Never Stop Learning As A Writer

I’ve been a professional writer for a while now. It’s been long enough that I would need to do serious mental calculations to work out the exact time. But, even and especially as you get deeper into this, there’s no reason to ever stop learning new writing techniques.

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A Trick for First Person Horror

In my continuing studies of the horror genre, I noticed a method of creating scares for a first-person perspective. And that’s cool because I considered it a harder way of doing horror in certain cases. And, outside of what I’m about to say, that’s for one reason: you can’t kill your narrator. If you do, the story ends.

So, if you’re staying inside the head of a single character, you can only show scary things—you can’t have it get them.

The workaround for this is “The Victim.” Continue reading

Writing Is Simpler Than That

Storytelling is simpler than we let it be. What we consider cliché, what we consider trite or overdone, will work if it’s good storytelling. It’s the reason that superhero stories can have the same plot across the board but still succeed.

What is a structure, if not a template? What is a bacon cheeseburger, if not the same ingredients each time? Continue reading

Stuff You Need When You Move

I’ve moved a lot. My family has moved a lot. Not necessarily from one state to another, but we’ve hopped around cities, and towns, and even in the same town. I’m not used to living in the same house for very long and I’ve gotten a lot of practice at packing up fast and doing it efficiently. Continue reading

Advice for Young People

I don’t think I’m old enough to be giving this advice, but Tuesday, while getting some coffee for myself at a chain store I’m not going to specify, I randomly talked to a 16-year-old who was working there. He asked me a few questions, once he learned I recently moved out, and it was a really nice conversation—dude was super respectful—and I ended up giving him some life advice.

Which made me think, hey, may as well share a longer version of what I told him. Continue reading

Life Is Being Pulled Around

The difference between adults and children—besides so many other things—is perhaps the level of complexity their lives have. The older you get, the more it seems that you are being pulled into a thousand places. There’s a real worry about the death of spontaneity because the only real way to manage the increasing and often rather disparate tasks of adulthood seems to be a heavily regimented schedule or memorizing everything by simple repetition. Continue reading

Lean Into It

I gave up a while ago in the best way possible. I gave up on trying to be something I am not, in a lot of ways. This is a random example, but, for a long time, people always told me to change my hairstyle (and before you imagine it as some funky mohawk or something, it’s just that I have a very generic haircut), and, well, I know myself: I don’t do well with maintaining complex hairstyles. I have on two occasions attempted to wear some expensive haircut and then let it fall apart in days—because applying copious amounts of jell and parting it “just so” is not something I care about. Continue reading

Sometimes, You’ve Just Got To Laugh

I realize this sounds pretentious, but I don’t think most people end up in the scenarios I do. And that’s sometimes a problem.

Because, advice relies upon shared experiences, and I often don’t mesh with others in that regard. So, I had to come up with a plan for when I can’t always find someone with an answer. And, well, it might not be a great long-term solution, but what I came up with is to laugh. Continue reading

SUPRISE! A Discussion About Twists

Would you believe this is the second time I’ve tried to write an article like this? For some reason, I find the concept of twists hard to describe, despite being so fond of them.

And I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it’s because they are themselves based on surprise and the unknown? A good twist you don’t see coming. And since I feel at least a little qualified to talk about it, I thought I’d give some advice on how to do a twist well.

In list form, of course, because this is the internet after all. Continue reading

How To Start Being A Writer: A Guide For Absolute Beginners

So, I hear you want to be a Word-Slinger? That you want to dance with a little lady named fiction? Well, for all of you who still call themselves “aspiring writers,” here are a few steps for the absolute beginning of your journey.

Because while there may be plenty of places offering tips on publishing, or writing your first novel, I thought I would share with you some advice on how to begin this crazy writer life.

  1. Stop Calling Yourself An “Aspiring Writer.”

If you write, you’re a writer. Endpoint, done. You can, however, be an aspiring author. Hell, I’m a professional, and even I have to call myself that. But the point is, if you’re really serious about this whole writing thing, then call yourself a writer. Own that title.

  1. Set Aside Time

And now comes the first hard part. At any age, and even if writing is your occupation, you will still need to find time to work on writing. And I’m sorry to say that for beginners, it’s going to be the time you usually play video games, or watch television. This is a sacrifice you’re going to have to make. Continue reading