Arlock writes (personal). An outlet for Glossolalia

Posts tagged “writing

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Sonder

Sonder


7 Steps To Create The Perfect Writing Space

writing-room

Clutter can comfort or distract

Sights and Sounds
Everyone likes a view, cityscapes, forests and the ocean can all be a source of creativity, but if it’s not an option put up some posters that are going to inspire you to hammer out those words. The same goes for sounds, some people find them inspiring and do their best writing to music, the sounds of nature or the cacophony of the city. For others, sound just gets in the way. Work out what is right for you.

Light
If you write during the day make sure you have lots of natural light. There is nothing better for the creative mind (and mental health) than getting enough natural daylight. If you write at night make sure your light source doesn’t buzz or flicker. Some people get headaches just from the fluorescent lights, others don’t care.

Glare
Whether you’re working under natural light or artificial make sure your not being blinded by it. A nice cheat can be to write out things on paper during the day and transfer/edit that to your computer at night. Think of it as a quick and dirty revision process.

Comfort
If you can’t sit still, are being sat on by pets, or ache, you’re not going to be getting a lot of work done. You don’t necessarily need a desk, a bean-bag and notepad might be right for you, just make sure your body won’t be constantly disturbing your mind.

Distractions
Avoid them. Lock off facebook and Tumblr (there are apps for that) leave you phone in the other room and uninstall games from your work computer. Make sure you have the option of locking off your space to really get lost in the writing process.

Resources
Your reference books and materials should be kept close at hand. You don’t want to have to break your flow by taking the time to search through other rooms for what you need.

Coffee/Snacks
There are two schools of thought on this. One is to keep everything nearby. Carrot sticks or other not so healthy items just an arms length away. Again so you don’t break your flow.  The other school of thought is to keep those snacks the hell away from your keyboard/notes. Not only does this avoid the inevitable “hey what happened to the rest of the packet?” moments, but it also means you are regularly getting up to stretch your legs and in doing so get the blood and creative juices flowing. If you’re anything like me you’ll get up and boil the jug three or four times before actually remembering to make the coffee before it gets cold again.

Related Link http://avoidingatrophy.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/how-to-create-better-writing-space-and.html


Onion Burns

Novelist Has Whole Shitty World Plotted Out

I’m going to lead with “Ouch”, and then wince repeatedly at least once per paragraph. Still, there is a potential lesson in here for all of us. (Reblogged from The Onion)

Source: Novelist Has Whole Shitty World Plotted Out


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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

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Source: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal


Work Much?

I’m supposed to be working.

Character Outlines: Check

Setting Outline: Check

Actual Plot Outline: errrr……. have a piccy

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Pro Tip

ProTip

It’s as easy as it sounds if you do the writing down part.


One space or Two?

We Still Can’t Decide Whether To Put One Space After A Period Or Two.

Reblogged from the HuffPo simply because this is a debate that has followed me my entire life. I’m firmly in the one space camp, but I can see why the two space heretics have yet to be exterminated. About the only times I don’t mind double spacing (as long as I actually can remember to do so) is in academic essays. In essays, you’re already making the margins artificially wider and putting more space between the lines of the work all so the marker has more room to leave comments.


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Exercise that Mind

crazy walk

get out for a walk, get the blood flowing to the fatty tissue behind your eyes, and with it, some new ideas. Like most people, my best ideas happen in the shower, or while walking. This is great for me, but bad for my water soaked note-pads. Worse still for the odd house guest, who gets to see a naked white streak as I bolt from the shower to the keyboard because I forgot they were here.

If I set up a treadmill under flowing water, I would be INVINCIBLE! … or possibly electrocuted.

So get out, smell the grass. Enjoy the bite of the wind, talk to the wildlife in a vain attempt to convince it you’re not food. Then if you make it back alive, CREATE!


Why You Should Never Write Action Scenes

While this article is about script writing, the basics still apply to novels. In particular, no risk = no emotional stakes.

Go and check out the whole thing on John Rogers blog. Link http://kfmonkey.blogspot.co.nz/2005/12/writing-action-scenes.html


Raising the Dead

NecromancerGarry McPlottool is dead. Pushing up daisies. Gone to join the choir invisible.

…thing is, he’s THE Garry McPlottool, the star of so many stories you’ve written and even more you’ve just imagined. Queue the literary Necromancer. So the question is “When, if ever, is it good to bring back a dead character?”

