Category Archives: Articles

Ifs, Ands, Or Buts

ifs ands or buts acrostic poem

Not your biggest problem
Of the day

There’s this song from the musical Working called “If I Could Have Been.” The first time I heard it, I laughed to myself a little because it’s so gloriously vague (“If I could’ve been what I could’ve been, I could’ve been somethin’.”), and all I could think was “That’s why you didn’t – you never had a specific plan or goal.” Harsh, yes, but true.

Even as I was enjoying the irony of the song, however, I was struck by the power of one line in particular:

“I never took no for an answer – it was tougher to fight all those ifs, ands, or buts.”

I think an artist of any kind has faced that struggle of being henpecked to death by other people’s doubts, ideas, and fears. In fact, I think it’s a common problem in any job. And in many ways, all those little attacks are much harder to deal with than a single “No.”

You see, no ends. The rest… not so much.


My Top 10 Posts: Happy 6th Month Anniversary!!!

I still can’t believe I wrote that right, but, yes, today marks the 6th month anniversary of starting this writing experiment. I am officially halfway through my year-long challenge of writing and posting something new every day. And what a trip it has been so far!

This blog has been through short stories, poems, bits of plays, ongoing novels, and even a webhost migration. Not to mention lots of new readers (thank you!!!). It seems only fitting to do something special, so why not celebrate with my 10 favorite posts from the 6 months so far?

I’ll tell you why not. That means I have to pick 10 favorite posts! (What? How?!)

Instead, I’ll say that I picked 10 of my favorite posts, and to be honest, the fact that it was hard to choose delights me. The fact that I still like and enjoy most of these posts months later means that I must be doing something right – however hard it makes picking out 10.

To make it easier, I removed the novels from the running (as an ongoing story, they get so much extra effort that it simply wouldn’t be fair to compare them to the rest!), and here are the 10 I finally decided on in no particular order:

10. “Not a What

There are days when I wish I’d actually said this in response to people. On the other hand, it always sounds a bit Dr. Seuss-ish to me. I may like the idea better than the poem.

9. “Can’t

I chose “Can’t” because I like the two angles it explores and the ambiguity between them. Plus, it’s a pretty universal issue, which I like in a poem. It’s also one of the earliest pieces from this experiment.

8. “Love

Speaking of universal issues, this is a requisite for poetry. If you’re writing poems, at least 1 has to be about love, right?

7. “Tangled Web

Spider-like, they sit and watch
Subtle, deceptive
Camouflaged
Hidden

read more.

6. “See the Headline: ’45 Minutes Stolen’

This is a bit lighter and fluffier than most of the other poems I’ve chosen, but it makes my literal mind happy. And it’s always fun to see evidence of my struggle against constantly rhyming.

5. “Or Not

A little more recent, this poem is another with an appealing ambiguity for universal issues. I wrote it in September, and I have a feeling I was facing some sort of decision at the time – but that’s a pretty safe guess (I was alive at the time, so…).

4. “Teatime

Although I’ve been choosing poems so far, “Teatime” is a little different. After months of promising to do a play or a bit of a play, this was the first to be posted. Even though it’s a better script for an online comic than an actual stage production, I enjoy it (although I have been told that my humor is a bit warped).

3. “The Fields

I love the idea of this poem. It’s a bit twisted, and as a writer, there’s little quite as gleeful for me as hiding coarse, inelegant meaning in poetic language.

2. “The People Paradox

The longer I live the truer this poem seems. I’m not really old enough to say that yet, but still…

1. “When IDEAS Attack

Finally, the post that started it all. You may not know this, but the very first post on this blog was an article (a slightly NSFW article at that). It’s a wonderful feeling for me to read it again 6 months later and enjoy it as much as I did when I first posted it on Weebly. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Here’s to another 6 months!

Time is short, but we go on
With words and thoughts and feelings.
I’ll keep on writing (please, forgive the slant rhyme)
And thanks so much for reading!


The Risks of Writing a Novel Online

            Although I do not follow a strict update schedule (other than something has to be added daily), those of you who have noticed my writing patterns may have expected a Wind Town update today. I do try to update both novels weekly, but I also haven’t assigned days to update each one. And that was a very deliberate choice.
           You see, there are several major risks to posting a novel online as I write it. One of the major risks is getting pretty far into it and realizing that I’ve gone in the wrong direction. I’ve seen this problem with several online comics over the years. They get to a certain point, and then, they just stop. I understand time commitment changes and things like that, but sometimes, the authors just wrote themselves into a corner or realized that they didn’t like where the comic was going anymore. I really don’t want to do that to these books, and having been through the experience, I really don’t want to do that to you readers.
           I can promise that if I run into that problem (knock on wood), the story won’t just stop. Instead, I’d make the necessary revisions and update the changes. Unfortunately, that may not be too pleasant for readers either.
           The goal is to avoid those revisions altogether – either by planning ahead or by finding ways to make any issues that come up work anyway. To do that, I really need to know where the story is going. Usually, I’m more of a discovery writer following a loose outline. The further I get into these stories, the more dangerous that method is going to be.
           That’s the main reason I haven’t dedicated myself to specific posting days for the novels. If I start to work on one of them and feel like I need to do more worldbuilding and planning before I try to post anything, then I would rather delay the post than mess up the story. I may mess it up anyway (it’s a challenging experiment), but if I do, I’m going to go down fighting.
           Thank you for bearing with me while I do.


