Writing prompt 54

The old man picked up the note from the table.

“How does it feel to be a Methuselah, kid? Happy enough you ruined the last timeline? The Big Guy is pissed off. Actually, he’s fuming. He wants to talk to you. You know what this means. I’m sorry it came to this. You have until tomorrow.”

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Crutch words – ANGRY (part 1)

For a writer, drafting a story is all about putting all the thoughts down on paper (or virtual paper) as fast as possible. Often, if not always, this comes at a price. Drafts are messy. They often make us cringe when we read them. Why? For many reasons, but one of them is because we use words that are always the same boring ones, which most of the times break one of the sacred rules of writing: show, don’t tell. One such word is ANGRY. Below is a small list (more words to follow in the coming weeks) of synonyms that we can use instead. As is always the case with synonyms, each word carries a unique inherent meaning, so even though each is a synonym to angry, they don’t always serve as a replacement. Make sure you’re absolutely certain that the word you’re about to use carries the meaning you have in mind.

On a side note, I think I have failed miserably in my attempt to make the colour of the word angry like that of Hulk’s. Not only that, but the font is wrong. *sigh*

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Next steps, and plans

I hate making new years’ resolutions. In my mind, it’s ridiculous to think one can plan for something so far ahead, because life throws curved balls at us and changes everything. What we plan at the beginning of the year, is planned based on the info and difficulties we are aware of at that moment. The next moment, the Sun may implode and we end up rotating around a red dwarf. One hell of a sight to see, but it’s going to put a little dent on those plans. I believe I’ve said it before: when mortals make plans, gods laugh. Especially if those plans rely on the completion of a whole bunch of other things happening before the resolution comes to fruition. I’m talking about resolutions like, “I want to travel the world from east to west and north to south in a canoe before the end of this year.” A lot of things need to happen before one achieves that. Like learning what a canoe is, and how to navigate in the sea without electronic equipment. So I never, ever do them.

I don’t mind setting small goals, physically and mentally possible. Like, “this year I’m going to learn to count from one to ten in Cantonese.” It’s manageable and doable, even if life throws at me its worse.

All exaggerations aside, I’m more of a person who likes to set goals (see, I’m making a distinction here between goals and resolutions) over which I have control, things that I know for a fact I can make them happen in the immediate future (“this Saturday, I’m going over to Steve’s to reconcile with him after our last week’s argument”). So it’s more like a plan than anything else.

Well, this year, I broke my own rule. I set a goal for me, only it’s actually a resolution.

I will publish my first novel in 2018, I said. It shocked me a couple of weeks after I said it, but my mind insisted on it. 2018 will be the year the world will read my first novel.

A lot of things need to happen between now and 31 December 2018.

1. Have a completed manuscript ready (edited by me at least 20 times, read by betas, and re-edited after their suggestions 5 more times) –> CHECK
2. Have a basic knowledge of how one gets to publish a book –> CHECK
3. Have a list of potential readers who might be interested in reading said book –> CHECK (I have a newsletter, and some of the readers there show genuine interest in talking to me. That’s a start, right?)
4. Have a basic understanding of how a writer can promote their work –> CHECK (though I’m still learning)
5. Have an editor ready to edit the book –> X
6. Have a cover designer ready to craft a cover for it –> X

So now I’m at the point where I’m looking into editors. Line editors, to be exact. Apparently, not many of them go around. Or if there are, a great deal of them bundle copy editing and line editing into one (two different kinds of editing, but I’ll get back to that at a later post). Also, money is an issue. Editor needs to be affordable. Hmm, let me rephrase that: cheaper than what most writers would consider affordable. Take into account the different earnings between Greece and your countries. So, in other words, the editor has to be dirt cheap. Perhaps a line editor who is just starting up their self-employed editing career, and want to attract clients and referrers than anything else.

I’m sure there’s someone like that out there. I’ve already got my eye on a few. I’m waiting for them to reply to my queries and get quotes. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the mean time, TL;DR (too long; didn’t read): 2018 will be the year I will publish my first novel.

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Writing prompt 53

I figured I had a go with a funny prompt this Sunday. Not my usual style, but why not? I think it’s suitable for fantasy and humour writers alike. I hope it helps you create some nice stories.

