Category Archives: writing

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

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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

Wrestling a Story into Submission | House Blog

You know what it’s like when you get an idea for a story and you’re really excited to write it down and bask in the wonder of your genius, but once you start writing you suddenly get stuck and the words don’t sound like they should and the idea’s not really coming across and it isn’t the way you thought it would be and you’re having trouble making that line sound good and you’re not even halfway through but it’s all crumbling in front of you and you don’t know what to do to make it right?

*takes a deep, calming breath*

Normally once I’ve reached this point I would put that particular story aside and work on something else, but the problem is that I don’t want to work on something else. Like a petulant child: I wanna to write this specific story and I want it to be good! Continue reading Wrestling a Story into Submission | House Blog

Anger | House Blog

I’m not going to sugar-coat it. I’m angry. I’m angry about a lot of things these days. It’s a low-level burn that simmers under the surface, boiling over into a rage when the next new terrible thing happens.

A lot of these things I’m angry about are vastly out of my control (*pauses to glare at US politics*). It’s so easy to feel helpless. I can do a little, but it doesn’t feel like much.

So what else is there? What else can I do? I write. I know it won’t change the world, but it helps.

I write tragedy to process grief. I write about equality to see a better world than the one that exists. I write about people overcoming fears and triumphing against evil. I write about hope.

I write about a day when I might not be so angry.

Writing Guilty Pleasures | House Blog

Sometimes I write things that I have no intention of ever showing anyone.

Ever.

There are random scenes, ideas, and sometimes even full-blown stories that will never see the light of day. They’re all tucked safely away in places where no other soul will find them.

“So why bother writing them?” you ask.

I guess that’s a valid question. I mean, I am the one who brought this whole thing up, so it’s only natural you’re thinking that.

Why would someone waste time writing stories that she never intends to show anyone? Well, it’s a guilty pleasure. As we all know by now, I don’t stick to one genre when I write (I think of it like genre-Pokemon – gotta write ’em all!). I gravitate towards fiction/sci-fi/fantasy, but I’ve been known to dabble in other areas. Sometimes I get the impulse to try a completely different genre, or to mash a bunch together and see what happens. I’ll write tropes; subvert tropes; invent tropes. Nothing’s off limits. I’ll take those crazy ideas and get them down on paper before they run away and the Crazy-Idea Fairy stops coming ’round.

These guilty pleasures are me writing for my own enjoyment. I know this stuff’s not going to fit certain markets, or be good enough to submit, or ‘advance my career’ in any way, but sometimes a writer’s just gotta write. And if I’m pushing or challenging or amusing myself, then it’s worth it.

Not everything you write needs to be literary gold. Or even copper.