Tag Archives: writing advice

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.

 

“You published a book? I could never do that”

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It’s really not that hard.  With self-publishing on the rise nowadays, it’s easier than ever to publish a book.  Oftentimes, that’s the only reassurance that people need.  After ages of wondering if we “have what it takes” to go “big time”, we no longer have to worry.  We can, more or less, decide for ourselves whether or not we establish ourselves in the writing universe.

Don’t be one of these people that thinks that publishing, even self-publishing, is impossible.  No doubt, it requires hard work and perseverance.  But there’s plenty of people doing it, so why not you?

Make note, however: if you choose to go down the road of self-publishing, be prepared to work REALLY hard.  Nothing will be handed to you.  The road is fully of bumps and curves, and sometimes, you even have to go uphill.  I’m not telling you this to scare you; I’m telling you this because it’s true!

Self-publishing has been one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.  Do you know what it’s like to see your book come up in a search bar?  To hold your own book in your hands?

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It’s awesome, and it’s available to everyone.

If something is holding you back from publishing, shake it off and move forward.  Opportunity is knocking in today’s day and age.  Don’t miss out!

 

15 Ways to Manage Your Time Wisely

This wonderful infographic was graciously compiled and shared with me by Donna Norton.  Donna helps run a super legit website over at Custom-Writing.Org.  For all things writing–from college essays, research papers, Book/Movie reviews, etc.–Custom Writing is an awesome resource for anyone who needs help with the writing process.  Don’t forget to check it out!

And now, on to the infographic!  Thanks Donna!!


Infographic by Donna Norton Custom-Writing.Org


Don’t forget to stop by Custom Writing!  Thanks again Donna!  Great advice!

Why the World Needs Fiction

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We can’t do this on our own.  The world is like a giant brain, a mind, a soul, that is constantly at war with itself.  We are trapped inside of ourselves, fighting to get out, but we can’t see a way how.

Why does the world need fiction?

Fiction shows us the way.  Fiction shows us that there is a different way.

Fiction inspires us; it reminds us of what we have forgotten.

I think lots of people can view fiction as “the things that will never happen”.  Whether it’s an evil plan that is just too evil to be real.  Or a magical power that is just too strong to exist.  Or a love that is inconceivably intense.

We are tempted to look at fiction and everything it contains–the morals, the values, the innocence, the intensity, the danger, the darkness–and think that none of it’s real.

But it is real.

No, not literally, but the goal, the mission of fiction, is both to bring us back to our roots…and also spread our wings so that we can fly and GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE.

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Don’t let “reality” get you down.  Fiction can make you stand tall.

I’m not talking about escapism.  I’m talking about hope.  I’m talking about showing us that we don’t have to cave in to the evils of the “real” world.  It is possible to hold on to some of our innocence.  It is possible to be loving and kind.  It is possible to be courageous in the midst of despair.  It is possible to be faithful in a relationship.

Fiction doesn’t have to blur our vision of reality; fiction can transform it.

Fiction can show us the way.

The real world is dirty, and messed up, and trashy, and full of hatred, lies, arrogance, pain, suffering…

All of this is true.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The world is also full of joy, hope, bravery, loyalty, honesty, virtue, innocence…and love.

Fiction reminds us of this.  And it keeps us safe.

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Do you write fiction?  Yeah, me too.

Go fiction writers.


My fantasy novel, Elithius, is available for purchase here.  Just 99 cents for an eBook or $12 for a gorgeous paperback.

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Cover art by Elizabeth M

Revitalizing One Another–That’s What Blogging is About

Happy feast of the Assumption to anyone who cares! 🙂

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Today I want to talk about something that has recently been very important to me.  I’ve been going through a difficult time lately, discerning what I should do with my life as I head off to college.  The major I picked for myself (mechanical engineering) has been seeming less and less appealing to me, and I’m not sure what other field I should go into that would provide me with a steady job.

Lots of other people are going through difficult times too; perhaps even more difficult times than myself.  It’s the world we live in.  Life is a struggle, living isn’t cheap, and the world can be heartless.

It’s in these moments that we need encouragement from other people; we need inspiration; we need strength and comfort, reassurance and love.

Thanks to the goodness of God and the graciousness of others, I have received that.

