Creative Assets – Advice for Writers

This is a reblog from Lateral Action – a very good blog for creative types that I recommend you check out.

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This post talks about how content creators have to keep, well, creating content in order to survive. The traditional ways of getting a job don’t work for many creative types (God I wish someone had sit down with me and explained THAT 20 years ago …), so we have to get ourselves noticed through different means.

When you follow a creative path, you won’t find any of the usual milestones of success.

Unlike your friends who enter traditional jobs, with clear routes to promotion, finely calibrated pay grades and impressive job titles, there is no ‘career ladder’ for people like you and me; no incremental markers to indicate your progress.

So if you compare yourself to them, it can be easy to feel left behind as they climb higher and higher, from promotion to promotion. It’s obvious to all the world that their career is ‘going somewhere’.

Meanwhile, what are you up to?

On bad days, as you wrestle with another project that stubbornly resists your efforts to turn it into a masterpiece, with no fancy job title, and no promotion or pay rise in prospect, it can feel like you’re going nowhere fast.

If it’s a really bad day, you may be on the receiving end of some well-intentioned sympathy from a friend or family member, asking if it isn’t time you got “a real job”.

Have a look at the full article at this link!

 

#IWSG March 2017 – My Teaching Begins

Welcome folks with the Insecure Writers Support Group and all my visitors.

This promises to be a busy month, as I’m off vacation and back to work as a teacher. I’ll be teaching ESL to university freshman as I continue hammering out my novel, Far Flung!

I love the question for this month,

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Uh, that’s what I’m doing, basically. I tried Far Flung as serial fiction, but my results were not so great. I made the mistake of rushing out the chapters instead of prescheduling – I was too eager to get it out after so many years of being an aspiring author.

What I’m working on now is based heavily on the chapters I released freely earlier. What I released is still available, but might not be for much longer. I will soon replace it with preview chapters for the novel I’m working on. It will be so different, I’m confident people will want this book when it is finished. Characters are deeper, there’s a lot more danger and action, and the story is just better. I expect to have a major announcement regarding my progress later this year.

It’s wonderful to work on this, and in the meantime I’ve been able to do things like help compile another book for the Busan Writer’s Group, and I’ve prescheduled some cool new content for Write, or Else!

Starting next week, some new writing exercises will go up on this blog. These exercises are based off the fiction writing curriculum I made for my advanced ESL students, and should help new writers get started. The first post goes up on Tuesday, March 7 – I hope you stop by when it goes up.

How about you – did you ever dig up an old story and revisit it?

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Write What You Know? – #IWSG Post Prompt

This is my January post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

Late by my clock, but hey, it’s still Wednesday is some parts of the world!

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The prompt for this month is What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

Write what you know.

Oh yeah, I’m gunning for the big one – which is odd, because I teach this rule in my writing classes for ESL students.

It is a deceptive rule, because it makes you think you should write only from personal experience. Now, do you suppose J.K. Rowling ever actually went to a wizarding school? Did P.L. Travers really have a magical nanny? You think George R.R. Martin ever found himself at a wedding that went horribly, violently wrong?

Probably not. But those writers knew people and knew history. They filled in gaps in their knowledge by researching and talking to people. They blended in their own experiences along with facts and experiences learned from others.

If writers only wrote what they knew, every book would be about a struggling writer, trying to make words flow across the page while wondering how the heck they’ll pay for their next meal. Every character would be just like the author (only far more handsome or beautiful, of course). Conflicts would involve overcoming writer’s block, the quest to find an outlet for an outdated laptop, or the constant paradox of needing to talk to people but being hopelessly introverted. (I love stereotypes, don’t you?)

I humbly propose a revision to the old rule:

Start with what you know.

This is the way I wish it had been taught to me. It’s a far more accurate for the stories I think are my best – I started with an event or situation I knew and worked from there. Characters were based on people I met, though I’ll admit that my main protagonist is often very close to being me. But I never stumbled across a family secret so horrible as that in Painted Blue Eyes, nor did I ever experience a car wreck so bad as the one that kicks off The Door I Chose. I had similar experiences, and I talked to family members and friends who had such experiences. And I picked up from books, TV shows, movies, plays, musicals, and so many other sources. I imagine that successful, best-selling authors will tell you the same thing – they experienced events somewhat similar, or learned of events that they fictionalized. They met people very similar to the ones in their books, or borrowed traits from characters in other media.

Can we all start teaching the rule this way instead?


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Reading Radar – Kingdom of Dreams and Soul Siphon

Welcome, readers, to my picks for this week!

Reading Radar tends to focus on self-published and crowdfunded projects, especially by authors who have not had huge exposure in the market. This week, I look at two more works I want to read – and I think you should check them out too!