I’m not talking Days of our Lives stuff here when every character dies [or is assumed dead] a half dozen times. Especially when they mysteriously come back with a new face and accent, ten or twenty years younger. I don’t care about TV World where Dean’s death is just this episodes cliff hanger. I mean a world crafted with a little realism, where death SHOULD matter.

What are your rules for resurrecting a much beloved [or loathed] character, is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? Maybe you think the line should never be crossed.

I’m curious.


Video

SteamPunk: Sonic Battle

I should be working, but sometimes the playlist requires a bit of impromptu dancing around the room.

I’ll leave this here and prance away…


Dragons?

DragonDragons, I’ve always wanted to write Dragons. For me, the dragon has always been at the heart of Fantasy.

My first introduction, outside the Pern series, was a wonderful little novel by Rose Estes, called Children of the Dragon. It made such an impression on me as a young reader that I went out and bought a copy 10 years later, to give to any hatchlings that I might spawn.

In Epic fantasy they’re majestic forces of destruction, dominating the skies and laying waste to whole nations. While in Urban have somehow shrunk to pocket-sized comic relief, often found setting fire to expensive things in the underwear drawer.

Either way, I want to write dragons… but I’m not that brave yet. Dragons have to be treated carefully, with asbestos lined, kid gloves.
So… Dragons? … a mainstay of fantasy that lifts us from the page and into the worlds on fire-wreathed wings? Or a tired cliché best left off the page? Thoughts?

Comments more than welcome…

EDIT: until I was about to write this I actually had no idea that Estes had written a whole slew of books. You live and learn. 

 


Charlie

fantastic short piece by horrorinpureform

http://www.wattpad.com/50604876-short-scary-stories-i-hate-it-when-my-brother

I originally saw this uncredited on a facebook post, and then tracked down the original to share.


Writer’s Bible

Exegesis 1

chapel, writers tips, publishing, editing,

1 In the beginning, the writer cleared the workspace.

2 And the story was without form, and vague; no words were upon the screen of the computer. And despair moved within the mind of the writer.

3 And the Writer said, Let there be a document: and there was a document.

4 And the writer saw the document, that it was blank: and the writer selected a font from the menu.

5 And the writer called the Font Times New Roman, and the document he called Draft 1. And the document with the standard font was saved, and this was the first day.

6 And the Writer said, Let there be a structure in the midst of the story, and let it divide the story into acts.

7 And the Writer made the structure and divided the story that was before the turning point from the story that was after the turning point: and it was so.

8 And the Writer called the document Draft & Structure. And the document with high-level structure was saved, and this was the second day.

9 And the Writer said, Let the first half be divided into beginning and middle, gathered together unto one arc, and let the stakes appear: and it was so.

10 And the Writer called the story-arcs plot; the gathering together of the structure called the acts: and the Inner Critic saw that it was coherent.

11 And the Writer said, Let the structure bring forth Situation, the set-up yield complication, and the middle yielding crisis after his idea, whose seed is in conflict, upon the story: and it was so.

12 And the structure brought forth Situation, and set-up yielding complication after his kind, and the middle yielding crisis, whose idea was in conflict, after his kind: and the Writer saw that it was not totally dreadful.

13 And the document was saved with a word count of 500, and this was the third day.

14 And the Writer said, Let there be a world in the story to divide it from the works of others; and let it contain cities, and characters, and locations and scenes:

15 And let them be for consistency in the story to give depth to the idea: and it was so.

16 And the Writer made two great characters; the greater character to be the protagonist, and the lesser character to oppose them: he made a supporting cast also.

17 And the Writer set them in the conflict of the story to give form to the idea,

18 And to rule over the story, and for the reader to identify with: and the Writer saw that it had potential.

19 And the document with its characters was saved, and that was the fourth day.

20 And the Writer said, Let the characters bring forth personality quirks and mannerisms that give them life, and the conflict may be fought in tavern or street, and with weapons and words.

21 And the Writer created great scenes, and every piece of dialogue that was spoken, which gave the scenes realism, after their kind, and every twist and surprise: and the Writer saw that it was good.

22 And the Writer cursed them, saying, I see grammar errors, and typos, and whole scenes that no longer fit, and I may have to re-write the beginning entirely.

23 And with much weeping, the computer was abandoned for the fifth day.

24 And the Writer said, I have a thesaurus and a writing guide, coffee, and chocolate, and time away from my day job: and it was so.

