years before I became smart enough to know that I needed some pointers. I had read every book I could find on writing story. Some of it just didn’t make sense. You see, I didn’t know the lingo then. Before I  studied story elements, I had this big myth in my head about the instinctive writer. I thought that I could have the entire story inside my head. I should be able to see and write all. This was before I realized the techniques involved with dialog, description, character, and plot.

I was naive.

Why I had this idea that I could just write stories when it took me years to master poetry is beyond my comprehension now. Yes, I am also an instinctive poet, but I have studied the craft extensively. It has made my abilities better. I am still not a Master Poet. But I console myself with a thought that if you reach master status then you stagnate because there is nothing else to learn.

So the point here is that good instruction on writing story is very hard to find. What first put me on the path to writing good competent stories was when I went to Dean Wesley Smith. You might remember seeing his name on several Star Trek novels and others. He has been writing a long time and also makes a living at it.

I went to him because of some recommendations of other writers like Sarah A Hoyt, who had taken his workshops. As someone who knows, fiction writing classes are hard to find. The good ones are expensive. I went to Dean because I couldn’t find the information on my own. He didn’t disappoint. I learned that when you are writing that million words, you need to write smarter. You need to know important things like how to put the five senses in your writing. Just that one instruction changed my writing from one-dimensional to a rich tapestry.

Yes, writing is a craft. Yes, we need to write a lot to gain proficiency. What I have found as I dive into the world of writing is that every day is a challenge. Every day I learn something new. Every day. I don’t get bored.

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I wear my sunglasses at night

sunglasses-1246251_1920
I was going through some writing that I had half-way finished last year before the trouble hit me hard and I dealt with a car accident, a move, and illness. As I read my the words, I had a shock. What I wrote last year was on a different level than what I am writing now. I could see where I had gone off track and could delete entire paragraphs. It was a break-through.

I may be a talented writer, but it has taken ten years for me to get there. This included two years of not being able to write during my cytoxan/prednisone phase. I could drift back into the hallucinations and memory problems, but if you want to talk about what I went through, I have a book for that–In The Shadow of Death. I wrote this while on some heavy duty medications for Wegener’s Granulomatosis.

What I am talking around is that a good writer–writes. If she doesn’t write than she doesn’t get competent, even though she is the most talented writer in the world. As Shakespeare wrote, “Therein lies the rub.”

But writing every day is not enough. I learned this when I was writing for a now dead online magazine called Helium.com. I had to write with them for a couple of years before I became smart enough to know that I needed some pointers. I had read every book I could find on writing story. Some of it just didn’t make sense. You see, I didn’t know the lingo then. Before I  studied story elements, I had this big myth in my head about the instinctive writer. I thought that I could have the entire story inside my head. I should be able to see and write all. This was before I realized the techniques involved with dialog, description, character, and plot.

I was naive.

Why I had this idea that I could just write stories when it took me years to master poetry is beyond my comprehension now. Yes, I am also an instinctive poet, but I have studied the craft extensively. It has made my abilities better. I am still not a Master Poet. But I console myself with a thought that if you reach master status then you stagnate because there is nothing else to learn.

So the point here is that good instruction on writing story is very hard to find. What first put me on the path to writing good competent stories was when I went to Dean Wesley Smith. You might remember seeing his name on several Star Trek novels and others. He has been writing a long time and also makes a living at it.

I went to him because of some recommendations of other writers like Sarah A Hoyt, who had taken his workshops. As someone who knows, fiction writing classes are hard to find. The good ones are expensive. I went to Dean because I couldn’t find the information on my own. He didn’t disappoint. I learned that when you are writing that million words, you need to write smarter. You need to know important things like how to put the five senses in your writing. Just that one instruction changed my writing from one-dimensional to a rich tapestry.

Yes, writing is a craft. Yes, we need to write a lot to gain proficiency. What I have found as I dive into the world of writing is that every day is a challenge. Every day I learn something new. Every day. I don’t get bored.

Raise a glass of cheer

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CC0 Public Domain  Pixabay LunaSeaArt

Even with two to three appointments weekly, I have been able to finish a book that has been in the works for a year. Last year I had made a goal to write four books. I wanted to publish all four in the same year, but I got sidetracked.

But, this is no time for excuses. It is a time to be happy that once again, I have been able to finish a novel and despite my illness, I have been able to write coherently. So today I am celebrating the finish.

There will be other goal posts and other finishes. I started on the third book in the Hilda’s Inn series. I have one book in edit for EJ Hunter, plus I am re-editing She Called It, Wolf. Also there is third in that series that came to me in a dream. So I keep writing.

