Gifts for Writers Part II

The Twelve Days of  the Season by Tam Albright   Of all the many gifts you could give the writer in your life this holiday, there is really only one thing that writers want.   On the first day of the season, my loved ones asked of me: “Are there enough ideas for your WIP?”   So, on the second day of the season, my loved ones gifted me, with Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the third day of the season, my loved ones helped some more, with Three unrelated plot bunnies, Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the fourth day of the season, the blinking cursor mocked: (Many four-letter swear words,) Three unrelated plot bunnies, Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the fifth day of the season, my loved ones distracted me: Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!” (More four-letter swear words,) Three unrelated plot bunnies, Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the sixth day of the season, I wrote my loved ones in: Six doomed characters, Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!” (F-dash-dash-dash word,) Three unrelated plot bunnies, Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the seventh day of the season, I vented to the Net: Seven writing #hash-tags, Six doomed characters, Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!” (Still swearing swear words,) Three unrelated plot bunnies, Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the eighth day of the season, my loved ones gave me advice: Eight clichéd phrases, Seven writing #hash-tags, Six doomed characters, Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!” (*eye-roll* Four-letter swear words,) Three unrelated plot bunnies, Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the ninth day of the season, my “hobby” was discussed: Yeah, nine old trunked novels, Eight clichéd phrases, Seven writing #hash-tags, Six doomed characters, Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!” (“I’m a sailor” swear words,) Three unrelated plot bunnies, Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the tenth day of the season, I became quite desperate: Ten magical McGuffins, Nine old trunked novels, Eight clichéd phrases, Seven writing #hash-tags, Six doomed characters, Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!” (Swear words just to say them,) Three unrelated plot bunnies, Two back up hard drives, And enough ideas for my WIP.   On the eleventh day of the season, with my loved ones fast asleep, I had Eleven cups a-coffee, Ten magical McGuffins, Nine old...

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Gifts For Writers Part I

by Ditrie Sanchez   Have you ever found yourself struggling to remember which notepad, receipt or napkin you once scribbled a really cool idea on? Maybe, like me, you have a collection of notebooks of various sizes, shapes, bindings and colorings strewn all about the house. Or maybe you’ve noticed the ideas in one of your notebooks are too scattered and unorganized to make any sense of them. As a writer, you find that much of your world is constantly changing. One minute you’re researching World War II era American military clothing, the next you’re trying to pick the perfect color for your next unholy dragon. Organizing all of these fantastic but disparate ideas while not wreaking havoc on the naturally random creative flow is a skill every author needs to hone. Thankfully, now there is a tool to help.  The revolver journal, which is much less violent than it sounds, is basically a Transformer (lasers sold separately). Now, let’s say that you’re busy working on your military drama piece but out of the blue you think, egads! Coral blue is the perfect color for my giant metallic dragon of doom! With the revolver journal, all you have to do is fold it into your fantasy journal and copy it down. You don’t even need to leave the couch! Consider it the Rubik’s cube of journaling. It’s color coded, switchable and makes you look really cool at parties. Or nerdy. Same thing, really.   In the writing world, we are expected to write what we know. This means that if you’re writing about a subject and you don’t know anything about it, it’s time to do some research. Now, research can be done in quiet libraries whilst poring over various tomes of knowledge, or it can be conducted at home through the comfortable, if somewhat detached resources of the world wide web. However, the most effective research comes from hands-on experiences. Live interviews, taking tours of story locations, learning to use the tools of the trade that a character should know. Of course, this puts a certain group of writers at a researching disadvantage right off the bat. Science fiction and fantasy writers are no more able to visit their worlds or shoot their laser blasters than I’m able to sprout beans out of my nose (believe me, I’ve tried). However, I’ve discovered the one thing that can be a game changer for this poor, disadvantaged group of writers. And it comes in the form of a pen. A ray gun pen, to be more specific. (pyew, pyew, pyew!) Now science fiction and fantasy writers alike can revel in the chrome and lacquered goodness that befits any proper hero...