25 And the Writer made changes to his plot, and chapters after their kind, and every typo and grammatical error: and the Writer saw that it was better.

26 And the Writer said, Let us make the protagonist in our image, after our own self: and let them have victory over the villain of the story, and over the minor obstacles of the beginning, and over the crisis, and overall the conflict, and over every challenge that fills the story.

27 So the Writer created the protagonist in his own image, in the image of themselves created him Marty Stu; or created her Mary Sue.

28 And the Writer cursed and said unto himself, There is no depth, and no surprise, and knew he would have to re-write his characters: and give them setbacks, and places where they failed, and a terrible defeat before the final victory otherwise the triumph would be meaningless.

29 And the Writer said, Behold, I have crafted a true story, which is filled with three-dimensional characters, and a good pacing, and an interesting world for all this to occur; to you, it shall be a good read.

30 And to every person on his friend list, and to every writing peer on the forums, and to everyone that had mentioned in passing that they liked this type of story, a message was sent, and this message was that the story had been finished: but it was not so.

31 And the Writer knew everything that he had made, and, behold, it needed a second draft. And the Beta Reader and the Editor were contacted on the sixth day.

(Might be vaguely familiar )

Also launched at Medium because I’m a sucker for new platforms


Smiley

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Smiley watches from atop the wall.

Jagged teeth, black and cracked give him his name. Teeth that rise from that dark mouth like tombstones in a graveyard.

Smiley knows where each small dead thing goes.

Of course he knows; he eats them.


Party in Hell

Exercise 1. Describe a party from the point of view of a soldier on leave from a war zone. Don’t mention the war or the fact they are a soldier.

She had only recently returned to the tedium of suburban life, and the invitations to social events were already becoming a burden. These housewives with their shiny cars and sticky children, their petty feuds and narrow world view chipping away at her forced calm. “Obligation, it is the price of acceptance”, she muttered to herself in the corner, desperately clutching a Vodka and Orange that is more vodka than orange.

A loud bang, sends her pulse racing, senses suddenly on alert. But the call of ‘Taxi’ comes in from the patio along with forced, socially acceptable, laughter. Its an old joke, from a culture she no longer understands. Loud sudden noises should evoke fear, not tired chuckles. She wants to shake these people, rub their faces in fleeting nature of their existence, but that isn’t what a good guest does.

Around her the social tango spins on, a tune she can remember but no longer understands. Each note jars, the rhythm seems false. She wants to scream at them, make them open their eyes to the world around them and pull them out the domestic fantasy they all seem lost in. Instead she takes another gulp of the bitter juice, finding to her surprise that the glass has emptied itself again.

Between her and the kitchen, lies the gauntlet of the young single men of the community. Young, smug little shits with their tennis shoes and know-it-all attitudes. Worse still are the divorcees mingled amongst them, privileged suburbanites with BMW’s and wandering hands. Yet beyond them lies the drinks cabinet and the blessed vodka that makes these gatherings bearable. They are here for her, invited so that they can meet the single woman who has entered their community.  She gathers the tattered remains of her courage and moves forward, forcing a smile, knowing that they won’t notice that it never reaches her eyes.

 

Exercise 2. Describe the same party from the point of view of a child. Don’t mention the child.

This was supposed to be a party, but it didn’t feel like a party. Lots of people standing around using big words and long pauses while others nod agreement. Sometimes people would move from one group to another, sometimes a whole group would collapse and the people in it would reform in another place. It was like watching bubbles in a bath, the groups moving, bursting, reforming.

There was music too. Old, slow, stuff that he had heard before but didn’t recognise. It was playing quietly and no one was dancing, so he wasn’t sure why it was on. Sometimes someone would turn up the music up for a song, but usually someone else would turn it right back down again because it made it harder to argue about ‘politics’, and ‘batting averages’.

There was cake earlier, full of cream and strawberries. It was left in the middle of the big table so that you could come back and have as many pieces as you want. So far that had been the best bit of the whole thing. Far better than having to wade through strangers smelling of tobacco and dead flowers, their booming voices making a painful racket.

In the back of the biggest room, in a corner between the door and the an indoor plant, there was a sad looking lady. She didn’t join in the groups, instead she just smiled at people and occasionally went into the kitchen and back. One time she left her seat and he switched his empty juice glass for hers, but it tasted like it had gone off, so he poured it out on the plant.


