Friday, February 26, 2010

Taking Risks

I am leaving in a little over 12 hours from now to meet someone. Will spend the weekend with this special someone in Baltimore. This is a big risk. Flying out, alone, to meet someone for the first time and it has me thinking about other risks I take, or want to take, as a writer.

Writing itself, at least for other people to read, is a small risk. There is the risk of criticism, for example. The risk of someone taking the work an pretending it is their own (which is one I don't often worry too much about). And many others. While I tend to be relatively safe in my personal life, I seem to enjoy taking more risks in my writing. Why? Because what do I really have to lose? Not much.

My sister thinks I should write characters that are more mainstream (aka straight) in order to stand a better chance at publication. She sees it as too much a risk to have alternative characters. I see it as the exact reason why I should write gay characters, to help make them more common. If it's not the usual fare then maybe more should be attempting it. (That's one of a number of reason for my gay characters.)

Collaboration person wants to use humans as a balancer because that is what most fantasy novels of that type do and it works. How I read this: Using the smaller, non-human group as a balancer is a risk because it isn't proven in large amounts of publication. That is exactly why I think we should use a different group. If everyone does it, then why should we? Why can't we do something different?

Different can be a risk. Will it always pay off? Course not. Is it worth the risk? Most of the time, I have to say yes.

Since I have homework, flash fiction and packing to do I'll end this a little early. I could talk more about my risks but maybe if people comment we can carry on a conversation in the comments. I leave you with this:

What risks do you take? Are they worth it?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Collaboration is evil!

This is a post about my own opinions and complaints. That is all. No advice or research on the act of collaborating. I might do a better version of a collaboration topic later. Now, I've cooled down, I am ready to post this.

image from
I have never been a fan of collaboration. On there are some people who enjoy doing campfires, where each person takes turns adding to the story. I've tried it a couple of times but have not enjoyed any except for one experience. The one I liked was the one I had to create for a contest, and I liked it because people had control only of their own characters. I am territorial when it comes to my character and I don't want anyone else to mess with them. What I worried about with the campfire is someone taking my character and making them doing something that they wouldn't do. This is mainly things like trying to have get with a woman when I have the character as gay. That kind of thing.

I don't like sharing my stories or doing writing in any other way but my own. I have done one story where I was a co-writer. Me and my buddy from the angel army on did a story together for a contest. We discussed the genre and then each chose a character of our own. She had her character, Mary, from her mercenary type stories. I had my character, Danny, who is involved in a mafia family. We combined them, having the characters meet in a story, and each took turns writing sections of the it (as the contest required). Before that we had discussed in email the details of the characters and how to keep them true to their form, and had read each others work to understand their style. I think because it was that cooperative and such, it worked.

However, my beau wants to do a collaboration with me. Problem = he is completely different in his process and opinions. We agree on the genre of fantasy but not what goes into the genre or what is more important in the story. Not that we're writing at this point. (For those who are concerned, no I haven't started writing yet another book. So, relax. lol) Per his idea, we started doing some world building. Even with 2 first drafts done of novels and at least 5 other novels started, I have never done world building. I have done some pre-novel work for the month before nano but not to the extent or detail that is usually done in the world building process. We're already having issues, and by that I mean I'm having issues.

He loves vampires. I dislike and find them boring. (though vampires with elves and humans does sound different)
Fantasy trope/genre formula - I don't believe in following it just because that's what most in the genre do. In fact, that makes me completely against the idea.
Main hero and love interest is male/female. Boo Hiss. I like having a strong female main character to spark the plot but blah to heterosexual.
Disagreeance on fantasy elements. How many gods and goddesses, who believes what, which element the race is in control of, how much power the groups have, etc. Structure of religion.
The human role - I don't agree with their role that he has dictated.
So far it's about what he wants and not what I see.

And this is just the beginning.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Seeing Your Story In Published Books and Beyond

                 image from

This has a longish title but trust me, it could be longer. The basic premise of this post is to discuss the situation of reading/listening to a book or even watching a movie/show that reminds you of the very book you're writing or an idea you're developing. And to clarify: I don't mean the feeling like copying or being influenced by someone else's writing. I am talking about just a spark that brings back a memory or changes your thought process from just listening/reading/watching to thinking about your own creative works. I don't know if everyone feels this but it is something that I have come across recently while listening to the podcasted version of Brave Men Run by Matthew Wayne Selznick. 

