Category: Writing

What Two Years of Edits & Notes Looks Like

photo 1

Two years is a solid amount of time. Days come and go in silent flocks, barely brushing against your face as weeks and months cast shadows in the sunset of a year. Past time blends and smears into a whirlpool that, for the present you, makes it almost impossible to decipher how you ended up at this viewing platform, scratching your crotch in a state of proper dumbfoundment while trying to see your own reflection in the maelstrom. This is especially true when crafting a book. Years down the line you end up with a draft, probably in a digital form, and say “How the fuck did this happen?” The experience of writing a novel is easier to reflect upon, I think, when you have artifacts from the past to inspect. Little fossils of ink on scrap paper or notebooks you excavate from files and manila folders, maybe a forgotten back pack or underneath your car seat.

The image above is about half of the material I had physically edited or scrawled ideas and blips of dialogue upon for At Eternity’s Gate. Stacks of notes and doodles and around 90 pages of pen edited manuscript will remain forever lost to dimensions unknown. But here, for my own amusement, is a brief dive into the relics that remain. Imprints of a strange past consciousness influenced by worlds both imaginary, and real. Read More…

Punch Party Playlist: What My Characters Listen To

Shelby's bro knows all about Punch Party

Shelby’s bro knows all about Punch Party

Not everyone listens to music while they write, but bands, songs and albums often make their way into books and stories anyway. At Eternity’s Gate doesn’t really reference specific songs all too much, but music does affect the characters, specifically a young girl named Allie (or Al-Pal, or Lord Bookworm). I imagined what would be in her playlist and whipped it up on Spotify in no time flat. I may be guilty of writer’s bias here, as all the songs are from bands I listen to, but I’m sure Lord Bookworm would rock out to them anyway. Spotify Link. Youtube Link (ads suck and it’s missing a song).

The Flood: Host Physiology & Communication Report (Download)

a66c8964-aff4-4b7e-93a4-998975bce61eMany moons ago I stayed up for three weeks straight feverishly writing and researching into the early morning. Layer names and Photoshop brush presets were scrawled on napkins strewn about empty Monster cans. It was the first time I struggled with a deadline, one I made up for myself. The project was a fictional report/short story/research paper based in the Halo universe, one studying the communication abilities of the violent exogalactic life form known as The Flood. The Flood: Host Physiology & Communication Report. I wanted it to come out on Halo’s big anniversary, and I pulled it off, just barely though.

The Flood report was definitely the most experimental thing I’ve ever written, since I basically intertwined a story into the introduction, methods, results and discussion sections of a futuristic, desperately written journal paper. All the nuero psych I learned over a four year college degree was poured into it, and to date this report stands as my degree’s crowning achievement. It felt awesome to be so engrossed night after night in the same fictional lore and the story eventually revealed itself to me, shining in the night like a interstellar research vessel undergoing stage 14 core meltdown on a collision course with a binary star system. Imagining the people screaming on board, and why they were screaming was a true blast. I also got to manipulate a picture of my German Sheppard in infrared as an extraterrestrial parasite bore into his spine and tunneled out his mouth. R.I.P. Max.

Anyway I”ve put it up on my Download page, so check it out if you want to see some crazy sci fi graphics and read up about flesh mutating viruses and parasites and what not.

 

Owning Up to Your Character’s Faults: Aldnoah Zero

Lt. Marito

Most characters, like real people, have something wrong with them. Maybe your character cheated on their boyfriend or girlfriend, or maybe they have an irrational fear of peanuts. Some characters are just insecure and behave worse than the people they believe themselves to be, while others have full blown PTSD or want to avenge their dead partner with a full on mech-fueled genocide. Regardless of what traits define a specific character, it’s important for the writer portraying their actions and emotions to understand their flaws and misgivings. Not so you can fix all of them to create the perfect person, but make sense of them to the reader or viewer.

A great example of a fictional work that draws attention to its characters flaws is the anime Aldnoah Zero. Note: I’ll be leaving names out of this to keep the article as spoiler free as possible for those wanting to watch, but if you want to go into the show totally blind you may want to avert your eyes.  Read More…

Exploding Dinosaur Laser Battles (Stop Writing What You Hate)

dinosaurs-lasersI had a great post whipped up about writing and editing and the passage of time, but honestly I don’t feel like crafting that sort of post right now. The wonderful thing about working with the written word is that you can create whatever you want. Lately I’ve felt as though I have to write captivating lecture-esque posts about the craft of fiction so that people will come to this site and learn something. Maybe even check out the book I’m working on and fall in love with it, recognize it as bonafide surrealist sci fi literature. That’s not what I should be doing though, and who am I to teach you anything anyways? Put mildly, it’s not as if I’ve obtained literary enlightenment.

So instead of the aforementioned boring post full of borderline pretension and the acrid scent of academia that makes me puke up skittles and motor oil, I’ve written a potentially meaningless article on the logistics of engaging in prehistoric warfare with advanced laser weaponry grafted to blood-thirsty dinosaur skulls. Read More…

Editing with Physical Copy vs. Word Processors: A Battle of Swords & Lasers

Laser vs swordLasers: A laser is weightless and has no recoil. It’s just a bunch of excited photons all having a party as they beam straight toward your eyeball while your older brother has you pinned to the refrigerator. They’re super fun to use because they go pew pew pew and make pretty colors while severing limbs, incinerating three-legged kittens and blowing up planets. But after you’ve used ‘em for a while it can leave you feeling kinda empty, like you want some heft and recoil, real life feedback. I find that using word processors is about the same as wielding a proper sci-fi laser gun. Yeah, of course it’s awesome but relying solely on coherently phased monochromatic light may not be the best way to gear up for your editing assault. Read More…