Archive for the “Blogstuff” Category

Thank you all for continuing to read and visit me here. I hope that when you stop by to visit, you feel welcome. This isn’t the Pink Pigtail Inn, but you can be certain that whenever you stop by, you’ll find a metaphorical Guinness, Captain and Coke, and bacon sandwich all ready and waiting for you. Pull up a chair, enjoy your drink, and if you finish your bacon early in your stay… there is ALWAYS more. Always. 

I joke around that nobody comes by to read this stuff, Gnomer just sits there in between slaughtering Horde in BGs hitting ‘refresh’ on every post that mentions him 1,000 times a day. 

The truth is, though, while I am the one that keeps on writing, it’s not all me. Not even slightly. When you comment, even just when I see you’ve come around, it is part of the conversation here. You teach me, encourage me and give me the inspiration to continue to feel that we are all having fun together, and I guess that means, in a very large, real way, the continued existence of this blog is your fault.

Bears may not be able to parry, but clearly we can deflect. :) 

As much as I thank you all, I also want to give a huge thank you to my wife Cassie, who has been with me every step of the way as we danced this waltz of blogging craziness together, even as she thought I was a blithering idiot, and I did my best every day to prove her right.

As I mentioned to Lier the other day, my blogging goal every time I sit down is to write a post that will amuse and distract someone for 5 minutes during a lunch break.

I like to think I achieve that goal at least a few times a week, and if that’s so, then world peace and a united earth government can’t be far behind. Right?

In conclusion…

You will believe that a Bear and his love can dance!

Comments 16 Comments »

As work progresses on cleaning and editing Converging Forces, I’ve been in a very unfamiliar position.

I’m not the one that has done any of the real work so far. Cassie has.

She’s using the track changes function, of course, and inserting notes, so I see and evaluate all her changes. Which, when it comes to grammar and spelling, are always dead on. The notes are more to point out to me things that seem long, wierdly placed, could use more information, that kind of thing.

She’s been working very hard on it, and it’s been great for me in one key respect; Cassie does NOT read fantasy or sci-fi fiction.

So, all the time I’ve been writing these, she’s never read them before.

She’s reading them now. And for the most part, she likes it. I’m not going to speak for her, but she seems to have really been engaged by and enjoyed Jessies story, and Terins story has been… well, I knew there were issues with it at the beginning. I had played with Manny plenty of times before, I knew I could throw him in the deep end and know he’d swim. I hadn’t really had James as a player before, so I really started out slow and established the groundwork, something that’s fine for a PBeM role playing game, and not so entertaining for a story to read.

I’m so happy with the progress, I can’t really tell you. They were just SO rough, so ‘not ready to read’, but I’ve been very happy with them as turns in a PBeM story.

Now, as the balance I always envisioned is being introduced, I’m getting to be very happy with how this is all working out. 

None of this is probably of any interest to you, but it’s what we’ve been doing lately. It’s why there isn’t blog postage. Who has time to think about WoW when I’m thinking of the Converging Forces story? I’ve been writing the next chapters in my head so I can get cranking.

The drawback to having your wife hooked on your writing? She wants you to KEEP WRITING. Specifically, to get it back to Jessie.

The conversations we’re having over the writing mistakes she’s corrected so far really make me feel bad. She’s the one finding and correcting them, and if I was a skilled writer, they wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

The single biggest thing that has come out, however, is truly, I do not use apostrophes right. I need to go back in time and slap the shit out of my english teacher, because she taught specific rules on the use of the apostrophe that turn out to be, well, bullshit. Flat out lies. I didn’t make those damn rules up, either. I was in class that day!

I truly need to make a shirt that says,

“What I do to the apostrophe is an offence against God and nature.”

Comments 14 Comments »

Trying to write when your mind is clouded… it’s not fun.

I’ve been trying to continue with Terin’s story in Converging Forces for, no lie, two weeks now. I’ve written reams of pages, none of which I thought, even at the time, was right.