I counted the novels I have finished since 2010–seven novels and approximately eight novellas and short stories. It’s been an interesting run. I can see the difference in my writing from the first one “Shira, Hero of Corsindor” to the present one “Dragon Boy.” I am sure that I could stretch more in my writing skills as I continue.

So where do I get my ideas? I don’t know. I just look in a direction and try to understand the character. Then I try to write the motivations and actions to the best of my ability. I have taken writing classes. Dean W. Rusch actually gave me the most practical instructions in how to make my writing more real.

I sincerely hope that reading will stay. That imagination will never go out of style.

* * *

Here is my spiel for Dragon Boy:

dragonboy2016So who or what is Davi Dracson?

If you’re down on your luck, come to Hilda’s Inn for a game of dice and cheap ale. The hundred-year-stew has been stewing for a hundred years and the fire never burns out.

Except Hilda’s Inn is under new management, and Hilda is on the run with Davi, a dragonling. There will be dwarfs, ogres, dragons, and magical trinkets between Delhaven and Koenigstadt, the king’s city.

Don’t forget that the woods are not a safe place–the Draugr is lurking and
hungry. And, he has a taste for magic.

 

Writing and Ritual

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From Pixabay

I started out life as a poet. I wrote my first poem at 9 years old. It was later as I got older and realized that I tapped into someplace other than my conscious mind that I began these little rituals to focus my mind on writing.

People outside the field of writing like to call these rituals –superstitions. However, writers are not the only ones who have rituals. You see it in sports and other endeavors that take the person past the normal world.

So I used to turn on some music, light a candle, place my favorite pen next to the computer, and then write. These little actions would tell my mind that it was time to dip into the subconscious and write poetry or tell stories.

Each time I did this, the ritual would help my mind to open wider. Since I have written regularly, I quit this ritual or maybe it slipped back into my subconscious. There are so many things in the “real” world that distract–illness, daily chores, and even electronic devices. I have to admit that the internet and TV are two of my main time wasters when it comes to writing. So lately, as I hit a very dry spell in my writing, I knew that I needed to resurrect my ritual.

In the background I hear “Carry on my Wayward Son” by Kansas. I carved a few symbols on my white candle and lit it. My favorite pen is near my elbow. I am now ready to write.

Just gazing into the candle, I go to another place.

Let your hair down

This morning, I put on a pot of navy beans to cook all day. When the beans start to get a little soft, then I’ll put in some bacon and onions. I am not sure what else. I might take a look on the internet for recipes. I will eat a bowl or two tonight, then put the rest in the freezer.

I like to have meals in the freezer for those days when I am too intent on writing to remember to make food or even eat. I used to have a schedule. At four to four thirty p.m., I would start dinner. My late hubby would be home after five p.m. It took about five to ten minutes for him to come home.

I would dish up dinner, we would eat, then he would take some time for himself (amateur radio or computer). Last two years he would be so tired that he would nap. It was that schedule that kept me well. Now I have to make my own schedules. It helps that Foxy needs to be fed at certain hours and she will scratch my leg if I forget.

This morning I was thinking of my writings– one of the hardest things I have ever done is allow myself to shine in my writings. I had spent my formative years hiding my true self. When I showed my true colors, I received some severe punishments. I thought I was a bad person. So in reaction to this upbringing, I spent my mid-years (late twenties to forties) tearing masks off myself and others.

I admit that it hasn’t been fun to find the worms at the heart of people. On the other hand, there are a lot of good people out there who do not show their charity in the normal way. These silent people are the engine that run charitable organizations or even their families. In my opinion, families are important for building a civilized society.

Anyone who is willing to raise children to be civilized and productive adults have my admiration. It was hard enough to raise myself and to support my siblings who still need it.

But to be a writer, I have learned bit by bit that I must open my inner world. I can’t close that door and hide it by using shortened symbolism. For one thing, people who read that type of story can feel that something is wrong, but can’t put their finger on it. Another thing, raw emotion is good and well, but doesn’t make for a good story.

Primal screams– I’ve had my share of pain given voice. The screams are so individual that no one else can decipher the meaning.

So I am learning to open myself and to control the primal scream that runs through much of my stories.

Let my hair down. Smile. Show those pretty teeth because here I come.

What is Human Wave

Since I am part of a group of writers who are trying to make stories interesting, entertaining, and uplifting in some way, I am reblogging a post from Cedar Sanderson about Human Wave. This was first defined by Sarah A. Hoyt in 2012.

I have written literary in my lifetime. In my humble opinion Human Wave writing has opened up an entirely new way of thinking. Many of the writers who write this way, I would recommend even though they are not big names yet.

