Life

Is always getting in the way of living.

What do you want to do with your life? I’m sure whatever it is it’s impeded by your job, your house, your responsibilities of all kinds.

Being able to live the dream of what you really want to do might take stripping away everything else from your life. And can anyone really have the will or desire to do that?

The disappeared

I finished it, and was over all underwhelmed.

A detective story is not very entertaining when there is no mystery. That is the number one rule to learn from this, I think.

Second thing to learn is that I don’t care about a character’s emotions just because you tell me to. Show, don’t tell.

A major plot point in this story is aliens coming to take away human children as payment for the crimes of the parents. We are told over and over how horrible it is for the parents to lose their children, and how awful it will be for the poor kids to live with the aliens, but never shown. We never see anyone actually lose a child, we never see where these children might go or what they might experience. All we get are things like ‘it would be a day seared into his memory forever’ and ‘the pain, and sadness were very bad and he was sad and also mad’ to paraphrase in a snarky way.

So there was no mystery, and no surprises really either, no big reveals, no twists, no character development either that I could tell. The character I liked most was not the main character, and I’m not sure but she was maybe supposed to be a villain?

Anyway, not recommended. Sad, cause I thought I’d found a sci fi detective series to read!

 

Weather

Here in Seattle we just had our biggest snow storm since 1990. Sure, it’s small by other standards, but it was surprising and kept me home from work for a day.

It’s made me think of nature, though, and how it still has sway over us even with all our technology.

What kind of world would it be if the weather was completely controlled? A boring one probably. But how would it effect the thinking of the people? Would people be less adaptable if they didn’t ever experience unforeseen changes in their environment? We wouldn’t have stories based on storms and floods, and rain and thunder wouldn’t be an ominous sign… for one thing.

Until, the weather control system fails, I suppose..

WRITE NOW

Are you a writer? Because a writer is someone who writes things, not someone who avoids writing things. That, my friend, is a procrastinator.

Stop thinking about it. Stop considering your options. Stop telling yourself ‘now isn’t the right time.’ Sit down, put your fingers over the keys/grab a pen, and WRITE.

There’s no such thing as a football player who just practices throwing passes all day and never plays a game. There’s no such thing as a chess player who just reads about chess. There’s no such thing as a programmer who talks all day about his killer app but hasn’t written a line of code in months. These people aren’t football players, chess players and programmers. They USED TO BE football players, chess players and programmers.

Don’t used to be a writer.

WRITE.

NOW.

DO IT.

GO!

Action scenes: blegh

I hate writing them, and dislike reading them mostly, unless something is being revealed either about the story, or about the characters. Otherwise, whether it’s ‘exciting’ or not, it’s just getting in the way of my need to find out what happens next.

So, consequently, I try to make my action scenes either end as quickly as possible, or, have the action be showing us some new fact about the world, or some new fact about the characters, or some new fact about the plot. If it’s not doing any of these things, what is the point of it?

Tension for tension’s sake is annoying. If nothing has changed or been learned after the action scene is over, then what was the point of it other than to fill space?

Be sure to rewrite, pantsers

As you may know, I am a pantser. I make most of the story up on the fly, especially the details. Anyone who writes this way though, should know that they will have to go back and fix a lot of things in their early writing, because you changed something or invented something halfway through the story. If you don’t… it may become obvious that you are just pulling everything out of thin air, and it’s very important to keep up the illusion that you know what you’re doing!

For example, in the book I am currently listening to, the author introduces some aliens, and describes them in some detail. But a couple scenes later, these aliens now have a new feature–a ‘collar’ that changes color to show their emotions. This was not mentioned at all during the original description of the aliens, so at first I thought it was something they were wearing, and I didn’t know why they’d put it on between scenes. What it must be, though, is something the author made up later, and forgot to go back and put in the original description.

That may seem like a small thing, but it made me notice other instances, and now more and more the story is seeming very ad hoc to me.

Just a reminder to make sure you rewrite! It’s important.

Short sentences

After finishing ‘several short sentences about writing’ , as I mentioned earlier. I’m still thinking about it, and considering reading it again already. I have a lot to learn about writing.

For one, my sentences tend to be too long and meandering. I need to do away with ‘with’ and ‘as’ where I can.

Be clear! Say what you mean! Clarity should be the most important, in any sentence. It is sometimes hard to keep this in mind.

“There are innumerable ways to write badly. The usual way is making sentences that don’t say what you think they do.” – Verlyn Klinkenborg

Something to remember…