Tag Archives: Writers Resources

War Journal 77: Brevity, the Soul of Twit

So I’m on this road to self publishing this book, and there’s a couple of things I needed to do in conjunction.  Book Publishing Side Quest One: increase web presence.  I’m pretty sure studies show that on average 0% of Americans buy books they never knew existed.  The numbers from the UK are even worse.  Yeah, you may have heard of me, but what about your neighbor or that dude that bagged your groceries the other day? Have you even told your family about this sporadic thing you enjoy called my published fiction?!  Point is, I need to delve into more social media outlets.

With much fear and trepidation, this week I joined Twitter.  If anyone out there’s like me, meaning hasn’t joined Twitter and hates Facebook, I’ll tell you firsthand you may like it better.  I do.  Twitter’s not overly concerned with pages and status levels of everyone you ever knew… it’s more of conversation based thing… like you’re at a large party with some friends, maybe their friends, and some work associates that you’re various levels of cool with… and one of them says something you’re interested in.  Join the convo.  When something else piques your interest, head over there and see what they’re talking about.

Honestly, when I first logged in I figured I’d be in the quiet, lonely void for a good hot minute.  I mean, its a microworld of hashtags and @ symbols!  But it didn’t take long for me to find some folks I knew and get talking.  Now I’m fairly comfortable.  At this rate I’ll be throwing up hashtags like middle fingers to the law by the end of the week.

So that’s about all the soft selling I’m gonna do.  Find me out there @WriterBeamon.  Let’s chat for a bit about Book Publishing Side Quest One or whatever’s on your mind.

You’d be surprised how much you can cram in that space

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under War Journals

Intelligence Report: FirstSiteGuide.com

Making sense of the whirlwind of blog topics

Making sense of the whirlwind of blog topics

Have you guys been saying good things about me, telling folks you like my blog?  Reason I ask is because I was approached by a representative from firstsiteguide.com, asking me to take a look at it and let my readers know what I think.  Well, I’ve browsed the site, looked at some of the advice, enjoyed some of the fun pictures and I’m pleased to report that it’s worth checking out if any of you are interested in blogging.

They cover the gamut of blogging, from the history, to why people do it, what kinds are out there, how to make money from blogging, you name it.  Maybe I should look at the chapter about monetizing the blog… who couldn’t go for more of that right?

If you have an inkling of a kernel of a nugget of an idea you wouldn’t mind blogging about, I definitely recommend checking them out.  When I first started fictigristle, I wanted to document this war in the trenches, the journey from selling my first story at token pay to becoming a pro to (now!) working on getting a book deal.  I remember when I thought it up I wasn’t sure of how to really start, what things to include, where to host it, etc.  Having something like that back when I posted my first blog would have helped make the war in the trenches feel less like a war.

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence Reports

Creative Combat Arms: Your Writing Technique

You guys know how I am, I typically go against the grain of all the standard writing advice out there, my lone voice of dissent whispering “writer beware”.  It’s not that I don’t heed advice or think it’s all bad; I just don’t think it’s comprehensive enough generally.  Plus there are pitfalls to following advice headlong.  The war on was has maimed countless innocent sentences…

Unlike most of my advice columns this time, I’m actually parroting advice.  I found it to be one of the best nuggets of wisdom available for free out here in these webz, and it bears repeating.  The advice comes from Bruce Holland Rogers in a Flash Fiction Online column called Collaborating with MICE: Using Theory as a Creative Partner.  In the column, Bruce Holland Rogers talks about both the excitement and trepidation of learning new techniques to apply, and how he would sometimes feel overwhelmed by all there is to know.  It’s something I can agree with… there’s reams and sheafs and binders of writing tips, techniques and tools to employ to bring power to your prose.  How do you manage all those writerly tricks, sort them, and know when and how to apply them when you’re writing a story?

