Tag Archives: Featured

What’s My Motivation? Why Writers Need to Motivate All of Their Characters

Plot driven stories focus on external conflict. Character driven stories focus on inner turmoil. Plot driven stories are more situational than personal. While characters may evolve in plot driven stories, they never change as much as the world around them. Plot driven stories are action oriented. Characters don’t have the luxury of self examination before they make decisions. Their situation is too urgent.

The plot driven story approach is ideal for fast paced globe trotting adventures, sci-fi fantasies, and anything with a clock counting down to Armageddon. That’s why most blockbuster movies take the plot driven approach. It keeps the characters in danger and makes the audience feel like they’re on a rollercoaster.

The problem with plot driven stories is when their fast pace leaps over gaps in the plot. Continue reading What’s My Motivation? Why Writers Need to Motivate All of Their Characters

How to Reroute your Story For A New Twist

When I started my novel We the Damned my outline was no longer than a paragraph. All I wanted to know was the premise, the players, and the conflict.

In the story the demon Court of Skulls puts Eugene Black’s life on trial. They sabotage his defense by assigning him Murphy O’Dell, a day drinking public defender in the process of being disbarred. The courts rigs the evidence, alters procedure, and calls a series of couched witnesses to convince Eugene his life has no meaning. The court’s victory seems like a foregone conclusion until Murphy comes to care about his client.

I knew the surface conflict, but wanted to wait until I was in the thick of writing to understand the characters’ underlying motivations. All I knew was the Court of Skulls wanted to damn a soul while concealing its importance, and Murphy wanted to win, because it gave him a chance to stick it to the demons who he learned have been sabotaging his life all along. Continue reading How to Reroute your Story For A New Twist

What First Dates can Teach You About Writing Dialogue

When you want extra anchovies on your pizza you ask the person on the other end of the phone. When you want a pair of acid wash pre-frayed jeans you ask a clerk where to find them. When you want a tall non-fat half caff Latte you ask a barista for one.

When you want love you don’t just ask the person you’re attracted to. There’s a dance to romance. You don’t say, “I couldn’t help but notice that your face was symmetrical and the proportions of your body are agreeable. I like how your loose garments reveal your good genetics. Would you like to copulate and imagine what our offspring would look like, or just copulate for recreation’s sake?”

That’s a little too on the nose. Continue reading What First Dates can Teach You About Writing Dialogue

Is It Safe: When to Tell People About What You’re Writing

Right now many of you are cranking out stories for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). You’ve got two more weeks to hit your 50,000 word goal. If the words are flowing you might feel an urge to share your idea with everyone and their mom, but now isn’t the time.

It’s hard to stay on the right path when your friends say, “What if, instead, you took your story in this direction?”

It’s hard to concentrate on where your story is going if someone questions where it’s been. It’s hard to power through to a deadline when criticism derails your train of thought. Continue reading Is It Safe: When to Tell People About What You’re Writing

Use Your Darkness: How Writers’ Shortcomings Benefit Their Characters

Know Thy Self

Most of us avoid doing anything out of character. We don’t want our routines to get broken. If our lives have to change we want it to be so gradual that we don’t even notice. If we’re stuck in a rut we try to make ourselves comfortable with it. It doesn’t matter if every day feels the same, we choose to live in Groundhog Day scenarios because it’s what we know.

We predict how we’ll manage in tough spots, overlooking the difference between our ideal selves and our applied selves, between our routine self and our chaotic self.We gossip about other losers who fell apart under pressure, patting ourselves on the back for how we assume we’d react differently. We’d like to believe we wouldn’t panic from the comfort of our love seats. Continue reading Use Your Darkness: How Writers’ Shortcomings Benefit Their Characters

Spring Forward, Fall Apart: A Spoken Word Album

This is my first collection of musical spoken word recordings. Each recording puts a satirical slant on self improvement, self medicating heartbreak with humor, and dropping the mic on depression. The recordings are scored with synth melodies, backing beats, and radio drama sound FX.

How to Use Writing as a Remedy

A lot of people avoid moments of quiet contemplation for fear they’ll get stuck in them. They don’t see the therapeutic value in journaling. Some writers even discourage the practice, saying that an abstract record of your thoughts won’t enhance your ability to write narrative fiction, but what if journaling could benefit your writing and your state of mind with the right direction?

When I started journaling it looked like I was transcribing the ravings of dizzy man pacing a bus station. I switched from the past tense to the present tense without sensing a disturbance in the time space continuum. I switched from the first person to the second without warning. I started sentences with confusing modifiers. I left my particles to dangle. I was less concerned with good sentence structure as I was with getting my free floating feelings out there. Continue reading How to Use Writing as a Remedy

Evil Dead With A Cool Head

The following is the classic Cabin in the Woods horror movie scenario from a slightly different perspective. Just imagine, what would happen if Ash from the Evil Dead series was better at problem solving?

Evil Dead With A Cool Head

Once the captain of the Titanic ordered the lifeboats loaded no effort was made to save the ship. The task seemed too daunting. The first officer shut the watertight doors and the crew resigned themselves to their fate. Glug glug glug. It took two hours for the ship to sink. Two hours that could’ve been spent clogging the leaks with canvas sheets, mattresses, and rugs. Two hours to reduce the flow of water into the boiler rooms. Two hours to seal the forepeak scuttle hatch and prevent the forward bulkhead from sinking.

The Carpathia made contact with the lifeboats only two hours after the Titanic sank. Continue reading Evil Dead With A Cool Head

Slender Man’s Rival

He was born on a Photoshop forum. The assignment was to add something supernatural to an unexceptional situation: a corporate meeting, a self help seminar, or a state fair.

I found a picture of a church picnic that was perfect. It took place in a field, there was a lot of space between the subjects, and the horizon was filled with evergreens. If viewers looked closely at the tops of the trees they’d see a figure in the canopy: a silhouette formed from the crisscrossing branches. A wooden giant poised to crash the gathering and have a picnic of his own. Continue reading Slender Man’s Rival

The Best X-Files Episodes to Capture the Halloween Spirit

(This list has been UPDATED for 2018 here)

Halloween is just around the corner and high def episodes of The X-Files just hit Netflix making now the perfect time for a marathon viewing season, especially since the series is coming back on January 24, 2016.

There’s only one problem: there’s 9 seasons to sift through, with UFO mythology installments, monster of the week moments, and supernatural episodes. Which ones are right for the perfect October evening?

Here’s a curated list from an X-Files super fan, complete with promo spots, to get you in the mood for Halloween. Continue reading The Best X-Files Episodes to Capture the Halloween Spirit