Monday, March 17, 2014

Goodbye Blogger

This will be the last time I post on blogger. I am now switching everything over to my new WordPress blog, Kricket's Korner.

There's a couple reasons why I'm doing this.

1. Technical difficulties. A few months ago I got this Surface which has Windows 8 RT on it, not realizing the difference between RT and regular Windows. I thought the Surface would just be a touch screen laptop, but it's more of an inflated tablet and thus has some limitations. One of those is that it does not play nicely with Google. I can't download Chrome and things such a Blogger just don't work without a dozen error messages. So, since I can't use Blogger easily on my main computer, it was time for a change.

2. Consolidation. I've been running two separate blogs for a while now and it's just become a hassle. I've been wanting to put them together but I wasn't sure how I could do it. It just seems easier to start over.

3. Everybody's doing it! Well, a lot of people I know use WordPress and it doesn't have the Google connection like Blogger. So it seems like a good way to go. Anyway, I have managed to import all my post from Konfessions and Kricket Writes, so everything will be there, but we're going to be starting fresh now. So please, come find me over at Kricket's Korner! The place might have changed and the format might change, but it's still me and that why we're here, right?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: The Kick-Ass Writer


The journey to become a successful writer is long, fraught with peril, and filled with difficult questions: How do I write dialogue? How do I build suspense? What should I know about query letters? How do I start?

The best way to answer these questions is to ditch your uncertainty and transform yourself into a KICK-ASS writer. This new book from award-winning author Chuck Wendig combines the best of his eye-opening writing instruction--previously available in e-book form only--with all-new insights into writing and publishing. It's an explosive broadside of gritty advice that will destroy your fears, clear the path, and help you find your voice, your story, and your audience.

You'll explore the fundamentals of writing, learn how to obtain publication, and master the skills you need to build an army of dedicated fans. No task is too large or small for the kick-ass writer. With his trademark acerbic wit and gut-punch humor, Wendig will explain:

How to build suspense, craft characters, and defeat writer's block.
How to write a scene, an ending--even a sentence.
Blogging techniques, social media skills, and crowdfunding.
How to write a query letter, talk to agents, and deal with failure--and success!

Whether you're just starting out or you need one more push to get you over the top, two things are for certain--a kick-ass writer never quits, and chuck Wendig won't let you down in this high-octane guide to becoming the writer you were born to be.

This was the first book I read this year and I'm glad I did. I love Wendig's style when giving advice. He's not one to sugar coat things and I think that's an important quality when talking about writing.

This book is broken up into three parts and every chapter has 25 pieces of advice about a topic. And those topics range from being a writer, to tips about creating characters, to getting published. It's pretty thorough.

The only reason that I didn't give this book 5 stars is because it's a little bit repetitive (although some things do bear repeating) and there's a whole section about writing horror that I kind of skipped. But it makes sense, he writes horror, I don't.

So, if you don't mind a realistic, rough around the edges, approach to talking about writing, I highly suggest you pick this book up.   

What writing book have you read recently? Tell me in the comments!

Have a great day and Go Write Something!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This Close...

Well hello fellow writer/readers, long time no see. I took a break from blogging after finishing my Writing Tips series. But now I'm back to your regular Wednesday updates.

So what have I been working on lately? I'm still trying to finish Moon Dragons. As of this blog, I am 3 scenes away from completing the first draft. 3 freaking scenes, and I still have a hard time writing. I realized yesterday as I was writing the climax that there is a lot of stuff I missed writing earlier on.

But that's okay. It happens in the first draft. You might get to the end and realize that you have not done a good job of setting up your epic conclusion. And that is what editing and rewriting are for. Make notes as you go and then fix them on your next go around.

I'm pretty sure I'll get this draft finished by the end of the week. And what happens then, you ask? Well, I'm going to let it sit and mellow like a fine wine for a month or so. Got to step away from the project so that I can approach it with fresh eyes.

And in the mean time, I'm going to start real work on my New Crow project. I'm calling it the New Crow, because I had a Crow project a couple years ago and about the only similar thing between these two projects is the main character and a nightclub. I'm pretty excited about this project and I can't wait to jump fully into it.

So the next time we see each other, I will have Moon Dragons draft one complete and I'll be able to tell you what's up with New Crow.

What are you working on right now? Something new, something old? Are you on a first draft or within the rounds of rewrites and editing? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day and Go Write Something!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Writer's Block: A Few Thoughts

I'd like to start by saying that Writer's Block is kind of a load of crap. At least in the sense of it being some strange, uncontrollable force or disease that effects us writers. Having Writer's Block is not an excuse to not write. Many writers will say they have Writer's Block and thus they simply can not write until it goes away *cue fainting couch*. That's not how this works.

