All posts tagged: Writing

A toast for 2013

This was the year everything changed. It started with a Cracked article. Yes, Cracked. Now, Cracked sometimes sneaks in life lessons with their weird history and nerd comedy, and at the beginning of 2013, David Wong of Cracked issued a challenge to his readers: make 2013 the year that you close (warning: Alec Baldwin says mean things in that clip.) No excuses, no bullshit, no tired old lines about how you couldn’t because (insert whatever excuse is your preferred reason for not getting it done here.) No trite promises quickly abandoned, no self-defeating battles with the mirror. 2013 wouldn’t be about what we are, but what we do. He left what up to the reader. Learn a language, a martial art, make a painting, write a book. Learn a tangible skill, create a tangible result, do something. CLOSE. Kick some items off the bucket list, figure out what makes life worth living and DO THAT THING. Not too hard to guess that my vow for 2013 was to finish one of the three books that had floundered …

How I learned to stop worrying and love Nanowrimo

Two years ago, I watched my husband do Nanowrimo. I mostly lounged around, chatted with other people, drank red wine, and was probably, in hindsight, entirely obnoxious and distracting. I certainly didn’t track any progress. Mike didn’t seem to enjoy doing the write-ins and didn’t think they were helpful. We stopped. This year I’m trying out Nanowrimo myself, although I admit I’m kind of cheating. I would have been writing anyway — I have two novels whose first drafts I was planning to finish this month, so I thought ‘why not combine these goals?’ This probably not quite playing by kosher rules, I’m sure, even if I’m not ‘counting’ any words that I didn’t write during this month (my total on Nanowrimo’s site, for example, is far lower than the count that I’m listing here on my blog.)  But now that I’ve actually been to a write-in with the intent to write — now I understand why my husband didn’t really like them as other than social circles. Not much writing seems to get done there, …

The Bonehead Writing Society

(Note: this post is a reprint of an earlier post that appeared on a shared blog, There By Candlelight. Since that site is now being repurposed, I’m slowly moving my articles over here.) Blank paper is God’s way of telling us it’s not so easy to be God. – Craig Vetter Some years ago (I really don’t want to think of how many years ago it’s been) I decided to take an English 101 night class at the local community college. Everyone else in the city of Santa Monica had evidently had the same idea, because when I walked in the door I found there were easily over 60 people crammed into a small airport building with 30 seats. Many of us were working adults, but there were clearly some collect students in their late teens who believed that a night class would have less homework and would thus be an easy A. We stood and fidgeted and gave each other anxious looks, and at five minutes past the hour, our teacher arrived, one Bob …

Tall Poppies

I hate Mary Sues. It’s not, however, for the reason that you might think. We’ve all encountered Mary Sue characters — a product of fan fiction (typically an author insert) who can do everything, fix all problems, knows everything and knows exactly how to solve any given mystery. In my experience, Mary Sues are often not perfect, but charmingly flawed (so clumsy!) and very often that flaw ensures she is always the center of attention. Everyone loves her because the author wants it that way rather than because she is, in fact, lovable. But at some point (I’m honestly not sure when) the Mary Sue shifted away from wish-fulfilling author insert to a woman who was good at too much. Quelle horreur! I had a sneaking suspicion when I wrote Marduk’s Rebellion that I was going to hear that accusation leveled against the main character, Mallory MacLain. She is, by her nature, a highly skilled, badass kind of character: a super agent who neither wants nor arguably needs much support. She’s a loner, and she …

Annie and the Wolves

Introduction: Another short story, this one focused solely on my favorite bad girl, Lucy Belogh. Obviously I’ve taken huge, sweeping liberties with historical figures, but not nearly as much as I would have liked to have taken: I wish how Phoebe Ann Mosey was mistreated was fiction. I only tinkered with how she survived the experience. She never identified the family who abused her when she was a child, only referring to them by her nickname: the wolves. Rating warning: this story is the most violent I’ve published on a blog so far, and not for kids. *** The little girl’s blood stained the snow pink when she fell. She didn’t cry out. She was long past the point of feeling pain, reduced to numbness by the cold and her wounds. She had felt cold originally, but that was before the sun set and night shrouded the forest. She pushed her hands against the snow, brushing sap and ice and bits of broken twigs from her bloody fingers as she stood, unsteady and teetering. In …

