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Don’t Look for the Dollar Signs, Just Write

Tell your story before you worry about padding your bank account.

I’ve heard it more than once that everyone is seeking those dollar signs and are ready and willing to do what they want to make sure that their account grows along with their acclaim. I might be a sucker, I might be a fool, but one thing I know I’m not is a sellout, since I’ll tell my story in the hopes that people will enjoy it, and that it will inspire others to do something great. I’m not an idealist, and I’m not foolish enough to think that living without pay and writing without wanting to become known is the ultimate goal. But if all you’re writing for is the money you might as well own up to it and make it known that your stories are little more than minor variations on a mold that was made a long time ago. Be fair to yourself and your readers and be original.

Money is important, there’s no doubt.

It’s important to make money to survive, there’s no doubt of that, especially since people need to pay their bills, they need to eat, they need to support their family and so on. But if money is the only drive you have when it comes to writing then there’s something missing. People might scoff at the idea that passion is that important, but one has to remember that people who read your material, if they’re in need of a great story, will know when someone is dialing it in versus when they dig deep deep and seek to tell a story that will last. Passion is what separates the great stories from those are trying to make a few bucks.

I know, people who make the big bucks and those who support them are going to counter with the idea that if one makes the money, then there’s no reason to keep up that type of passion, especially the type that can wear a person out. That’s kind of like riding a wave with the idea that it’s going to last forever, without seeing that rocky shore come closer and closer. Passion doesn’t keep you off the rocks, but it sure as hell teaches you how to dodge, evade, and navigate a landscape that’s ready and willing to tear apart any writer that doesn’t know how to handle the pitfalls that come with writing.

Here endeth the sermon…for now.

You want to write? You want to make money? Then reach down deep and find the passion you need to make it happen. Change as you feel the need, not just when people tell you to. Adjust, evolve, adapt, and keep the passion that brought you to this game. The moment you search for dollar signs is the moment that you lose sight of what it is you’re all about. Your writing is meant to show your state of mind and how you want to speak to the people. Accept the money if it comes, use it to your advantage, but my advice is to keep that passion for as long as it lasts. The money will come if it’s meant to, and if you learn how to make flow.

Write, just write, and let the money come if it will.

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How Do You Get Started Writing?

A lot of people fail before they ever get started because they get in their own way.

This is bound to be a short article mostly because, well, getting started with a story is something that requires a lot of effort, but only a single step. You’ve likely heard that before, right? There are entire textbooks dedicated to the idea of writing, what it takes, and what it requires to help a story move forward. So I won’t take up a lot of your time, but I will say that starting a story is just about as tough as finishing one. The rest is just figuring out the details.

Keep it simple, don’t complicate things from the start.

A story is going to get complicated one way or another since the moving elements that make it work will eventually collide and create a bit of chaos that can spiral into utter madness very quickly. There’s no need to get into the mental thicket that quickly, especially since moving into it slowly and surely, while following an outline, will help to keep things sorted in some manner. There are a couple of ways to avoid getting bogged down that quickly, such as:

  1. Brainstorming: This is one of the most basic methods you can use to create and refine an idea to be used at various points throughout the process. In fact, this is one of the best ways to get an idea rolling since it connects the various pieces of the idea that might come at different moments.
  2. Outline: I know I’ve worked with plenty of outlines and they do help if your thoughts tend to scatter. Keeping things neat and tidy does help to keep the story rolling forward in a manner that avoids the habit of rambling on and on. It’s not perfect, but it’s a nice point of reference to have at hand.
  3. Notes: This is reliable, but not nearly as much since notes can be lost, shuffled, or mixed up in various ways. From napkins to notebooks, notes are a very rough way to when it comes to piecing a story together.

How you go about putting your story together is up to you. But going freestyle isn’t a great way to do it, I’ll say that to each ear that’s willing to bend to listen.

Take the first step, then take another.

In other words, start out with the first sentence, then write the next, and then find your way through the first paragraph. Once you’re past that hurdle you’ll find that it gets a little easier with each sentence that comes after. You’ll no doubt need help as you progress, but that’s what sites like this are for. The help you need is the help you’ll eventually want.

Just don’t be shy about asking for help, take my word on that.

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Writers Write…Let Them

A writer’s opinion is just as versatile as anyone’s, and more so in some cases.

A writer is there to write, not for you to criticize their mindset, or to say ‘you wouldn’t understand’. Writers are there to be open, to eliminate the barriers to one line of thought or another, and to bring one story or another to life. Sure, there are writers who will refuse to see one line of thought or another, we’re human after all, but assuming that a writer won’t be able to change their mindset or widen it to encompass different lifestyles and what they mean to people is akin to someone saying that ‘you’re this gender/race, you wouldn’t be able to understand’. Without the needed information, of course we won’t. But is it possible for a writer to learn? I did note that we’re human, so yes, of course, we’re definitely able to learn, to take direction, and respect the lifestyles of others.

