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Pretend Story

Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave love stories. I’ve found the Junior Partner sitting quietly by herself “reading” a book any number of times in the last several weeks, her Number One Buddy is constantly making up backgrounds for the creations he build. And I can hold them both rapt for easily an hour just by talking. Which is where this arrives at the MGC. For the past several weeks, I’ve been telling the Pretend Story at bedtime. (I’ll work up a better title for it when we’re done.) Read more

The Dangers of Critiques: A Blast from the Past

(I am hip deep in edits and my brain isn’t focusing on anything but those. So here’s a post from December 2016 about critiques. I’ll add a few additional comments at the end.– ASG)

As writers, we are going to see our work critiqued, whether we want to or not. Most of the time we don’t want to. Let’s be honest, no one likes hearing that their baby is ugly and that is what we risk when we read a critique. However, before we ever see our work in print, many of us workshop our work in critique groups or we have alpha and beta readers look it over. Then there are the editors. We trust them to tell us what is good about our work and what is bad about it.

But what do we do with that information once we get it? Read more

Shut up! shutup! shutup!

Image pixabay.

“That’s cultural appropriation! You can’t do that! Shutup shutup shutup!”

“Do you think that cultures have a right to maintain their traditions, especially ones with a well-documented history going back hundreds of years? Cultural patterns which are as much part of their culture as breathing is part of your living? Cultural behavior which defines them, without which they would stop being their culture?”

“Of course!”

“Good-o. Piss off, Asshole.” Read more

The Taste Gap & Feedback

Or, how can you tell how good your work is… or isn’t? All artists, no matter what the medium, tend to be pretty aware of the phenomenon of looking at their work and going “This is awesome! Just as good as the bestsellers, if not better by leaps and bounds!” Also, they’re aware of looking at their work and going “This is the worst thing ever! I need to hide this in a nuclear waste dump, lest it contaminate the very electrons desecrated with its presence!” In fact, most of us can cycle through both of these viewpoints multiple times on the exact same piece of work.

This is normal. I can’t tell you how to stop doing that, but I can offer some insights on how to mitigate it, and how to get better anyway. Read more

Rookie Writer, Seeking Publisher

There’s something about admitting in public that you’re a writer. People are either weirded out by it, or fascinated. I’ve made some interesting connections over the years talking about being an Indie Publisher, and I always try to help when asked honest questions. Years ago when I was newly fledged and all my feathers were still wet and pathetic, so many people helped me. Dave and Sarah, Amanda, and many others who aren’t here at the MGC too. I can’t possibly repay them for what they did for me. So what I do now is try to pass it along to others. In this instance, the person asking me for help has a demanding (to put it mildly) day job. In their shoes, I’m not sure I’d consider indie, either, and while it might sound here on the blog like I’m militantly anti-publisher, that’s not actually the case. Really, what I am is militantly independent. Period. Not just in business. Read more

When the characters dictate the story

 

We’ve all heard authors complain that their characters sometimes go off at a tangent, in a direction vastly different to what they’d intended, developing themselves in new and unusual ways, growing more than planned until a minor character can become a major protagonist, and so on.  I’ve made similar comments myself, as a book goes off the rails of my carefully-scripted plot, and I’m left haring after its hero and/or villain, shouting, “Come back!  Who told you you could do that?  Stop, I say!”

Read more

The Doors of Perception

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

– William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Payne’s gray, cold gray, pewter, silver, warm gray.

Bronze, brown ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, copper, gold ochre, orange ochre, modern brown, raw sienna, raw umber, stil de grain brown, transparent oxide brown, Vandyke brown, yellow ochre.

One of these lists is not like the other, right? Read more