Having Writer's Block is just another way to say that you're not motivated or inspired to write. You don't have that burning fire in your belly that can only be put out with written words on a page. But you know what, you have to get over that. If you only write when you feel like it, you'll never really write anything. So how do you get over that Writer's Block feeling?

Not long ago I read Chuck Wendig's book The Kick Ass Writer and he has a whole chapter about Writer's Block. If it was legal, I'd just copy what he said here and leave it at that. But, since I can't do that, I'll just paraphrase some of what he said.

First: Keep Writing. Even if you don't feel that fire. Sit down and just write. It doesn't have to be part of whatever project you're working on, as long as you are putting words on paper. And quality doesn't really matter either. Words. Paper. Keep Writing.

Second: Look at other aspects of the project. Maybe you're not feeling motivated to write because there's something wrong or missing. Think/write/talk about what's bothering you with the project. Don't be afraid to try something new or go in a totally different direction with it.

Third: Go do something not writing related. Take a walk, go hang out with friends, watch some mindless TV, whatever works. Just don't get caught doing it forever and never get back to the writing.

Fourth: Review your Mojo. Maybe some aspect of your Writing Mojo is off. Maybe you need to rearrange your routine or adjust your goals. Go to the root of the problem and dig it out.

Fifth: It might be bigger than Writer's Block. I'm going to quote directly from Wendig, page 77. "It's worth noting that sometimes the thing you think is writer's block is actually depression. Depression is neither helped nor fixed by attending to it as if it's writing block--no amount of 'writing through it' will solve depression. Depression requires its own solutions that you should discuss with family, friends, and any medical personnel you trust with such a decision."

He makes a great point here. I've been depressed and it's made it so I didn't write for years. Once I made certain, needed, changes in my life, I was able to write again. So if the Writer's Block doesn't seem to go away no matter what you do, look beyond the writing part of your life and seek help if necessary.

So there you have it. Remember, Writer's Block is not a disease and is something that you can work through. It might take time and it might suck while you're going through it, but there is a light at the end of that tunnel, I promise.

And that, dear readers, concludes Kricket's Writing Tips for Beginners. I hope you have enjoyed reading this series and I hope it has helped you in some way. Please remember to share and comment and let me know if there's anything else you'd like me to talk about.

Now, Go Write Something!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The First Draft: It Sucks

Now that's we've talked about some of the pre-writing basics, discovering why and what you write, figuring out where and when you'll write, as well as setting achievable writing goals. We can now move on to the actual writing.

Everything starts with the first draft. I don't care if you outline or not. If you meticulously plan every moment of your story/essay/whatever you write or if you just pull crap out of your head and throw it on the page. No matter what you do, your first draft is going to be god awful. A poopy diaper is going to look better than your first draft. This is a proven fact. I have seen many poopy diapers and many first drafts. The diapers caused me less pain.

As a writer, you need to accept this. Embrace the fact that the first draft is going to be terrible. Seriously, give it a hug.* You'll feel better. The sooner you acknowledge that your initial word vomit is going to be that, word vomit, the sooner you can move on to finishing the first draft and then going back and fixing it.

Because the second most important thing about first drafts is that you have to finish it. No matter how horrid it is and how much you hate it by the end, you have to finish that thing. If you never finish that first draft you'll never know how awesome it could be. And you'll also never learn.

You'll learn more about writing by completing the first draft than you can learn in every creative writing class on the planet. You can read every text book, study every grammar manual and you'll still learn the most by writing and finishing what you write.

So go forth dear Reader/Writer and pour your soul on to the page. Crack open your head and just plop your brain down on your project like an egg onto a skillet. Because until you write those first words down, you can't really call your self a Writer, now can you?

Thanks for reading! Please comment and/or share this if you liked it. And Happy New Year, may it bring you awesome plot bunnies and lots of writing motivation.

*I feel I should note that I got Chuck Wendig's new book The Kick Ass Writer, for Christmas, so if my writing style seems to emulate his today, I'm sorry. BTW, it's an awesome book and he's smarter than me, so you should read it too.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Goals: Setting and Metting Writing Goals, Big and Small

A week from now we will be in a brand new year, 2014. And as is the tradition with so many of us, we take this time to evaluate what we’ve done in the previous year and make new goals for the New Year. So what better time than now to talk setting and meeting your writing goals?

