Principles For Writing Viral Stories

26 01 2017

C. J. Cherryh, “it is perfectly ok to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.”

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This article is about writing viral blogs, but its points can be applied to genre fiction, namely:

  1. Convey the genre expectations quickly, even in the first sentence.
  2. Subvert those expectations with unexpected contrasts (glittery vampires? serial killer who lives in dreams?).
  3. Convey a setting the reader can relate to through comparisons (magicians but still teens in school; a world on a turtle’s back, but still has crime and bureaucracy).
  4. Convey through parallels (an alien rabbit is still called “a rabbit”).
  5. Have the story ask an important question (will Frodo save Middle Earth from Evil? How will humanity defeat the aliens?).




In Totally Insulated, Unrelated-To-World News, I’ve Got Another Novel and…

10 11 2016

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…I’ve gotten to 13K words in NaNoWriMo.
You all know NaNoWriMo. It’s my first time. I needed some sort of boost, because I’m two novels behind in my Five Year Plan, which ends in December. I’d be needing Beta Readers to give me critiques. Would you like to read the draft?
So far, having a deadline’s been working pretty well. Due to genetics and upbringing, I am suspicious of any sort of organized “fun” activity, but this is working out.
This novel is a sequel to my Stoker long-listed novel “The Flesh Sutra”, which is set in 1890s San Francisco and contains body horror, Tantric sex, ruminations about romantic love, and a dysfunctional relationship between two increasingly powerful mystics. Would you like to be a Beta Reader?
This new novel has a working title “The Flesh Frequency” and is set in 1971 San Francisco.
Weird Stuff count so far:

  • A Jim Morrisson/Brian Wilson analog has his soul imbued in his last recording, to have that recording duplicated over-and-over, so that he is doing the same song over-and-over until his torment goes multi-Platinum.
  • An antiquarian who likes young flesh realizes what coins and lovers have in common, and molds so medallions of smelted gold upon his own body.
  • An aspiring Satanist steals the wrong body and discovers enlightenment is infinitesimally different than death.
  • The protagonist has to choose between a passionless existence and a greater meaning placing all humanity at risk.

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  • Remember Olivia? One word: sokushinbutsu

I have to get to 50K by the end of a holiday month.
Would any of you good people like to be a Beta Reader?

Header photo courtesy of this rather interesting story.





Writer Advice: Tastes and Smells

27 09 2016

You can tell an experienced writer by the sensory detail. New writers concentrate on action. Over time, writers will add how things look and sound, then progress to hearts pounding against ribs and other physical sensations, then to how they taste and smell. The proper use of flavors and smells can evoke strong emotion.

I did not create these tools, as you can see. I am anxious to use these tools and will let you know what kind of response I get.

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Story Prompts: Megadeath to Survival

15 08 2016

A star gone supernova 4000 years ago could scorch a hemisphere in the next minute with very little warning. Old news for astronomers and the paranoid. What would that be like having everything going up in toast where you are right now? How about now? Now?

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What if you had been in a parking garage? How would you live once you saw what happend? After a year, everything would start growing back and the rest of the world would only start on the fringes of the Doom Zone. Memorize these videos. The lack of narration makes them strangely restful.

 

Scavaging for civilization would be deadly dangerous. Identifying warning logos would have been burnt away. The rewards for finding the correct gasses would be great as they could be used for everything from air conditioning to fuel to weapons against rival gangs. Here’s a fellow who knows all of the uses at “Things I Won’t Work With”. Touch the deadly molecule to learn more.

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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?

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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?

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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.

 





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.








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