Tag Archives: creative writing

Trying to Write Every Day

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Trying to write every day because that’s what good writers do.  Well, how’s that going for ya?

This shouldn’t be hard.  It really ought not to be.  Was that grammatically correct?  You tell me.

But anyway.  I’m determined not to produce crap, but somehow that means I don’t produce anything at all.  I tell myself I don’t have enough time to create something beautiful so I just don’t create.  Which is a better use of my time?  Thinking about how I don’t have enough time to create something worthwhile, or actually just writing something, even though it’s worthless?

How many times have you face-palmed today?  Not enough, in my opinion.  Your forehead isn’t red enough yet.

Well, where did it all go wrong?  When did you start running out of time?  If you can’t tell whether I’m talking to you–the reader–or myself, join the club.  ‘Cause frankly, I don’t know either.

Social media.  Holy gosh it’s a waste of time and a trap for anyone who wants to be intelligent at some point in their lives.  I tell myself I should be on social media because I think I’m smart and I should share my smartness with the world.  I feel a whole lot stupider as a result of this decision.

“Learn something new today”–Psshaww!  How bout you just apply something that you’ve already learned a bajillion times?  The only new thing you need to learn is how to apply the old things you learned.  Practical thinkers, apparently, are the ones who go farthest in life.  The problem is that being practical isn’t always very practical when you’re trying to go beyond practical.

When was the last time you felt bliss?  Just pure, uninterrupted bliss?  You don’t know?  It feels like every time I get close I start worrying about how it’ll all sound on paper.  I need to put it on paper because I’m practical and I’m a writer.  Then the blissful moment is gone.

And we’re back at square one.

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Finding time to write…well, I just did.  And, if you read all that, I bet you’re wondering, like me, if it was all a complete waste of time.

But hey, I did it, right?

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Consequences

Reaching

Try to go through life without consequences.  It won’t happen.  You can’t have it.

So many things in life are trade-offs.  We seldom realize it, but every time we ask the questions, “Why don’t I have time?” “How did things end up like this?” “Why haven’t I accomplished enough?”, we already have the answer.  You trade being intellectual when you decide to browse social media instead of reading; you trade relationships every time you focus on your hobby; you trade time with God for countless, endless things, that you erroneously designate as more important.

However, the scary thing is, sometimes these trades make sense.  Sometimes they make so much sense that we don’t even know when to trade and when not to.  Sometimes we set aside time to workout; working out is a good thing.  But if we added up all the hours we spent working out, we realize that there days, weeks, months, years of time that could’ve been spent with a friend, a sibling, a parent, a lover.  And while we tend to always have working out, sometimes we don’t always have those relationships.

So working out isn’t a bad thing, but when does it start to feel like we’re just trading away our time for something that is less valuable?  Aren’t relationships more valuable?

Time.  Time is a keyword here.  You can’t go through life without consequences, and you can never get time back.  We’re constantly trying to save time, spend time, or kill time.  But it’s the one thing you never get back, and that’s what makes it so valuable.  How are you spending yours?  How many times could you stop wasting it, spending it idly, and instead give it to someone else?  Time can be a gift too.

Consequences.  They result from every choice we make.  An obvious statement, but sometimes we forget.  The consequence of how you choose to spend your time may not always be the one you want.  Well, what did you choose to get that consequence?  Consequences don’t always have to be bad things.  What consequences do you want?

Actions have consequences.  I don’t think we should live our lives only to create specific consequences.  I’m not a consequentialist, I’m a Kantian–we should be good for goodness’s sake.  But that doesn’t mean we should forget consequences.  We always have to be mindful of where we’re going.  Sometimes we have more control than we give ourselves credit for.

Trade-offs.  Time.  Consequences.

What are you doing with yours?

Release Date

It’s that time again.

The newest edition of my book, Elithius, is coming out December 7th.  After receiving some negative but insightful critiques a year ago, I’ve basically rewritten the book.  More has changed the style of my writing, however: everything from the names of the characters, to the cultures, to the worlds I endeavor to bring to life, have changed.