How can it not be right? Because my voice was all wrong.

Get that? When I looked at what I wrote afterwards, it didn’t sound like me, let alone like the characters who were supposed to be talking or acting.

People talk about voices in your head, but that’s just funny. What, you get sick and you become a different person?

I’ve been writing on the blog during this time, and even then, it didn’t feel like I was hitting resistance… reaching for a coherent thought felt more like trying to catch a cloud. Nothing much there to grab a hold of, just some arms flailingly wildly.

Anyway, I can tell I’m finally start to feel better, because I sat down to begin writing the Converging Forces chapter all over again, and for the first time… it looks clear to me.

Hallelujah! I’m back, baby! I’m 100% solidly in the game!

(BBB would like to take this opportunity to thank his readers posthumously, knowing as he writes this that a meteor will be striking his house and hitting him in the head about 30 seconds after publishing the post. It was nice knowing you.)

Comments 15 Comments »

I’ve been asked via email, “How the heck do you keep writing so diligently? How do you sit in front of a keyboard and find words to put down on the screen? Any suggestions? kthxbai!”

The idea someone would send ME that kind of question makes me want to laugh my ass off.

But hey, look… 1300+ posts and counting. How the heck did that happen? Oh yeah… one day at a time, that’s how.

It’s the kind of question that doesn’t apply to you… until it does, if you know what I mean.

Here, revealed at last, is the grand secret of how I keep consistently writing blog posts here without fading away into the obscurity I so richly deserve.

I sit my ass down and write.

Now, I’m not being sarcastic. I know it seems that way, but that IS the grand secret. It’s the trick, the one thing that lets everything else happen. I sit my ass down and write something.

I don’t put it off, I don’t put other things before it, I don’t say to myself “I want to write a post but I don’t have time right now, I’ll do it later”, and then later say “Oh, I was going to write a post but it’s too late now, I’ll do it tomorrow”, and then tomorrow say ‘Oh, man, I’ve got a crazy day today, I’ll sit down and write something when I get home.”

I sit my ass down and write. I try to do it every single day.

I may not have a finished post at the end of it to hit ‘publish’ on, although I often do. Sometimes I write the PBeM story chapters, and sure, those now go up on the blog too, so you see ‘em eventually. I also do other writing that you don’t see, background and research and fundamentals of civic structure and magical systems and military structures and all sorts of other stuff that may not ever see the phosphor-laden screen (or the iridiscent shine of LEDs) but help provide the foundation that my other creative writing is built from.

But I write.

I damn well sit down and write. Even if I have no idea what to say, no thought in my head, nothing going on… or too much going on, all of it seeming petty and meaningless and unworthy of dumping on your feeds.

Here’s the miracle of writing; once you start typing, words start laying themselves out, one after another. Pretty soon, sentences are formed. Whole chapters can develop, and before you know it… you have either dredged up some actual cohesive topic to write about and can keep going, and just go back and clean up that mess in the beginning later… or you can just keep going with inane crap until you kick start your brain.

For god’s sake, don’t tear it up and start over! Push on through, see what comes out. You can always go back and delete stuff later.

A second little secret? Sometimes, that wierd shit you plop down that comes from the back of your head, rambling and disjointed and all over the place, that can be some of the funnest stuff to read later. Save that post as a draft, come back to it sometime, and somewhere in that crazy will be something you will just tee off of, and say, “Oh wow, what was I on that day? Hey, that gives me an idea…”

Sit down and write. Make a point of it. Every day, in some way, do some writing that is for you, that is your own creative ‘kick out the jams’, blow the dust off your head, get the thoughts out of YOU and somewhere else where you can look at them, and give them the sound thrashing they deserve. It makes you feel good to get stuff out of where it’s crammed down in your gut, get it out there and just away. Put it in a blog post, put it into someone else’s words in a story, put it into an angst laden missive in your black leather bound diary with the red rose on the cover, but get some writing done.

How do you know it’s good?