Seriously, we can write about anything if we’re given the chance. You don’t want your life to be misrepresented? Then let a writer know what you’re all about, or write your story on your own.

Writers aren’t bound by opinion.

It doesn’t matter who a writer votes for if they’re open-minded, or what they feel is right. A good writer can open their mind to other venues of thought, perhaps not to agree, but at least to understand and comprehend. A great writer can write anything, no matter the point of view. Some might call this being shiftless, faithless, and without any true moral center.

Those that say such things aren’t quite as open-minded as they think.

A personal anecdote.

Not long ago I responded to a Craigslist ad for an individual that needed a screenwriter for an animated series. While the individual explained that he was an LGBTQUIA+ ally, and that he was firmly set against Donald Trump (not sure why that mattered since this is 2022, not 2020), and needed someone that could understand the mindset of a transgender individual as well as the LGBT community. In other words, this individual wanted someone that could think the way they wanted them to, and could adhere to what they wanted to see. In all honesty, wanting someone that can tell the story you want isn’t a bad thing.

But upon admitting that I didn’t care for President Biden, and did in fact vote for Trump, the pause in their voice became a little too obvious. Did I vote for Trump? Yes, I did. Do I like him? Not really, but it felt that he was the lesser of two evils at the time, much as he was when he ran against Hilary Clinton. But to be fair, I don’t care about this, because it doesn’t define my mindset. I don’t care about gender, about race, about skin color, or political affiliation. I’m here to tell a story, that’s my purpose and my goal. I’m a writer, a teller of tales, and someone that sees human beings, no matter how they identify, as human beings.

Quite honestly, the idea of rejecting a writer’s service based on who they voted for is a bit ridiculous. We writers are here to tell a tale, to continue the truths and fictions of our species, no matter how we need to think or believe in order to get the stories out where people can see them. Those that are hung up on finding someone that thinks as they do without seeking to help others understand their values and way of life are, sadly, those who have convinced themselves that inclusion is what they say it is, rather than the idea of sharing what makes us unique.

We are writers, and while belief is important, it is also fluid and versatile enough to accept more than one set of ideas.

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The Ode

Ode to the Writer

By Tom Foster

 

We are the lords and ladies of creation, yet we are still just players.
In the beginning we are as in the end.
We do not aspire, we simply do.
There is the dream, tempered by the reality, and given form by the thought.
By our thought, by our dreams, and by the reality we impose.
It’s a madness of the sort that only poets and writers can truly understand, and even among those only a few can comprehend.
Comprehension, that is a truly frightening thing.
We play with words, we are those that can immortalize, and those that can do what must be said and say what must be done.
It is confusion, this comprehension, and in the midst of it all, it is the single word that carries power, the one among all that is ever elusive, ever there, always waiting for us to return to, to remind us what it is that drives us, what keeps the fountain flowing.
Every last soul that has ever put ink to paper, ever put finger to key, every vague idea that swirls inward from the maelstrom we call the world, the universe, and everything in between and without.
For everything that could come, for everything that has and will come, we are there. We are the ones that do not deny the voice that tells us, “this must come to pass”, or “this must be remembered”.
It is who we are, what we do, and through everything, it is the lifeblood of those who cherish this timeless art form, this undeniable urge to say, in their own manner, “I AM”.
We are not gods, we create, and yet in the process, we are created. It is our words, penned and copied throughout the ages that have helped to shape the world, to say that, “WE ARE”, that “WE EXIST”.
Whether tyrant or savior, good or evil, saint or sinner, the words that are put to time’s test are those that will come to define the world we know. Memory is not enough, though it serves.
As do we.
We are the lords of creation, the ones whose words will last and echo into the ages, for all to see, and all to remember.
Is it truth?
The better question is: Does it matter?
We are the lords and ladies of creation, and by our words, the world we know is shaped, molded, and given to the next generation, and so on and so forth until the whole mess ends, only to be rebuilt, and to crumble again.
We are the lords and ladies of Creation, and this is our legacy.

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Slipping In, Checking Out (part II)

Kate blinked, taking in her surroundings once again. The corridor around her was still, the clamoring of prisoners, the roar of cannon fire, and the smell of smoke, were gone.

“Do you think we could file a lawsuit if it was found out she slipped in this old dump?”

“Hey, show some respect. This ‘dump’ was an important line of defense back in the day.”

