Category Archives: Writer’s Log

Writer’s Log: 2048 Disturbing Content

All of us can dream up some pretty ugly scenarios.

Depraved, disturbing, deranged. I’d wager you could come up with some horrific scenes with some downright criminal activity. Stuff you’d feel you could never put to paper. So, how is it that some authors can actually write that stuff and not be thought of as insane?

For my latest work in progress I’ve decided to abandon some of my social constraints and write of gawd-awful acts and heinous behavior. Immolation, horse stomping children, murdering a pregnant woman, soon the dismemberment of a “bad dude.”

Holy Hell Batman! That’s some nasty shit. Are you sure you want to have your name associated with such wickedness? Are you sure you want your editor/mother (78) to read of such unspeakable cruelty? What will she think of you now? Disturbed? Perverted?

Frankly, I don’t know. But, I figure if I can visualize it, then so can others, and if it fits the story, then so be it.

But, day-yam, that’s some corrupt sewage leaking out of my brain.

Have you written content you know others would find disturbing? Did their consternation and potential ostracization influence your writing?

 

 


I am so tense

What the hell does Past Simple / Past Perfect / Past Continuous even mean?

Oh, I’ve done the research, and *know* what their usage is. But what sucky names.

• Renny held the chicken to the block, waited for it to calm and swung the cleaver neatly removing its head.

To me I’d call this Past Present. As far as Renny is concerned, she’s in her own present tense. But to us, it’s in the past: Past Present.

• A pile of bodies lay next to Renny, but the last chicken ran frantic about the yard. She’d held it like the others; allowed it to calm and then whacked it hard with the butcher’s knife. The crow had distracted her though, and the knife, instead of slicing cleanly, had crushed its skull.

Here we start in the Past Present (again: Renny’s point of view) and then we slip into a time just before we observed Renny and her pile of bodies, a time I’d call Past Prior. That is, prior to the past we’re witnessing, the following happened: “She’d held it like the others;…” At this point we’ve double jumped back in time, the past’s past. Or Past Prior.

Past Present and Past Prior make way more sense to me than the Simple and Perfect nonsense the archaic English aficionados dreamed up.

The Past Continuous stuff? Eh, I rarely use it as it seems to need a bucket load of passive verb usage. “Renny was trying to cut off the chicken’s head.” “The bodies were piling up in the yard.” No thanks. They should call it Past Passive.

(‘Renny was trying’ and ‘bodies were piling’ are not “technically” passive. But the ‘was’ and ‘were’ trigger instant aversion in me. It seems I can’t easily tell true passive from this past continuous bollocks. So, I try to avoid them whenever I can. I’d rewrite those above with something like “The chicken moved as Renny chopped.” and “Renny tossed another body onto the growing pile.”)

Thoughts?

 


Writer’s Log: 2041 Two Points

No, this is not a basketball post.
(Yes, this is just two hours — subjective time — after my last Writer’s Log. And I really did spend the time on my writing.)

Point 1) The sense that I’ve progressed comes with the trepidation that I may regress.

Point 2) The just-plain-raw-excitement I feel when sitting down to continue writing this YAAS is just that, raw-excitement.

1) It’s a great feeling. I’ve dragged myself through the mud, the blood, and the beer and come out from under the barbed wire scared, but serviceable. The fact (a subjective concept bound by context and environment) exists that I have gotten better at this writing ability. Now, and oddly juxtaposed to my goal, I sense that said ability is not (or may not be) firmly entrenched within my psyche.

I fear that I might revert back to shitty writing.

And this specter of doubt looms like a carrion feeder above my desk. However,

2) I’ve got a robust concept framed. I know my skills have improved. And I’ve tied the entire story line into my GRAND TIME LINE. So, I feel like I can run with this YAAS for a good long time. Which sets me to titter when I place my ass on this seat (no back, just a stool really) and begin to tippy-tap out words that flesh out this next WIP.

Points One and Two are firmly in competition for supremacy.

Will I lose this ability and return to suck-writing. Or, will I convince myself that the Universe is absurd, that nothing really matters, and that it is how I interpret my own world that counts. And if the latter, then why am I writing this blog when I should be

 


Writer’s Log: 2039

No, I’m not quite back in the saddle.

But, the nag I’m riding trods steady, buckless in fact. All I have to do is stay awake and vertical while she stumbles along, finds a creek, drinks her fill and gobbles some grass. Hopefully, both my ride and seat come together in a synchronous duet.

Fuck, I wish.

