Follow your Muse!

Posted: April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

I had the most unusual thing happen to me this week.

As many of you know, Camp Nanowrimo has begun.  I signed up to do 50k words with a plan to restart a novel that I began in 2005 that has a working title of “The Demon Hunter Diaries.”

At first I had a helluva time restarting it.  It’s one thing to edit, and quite another to completely change and rewrite a story.  I sat down and reread all the work that I had put in to it, and of course I hated the whole thing.  I wondered why I had decided to do somthing like this…to retackle something so old and dead to me.  Then I sat down and started to write the things just sitting at the tip of my brain and what started to come out of me seemed to have nothing to do with the original concept of this story.  I was writing something about nursing homes for crying out loud!  It had nothing to do with anything at all and I was pretty angry at myself for just following my muse.  But then it hit me.

Everything that I had been writing the past day could be worked in to the original story and add extra depth to my antagonist/villian.  I was writing the subplot for my antagonist…something I had totally neglected in my original penning of the story!  How could I have completely forgotten about adding in HIS goals…and the ways that he had planned to accomplish them?  This was what the problem had been with the whole story from the git-go!

So, as you see, sometimes your brain (or muse if you will) knows what it’s supposed to do, even when your conciousness isn’t cooperating with it.  What an amazing tool it is!  I am once again excited about a story that has been frustrating me for nearly 7 years!

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Over the past week I’ve been working on a short story with a writing friend of mine that we’ll call “Philosopher” because I don’t know if she wants me using her name or not.  The story is called “Things That Go Bump in the Night.”  This is a short fiction account based on a true story of paranormal eventa that happened to me in St Jean, Switzerland back in the winter of 1974.  I was around 9 or 10 years old at the time, so it had a pretty serious impact on me.  This single event is probably the reason that I began working as a paranormal investigator later in my life.

Eventually, this story will lead to a second short fiction story called “Memorial Day.”  This one is another true ghost story based on accounts that happened to me in Las Vegas, NV during my late teens.  This story is actually more intense and had an even more serious impact on my life than the first one.  In fact, it had serious impact on the lives of several people, including a couple that actually broke up briefly due to the account after a bout of domestic violence which was a replay of events that had occurred almost 50 years prior.

Not sure where all of this is leading.  Perhaps it’s leading me to a collection of short fiction based on all of my paranormal experiences during this lifetime.  I don’t know if a book like that would avoid gathering any moss, but it might be worth a shot.  It would definitely be fun to write.  If nothing else it would get all this back stuff out of the way so that I can concentrate on the new stuff that’s coming into my brain now.

I have tons of great new ideas.  I just need to find a way to get moving on them.

 

That’s all for now!

A year ago this month I moved into this two bedroom apartment from a one bedroom hovel across the complex from here.  Even though it still reeked of animals and excessive insect droppings, I was thrilled to be here and have the extra room.  I figured that some day, I’d use that room to create an office; a writing cave, if you will.

A year later the room still sits there.  Instead of a writing cave, it serves me as a catch all room.  I tried to make it into something special when I first moved here, but time and life have gotten in the way.  I couldn’t afford my storage unit anymore, so everything that was in there is now making home in my writing cave.  Alas!

Today I’ve been exploring the idea of getting to work on it again.  There are boxes everywhere though, and it’s really difficult to even look into the room without being discouraged.  Obviously the first step in doing this is clearing out the empty boxes, unloading the full ones, and trying to find a place for everything in a house that is so small that I needed a storage unit in the first place!  Once all of that is done though, I have to decide what I want to do.  What it is, exactly, that makes a home office into a “writing cave?”

I like to be surrounded by my favorite things when I write.  I draw inspiration from them.  For example, I  have an Egyptian Ushabti from a 23rd dynasty tomb that I like to look out and draw ideas from.  With it’s Cobra and bird engravings, it has a way of moving my mind back into antiquity…helping me to visualize ancient Egyptian culture.  Also I will need plants, lots and lots of plants in my writing cave.  Plants help me to visualize jungles and flowers.  I also love the feeling of life that they add to a room.  If one is going to have plants, then he’s going to need a well lit room too, so dark curtains are out of the picture entirely.

Lighting is important for me to be able to write effectively.  I find my best work is done in intense, scrutinizing light.  A good moveable lamp that will allow me to shine a light directly on to whatever I am working on willl work perfectly fine.   The contrasting light issues are going to be a problem when the time comes to start writing in there.  There must be some sort of way to get both types of light?

