Sunday, July 24, 2011

Writing is Born of Misery

Writing does not cause misery, it is born of misery. -- Montaigne

This is the quote that appears in the Misery novel by Stephen King. Now I know i keep referencing that book, but man is that an awesome book. And the reason i bring this up is because it's completely true. Now the question i must ask myself is "do i write because i'm miserable?" I don't want to say yes to this, but i can't say no.

I'm unsatisfied with my life at the moment: with where i live, who i live with, and pretty much everything in between. So i write, vigorously. However, under no circumstances am i saying that this is the only reason why i write. I write because it's what i'm good at, it's what i love, and it's my obsession. when i write, i must write every day. A chapter a day is what my limit is, and nothing less, because to me, it's sort of a form of escapism. Exactly like reading, except the other way around.

When you love to write, it can be like crack. You need to do it, and you need to do it often. It's all i think about and all i mostly care about. I don't know if misery is the birthplace of my addiction, but it certainly plays a part now, and i don't regret it. For some people, when they're stuck in an unsatisfying situation, it gives them drive to do better to get out of that situation. And there's nothing wrong with that at all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Writer's Block

When I wake up in the morning and turn over in my bed, that somehow gives my dog permission to whip his tongue out and give me a big wet one in the face. It's worse than a cold wash cloth. Anyway, about writer's block.

Writer's block sucks. You can do all the planning you want, but there will come a time when you find yourself lost in your own story, and not the good kind of lost.

When i get these horrendously annoying things called writer's block and my muse has found away to unlock the chain-ball I have around her leg (I think she goes bar hopping or something) I just sit there in front of my computer and stare at the words I've already written.

I sit and sit until I get and idea, which, as Stephen King says, is not the same as "getting" and idea. However, when you've hit that wall, simply "having" an idea is good enough, because "having" is like walking. "Getting" is running, but walking is still progress and gets you a few steps further to where you want to go. There's this wonderful invention called "editing" that allows you to go back and fix things you are unsatisfied with, and you can always do that once you've finished, so don't be afraid of "having" and idea.

And another little note, guys. Try not to be in a terrible rush to finish a book. Never be afraid to take your time. Just think of it. Do you want gold, or a diamond?

Monday, July 18, 2011

write and lose weight wtf part 2

(Blogging on my phone is ass because i can`t write commas so bear with me.) I used to have this fear of writing all day sitting down and gaining weight while i did it. I had this image of sitting at my desk drinking energy drinks and stuffing cookies into my mouth to fuel the sugar rush but i never wound up doing that. And i have no intention of doing that. When im not writing (and that is actually a rather large time frame) i find time to do my zumba tapes and walk. And one thing i learned from weight watchers is to drink a lot of water. A lot. 8 glasses a day. I hate water. I hate crystal light and anything that tastes like it. But i still try to drink as much water as i can and at room temperature so i can do it fast without worrying about freezing my throat with water right out of the fridge. If you`re wondering how much weight ive lost its somewhere around 30 pounds. Maybe i`ll post a before and after picture for you one day when im famous. Ha ha ha ha

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Briefly I'm going to describe the importance of specificity. But what does it mean?
Basically it means to use specific names when writing. Let's use an example. I'll give you two sentences and you can choose which one sounds and/or feels more authentic to you:

1) The tarantula reacted immediately when I approached, tilting back on its hind legs to bear a grotesquely harry abdomen at me.

2) The spider reacted immediately when I approached, bearing the frontal part of its lower body at me while tilting back on its legs. It was grotesquely harry.

 Not only does the first sentence sound more sophisticated, but it paints a more vivid image of what is going on.

Just to clarify things I'm going to italicize the words which account for specificity in the first sentence:

1) The tarantula reacted immediately when I approached, tilting back on its hind legs to bear a grotesquely harry abdomen at me.

The second sentence lacks these specifics.

"Spider" is a very generalized word. There are thousands of different kinds of spiders in the world, therefore your mind immediately goes to the first spider you can think of; probably one you find most familiar to you. Maybe a brown garage spider or something. Second, "the frontal part of its lower body" is a hell of a lot longer than "abdomen." In a very helpful book called The First five Pages it states that the reader's time is precious, therefore they do not feel like wasting brain power on reading a fifty word description that can just as easily be taken care of with one specific word. Also, describing something like the way I did in sentence 2 clearly signifies an amateur, and makes it seem like you have no idea what the hell you're talking about. It also displays your own laziness in failing to research that particular object.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Research Sucks

More tips on writing. Yaaay! Okay, to make this a little more interesting I'm going to back track to when I was fifteen or sixteen and writing my first full length . . . fantasy. Novel. Story. A lengthy article of creative text. Whatever it is 15 or 16 year olds write. But no matter what age you are, just starting out always gives you that same feeling; The feeling of beginning fresh with a clean slate. And when I embarked upon this lengthy article of text (LAOT which it shall henceforth be referred as) which shall not be named, I had no idea how much research I had to do in order to make it seem authentic. Terrible a writer as I was, at least I was conscious of this.

