Writers: “Start Small, Then You Build”

4 09 2016

 

Here’s a feller who invokes Pixar and Hugh Howey to let you know:

  1. Enovels don’t need to be all that big no matter the genre
  2. Take your time with your ideas
  3. Redraft and redraft. There are award-winning professionals who start with neat ideas, but do not put the work in on polishing.
  4. Will I say any names? If I get annoyed enough one day I just might.




Research! Death In A Microwave!

31 08 2016

 

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Image Courtesy Gizmodo

From Gizmodo:

“Well, I can tell you from experience being microwaved is pretty… intense. Imagine the sensation of being slapped on a bad sunburn, combined with an electric shock, instantly. On the plus side, it also stops instantly once you’ve frantically jerked your hand out of the microwave, so it isn’t all bad I guess? :)”

Yet for adults, staying in a fetal position with eyes tightly clenched may — MAY — keep the liquid parts of us from overheating. Babies in standard home microwaves would probably survive, though with skin burns and severe damage to eyes and genitals. Industrial microwaves would cause internal organ damage, but overall it seems burn wards see people with far worse injuries.

I deem this death: OOGY, NOT HORRIFIC

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Make Yourself A Whole New You Then Unleash It On The World: A Disquieting Pause

17 07 2016
Your New Self Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Your New Self Is So Immense It Could Not Fit Onto Your Screen.

 

As a passionate advocate of growth, I’m always looking for ways to self-improve. Here are some of my best tips which may help your personal journey. Some of them are simple steps which you can engage in immediately. Some steps are more ambitous, yet more rewarding.

1. Read A Book Every Day.

It’s good for your mind and expands your world.

2. Swab The Inside Of Your Mouth For DNA.

Oral hygnene is key to good health.

3. Learn A New Language.

New languages give you fresh perspectives.

4. Clone Your Flesh.

For the highest quality organs, skin grafts, and for posterity.

5. Learn Computational Bioengineering.

To open up  your potential in a growing job market.

6. Optimize Your Genomes.

Use CRISPR to remove genes getting of the way of your higher self.

7. Build Your Bio-Synthoid Army.

You know how your thoughts affect your behavior, which affects others and their behavior?  Be more proactive. Have your thoughts affect the behavior of your own mutant army of Daleks. Watch how the army affects your world’s behavior and eventually what the world thinks of you.





More Story Prompts and Resources

29 06 2016

Dan Brown is paying to have one-of-a-kind esoteric volumes digitized for the internet. Click the picture to learn more. Prompt: What the hell is the green crap these guys are eating? Why?

polyglot-bibble_e_tp_c_342mb-copy-e1466606424999

beyond

Wonder what the Koran really says? Wonder about Jainism, Sikhism, Discordianism, Swedenborgism, or the SubGenius Manifesto? Try Sacred-Texts.com. Click the guy giving the moon to the sun. Prompt: Now that he can see beyond, what will this lad do? Why?

newblue

This blue hurts to look at. Friggin’ blue powder, just sitting there being smug. Scientists found this pigment by accident. Prompt: Did it want to be found? What will it do now that it’s going to be used by art school students?

Click this painful bastard and learn what science meddled with this time.

 

 





Famous Writing Advice With My Addendums

21 06 2016

Write what you know. Your life is a great place to start. You have something you are doing that no one else knows about, like a job or location or life challenge. Start there.

Write what you know. Be sure to talk to lots of people so you know more.

Write what you know. So write about monsters you invent, because who’s going to argue?

Monsters shouldn’t glitter unless they kill people with glitter.

Write things that would embarass your mother. This may not work if your mom likes the Kardashians. If your mother has no shame, try for “dismay” or “repulse”.

The best subtext is unintentional. That is, if you write to convey a message, that message will consume everything — characters, plot, and eventually your ability to interest others. Those you wish to persuade will dismiss you for preaching and those who agree with you will think you’re a dilletente and ignore you. Write your story. If you realize, hey, this story is awkward and makes me look nuts, then work with that. Embrace it. There is a market filled with people who are also awkward and nuts.

Remove as much as possible from your story, especially if you’ve seen it before in other stories. That goes double if you are writing a pastiche or a monster that’s been done.