So far, the book has been an interesting one to listen to. I won't go into too many details but it centers around a male main character (who, despite the title is in high school) that is different than his peers. He has abilities that make him different as well as a few certain physical features. Does this sound familiar to anything you've heard of?  For me, it is like my mutant stories. Even though I haven't heard a question of genetics in the book, it does have some similarites and so I find myself thinking about my own novels when I listen to this book. Are my novels very similar to this published one? No, not really. But since you've read this far I'm sure you won't mind listening to me talk about my novels anyways.

The one I'm doing my first rewrite on happens to be about a young teenager, sort of like Nate (from Brave Men Run). I'm not sure on Nate's age but do know he's in high school. My main character, Ephram started out 12 but I'm not able to keep my language for him and such at a 12 year old level and have come to realize the series will work just as well if I made the character a little older in the first book. So, he's closer to 15 now. He is a loner in his school, but keeps his exact difference hidden by making sure no one can see the identification item he is forced to wear. So, I see some similarities in my main character and how he has to face others in the school as well as his parents. Though, he doesn't get a love interest yet, unlike Nate.

One other major thing caught my attention when listening to this book and it was a small one. Just one comment made in a single chapter so far. There was a discussion after the name was given for those with differences about what it'd be like to have an army of people with those abilities. The reaction wasn't a positive one and it brought me right into my other mutant novel (the one I'm writing this year even though it was not planned at all for 2010). In the hero novel, the main character is against the military, he refuses to be a part of it or even show how much he is really capable of because he fears that he will be a weapon.

When I listen to this book I can't help but think about my own works in progress. I think about them and get excited about their ideas all over again. Maybe this will help me get further on the rewrite since I'm still on chapter 1. At least I'll be getting closer to finishing Hero as well since I've chosen to write 35,000 words on it for the month of March.

Is this something you've experienced?

Saturday, February 13, 2010


This blog will cover a different genres and elements in writing that have the word "anti" as the prefix.


This is a genre, though not everyone agrees with it. @AshelynnS on twitter mentioned this genre because it is one her novels fall within and I agree with her. But here is more of an explanation and a few web sites to go with the topic.

Anti-romance has a few different definitions. One of these is one that the podcast Writing Excuses used for the anti-hero (which will be discussed further down as well). I don't trust the source that much but it's worth a little use at least. Wikipedia explains anti-romance as a story that has a self-doubting or apathetic anti-hero as the protagonist who fails in the object of the plot/journey. Another way it is put is the antithesis of romance, or opposite.

I like AshelynnS' definition much better. She explains that an anti-romance is a book that could be romance but it's one that doesn't end well. It doesn't have the typical desired happy ending. And yes, while some romance don't have happy endings according to Leigh Michaels in her book On Writing Romance, happy ending is preferred by far. So, it makes sense that anti-romance would mean the romance part of the book, which is key, doesn't end well. No happy wedding endings here.

Some examples of Anti-Romance books: Amazon Books, Anti-Romance
Not sure if I agree with the books chosen for it, but it's a start and more proof of the genres existence.

Anti-Hero / Anti-Heroine

This isn't a new idea, but it's one that not everyone understands. People don't always agree on what qualifies as an anti-hero.  The podcast Writing Excuses had a recent episode discussing this topic.

The anti-hero might be a hero that is hard to like at first, unsympathetic. This is one look that some don't believe qualifies as an anti-hero but it's one that I've seen in a non-published draft from a critique group. It is hard to have that desired interest in the protagonist if at first they seem too unlikeable. This can look like an anti-hero but the biggest issue is keeping the reader interested. Some have succeeded but it's not easy. Wikipedia defines this as a character that doesn't follow the archetype for a hero.

Another look at the anti-hero is one from the Writing Excuses.
Their discussion included: a hero who has the qualities of a typical hero for most of the tale/quest but at the end they do not complete their goal. They fail.
This is a hard sell for some because most people don't like seeing the good guy fail, though sometimes it's a relief to get a good dose of reality. But not that many want reality in their fiction, lol.

More explanations: What is an anti hero?