It’s the same story.  But it’s better.  More developed.  More intense.  More real.

And it’s coming.

Elithius New
All credit goes to Elizabeth M, my amazing artist!!

Yours truly,

Dominic

Why We Need Serialized Stories

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The serialized story has a much greater capacity to impact us emotionally, most specifically as it concerns our relationship with the characters.  Reader-to-character relationships reflect real-life relationships most directly in a series for a number of reasons.  Because real-life relationships require time.  They require investment.  They require faithfulness.

Standalone novels can impact us similarly, no doubt.  But there’s something about serialized fiction that bonds us to characters more effectively–and leaves a deeper scar when the series ends.   Anyone who has read Harry Potter has certainly experienced this.  Other beloved series like The Chronicles of Narnia or Percy Jackson can make us feel loss or a sense of bereavement once we’ve reached the end.

You can learn a lot from a good standalone novel–usually there’s a point that gets driven home, and your relationship to the characters might only be a means to an end, not an end in itself.  But the opposite can start to hold true whether you like it or not when reading a series–your relationship with the characters suddenly starts to matter.  You start to care.

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The moment after you’ve read something, it becomes something of the past.  The moment after you’ve spoken to or encountered someone in real-life, they become something in your past.  What makes the difference between a friend you used to know and someone who is still your friend is the continuous relationship or dialogue that you maintain.  It’s the same thing with characters who are a part of a series.  The relationship suddenly seems real when you know that the adventure goes on, the experiences continue, the dialogue doesn’t stop.  Standalones can’t accomplish this–only series can.

This is why we need series.  They teach us something about relationships and about life–not by what they say, but by their very form.  We become more human when we read a series and encounter the thoughts, words, and actions of a character consistently; the exercise trains us to be present to the people around us diligently.  After all, we don’t want to live our lives a standalone novel–we don’t want to experience people and then have them be nothing more but a shadow from our past.  We want the story to go on.  We want the relationships to continue.  Relationships are not a means to an end, but ends in and of themselves.

Try getting all that out of a standalone.

What do you think?

The Power of Consistent Stats and How to Get Them

Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”  Well, sometimes your stats on WordPress can be that compliment.

Whether you’re promoting a business, a book, or you simply want to rant about whatever you’re passionate about, everybody loves the feeling of seeing your stats skyrocket.  Even better than that is seeing that your stats are consistent; you have people that keep coming back for more.  People who care.

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Don’t get me wrong; stats don’t mean everything.  You can have great stats but lack a vibrant community.  But receiving lots of traffic produces a positive effect in itself.

The question becomes, how do you ensure good stats–lots of traffic–and do it consistently?

The short, cop-out answer that some bloggers like to give is that there IS no method for successful blogging.  It’s all hit-or-miss.  Or you’re told “Just keep writing and be passionate and everything will work out.”  It’s like a Disney princess threw up or something.

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Snow White WOULD throw up rainbows and stars…

I’d like to argue that there ARE methods for successful blogging–a lot of us might be familiar with these techniques.  What might be lacking though is execution.  Either way, what keeps the fire going for me is my stats, and I’ve learned a few things in the stoking of that fire.

  1. Write about something that lots of people like or enjoy, but do it in a different way.  This involves finding your niche, but instead of just becoming a PART of the niche, you ADD something to it.  Not to talk about myself, but it’s ridiculous how many hits my post about the anime Fullmetal Alchemist still gets, even though I published it years ago.  Why?  Because tons of people like Fullmetal Alchemist, but I wrote about the series in a way that fans aren’t used to.  I ADDED to the discussion concerning the anime, instead of just joining the voices of all the adoring fans out there.
  2. Write about something that people can appreciate or find useful.  Helpful tips, personal experiences, and being controversial can garner a lot of attention.  Everyone likes a post that helps them or encourages them to see the world in a different way.
  3. See what other people are writing and what works for them.  It’s OK to be something of a copycat–it’s how we learn.  Especially in the field of writing and blogging.  The more you read, the better a writer you become.  Similarly, the more you study successful blogs, the more you’re able to fashion your own blog in a successful manner.

