Super, Super Serial

So, while still being particularly busy with my primary novel (now sitting at 30k words long and growing!), I’ve been lurking about forums and writing communities and keep stumbling across the idea of Serials, Shorts, micro-stories, episodic stories, what have you… And the more I read about them, the more it seemed like an interesting/fun idea to serve as a break that lets me keep writing whenever I find a part in my novel that becomes tough to see the characters through.

Then, while on that tangent, an idea popped in mind for a story…

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10 March

The first time I met Ostwick Plott, better known as the grim reaper, I had just been pulled from the pile of churned earth that concealed the rotting remains of my former body.

Details of my passing, even now as I write this, were few and far between. There was no tunnel with lights, nor any flashbacks that captured the best and worst times of my corporeal existence that I can recall. I merely was, then ceased to be, then was again. And back when I met him, the rather tall gangly fellow that he was, the scent of fresh soil and crushed granite hanging thick in the air around him, I never once thought him the type to commit suicide.

So when a small white envelope, the words “read me” written in neat cursive on the front, appeared next to my headstone bearing news of the tragic event, I was shocked.

It declared that Ostwick, again, the reaper of men’s souls, had taken a liking to me and felt that during our time together, we had become fast friends. And far be it from me to deny a dead man’s last wish, especially one so familiar with death, but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about showing up for the deceased’s last rites.

Nevertheless, I intend to head to the farthing tomorrow to attend the wake as requested, but that leaves me with the question of why, of all the people he must’ve known, or reaped, as it were, would he ask for me at such a thing?

- Barnaby

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Liked it? Hated it? Let me know, and keep an eye out for more from Barnaby’s afterlife.

Sam


Researching Writing; 3 Helpful hints for making your writing flow

Hi again, happy to see you, and welcome back to those of you returning…

To more pressing matters; specifically, matters involving writing, the process, and what you get on the other side, I’m going to gather what information I’ve found useful in my own attempts at writing my imagination down.

Being an unpublished (both intentionally and undecidedly so) with an interest to pursue my hobby, my passion, to its utmost I’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours pouring over websites, books, guides, lists, and every other manner of self indulgent educational material to see what exactly it is that makes writing work for some and not for others.

And I don’t mean lacking the ability to obtain something to write with, something to write on, and string sentences together but rather the ability to convey your idea, whatever form it takes, to an audience who, from the offset, has no investment in anything you’ve written other than because you wrote it.

So, in the hopes of consolidating a small list of tips, help, and other bits of knowledge to remind myself, and hopefully a few others along the way, a few things to keep in mind when writing, re-writing, or editing.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a published author (yet, hopefully soon if I follow my own advice) so take the following for what you will, it’s only what I’ve pieced together from a lot of late nights researching the topic.

1. Write, Write, Write… Oh, and keep writing.

The basic tenant of most writers, and sites I’ve found in my searching is this; if you want to write is to write.

There is no magical formula, no step system in place, and nothing that will do this step entirely for you.

Yes, you can have writing software (I recommend Scrivener, a GREAT program in my opinion), yes, you can outline, brainstorm, plot, and even follow a fill in the blank to create your story, but it is the simple act of doing just that, creating that story and bringing it to life in text that gives you the most gain.

2.  Read!

If your ultimate goal is to write a book that others will read, you yourself will need to read the work others have written.

Many inspired writers scoff at the concept, citing that in the end the masterpiece they are writing could come off sounding like whatever book/series they had just read and not of their own voice. And while that may be true to a point, in the same vein, however, if you don’t know what other people have written?

If you haven’t read something that moved you in some way or made you feel for a character, or even on the far opposite end of the spectrum, if you’ve never read anything so horrifically, offensively, bad that you instantly wish to set fire to every copy of said book on sight, then how do you know what to do and what to avoid?

Reading what others put out there will do one of a few things; show you what works and show you what doesn’t work. Incredibly helpful things to keep in mind when formatting your own writing.

3. Allow yourself to fail. Often.

This was the one piece of advice that I found that hit me the hardest and made so many things clear in my attempts at writing and what I would genuinely suggest any other writer to consider and perhaps keep tucked away in some recess of their mind.

You will, at one point or another, write something that when you look back over it you’ll be driven to ask why no one has outright removed your ability to put words to screen or pen to paper.

I’ve done it I still do it and admittedly it’s far more often than I’d like for it to be. A sentence won’t sound right, it doesn’t convey anything to the reader nor advance the story or plot.

It’s textual garbage.

But the odd part about it, you have to give yourself that much, give yourself that room to stumble and fall on your face, the ability to put down words to represent your idea in whatever offensively bad way it comes out; once its down, re-visit it later and rip it to shreds to make it work.

Making it work will take time, but the more you keep up with the Writing and Reading, having to allow yourself to fail will eventually (hasn’t happened for me yet) help you spend less time writing down that garbage.

It’s not perfect and it’s not a 3 step solution to being the next big seller on whatever market you may have your work planned for but keeping these things in mind will help you get there sooner than just doing nothing.

Agree? Disagree? Have more to add to make these actually true? Or even better yet, are you an author who has gotten your work out there and have better advice than what I’ve found?
Throw it in the comments and let’s discuss!

-Sam


Day One – Greetings and Salutations

I suppose, as its been said before, the first step is always the hardest. Today is that first step.

Hi, Hello, and Welcome to my first crack at making myself “more available,” as in, getting out there to meet the myriad of other people across the world and hopefully trade a bit of time for a story.

All his despite my normal shyness around strangers. New years resolutions, aren’t they the worst?

Awkward introductions aside, the plan for the stream of thoughts, concerns, and penned frustrations that are to follow from here will chronicle my attempt at throwing my lot in with the other creative souls of the world and set my hand to writing. I’ve toyed with the idea for longer than I care to admit and it has undoubtedly seen more iterations than cell phones, computers, and televisions combined (maybe 3 or 4 less than that total, but so very close) The concept is in hand, or head rather, and I’ve been feverishly pecking away at the keyboard in an attempt to pour this living, breathing world out onto the page.

For those that may be interested, I’m crafting what will be an alternative variation of a steampunk infused (not Victorian) dystopia.

On an abandoned planet that has long since been picked over and left to rot by the roving mass of humanity as it works its way across the universe; those unfortunate souls that have found themselves left behind struggle to survive a world going cold.

Also to come:

  • Short stories
  • Snippets of what I’m working on now
  • Cookies
  • Artist renderings of characters/places/things from within the world itself, and other worlds as well
  • Learning more about how to do this whole blogging thing — forgive my newness I know not what I do!

Lastly, I have to acknowledge right off the bat my incredible family, my wife and daughter, without whom I wouldn’t have to nerve to even begin.

-Sam


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