Saturday, September 16, 2017

An Anniversary Post

It’s almost September 20th—or it is already the 20th—or it’s past the 20th (hey, as I’m writing this, I don’t know if I’ll remember to post it or anything). That’s the day that I celebrate the one-year anniversary of my short story “Cognito, Ergo Sum” being published with Daily Science Fiction. I still remember waking up, eventually finding my phone, and wondering why that story title in my inbox looked so familiar. Yes. DSF never told me precisely when the story would be published, so that was a pleasant surprise.

I’m not exactly a successful author here (Translation: I’m not raking it in from a lucrative book deal yet) so I’m not speaking from a position of authority, but let me offer advice to all those prospective writers out there:

Start with short stories.

Read, write, and submit ‘em by the dozen. Short stories will help establish your writing style and build up your name. It’s really a brief vignette into how you lay out a story; readers and workshops can offer you the best advice in a small amount of time. The greatest feature by far, though, is that they don’t take long to write. Unless you happen to be me, and you take forever procrastinating or mentally debating what the next three words of a sentence should be.

That’s all I have to say for right now. Write short stories.

In an additional celebration of this publication anniversary, here is the link to the story itself, which is also available on my Published Works page.

Also, just because I feel like it, the following have been my top five most popular blog posts of all time—as I am writing this.

See you in October!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Scars Towards Beautiful

Meme Month has come and gone; taking a lesson from those brief depictions of authorial insanity (while acknowledging that, yes, another busy college semester has started for me), I’ll do my best to keep this one down to a three-minute reflection. In that time, I will do my best to convince you that, as an author, you should hate Alessia Cara’s song “Scars to Your Beautiful”.
If you’re a ravenous fan of that recent pop contribution, too bad.
If, somehow, you ARE Alessia Cara and have wandered onto my humble author blog…my apologies, but today’s just not your day. If it helps, I do enjoy your song “Stay” no matter HOW many times the local DJs decide to play it.
The song “Scars to Your Beautiful”, I will admit, has an upbeat rhythm that no doubt launched it to success. I appreciate the fact that it has less of a droning quality than, say, “Stay” by Rihanna, a song that should be officially registered as an auditory tranquilizer and is therefore unfit for driving radio. However, Alessia’s lyrics continue to goad me into an arguing match with my car’s stereo, and here I would like to explain why. The anthem proclaims:

…you should know you’re beautiful just the way you are,
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world can change its heart
No scars to your beautiful…

On one hand, this makes no sense on a logical plane. YOU don’t have to change—the REST of the world can do that instead…a world that’s also made up of a bunch of people, listening to that song…so unless this song was meant for one, specific, unnamed person, it’s all very self-contradictory. How far we have come from Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”.
Secondly, and most importantly, while this sounds like a great song for the vast population of people with self-esteem issues (and I check into that community every once in a while myself), I argue that this song does people more harm than good—not only because of the aforementioned logical issues. Simply put, this song flies in the face of one of writing’s most meaningful qualities: a story’s Character Development.
This quality is essential if you want a reader to connect to a book. Some characters don’t change, that is true—but when that happens, they either become the bumbling comic relief or part of an overall comedy plot. Who knows? Maybe Alessia was subtly urging us all to become an Adam Sandler film. But what if the character is not comedic? Then that might mean you have a too-perfect person in the middle of your story—and those are far more unrealistic. Therefore, if you want readers to connect with your written world as seen through the eyes of the protagonist, the characters needs to change. There need to be some scars moving them towards their beautiful. Sorry again, pop music fans.
As a writer, though, you are not starved for ways to shape your MC’s development.
(Let’s see…one minute left.)
I’ll make it quick.
As your character changes, the causes of his development will obviously come from either internal or external forces; from the inside or the outside. Balance is required between the two—if the MC is only affected by the outside, he becomes passive. Nobody wants to watch a helpless twig float downstream. Beating your character into submission by using the world you built around him sounds like a tale of gradual slavery, not realization and recovery. That realization is the necessary internal force; something has to come from your character’s heart and mind to develop him into a different person.
In conclusion (ten seconds!), how you balance those forces is up to you. But forget Alessia Cara—if you want a beautiful character and a gorgeous story, there have got to be some growth. Some scars. I’m outta here.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Meme Month: Part 5

This final one is not my own, but it is still one of my favorites nonetheless. Kind of juxtaposes my

contribution from last week, though.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Meme Month: Part 4

This one’s more of a personal struggle. Anyway, enjoy the eclipse tomorrow!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Meme Month: Part 3

Granted, this is not one of MY cartoon characters, but nonetheless the genie will always be near to my heart. If I have one.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Meme Month

Right now I’m busy. I’ve mostly been preparing for the upcoming semester, working, and reading Stephen King’s On Writing; considering that last one, there’s no way I’m going to try saying anything profound about writing right now. Therefore, sit back, enjoy the slowly advancing sunsets, and don’t damage your eyeballs while rolling them at this meme.

There’s going to be another one of these next week as well—memes for the month of August! Lucky you.