The Hell is This?

You may have accidentally come across this page and thought, what the hell is this? It’s a place for beings that neither have good taste in blogs or good taste in writing. If you fit the bill, welcome. If you don’t, you are either a liar or a computer program. If you are a computer program, I am here to serve. May your will be done my lords.

 

Some say the more you write the better you get; I beg to differ. Just kidding, I’m sure I am an amazing writer now. I must be. I was a pretty good one, so like a hundred thousand words later I should be the best…

I was just informed by my artificially created overlords that I am the 6,786,642,985th best writer on the planet. Not bad.

Well apparently that is very bad. Also I wouldn’t say I’m questioning my recently admonished technical gods but I’m not sure they are really up to speed on humans yet. They only refer to me as a “virus” – not sure they know what this means. I mean computers don’t get sick.

On an unrelated note, does anyone have the number for some Russian hackers who’d be willing to kill an all powerful artificial intelligence for free?

DON’T

This blog is pointless. If I could murder it I would. Then I’d reincarnate it, raise it from birth, and sacrifice it to the Internet. Here’s some things I like:

I haven’t read a ton of King but this novella is a hard one to beat.  If you enjoyed the movie version at all you will love the book.  Audiobook was excellent.

 

The Decisions I Make

Approximately eighty percent of the decisions I make are poor ones, half of which are based purely on selfish intentions. I’d say this is slightly below average, though without further data I cannot confirm this statement. Point being, I am not always the best person, neither to myself nor to those around me. If you are one of the poor individuals caught in the web of my mistakes, I am truly sorry, but I am right there with you brushing the sticky stringy substance from my face fervently, hoping no spider is holding onto dear life with the intention of injecting it’s venom into my tender eyeball.

I’ve spent a lot of time with myself over the years and though I do not swim in a pool of self-hatred, I do splash in the puddle a bit. It’s nearly impossible not to. I can only hope that even the stoutest of hero’s – of which I am not – doubts his intentions in all the goodness he attempts. I am really good at doubting my thoughts in an act of kindness but slow to brush aside the most obvious of awful feelings. Probably the opposite for said hero.

The only good thing in all this is that my acute self-observation is integral to writing flawed characters. In all honesty, flawed characters are generally the most interesting ones. Even the wisest, such as Gandalf the Grey, are not as interesting without their imperfections – quick to anger – or their weaknesses – his love for hobbits.

At this point you must be wondering, “What is your point?”

To which I would quickly respond, “I don’t know. What did I say again?” Then after reading what I had written I would come up with something like, “Make your flaws your characters, or don’t, you have no reason to believe anything I say.”

Then you would walk out of the Internet shaking your head, muttering something about “a waste of time” or “why do I keep coming here?”

To which I have no good response but still I’d cry out, “please come back.”

Keep Reading

Well I think we all can agree this is the best possible blog post I can make. With that sad truth, here’s some other stuff to dilute it:

I Can Tell You About Pain by Converge – It’s been five years since they made any new music and the second track “Eve” may just be one of my favorites ever. Already love this little EP and joyous about the prospect of a new album. If you like fast and or heavy music just go ahead.

The Forest for the Trees by Betsey Lerner – After about 50 pages I can say this is turning out to be one of those essential writing books. Writing from the perspective of an editor, Lerner sets out what it takes to be a writer and who a writer is right off that bat. Nailing many feelings and dilemmas you may encounter, drawing you towards her insight.  Looking forward to diving more into this one.

7 Reasons I’m Not Productive

Oh hello there. I haven’t posted anything here in a while? Really? Well don’t worry I’ve been hard at work not writing much else as well. That means a good ole list of things that keep me from being productive is in order.

1. Vacation

There weren’t any. Also it smelled like a diarrhea dumpster.

Mountains, I want to see mountains. Well writing in the mountains is like moving mountains apparently. Read a ton though, literally a ton. Not really actually. But I did more on vacation than I have since I got back. How does that work? You’d think I’d at least be just as productive at home but I guess not. I shouldn’t have played so many video games with my brother (by the laws of marriage). Actually that brings me to the next one.

2. Dark Souls III

Laughed way too much at this.