I have found it best to start big and then work your way down to the more specific goals. Again, I’ll use myself as an example here. A Big Goal looks like this:

I (Kricket) will publish a book by the time I’m 30 (in 3 years).

As you can see, there are two major components to that statement. There is the intention and a parameter. I intend to publish a book and the parameter tells me I want to do that in 3 years. Parameters are extremely important in goal setting and meeting.  Without parameters, without a time limit, we writers can just float in a little Writer’s Cloud and never get any work done.

Now, let’s move on to more specific goals, ones that will help you achieve your Big Goal.

To become published I must:
1.      Complete a manuscript by the end of 2014.
2.      Edit the crap out of that manuscript by mid-2015.
3.      Begin submitting the manuscript by the second half of 2015.

Believe it or not, we can break these goals down into even smaller bites. The smaller the better, you can’t eat an elephant all in one gulp.

To finish a manuscript I must:
1.      Come up with and develop an idea/plot/characters/world etc. by April 2014.
2.      Write at least 1000 words every day until completion.
I could continue with each of the other two goals above, but I think you get the point. 

The main point of setting goals for your writing it to keep you on track. To give you something to look forward to and to aim for. Otherwise, you’re just wasting a lot of ink and paper and time. So set achievable goals for yourself. Give yourself time and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet all your goals when you said you would.

Writing is a long game and it takes time to do it right. Setting goals and meeting those goals will help you build confidence in yourself and your writing. From the tiny goal of: I will write 500 words today! To the Big Goal of: I will be published! Have confidence in You the Writer and go forth and Write.

Again, thank you for reading! Leave a comment, share this blog with your writing friends, and all that jazz and of course, go write something! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Your Routine: How To Make Writing A Part Of Your Daily Life

So before we get started on the main topic, I wanted to address the title of this series: Writing Tips For Beginners. I read a couple articles the other day about bad tips for teen writers and it got me to thinking, what constitutes a beginner? Who is a Beginning Writer? Well, dear reader, you are.

"But Kricket," you're saying, "I've been writing for X years. I have X books/articles/whatever published. I make enough money off of writing to pay the bills. I'm not a beginner!"

"Well good for you Neil Gaiman (and thanks for dropping by ;) )" says I. But if you're here, then you're looking for something to help you with your writing and I'm here to tell you that we are all beginners no matter how much experience we have. Because sometimes we find ourselves going back to the basics, starting from square one and reevaluating everything we do.

So, whether you just woke up this morning and said, "I want to be a writer!" or you've been doing this for 50+ years, all are welcome here and, hopefully, we can all learn something new.
And now, on to Your Routine!

Humans are creatures of habit. No matter what you do in your life, everyone has some kind of daily routine. Wake up, get dressed, eat food, go do whatever you do most of the day, eat some more, other tasks to further your existence, and then back to sleep. I'm here to tell you that, yes, you can fit writing in there. I don't care how busy you are, you can find time in your day to write.

Wake up an hour early, stay up late at night, sacrifice some of that time you spend watching TV or playing video games and learn to ninja write. We all have 24 hours in a day and we all have things that we want to do that require us to have 48 hours in a day. So the key here is prioritizing. To make writing a part of your daily life, you have to make it a top priority.

Your routine will be just for you. Just like your writing mojo is unlike any others, so is your routine. In fact, to start your routine, go back to your mojo and look at those last three questions, where, when and how. You probably already have an idea of when and where you can fit writing into your daily routine.

But, if you're still not sure how to start with this whole routine business, there are a lot of great books and resources out there that can help you prioritize and organize your time, and if you need one, go find one, they help. But here's some basic tips about starting a routine.

  • Start by writing down your current routine. See where you currently stand.
  • Then see if you have any spare time in there. Either totally empty minutes or if there are some activities (like browsing the internet) that you can trade for writing time.
  • Be flexible. Give yourself time to adjust to your new habit and don't feel like a failure just because you don't write for a day or two.

And finally, always look for opportunities to ninja write. Ninja writing is writing done on the fly, anytime, anywhere, even while you're at work (if you can pull it off). Being able to take advantage of every available minute in your day is a skill and it can be very helpful to learn.

And there you have it! Now go and figure out how you're going to make writing an everyday part of your life. And if you need some motivation, maybe this will help. ;)

Thanks so much for reading! If you like this, please share it and/or leave a comment.

Also, next week's update will happen on Thursday (the day after Christmas), so until then, have a Wonderful Wednesday and a Merry Christmas!