While They Sleep

Writing Exercise: Describe a place. Use no characters or dialogue.

Dark corridors stretch as far as the eye can see. At least they would, had anyone been present to see. The dull red glow of emergency lighting provided the only illumination and would reveal nothing to an observer beyond miles of untreated metal panels and non-slip flooring. The air itself is stale and lifeless, carrying only suspended dust particles and the scent of exposed steel. Here and there an exposed wire pokes out from the unsealed intersection of ceiling and wall, breaking the monotony.

There are few sounds out here, so far from the unceasing engines. Sometimes those exposed wires will spark, disturbing the silence and adding a faint scent of ozone to the already metallic air. Then the accompanying puff of smoke will drift through the red lighting, like a ghost trying to escape this sterile limbo and out into the dark void of space beyond. Rarer still is the occasional echoing clang of an external impact, an ancient traveller shattering itself against the reinforced walls.

There is a strange grandeur to this spartan desolation, not only in the sheer scale of this facility but in its very nature. It staggers the mind to think that flesh and blood creatures, took the metals of their world and hurled them into space to form a new artificial home. Creatures that would never survive the harsh coldness of space had stolen the bones and breadth of the world that birthed them and had created something wholly new, wholly unnatural. Yet this Frankenstein’s monster of science and desperation may well be all that stands between us and extinction.


Description Exercise. Same setting, different viewpoint.

1. Describe a party from the point of view of a soldier on leave from a war zone. Don’t mention the war or the fact he is a soldier.

She had only recently returned to the tedium of suburban life, and the invitations to social events were already becoming a burden. These housewives with their shiny cars and sticky children, their petty feuds and narrow worldview chipping away at her forced calm.  “Obligation, it is the price of acceptance”, she muttered to herself in the corner, desperately clutching a Vodka and Orange that is more vodka than orange.

A loud bang sends her pulse racing, senses suddenly on alert. But the call of ‘Taxi’ comes in from the patio, along with forced socially acceptable laughter. It’s an old joke, from a culture she no longer understands, loud sudden noises should evoke fear, not tired chuckles. She wants to shake these people, rub their faces in fleeting nature of their existence, but that isn’t what a good guest does.

Around her the social tango spins on, its a tune she can remember but no longer understands, the rhythm jars, each note seems false. She wants to scream at them, open their eyes to the real world around them and pull them out of the shared domestic fantasy they are lost in. Instead she takes another gulp of the bitter juice, finding to her surprise that the glass has emptied itself again.

Between her and the kitchen, lies the gauntlet of the young single community men. Young, smug little shits with their tennis shoes and know-it-all attitudes. Worse still are the divorcees mingled amongst them, privileged suburbanites with BMW’s and wandering hands. They are here for her, invited so that they can assess the single woman who has foolishly entered their hunting grounds. She gathers the tattered remains of her courage and moves forward, forcing a smile, knowing that they won’t notice that it doesn’t reaches her eyes. Beyond them lies the drinks cabinet and the blessed vodka that makes these gatherings bearable

2. Describe the same party from the point of view of a child. Don’t mention the child.

This was supposed to be a party, but it didn’t feel like a party. Lots of people standing around talking about things that make no sense, big words and long pauses while others nod agreement. Sometimes people would move from one group to another, sometimes a whole group would collapse and the people in it would reform in another place. It was like watching bubbles in a sink, the groups moving, bursting, reforming.

There was music too. Old, slow stuff that he had heard before but didn’t recognise. It was playing quietly and no one was dancing, so he wasn’t sure why it was on. Sometimes someone would turn the music up for a song but someone else would turn it right back down again because it made it harder to argue about ‘politics’, and ‘batting averages’.

There was cake earlier, full of cream and strawberries. It was left in the middle of the big table so that you could come back and have as many pieces as you want. That had been the best bit of the whole thing. Far better than having to wade through strangers smelling of smoke and dead flowers.

In the back of the biggest room, in a corner between the door and the indoor plant, there was a sad looking lady. She didn’t join the groups, she just smiled at people and occasionally went into the kitchen and back. One time she left her seat and he switched his empty glass with her full one, but it tasted like the juice had gone off, so he poured it out on the plant.

 


Last Post

We start with two characters in a room. A basic writing exercise starting with the line…

‘There’s something happening out there.’

(more…)