Examples of Anti-heroes or Anti-heroines:
Wikipedia List
Alex from A Clockwork Orange
Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye
Rincewind from Terry Pratchett discworld series
Iago from Othello


This is sometimes viewed as an opposite to the anti-hero. The definition explains it as an antagonist that isn't solely evil or unsympathetic. Includes villains that are defined as such because they go against the protagonist but could be the hero if the story was told in a different way.

Another definitions is similar, it is that the hero has good reasons for the bad behavior. Kind of like, Robin Hood, stealing from the rich because he wants to give to the poor. Not exact but has the idea within it.

Another look: Anti-Villain Trope
It is an attempt to humanize the villain.

This is a trait that most writer's go for these days at least to a small degree. The villain that is just evil and does it for that reason, doesn't have as much interest to the public. Most writers now have a humanistic element to their villain but I'd say the anti-villain is extended further than that.

These are the main ones. There is some discussion on anti-mystery v. anti-fantasy but it's not of our interest at this point.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Honest Scrap blog award

Thanks to Mire and her wonderful book review blog (, my blog has this special little award.

I have to, according to the rules, post 10 things about myself in this blog post and pick 5 blogs deserving this award. Not the topic of writing but that's okay.
Here's the information about me:

1. I was born in a small town in wyoming. The same town my dad and his mom were born in, which made for a lot of people knowing who I am. Even had teachers that had taught my father.
2. Parents divorced when I was only 5 years old. Don't remember it really nor do I have many memories of when they were married.
3. I write in genres that I've never read. (tsk tsk, I know).
4. I am a very shy person, but don't always show it. Meet me at a writing conference or convention and you'd never guess that I was shy. The 8 years of competing in speech and debate helped with that.
5. While I want to be a published author, I also want to be a midwife part time. I'd love to be able to stay home part time as well working on novels and taking care of a family.
6. I can't wait to have kids and wish I didn't have to.
7. Weight has been a major issue for me over the years. Each time I make a huge effort only see minimal progress and back slide on a regular basis. I hope to change this in the future as I work on being healthier and exercising on a regular basis.
8. I love cats! And don't take kindly to humor involving harming them.
9. I can cook and bake. Trying recipes is very fun for me.
10. Technically I am bi, but I prefer to say gay. Never cared for the term lesbian, even though I prefer dating women. But right now I'm with a man. However, I am monogamous and will only be with one person at a time no matter their gender. My own gender has its questions and some days I think I would have been better off as a gay man.

Blogs deserving award:
1. My writing twin, who is always honest and willing to put forth her feelings and ideas even when that means trashing 50k words of a novel. 
2. CJ Darlington had good writing posts. Anyone who can struggle with characters is one I can relate to for sure. 
3. This one by Teresa Slack has writing and reviews. I like the title of it as well. 
4. H Paye is a friend from and introduces a number of authors in her blog.
5. Lenore is another resource for books to read and authors discussed.

That is my list and selections. Not sure how they find out but guess I'll wait and see.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Work On 1 Novel At A Time

Anyone who knows me will and should laugh at this title. I am one who is incapable of writing only one novel at a time. I managed to focus on one book with success once: during NaNoWriMo 2008. The book is done and ready for rewrite. However, during most of the year I work on anywhere from 2 to 5 novels. But I thought this would be a good topic for this writing blog. Should a writer (usually non-published yet) work on one novel at a time or have many going at once?

Both have pros and cons.

First: 1 book at a time

The pros of this are rather obvious. Your focus is on one story. There isn't as much chance of getting confused and writing the wrong names for the characters or using the wrong voice or even tense when doing the writing. Some people write this way because that is how they get their ideas and so by not trying too many at once they aren't pushing their creative envelope past the edge. The book will most likely get done faster in this method. Writing 80,000 words is an amazing task, and for a one book at a time author that might represent an entire book while it could be only part of several for the other type of author.
The cons to me are not as obvious in this one, even though it's not how I write. One might be that it's almost a putting all your eggs in one basket. If a single novel took 3 years or so to write and rewrite once you get done and it's sent out then you are back to stage one on the next novel. Or a long waiting period if that's all you have to write. (Chances are you have way more than one.)

