The right tools for the right job

This actually does relate to writing, so bear with me. I buy cheap shoes. Shoes cover my feet. As long as they do that, they’re good shoes. I might pay a little more for dress shoes, but not that much more. There’s one exception to this. Running shoes. I’m currently training for a half marathon. Among other things, this means my longer runs will be hours long. In that kind of situation, I’m not going to get the cheapest shoes I can find. I went to a specialist running store where they watched me run. They saw that I put more weight on the inside of my foot so they recommended a shoe that has extra arch support. The first time I bought that shoe, it cost me $160. Whenever I replace it, I get the same kind of shoe, and I can generally find...

Taking a break

I’m sitting in my living room watching an episode of the Justice League. I was recently excited because I found Star Wars: Knights of the Old Repulic on Steam, and I’ve been playing that. I haven’t written anything in two days. You know what? That’s ok. A common piece of advice “Write every day.” That’s good advice, for some people. For others, it’s the worse possible advice, and following it will lead the writer to hate writing. Here’s the thing. You have to find the schedule that works for you. Brandon Sanderson writes for six or seven hours every day, generally from about 9 PM to 3 AM. Kevin J Anderson does his writing while hiking and dictates his novels. Eric Flint writes in spurts, almost constantly for...

Write what you know: Getting thrown off a bridge.

One common piece of advice is “Write what you know.” I remember on one episode of Writing Excuses (Writing Excuses 5.30: Writing Action Larry Correia said “One thing I really recommend because a lot of people hesitate to write action because of that old rule about write what you know, but nobody here has ever sword-fought a dragon. OK? So don’t let that hold you back.” That’s good advice, but sometimes, it really does help to know certain things. If you know me, you know I occasionally do crazy things that could get me killed, and that I do these things under the guise of research, so you’re going to get the benefit of that. These posts will be under the category “Write what you know”. Enjoy! At one point or...

Impostor syndrome and my first panel.

Picture this. You’re in the middle of a crowd. Everyone is showering you with accolades about how awesome you are, and they are so impressed with your achievements. You smile and shake hands, and graciously accept all the praise. Meanwhile, on the inside, one thought is going through your head. “What if they all find out I’m a fraud?” You didn’t deceive anyone. You actually did all the things they think you did. You put in the work. You took the risks, and in the end, they payed off, but people don’t understand that those achievements don’t make you all that great. As soon as they realize that, they’ll get angry and declare you to be a fake. This is unofficially called impostor syndrome. I had never really had a...

Writing the Ridiculous

Inevitably, when an author gets big enough, someone will come to them and say, “I have this great idea. How about I tell it to you, and you can write it and we’ll split the money.” Naturally, the author will never say yes. The reason is that ideas are a dime a dozen, and even the most ridiculous idea can be turned into a story. It’s just a matter of figuring out how. In 2014, I had submitted a story for the anthology One Horn to Rule Them All. James A. Own was doing the cover art. While the submission window was still open, he, as a joke, posted an image with the comment, “Here is my first stab at a cover.” The image showed a potato with a unicorn horn. Above the image was written “The Unitato, half unicorn, half...

What’s wrong with steel grey eyes?

I was in the process of transforming Alacia from a YA to a middle grade, and I came across this line: “He didn’t remember the councilmember’s name, but she had steel grey eyes and a penetrating gaze.” Now, if you know anything about Alacia, you know that it is about people who live in cities built directly out of icebergs. They spend their entire lives in these floating cities. As a result, they don’t have metal tools. In fact, steel would quickly rust. They wouldn’t know what steel is and would have no concept of “steel grey eyes.” Now, I’ve gone through this book multiple times, but somehow, I never caught that. Of course, this time, I was much more focused on Alacian culture. My protagonist is changing from...