Showing posts with the label Writing

A Play in One Table - Part 2 of ?

While I was falling asleep last night the next part of the conversation came to me. I turned on a book light, grabbed a notebook, and quickly jotted it down. It ended up in a different notebook than the last set of notes on this play.

Let's see part 1 first.

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Man sitting in booth at restaurant reading newspaper. Modern gangster/mobster feel.
Kid slides into seat across from him.

man - "Who are you?"
kid - "Jack."
man - "Well, Jack. What are you doing?"
kid - "I want to hire you."
man - "Listen kid. That spot, that's a spot where men sit. You're not a man. Get out, maybe come back when you are."

Man looks at newspaper again.
Kid says nothing, doesn't move.
Man looks up.

man - "I'm not used to repeating myself."
kid - "You're right. I'm not a man."

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And here's what I wrote down last night.

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kid - "You're right, I'm not a man. My dad wa…

A Play in One Table - Part 1 of ?

I think it would be interesting to have a play where the entire thing is a conversation across a table. Because just a single conversation can be intense. I thought of this quite a while ago, but no great ideas came to me. Today, I shall begin the work.

I've been researching comics recently because a friend of mine connected me with an illustrator. He has an idea for a comic book series and needs a writer. So, now I'm working on writing a comic book. There's a superhero comic book that I came across a few days ago, Venom #10, where there is an intense conversation at a booth in a restaurant. It's a lot like how I imagined this play going.

I thought it might be more of a unique idea to have a story focused just on a conversation at a table. Alas, it has been done. I also realized at that same store that my idea about mercenary superheroes is already a thing too. It's funny to think of something new, and then find out someone already thought of it a long time ago. It…

Critics and Creators

This piece of wisdom popped into my head the other day, "Creators don't write for critics. Critics don't write for creators." I posted it on my Facebook page and got a few comments. The more I thought about it the more I realized the truth and importance of that statement.

My Aunt Karen made a comment about it being true. Since I had been thinking about it I felt like articulating a bit more, so I did.

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Jeff - I was just thinking about how when I write articles about books or movies I don't intend those for the creator at all. I intend them as part of a discussion to learn from for people that either want to appreciate and have a deeper understanding of the work, or for people that want to learn from the work so that they can create their own things. When I write something I don't think about any critics at all. I think about the reader at times, but as the person experiencing the work, not commentating on it. Creators and critics are usually see…

I Went to a Writing Group Yesterday - January 23rd, 2019

There was a lot of snow in the Muskegon, Michigan area yesterday, so there were only five people. Not only did the session go well, it may have gone better than when there were twelve people there.

The exercise was simple, but not that simple. There were six groups of physical traits. You were to choose one trait from each group and that was your character. The scene also had to include the phrase "That didn't go as planned." Here's what I did in 25 minutes, I'll talk about it after.

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He mostly looked like any other dwarf. The stocky body, the bald head, the bushy eyebrows, hooked nose, and big beard. Just his eyes were different.

Now, let me assure you that these details matter. I take three things seriously in life: one, betting, two, ax throwing, three - well... I'm not sure what the third one is, but there is one.

This guy, Hulfalflafen, he was new. The odds were good, 7 to 1. I had 37 silver marks to my name. At 7 to 1, I could live for a mo…

I Went to a Writing Group Today - January 9th, 2019

I've been to a few writing groups and haven't liked them. This one was pretty fun though.

Some writers love writing groups, others hate them. The fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson loves them. The horror writer Stephen King hates them.

From my experience I would say there are two types of writing groups. There is the group where people are working on certain projects. They bring pieces in and try to improve them with the feedback from the group. This is the type of writing group Brandon Sanderson has. I haven't seen this well done yet.

The other group is like the one I went to today in Muskegon, Michigan. It's for fun. It was just an hour long. There were 12 of us. The whole thing was a simple little exercise.

On a slip of paper, that I forgot to bring home, was written what we were to do. The exercise was to write something from someone else's perspective. That was the basic idea at least.

Two people wrote from the perspective of a dog. One person wrote from the per…

Various Writing Ideas as They Have Occurred to Me

Would you like to see what my writing idea notes are like? Well, here we go.

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adam and eve as last surviving martians

The Traitor's Heart

telekinesis in accordance with the force of gravity in proportion to the mass of the various planets. gods, angels, or something.

born in day versus night, the children of light and the children of darkness

prince phillip as movie name rather than sleeping beauty or malificent, shadiversity

dragon of indeterminate size

vamps hunt humans, vampires farm humans, humans suped up on vamp venom, humans hunt vamps, humans learn to farm vampires, vamps created by humans backstory?

retrovirus infected vaccines as causing genetic mutations and leading to ...? monsters and superhumans. accidental, but then covered up

pairs, duality. god and chaos, christ and antichrist/satan/lucifer, raphael and uriel, gabriel and michael, adam and eve, cain and able, dobbleganger theory

superstitions as real, like knocking on wood, whole systems like type of …

A Written Record of Ideas for Writing

I'm always keeping track of ideas for writing.

