Being a Better Writer: Writing Outside Your Experience

This post was originally written and posted April 7th, 2014, and has been touched up and reposted here for archival purposes.

I have a confession to make: I’ve never faced down a magical golem in my life.

Surprising, I know. If you’ve read my work, it certainly sounds like I have. But the truth is, never once have I faced a magically animated, humanoid construct, much less on the roof of a moving train. I’ve never faced down an eldritch abomination of stitched-together body parts, either. Or suffered a post-traumatic event related breakdown. Or even used magical conservation of inertia to move myself around a room.

But I’ve written about all of these things.

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Unusual Events’ First Story is Done

Tonight, I finished the alpha of what will be hopefully the longest story in my in-progress story collection, Unusual Events. It turned out quite a bit longer than I expected, graduating quickly from a long short story of 10,000 to 11,000 words and becoming a 37,000 word novella—longer than my first published work, One Drink. As a result, I think I’ll be sticking in near the back of the book.

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Patreon is Live

Well, here we go. After urging from fans and readers, and with no small amount of nervous trepidation, I have finally set up a Patreon account, which you should be able to see on the right side of my profile page.

To be perfectly honest, I’m both curious and a little nervous at how this is going to go. This is the first time I’ve tried something like this before, and I’ll admit that I don’t know how it’ll shake out. Hopefully it goes well—though there have been a few who expressed concerns when I announced way back when that I was planning on getting a Patreon up and running, and I hope their fears don’t come true.

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The Colony

No, this post isn’t about Colony, the book I finished a draft of back in February (someday, I will have the funds to edit that book properly). No, this post is just a short and sweet one about The Colony, which is a low-budget, made for TV science-fiction film that’s currently on Netflix.

It’s not bad.

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Being a Better Writer: Theme VS Message

Right! Let’s get this week started! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and I’m inside looking at it through a window with my hands on a keyboard. All for you guys.

So then, let’s get right to it. Theme versus Message. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of you clicked this link today just to ask “What is he talking about?” Well, it’s actually pretty simple, though the roots of this article at a few points intertwine with a controversial debate that’s currently echoing up and down the corridors of fiction writing. At it’s core however, it comes down to a very basic principal: Which is your story valuing? The story? Or the message?

Right now there’s a real back-and-forth going on, a discussion over which is more important, and which should be given priority. And in this case, I’m going to warn you beforehand that I am not impartial in this discussion. I take a clear side. Which it is should be pretty clear beforehand.

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The Coming of the Ent March

So, Hugo Awards once more. I was tempted to talk about piracy again, since I found out this week exactly how hard that’s hitting my sales, but piracy is like any other crime: Most of the perpetrators refuse to see themselves as having done anything wrong, and will often accuse the one they’re pirating from of being “wrong” for being upset at stolen from. So saying anything is like shouting into a void. Which does say something nice about the current Hugo Awards. All the controversy aside, at least something’s changing here.

Which is what I wanted to talk about, but not with this year’s Hugo Award. No, I’m talking about next year’s Hugo Award. Because regardless of what happens this year, it’s only the first act of what’s to come … And that’s where part of the whole debate begins, I believe.

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Quick Reminder: Dead Silver Sale

Dead Silver FinalJust a lightning-quick reminder here, but the Dead Silver sale is over in another fifteen hours. So if you wanted to pick up a copy before it goes back to its original price point, now is the time to act.

Seriously, it’s four bucks at the moment. That’s a pretty sweet deal if you’re into mystery or urban fantasy.

Act quick, there’s only a few hours left!

Being a Better Writer: Endings (Again!)

This post was originally written and posted March 31st, 2014, and has been touched up and reposted here for archival purposes.

All things end.

Well, alright, that’s not exactly true. Let’s expand this a little bit.

All things come to an end.

Still not quite true. Time for the third shot.

All things have an ending.

Aha! That’s more like it!

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Because it’s Not Always About Writing …

There’s more to life than writing. Which probably sounds odd to some of my readers on here. After all, I’ve kind of admitted that I spend close to an unhealthy amount of time daily perched in front of a keyboard, fingers clicking away at the keys in order to produce the next something (which currently is a short story collection for which the first short story has become a small novella … go figure).

But that can’t be all I do. And, if I were to throw a bit of a “Being a Better Writer” advice moment to this, nor should it be all any writer does. First of all, being in the basement apartment that I rent, simply writing all day every day without any breaks would probably leave my skin a shade of white that would only be matched by paper—which in turn at some point in the future would make an “About the Author” post really awkward-looking (Hey, look who wrote this! Nosferatu!). That, and as a writer, the more you do, the more you can write about.

So, point being, I like to do other stuff from time to time. Stuff that gets my blood moving. But today, just for fun, I wanted to share a new non-writing thing I’ve started recently. Don’t worry, it’s not active. It’s just something fun and entertaining.

It’s the Ultimate Hot Dog Summer Variety Special.

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Dead Silver Sale Through Friday!

Dead Silver Hopefully those of you who wanted a copy of One Drink managed to snag your copy while it was nice and free! If you haven’t yet, you might still have an hour or two after this post goes up, but once that freebie is gone, it’s back to being $2.99!

Now then, for those of you who have already sampled One Drink and have been tempted to go for more, today’s post is for you. Continuing with the trend of celebration, Dead Silver is 34% off starting June 3rd and continuing through June 5th! That’s three full days you have to pick up Dead Silver at a reduced price!

Dead Silver is the standalone sequel to One Drink, starring Hawke Decroux as he heads off to sunny, southwest, Silver Dreams, New Mexico for a vacation … and a chance to try his hand at catching a live chupacabra bothering the locals animals. No sooner does he arrive, however, then things turn predictably sour. Jacob Rocke is missing—and suspected of murder—while the chupacabra attacks are growing bolder by the day. Something rotten is lurking in Silver Dreams, and if Hawke doesn’t get to the bottom of it soon, the whole town may end up facing something straight out of its worst nightmares.

Weighing in at 451 pages of edge-of-your seat suspense and mystery, Dead Silver is the perfect way to keep yourself up at night. Just don’t turn out that light. You don’t know what might be lurking out there in the dark.

You can pick it up by finding it at the “Books” tab above, or by clicking the image there to your left.

As always, if you enjoy this or anything else I’ve written, please leave a review, and keep checking Unusual Things. There’s more fun to come!