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)

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.

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.

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.

The Devil in the Details-Revisions and Rewrites

One way or another, you will miss something when you’re writing.

No one likes having to think about it since the idea is that authors can write and wow their audience with their ability to tell a story. But the truth that a lot of people don’t like to own up to, but will learn if they’re smart, is that they will need to revise or rewrite their story from time to time. Revisions aren’t fun, seriously, they’re not. Rewrites are even worse since essentially you’ll find yourself needing to write entire pages, entire chapters all over again to work on the clarity, the spelling, the grammar, anything that your editor tells you needs to be done. If you don’t, well, then there’s a good chance that a publisher won’t want to work with you, a literary agent won’t give you a second look, and whatever writing career you want will go up in smoke before it ever has a chance to develop.

But that’s why we’re here. That’s why writing sites like this exist, to help you out and give you the hard lessons that you need, or the attention that you might want and need to improve your writing. Personally, I don’t like revisions and rewrites, I’ve had to do this way too often in my career, but I understand the need for it, I get the idea that it’s important to improve your skill set and write in a manner that people can understand and come to enjoy.

I’ll get into rewrites and revision again, believe that. But for now, my parting word is this: it’s going to be needed. You won’t be a perfect writer from the very start, accept that. But sites like this exist to help you, to give you tips and advice, and the lot of us will make sure that you get what you need to improve your writing in ways you might not have thought possible.

We’re here to help, so take advantage of that.

Sometimes You Can Write with Pictures

Just pay attention, some of this relevant and some of it is fun.

It’s way, WAY too accurate, isn’t it?
Hands up, how many people have had this issue?
Accurate.
It’s kind of an inevitability.
Yes, it’s exhausting.
Hey, they copied my filing method…
Ha…ha…ha…
Eh? Eh? Eh…
You thought it was deadlines, didn’t you?
Crazy is a writer’s default setting.
The maniacal laugh comes with time.
As long as your name is out there, you’re on the right track.

See? Funny stuff, right? Welcome to the writing world, enjoy.

Writing is Important to Society. But Why?

From writing out your grocery list to creating an epic tale, society depends heavily on writing.

The ability to write is far more important than some folks are willing to admit since using the symbols we call numbers and letters into stories that have meaning and emotional content is how civilization has been built. Writing, much like mathematics, is a part of everything in a very fundamental way. While math might exist without words in every facet of nature, writing is the method by which we connect one facet of life to another as we seek to give meaning to the world in which we exist. To put it simply, writing is another form of communication that keeps people together and forms a foundation that can be built upon.

Oral Communication vs. The Written Word

When one thinks about it, quite a bit of human history, from culture and tradition to simple facets of life that are important for survival, were at one time handed down orally from one person to another. The only problem with this is that at one point, even the most astute storyteller will start to forget pertinent facts. The human mind is vast and can contain a myriad of facts and data, but at some point, the flesh and blood organ between our ears will wear out and show its limits. The written word is a means by which people have been able to convey meaning to one another in one way or another. By this method, humanity has built a foundation that has existed for far longer than anyone can recall.

If one looks back across the vastness of history they’ll realize that writing has influenced a great many things that have come to pass, and continues to do so. Without getting too deep into the subject, writing is how we mark our history, the passing of years, and the many occurrences that people deem to be important to the continued evolution of humankind. Writing is how we continue to build, to change, and to evolve. Without it, we become ignorant of our own history, and without knowledge of the past or the present, it’s possible that civilization would break down in a very big way.

What does writing mean to you?

A lot of people don’t take into account what writing really means or why it’s important to start with. Some folks are raised with their eyes virtually glued to a TV screen or a device that can give them instant gratification whenever they want it. But guess what? Writing is still involved. Whether it’s a snippet or a full-length novel, or something even more grandiose in nature, writing is at the heart of it, because it is needed, it is sometimes required, and it is a method that humanity requires to communicate in several different ways.

Writing is important because it helps to remind us who we are, who we’ve been, and who we might yet become.

Can You Write?

It’s a simple question, but one that many misunderstand.

I won’t beat around the bush, some people think they can write just like some people think they can sing. The best part of telling anyone that they can’t do something is the fact that it could inspire them to get better and listen to people when they’re being given advice. But some folks don’t listen and forego any chance to get better. The plain and simple truth is that some folks can barely form a sentence but think that they can write a novel with one hand tied behind their back.

Is there such thing as a non-talented writer?

Without calling out names, YES. There are plenty of people out there that somehow make a good living at writing even if they can’t form a simple sentence without giving themselves a migraine. Would you like to know how and why this happens? Writing isn’t just about talent unfortunately, it’s about who you know and what kind of connections can be made in this business that manages to get some books on the shelves. Cynical as that might sound, it’s unfortunately quite true.