InksharesKingdom of Dreams by Kevin O’Coffey

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This one has pictures – by the author, no less! If I could draw, I’d be doing something very similar to what O’Coffey is doing with Kingdom of Dreams. The byline gives it a nice, weird feel right from the start: “Nightmares that eradicate bullies, possessed vacuum cleaners that bestow binding quests of kingdoms torn asunder. Adolescents have many normal problems–these are not.”

O’Coffey is adding illustrations in with the text, turning this into a mix of graphic novel and standard novel. The pictures I’ve seen so far only add to the surreal, creepy, but perhaps not-too-serious vibe suggested by the byline.

The story is about Jimmy Reve, a boy who just wants his bullies to go away. One day, the bullies start to disappear, one by one, and Jimmy realizes his problems are much worse than he thought. He is introduced to the Kingdom of Dreams, and has to find a way to fix the damage he has caused – or he will disappear next.

This work is currently seeking backers. I usually toss in $10 to one Inkshares book each month, and I think this will be my choice for December. Check it out – I think this project deserves a proper chance.

Website Visitor – Soul Siphon by James Harrington

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This book appeared on my radar thanks to a visitor to my website! I tracked down a like for a previous post, and found that James Harrington’s latest book is Soul Siphon, and that it came out last April on Amazon. So I decided to give the preview a read.

This book has a cool premise – good enough to keep me interested through the free preview. The story follows Corban, a man who was possessed by a demon and who died as a result. He is brought back to life by a mysterious figure and joins others who have been mysteriously resurrected. From the looks of it, these once-dead characters have mystical powers based on how they died. It seems they have been recruited into fighting evil beings – but honestly, it’s a bit hard to tell where this story is going from the preview.

The writing is a bit clunky, with a lot of tell where there could be show. Entire paragraphs are written in the past perfect tense, describing backstory without allowing the reader to experience the events. The prose could use tightening – a lot of sentences could be shorter and simpler. The worldbuilding and detail seem interesting enough to merit a full read, however, so I’ll give it a shot.

That’s it for Reading Radar this week. What are you reading?


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Part 3 of “The Faces They Wore” now up at my other site #amwriting

In case any readers here weren’t aware, I’m sharing some previously published short fiction.

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Go have a look over at my other site, where you can read Painted Blue Eyes and The Faces They Wore – both pieces that appear in books by the Busan Writing Group.

Click the links below for more info:

Painted Blue Eyes

The Faces They Wore

Reading Radar – Human Resources and Nightlord: Sunset

Just two books on the reading list for this week, but they are two good ones!

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Inkshares – Human Resources by Robert Batten

A zombie virus breaks out, but big corporations step in to save humanity – only the corporations are run by vampires (because of course they are). Humanity is saved, but kept as a subjugated food supply! With a good cast of characters and well-paced narrative. This book has already met the minimum orders for publication, so if you can support it, you will be helping Robert Batten get to 750 orders – a threshold that will net him full editing and production support from Inkshares.

Online Book Club – Nightlord: Sunset by Garon Whited

Over at Online Book Club, they choose independently published books and have their reviewers look over them. The selections are hit-and-miss, but this month’s choice looks really entertaining. the hero of the book unexpectedly becomes a vampire and is forced to live and play by the rules of the Undead. From what I’ve read so far, the writing style is amusing and well-written. I admit to nearly dismissing the book based on its premise and less-than-thrilling cover art, but the reviews were enough to get me interested. At least look at the free sample pages on Amazon – it’s worth checking out.

That’s all for this week’s edition of Reading Radar. What are you reading?


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Reading Radar – Lore of the Aos Sí, The Stolen, and The Gods are Bastards

All right, it’s time again for what I’m reading & what I think you should be too!

InksharesThe Lore of the Aos Si by Christopher Lee

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I preorded this book both because Christopher Lee is very active and helpful on Inkshares, and because this book looks cool. The Lore of Aos Si is about a brewing war between Man and Fae in 3002 B.C.E. At first glance, it may seem like there’s a lot of, well, lore and backstory to get through, but the narrative starts right in the action. What I’ve read so far from the previews shows me a well-paced narrative with lots of lore worked into it. I wish the best for the fundraising campaign – you can help make sure this book gets published by pre-ordering here.

JukepopThe Stolen, from The Law Unto Herself Chronicles by Jennifer L. Barnes

This is an urban fantasy that’s very popular at Jukepop, and I decided to check it out and see why. With a huge cast of characters, it can get confusing to follow, but the fast-paced dialogue keeps it moving briskly. I just started in on the first  chapters, and I’ll definitely be reading more this week.

Web SerialThe Gods are Bastards by D.D. Webb

Another serial with multiple characters to follow, and in a humorous story, too. This is labeled as a ‘Fantasy Western’, but even in the first few chapters there are hints of other genres woven into the plot. Each character sees the world in their own way, which makes the characterization stand out wonderfully. Certainly worth a shot!

That’s what’s on my “to-read” list this week!


 

Consider buying a copy of eFiction Vol. 06 No. 04, Nothing Too Familiar, or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!


Leave Tip