Category Archives: writing

“Top 10” Stories from The Lightbulb Forest | House Blog

I’d like to start off by saying that as an author I love all my stories equally, and that there’s really no such thing as a “Top 10”, just as there would be no “Bottom 10”. After all, if I didn’t care about some of these stories I wouldn’t have wanted them in this anthology.

That being said, here are 10 of those stories that I’m really excited to share with you. Continue reading “Top 10” Stories from The Lightbulb Forest | House Blog

New Year’s Resolutions (For Writers) | House Blog

I resolve to finish at least one project I start.  (I have twelve months ahead of me, which should be more than enough time to get a working draft done of something. And although I may leave a hundred unfinished projects in my wake, I will finish that one thing.  …Unless it gets too hard, then I’ll switch projects to something else that I’m sure to finish. But I’ll definitely finish that project.)  (Probably.)

I resolve to never be without a pen.  (I will continue to buy more pens than I could ever possibly need, and to be very particular about which pens I buy because some are definitely better than others and ink consistency matters very much.)

I resolve to continue buying books even though I have piles of unread books around my home.  (I’d resolve to stop doing that, but it would probably be broken within minutes.)

I resolve to review more books.  (Considering how often I read reviews to get an idea of what a book’s like, I should be writing more of them.) Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions (For Writers) | House Blog

What Happens to Forgotten Ideas? | House Blog

I had a great idea for a blog post, but then I forgot it.

I can’t remember anything about it, only the vague feeling of ‘Oh, this’ll make a great blog entry’. The rest, my friends, is darkness. It felt like the kind of idea that I would have written an entire post about, instead of doing my usual thing, which is:

  1. get an idea
  2. write two paragraphs
  3. get stuck
  4. wonder why I thought this would be a good idea in the first place
  5. think of something else
  6. repeat steps 2-5 many more times before losing your mind (once you’re officially insane, move on to step 7)
  7. magically discover an idea that’ll fill a whole blog post
  8. panic because it’s already the 18th and you’re behind schedule!
  9. write the post

[Full Disclosure: I did steps 1-5 before that idea hit me, but I’m sure it would have made me go straight to step 7 instead of step 6.  Fuller Disclosure: I only wrote one paragraph before I got stuck.]

Anyways, the point is that the idea left me. Utterly and completely left me. I was sitting at my computer, trying to think of something to write when suddenly I had a brilliant revelation. But instead of writing it down I got distracted by something and by the time I went back to it, the idea was long gone.

This happens most often when I’m trying to get to sleep. I’ll be thinking of how lovely it would be to drift away to dreamland instead of lying here awake when suddenly I’ll think of a new idea or scene or a way to fix a plot point that’s been bothering me. However, the thought of getting up and turning on the light, finding pen and paper and writing it all down can seem like a lot of work. So instead of doing that, I’ll tell my brain that I’d better remember this when I wake up or I’ll be pissed. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Which leaves me with the question I asked about three hundred and fifty-three words ago: what happens to a forgotten idea?

Is it waiting patiently for me to remember it one day? It it hovering in the background somewhere, hoping and wishing that one day I’ll suddenly have a light-bulb moment and it can spring forth?

Did it get lost in the ether, swirling in idea-purgatory forever? Hoping that it’ll stay above water and won’t get dragged down into the depths from whence it’ll never come back, buried underneath all the other forgotten ideas?

Or did it move on to someone else, finding satisfaction in being acted upon by a person who didn’t forget it? Have all my forgotten ideas shuffled off to someone else? Is someone else writing the stories that I didn’t?

I’d like to think that those ideas don’t ever leave me, that they get stored away somewhere in the back of my mind, waiting for the right time. And some point in the future something will happen and it’ll appear, ready. Maybe it’ll seem familiar or maybe not, but it’ll be there, and that’s all that matters*.

_________

*And hopefully this time I’ll be smart enough to write it down the instant I think of it.

Writing Advice I’ve Gleaned from Playing DND | House Blog

1) Too much exposition can be boring.

If you’ve got an awesome flaming sword (or a Chekhov’s gun), you’re going to want to use it. You won’t want to listen to some NPC drone on and on for hours and hours. Yes, information is important and you’ll never solve the story’s mystery if you don’t talk to people or listen to clues, but eventually you’ll want that local farmer to shut their yap so that you can start doing some things. Knowledge is great, but if your dialogue seems to be going on for too long, toss your character a task that needs completing, even if it’s a simple one.

2) Too much fighting can be exhausting.

Fights are thrilling, but if your character is going from one fight to another to another to another, eventually you’ll get battle fatigue (just like your character). You’ll want to rest and heal up, maybe go to a hospital. Or maybe you’ll just want a quick nap and a sandwich. Either way, action’s great and all, but too much of it and you risk tiring everyone out*. Continue reading Writing Advice I’ve Gleaned from Playing DND | House Blog

Getting Back on the Writing Horse | House Blog

I had started 2019 so full of hope.

This was going to be the year when I wrote more, submitted more, was rejected more, and (hopefully) accepted more. And I was prepared. I had a calendar where I could highlight the dates of deadlines (pink for “hell yeah, I’ll submit” and yellow for “if I have time/an idea”), with a monthly reference sheet for which deadline was for which publisher/idea, plus links to their website and guidelines.

And then May and June happened. Continue reading Getting Back on the Writing Horse | House Blog

Why we kill [CENSORED] in fiction | Writing and Publishing advice from Engen Founder Matthew LeDrew

05_GhostsThis past near has been interesting for me, nostalgia-wise, as Engen Books has been re-releasing my original 10-part urban thriller series as Coral Beach Casefiles with some wonderful covers by Kit Sora. As such I’ve been taking the time to go back and tweak and adjust some goofs in the original texts.

There’s some things you can only write when you’re young I think, and last month and this month were a very anxious time for me because they saw the release of Ghosts of the Past and Ignorance is Bliss… both of which have plots which revolve chiefly around children in peril, and one in which said child meets a (spoilers) very bad end.

This is the type of thing I would rarely do today, and even looking back on it I find it… squeamish. Have I lost my edge? I went back a re-read these books with a kind of half-grimace, because all I remember are the outcomes… but then I remembered, these were actually half decent books. I actually started to like the writing again and get back into the mindset.

All this begged the question for me: why was this plot necessary for young me? Why do kids die in fiction? Continue reading Why we kill [CENSORED] in fiction | Writing and Publishing advice from Engen Founder Matthew LeDrew

On to Round 2! | House Blog

I did it, everyone! I managed to wrestle my short story into a first draft!

calvin-hobbes-dance

(click here if you haven’t read my previous post)

Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s a rough first draft, but 1,645 words and a shaky ending are better than 475 words that dwindle off into nothingness. Continue reading On to Round 2! | House Blog