New Articles in “Writing Class”

As some of you know, I did a presentation this week on The Hero’s Journey and how it’s for all genres because it’s about character transformation, not plot. This morning I took the notes from that presentation and put them on my website for all to enjoy. Here’s the lecture, and  Here’s the character worksheet that went with it. I hope that it helps some of you out there.

Enjoy, and happy writing.

CAS

doge-in-space-card-redux

5 Myths About The Writing Business

Here is a great article by Chuck Sambuchino titled “5 Mistakes Writers Make (and How To Avoid Them).” The title is a bit of a “bait and switch,” as it’s about the business instead of the craft. Still, it’s something that all writers–indie or traditional–should read.

Its main thrust: YOU GOTTA HUSTLE

It took me a while before I realized this. With the help of my publisher, Damnation Books, we were able to craft an extraordinary novel in Song of Simon. The support I received from them has been excellent. I foolishly believed that the book would sell by itself. That’s far from the truth.

The problem is that there are millions of books out there, and unless you do something to stand out, you’ll disappear. I’ve tried a bunch of promo techniques in the past. What I’ve realized is that if you write about stuff you love, people that love the same will join you (that’s you guys). I love writing about geeky stuff. I assume that you love reading about geeky stuff. I hope that some of you read my fiction, but I don’t get shameless about it.

If I’m going to do this, I’m going to have fun doing this. I’ll even get out my 20-sided dice.

Ooooh a dual Star Wars/D&D meme. Critical Hit!!!

Anyway, I’ll leave you to read the article (if you’d like). If you’d rather geek out with me, you can always contact me.

That reminds me: I have a blog about Dungeons and Dragons coming up sometime this week. D & D is my truest, sexiest love. Ok, not that sexy (it’s more anti-sexy), but I still love it.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist).

Yikes

I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I’ve posted a blog entry. I’m surprised because I’ve been pretty busy on the site, along with my facebook fan page and my other site devoted to wrestling.

As for this site, I added a few new categories. One is my collection of music history articles, which I’m going to tie in to Song of Simon. For those of you that have read the novel, you know how important music is thematically. It functions as a greek chorus of sorts. I love music, especially old blues and folk that you don’t hear much of anymore. Even my music is stuck in the past.

Right now there are two up, but I have a ton more. I meant to post one on “This Land Is Your Land” for Woody’s birthday yesterday, but I flaked.

Everyday I got the blues, even if I went back in time.

The second category is a collection of essays modified from my Creative Writing lesson plans. There’s only one up now, but more will come.

The third is on New York history, which ties directly into The Watchmage of Old New York. I don’t have any essays written yet, but I’m a fat, stinking, treasure trove of knowledge here.

It’s like a Russian Nesting Doll, only it smells like urine.

I don’t actually stink, and I’m considerably less fat than I was, but you get the picture.

Speaking of Watchmage, I’m still shopping around the first novel, and I’m revising the first ten chapters of the second, tentatively titled “Cold Iron.” For those of you that remember, this story arc in the serial was called “The Great Goblin Revolt.” The serial is still up, by the way, and still free.

Ok, that’s all for now. I’m off to play some Happy Wars.
–Craiggers

“The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” — Walt Whitman
Song of Simon from Damnation Books. Available on site, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local book store.
Visit my webpage. We have punch and pie…
Like Pro Wrestling? Visit my wrestling blog and podcast, The Jobbers Wrestling Review

Craiggers Gettin His Teach On, and a few shots at NaNoWriMo

Hey there,
I wrote an article for All Things Book-Review about “World Building in Genre Fiction.”  It comes with silly youtube links (although the Bob Ross one at the end exactly reinforces what I’m saying) and a good worksheet at the end.  Here is the link.  I’d like to do several of them, as they come right from my lesson plans, and it’s stuff that aspiring writers need to know.


I used to be a teacher, and I still tutor English and History.  As such, I know a little bit (quite a bit) about writing theory and proper structure.  Planning ahead is very important if you want to write a good story, that is, if you want to write a good story without scrapping half of it.  And this is why I have serious issues with NaNo.

As some of you know, NaNo purposefully ignores structure (their motto is “no plot, no problem), leading to 1) formless nonsense with a weak plot and/or glaring plot holes, forcing the serious writer to throw out most of his work in order to fix it. or 2) a story that can’t be finished because the writer runs out of ideas and/or writes himself into a corner.  “No plot” is a serious problem.

Planning saves paper, people.

I like what Natalie Goldberg has to say about outlining.  Once you know what’s going to happen in a chapter, or from point to point, it gives your mind free rein to write as it sees fit, to flow in a natural, zen-like manner, the no-mind.

It’s like how a zen practitioner structures his meditation from gong to gong.  I’m paraphrasing, but the message is clear.
NaNo claims that it is allowing the writer to write without structure, but instead it does the opposite. The writer has to constantly think about what comes next.  It prevents the freedom to write.

It’s like a driver without a map, that has to constantly look for signs to tell them where to go.  Instead be the driver with a map that knows exactly where they’re going, free from stress, and wrong turns.  The successful NaNo writers I’ve seen have a plot in mind before they start writing.  Some even have (gasp) plot points and a chapter outline.

Let’s make September National Preparing for NaNo month (SeNaPreN?). While we’re at it, make December National Revising Your NaNo month (DeNaReYN?)

I’ve written about this before, and each time I am deluged with NaNo devotees that attack me as if I am attacking their religion. I suppose that I am, but I hate to see someone put so much effort into writing something meaningful, only to see it fall apart.

If only they looked before they leaped.

I’m sorry if you think “i’m being a dick,” I don’t “get it,” “it’s the community, man,” or “your writing probably sucks anyway.”  Maybe you’re right, but next time try planning ahead before you do NaNo.  I guarantee that your story will be much better.  Look.  Leap. Land on your feet.

Love ya, and Happy writing,
C.A.

craig with bandana cropped