A Writer’s Seven Deadly Sins

Today’s brief post is brought to you by the morning grumpies and perhaps a pinch of tough reality.

Procrastination

The punchline of many writerly jokes on social media, procrastination is the subtle, seemingly harmless force that keeps masterpieces unpublished.

Perfectionism

Thoroughness is your friend, but at some point you have to let go of your manuscript and accept it the way it is. No story will ever be completely flawless no matter how much you fret over it.

Haste

Then again, rushing things is the quickest way to kill your book. Trust me, I know. Writing takes time. Editing takes more time. To hurry is to miss a glaring plot hole or typo.

People-Pleasing

Everybody thinks their opinion is the One To Rule Them All. Be teachable, but make your own decisions and stick to them. Your story offended that one lady at Walmart? Be polite, but at the same time…who cares?

Mediocrity

The more people climb above the standard, the more the standard will rise, and at the end of the day we might actually start to drain the waste out of this saturated market.

Emulation

Respect, learn from, and admire your favorite authors, but don’t try to be like them or sound like them. Find your own voice, develop it, and make it shine.

Inactivity

Inactivity is procrastination’s older sibling. If you sit around watching Youtube videos while waiting for ‘inspiration’ to hit, you’re doing it wrong. Inspiration gives you ideas, but it won’t finish a draft for you. Only discipline can do that. Not only that, but the longer you go without working your writing muscles, the harder it’ll be to sharpen your mind when you try to get back into it.


Thanks for stopping by. Go forth, confess your sins, and write stuff. Catch ya next time.

 

 

10 Annoying Things Fantasy Characters Do

Ever notice how fantasy characters have the same habits in a lot of books? I have, and I made a list. Because I like lists.

Note: please don’t take this post too seriously. I don’t mind these things that much. I think it’s amusing more than anything else (except for #1, #2, and #10. Those need to stop). 

#1 Sensing things

The classic “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” scenario. George Lucas isn’t the only perpetrator. These characters sense everything three paragraphs before it happens. Meanwhile, I’m lucky if I sense my alarm going off in the morning.

#2 Eating bread, cheese, and apples

I get it. There aren’t a lot of foods that keep well during a long journey. But still…give the poor guy a bag of trail mix, at least (also…bread doesn’t stay fresh very long. And wouldn’t cheese stink up the whole travel pack?).

#3 Setting a watch at night

If you’ve got an assassin on your tail, setting a watch makes perfect sense. But fantasy travel buddies often “volunteer to take first watch” regardless of the danger level. Someone’s gotta keep the bears away, right? Should’ve kept the cheese in a tupperware…

#4 Drawing swords

If I had a dollar for every time a character “drew his sword” I’d quit one of my part-time jobs. I get it, okay? Drawing your sword makes you feel cool and threatening. Suggestion: save yourself the time and just punch the guy.

#5 Avoiding roads

Unless you’ve got Ringwraiths hunting you down, what’s the worst that could happen? A toll booth? Is dodging hypothetical bandits really worth all the briars and wet feet? Come on. If you do run into bandits, just draw your sword. Or punch. You should have set that watch, Jimmy.

#6 Running into bandits

Sorry. But there’s gotta be more ways to give your hero trouble before the real action starts. Have you tried bears? Bears are stinking terrifying. I’ll take bandits over bears any day of the week.

#7 Blasting things

I don’t like obscenities in fiction. Honestly, it just cheapens the prose for me. On the other hand, substituting every single moment of explicit frustration for ‘blast it!’ doesn’t really work either. Unless it involves bears and dynamite. In that case, by all means, blast them.

#8 Scanning treelines (or other landscape features)

He scanned the treeline. He scanned the ridge. She scanned the beach. They scanned the road. He scanned his passport. Seriously, can you stop that? Blast your scanning! There are easier ways to find bears.

#9 Holding council meetings

Because that’s the best way to make urgent decisions (bonus points if it takes an agonizingly long chapter of dialog). Once I even read a chapter about a council of bears. Not even joking. (The book was Father of Dragons, by L.B. Graham. A council of bears! Bless that man.) 

#10 Speed-learning skills

Whether your protagonist has to learn how to ride a horse, fight with a sword, punch bandits, scan treelines, or blast bears and their councils, she’ll probably do it on the road (or off it, because bandits and bears), under the sage guidance of some old fart, and it’ll only take her a week or two to master the practice.


Thanks for stopping by, reader. Subscribe/follow for more bears! In the meantime, have a great day!