Simple: you don’t.  A writer builds these things slowly into their own writing nature as they continue to write more and more.  Granted, sometimes you may have all the theory in place before you start writing, the POV, the tense, the character arc, etc.  It happened to me with Past Tense.  Sometimes theory’s nowhere to be found; perhaps you just have a solitary idea or just a phrase that you want to build a story around.  Whether your theory’s all worked out or you’re just pantsing through this time, it’s important to not get hamstrung while you’re writing thinking about whether or not you’re applying the right techniques at the right time.  That’s what your editorial eye is for, after you’ve written your draft.  See what works and what doesn’t, if the theories and techniques you’ve put into your current draft meet reader expectation or if there are shortfalls and opportunities to increase emotional impact.

What I’m saying is unless those inspiration sparks hit you while you’re writing, don’t worry about all this stuff in the middle of the writing process.  It’ll make for a long, bumpy road to get that draft finished.  And when you finish you’re gonna do an editorial review anyway.

When in doubt, listen to my man.  Don’t sweat the technique.

4 Comments

Filed under Creative Combat Arms

Creative Combat Arms: Foreshadowing

I don't know how he can reach for a drink when that girl's nips are showing.

I don’t know how he can reach for a drink when that girl’s nips are showing.

I figured this aspect of creative writing was safe from my roving, disapproving eye.  I mean, in my mind it’s essential to fiction like verbs are to sentences.  Maybe.  But enough of me showing foreshadowing in perhaps too subtle ways!  Advice about this essential technique isn’t exactly homogenous on the webz.  This is where I step in.

This article isn’t about me telling what foreshadowing is and how to do it.  Others have already invested time, energy, and web space doing this and I’m not about to re-invent the wheel just so I can increase blog hits from new writers seeking advice.  In the discussion of foreshadowing, I’m recommending this article on the basics and a follow-up on examples.  Instead of basics, here you’ll find a voice of dissent, and right now the voice is crying writer beware.  Some of the advice I’ve seen out there is crappy.  If you follow it, your writing will suck.  How’s that for foreshadowing?

I’m coarse, but in a fine-grained sandpaper kinda way.  My contribution to all this freely available writing advice is to fine tune your attempts at foreshadowing… mostly by telling you the things you can do without.

Weather/Time of Day Foreshadowing.  The night was stormy.  For real?  Dark too?  Man, evil must be lurking.  Some of that deep-seated, page turning lurk.  Does your sunset hail the imminent approach of something ominous?  Sure, the night is dark and full of terror, but you may want to play around in the broad, open spaces of broad daylight.  At this point, it’s hard to determine whether your weather pattern hasn’t been memorized, ingrained by readers who are subconsciously tired of seeing serial killers who got plenty of knives and no raincoats.  So defy expectations.  It’s a cold world… even in summer.

Symbology.  Red is hot, like anger.  Blue is cold, like revenge, you know–when its best served.  Wait… isn’t vengeance red too?  But if you do it again, you get revenge, which is blue.  And you may have to do it again, because the adversary ran away the first time cuz he was yellow.  I’m not saying symbology and metaphor don’t have their place… they certainly do.  I’m just saying you may be wasting your time with obtuse people like me. Symbols mean different things to different people.  I only caution you to proceed carefully if you assign heavy weight to symbols for your story to carry impact.  Worry about having a killer plot and awesome characters first.  You do that and guaranteed readers will be interpreting symbols out of everything you wrote, whether you meant it or not, and flaming each other on the Internet cause the other fans aren’t true fans.

Snitch Narrator.  “Naturally, she would’ve never gone down that street if she knew what awaited at the end of it.”  If she don’t know then I shouldn’t know.  Stop snitching, narrator.  Doing this is absolutely criminal in first or third person point of view, and unless done super genius cleverly, it’s a pretty cheap trick even in omniscient POV.  The narrator knows enough to tell me something’s a-coming but won’t cut to the chase and tell me what it is already.  Not cool.  We can’t even be friends if you do me like that, storyteller.  Just in case the nuance of this example didn’t register, here’s another:  “If the narrator only knew how much their disembodied commentary annoyed the reader instead of stoking interest, narrator would’ve just shut the hell up and let the story play out.”

Again, these are things I think you can do without.  I know I’m tired of seeing them.  And who am I?  I’m just a dude who reads a little, writes a little, not the Chosen One of Prophecy.  Unless… you believe in The Prophecy…

3 Comments

Filed under Creative Combat Arms