May this information help you with your writings. Yesterday I was thinking of my late-hubby (he died one year ago). Today I will be writing on Dark Moon Rising.

How to write Human Wave:

1 – Your writing should be entertaining.  If you’re writing for the awards and the literary recognition, you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd. (Does the other crowd have a tiny raccoon in a kilt?  Or even a quilt?  Think!)

2 – Your writing shouldn’t leave anyone feeling like they should scrub with pumice  or commit suicide by swallowing stoats for the crime of being human, or like humans are a blight upon the Earth, or that the future is dark, dreary, evil and fraught with nastiness, because that’s all humans can do, and woe is us.

3 – Your writing should not leave anyone feeling ashamed of being: male, female, western, non-western, sickly, hale, powerful, powerless.  It should use characters as characters and not as broad groups that are then used to shame other groups.  Fiction is not agit prop.

4- Your writing shouldn’t be all about the message.  You can, of course, have a message.  But the message should not be the be-all end-all of the novel.  If it is, perhaps you should be writing pamphlets.

5 – You shall not commit grey goo.  Grey goo, in which characters of indeterminate moral status move in a landscape of indeterminate importance towards goals that will leave no one better or worse off is not entertaining.  (Unless it is to see how the book bounces off the far wall, and that has limited entertainment.  Also, I’m not flinging my kindle.)

6 – Unless absolutely necessary you will have a positive feeling to your story.  By this we don’t mean it will have a happy ending or that we expect pollyanish sentiments out of you.  Your novel and setting can be as dystopic as you want it.  In fact, your character can die at the end.  Just make sure he goes down fighting and dies for something, so the reader doesn’t feel cheated.

7 – You will write in language that can be understood.  You will have an idea of what your story is about, or at least of its beginning, middle and end.  And so will your reader, once he reads it.

8 – You are allowed to write scientific speculation that counters “currently established fact” – just give us a reason why that makes sense in your universe.  (For some universes it can be highly whimsical, for others you’ll need serious handwavium.)

9 – You will not be boring.  Or at least you’ll do your best not to be boring.

10 – You shall not spend your life explaining why your not-boring is better than your fellow writers not-boring.  Instead you will shut up and write.

And this is the original manifesto, for fiction that entertains, is inclusive, diverse, and above all,healthy. 

You are allowed to write escapist science fiction – or fantasy.  Sometimes we just need a good read.  If it doesn’t have a big idea but is enjoyable, it’s still a worthy endeavor.

You are allowed to write as much as you wish.  In the new limitless market we see no reason to artificially restrict your output.  Anyone who thinks quality depends on how long something took to write has never known either professional writers or struggling middle-graders.

You are allowed to write first person.  You are also allowed to write second person, third person, and in persons yet to be invented.  As long as your work is entertaining, we hold you harmless in matters relating to verbal malfeasance.

If your world building holds internal consistency, at least according to the buying public, anyone objecting because it doesn’t conform to his or her idea of a future shall be pelted with soft boiled eggs and wear the yolk of shame.

Your objective is to sell books.  Writing is communication.  Your objective is to communicate with as many people as possible.  Or at least to amuse them, distract them, or make the burden of life less burdensome for a while.  Wishing to feed your family is also an acceptable goal.

You can write male heroes.  You can write female heroes.  You can write alien heroes.  You can write human heroes.  You can write western heroes.  You can write non-western heroes.  You can write squirrel-heroes (but you have to know you’re weird.)  You can write it in a boat, you can write it with a goat (but which end do you hold on the paper?) You can write it in a moat (but it will probably drip) and you can write it on a stoat.

You can have a happy ever after.  You can have a happy for a while.  You can have a fleeting happy.  It’s your happy and you can have it if you want to.

You can write action and plot oriented books.  (Who will stop you?  You’ve researched fighting techniques, right?)

You can write sex.  Or not.  It all depends what fits the plot.  You can even write sex with a robot.

You can write politics.  You can write them from the right, from the left, from the middle, the top, the bottom or everywhere at once.  Just remember to make them fit the plot.  And remember not to infodump.

Recommended Reading from the Shadows

I just read a short story by a newer writer, James Schardt How the Mighty Have Fallen. I really wish I could find more of his writings because there were moments of brilliance in this story.

It is a fantasy legal thriller. The narrator, a lawyer, sees a murder committed in the Inn where he was staying for the night. He talks to the innkeeper, the murderer, and the justice of that area to find out the entire story.

It is a compelling little story. The writer has a lot of potential. Plus I hope to see more of his writings one day.

So this little gem is on KU or 99 cents on Amazon.