The Writer’s Life According to The Emperor’s New Groove

Pull the lever, Kronk! Welcome back to The Writer’s Life According To… series. This time we’re going old school with one of the best animated movies ever made, The Emperor’s New Groove!

Note: none of these gifs belong to me. All gifs can be found on giphy.com


1
When you try to write a new scene but it just isn’t happening.
2
When you pick up the red editing pen for the first time.
3
Middle-of-the-night ideas.
4
Reading over the edit notes you scribbled down two months ago.
5
When your outline is so thorough but you still find a plot hole.
6
When you’re not sure whether or not to feel bad about killing off a character.
7
When your story finally gets accepted by a publisher.
8
When you tell the coffee-shop barista you’re a writer.
9
When world-building starts to take shape.
10
When you and your editor wrap up a project.

Thanks for stopping by today! There’s a lot more of The Writer’s Life According To… series, so be sure to check it out if you cracked a smile. In the meantime, have a fabulous day!

The Writer’s Life According To…

Jack Sparrow

Sheldon Cooper

Minions

Gollum

Winnie The Pooh

Toy Story

Harry Potter

Sherlock Holmes

8 Popular Books I Couldn’t Finish

Everybody has different tastes when it comes to books. I enjoy mine, and you enjoy yours. Nothing wrong with that in the least. But just for kicks and giggles (probably more kicks than giggles), I’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of eight hyped and/or popular books that everyone else seems to love that I couldn’t even finish.

Disclaimer: this is (obviously) merely my opinion, and yours may (invariably) differ. That’s no reason for anyone to get upset, so let’s all behave like grownups. 

Disclaimer 2: for a book to qualify for this list I have to have at least tried to read it. Therefore, books like Maze Runner don’t count because I know I wouldn’t enjoy it and do not intend to try. I’m just stubborn like that. 

#1 Divergent, Veronica Roth

I’ve tried. Believe me, I have. The first book is sitting on my bookshelf in my room where I see it every day. I’ve picked it up and started the first chapter about five times now. It’s just not happening. I’m sorry, but I find it…boring. There’s no other way I can describe it. I’m sure it gets better, but I haven’t yet been able to make it past the first five or ten pages without losing interest.

#2 The Wheel of Time (Series), Robert Jordan

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love fantasy books. It’s my favorite genre by a mile. But this…I just couldn’t stay awake. Literally, at times. I received the first book as a gift and really gave it my best shot, but it takes. So. Long. To. Get. Moving. I’m patient, normally. I don’t mind investing a few chapters in build-up if the writing keeps my interest. But this…this felt like watching molasses drip down the wall.

#3 Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

The reason for this one is simple: I’m dumb. You can’t expect me to keep track of so much science mumbo-jumbo. Sorry. I mean, it takes a lot for me not to enjoy a book about dinosaurs running amuck in the present day. But I made it about 100 pages before giving up on Jurassic Park and putting it down. If I had a couple dozen extra degrees in the sciences I’m sure I would have stuck with it.

#4 Mistborn (Series), Brandon Sanderson

I tried so, so hard to get into the Mistborn series. Several good friends have recommended them to me multiple times, and again, fantasy is my favorite genre. I don’t own any of the Mistborn books, but I have had a chance to start reading the first one, and…kind of the same deal as The Wheel of Time. It moved too slow for me and it felt too grand (an odd complaint, I know).

#5 Pretty much any classic novel

I may draw a lot of fire for this one, but give me a book by Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Robert L. Stevenson, Harper Lee, Jane Austen, etc., and I’ll probably just chuck it out the window. I mean no disrespect to the undeniably successful authors of the past, but holy cow these books are a chore.

#6 The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

I enjoy The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not my all-time favorite, but they’re a fun read. So I don’t quite understand why I don’t like The Hobbit very much. It’s not the different style, or the simpler plot. It’s just…not my cup of tea.

#7 Prince Caspian, C. S. Lewis

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Chronicles of Narnia (The Horse and His Boy being my favorite of the series). But so many Narnia fans seem to think Prince Caspian is one of the best books, and I just don’t get it. It’s boring. In fact, it’s so boring that I don’t even have anything else to say about it. (Cheating a bit, because I did finish the book, though only out of necessity to continue the series).

#8 Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

I know this book is probably far less popular than the others on the list, but I’ve included it mostly because of how surprised I was that I didn’t like it. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I loved The Graveyard Book, Stardust was a beautiful story, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a tear-jerker. So when I bought Neverwhere at the bookstore and only made it through a few pages before utterly losing interest, I was quite shocked and quite a bit more disappointed.


If you made a similar list, what books might be on it? Comment below! And in the meantime, have a great day!

