A Few Words on the Hugo Awards

You’re probably familiar with the Hugo awards if you’re a science-fiction or fantasy writer/reader. Big award, said to celebrated the best that sci-fi and fantasy has to offer? Well, for a while now it hasn’t. Celebrated the best, I mean. And I know that science fiction and fantasy can be pretty nebulous on what’s “the best,” especially among dedicated fans who can have entertaining debates over whether Star Trek or Star Wars is more technically feasible. But the Hugo award was starting to see entirely too much control from one small insular group of “fans.” Well, a bunch of authors got tired of it and decided to do something about it to broaden the Hugo audience back to what it once was, and the sad puppies campaign was formed.

Long story short, it’s kicked off the closest thing I’ve seen in the time I’ve been following the publishing industry to a form of war. And I’m not going to cover it all here. I’ve covered it on my other blog before, and  you can catch up on the battle pretty readily yourself with a few quick Google searches, though be wary of what you read: the insular group is pretty nasty.

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Outpost 2: Lost Destiny

This literally has nothing to do with writing, just to make that clear right at the start. It’s just me waxing nostalgic and being slightly perplexed.

As most of you have guessed (or flat-out know), I play a lot of games. Which is a pretty common and fun affliction. Well, last night as I was quite literally hitting the “random” button on TV Tropes and then clicking “real-life,” I was sent to the TV Tropes page for Outpost 2: Divided Destiny.

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Being a Better Writer: Endings

This post was originally written and posted August 27th, 2013, and is being reposted here for archival purposes.

Endings.

Endings are tricky things. A lot of young writers don’t think about them. They don’t want to. After all the story is moving, why worry about something that’ll only happen when it stops?

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Being a Better Writer: Hero?

I’ve noticed something, in my time here on the internet. Actually, when I think about it, this goes back to before the internet. Maybe it’s just that being online and spending time looking at writing forums has made this certain misuse all the more apparent to me. But regardless of whether I’ve noticed it now or it’s been a recent rise, I want to talk about a certain word.

Hero.

It isn’t hard to find this word being used on a day to day basis. In fact, nowadays it seems I see it being used more than ever. People want to talk about what they’re writing? They talk about the “hero.” They mention their character, or their place in the story. It doesn’t matter what they’re talking about with regards to the story, at some point it’s “hero this” and “hero that.” And ordinarily I wouldn’t mind … except there’s just one problem here.

They’re not talking about a hero. They’re talking about a protagonist.
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Being a Better Writer: A Beginner’s Guide to Fights

Welcome back, everyone, after what I hope for all of you was a nice, relaxing weekend! Hopefully it was enjoyable for all of you as it was for me, or at least productive as far as writing goes. That’s the goal after all, and for some, the weekend is the only chance they get.

Anyway, let’s dive right into today’s topic, since my brain is definitely drawing a blank for welcoming chatter. Today I want to talk about fights. Because this is a popular topic posed by beginning writers just about anywhere. You search the forums of a writing site such as this one? Questions about fights. You go to a creative writing class? Questions about fights. Even a writing convention like LTUE … odds are, if there isn’t a panel about fights—and sometimes even if there is—this is a question that will pop up with regularity.

Because as both readers and writers, we enjoy fights. Fights are fun. They’re exciting! They’re a chance for the protagonist to show off their skills and talents, a chance for the reader to be tugged along by a rapid, dangerous, and exciting narrative. They’re a moment of tension, a moment that can thrill both the author and reader. And writers—even the new ones—understand this. For some of them, this may have been why they wanted to be a writer in the first place. They had some idea, some concept for some really cool scene, and they wanted to let the rest of the world experience it. Then they say down at a keyboard and discovered that writing is hard.

But, never one to give up, they push forward, and before they realize it, they’re sitting in a forum somewhere, their hand raised in the air, waiting to ask the question “How do I write a fight?”

Well, today, I’m going to do my best to answer that. Today, we’re looking at the act of writing and figuring out fights for beginners. If you’ve never written a fight scene before, or have and have felt/realized that it could be better, or even if you’re just looking for a constant reminder of the basics of what you should know for a fight scene—this is the post for you.

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So Long, Sir Terry Pratchett

I had a more lighthearted post in mind today, but then this came across my desk. Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the much-loved Discworld series, passed away a few hours ago.

This does make me a little sad.

I discovered Pratchett’s works a bit later than most, well after I’d devoured almost everything else in my local library. I was browsing through the shelves when I stumbled across Jingo, and the madcap description was more than enough give me a little curiosity about reading through it. I checked it out, took it home … and the next day was back for another, a gleeful grin on my face.
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Being a Better Writer: Reader Comprehension

Today’s topic is a bit of an interesting one. I say this because it’s one of those topics you don’t often hear about. In fact, it’s one of those topics that, depending on your writing education, you may have never had. In my experience, if it comes at all it only comes very late in your creative writing education—like say 300-level classes or higher. And even then, at least in my experience, it’s not exactly something that’s deeply discussed, but rather referenced, maybe spoken of once or twice, and generally with a sort of “you’ll figure that out” air to it.

Why? Well, it’s not exactly hard to see. A writing education is mostly concerned with educating its students to reach the highest pinnacle of writing talent and knowledge available to them. And today’s topic really doesn’t fit into that, since it’s less about reaching the highest pinnacle and more about knowing when not to shoot for the highest peak. Additionally, it’s not hard to imagine that if one started telling young writers about this concept early on, writing programs might run afoul of some of the same problems that art programs face, in which that there is always the stereotypical student who, because of an interest in cartoons, has no interest in learning proper shading and technique.

That said, maybe it’s unwise to bring this up, but I’m trusting you guys to handle it. Like many art teachers would say about cartoons, sure, you can make a great living at them. But it’s important to know all the techniques and rules anyway—so you can use them in their proper place. And the same applies to today’s topic. What I’m about to bring up isn’t a free ticket to stop building your writer’s toolbox or to ignore further writing education. It’s a bit like that old saying that it takes a good actor to play a bad one.

Today, we’re going to talk about writing for reader comprehension.

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One Step Closer

Well, at the current rate, this place will be ready for the public unveiling in about a month, which makes me chuckle. Then again, there’s only so much time in a day, and when you’re churning out 4,000-5,000 words a day trying to get another book done, well … I’m going to hold that getting products done is more important than getting a secondary site up to plug said books.

That said I’m going to do some poking around and expanding today. And why, you might ask, am I writing this at all if the site hasn’t had its official opening? Mostly for the amusement of those who come first.

Peace out. I need to get back to work!

What to Expect from Unusual Things

So, things are still getting settled around here (for instance, I’m not so sure I like the theme yet, and getting all the categories put together could take some time), but regardless, if you’ve just stumbled across Unusual Things, well, you’re probably curious about what you can expect. If this post is the first thing that you’re seeing, well then, I’d do well to point you either in the direction of the “About” section at the top of the page, or at this site’s initial post, which does a pretty good job laying out who’s typing all these words.

Once that’s out of the way—or if you don’t care and just want to skip right to the content—here’s the meat of what you can expect:

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