Kate didn’t react to the voice of her younger brother or their father as she blinked several times, still looking around in dazed confusion as the realism of the…the…whatever she’d just seen continued to echo within her thoughts.

What had just happened?

“Kate?” her mother asked.

She looked up to her mother, and-

“Get up soldier, on your goddamned feet!”

Ah damn.

(to be continued)

Slipping In, Checking Out

Exploring bunkers at Cape Disappointment Fort Canby - YouTube

“Let me out! For God’s sake, let me oooout!”

Smoke hung heavy in the air as he dove headfirst into the darkened corridor, obscuring his vision as the howling of their prisoners nearly drowned out everything else. Her senses were reeling, but she couldn’t help herself as she moved forward, feeling with her outstretched hands as the heat within the enclosed space was stifling, grabbing at her as though it were alive.

Where in the hell was she? Only a moment before she’d been watching her step so she didn’t slip on the wet leaves that led into the tunnel beyond, and now her couldn’t see more than a foot in front of her face. A heavy whining sound reached her hearing at that moment, and in the next breath she was thrown off of her feet as she collided heavily with the rough ground beneath her. Letting out a groan of pain as she felt something burning in her side, Kate moaned as she tried to roll over to her front, her skull pounding as though a giant had just wrapped his meaty, calloused hand over it. As she reached her knees, she fully expected to see little more than devastation all around her, but instead-

“Kate, are you okay?”

(to be continued)

Are you a good writer? Better yet, who cares?

Don’t worry about what people think, you can always get better at writing if you want.

I’ll make this short and fairly simple: you’re not a perfect writer, no matter what critics might say, or your parents, or anyone else. There is no such thing as a writer who’s 100% perfect, because there will always be those who have a differing opinion of what’s good and what’s not. Some of the greatest writers have flaws that a lot of readers simply don’t acknowledge, even though they know they’re present. Do you think that you’re perfect? I hope not, because there’s always room for improvement. It’s not criticism, it’s a truth that every writer needs to get used to.

You will need to perform rewrites from time to time.

It’s time to accept it, not run from it and not get angry about it. If you want to grow as a writer, if you want people to read what you have to write, then you’ll need to write it again, and again, and again, and then take into consideration what your editor has to say. A polished manuscript is what sells, or at least that’s what they say.

Just keep in mind, you can be as good of a writer as you want to be, but you’ll have to put in the work.

Not the Program

Thinking for yourself isn’t what those in charge want right now, but they definitely preach it.

That’s part of the program, right?

It’s a little too easy to let people do the thinking for you, isn’t it?

People don’t want to think that they’re sheep, they don’t want to believe that they don’t have the power of free will and can make their own decisions. It’s a tough thing to do sometimes, isn’t it? But the fact is that if you don’t think for yourself then you might as well turn in your frontal lobe and call it a day, because some people already appear to have done that. What’s the argument you ask? Well, that’s complicated, since each root argument about free will tends to branch off like a radish into the most rational and the most radical lines of thought that one could possibly imagine. But one of the most concrete thoughts you could have in this world, no matter who you are, is that your thoughts are your own. It sounds too simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s so simple that people don’t trust it, they want to dismantle it, and they want to make it as difficult as possible to justify their own line of thinking. Sadly, people listen to this.

The idea of being ‘woke’ is a joke, as I’ll keep saying it.

The woke thoughts that people want you to believe have some merit at times, but when they cross the line and start taking away the freedoms that people profess they love and want to protect, well, it becomes a seriously ridiculous turn that turns into a tangled ball of bullshit that is nearly impossible to unravel after the brainwashing that’s been done. It’s not impossible, but it is definitely a work in progress that takes years to undo. Is it college that does it? Well, college is one place it can happen, especially when a university is salted with brainwashed nutjobs that are trained on how to display the world so that people will think the way they do. But you know what I have to say to that?

THINK. FOR. YOURSELF.

Now, and always.

Burger Chain Fires 200 Employees Following Rise in Minimum Wage (parody)

Machines need maintenance, not a paycheck.

LaCenter, Washington

A local McDonald’s was shut down today for a period of three hours, just long enough for the new, automated system to be brought online to serve the customers. Former employees were on hand to watch as the fast food restaurant opened to a line of waiting customers, and several of them were seen shaking their heads as they realized what they’d done.

Reportedly just a month earlier, the many employees of the restaurant banded together to demand that the owner of the establishment raise their base pay to $20, which is a little over $6 greater than the current minimum wage. When the owner attempted to compromise by raising the base pay to $16, the employees refused. When the employees confronted the manager and asked if he was prepared to lose his employees, it’s been said that several of the employees were brave enough to taunt the owner by asking him who he would replace them with. Unbeknownst to the employees, the owner, Alonso Angelo Jr., had already ordered an entire automated system worth a whopping $6.65million, not including the installation.