It would be interesting to write a book on epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and reference at least these thinkers: Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Karl Popper, Jean Piaget, James Gibson, Carl Jung, Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Viktor Frankl, Endel Tulving, Jerome Bruner, Lev Vygotsky, Richard Feynman, Erwin Schrodinger. I think that I might be able to pull, or generate, something new out of that.

If you don't age when you are moving at the speed of light, then travel at the speed of light would basically be like time travel. It's really just like a pause button. I was talking about this with my dad, and it's an interesting idea. Basically Rip Van Winkle, but with space travel.

What if ghosts were subject to physics? Hard rules for magic are interesting. I haven't read "Master of the Five Magics" yet, but it did seem to revolutionize fantasy writing by taking magic and applying physics to it. Th…

This Darn Bio Thingy

This little bio on myself is giving me difficulties. My mother and my aunt have now informed me that they were both confused when I said I wasn't eccentric. I thought it was obvious sarcasm, but obviously I was wrong. I will try to fix this darn thing.

Here is what we are starting with.

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Jeffrey Alexander Martin: He has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, climbed a mountain, swam through a group of freshwater jellyfish while scuba diving, rafted whitewater, wrestled alligators, ran with bulls, jumped horses, bruised his ribs doing winter luge, vomited blood in Africa, received a black eye and a bloody nose in a tomato fight, has the weirdest resume ever, and has four major spinal deformities. He's just a simple guy with a simple life from Michigan, USA. No one has ever called him eccentric a single time in his entire life. He is oddly transparent at

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The only rules are that it has to be 100 words or less and it has to b…

Commas, Ellipses, Interstitials, and the Making of a Great Sentence

Writing styles are like ice cream, you either like them or you don't. But, there is an art and a craft to learning how to make ice cream, and the same goes for writing style.

This was posted in one of my writing groups a couple of months ago.

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If one person says to another, “Do you have any idea, how beautiful you are?” then what does the comma signify?

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Now, Dennis doesn't give us the context, just a sentence and an odd question. By itself, I don't like this sentence. Maybe you do, that's okay, remember that ice cream flavor preference is personal and so is writing style. Taste in all of its forms is personal. Alas, I think that the comma breaks the sentence up in an odd way. You could, of course, read it that way. "Do you have any idea (short pause) how beautiful you are?" It makes sense, I just don't like the flow. I use commas a lot, and I use them in slightly unusual ways. That's because that's how I talk, I t…

A Story in Four Words

In a writing group a few months ago someone made a flash fiction challenge: Write a story in four words. That's a hard challenge, but I think I came up with a good one. I reveal it to you now.

There is a unique skill and a unique talent involved in this unique challenge. It's called closure. Scott McCloud talks about it in his excellent book Understanding Comics. It's about the space in between. In the case of comics it's about the space in between the panels, in between the drawings, where we imagine what's needed to connect them. In prose and poetry there is also closure, it's about what happens in between what you say (not to mention before and after).

In such a short piece of flash fiction there has to be a lot of closure. The writer must rely on the reader to fill in a lot of the space. Are you ready for my four word story? Here it is.

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She sighed, walked away.

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You can see what I mean. What happened right before this? What was sh…

The Lie of Showing Versus Telling

Writing groups can have aggressive stances on their views. This is one.

Someone had asked about some sort of writing advice. It was something like not being able to do only showing and not telling. I responded. Then this Heather person responded. She's a normal type of online attacker that's not a very deep thinker. It isn't a great conversation, but it does show some interesting things.

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Jeff(1) - When reading books you'll find that most writing advice is primarily bull.

Heather(1) - Show don't tell isn't though.

Jeff(2) - It is. When you read authors you'll notice that some of the greats do a lot of telling.

Jeff(3) - That's why people like Ursula K. Le Guin say that show don't tell is bull.

Heather(2) - No, it isn't. More of the greats show and advocate for it. Cite your source about Ursula Le Guin and feel free to name these greats who primarily tell.

Heather(3) - Btw I've read all of her books. She does plenty of showing. P…

A Few Writing Ideas I've Been Pondering

I'm always generating ideas for writing. Often, I make a note of them. Here are, a few...

Pro-Global Warming. Other than temporary trouble along the coasts for some people for a little while, overall global warm would be good for humans. It would open up large land areas that are currently not useful. Global cooling is the really scary thing. It would also be good for vegetation. I haven't heard anyone else make this argument before. I thought it out from first principles. Can long-term weather patterns, climate, stay the same or does it have to change? Change. Would it be worse if it was warmer or colder? Colder. What would be bad if it was warmer? The coasts would rise. What would be better if it was warmer? More useable land area, more water, more vegetation.

The Moral Case for Meat Consumption. The more that I've learned, a lot through experience, about diet the more it seems to me that societies are healthier the more meat and fermented foods that they eat. Mikaila Pe…