A non-talented writer isn’t necessarily someone that doesn’t know how to write. The reasoning for this is that writers come from all walks of life, and it’s not always so simple to tell who’s going to have the gift and who’s going to work at it until they’ve got the craft mastered. To tell the truth, pretty much anyone can write, but the ability to make others feel that passion and make it a tangible thing is a different thing altogether. Some people are born with this ability and squander it, others don’t have even an inkling of how to write, but have the desire and the passion to tell a story. It’s a quandary how this happens to be certain, but the talent to write is often a divided thing.

What divides good writers from bad writers?

You might want to think that it would be skill, passion, and the overall desire to tell the story. Well, it is those, but what the public tend to think about is whether or not their emotions are being stroked, or stoked, and the public will make all the difference since they’re the ones paying the bill to see these stories. A successful author, in the eyes of the many, is an individual that can claim a bestseller or two, or more, and an audience that is pleased and compensated with stories that don’t challenge their sensibilities. Some folks love the challenge, which is why those of us that write for the pleasure still exist. The story has to be told after all.

Are you a good writer?

That’s not for me to say, or for anyone else apart from the public. But if you decide to measure your success in dollar signs and fans earned, then it’s a sure bet that you’ve made your choice as to what kind of writer you’d like to be. One way or another, if the story gets told, then you’re a writer, enjoy it as you will.

Who Should You Listen to When Learning to Write?

Books, YouTube, college, and so on exist to teach you how to write. But who do you listen to?

So, you’ve got the idea, you have a direction, and you could be well on your way to telling your story. That’s a good start, and it’s a good way to write a book that people might want to read, provided you’re that lucky, or that connected. Why you want to write makes a difference when it comes to who you should listen to, but that’s a discussion for another time. As of now, the idea of who to listen to when it comes to your writing is the discussion of the day, and to be honest and fair, there are a lot of answers that could be right or wrong. That sounds vague, doesn’t it? Well, I do apologize, but as you’ll find when it comes to writing, your own best judgment is the first voice you should be listening to. After that, there a lot of people you could choose to bend your ear toward.

Let’s discuss a few of them, shall we?

Pay attention to your own inner voice first, and your critics and ‘helpers’ second.

That’s a good rule of thumb to be certain, since if you can’t trust yourself then you might not want to put pen to paper or fingers to keys until that matter is resolved. One thing I’ve taught my daughter and am still teaching her is that you use YOUR VOICE. Yours is the one that is being used to write the story, and yours should be the first and last that decides what goes into it, what happens with it, and how far it’s going to go. Apart from that, here are a few people you might want to think about listening to.

  1. Family/Friends: The people who know you the best are usually those who can give you the best critique when it comes to your voice and what sounds like something that suits you. Unless your family or friends are editors, writers, or have anything to do with the writing industry then those who know you are best listened to for moral support and not much else. It sounds insulting, doesn’t it? Well, get this bit through your sensitive mind: if they don’t know the industry, moral support is about all they can give. It’s still worth listening to though.
  2. Other Writers/Authors: This is a slightly better source since these folks have been through the muck that is writing and have either learned how to trudge through it or rise above it, or use it to their advantage. Your writing peers still aren’t a perfect source when it comes to guiding you down the right path, but they’re a lot better than those who don’t put words on paper. They know the struggle and they might very well have a few tips that you’d do well to listen to. Mind you, I said listen, I never said follow to the letter.
  3. Editors: These folks have typically been in the business long enough to know what’s what, and they have a good idea of what readers are looking for and how to craft a book so that it will appease the masses. Editors are, more or less, the people who will polish your book and make it look pretty for those who want to read it, but there are plenty among them who can do more than chisel away the rough edges. If an editor decides to give you advice, it’s a part of their job after all, you might want to listen.
  4. Publishers: Yes, listen to them, but don’t let them lead you by the nose. Most publishers are out to help you push your manuscript and take it as far as they can. But at the end of the day they’re still running a business, and you’re another customer. If you happen to wow the audience and sell mass numbers of books then you’ll be given all the attention they can lavish on you. Enjoy it, earn it, and do everything you can to keep it. But don’t be too surprised if you’re ignored when and if your books are no longer the hottest thing on the shelves. But if a publisher does manage to give you advice, take it in stride and pick through it to find the gems and discard the rest.
  5. Literary Agents: These folks are exceedingly picky when it comes to who they’ll accept as their clients, but if you luck out and catch the eye of a successful agent, then you listen to what they have to say. If you want to make money, if you want to be successful, then do what they ask, make the changes they recommend, and compromise as much as you possibly can. Don’t sacrifice your dignity for the almighty dollar, since those who do are paid but are also bound to become a bit pathetic as their days of dancing will end eventually. But if a literary agent takes you on and decides to push your stories, then by all means, listen.

At the end of the day, listen to your own inner voice and what it tells you. If a red flag starts to wave in your mind, then pay attention. Remember, the first and last word that you should be listening to is your own. When it comes to writing, YOU are the writer, and everyone else is either a helper, or a potential reader.

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.