Influx of ideas, and a contest

I’ve been having a lot of ideas lately, giving them a bit of polish, then storing them away for later. I don’t often have success with an idea when I write it too soon. Ideas need to age…

But now that I’ve got a few of them shelved and fermenting, maybe I can actually get some writing done instead of all this… thinking (not writing).

My next story is going to be for a pre-issue of the magazine I’m working with, Lucent Dreaming. So you can look forward to reading something from me there soon!

Also, we are having a short story contest, check it out if you’d like to enter 🙂


What is next?

I’m waiting for the next thing to grab me… probably not good. I should reach out and do some grabbing myself. I find it hard to be energetic about something that doesn’t take hold of me, though. There must be some way to manufacture that feeling…

Or maybe prolific writers are just as numb and tired of their work as anyone…

That’s great writing…

I’ve started on another Nabokov novel, and just from the first pages I’m already smiling. The way he writes is just somehow so humorous and beautiful at the same time. Not funny like jokes or goofy characters, but funny because you can imagine someone just like that, or you can see that little quirk or familiar behavior in yourself.

I hope to write something some day that can affect someone with a smile or a cringe or a shudder or a laugh or a tear, or make them think…

What to ask…

I’m writing a list of questions to ask people who read my novella… and it is making me think a bit more about what I was actually trying to achieve by writing the thing…

Maybe I should have thought about this before writing it, but that’s just not how I do things!

Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald


Very few books I’ve read can hold so much power in so few words. The ending of this book, in the final paragraphs, performs a tying up of the whole novel that changes the light cast on all the previous pages. The Affirmation had a similar effect in its final page, but this one was, I think, much more powerful.

This novel doesn’t really have a plot, but in the end, you can see the story it is telling.

The title, Rings of Saturn, takes on a new meaning too, once you reach the end. Never in the book does he describe or mention Saturn’s rings, but if you think about what the rings are, you might get an idea of what this book is about.

Very highly recommended for anyone interested in history, interesting facts, and anyone not put off by plot-less storytelling.

Stop thinking up reasons not to write

Whenever I don’t know what to blog about (like today) I just open up ‘Several Short Sentences about Writing’ to a random page, and then I have a blog topic.

Today, I read this:

Anything you think you need in order to write–or be ‘inspired’ to write or ‘get in the mood’ to write–becomes a prohibition when it’s lacking. Learn to write anywhere, at any time, in any conditions, with anything, starting from nowhere. All you really need is your head, the one indefensible requirement.

So many ‘writer memes’ I see are about whatever special pen or lucky notebook, or certain ritual that writers have to do in order to write. They write at 4pm exactly, in a room with complete silence, with no messes and when they have their tea in a certain mug, and with a specific song playing. All this is, really, is a list of reasons not to write. Can’t find my notebook? Guess I won’t write today. Out of tea? Guess I won’t write.

Maybe instead we could come up with a list of reasons TO write. Have a blog and write a post every day. Write 50 words before you can have a drink at the end of the day. Write 200 words before you can watch your favorite show. Make up your own! Write everywhere, about everything!


Words to Control + F

When in the process of splashing out words for a new story, we all find ourselves writing words we don’t need, repeating words, and being hacks in general. I’ve composed a list of these ‘filler’ words that I’ve found most often in my own work. Search for, and delete!

Very: Delete any that aren’t in dialogue.

Almost: Delete unless it is specifically necessary for a thing to almost be, instead of just being.

Nearly: same as above

Really: Delete if it’s being used as an adverb, unless in dialogue.

Still: When used to show something is continuing, you can delete it 90% of the time. To show something is motionless, often you can use a better word. (I bet you’ve used ‘still’ a dozen times for that already.)

Toward: Can almost always be changed to ‘at’ or ‘to’ or be removed.

Turn: My characters are constantly turning this way and that (even turning toward things!) and most of it is unnecessary.

Feel/felt: Jane felt the water lapping gently at her feet. versus The water lapped gently at Jane’s feet. The only reason to say feel/felt is if the character wasn’t feeling it before and now is, otherwise it is sort of taken for granted that they can feel it…

Watch/see/saw: Same as above. Unless there is a real need to make it clear that the something is visible to your character, it is kind of assumed that the viewpoint character can see what you are describing. Jane saw and heard the waves splashing, and felt them lap her toes. Seems silly now, right?