What does help though, is encouragement from family and friends who’ve bothered to read my latest stuff. And let’s be honest, my latest stuff is much better than nearly everything else I’ve written. So, although I’ve diss’d attaboys in the past, they sure feel good when you need one. Hearing from a friend, “This has some great phrases and is coming together as a solid base for a super story,” can keep ya going.

Maybe I /won’t/ give up just yet. Maybe I /can/ figure out what’s needed in the next five chapters. Maybe, just maybe, I /do/ have it in me to continue to completion.

If you know a writer or artist, and who doesn’t (you can swing a dead horse, oops, sorry sweet Glendolyn, and hit about a dozen of them), if you know one, give ’em a way-to-go, if for no other reason than you might get invited to their movie debut when their novel shoots star-ward. I’ve heard it happens. I read it in a story, once.

-AM

(FYI: for those of you who don’t know what the numbers mean – 2039 is the number of hours I’ve been tallying while I learn to write well. All on my way to 10,000.)


Good Villain: Good Hero

Less than a year ago I wrote this: Villains 1882 and promptly forgot about it.

Age, decrepitude, life’s problems commandeering center stage — you know, excuses.

Then, having begun YAAS (yet another apocalyptic story) I found myself stumbling along, hero in mind, a theme, a setting, an era but, I struggled to jell the story in my mind. I poured out a few thousand words and what? Where was I going with this? Weeks went by…

And then, along came a villain.

There we are. There’s the damn story, replete with subplots, conflict, goal, and climax. All I needed to do was to follow my own bloody advice. Sure, create a compelling protagonist chock full of angst and potential but, shite-on-a-stick, what the hell will he/she do then?

Oh, right. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AGAINST THE BAD GUY.

You wanna meet this new villain? Think you’re gutsy enough to confront — her? Well, you’re gonna have to wait, friends. She’s not happy right now. In fact, she’s down right pissed. It seems an illness has cursed her with a trademark brand. That, and the ability to impose an ungodly, brain-jarring, mind fuck on anyone who displeases her. A strange gift and the intellect to use it.

Finally, a VILF.

 

 


Writer’s Log: 2017 Jack

Writing is like:

Riding a unicycle,

on a guywire,

juggling apples and alligators,

while simultaneously,

planning your next act,

with seven other players,

in a circus you’re designing for the next town,

as you remain cycling to and froe,

twisting a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue,

which you spit into a glass thirty feet below you,

never taking your flirting eyes off the trapeze artist,

teetering just out of reach of your toothsome gator,

at the same time dictating your nefarious plans for world domination and the demise of the human race,

to the parrot you have riding in your birdcage hat.

A writer is a jack-of-every-trade, never satisfied, always learning, constantly exploring what’s around the bend.

 


Writer’s Log: 2014 Criticism

Take this you worm!

Your writing lacks… Everything. You use too many adverbs. You use handicapped dialog tags. You coat your characters with pointless attributes. You head-hop. You write in passive mode. You inject author-speak. You divert the action with inane description. Jeezus-bloody-christ, but you wear me OUT with your failure to focus on your own gottdamned story.

Truer words were nev… I hear it everyday. Or rather, I used to. You see, I had crippling criticism dog me after I wrote my first novel. And so far, it’s made all the difference.

Sure, we all like a dollop of praise now and then. But since when did attaboys ever teach you a damn thing? Learn from your mistakes? How about getting brain-branded by your catastrophes… Fuckin-A, I’ll never do that again.

The problem is — well, there are two problems. 1) Getting quality criticism; and 2) Taking said criticism as constructive attenuation of behavior rather than as debilitating castigation. (I think my gonads just shrunk to the size of hazelnuts. Nutella anyone?)

It’s the second that is all down to you. Don your shark-skin suit and deal.

It’s the first that is the reason for this post.

Finding someone who is willing to provide poignant advice yet cut you to the bone, muzzle thrown to the curb, teeth bared and menacing — is a rarity. If you’re lucky, you may happen across one or two in your writer’s lifetime. Once located they are agony and ecstasy entwined. Do you shoot them in the face with a sawed-off or buy ’em a bottle of Glenfiddich? Both perhaps.

The point is, I’ve had a few acerbic son’s-o-bitches who’ve bothered to do me the honor of their opinion — one a very polite woman from Utah whose comments bitch slapped me until I vowed off of the passive voice forever. There was Duncan from Bend and now Phil from the burning fires of Hades itself.

Learning to write — it hurts so good.

Without them my 2014 hours spent thus far would have been, on the whole, wasted.