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Halloween Catch Up

Some Scary Links BBC: Where Monsters Come From Halloween History Wikipedia: Halloween Another Version of Halloween History Some Scary Books   On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears I took a class from the author of this book, great professor and a gifted writer. Professor Asma’s insight into the human condition is almost supernatural. As he walks you through the various culturally constructed terrors of modern society, he expertly points out the folly and inconsistencies in each of those superstitions. Malleus Malificarum We’re not going to link to this book since you can get various versions from a dozen sources ranging from free to well past not-free. This is the original Witch Hunter’s Manual, written by a pair of charlatans. Frankenstein Considered a classic of horror literature, one might consider the deeper meanings in this troublesome tale. Is this a Luddite’s warning about science unchecked or a challenge to the existence of God? Literature professors worldwide still waste undergraduate’s time with this heady and unresolvable debate. But if you haven’t read it, you need to. World War Z If you haven’t read this one by now, you need to throw off that rock you’re hiding under and get with the program. This well researched, cleverly constructed historical account of the Zombie Apocalypse is true a modern horror classic. The audio-book version, though abridged, stars the voice talents of Allen Alda, Mark Hamill, Henry Rollins and a whole slew of other professional actors. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Scary S@*#

Halloween is just around the corner. Or maybe it’s hiding in the closet or under the bed. It might be sliding from shadow to shadow as you wander wearily to the bathroom in the middle of the night. My bet is that it was watching you from the window, probably ever since you got home this evening. Did you lock the doors up? Do you dare go check? Whatever your relationship with Halloween, no one dislikes a good horror story. Everyone likes to be scared. It’s fun when you’re a kid, it’s fun when you’re an adult. The question becomes “what is scary?” There’s no shortage of Stephen Kings and Dean R. Koontzs and Clive Barkers, but is this stuff scary anymore? How many times can King tell a story about a haunted car? Three to my best estimation (Maximum Overdrive, Christine and I’m sure there’s one more…) The trend in “scary” has changed from that tingling uneasiness you get when walking in the woods alone at sunset, to scenes of gruesome torture and mutilation. Mutilation is not horror. Mutilation is a car accident or an artillery shell. Torture is not horror; it is a debased form of intelligence gathering. So what is scary? Well, it’s not vampires anymore. They’re too clever and charming, their fashion sense is overwhelming and with such perfect smiles, how could they instill fear in anything? Werewolves too, have fallen to the wayside on the highway of terror. Ghosts, while unsettling for most are recycled and trite. Zombies and some of the more gruesome undead seem to be holding out cultural attention. I personally have read a dozen books that treat the topic with excellent insight as well as innovation. Ever since the 2003 release of 28 Days Later, we’ve seen the Zombie sub-genre blossom like a yellow-musk creeper in corpse pile (old school D&D reference anyone?). Now that zombies are fast, can run and chase you, and want nothing more than to devour you, to eat you alive while you struggle vainly to protect your exposed flesh from their rotting, chipped teeth, they are a bit more frightening. The denizens of the underworld, demons and devils, always occupy a special place, a shadowy corner in the recesses of the minds of the pious. But is it the threat of eternal damnation or the threat of a being whose very existence is anathema to your continued survival that is scary? I guess we should check in with William Peter Blatty for that one. When I talk with writers about horror, about mustering up strange fears that often the audience didn’t even know it had, I always start with a conversation about what the writer...

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Feeling Jolly? Pass it around!

Spectacle Publishing wants your warm and fuzzy holiday heroes and heroines! Got a book about the best Christmas ever? Have you crafted a heart-warming tale of inspiration and cheer? Maybe you’ve got a wild ride about your best (worst) New Years resolution? Lets have it! What we’re looking for specifically: Full length novels (70,000 words or more) Holiday themed, positive, uplifting, human experience Character driven plots No clichés (unless they are damn clever) Send us only your very best work. We want to publish your work, but we also want it to be successful. Our editors take great pains to make sure your work gets a fair review. If they like your work, they work with you, becoming a creative partner, getting your work in the possible shape for success. Besides, think of what we went through to kid-nap a truckload of elves with mad editing skill. What are you waiting for? The Query Elf lives here. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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