November 30 post: To sum up…

this has been a productive blogging month. And I didn’t have to put in that much extra effort, which is interesting. I haven’t made a post every day, and certainly not a flash/short story each day (and I already knew I wasn’t going to be able to do that anyway) but this will be the 24th post this month, which is quite good. I have written a few short stories, I have started something that may become a larger work, and I wrote a few posts on writing that have become quite popular, at least compared with my usual numbers.

Thanks to all of you who found some of the posts interesting and shared them. I may despise Twitter, but I can’t deny a good chunk of this month’s visitors came from there.

And what’s in store for December? Well, I’ll continue writing small chapters for Project Contact, but perhaps at a slower pace because, honestly, I don’t even have the general layout of the story — I was pretty much improvising as I wrote them. I have a few ideas for other posts about writing too, and I’m going to start a gaming project but that’s something I’m not going to publish here though (not in its entirety anyway.)

I’ll keep myself busy. And if you want to do the same, remember that you don’t have to wait for any magical month, ruleset, or gamified online community to start pounding that keyboard. You can start tomorrow, or right now, if you want.

 

 

November 18 post: Increase your writing output through meticulous timekeeping, precise reinforcements, and pure HATE

I mentioned in the previous post that writing is a very peculiar behavior, with a great chasm between its execution and hypothetical reward. That makes it hard to reinforce, to keep it consistent, comparable to similar activities with equally deferred rewards, like strength sports.

I thought I was being original when I wrote that but reading the papers I had ready for today’s post I noticed I was probably just paraphrasing one of them. It’s from a 1977 paper [1], which includes an introduction and discussion by a psychologist, but the core of the paper is the novelist Irving Wallace explaining his charts and timekeeping methods he used to become a professional writer.

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November 17 post: The psychology of writer’s block (¿and bodybuilding?)

“The treatment of writing problems offers a special challenge for clinical psychologists. In few other domains do patients pressure themselves to be so spontaneous, original and perfect.”

Those are the first two sentences from a psychology paper on writer’s block and the generation of creative ideas, by Robert Boice, published in 1983 [1] If I were to write a paper on those subjects, I’d probably start like Harry Frankfurt in his book On Bullshit, with something like:

One of the most salient features of the writer’s subculture is that there is so much bullshit.

This is uniquely relevant to the problem of writer’s block too, of course.

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November 16 post: writer-based prose vs. reader-based prose.

I was sure I had already published this post, but I had not. I “remembered” this post when I read The Pulp Archivist linking to my previous posts on writing. He says:

Given that writing has such a separation between the speaker and the audience, it is no surprise that many writers forget about the audience altogether. Many literary novelties are written for the speaker’s sake–such as three codas to a story written in the three persons of point of view–and not for the effect on the audience. The faults tackled in these blogs all boil down to writers forgetting about the audience and focusing on the flash of writing

My answer was “ah, yes, that’s like that thing about the writer vs. reader-based post I had… uh, did I actually wrote that or just thought a lot about it?” Well, apparently, the later. So let’s redress that…

Continue reading “November 16 post: writer-based prose vs. reader-based prose.”

November 15 story: Twenty Feet, Part III

Part I, Part II

“Who is, or was, this Bardo?” Corin asked.

“Is, he is still alive as far as I know,” Dolman said and a faint smile crossed his face. “He was discharged. His place wasn’t the army. Oh, he was pretty good, but…” his voice trailed off and the smile became a chuckle.

“He was one of von Strab’s Morons,” one of the hunters explained.

“That’s uh… an officer?” The scribe ventured.

“No, those were von Strab’s Idiots. The Morons were then brain-scrambled boys they grabbed when the war got really nasty.”

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November 13 post: A story to remember

Once there was a master pick-up artist for whom the tricks of his trade were to him as natural as breathing. He got around the world, worming himself into women’s mind and bedrooms with equal ease. But during his last escapade (to the exotic nation of Moldavia,) news of his arrival got around first (his social media posts stating “BITCHES be ready, I’M HERE” probably didn’t help either.)

The women had been forewarned, and some now were forearmed, and they shunned him in bars, shopping malls, coffee shops, and maternity wards. But The Master, for that was his professional name, had always known this could happen and had many contingency plans ready for such a situation and knew that, eventually, he would get around the problem.

With flair and finesse, he dressed himself up into a human peacock. Two long, dangling skull earrings, a crystal cane, a double-breasted coat that could have only been worn by Dracula himself, a silver stole, more rings you can count, a top hat, and a fanciful beard later, he was not only outrageously embellished but also unrecognizable. Ready for action, he got around the ladies with humor, guile, charisma, and judicious negging, and then, finally, he really got around with the ladies.


 

Yes, this is just a made-up story to help me remember the various meanings of the phrasal verb “to get around.”

November 9 post: Deep POV is shallow (and harming fantastic fiction)

I don’t feel like writing a story today so I’ll make a post on writing. This post will pull together different issues I have hinted or referenced in other posts, focusing on what I believe has become a serious problem in fiction literature, especially what is known as ‘genre writing’: the death of the narrator. I blame what is known as Deep Point of View, although perhaps a new term would be needed for what I will talk about, perhaps Character-Only Narrative, but Deep POV will have to do because nobody would know what I’m talking about if I start talking about CON.

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