Confessions of a Serial Binge Watcher
I keep a disciplined writing regiment, but every so often I hear the siren call of television. I’m not the type of person to watch any show that happens to be available. The shows that satisfy my fiction addiction need all the right elements. When I find one that does I fall into a Netflix vortex until the season is done.
I plowed through Marvel’s Jessica Jones in one weekend. Binge watching became part of my routine. I woke up with my tablet on my pillow, opened Netflix, and brought it into the bathroom while I brushed my teeth. I set it on the table as I ate my cereal. When I got on the bus to work I resumed watching on my phone. When I came home I put Jessica back up on the big screen.
It wasn’t that I was a chronic couch potato so much as Jessica Jones was just that good of a show. Let’s talk about the psychology of what makes a good story so binge worthy and how novelists can use the techniques of found on TV to write something readers will have trouble putting down. Continue reading How to Make Your Book As Bingeable as a TV Show
We live in a world where we ask, “How’s it going?” as a “Hello,” not as a inquiry into someone’s wellbeing.
Happiness is so revered it seems mandated. If a fellow employee asks, “How’s it going?” and you respond with, “I’m alright,” a common response is, “Just alright?”
If you’re one of those people who says, “Just alright?” know that you’re not coming off as someone who’s concerned so much as someone who’s enforcing an impossibly high standard of positivity. Those of us on the receiving end of that question see you as one of those screamers from the end Invasion of the Body Snatchers, calling us out for our nonconformity.
If this isn’t your intension consider the following: if the person you’re asking, “How’s it going?” says they’re alright flatly leave it at that. If they say they’re alright with a pensive downward inflection ask if anything is going on. Those are you options. Continue reading Why You Should Let Your Characters Blow Their Tops
When I started this blog four years ago I had no idea what I was doing. My first article was on the arrogance of trying to build a brand online. I openly mocked the concept, myself for going along with it, and any potential audience for reading it. The one thing I can say for my approach was that it was honest. I was daunted by the excess of blogs by other writers who were trying to do the same thing. I resisted the notion that authors have to sell themselves before they sell their work.
I wrote with a cynical tone because I feared an intimate one would make me vulnerable to criticism. A sarcastic edge is the armor of every novice blogger. I just wanted to share my art. I didn’t know the write way to acknowledge my audience.
The months went on and my blog became more than a depository for old poetry. I realized all the tricks I used to keep my writing flowing were things worth sharing. I just had to develop the language to articulate them. Over the years I’ve perfected this blogging formula. These are some of the techniques I use. Continue reading My Secret Blogging Formula
Before a runner can take on a marathon they have to increase their millage over time, running a little more every day, building their muscles, and getting their bodies ready to go the distance. Before a writer can take on a novel they have to increase their word count, writing a little every day, building mental strategies, and getting into the habit of putting words on paper.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve run a marathon before if you’re taking on another you have to put in that leg work again. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already written a novel, if you’ve been out of practice, your brain will need a workout before its up to the task.
These are the exercises I do to get myself going again. Continue reading Quick Exercises to Beat Writer’s Block
When writing your first draft author John Steinbeck recommends you “write freely and as rapidly as possible… Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.”
If you stop to edit the chapter you’re working on you’ll get stuck in a perfectionist loop, keeping you from moving forward and breaking your stream of consciousness. If your emphasis is on quality too early you’ll ensure there’s no quantity. The first draft is an marathon not a gymnastics routine. You can’t worrying about being too graceful on your way across the finish line.
Of course, when you do go back to edit, you may realize you’ve inherited a mess. I did when I went back to revise my current work in progress. My story features a narrator and the first person testimonies of four other characters. Continue reading How to See Through Someone Else’s Lens