These are my methods for getting consistent stats—what are yours?  Do you agree or disagree?  As always, I want to know, what do you think?

 

Being A Full-Time Author is Hard

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Write books.  Write a lot of them, they say.  It needs to be stuff that people are interested in.  Oh, and you have to be interested in it to, otherwise, you won’t be able to convince anyone that your story is good.  You have to believe in yourself, but cater to what everyone else wants.

Advertise.  No, network.  Social media makes this easy.  But navigating social media is really hard.  Don’t know how to do it?  Well, you’d better learn.

Spread the word.  “How?  Stand on the rooftops and shout?”  It seems like that’s what we’re coming to.

Get an editor.  A good one.  Everyone needs a good editor.  “But I can’t afford one.”  You have to be willing to make sacrifices.

Get a good artist for your cover.  All right, you’ve got one.  You should be all set now.

Haha, you thought this would be easy.  No, you need to repeat the process now, and do it right.  Nobody can make it as an author.  No wait, it’s possible.  Just for like 5% of writers out there.

Have a plan.  Oh wait, the only plan out there is the one that worked for the 5% and didn’t work for the other 95%.  By the way, there’s no road-map.

Where does that leave you?

Pray.

And write.  Just keep writing.


The struggle is real.  Am I right?

The Problem with Modern Writing

Good writing is really meaningful, and it’s one of the – it’s still one of the best tools we have to get and capture people’s attention.
-Robin Sloan

The modern world of writing and literature is becoming obsessed with the “proper” style of writing or plotting stories.  If you’re like me and you’ve experienced even a small taste of editing, or if you’ve just done your research, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Nowadays, people write books about how to write books.  They blog about how to write “correctly”.  We have all these new phrases and rules for creating proper sentences, fashioning a plot, choregraphing a scene, crafting our dialogue…the list goes on and on.  Sooner or later, you’ll run into an editor, a friend, a fellow writer, who will quote another modern writer and say the equivalent of “that’s not how it’s done nowadays.”

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It’s almost like we now have textbooks for writing.  Maybe it’s just me…but doesn’t that bother you?

Everybody needs help sometimes.  I’m not against books, blogs, or advice that helps me to become a better author.  My qualm with books about writing is not that they aren’t useful, but because they turn writing into a science.  Writing has become something that is less of an art, and more an act of conformation to the appetites of the current literary culture.

And to me, it’s disgusting.

Writing is an ART.  Art, people.  Art is not about conforming to what society wants.  It’s not about following the same path as everybody else.  It’s not about being the same.

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That’s why I’m beginning to get highly annoyed with this culture of writing where there are so many rules.  Agents and publishers won’t even get through the first page of your book because they are so obsessed with the “rules”, the “dos and don’ts”.  It’s like we’ve created a checklist for writing to determine whether it’s good or bad.

“Did the author show and not tell?  Check!”

“Was all of that dialogue completely relevant?  Check!”

“Was that character arc done according to the proper arc of a hero? Check!”

“Did they utterly simplify everything to it’s utmost simplest form?  Check!”

The list goes on and on.

And you know what the problem is?  We’ve begun looking at ALL writing from this perspective.  And that’s not what writing, or art, is about.

Writing should make us ask ourselves the big questions.  It’s not about creating a perfect, movie-like scene.  It’s not about relevancy or irrelevancy.  If the author is trying to say something…well, that’s what writing is for.  Writing isn’t just about the reader.  It’s not even just about the story.  It’s about what’s being SAID.

And that’s what we’re forgetting as a society.

Don’t conform.  I’m not saying don’t improve.  But don’t conform.  Don’t let anyone keep you from SAYING something with your writing.  That’s what it’s all about.