Sadly, this means that six other restaurants have been closed within a fifty-mile radius to absorb the cost, which indicates that if more McDonald’s were to go automated, more would close as a result. As for the employees, several of them have reportedly sought work at other fast food chains, and none of them were available for comment.

Look Out, Scams Ho!

Sure love comes with a price tag, but it should come after you meet, right?

Beware gorgeous women who start asking for money, especially if you’re suspicious enough to do a little digging and find out that those exotic-looking women who are calling you ‘dear’ and ‘babe’ and several other affectionate terms are willing to say “I love you” within a week’s time, or less. My advice to any and all of you guys out there that see this on your IG, if you have it, or on your social media, is to walk away and take pride in knowing that you avoided a scam that could end up costing you thousands or more.

Unfortunately, being a man with a weakness for beautiful women, I have been suckered in a couple of times and I’ll admit, I fell for a lot of crap even with being suspicious of the motives and words being used. Hey, it feels good to have someone talk to you and compliment you and make you feel good about yourself, right? The problem there is that you should already feel good enough about yourself to be secure in your own head and not be susceptible to the online charms of women that make a living seducing and promising those that they know they can get just by pursing their lips the right way or spreading their legs for a photo shoot.

If they say “I love you”, then go the other way.

Kissa Sins is a former porn star, and good for her, but if you can’t see who you’re talking to, then be wary, or be gone. Those are two of the best options.

Far be it from me to judge anyone’s life when it comes to what they’ve done, what they do, and how they earn their living. But after speaking to so many ‘women’ (yes, there’s good chance you’re talking to a scammer that’s well-versed in how to type sexy words onto the screen) it’s fair to say that trusting everyone simply because they’re nice to you denotes a lack of self-awareness on your part. You’re not that dumb; just remember that and ask the questions you need to in order to flush out the scammers and possibly, just possibly, find the real person beneath the garbage.

Don’t send money, and I mean EVER.

Angela White, aka Rose Thelma Blair, or whatever she’s going by now, is another porn star who will tell you a sob story about being broke when the truth is that her net worth is more than most people will ever see in their lives.

You’re bound to get some sort of sob story such as the woman can’t leave their current residence since they’re broke, they’re being looked after by someone, they have no money, blah, blah, blah. Seriously, if they have no money then how are they on the internet? Even with the ability to mooch off of others, this service doesn’t come free. And do yourself a favor and take a look at the pictures they’re sending you. Do they look broke? Do they look like they’re starving or put out? How the hell are they surviving if they’re as bad off as they say? Oh sure, there are plenty of extenuating circumstances that could come into play and some women might be telling the truth, but this isn’t a time to #believeallwomen.

My point, guys, is this. I know what it’s like to be lonely and I know that talking to someone online can feel damned good. But if they tell you they love you right away, or start asking for money, move on. There’s nothing there but a steaming pile that you don’t need to deal with.

Be safe guys, know who you’re talking to.

Single Mother Fends Off “Peaceful” Protestors (parody)

What It's like to Be a Single Mom | ParentMap

Vancouver, WA

One might have thought that 2016 to 2020 would be the last that anyone might have heard of ‘peaceful’ protests initiated by those who believed themselves to be downtrodden and demoralized by a simple election, but only a few days ago a single mother in Vancouver, WA found it necessary to remind a group of protestors that black bloc has gone out of style and that no one has any time for such antics any longer. Mother of one, Tanequa Harrison, was at home with her 3-year old son, Colin, when she noticed flickering lights accompanied by shouts of ‘Down with Trump’ and many other similar cries ringing throughout the streets.

“I thought all that noise was put behind us a couple of years ago,” Tanequa stated, laughing, “I thought those folks looting and smashing buildings and plugging up the streets years ago were bad enough. A bunch of morons causin’ a bunch of noise for no good reason. I mean really, they’re not teaching anyone anything, other than how to be patient with the rising ignorance that’s such a problem in our society these days.”

When protestors noticed Tanequa standing on front stoop, several of them began to catcall her in an effort to make her realize that her home was an example of white privilege. When two of them tried to force her back inside, Tanequa refused, and gave them a piece of her mind, as well as her right shoe. The two protestors threatened to call the police, but were beaten to the punch when it was revealed that two police officers had been following the protestors to ensure that no one was hurt. Upon seeing the disturbance, the protesters were arrested and charged accordingly.

