Showing posts with the label Writing

I Went to a Writing Group Today - April 24th, 2019

Should I go to the writing group today? That type of question runs through my head before all meetings and activities. Then, afterward, you never doubt that it was best to go. You can tell because you're re-energized. It was the same today.

I had a plan heading to the meeting, something I wanted to try. Neil Gaiman mentioned a good writing technique, coming up with a situation and then asking, "How did we get here?" You then construct the story leading to that moment. I wanted to do that. I didn't. Here's the prompt from today.

(Also, I went sporting this cool temporary tattoo done by a friend that says "Once upon a time..." across one forearm, representing the start of an unfinished story. I also have broken chains around both of my wrists representing Prometheus bound and unbound to the rock cliff by the tyrant Zeus in punishment for giving the gift of fire to mankind.)

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Left to Write 4.24.19 Prompt
Craig’s List Missed Connection
Below is…

Creating a Comic Book - Dungeon Buddies - Part 3 of ?

We have a solid idea for page 1. We also have pieces and parts about the whole plot. Today I want to work on fleshing out the whole plot, which I'm thinking about as 10 issues of about 20 pages. The immediate scenes after our opening page are pretty obvious, but the overall story is still a little blurry in areas and I want to iron that out so that my first time through is decently smooth with, foreshadowing and such.

Here's page 1. Then I'll start working through trying to piece this whole epic story together.

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Page 1

Panel 1: Top third of page. A mountain ridge with two shadows walking along it, a soldier and a witch. Kind of dark and mysterious, ominous.

1. Narration: After the alliance won the war, the grand council sent a soldier and a witch to hide the Gauntlet of Kings in the X Mountains. Many had gone looking for it, none had returned.

Panel 2: Bottom two-thirds of page. Gauntlet floating above display mantel in the middle of the cave. Lut and Gaza on …

Trying to Understand the Romance Genre

I don't really understand the romance genre. It seems too much like it's the same story over and over again. It's less like characters acting in the world than a plot with whoever thrown into it. In the end I think the whole thing centers on value, like the rest of life.

I posted this in a romance reading group a couple of months ago. People seemed to think it was about right.

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Does this ring true for the reasons behind this trope?

A young, attractive woman is pursued by two men. (Because she wants to feel valued.)
After some internal turmoil she chooses the more powerful, wealthier, and more dominant man. (Because she wants to feel valued by a man that she values, which is a man that is effective in the world.)
As the relationship develops he learns to value her so much that he loses much of his dominance and now sees her as an equal. (Because she wants to be as valuable as the man she most values.)

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This can change somewhat, and those are the be…

Story, Drama, Conflict, and Suspense

Let's stress test my unique ideas of story and drama. Then we'll look at coming up with more useful thoughts about suspense and conflict.

In my article "What Is a Story?" I came to new definitions about story and drama that I think get to the very root of the issue.

A story is the representation of a change, or set of changes, resulting in a steady state.

Drama is the potential or actual change to a thing of value, in its value.

My friend Jon liked the article and sent me a message about story. His favorite author George Saunders gave this example of what a story is at a seminar he attended.

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a.  Not a story:  "the cat sat on the mat."
b.  A story:  "the cat sat on the dog's mat."

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This was my off the cuff response.

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That's interesting. See, I would say that's an idea for a story. I've seen several writers do this. They're examples of the difference between a fact and a story, as Aaron Sor…

A Short and Not-Sweet Story

Two days ago I was driving to my writing group. My mind was wandering and I was thinking about different ideas. When I got to the group and the doors were closed I realized that we didn't have the writing group this week because the library is having a book sale. Nevertheless, the idea for a short intense story was already turning over in my mind. I will see what it comes to here.

Let's begin.

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This story has a tragic ending.

May 3rd
He had never seen something so beautiful. The brilliance of her smile was beyond that which could be achieved by any mortal woman. It was not just the smooth lines of her lips. It wasn't just the soft vibrant glow of her cheeks, or the way her eyes lit up. It wasn't even the smell of her hair as the wind played and twirled with it. There was something more. Something beyond words. Her mere presence was a heavenly gift to be cherished above all else.

May 18th, Six Years Later
He stared down into the coffin, unsure how …

What Is a Story?

Most answers to this question don't seem very good. What Is a story? I will try to do better than I have seen.

There are a few different categories that answers fall into. There are the dictionary answers. Here's one: an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment. It seems okay.

There is the classic idea of character, setting, and plot. That seems a bit better. Writer Brandon Sanderson expands on it a bit in the course he teaches at Brigham Young University. He includes conflict and the framework that the story is told through, e.g. tense, point of view. So, maybe we could sum this up with something like "the conflictual intersection of characters, setting, and plot told from a point of view in space and time." I've never heard anyone else say it like that, but that seems pretty good. I came up with a way to say four of these with a word that starts with A: agent, arena, agenda, antagonism. So that's cool.

There are a ton of these f…

I Went to a Writing Group Today - March 27th, 2019

Relaxing and refreshing, that's how I would characterize the Left to Write writers' group. It's a good way for me to pull myself out of my own head and reconnect with the world.

Here was the prompt this week:

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Take the following words and construct a story plot around them. Use them in
any order. Describe a short plot summary. Try to add something: Characters,
locations, subplots, details, twists. The more you add, the more colorful your
story will become. The only rule is that you must use all of the words. Slashes
mean you can pick between words.

Suitcase – traffic jam – star – contract–stairs/piano/autograph– apple

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Oh boy! I was a bit scared. My plotting is the process of stumbling forward. I try to console myself that walking is the process of falling without hitting your face. You do this by leaning forward and then catching yourself with your feet. When you run, you lean more. It sounds good to say I do the same thing with plotting. I simpl…

Creating a Comic Book - Dungeon Buddies - Part 2 of ?

What should we work on first? There are three main options: the first scene, bringing the two other main characters into the story, or working on the whole plot.

Exactly how the whole plot will come together hasn't been worked out yet. I think I have some good ideas for introducing Brute and the girl. Our two main characters will need to travel through something that they don't want to because it would be dangerous, like a dark forest. They find a way around this, an airship/zeppelin/dirigible balloon/aerostat, whatever you want to call it. Chuck wants one included because his company is Aership Interactive. The problem is that this airship is parked on top of a castle. This isn't horrible because the castle doesn't have too many guards. But, there is one - Brute. There is a whole history that goes with him and his race, and an absent king. That's for another time. Somehow they are able to recruit Brute to their side, they steal the airship and take off. But, the a…

Creating a Comic Book - Dungeon Buddies - Part 1 of ?

I'm writing a comic book.

Here's how it happened. I was at a 5X5 meeting in Muskegon, Michigan, that's a uniquely structured venture capital seed fund. It's fun to go watch the presentations. I saw a few people that I know: a guy that I used to work with at Muskegon Community College who I found out was an original founder of the Muskegon Inventors Network, a guy that I went to a political training course with in Grand Rapids a few years ago, and Michelle.

I know Michelle through Toastmasters. She thought it was funny that I was an English teacher and writer and that I would write the shortest notes when I gave feedback on speeches. She was a judge at the venture capital fund meeting and asked me how my writing was going. I told her about the stories I'm editing for "Horror Without Borders", the weekly article I'm writing for 88.9 Hey Radio, the speeches I'm writing for the Potter in the Park festival, and a few more things I'm working on. She…

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