Happy Belated Anniversary

            Well, the three month anniversary of this project skipped right by me (actually, the second one did, too). It’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 months already (and at the same time, it’s not hard at all). I wasn’t sure I’d make it this far, but although there have been some late posts (and some technical glitches), I’ve been pretty consistent about writing for this every day. Yay! Break out the party favors!
            It’s been a little strange – I don’t usually let anyone see my rough drafts as I’m writing, so that’s pretty nerve-wracking. I’m still not sure how far I’ll get before I break and go back and make revisions… But I’ve said that before (and probably will again). Other than typos, it hasn’t happened… yet.
            Also, writing and posting each morning means that my brain tends to focus on the same subject matter. I have been trying hard not to give you too many poems and short stories about needing more sleep or caffeine. That’s about all my brain wants to think about first thing. If you see me trending in that direction a lot, feel free to let me know. If it becomes too much of a struggle, I may end up switching it to nightly posts, so be forewarned about that possibility.
            On the plus side, I did get some short stories up. I didn’t get any plays written for this yet, so that’s my goal for the next round. Since the major goal is to keep the experiment going for at least a year, I have 9 months to get a play added. (I shouldn’t have told myself that.)
            And, of course, the most important part of an anniversary: Thank you all again for reading! You guys are awesome! It’s so exciting to know that people are reading these posts, and I’d love to hear from you! Seriously, you’re welcome to send me prompts or comments at any time. If I get super ambitious (or find some free time stacked away somewhere), I may put up a survey or something. But for now, thanks for reading, and I hope you keep enjoying the random things I write!

Sorry for the Delay

Sorry for the late posts the last few days! I have been working on other projects with deadlines and nearly forgot to write for twytte both days. I will try to be more disciplined about posting in the morning. This morning’s post is almost ready and will be along soon. Thanks for your patience!

Facing Reality about Writing a Horror Story While You Watch

            The more I plan Bloodletting, the more I begin to think publishing it piece-by-piece as I write it is a bad idea. It needs to be much more orchestrated than the other two novels. Publishing one detail out of turn and finding out three posts later that the reader shouldn’t know that yet could dramatically change the overall effect of the plot – which could give you a bad experience with what I think could be a really good story. I don’t want to risk that if I don’t have to (and I don’t).
            Plotting out the details to slowly build each twist and turn to the level that the story deserves will be enough of a challenge (it’s a new level of intricacy for me), so Bloodletting is not going to be part of the daily post-as-I-write experiment for the foreseeable future. Sorry about that. I’ll probably post updates or more tidbits related to it later. I’ll definitely post something when I finish it (an announcement at least).
            I’m still not 100% sure this method will work for Deathwalker and Wind Town for the whole process, but I will keep updating those as part of the experiment for as long as it does work. And I will continue trying to write without modifying already-published scenes. After all, this is meant to stretch my brainpower and strengthen my writing skills. I have to make it at least somewhat different from how I usually write.
            On the plus side, having one fewer novel will free up more time for short stories, plays, and possibly more frequent novel updates (no promises). That said, sorry again for the change in plans, and thank you for your interest in these stories. I hope you enjoy them.


Genre Issues: Bloodletting

            Of the three novels I started here (or novellas, who knows?), one has proved much more challenging to move forward with than the others. The goal was to try out three different genres: science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
            The science fiction and fantasy have been much easier to move forward with (ideas, purpose, overall plot focus, etc). I think the reason is familiarity and complication level. I’m definitely more familiar with science fiction and fantasy, and while some books in those genres have extremely intricate plots, others don’t. It depends on how many twists, turns, and dramatic reveals the author wants the book to have. If that isn’t the emphasis, you can move forward without too much planning.
            I’m not sure it’s possible to have a successful horror book without twists, turns, and dramatic reveals.
            As a result, I’ve been doing a great deal of research into the horror genre (with lots more to go) to help me feel a bit more grounded on reader expectations – especially what not to do. I may break those rules anyway, but I’ll have tried. Anyone who wants to share rules, favorite books/movies, etc, please, feel free. This is a genre I’ve never tried, and it requires a level of intricacy that hasn’t been my usual style so far. While I truly believe that writing challenges are good for a writer’s brain and skills, I also know that listening to other perspectives and techniques is very beneficial (seriously, I will take whatever tips/links you want to give).
            You see, to make matters worse for myself, when I finally came up with a focus I like for the horror story, it turned out to be something that I don’t know much about. So that’s requiring a good amount of research, too. That’s partly because it may require an ensemble cast. Like usual, my brain isn’t taking the easy road when it comes to ideas.
            This may be the one that makes me break the revision rule.
            In any case, I haven’t posted on this story since July 3rd, (and it didn’t even have a working title at that point) so here is a refresher before we move on:

Bloodletting 0

            Cinnamon and blood. The warm spicy aroma once associated with cake and cookies mixed with the metallic wrongness until the once bright room blurred and bile burned its way up the back of her throat.
            Sudden pain in her head broke through the dizziness, and when she reached one shaking hand to her forehead, she realized that somehow she had ended up on the floor. She immediately pushed up to her feet only to stumble backwards, hitting the counter hard with her shoulders before sliding down the smooth cupboards to the cold tile. The shaking made the dizziness worse, and the quivering weakness of her muscles made the fear spread through her like blood.
            The reminder brought the smell back so strongly that she would have whimpered if she’d had the strength. There was something… Her shattered mind didn’t want to remember, so the images came like flashes of light through a murky haze. Unwillingly, she turned her head to the right and the pooling horror lying there. Tears and bile swelled as her small body shuddered. Gasping breaths racked her as she spun back and desperately tried to crawl away from the desecration of her childhood.
            Every inch was a struggle as she forced trembling muscles to reach and pull. She didn’t hear the footsteps or the hissing curse, but the warm drops down her face made her raise her head and whimper.
            “Mom.”


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