“Ouch! Ow! You punched me in the nose! That hurts, you know.”
“Get back!”
“What is the matter with you, human? I’m a friendly orc. Do you see me squashing your meaty parts ’til your eyes pop out? You wouldn’t like that, would you?”
“Die, demon!”
“Hey, I have feelings too, okay? Just ’cause I’m an orc, doesn’t mean your words don’t hurt me. Or my nose. Look how swollen it is now.”

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Crutch words – WENT (part 2)

You didn’t think I forgot part 2 for this crutch word, did you? In case you missed part 1 you can find it here.

When we draft our stories, we want to get them out as fast as possible. Which tends to make things sloppy and messy. Non-writers, don’t get us wrong. It’s a need all writers have; get the story out of our heads immediately. Unfortunately, this comes at a price.

Crutch words.

When we finish our first draft, we haven’t exactly “written” anything. Technically, we have, but practically, well… it’s not readable. When we draft a story, what we’re really doing is putting our thoughts down. Writing comes after we’re finished with the first draft. That’s when we have to turn our drafts into something that won’t hurt the eyes (or the minds) of our readers. Part of this process involves removing crutch words.

One such crutch word is the past tense of the verb go (went). We love using it (and other crutch words), because it’s always available and it does the job. The thing is, readers want more than a word that just does the job. The problem with went is that it’s not descriptive enough. And so, we have a huge list of synonyms to consider. Below, is a small list of some of the available synonyms for WENT. Keep in mind that every synonym has a meaning of its own, so make sure you use the right word. And yes, I know there are more synonyms available. I will cover those in future posts.

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I am a…

It took me a while to accept it, but now that I have, I feel so much better: I am an artistic and creative person. That’s probably why I never liked most of the things I tried. None of them were related to arts. Except telling stories, creating worlds and settings, turn lies into reality, and writing fiction. Mind you, most of my academic background, with the exception of my Masters degree, is related to hard sciences (physics, chemistry, maths, geology – my first degree – cosmology, astronomy etc). Which was okay, but it never really thrilled me.

But now, I have discovered another form of art that I seem to like. Okay,ho am I kidding? A form of art I’m enthusiastic about!!! See how many exclamation marks I used there? There are a select few of you here who have had the great misfortune to have me as their beta reader. They know how much I hate exclamation marks. The words “kill it with fire, then cast it into Mt Doom,” come to mind. I believe I wrote that to the side of a friend’s manuscript, pointing at an exclamation mark he had used.

Anyway, being a writer on an extremely tight budget forced me to learn to use Photoshop. Okay, let me rephrase that. It forced me to learn to use one or two things from Photoshop (is there anyone out there who knows how to use the entire program, I wonder). And I realised something: I really like using it! (You see that? Another exclamation mark)

I enjoy creating stuff with it, and I enjoy learning new things about it. At the moment, I’m more like “monkey see, monkey do,” as far as knowing how to properly use it goes, but every single time I create something, it’s like having finished writing a new book. Like it’s Christmas all over again! (Wow! I’m going crazy with the exclamation marks today)

So, to make a long story short, I decided to start selling the few things I’ve created with Photoshop. I started an Etsy shop, and I invite you all to browse through my wares. There are not many things up yet, mainly because to create something it takes me as long as it takes me to finish editing a book. For the record, now I’m editing my cyberpunk novel AND my horror post-apocalyptic novel – yes, again – so this should be ample proof that it takes me A LOT of time to edit something.

Anyway, you can find my Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/DreamInDigitalDreams. I hope you like what you see 🙂

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Writing Prompt 52

Everyone around me panicked and ran and trampled each other to get out, go someplace safe. Fools. What difference would it make?
I noticed a woman at the other end of the bar eyeing me, calm as a meditating monk. I threaded my way to her. “Not running for your life?” I asked.
“Nope,” she replied.
“How come?”
“You know how.”
Could she be…? My surprise must have shown, ’cause she hid a chuckle behind a sip from her drink.
“Still,” I said, “the end of the world and all. This is my fifth end of the world and I’m still enjoying it.”
“Oh, you’re a child. How sweet.” Another sip of her drink. “I got bored after the twentieth. That was millions of years ago. These primates are no longer entertaining. However, this end comes too early. Your doing?”


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