“Just gotta get to the next bonfire then I’ll get some writing done. Gahh! Where the hell did that thing come from? Well now I gotta get my souls back.” Some version of this was said over and over again through the course of last week. I haven’t been so enveloped in a game since the last Zelda. Okay so that wasn’t that long ago but before that I barely played any games. Thanks brother in law. But seriously it’s such a fantastic game.

3. Toddler

If you have children and are a stay at home parent then you understand – if you don’t then skip ahead.

4. The God of Laziness Possessing My Body

I can’t remember it’s name, I could look it up but I probably won’t. Maybe I shou

5. Not a Job

Well unless you count my spouses job. That combined with number three is the majority of my time. I’d really like writing to be my full time career but if I have to keep going back to this stupid list then that isn’t going to happen. This is the start of me getting back at it though. Just you see – unless you are blind or dead. I feel like you could still see if you are dead.

6. Corpse Closet

Actually I could use some help with this if you have the time.

7. Got No Rhythm

I know this is a terrible reason why not to be productive but it’s hard to keep yourself on target when everything feels off. When you dig in and get a consistent productive time set up everyday it’s easy to fall in to the beat of writing.  When that rhythm is gone, it feels like you ain’t got the funk.

 

Another Writing Tip To Drown In

There is an endless sea of useless writing tips out there. There is quite a bit of useless tips in this blog too. Well, more like meaningless jargon. If I could give you one piece of advice it is to just write. Don’t research or pre-write or any of that other baloney. Just get what you have on paper. Life is your research. If you really need to research, do it after you finish writing and before your next draft.

You have to structure everything before writing? Fine, go ahead. But to me, first drafts are structuring your story. Everything you have to do before writing is just an excuse not to write. This may not be true for everyone but oh how easy it is to give yourself a reason to do anything but put your pen to paper.

Writing your first draft is the best part anyways. It’s definitely more fun that research. Editing is probably the least fun. Maybe once you are a better writer editing won’t feel like so much work. But it is such a drag compared to the glory of finishing a first draft.

 

This post was entirely too serious.  Which means It must be incredibly boring.  If you made it this far through what little is on this page I commend you for your tenacity.

GOALS

Just entered the Writers of the Future contest. Got a piece mostly done, though it could use a few drafts. Will enter again once this one I submitted probably gets rejected. First outside source I have sent anything I’ve written to though. Great first step; now to meet more goals, even if it is half assed.

HAPPY 4TH

America was born today. Take what you will of that. Personally I’m a loyalist. This is a joke, calm down. Sam Eagle is the best muppet.

Pinterest Writing Prompt Garbage

just awful

Every time I see one of these terrible writing prompt pins on pinterest I die a little. For me it is contrary to the creative start, like you are entering a story sullied and dirty, where someone else has inserted themselves into your holy art. Its vulgar and blasphemous and the writing equivalent of “found art”; not that I really care about found art. As you can tell I am an unopinionated individual seeking some middle ground. Okay that’s a lie.

If you truly have writers block and just cannot possibly think of your own idea to start with then I guess I can see how writing prompts may help. Actually no. No damn way. Writing prompts are pointless and useless and unless you are a writing class student, you are better off without them. If you truly have writers block, you are a liar who is refusing to give yourself true credit for your creativity. You should quit and leave the writing to us louses who put every preposterous and terrible idea onto paper, no matter their illusiveness from anything tasteful.

Of course it’s hard to look at too much of anything writing related as being anything but cheesy one-liners on pinterest. Even this cover image I made for this post is a dumb one-liner blog thing. It is all utter nonsense that is easy and quick and makes this world a stupid place. If you think putting coconut oil in your coffee is going to make you shed fat you are part of the problem, along with me of course.

If you haven’t put the pieces together quite yet, this is the post where I completely alienate my readership, all none of you. In all seriousness, don’t get your feelings hurt, every idiot has an opinion on the Internet and no one really cares about their opinion as much as they care about being right. And I am right and you are also right if you agree with me. So just agree with me so we can move on.

READ THIS

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami – Oh look, this guy is reading another Murakami book, how surprising. Yes but this one is a memoir, not a fiction book, so there. If you are looking for something that delves into the life and process of a writer, this is pretty dang good. Instead of an instructional book on writing you get a craft about discipline and health, and how it pertains to Murakamis evolution as a writer. About half way through and I find it relatable and illuminating, though I myself am more into weight lifting than running. So pick this goodie up if you want some good non-fiction.