Writing is not theraputic. Speaking with a cleric, health professional, or mature friend is theraputic. Writing can improve you the writer if you write with the idea that you the writer are wrong and have been for many years. That is “cathartic”. You may have a really good story when you’re done, too.

If you wish to inspire with your writing, make sure your conflicts and antogonist are treated with respect.

Everyone disagrees. Even twins disagree. In theory, clones raised in identical circumstances would disagree. Your character has to do impress you and also make you facepalm.

Even locations have character arcs. Game of Thrones wouldn’t have worked in a thriving, newly born empire. If Salem’s Lot had been a vitalized town filling with immigrants or yuppies, Barlow would have been burned before his antique store opened.

 





My Prayer For Spec-Fic

9 06 2016

Oh Lord, are You there? My soul thirsts for You. Could You give me a Double-Gulp helping of You?

I yearn for a sf movie without “Star” in the title. I yearn for something that JJ Abrams hasn’t tainted with his signature TV cinematography and Slusho world-building. I yearn for Damon Lindoff to live a productive and happy life without the ability to write.
Some movie worthy of a franchise that isn’t already populated with 70 year olds from other franchises. A movie without The Wilhelm Scream. A movie that wasn’t produced simultaneously with three of its sequels. A movie smart enough to have its own language and culture, yet still smart enough to not hide its MacGuffin behind the name “Unobtanium” and keep its villains out of military uniforms and business suits, just once.
Something that doesn’t happen in a high school either midwestern or Asian.

I so thirts for a horror movie without a death in a car where an arm punches through the driver’s chest. Without someone crawling on the ceiling. Without a garish, flat spiritworld where everyone just smiles creepy or sings songs in public domain. Without the Christian being a hypocrite or worse. Without an explanation of why the monster came to be. Without being a disappointing remake.

Without lush childrens’ storybook styling to remind us this is a Metaphor.

People know when a movie is going to suck. They go anyway to be part of the event and be able to discuss the merits of the movie. Even M. Night Shamalan has had little effect.

Could we have a spec-fic show that’s brightly lit? In a nice, clean world? An original world without characters from story books?

Can we have real teenagers who act and speak like real teenagers? Who have sharp-eyed, meddling, loving adults involved in their lives? Can we have actual old people?

We spend our lives making money. We give this money to movies and books and TV. The art is consumimg our lives, yet is made of parts long dead. Now not only is it a zombie (slow moving), it’s  and being further shaved of its face and features so it can shamble into China and digest the Chinese.

I can’t be the only one who feels this way, Lord of Hosts, Host of All Media.

And get people to turn off their tablets in theaters, too.

Amen.





I Squeezed StokerCon, Baby.

18 05 2016

I went to StokerCon and got the rewards that’ll build a career.

I want to up my game and begin using conventions to establish business connections. I’ve read dozens of articles over the years on how to network, but had neither the nerve nor the credentials to approach those on the next rung up on the ladder.

  1. This year’s StokerCon was the first to have a full weekend and have lots of workshops with professionals. What did I do?
  2. Assessed my personality. I’m introverted and anxious in general. But if I’m comfortable, I’m glib and pretty damn charming, so I’m told. This was my first “businessy” convention, so to keep up my glibness, I…
  3. …Kept my goals reasonable. If I spoke with editors and agents and was able to pitch my current project, that would be a success. To insure my glibness, I…
  4. …Talked about projects I had described many times. Rehersing would make me nervous (ain’t the way it’s supposed to work, I know, but I’m certain to grow out of this) so I made note only to mention “Diesel Dead” and use “The Flesh Sutra” and its preliminary ballot nod as an introduction/validation. This would work for…
  5. …Speaking with everyone. Not just pros but also my fellow aspirants. We’re all in the same boat, after all. Everyone has something I could learn. This worked well, because…
  6. …Workshops held all types of learning opportunities. Nancy Holder conducted a two hour workshop on discovering physical and mental cues to use when ratcheting up suspense to flat-out horror. Jo Fletcher, Stephen Graham Jones, and agent Ian Drury affirmed what I’d already heard about the market but provided an unexpected opportunity. Another big name’s workshop was a big-time slack-off by said big name, but another attendee found where I can improve another project I’m working on. The convention had other, built-in ways I could learn like…
  7. …editor pitch sessions, which I took one (those slots went quick), and paying a semi-pro editor to review/edit the first 100 pages of DD.

