Monthly Archives: May 2015

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Outline

Didn’t you know? A bad outline is the death of a good story.

How can you be creative when everything is already planned out for you?

No emotion in the writer, no emotion in the reader.

How can you follow this rule when you already know everything that’s going to happen?

Like an overbearing parent, a detailed outline can suck all the danger and excitement out of your next story. Here’s a post from NY Book Editors that explains all the problems writers, especially newer writers, cause for themselves whenever they outline their work.

So that’s it? All this talk about how dangerous outlines are, let’s just forget about them?

Please. If not for your sake, think of your readers. You gotta outline.

WHY? You’re a creative person, and you’ve got a million ideas, and whenever you sit down to write, you always seem to come up with more. What do YOU need an outline for?

Continue reading How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Outline

Forlorn girl

How Can We Sing? (300 Word Fiction)

In such a strange land, they found themselves surrounded by nothing familiar. There was the sun, but it was wrong, and the mountains, those were wrong also.

Here, they could not hear The Song, and so they could not sing. Muhlirim knew they would die.

“But all must die, Muhlirim.”

“Yes, yes,” agreed the others, nodding in unison, with their bodies slumped on an unfamiliar hill under the wrong sun.

Muhlirim thought, bending his ear to one side, still half-listening for the song of familiar stars, though he knew he would not hear it. Not here, not so far away from home.

“All must die,” Muhlirim said, “But until we do, we must try to live. Do any of you want to die?”

“No, no,” again, in unison, the lost people spoke, their voices tired and empty and without a hint of music. Monotone.

“Muhlirim, how can we sing?” One of them asked, and nobody answered.

A wind howled over the unfamiliar hill, and they all shivered and their teeth chattered. Some animal that they could not see loosed a desperate cry, once, twice, and then no more.

A girl began to cry, and her father tried to comfort her, but her father, too, was overcome with grief, and he cried with her. One by one, Muhlirim’s people were overcome with grief, until the whole hill was filled with the discord of voices, mourning themselves.

“How can we sing, how can we sing,” Muhlirim asked himself, over and over, while his people withered under the wrong sun. He mumbled and muttered until all of his words became one, but not a true word, only a vibration.

A moan, in which he put all of his aching and yearning and determination, until it became something else. Until it became more than a cry. Until it was louder than the voices of all his people.

Until they all sang with him.

The End.

Thank you for reading. If you’re interested in more fiction, check out my latest short story, which you can download for free from Smashwords here, or read on my blog here.

Don’t forget to leave a like, follow the blog, and drop a comment on your way out! All criticism and thoughts are very appreciated. Don’t be shy! I want to know what you think. 

Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road

What’s Wrong with Mad Max: Fury Road?

Redemption [ri-demp-shuh n] noun. –

1. an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.

This is for you, George Miller. I don’t know if you chose the wrong theme for your film, or you forgot what you were writing halfway through, but if you want a lesson on choosing a theme, then go read this. It might help you focus on the right theme next time (the word you were looking for was ‘salvation,’ not redemption).

Now that’s out of the way, let me tell you what I thought about Mad Max: Fury Road:

Continue reading What’s Wrong with Mad Max: Fury Road?

Why You Need a Theme – And How It Can Kill Your Writing

This was the last thing Swen said to me, before he jumped off the cliff: “I’m going to do something that you will never forget. Witness me.”

As he fell upon the war band, I watched as a car, covered in spikes, collided with his body. I watched as the explosives fell from his hand, undetonated, and his body impaled on the car’s spear-covered hood.

But Swen died with a smile on his silver-stained lips. And he did not die in vain.

Weeks passed, the brothers were killed, and the fortress fell, but still, I could not rid myself of Swen’s dying words. It was only after the water began to run again, when the sanded bluffs turned from red to green did I fully realize Swen’s message.

Continue reading Why You Need a Theme – And How It Can Kill Your Writing

Democracy Monument at Night. Bangkok, Thailand.

Starting Your Next BIG Project – 3 Simple Steps

Do you want to write a book? You want to start a blog? You’ve been thinking about this project for a while, but it seems so huge, you don’t know where to start (or maybe, you’re just too afraid)?

Good.

The size of this task may be threatening, but you are the Architect, you are inspired by the greatness of others, and you see this project as a challenge, an opportunity to become great yourself.

So, Architect, how do you build your monument? What is the first step you take?

Continue reading Starting Your Next BIG Project – 3 Simple Steps

A Light in the Dark

The Outward Path (Short Story – 5000 Words)

Now available in all ebook formats, free of charge. Download here from Smashwords or purchase from Amazon (I’m still waiting on Amazon to discover that it’s free on Smashwords, so for the moment, it’s only free on Smashwords. I’ll update this when it’s changed).

Captain Sanesh lowered his head, clasped his hands together, and tried to remember the last time he’d seen any captain sit, cross-legged, on the cold, metal floor. His knees were a respectful distance from the bodybag. Martin had placed strips of fabric around the room, and each was painted with symbols that Sanesh had seen tattooed on Martin’s skin, and printed in Martin’s books. Tall, black sticks ringed the bodybag, like miniature obelisks, exhaling smoke toward the ceiling. A tingling sensation played under his skin.

Continue reading The Outward Path (Short Story – 5000 Words)