Sunday, July 20, 2014

... it's always hard the first time.

A note on innuendos.

As my writing group consists almost entirely of guys, I've come to the realization that anything I write can be read the wrong way if my readers are in that kind of mindset. For a time, I tried hard to reword my sentences to avoid potential innuendos wherever possible.

Yet as time's gone on, I realize that it is IMPOSSIBLE to try and get rid of every possibility. It's always important to please your target audience, but it is equally important to please yourself as the author. If you spend all your time and effort trying to avoid phrasing something in away that MIGHT be taken the way way out of context, then all you'll end up with is a piece of work that doesn't meet up with your potential. Make your readers happy, but make sure you're happy too.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Doyle and the Crazy Basil

One of the hardest things for a fantasy writer is language, especially if the world of their story is completely different from Earth. J. R. R. Tolkien created many languages for his books in Middle Earth, the most well known to be the language of the elves. While I would not be so bold to try and claim how much effort that took him, from my own experience, I would guess a lot. A world is easy to think of and create, it's the details that can be impossibly hard to figure out.

Names can be be particularly troublesome, especially if, like me, you've worked on your world for a long time and the names have kind of dried up. There are a few ways I've found that can help with that.

Ask somebody:
Don't be afraid to grab a friend by the shoulder and say, "Hey, I need a name for a character like this..." I've gotten some of my best names from asking the people close to me. Don't worry about rejecting suggestions, either. Just because someone says a name, doesn't mean you have to use it. Listen for the name that feels right for the character you're trying to identify.

Look online:
There are hundreds of websites dedicated to names; baby names, story names, name generators for games. Take your pick. The best websites are those that draw names from multiple eras and cultures. But even if the list shows mostly modern names and your world is not modern at all, scanning through it can spark an idea. You may find a name that you can use a variant of, or a name that, while modern, actually works for your character.

Use an existing archetype:
Translators can be extremely useful tools for coming up with random words. Basing your language off of one that already exists is one of the best ways to do it. The laws of language are already there, and it takes very little tweaking to make the words your own. Just be careful of languages that other people have created, such as Tolkien. True world languages can't be copywritten, but anything that has been made by another creative mind like yours can be.

Well all else fails, take a random word or words, swap the letters around a bit, and string them together again. A simple game with spotted tiles can become an evil overlord bent on world destruction, and a little crazy basil can become a super powerful instrument of war. The possibilities are endless with this method. Just stay true to the tone you want. No matter how outlandish something sounds, if it fits, it fits.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Metal Bowels and Hoover Cars

There's one big thing I've learned personally: it's okay to make spelling mistakes. It's okay to make errors. It's okay if you're missing a comma here and there. Trust me: it's not the end of the world if your draft isn't perfect. No one expects it to be.  Get your piece written, get some advice, and then go back and edit the hell out of it. Because it will need edits. Every story needs edits. Thinking you're perfect will only make it that much harder to get recognized seriously. Find a few people whose opinions you genuinely trust, such as a group of like-minded individuals or fellow writers, and ask them what they think. If you're project is long term and you have a group helping you as you go, so much the better, because you will improve and make less mistakes - or different ones, anyway - as you go on. So turn off spell check, set your timer, and write. Until the final publishing, you can always go back and fix it later.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I have decided to begin a blog offering some tidbits of information regarding writing and the things I have learned about it in my own book-bound journey. While many would not consider me an 'experienced' writer, there are useful little pieces of advice I've come across that I would like to share, regardless of whether or not you think I don't know what I'm talking about. Most of this has come from collaborating with other writers. Some has come from respected teachers. Very little (if any at all) has come from my own head. I would not be so presumptuous as to assume that I alone have come up with a piece of advice. So I would like to share these bits with anyone who's interested. Even if it doesn't help you, it may help someone, and that is the key to any writing. As long as it reaches someone who needs it, it can never be a waste.