Category Archives: Writing

Stories Everywhere

Years ago I took a long bus trip. It was everything a 36-hour bus ride could be, with the usual suspects (ordinary people, crazy people, young people, old people, little children, crackheads, perverts, college kids, etc.). With a delegate present from every walk of life, that bus presented me with sights, smells, and propositions I hope never to encounter again. Some time after that, I happened upon Weird Al’s performance of “Another One Rides the Bus.” I had to watch it a second time because I was laughing so hard the first time through I missed half the lyrics – all of which rang true enough to keep me in hysterics.

Weird Al’s whimsical ditty came back to me this morning and I started thinking about all the story ideas that could come out of that bus trip. What if humans and aliens had to share a daily commute? If goblins ran bus companies, what sort of rules would they impose on passengers? Or, I could take the most inappropriate thing I heard on that trip and write it into a setting that was the opposite of the bus environment. Or, I could pick the creepiest weirdo on the bus and write the story of how he got that way. (Um…maybe not that last one, upon second thought.)

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Random Thoughts, Writing

The Ten o’clock Scholar and…free rein

If you’re looking for the best advice on grammar and word usage, I recommend you check out the Grammar Girl. But what I can offer you are my silly tricks for remembering when to use reign or rein.

Rein applies to horses…or, perhaps, to other sled-pulling animals: reindeer.

Reign includes a “g” as does the word king. Reign is also found in the word “sovereign.

I do highly recommend the Grammar Girl’s website and podcast. Unlike me, she tackles all grammar problems with confidence and aplomb. (I, on the other hand, will abandon any problem that cannot yield to a silly trick. Affect vs. effect? I won’t use either of them!)

1 Comment

Filed under 10 o'clock Scholar, Writing

Holiday Stuff & Things

I’m a big fan of the holiday season, not so much for the traditions of any particular idealogy, but because I really like cookies and colored lights. I usually listen to music when I write, and throughout December I have a couple of favorite holiday albums that I mix into the rotation. Annie Lennox’s A Christmas Cornucopia is a decent mix of tunes (and the video for God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is a real hoot). My other favorite to have in the background while I write is a collection of holiday music from the Middle Ages: A Feast of Songs, by Beth and Barry Hall. I can write to either of these albums throughout the entire month. When it comes to hosting holiday parties (hey, writers do social things like that!), my favorite is James Taylor’s Christmas Album. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Random Thoughts, Writing

An Ode to Cattiness

The other day I saw a post on Facebook by someone who has self-published a novel. In a very high-handed way he said that he was a “real author” and wouldn’t lower himself to do anything as silly as Nanowrimo. I respect people who don’t want to do it, and I know that there’s a level of kitch to the whole thing. But I was really embarrassed on this fellow’s behalf. Yes, he has really authored a novel. After self-publishing it, he did a promotional give-away of the darned thing. I downloaded the free copy and tried to read it. I couldn’t get past the second chapter. It was pretty bad. I don’t know him personally, but I actually considered contacting him and offering to help proof-edit-improve his future works. I chickened out because it seemed like a weird thing to do, contacting a total stranger to say “let me help before you do something like that again.” Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Random Thoughts, Writing

NaNoWriMo

As most of the writing world knows, November’s been declared “National Novel Writing Month” – shortened to NaNoWriMo. I heard at a local convention that so many would-be writers take part in this exercise and then (horrors!) ship the slapdash product off to publishers, that many publishing houses just shut down through the entire month of December. I have no idea if that’s true (what good would it do, wouldn’t the dreadful manuscripts just be waiting in January anyway?). But, never mind. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Random Thoughts, Writing

The 10 o’clock Scholar and…Irony

From time to time I’m going to tackle words/topics/terms that have either tripped me up or that I’ve seen give others trouble. Let’s take the maiden voyage with the word “irony.” Like plenty of other people, I have made the mistake of using irony in place of “coincidence” or “unfairness” when it, in fact, means neither. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under 10 o'clock Scholar, Writing

The Perfect Flaw

I’ve been struggling lately (by struggling, I mean ‘realizing I don’t do it, but need to’) with the fact that main characters actually have to grow through the course of their journey. Getting it right is really, really tricky and I’ve been thinking about flawed characters and the way they grow or adapt. (Characters don’t necessarily have to be flawed to show growth, they can start out merely young, naive, or uninformed, but I’ve found that the addition of a real flaw makes for a more interesting story.) Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Writing, Writing Process

Matt Wallace’s Online Writing Workshop

I’ve blogged about it before, but Matt Wallace‘s online writing workshop “The Loose Cannon” is recruiting. I’ve been an attendee from the start, and while I owe some of my writing improvement to the Minnows Literary Group and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop I also have The Loose Cannon to thank. Besides being worth the time and money as far as Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Professional Advice, Writing, Writing Process

The Madness to the Method

So, it’s been three weeks since I posted a blog here. (Hey, the novella chapters are going up, I have to claim what victories I can!) July has been not only an extremely hot month but also a hectic one and I find myself on this final July Sunday confronting goals I didn’t reach and scrabbling to keep up. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Writing, Writing Process

Attention, fans of various genres!

So, Bruce Boxleitner is up to something. Further bulletins as events warrant. (I’m going to confess that a big portion of my interest here is in my long-standing obsession with his last name. It’s as fun to spell as it is to pronounce!) I’m not entirely sure, yet, if I’m a fan of Steampunk…I’ve really liked what little I’ve read, but since that includes one series by one author I’m biding my time before making an official declaration.

3 Comments

Filed under Genre, Writing