Updates and One Lovely Blog Award

Okay, so a lot’s going down. Let’s get started, shall we? First, you may have noticed that I’ve taken down my countdown and link for my Smashwords link for Blood Chimera. Why? Because a publishing contract may be happening after all. No final word yet (and it’s not with the same publisher as before) but since I won’t have final confirmation until after DragonCon, it makes no sense to put the book live at that time. The new publisher is still an indie, but they fulfill the main requirements I have — namely they bring talents to the table that I can’t do myself, including some bang-up awesome marketing. So I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that works out. Because while I can do some of this myself (and expect I will) it would be nice to have a support network. Oh so nice. After that, the next step will be to figure out if I’m going to self-publish Marduk’s Rebellion or keep trying to find a publisher. Okay, so second, C. Jeffrey over at …

Villains and Rape

Okay, let’s talk about rape. If you don’t want to, that’s fine, but I need to discuss some elements of this issue. It’s been bothering me. I want to talk about rape as a storytelling and literary device, but I recognize it’s impossible to remove it from its real world context as something that has, odds are, actually happened to someone you know (the statistics are rather appalling in this regard.) Rape is very personal and very, very charged, and for this reason, more and more I’m seeing writers talk about rape as an edgy literary trope they can use to push boundaries and emphasize just how evil their villains are. Rape or the threat of rape is still a very common theme in movies, books and comics. Note that I’m saying ‘writers’ and not ‘male writers’ because I’ve seen both men and women use rape this way (I’ve seen plenty of self-identified feminist writers use rape to emphasize how evil the menfolk are.) Take any random guy, have him rape the hero or their …

The Kidnap and Ransom Business

When I began researching Blood Chimera (I tend to do a lot of preparatory research on books when I know I don’t know a damn thing about certain subjects) I began to play with the idea that the main character, Jack, is a kidnap and ransom specialist. What’s a kidnap & ransom specialist? Well, it’s been depicted in a few movies (probably most famously in Proof of Life) but a K&R negotiator is someone who comes in to organize a response to a kidnap for ransom situation. It’s a very small, select field, and incredibly secretive. There’s no single path to becoming a K&R specialist, but K&R people typically have backgrounds in law enforcement or military special forces (or both), and they can expect to fly all over the world and spend months at a time in the field. It’s dangerous, ugly work that puts their life at risk in foreign climes on a regular basis and requires them to be at home in the bureaucratic nightmare of dealing with governments, organized crime groups, terrorist …

You’re Not Good Enough

‘What if I’m not good enough?’ That’s my goblin. It’s not just my goblin. It’s my husband’s goblin and my friends’ goblins and it haunts the dreams of so many people I know, online and in the real world, who dip their toes in creative works or dive in with both feet and a held breath. That goblin waits for the dark hours of the night and ambushes us from paragraphs of mangled reviews or worse, from the silence of a lone voice echoing lost in the static of the internet. So let me be perfectly clear: you’re not good enough. Don’t be mad. I’m not good enough either. No one is good enough. We are, all of us, flawed and imperfect and self-destructive, and while we are constantly striving towards perfection, it a goal that none of us will ever reach. Take a deep breath and accept that you are not good enough. Be liberated by that, so that you give yourself permission to make mistakes. (Sometimes the accidents are so damn beautiful.) Pick yourself …

©2013 Richard Lund

Beginning My Next Novel

Okay, so here I am…I have two finished books shopping for a home, one of which is well on its way to publication. So I should finish the epic fantasy, right? Hell no. I’m writing the sequel to Blood Chimera, my debut novel. Because when folks finish reading that, I want them to have a book they can jump right to, or at the very least, know that it will soon follow. Oh, which reminds me: Avast! Here there be spoilers! Go away if you don’t want to accidentally find out details of Blood Chimera. You still here? Okay, let’s get this shit started (as Ze Frank would say.) So the first thing I do, the very first thing, is pick out music. Yeah, yeah, I know, but I like to have soundtracks when I’m planning a book. And this is a pretty music heavy book. There will be nightclubs, concerts and stuff as we spend some more time in Hollywood and along Sunset Strip. So let’s see…I start with some David Bowie, and then …