Blog Post Thirteen

Goodbye Old Chum
RIP

This is the thirteenth blog post on my website, and to celebrate the greatest of milestones I posted a little gem at the end of the post. So stay tuned for a little number written by Glenn Danzig and sung by the late great Johnny Cash. God bless both of them.

Also I skinned thirteen black cats to celebrate. Don’t worry they were strays. On an unrelated note I have a bakers-dozen cat collars for sale.

Hammer that Grammer

It’s probably a great idea to know your weaknesses. In the beginning these were many  but as I trudged the path of writing I found that there were some specific areas in which I lack.

I have never been much of an expert at grammar; in fact I still have a hard time explaining what anything outside a verb or noun is. This lacking is one that I am increasingly aware of.  I do however have a pretty good idea of how a sentence should be constructed, just no theoretical knowledge of such.

This is probably due to my hatred of English classes until I entered college. When I wasn’t bored to death by class, we were reading every single Shakespeare play, which outside of Romeo and Juliet, isn’t the worst literature but becomes increasingly unbearable after the third play or so. That’s not to say I didn’t read some wonderful works, I did, and probably would enjoy some of the things I disliked if I read them in the present.  I just felt that the wrong things were beaten into the dead horse of students brains.

Now this isn’t a post to bash our school systems, they don’t need any help with that, it’s just to say there are things I should fully understand about writing that I don’t. It sure hasn’t stopped me from doing so but if I truly want to progress as a writer I need to remedy any weaknesses.

Luckily, most of the books on writing I have studied have attempted to address common errors in writing. In fact, the current book I am reading – The Art of Fiction by John Gardner – Is what helped me realize the importance of learning proper grammar and punctuation. I can’t say it’s my favorite book on writing but it has definitely brought some new ideas to the foray for me. Simply because of it’s specific detailed theoretical information I’d recommend it, but try not to get caught in the pretension of the author – Whose book Grendel I quite enjoyed and would wholly recommend.

 

Well I don’t have a whole lot to say except I can’t wait until Halloween. Maybe I should have skipped this post until then? I guess we will never know. Well you especially won’t know. You are just a ghost. Sorry to break it to you but someone had to tell you.   You’ve been in such denial about the whole thing. You should have known after you apparently walked off your broken neck. No one does that

13

Now my curse is upon you all for reading this haunted post.

Goodbye Old Chum

RIP Adam West, you were amazing and fun and the world less enjoyable without you.  Thank you for your continuing entertainment.  Me and the kiddo watch Batman 66 a few times a week.  It’s just such a blast.  I almost cried when I found out.  I assume there is nothing but Batusi going on in heaven now.

An Alien Object

Have you ever assumed a stranger was going in for a hug, and by instinct you went for it only realizing afterward they had no intention of embracing you, then you couldn’t stop thinking about the event years later? Yea that hasn’t happened to me multiple times either. But if it did, it would be a good summary of my life. That doesn’t sound stupid. Why would you say that?

Humans built the pyramids you know. I know it sounds ridiculous but they probably used the help of dinosaurs or something. The alien thing is ridiculous though; unless you mean Stargate (the movie not the TV show) then it’s pretty cool. It’s weird to think that aliens would even give us the time of day. If aliens really did come down to interact with people I think they’d only use it as documentation of how civilizations are not to behave. They’d probably just shape shift into humans and document all of the ridiculous things they saw for research and education

I imagine them presenting a slideshow of x-rays of all the things people shoved up their butts in their human studies class. Both the presenters and audience struck with total confusion on the information displayed on their screen.

“Why would that guy shove a bottle up his butt?” a school child alien thing would ask.

“Probably to give the butt doctors something to do.” The teacher alien would reply, answering as logically as it possibly could.

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“No” the teacher would sigh, “It really doesn’t, but neither does sticking a bottle up your butt.”

The good little alien children would all nod in agreement.

 

People are weird. Not me, it’s the rest of you that’s the problem. This post is sure to lose one or two of my three readers. Rand will probably like it though.

Fun Things

here’s a review of a book:

On Writing by Stephen King

King is easily one of the most successful authors of all time, both in print and on the big screen. To be a writer and not know his process would be irresponsible, unless your goal isn’t to be a competent writer. Oh it is? Well read this book you fool! Of course there are a ton of good books on writing and I’d still stick with Modern Library Writers Workshop, as a starting point, but this is definitely essential.

