Archive for January, 2010

Finding time to write


2010
01.28

Ok, so I am not the best person to be preaching about this. I have two wonderful boys, a perfect wife, and twins on the way (probably boys, my brother has 6 of them… that’s just how we role).

With my writer’s group, my side work (which has been short lately), my actual paying job, cub scouts (for my son), soccer (for my son), horticultural club (again, for my son), it can be hard to find the time to write.

All of that being said, the time MUST be made. If you aren’t writing at LEAST 3,000 words a week (on the average, we all have weeks of nothing), than you need to figure something else out.

I read a blog once that said a writer, who is wanting to pursue writing professionally (or already is a professional), needs to write at least 1,000 words a day. That sounds totally reasonable… in theory.

My problem is making theory a reality. I need to start writing that 1k a day (hey, my new quote! “1 K a Day!”, anyway, back to the post…) if I plan on ever making it. Which I do.

I would post a challenge to all of you reading this tow write 1k a day for the next week, but alas, there are not enough of you following this blog yet. One day, oh yes… one day.

Online Writing Groups


2010
01.23

So as a follow up post, I thought I would talk briefly about online writing groups. For some, there are no local groups they can attend. For others, like me, they want as much input/feedback as possible. Kind of like Johnny Five from Short Circuit, “Input! More Input!”

Anyway, there are several great online critique groups available. The three I frequent are:

Sribophile – A very professional approach to online critiquing. Most of the people there seem to know what they are talking about, and the owner, Alex, is on top of things. The free version works just fine, but has some limitations. For a small monthly fee, you can unlock those limitation, and get more feedback on more works, faster.

Absoulte Write – This site is the big kid on the block. They have TONS of forums and TONS of users. Several published authors, agents, editors, and publishers spend time there. The readers/critiquers can be a bit harsh, but they are usually right.

Review Fuse – Similar to Scribophile, but not quite as polished in my opinion. Great community, though, and another great resources to have your work torn to shreds.

Keep in mind, though, that the people on the sites (for the most part) are unpublished writers, and are simply offering their opinion… no matter how passionate they “offer” it.  I suggest using my method of reading feedback. If I agree with it, use it. If I don’t agree with it, toss it. The only exception is when you see a lot of the same comments. If eight out of ten say that your dialog needs reworking, chances are there is some validity there.

So go out and post your work! If you have nothing to post, make some flash fiction (REALLY short fiction, like 100-1000 words) and post it, just to see what you get back!

Writing Groups


2010
01.20

Tonight, while sitting in my writers group, I got to thinking about how lucky I am. The group of people involved are ALL so very talented, that I would have to be a complete moron NOT to learn something awesome.

Mark my words. If I ever become a well known author, it will be because I joined a writers group.

Which leads me to my next point: should you, or should you not join a group? The answer is (as if you couldn’t figure it out by now)… YES.

There is a trick, though. You have to find a good one. Here are some things to look for while looking for a good group:

1) Size. If thee group is HUGE, you will probably never get your work critiqued. Not to say that there isn’t a benefit from editing and reading others work, but you will never know what YOU are doing wrong (or right) until you get good feedback.

2) Genre. While you can be loose with this one, I think it’s easier to be in a group that writes (or at least a few write) in the same genre as you do. That way, you all are on the same page with the expectations of that genre.

3) Review style. I have been to a group where everyone reads their piece aloud. While I am thankful that they let me through the doors, I don’t understand how you can REALLY critique someone’s writing when they are READING it. It is easy to miss things (and impossible to catch others, like typos, etc.) when you aren’t actually reading it. Plus, the speaker/author can put inflection in his voice that might not be in the text, distorting what a reader might catch.

You really should find a group where people actually share the work ahead of time, then give time to read and edit before the meeting. This, I find, provides the most benefit.

4) Competency. While newbies should definitely stick together and help each other out, there needs to be at least some (although, the more the better) veteran writers. That doesn’t mean published exactly, just experienced. Otherwise, it’s the blind leading the blind.

5) Frequency. The more often the better! Now this, of course, will vary on your own schedule, but once a month isn’t going to cut it. At least 3 times a month, and that’s a minimum.

So, what to do now that you have found your group? Jump in head first. Start critiquing right away. I don’t care if your new and have never written before. All that means as that you are providing the opinion of the average reader… which is GREAT!

As soon as you feel comfortable (or sooner if you tend to be shy), submit something. Anything. Spend some time on it, but this will be your signpost for where you are as a writer… kind of like in school when they test you at the beginning of the year to see where everyone is. You NEED to know where you stand, so you can see where to climb to.

I am currently a member of the Fresno Sci Fi and Fantasy Writers Group, or FSFW. We are currently working on a new site, which I will post as soon as it is up. If you are lucky enough to find a group as good as the one I am in, then do whatever you can to join. Your writing will improve ten fold.

2010 San Francisco Writers Conference


2010
01.19

As a new writer, I am constantly looking for ways to hone my craft. Along with reading, writing (of course) and critiquing, another great tool is a conference. A good conference will both help you with your writing, and get you some valuable face time with people in the industry.

This year, I have signed up to volunteer at the San Francisco Writers Conference. They’re expecting quite the list of speakers, and the conference is already close to being sold out. If you are even remotely interested, I would suggest making it to this event. It’s sure to be amazing!

I’ve been published!


2010
01.18

Ok, so it’s only a short story, and it’s an unpaid gig… but… I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED! I’m very excited about this, if you can’t tell.

Do me a favor and support Digital Dragon Magazine by downloading this months issue. I will be published in the Feb. issue, so make sure to grab that one too!

Yay!

Welcome!


2010
01.18

Welcome to my new blog! I figured it was time to start one, so here it is! Don’t worry, I’ll have some content up soon.

Thanks for viewing!