“They tried to push me back into my home talking about ‘white privilege’ and stuff. I did exactly what my own mother would have done, I tried to knock some sense into them with my shoe. They didn’t know how to react at first, but then they said they’d call the cops. Lucky for me the cops were already around.”

At this time, Tanequa has not been charged, but the two protesters, who have been identified as Antifa members, have been charged with assault.

Barista Backs Down Angry Mob (parody)

Worst parts of working at Starbucks, according to baristas - Business  Insider

Portland, OR

In an event that has been described by many bystanders as stunning and yet ‘undeniably pathetic’, a local barista took a stand against an angry mob a few days ago. Martha Mayhew, one of the top baristas in the city, had a minor supply setback on September 1st and had to decide whether to open shop or stay closed for the day, which would have lost her coffee stand a substantial amount of business for the day and possibly for month had she not acted quickly and decisively.

“I already had an angry mob on my doorstep, and I wish I was exaggerating” Martha stated, “They were threatening to break in and get their morning coffee on their own if I didn’t open the doors. I’m happy that I have such a devoted number of customers, but I didn’t expect them to threaten me if they didn’t get their morning bean juice. I mean, come on, I know that Portlanders are crazy about their coffee, but there’s a shop every few hundred yards, there was no need to get aggressive.”

Reportedly, Martha slipped out the back of the shop in order to find the nearest grocers after discovering that the store hadn’t resupplied by the owner the week before. While the owner wasn’t available for comment, Martha has made it clear that she feels lucky to have the help of the local grocer, who decided to remain nameless, since the individual not only helped to resupply the store, but agreed to wave a substantial portion of their fee for this act of kindness. As for Martha, the savior of the day, many of the disgruntled and under-caffeinated Portland natives were duly impressed, after they overcame their irritation, when she calmly told them that they could wait patiently for their morning latte, or they could make their way to the next coffee shop down the street.

“She was calm and composed,” said one of those who threatened to break down the doors, “She actually told me I could park it and wait or move my happy a** down the way. Normally I’m not intimidated by anyone, but the way she said this, I felt my sphincter tremble.”

As of now, the coffee shop is back in full swing, and many of the regulars have done their best to spread the belief that Martha is one of the ‘toughest baristas in all of Oregon’.

Thoughts?

I mean, I know it’s old news, but the lesson still needs to be given.
You might be a... - Imgflip
What happens if you’re a Cardinals fan?
100+ Funny Liberal Memes That Are Impossible And Hilarious - GEEKS ON COFFEE
So let’s be fair and say it’s not all liberals…and hope that doesn’t offend anyone. If it does, meh.

Seriously, I’d love to hear thoughts on this, even if they’re not thoughts I agree with. The fact that these ideas and memes are still accurate is kind of sad, but it’s a crazy world we live in.

Here’s a fun subject: Character Development

The more detail you use, the more believable your characters become.

Every element of a book is important since all elements that are being used need to come together in a way that makes the audience believe that the story is worth more than just reading, it’s worth believing in. The setting, the tone, the look and feel of the different areas that come together to make the story what it is, all of it makes a difference since all of it has to do with pushing the story forward and creating something that people will want to know more about.

But the characters are what will really drive your story, since the setting and the tone won’t deliver the tale on their own.

So, how do you create a character?

It’s exceedingly simple, but the details that will go into it can make things so much harder than they need to be. Some people try to flesh their characters out too quickly, and in doing so they rush things and their character isn’t given the proper time and space to develop. It sounds a bit silly to some folks, especially since these are fictional characters we’re talking about. But if your character doesn’t sound real enough for the story they belong to, then you won’t find yourself with a clear and detailed individual that people can see, hear, and understand. That last part might not need to come for a while, since twists and turns in your story might change your mind as to the nature of your character. But having a grounding point from which to work is important since as the author, you should know everything there is to know about your character.

The basics of creating a character need to be addressed. Without the basics you have a ghost with a few vague descriptions to go on.

Most authors already know this, but there a few very basic pieces of information that need to go into your characters to get the ball rolling, such as:

  1. Appearance: Are they short, tall, medium height? What’s their hair color, their skin color? Do they have a noticeable characteristic that sets them apart? Do they wear one type of clothing or many different types?
  2. Personality: Are they serious, snarky, or timid? Do they get along with others, or are they social outcasts? There are a lot of different personality types out there, but assigning or or two to your character is a wise move.
  3. Lifestyle/Culture: Are they cisgender, or are they part of the LGBTQ+ community? Are they immigrants? Are they native to their homeland? These are tidbits that go deeper into a character’s past and identity, and might even be called controversial, but it’s worth taking the time to develop.

Oh, don’t worry, there’s much more to come, but for now, think about these things and how you want to apply them.