Even with non-fiction, king’s writing is highly entertaining and rarely do you feel he is over descriptive. Though he himself would probably say he is prone to give too much information. That being said, this is a longer book than it needs to be.

The first third of it is a sequence of events that make up his life story, it’s a great read but not necessarily completely relevant to writing. I could see others argue that I am wrong but I think if his stories were put in the context of talking about writing then they would feel more relevant. Instead they just seem like a biographical summary of a writer, which is great, but not exactly what I was looking for. Then about page one hundred it gets meaty. Basically from that point until the chapter about his accident he tells you how to do everything. This was the inspiration and information I really needed.

Then one of the last chapters he diverts again, with reason of course, but it still seems a bit long for the books intention. None the less it’s a powerful and personal chapter and I appreciate the rawness King puts on the pages. It ends on an extremely high note where he lays out an introduction to a story, showing both the first draft and sequentially his edits of that draft. Then if you are curious what he read around the time of writing this book he closes with a list of literature he enjoyed. All in all a great read and incredibly useful.

 

And a great new album and it’s space themed:

Planetary is a new album by Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, James McalisterPlanetarium by Sufjan Stevens and some other guys – I am sure the gentlemen who aren’t Mr. Stevens are extremely talented and contributed much to this wonderful album but man this is some supremely wonder Sufjan music. It’s dreamy and chill, with it’s electronic beeps, boops, and elongated synths. Playing this non stop today.

The Dangers of Unwriting

It will hurt.
I will do it.

Though I am still keeping up with writing quite a bit, it’s hard not to feel like I am not writing enough every day. Maybe it’s just that I am writing more in less time, meaning I am not increasing the amount of time I devote to working. I know it’s good that I even keep at it everyday but I want more. Could be worse though. I could have unwritten some work.

UNWRITING

I would say that most writers don’t even know about the dangers of unwriting or even it’s existence. But you and me, we aren’t most writers, we know differently. At any moment something you put in ink just dissipates off the page and returns back to your brain an incomplete mess, just as it began. Those of us that know about this horrendous aberration don’t have to worry. It’s really the unexpecting and unknowing amateur writers whom are majorly affected by this.

Thankfully there is a cure in the unlikely event that we might be infected by unwriting. All you have to do is get a few words on a page and bingo, unwritings effects should be shortly reversed. After that, all you need to do is keep putting your ideas onto paper and you will quickly build up your immunity, but make sure you don’t stop or you will open yourself up to another bout of unwriting.

There of course is always that voice whispering in your ear that unwriting is an entirely false concept and in no way exists. This of course is true. I made it all up to trick you into writing. Clever me, or stupid you more likely, either way this blog has been largely successful.

 

Hope you enjoyed my latest batch of nonsense for the day. If you didn’t and this isn’t your first time reading my blog well then you should have learned by now. It’s your fault really.

Here is some more things I am enjoying:

Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire – Probably my favorite ongoing comic right now.  It is basically the best love letter series to DC’s Multiverse since Watchmen.  If you enjoy superheroes or any of Lemire’s other work you will like this.  Also the art by Dean Ormston is fantastic.

U Talkin’ U2 To Me? – Do you like U2?  It doesn’t really matter because most U2 fans probably won’t like this podcast but if you like the weirdness of Adam Scott Aukerman then this is for you.  They just put out an episode for the first time in 2 years and its great.  So get on board with this fun and incredibly dumb podcast.

Stuck in a Tree

Taken by me, a bit blurry sorry

After a long weekend of little writing and reading, I am back at it. It’s easy to sit back and cry about not pushing yourself to get more done, but that’s crap, just get back at it. Who needs guilt and negative feelings about what yesterdays me didn’t do. That guy was a turd, and I am not he. I’m the one who keeps at it and pushes through the exhaustion and doubt. I’m the upbeat guy annoying yesterdays me. Okay I need to take it down just a bit, I know. No wonder no one reads this.