Even for a completely fictional romance just having been conjured from my own mind, I quickly found that as I went along, there was an awful amount of research I had to do in order to make it seem like the main character wasn't just walking around in some half-assed, poorly concieved construction sight of a town. This also applied to historical facts in the story as well as physics, social conduct, popular myth, etc.

Sucks, right? Who the hell feels like researching all that? Not me. Which, unfortunately, is part of the reason why the story turned out so shitty.
(um, learning from my mistakes is fun?)

So anyway, do your research. If your characters are vampire, research vampire myth. If your main character is a rocket scientist, research what rocket scientists do. If your story takes place in a complete fantasy world of unicorns and elves, at the very least, research geography: such as the placement of mountains, the flow of rivers, and tectonic movement. Such knowledge will endow you with at least enough sense not to put a desert in the middle of a rainforest. Most readers probably won't catch this if you disregard it, but some of us will, and that some of us is more than enough reason to do the research.

Research gives a story--no matter how imaginary--authenticity. Realistic situations, dialogue, and accurate myth appeal to the audience, and provides an experience they can easily realte to and absorb themselves in.

Lets use Alice In Wonderland as a brief example. Never had I come across such an outrageous world created by any author, and yet there was still a bit of realism in there. But how so? The answer, at least in my opinion, lies within Alice's character. Alice is a little girl who behaves and thinks exactly how a little girl would. Thus, little girls (and kids in general) should easily be able to relate to her train of thought.

One of the ways Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) did this was by having Alice recall a big word she'd learned in school (latitude or longitude I believe) while falling down the rabbit hole. Through some inner monologue he then had Alice try to use that word in a way which indirectly related to her situation, but only so she could brush her own ego by way of saying "look how smart I am!" Yet Alice herself used, and admitted, that she had no idea how to use the word correctly.

This is something a girl of Alice's age would do. In fact, you probably know a little girl like this, therefore even if you weren't her age you could still relate to it.

Research is important, so research as much as you can about what you're writing. Readers aren't stupid and will not hesitate to call bullshit on subjects which purposely went ignored.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Balance Problems

Oh my god. My schedule has been so screwed up lately, and trust me, by means that are absolutely NOT of my own doing. I'm talking of course, about Jury duty. First of all, NO, it's not that Anthony case everyone is raging about, thank Jesus. Under law I'm not permitted to talk about it, but all I'll tell you is that it's put a skewer in my writing consistency. But things like this tend to happen when you write. It is summer and I'm out of school, so my sleep schedule is twisted up nearly beyond repair, which makes waking up for these trials incredibly difficult. Especially since I do most--if not all--of my writing at night. I'm not a big coffee drinker, I avoid energy drinks like the plague, and neither am I good with taking medication of any kind. But still, I find ways through this so I can do more of what I love. Writing is like an addiction, something most people in my life can't understand. Like, at all. Stephen King's Misery laid the frame quite nicely, if you've read the book and not just watched the movie.

Now I'm not going to give you this big lecture about managing your time. That's boring. Plus, I trust you to do what you think is best in order to plan time to write. And even though I try desperately to practice what I preach, I'm not very good with keeping a consistent schedule. Oh well. The important thing is I try. Hard.

And just what am I spending so much time writing? Well, I'll tell you now I've been writing seriously ever since I was 15. I wrote an entire 400 page book at 15. Then scrapped it years later because it sucked ass. But strangely enough, I didn't feel bad about it. In fact, I was more relieved that I was competent enough to realize all the flaws and be able to come to that rational conclusion. Such is the case of gaining experience and getting older. I still write long stories like that, in hopes that one of them will be good enough to publish one day. I've written many stories and essays for school already, all of which were received very well by my mentors. But creative writing is what I love, and is something I will continue to do. I can't imagine ever not doing it, so hopefully I can see this through.

Lose Weight AND Write? (wtf)

Okay, in my quest to be honest I'm going to come right out and say it. I'm chubby. I'm not in danger of a heart attack or anything, just pleasantly round. But I'm more aiming for pleasantly slim, so bear with me. Now when I say I write, I WRITE. A lot. And it's not very practical (or easy) to exercise while doing so, therefore I have to make the effort to establish an equilibrium between losing weight and writing my ass off, and while striving to do both I have discovered an amazing comparison. Losing weight is exactly like writing a book. Both take an ungodly amount of time to accomplish. Both involve doing things you sometimes don't want to do (or in weight loss's case, all the time). And both leave you with an indescribable sense of accomplishment with every chapter completed. With every pound lost you feel healthier, just like with every page written you feel successful. Losing weight and writing have given me two nearly insurmountable goals which I find myself more than excited to conquer, and I welcome your support like a new pair of pair of athletic sneakers (I'm always needing new ones, as I'm sure you can imagine).