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My friends, this is what blogging is all about.

I’ve said it plenty of times before and I’ll say it again: blogging is about COMMUNITY.

If you want your blog to be successful, if you want to have a successful blogging experience, work to build a community.  There is nothing else more valuable on WordPress than finding and establishing a community of people around yourself who like the same things as you, help you, critique you, and support you.

It’s empowering to know that someone you’ve never met cares about you.  Maybe they don’t really “CARE” about you.  After all, we are just random people across the world, meeting and talking on the internet.  But there are still generous souls on WordPress who care enough to say something, to encourage you, to listen to you, etc.

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This is what blogging is all about.  The vast world of the internet needn’t be a land of strangers (although you SHOULD be careful).  You can find so much here; you can prosper here.

The first piece of advice I will give you is that you must first become a part of what you hope to obtain.  You must first become a member of a community before you expect to be received by it.  That’s where you start.  That’s how this all begins.

What happens after that is up to you.  What you make of it is your choice.

To any new bloggers welcome.  I hope you find a community here.


As always, What do you think?

Wanna show your support for me????  Click on the link below and check out my new fantasy book, Elithius.  It’d mean the world to me!

Click here.

Moving Forward–Another Chapter Begins!

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Alright everyone, I’m only 11 days away from college!  It’s all happening so fast…I’m not sure I’m totally prepared for all the changes happening in my life.

But…as usual…oh well 🙂

Some updates!  I FINALLY got a new computer.  It’s a nice, silver, shiny HP that actually has this weird retro look (kind of like those old Dell computers).  But it’s a great model and it should serve me well throughout college.

Another update: I…um…well…FINISHED BOOK TWO OF ELITHIUS!!!

You read that correctly.

Book two of my fantasy series, Elithius, is finally complete.  I don’t have a cover to show off (yet), but here’s a brief overview of the story!


Name: Elithius, Book Two: The Darkness Within

Genre: Fantasy/Anime/Dark/AWESOME!!!

Length: 375+ pages

Plot:  John Hedekira and his friends must venture into the Gray Lands in order to rescue John’s sister, Cassie.  Upon entering the Gray Lands, they make new friends…and new enemies.  Before they know it, they are thrown into the middle of a raging war, in which loyalties and friendships will be tested, darker and more heinous powers will challenge them…and souls will be ripped apart.

The adventures of John and his friends have only begun.


More information to come!  As always, let me know what you think!

Interested in reading book one of Elithius?  Grab a copy here.

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Cover art by Elizabeth M

Join the Voice of Youth Writer’s Club!!!!

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WELCOME!!!

Alrighty people, I’ve finally got things up and running.

If you would like to join my young writers club, The Voice of Youth, please say so in the comment section below.  I will send you an invitation to become an Author of my new blog, the blog upon which the club will be based.  As an Author, you will be able to create your own posts and contribute your own thoughts to the rest of the club.  All I need is your “yes” and your username or email, and you’ll be admitted!

To get some people up to speed…

This club is for youths ages 15-22 (exceptions can be made though).

We are all about helping each other become better writers by sharing our work, constructively critiquing others, and discussing diverse writing topics.

For newly published/self published authors, we are all about promoting each other and helping each other get the most attention possible.

Participation requirements: minimal (we are flexible)

Rules of conduct: Be courteous.  No bullying, threats, inappropriate comments, images, or publications of any kind.  Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in termination of your membership.

With all that out of the way, let’s have fun! 😀 😀 😀

Here’s the mission statement:

The Voice of Youth is a group of writers dedicated to helping each other write stories that promote the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, by providing constructive criticism, honest feedback, and promotional resources, so as to create a vibrant writing community with enough power to move mountains.

If you are on board with all of this, or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment!

So excited to get this started!  If you’re interested, don’t be shy!!

The Journey Of Being a Writer

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Writing is at times a lonely endeavor.  You start out with a sense of determination, as if writing and promoting your story is your destiny.  The road seems long and challenging, but you’re ready to face whatever will come.  Maybe there’s a mountain or two you have to climb, but the winding pathways of those mountains will have their serene moments, their glorious panoramas, moments of beauty.

You feel all of this before you start you journey…and then, well, the journey actually starts.  And it’s a lot worse than you anticipated.