Next: Write more than 1 at a time

Pros of this are simple. In this method I am able to write many of the stories that are pressing themselves into my mind. I have so many ideas that want to be written, it feels an impossible task to pick one story out of the bunch. Sure, I still have to pick out of the 50+ ideas but it's a little easier to pick out 4-5 then 1 to me. Another pro is that when you're done with one, then you're close to done with another as well. There are many different stories that are in different stages going on so that once that magic first one gets picked up there are others that won't be that far behind that can be offered up.
The cons are different here. It can take even more time to finish a novel because all those words are going to more than one novel. 80,000 words on 3 projects means that each one has only 20,000 or so as opposed to a full 80k. Getting the magic finished number will take time for all of the projects. It is also easy to get mixed up when working on very different stories. I've had short stories I've worked on at the same time where I mixed up character names. It is possible and that can happen more so since I also write very different tones. My mystery is different than the fantasy and Blood Prophesy is a whole different animal. So, it can be hard to go from one book to another and keeping their tone true to what is needed for that book.

What should you do?
The answer is easy. Do what works best for you. No matter the number of lectures I get on doing more than one project I will not change my mind. I am a multi-novel at a time writer. That is just me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fight Scene Blogfest

I managed to write a scene for this blogfest. Here I will warn: I have never done a fight scene. The closest in the past was the end of a practice segment with swords, it starts a scene but only shows the end of their practice. I didn't put many details on the fighting because I know nothing about any form of combat, even fist. With that said... Here is a scene from my current WIP known as Fallen. This is to be near the end.

+ + +

The walls of the fourth story apartment appeared to bend inward, flexing in an unnatural movement. Red symbols burned to a hot white as the door burst open, shattered, giving Lucas only a second to experience the awe. Wood splinters were followed by a hurled ball of flames.

Lucas threw himself to the side, barely missing the flames. They burst against the wall, leaving a charred black mark. His hand grazed his arm, noticing a lack of hairs as he stood to face his opponent.

"Did you really think a few wards and guards would stop me?" Bass chuckles escaped from the speaker who entered the apartment.

"What'd you do?" He had a hard time phrasing the question. Lucas knew the demon before him was stronger and more powerful than he could ever be, even though he was also a demon. His muscles started to shiver as he waited for the answer. Palms started to sweat as he prepared to give his all.

"Don't worry." The demon gave him a white flash of teeth, his muscles flexing with each step forward. Black tattoos fluctuated with each movement. "The guards get to nap. It's just me and you."

Standing his ground, Lucas widened his stance calling on his own limited powers. Flames licked his palms.

The demon lunged first. Fists flared in an array of blocks mixed within punches from both of them. Each received a few blows to the bodies, match for match. His fist smashed against the left side of Lucas' head. They broke apart for a second before he caught the next lunge, pinning Lucas to the wall, his hand holding him by the neck.

Lucas struggled for air as his body was lifted off the ground. The hard wall supported his back as his feet dangled against it. In a desperate move, he managed to bring his knee up, connecting with the demon's groin.

Fallen back, he grunted before stiffening his spine. "One for you," he muttered. "That's all you get." He charged forward.

Unable to block every move, Lucas felt his body getting pummeled. He swung his fists whenever he could, occasionally catching body. Minutes later he was airborne, meeting ground again by way of crashing through a side table located near the back wall. He groaned as he tried to pull himself out of the rubble. His entire body ached.

Breathing hard, the demon stood at the other side of the room. He had a devilish grin on his face as he formed a ball of blue fire. "Time to end this nonsense."

Giving up, Lucas braced himself for the end. Already dead, he couldn't imagine what else could happen but he was about to find out. As the flame left the demon's hands, he closed his eyes.

A solid form crashed into Lucas, knocking him out of the way.

Lucas opened his eyes, to discover he was lying on the ground near the side wall. Pieces of table were under his body adding to the ache. Once the happening reached his mind, he flipped over to see what had pushed him. Elijah lay in a heap on the floor where he had once stood. Ignoring the threat of the demon and his own pain, he managed to drag his body over to Elijah's. As Lucas clung to his limp body, tears rolled down his cheeks. It took the sound of the demon snickering to pull him out of his trance.

"That was unexpected but oh well." The demon stood, waiting with a calm look on his face, unmoved. "One down and now it's your turn."

Pain dwelled at his stomach, swirling up to form a hard lump in his heart. He pushed the ache to the side and grabbed the rage from within as he pulled his body into a standing position, not facing his enemy. As the fire boiled up he turned and threw everything he had at the demon; all his pain and anger combined into a bolt of flame.

A surprised gasp turned to a scream of agony and then silence.