I’m curous about other writers.  Where do you folks undertake your writing projects?  Do you have a room–or office–just for writing novels or articles?  What sorts of things do you use to decorate your personal writing space?  Do you think that these things help?  Please, drop me a line and let me know!

The Urban Dictionary

The Urban Dictionary is a great place to go and learn a bit of this and that about the new jargon that kids today are using, including street and even drag lingo.  I find it to be an invaluable resource when doing character development.  Do you folks have any sites that you use regularly for plotting or character development?  If so, please share!!

Link  —  Posted: February 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

Stumped!

Posted: February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Okay folks, I’m stumped.  

I’ve been wracking my brains over the past few days trying to figure out what to write in this blog.  There is just so much of nothing going on with my writing right now, and I have nothing to write about!  That being said, I’m going to ask another question:

What do you folks like to read about in a blog?  What is a blog supposed to be about?  

My mind tells me that if one creates a blog about writing, then one should include some of his or her writing in it.  I’m not exactly sure how to go about doing that.  I don’t want to include excerpts from my novels, as I want those to be a surprise.  Because of that, should I be including short stories?  Perhaps I should add writing prompts?  I’m open to all kinds of ideas, so please, don’t be shy about telling me what YOU would like to see in a blog about writing!

Until next time…

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I’ve always prided myself as being a fairly good writer of paranormal based fiction.  Ghosts, Cryptozoology, and even Sci-fi are fun to write about and can send the mind into overdrive if good descriptions and thorough character development is used.

Since the beginning of the 1990’s, Paranormal subjects have kicked into overdrive.  With the development of Reality shows like “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures” however, one has to wonder about the staying power of such subjects.  The search for Ghosts, the study of witchcraft, and new age studies have reached new heights within the past two + decades, eclipsing the length of the interest in these things the last time they were in fashion…ie the 1920’s, and perhaps briefly in the early 70’s with the interest in ESP.

There are, however, always going to be exceptions to every rule.  Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, and even Charlaine Harris have all had successful careers spanning several decades writing about supernatural things.  One would think that this would be indicative of the stability of the subject matter, but I’m not so sure that it is.  These writers are exceptionally good at thier craft and thus could make neary anything they chose to write about worth reading.  As much as I hate to admit it, I definitely not another Stephen King, or any of those authors for that matter.  While I strive to become that good at the craft, I don’t know that I will ever be up to that level of excellence.

This brings me to the overall question here.  How long can one bank of fads and is it a good idea to put my supernatural related ideas on hold until this fad comes around for another bout?

I’d be really interested to hear what you folks think about this, and the success of books based on current public interest levels in the subject matter of the work.

I’ve been looking for some sort of software to help me write and organize at the same time, but I’ve not been having a whole lot of luck.  So, I’m asking my friends out there just what they prefer to use.  Let me explain why…

I’m an old guy.  I don’t have the best eye sight in the world and my attention span is certainly not what it used to be.  When you add to that my disability requires me to take pain pills that hurt my attention span and memory, you’ll get a general idea of what I fight with when it comes to software.  I DON’T HAVE THE PATIENCE TO LEARN HOW TO USE IT!!!

So far, I’ve tried the online word processors like Zoho.com and Google.com.  I’ve also used Microsoft Word and Works.  In 2010 though, I actually won Nanowrimo.  That entitled me to a 50% off coupon for Scrivener for Windows, a writing software that had previously only been released on the Mac format.  I waited and waited and never really got the cash together to buy it, and then my Aunt (who is WONDERFUL) bought it for me for Christmas in 2011, almost a full year later.  By that time, it was out of beta test and a bunch of bugs had been worked out of it.  I was a very happy boy!

THEN I tried to use it.  Wow…talk about a bunch of unfamiliar things!  I tried to watch the tutorials and absorb the information therein, to no avail.  I tried winging it, again to no avail.    Obviously, this wasn’t going to work out for me.  I want something that will allow me to write and coalate (sp?) chapters, and offer me tools for outlining as well.  Scrivener claims to offer that, but heck, I can’t figure it out!  So now, here I am…

What software do you folks use that you just wouldn’t be able to function without.  Is it free and if not how much does it cost?  WHY do you like your preferred software?  What software do you consider annoying or too difficult to work with?  Please be brutally honest and don’t hold anything back!  I don’t think any of the manufacturers are going to be perusing my blog…and if they are, they need the feedback!

Thanks in advance!