You thought perhaps the solitude would give you a sense of purpose, maybe even a sense of heroism, since heroes rarely actually share glory.  But now you’re feeling as if loneliness is closing in on all sides, and you feel as if everything you do is worthless because there’s nobody to see the progress you’re making.  Maybe it doesn’t even feel like progress, because no one is cheering you on.

The mountains don’t seem so fair when you’ve now got this negative outlook on your journey.  Instead of being a journey filled with adventure and excitement, it’s a journey filled with struggle, stress, and fear.  You thought you could carry the world on your shoulders, but now, the world is crushing you.

Writing…hmm…doesn’t seem so great any more.

So you try to find some friends, but you can tell your friendship doesn’t run deep.  You share your feelings with them, and they share their feelings with you, but neither party is willing to drink what washes over them.  You are both unwilling to engage each other and enter into each other’s lives.  Secretly, you are both competing for the same prize.

You wonder if companionship is possible.  You wonder if it’s even possible to break free of your loneliness, of your depression, of your stress.  You cannot connect with anyone, you cannot find help, and you don’t know why.

Until you find the Tree.

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Each person is but a mere branch.  We tend to think that we are our own tree, growing up in the big, intimidating forest.  But no.  We are all a part of the same tree.

Big and small, young and old, something connects all writers.  The moment we realize this, the moment we stop pushing and shoving.  We stop fighting for attention.  We stop cheating on each other, looking over our shoulders, and being dishonest.  We stop patting each other, and ourselves, on the back.  We become critical because we care.  We become attentive because we want to be.  We become a community.

We become what we were meant to be…a part of the Tree.

A Tree cannot survive without roots.  One day, each of us will take part in becoming those roots.  But this won’t happen unless we accept our role in being a branch…just a branch.  Not the trunk.  Not the roots.  A branch.

I am a branch of this tree, and you are too, most likely.  The Tree that connects us the part of ourselves that longs to set our imagination free; the part of ourselves that yearns for creative expression, that yearns for beauty, and truth, and goodness, and a desire to share this.  We are all in love with the same thing.  We are all in love with the Tree.  We must only look deep enough to see that we are all a part of it.

I am a part of this tree.  Are you?

Any Young Writers Interested in Joining a Club?

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WELCOME!!!

Yes, that’s a long title.  But I wanted to get your attention.

I am literally thinking up all of this on the fly.  But wouldn’t it be great if a Young Writer’s Club was started on WordPress?  Does something like this actually exist?

The purpose of the club would be to promote unity, critical thinking, support, and shared love of writing with other young authors.

Age range would be for people between 15 and 22.  Exceptions could be made.

This would be more a MOVEMENT, not an official club.  I would essentially “run the show”, but I would be equal to every member.  If anyone has an idea for how to promote our club, or an idea for a direction we go in, please voice your opinion!

Once again, thinking on the fly…

We could meet once every week?  Once every two weeks?  Once every month?  Preferably on a Saturday or Sunday, when people don’t have classes?

The only thing I am interested in promoting for personal reasons is the following mission statement:

(Insert name of club) is a group of writers dedicated to helping each other write stories that promote the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, by providing constructive criticism, honest feedback, and promotional resources, so as to create a vibrant writing community with enough power to move mountains.

(I’m still working on that last part, but it sounds epic, right?)

Let’s face it.  What’s the power of old people?  Experience.

What’s the power of young people?  Fearlessness.  Passion.  Lots and lots of passion.

As a movement of young writers, I’d like to see young writers USING their passion.  And using it for good.  That part about the “true, good, and beautiful” in the mission statement wasn’t something I pulled out of my butt.  That phrase is taken from what Ancient Greek philosophers and artists tried to proclaim and portray through their art.

We want to proclaim what is True because nothing is more wonderful to the mind than the Truth.

The Truth will show us, and therefore society, what is Good.

And, once we understand the Good, we can manifest what is Beautiful.

It’s a wonderful philosophy, isn’t it?

What do you think?

If you are within the age range of 15-22 and are interested in joining or have any questions, please comment or email me at:

aultsom23(at)gmail(dot)com

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Let’s be like Captain America.  Let’s move a country.  Move the world.