How do you Know…

How do you know you’re a writer?

The easy answer is because you do. You write every day: grocery lists, wish lists, reports for work. Most people think they have the right to critique writing or that they could write a book. Maybe. But would they think that if they had a brush in hand, would they try to paint a landscape and when that failed, at first, would they gain new respect for the artist. The art itself. It doesn’t always work that way with books and the writing there of.

But most people write, and have been doing so since they were six, seven years of age, and hey, we all have an opinion. Isn’t that what a critique is, another person’s opinion. Which, if you go to a place to get critiques, called workshops, and I do, two to three a month. I listen, mostly, to the opinions that repeat. That’s how I know it’s not just someone’s pet peeve, or personal issue coming up, a dislike based on personal emotion. The broad sweeping kind that include everyone under one umbrella. But, and this is a big but, every opinion can be helpful. Writer’s listen, too.

So are you passionate? Did you write a book yet? Have a friend that did? I know several, also a few that just talk about it, they have great ideas though. And they do, I’ve heard several of them. But here’s the thing; and you’ll hear this, a lot:

Writer’s write.

Most every day. Most can’t help themselves, they have to get rid of that itch that makes them crazy. And then they have to improve it, make it a better itch, the best they can. So they rewrite their insanity. I wonder sometimes if this is how God started his career.

I write fiction: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, I think I’m terrible with humor, but people laugh in the right places occasionally. So don’t let your own opinion get in your way, writer’s get better with practice.

Trope

Trope means to turn, to direct, to altar, or to change. Today the word also means the device or ploy of a particular genre. Movies, as well as books, have tropes. Horror movies are a good example, and the Scream series have taken this to a new high, giving the tropes rules and evolving the series through an ever twisting set of rules, constantly upping the anti of what is expected for the new serial killer in horror movies.

Dr Who has several of these ‘tropes’, so does science fiction in general, and fantasy. I noticed one the other day that I thought was cool, one that I noticed it, and two, in how well it has evolved Dr. Who in similar ways to the horror genre. The Trope: have a character that regenerates into a different character every time he dies. It not only allows for new story lines and cliff hangers, it allows the producer to get rid of an actor and replace him with another tall skinny, weird-guy if there is a problem. Which leads to another trope, the sidekick. used for comic relief, emotional support or just plain fun in a script, play, movie, or book. Karen Gillian is the current favorite of Dr. Who. Well warranted in my opinion, she makes him better. So did Billie Piper. It also gives viewers two different heroes to identify with. The storyline of the first episode in the new season, is based on this very trope, not because I think they’re writing out the main character, but because it turns that particular device on it’s head. Again.

Showing a gun in the opening scene of a book is a trope. It means the character is going to use it in some way. It sets you up for it and lets you know all in the same moment. Jim Butcher use a fantasy trope in his Harry Dresden series of books. The wizard with a staff, only the book is set in Chicago, in modern times, and no one believes in magic. It was well done. Not to let Jim Butcher go, he has another series of books – The Codex Alera. It has, at the heart of it, the premise of a Roman Phalanx that has disappeared as it’s trope, and it was subtle and brilliant in it’s execution.

Tropes are everywhere in movies and books, it’s a trick and when it’s done right it’s masterful.

Jim Butcher is one of my favorite writers and anything he writes is worth a read. Twice.

Be kind, often you don’t get a second chance. It might be God on the bus seat next to you; who knows what he’s really asking for.

Video games, really?

Do you think video games don’t have story, or are they something to while away time. Or so you can get mad at the person playing them, or use them to ignore a person. Maybe they’re just fun. Well, the publishers of these games are starting to catch on, story matters. And it matters to the people who are entertained by video games. What’s the demographic? At a guess? Age ten to  fifty-five – seventy-five. I’m not kidding, the age goes up for those that have been playing since gaming inception. And the age goes down for anyone new to the entertainment.

And the money matters as much as story, tied hand in hand, I’d say. Look at the AAA publishers: Bioware, EA,  Bethesda. CD Red Project, not Triple AAA but if The Witcher 2 takes off the way they hope it might not be long. There’s more publishers, but that’s who comes to mind at the moment. And the stories, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Dead Space. Even Portal.

Dragon age was a game that allowed the choice of the player to affect the world he was playing in, same with Mass Effect and Fallout, And the upcoming Witcher 2, which has a total of sixteen different ending you can play into. And Dead Space and Dead Space 2, nothing but compelling goals and conflicts that drive you forward in the game. It’s about storytelling. And if you don’t think so, go talk to Glados, from Portal 1& 2 she has a test that will prove it, I’m sure.

George RR Martin

Is a great writer. He writes epic fantasy with great detail and characterisaztion, making you love the people in his stories, then he kills them off.

Game of Thrones has come to HBO, and it carries the voice and purity of George RR Martins vision. It’s great storytelling.

In the first episode, Bran, son to the new King’s right hand man, is thrown from a tower window. He’s seen the Queen consorting where he shouldn’t have and her lover takes the only choice possible for survival. And just like that I’m hooked. I want to know what happens.

In last night’s episode, Bran wakes up after an assasin has tried to kill him, and his mother, who’s only crime was being in the same room with Bran, is attacked as well. They are saved, and in such a way that I know it’s going to matter through out the story arc of the series.

The scene execution is perfect.

Bran isn’t the only character this kind of stortelling happens to, he’s just very likable. There are other characters, worth hating, too.

For fans of Geoge RR Martin, I doubt they will be disappointed.



Branding 101

That’s what this is about, branding. Recognition. The desire for other people to see me the way I do. Better than that, because I have doubts. Which, I think is normal. So I’m going to move forward, continue learning new skills in relation to craft and technical experience. As far as story goes, that’s a matter of detail that weaves back and forth and makes the reader feel connected. That process is moving forward, too.

The Internet is changing publishing.

A writer can create an e-book for little or no cost today. Minimal, at least. Just look at Amanda Hocking. And she’s a good writer. her dedication to the reader shows up in her work, because her craft is good and her stories connect.

I’m considering self-publishing. One, I need a book I feel is good enough, and two, I need to connect to my readers. I don’t want to through out any manuscript for publishing. I can do that now with what have in my computer drawer, most of which are good stories but I don’t feel the technical prowess is there. Not throughout, the way it should be. I have good spots, scenes, chapters, and poetic prose in the right amount, but it’s not enough. I think the next book is though, so that’s my goal.

And this website is part of that process. So we can connect, find a place to start. That’s the point of author and reader. It’s a trust I find important. My favorite authors do it.

So can I.

chapters, and poetic prose in the right amount, but it’s not enough. I think the next book is though, so that’s my goal.

And this website is part of that process. So we can connect, find a place to start. That’s the point of author and reader. It’s a trust I find important. My favorite authors do it.

So can I.