10 Incorrect Assumptions About Writers

Let’s face it, we writers have built something of a reputation for ourselves. I won’t deny my own…unique characteristics, and I know you lot are in the same boat. But that doesn’t mean everything non-writers think about us is necessarily true. In fact, here are some common misconceptions people tend to have about writers that are usually false:

#1 Writers depend on inspiration

In this scenario, I define inspiration as the strong urge to write (as opposed to inspiration from a specific place or person). While inspiration is helpful, serious writers discipline themselves to write regardless of whether or not they’re inspired at the time.

#2 Writing is just a hobby

For a lot of people, it is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But people don’t seem to realize that writing can also be a vocation, a life-ambition, and even a full career.

#3 Writers don’t enjoy other people

I don’t think this is the case at all. Sure, we often seclude ourselves to work, and a lot of us are strong introverts. But we still need people. We need friends and loved ones just as much as the next guy.

#4 Anyone can be a writer

False. Not everyone can be a writer. Sure, anyone can pick up a pen and write a two-page story. Pretty much everyone I know has started a novel at some point. But it’s the stubborn dedication to finish that novel that sets apart the writers from the casual dabblers.

#5 Writers only write when they have time

While it’s true that most writers have day jobs and other responsibilities competing for their time, anyone who is serious about their craft will actively carve out time, even in little amounts here and there, to set aside for writing.

#6 Writers are always looking for input

Sorry guys, but writers don’t necessarily need suggestions about their next plot twist or character creation. Of course, we’ll occasionally ask for help (normally from other writers), but for the most part we don’t need to be told what to write about next.

#7 Writers are always depressed

I’m honestly not sure where this belief originated. It’s just not true. Most of the writers I know are the happiest people alive. Granted, maybe we tend to experience emotions more intensely than some others (I’m sure there’s a whole science behind that possibility), but that doesn’t mean we’re always depressed.

#8 Writers base characters on their friends

This one is partially true, because a lot of writers take personality traits from friends or family members and incorporate them into their characters. But it’s false to think every character in a book is a carbon copy of one of the author’s friends.

#9 Writers base the protagonist on themselves

Similarly to the last point, writers don’t actually make themselves the protagonist all the time. As a matter of fact, I’d say we’re trying very hard not to do so. I don’t quite get why so many people ask me “so are you the main character?” when they read my book. Honestly, we’re not even that similar (I hope).

#10 Writers can’t make money

I’ve talked about this before. When I tell people I’m a writer/author, they automatically say something like “oh, but it’s so hard to make a living doing that. What’s your real job?” And while I understand the sentiment, and they’re not technically wrong, I would like to remind everyone that with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, it is actually possible to earn a basic living writing books.


What assumptions have people made about you when they find out you’re a writer? Are some of them true? Or are you drastically misunderstood? Let me know in the comments below. In the meanwhile, have a great day!

The Writer’s Life According To Harry Potter

It’s back, and this time we’re looking at the wonderful wizarding world of writing! Sort of. I’ve lost track of the number of instalments in this blog series, but oh well. The writer’s life according to Harry Potter:

1
When you finish writing that epic climax.
2
Discovering the joys of a thesaurus.
3
When you check your book sales.
4
Gotta weed out those cliches…
5
The dangers of not bringing a notebook.
6
Yet another typo.
7
There are some reasons to go out…
8
When you need reviews for a book release.
9
Giving your characters a heads-up.
10
No, you will not “ship” my characters!

As usual, none of these gifs belong to me. All gifs can be found at giphy.com.

Header image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Harry-film-logo.png

The rest of the series, The Writer’s Life According To…

Jack Sparrow

Sheldon Cooper

Minions

Gollum

Winnie the Pooh

Toy Story

I’m super glad you stopped by. Subscribe if you want to stay in touch, and have a splendid day!

The Writer’s Life According to Winnie the Pooh

Oh, bother. Here we go again! As usual, none of these gifs belong to me. All of them can be found on giphy.com.

giphy (1)
When you run out of motivational snacks.
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That first 5-star review.
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What you spend 90% of your time doing.
giphy (4)
When formatting time rolls around…
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Self-publishing in a nutshell.
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When people ask what it’s like to be a writer.
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New books and your bank account.
giphy (8)
When minor characters try steal all the attention.
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“Can I be a character in your next book?”
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Those pesky buy-my-book messages on social media.

If you’re just joining the series, check out the previous installations of The Writer’s Life According To… here:

…Jack Sparrow

…Sheldon Cooper

…Minions

…Gollum

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Header image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/bibliodyssey/3066786506