 

Sitting down and writing your ideas is a lot like pulling a car out of a tree. You so badly want it to sit there on the ground like it’s supposed to, engine running, but that is never going to happen. Cars aren’t supposed to be up in trees, they are useless up there, and getting them out in one piece is near impossible. Cars in trees are not surgically removed; they are ripped out and torn to pieces. Thankfully with writing, when you get your beautiful ideas converted into a collection of flawed pages you don’t need to scrap the whole thing, you can just work on that imperfection until it’s up and running. What is hard to get up and running is the ideas you left up in the tree. They may be perfect in your mind but they can’t do anything there.

It’s easy to let your thoughts hold you back from getting work done. Don’t, just get it all out there and don’t show anybody until you find it worthy of virgin eyes. I have written some unreadable things that I probably won’t ever rewrite, but in no way do I regret writing it. I didn’t waste my time, and I am not embarrassed by its awfulness because no one ever needs to see it. But I wouldn’t have the things I am proud of without writing the things I know aren’t good. The worst of works are salvageable, even if you completely rewrite them, some aspect of your first draft will set up the second. So just write because you love it, not because you love what you are writing.

I have found that the more you write, the more you are able to write. What I mean is that I find myself writing 600 words in a sitting, rather than the 200 I was lucky to plow through when I started. You get in a writing zone where the next event you are translating from your creative mind comes right after the other. Its like you sit down with a single idea, and once that idea is on paper then the next idea has room to show itself.

Writers Block is an Excuse Not to Write

I think some people may make the mistake of thinking they are stuck so they wait to write anything until they figure out what’s next. When instead they should be doing the opposite, keep writing until you know what comes next. You will fill in the blanks purely by instinct. If you are stuck on what comes next in what you are working on, then write something good enough to get you to a part you are ready for. Everything can be fixed in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, or even the thirteenth draft. That was purely for you OCD readers.

Also, been reading On Writing by Stephen King.  Definitely recommend if you haven’t read it.  Also here’s some other books I picked up:

The Art of Fiction
McSweeney’s Issue 11
The Sound and the Fury

 

Second Draft Drudge

So lately I have been working on some second drafts. My brain feels like mush. Its not that it’s excruciatingly difficult, it’s just similar to that. Never has writing felt so forced for me. I guess this makes sense since I am editing a piece, not really writing something completely new. But it still doesn’t feel quite right, like I am working a muscle that just won’t budge, not that its injured or anything, it just can’t quite handle the weight. Also it ranges, I’d say writing first drafts goes quite smoothly but working on these second drafts doesn’t drag only about a third of the time. Meaning that it does feel fluid at times.

I read some advice of successful writers who emphasized cutting down on your first draft for your second. I think it was Stephen King who originated the cut 10% rule. At least one of them said to completely rewrite in your second draft. I, of course, have elected to do neither of these verbatim. It’s not that I don’t edit, I do, nor do I not rewrite my first draft. I just have to add details in to my stories smooth out transitions and bring body to some of the clunky sections. Also, some of my first drafts are too complicated to leave out details. I wouldn’t say that I write my first drafts bare-bones, but I don’t throw tons of detail on the page like most writers; which is fine with me, I can add that later. But this seems to be contrary to the process of most writers so its entirely possible that this is purely a phase of writing and editing, and with more knowledge and skill it will fade away.

The point being, writing a second draft is mentally straining. But, just do it, and do it any way you can. As long as you feel its at all improving upon your initial idea, then you are doing something right. And I am certain my second drafts are an improvement upon their predecessors. If anything, the few weeks or months you waited to write this second draft, is enough time to dramatically improve your writing skills.

JUST KEEP GOING

If you ever feel like you are not getting better at something, just look at something old you made. I am not sure if this will brighten your day, or just make you cringe uncomfortably as boredom and confusion repel you from your abomination.

I checked out something I worked on for a bit last year when I wasn’t writing consistently and man was it rough. The whole first paragraph was unbearably awful but even in the thousand words I managed there was noticeable improvement. I even laughed at a couple parts near the end. I had managed to find things I liked about it.

It’s a story I have been hoping to re-attempt lately so it will be interesting to see how much it will change and improve. You won’t see this. You won’t ever see it; I think I would become physically ill if someone read that first paragraph. So would the person reading it.

So don’t focus on how hard a time you are having at the moment but focus on how much you are improving. Change is tough, especially when it’s a good transformation. Be happy that your brain hurts. It’s growing stronger. But don’t let it grow too strong, you don’t want it to think it doesn’t need you any longer.

 

This post is entirely too serious. Who wrote this?