How’d I do?

Three editors want see a synopsis of DD. Ian Drury surprised his workshop by giving those attending a pitch session with him. Had my business card, had my material down, had my glib on. He asked for a synopsis. Meanwhile…

…Nancy Holder’s workshop held a boggling reward. After an arresting two hours, when the attendees milled around waiting to introduce themselves, I gathered my nerve and got out a business card. I walked up to her and said,

“Hi Miss Holder? My name’s Tim Burke and I had a novel on the preliminary ballot for the Stoker’s last year.”

“Really?” she smiled. “I was on the recommending panel. Which one was yours?”

I had forgotten she had been on the panel.

“‘The Flesh Sutra’?”

She gasped. “YOU’RE ‘The Flesh Sutra’? I loved ‘The Flesh Sutra’! I love your novel!”

And Nancy Holder flung her arms around my neck and gave me a big hug.

Yes, this all was worth the money. It’ll be a couple of years before I go across the country, but in terms of business this has helped me in ways I’m still processing.

I stayed a day after the con ended to do Vegas. Ate at buffets: YOU SUCKED HARRAH’S, however CAESAR’S was $60 a plate and was so-o-o good. I hardly ate the next day I was so full.

And I finally got to fire some automatic weapons at Battlefield:Vegas. I’m writing it off as research.

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StokerCon in Las Vegas, Baby! Also, Want To Beta Read My New Novel?

5 05 2016

I’ve finished my new dark fantasy/horror novel titled “Diesel Dead”. Elevator pitch is “Later this century, physics attacks humanity. A man with a secret can help bring civilization back from the brink, if he can overcome his PTSD.”
The book is now 43K words with zombies, diesel-funk, fire spirits, a high-tech ruling class, and quite a bit of bleakness.
Wanna read it? Drop me a line!
Meanwhile, I am preparing to go to StokerCon next week. I have signed up for seminars with rising young authors and plan on networking like hell. I hope to keep you updated through the convention about my impressions and learnings.
Right now, I am writing four synopsis for use in John Skipp’s brainstorming class. These are:

  1. Bev’s Demon: a novella set in the near future, a woman is crisis is shadowed by a mysterious being. The problem with this is my politics may be getting in the way of making a better story.
  2. Babbage’s Mandala: A head-smacking new take on the Difference Engine. So many places to go with this idea. Characters in search of a plot.
  3. Sequel to “The Flesh Sutra”: Tentatively named “The Flesh Frequency”, it will be set in 1970’s California. I have  POV and reveal scene and that’s all.
  4. Dagnoxy: Old friends from highschool convinced me to try my hand at comedy again. So I have a character and an idea as to where he should go. If The Talented Mr. Ripley and Terry Pratchett were to have a baby, Dagnoxy would sell it to make spell components.

An editor for a small pub is also critiquing the first 100 pages of “Diesel Dead”, and I’ll share what she has to say.





Story Ideas: The Drifting Dead, 100% Efficient Solar, and Alien In Fishtank

1 03 2016

Last seen in Spain, the captain died then drifted from the Atlantic to the Philippines over seven years. Click his salt-cured mummy to learn more.

mummified-captain-ghost-ship

 

Moths eyes helped “boost the light absorption capability of graphene sheets from a mere 2 to 3 percent, to a whopping 95 percent.”

 

“…in there 2 years before I noticed, and only noticed because I had whole coral colonies missing after a single evening.” This species survived five extinction-level cataclysms. It has skin like fiberglass, eats the world’s hardest organic substances, and can grow to over six feet in length. They are often found living in home fishtanks.

Coral worm

 





Who Else Has This Problem Creating Things? Do You?

16 12 2015

I am very excited about the novel I’m working on.

Except that the protag’s life is an unceasing grind of being pursued by unknowable paranormal forces. Who have killed off his family and kill off his friends. And made him an itinerant, depressive alcoholic. In a near-future US struggling to recover from multiple disasters and reshaped laws of physics. And a city about to be overwhelmed a la “Salem’s Lot”. Which will kill all the other supporting characters. During which he discovers proof-positive of something akin to God, which has been watching all this time and doing nothing.

Have you worked on anything that was like claws across your heart? What was it?








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