Mokujin or Treebeard?

30 10 2011

Alright, so this one actually got a little messed up.  The leaves, while not particularly hard or anything new for me, I tried to do a bit differently.  It kinda worked, and it kinda messed it up, in my opinion.

(But if you can’t spot it, I won’t tell.)

This guy is called “Mokujin.”  My four year old brother named him.  That’s right, fellow gamers.  Fear the day my little brother grows up and gets his own gaming profile.


“Don’t Piss With Kitsune,” and Messy Writing

8 06 2011

I would like you all to know, I’m not happy with WordPress right now.  After having spent the last half hour typing (and then hitting “Publish”) all of my post was erased.  The nerve!

Curse you, Evil WordPress Gremlins!!!

I really don’t want to type everything out again, but…

…let’s try this again…

(Who knows?  Maybe I’ll make more sense the second time around.) Read the rest of this entry »

Finished. Bring On The Next!

15 03 2011

No philosophical comments today.  Just a quick update, writer to writer.  (Or reader…or musician, supervillain, whatever you may be.)

I finished the third round of editing and rewriting last night on a book (hopefully) due out this year.  That’s two books down, several to go.

So what’s next?  I’ve started the brainsetting process–yes, brainsetting–of three more books.  I CAN’T WAIT for the marketing to start and I can start sharing my ideas with you all.

Soon.  Very soon. 

Write well, read well, live well.

“Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible”
-Edwin Land

Evil Plans–A Gift to You and Me

5 03 2011

I thought by the time I’d finished Evil Plans, I’d have quoted the entire book on my Twitter.  It’s just that good. Read the rest of this entry »

Context as a Virtue

24 11 2010

Welcome back!  This week I conclude my first blog series, Writing as a Virtue, on the topic of Context.  When using the “reveal” I believe many authors overlook Context, which can really ruin a good book if it’s not used right.

Read the rest of this entry »

Writing as a Virtue: How to Write Dialogue.

3 11 2010

“Writing as a virtue.”  What is that supposed to mean?

According to Plato, a virtuous man is a man of moderation.  Bravery lacked fear, but was not reckless in the face of danger.  Thus, courage was found somewhere between cowardice and foolishness.  Also, an honest man did not lie, but he didn’t batter his friends down with needlessly brutal truths.  In both of these examples we should see a pattern form, and that pattern was the bases of one of Plato’s views on life:  That a virtue is a mean between two extremes.

Whether you agree with the famous Greek in his philosophies or not, we writers can learn a lot from this simple concept.  Virtue is a mean between two extremes.

For the next three weeks I’ll be looking at a different, important aspect of writing each week.  Starting this week:  Dialogue.


Dialogue as a Virtue

Here are four things to keep in mind while writing dialogue.

1. Perfect vs. Casual Grammer & Slang — Ever watched a movie and realized that everyone spoke perfectly, without any of our daily stuttering or common “Uh”s?  There’s a reason for that.  It’s so you don’t lose the audience in the midst of conversation.  Your reader (and/or watcher) needs a clear and concise dialogue to follow with ease.  Just make sure that your characters aren’t too perfect.  They still need to have different commonly used words, phrases, and eccentricities just like the rest of us.  (And be sure to limit the slang.  It throws people off, yo.)  TIP:  Watch some movies.  Even if you’re not interested in getting into the movie business, take notes on the script dialogue and the pacing of words in the movie itself.  Authors will have a different road ahead than scriptwriters, but both can still learn loads from each other.

2. Curt vs. Long-winded Conversation — I have trouble with this one.  I love to spin words.  I love all of the different words I can use to say the same thing, describe the same picture, the same scene.  But unless you’re trying to create a boring, long winded character in the vein of a Eugene Levy role, you need to keep things–again–short, concise, easy for your reader to follow.  The problem I have with this is going to far the other way and creating dialogue made up of only sentence fragments.  Don’t do this.  You need to have balance, otherwise your audience is going to feel like the story is flying by to fast, or sluggishly dragging its feet to the end.  TIP:  Listen and study to the conversations of your friends and family and note mentally–or physically, if possible–the way they describe objects and situations.  Interviews are also a great place to study for your dialogue toolbox.

3. Sterile vs. Various Description — Very similar to the point above, except for (if your writing a book) you need to make your “narration” of the conversation as balanced as the dialogue itself.  The best written dialogue is dialogue you forget you’re reading.  Go ahead and let your readers know you’re the narrator of the story.  But when your characters are talking, let them do the talkingTIP:  Delete as many words as possible outside of the characters’ conversation.  Leave in only neccessary tags to help keep things clear and concise, as well the character actions that help propell the story along.

4. Simple vs. Creative “Tagging” — Tagging is one of the most important aspects of dialogue.  But without a little creativity you get a long list of, “he said, she said, he said, she said.”  And that’s not good reading.  So don’t be afraid to add in the occasional “she yelled”, because–like any good spice–a dash of flavor goes a long way.  TIP:  Study best-selling authors, especially those known for character development.  J.K. Rowling or Neil Gaiman, for instance.  Also, don’t be afraid to step outside of the box with good authors who are often swept under the bigger names, like John Flanagan and Derek Landy.

13 Quotes on Reading

28 10 2010

This morning I took some time to select 13 quotes on reading.  Reading, to a writer, is every bit as important as writing.  We have to step out of our own little books every blue moon and sample the wondrous works of art that others have created.  It is both stimulating for our minds–and creativity–and soothing rest for us as human beings.

As you read these quotes this morning, keep in mind how you can learn–and enjoy–reading from other authors, and how to be selective about what you read as well.


1. “There is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing.”
-Clarence Day

2. “By elevating your reading, you will improve your writing or at least tickle your thinking.”
-William Safire

3. “Beware of the man of one book.”
-Thomas Aquinas

4. “Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.”
-Mortimer J. Adler

5. “Reading is not a duty, and has consequently no business to be made disagreeable.”
-Augustine Birrell

6. “A novel is never anything, but a philosophy put into images.”
-Albert Camus

7. “The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self activity.”
-Thomas Carlyle

8. “Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.”
-Lord Chesterfield

9. “The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”
Joseph Joubert

10. “Choose an author as you choose a friend.”
-Sir Christopher Wren

11. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
-Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

12. “No one ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have tried while trying to write one.”
-Robert Byrne

13. “What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us.”
-Thomas Carlyle