Third secret. You never, ever, think that what you wrote was actually good. The best you can hope for is to look at what you’ve written, and say ‘Those are my thoughts, written my way, and I own them. That’s me on a page. Right, wrong or batshit crazy, hit publish and put it behind me. On to the next post!”

You can be writing theorycrafting articles, screenshots of a summer day, or a short story poem in iambic pentameter (whatever the hell THAT is), and if you are emotionally invested in what you wrote, you’ll think it sucks. Well, maybe not suck, but you sure won’t think it’s really good enough for OTHER people to read. If it’s REALLY good, you’ll be secretly proud of it… and then you’ll really not want to share it, because once you’re that emotionally invested in it, if other people don’t like it, damn that can HURT like a mo’fo.

Publish it anyway. Yes, you are risking some serious pain, but who said writing was for cowards and chickenshits? This is the real deal, this is your heart and soul out there for reals… you don’t do this if you’re a coward. DO IT. PUBLISH. And hell take the hindmost.

Fourth secret. When you write something and have those thoughts that it’s not worth posting, it’s not good enough for other people to read, it sucks, why did you waste your time… post it. Check for spelling and punctuation if you must, give it a last reading for sentence structure and grammar if it makes you feel better, but above all else… read it to yourself as though you were speaking it aloud, and if it sounds like how you’d talk to your most trusted and loved bestest friend, if it comes out smooth and clean and sounding like your conversational voice (or your ranting shouty voice screaming at the idiot that pulled the whole room and then ragequit after cursing at you for 5 minutes in that run last night)… POST IT!

We are not copywriters. Copywriters have very specific rules for professional writing, and they are there, and work the way they do, for a reason.

If you want to write, write. Strive to infuse your personality into your writing. Don’t worry about the rules, those are usually there to try and keep from alienating the short attention span reader. I say, screw that. Don’t focus on tailoring your message to the reader, focus on nailing your message presented YOUR WAY.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again one time; if a hundred people read what you wrote, you will never keep all one hundred reader’s interest. The best you can hope for is to keep the interest of the people who will LIKE THE WAY YOU WRITE.

That said, when starting out, it can be reassuring to have some tips and guidelines to follow. Follow rules if they really help you feel more confidant, if they provide a sort of safety net when you’re out there on the high wire and the spotlight is shining on you and only you. Just don’t let them be the crutch you use to tell you when you’ve written a ‘good’ post.

The best set of copywriting rules I’ve seen anywhere can be found here. Just thought I’d share.

Do I follow those rules?

Nope.

Not because I’m smarter than them, or better, or any other pretentious crap. I don’t worry about the smart tips, because I’m already writing how I love to write. I’m not writing to please an imagined reader, and I’m not trying to take somebody else’s idea and spin it out into an article for a magazine for a steady paycheck. I’m not here to clear the personality from my writing and follow a set pattern; I’m here to blow off some steam, and along the way to use the words I write as I was once told you were supposed to use the words of a poem; to get my thoughts and feelings out there clear and clean for others to see.

If it takes me a bearwall to do it, I do it, not because I think you’re stupid and need shit spelled out for you, but because I’m having fun writing! I don’t want it to stop, sometimes.

Look, here’s the thing. If you’ve always wanted to write, but just don’t know how, you sit down, today, and you write something. I don’t give a shit what it is, take your grocery list from the weekend and turn it into a short story of how you had to escape from ninja pirates that had your house surrounded, and you only had THOSE few items to work with. Plus a kitchen, hey, I’m crazy, not stupid. How would you do it?

Or take some topic, I don’t care what, reach out and grab something from the air. Spelunking. Gravestone rubbings. Whether or not mallard ducks fart while they fly. I don’t care, just pick something. Then write about it. Just start typing it the way you’d say it, and go from there. See where you can take it. Tell yourself a story.

Write anything. But do it.

Put the writing in front of other things, instead of putting other things in front of writing. You can start off the day going to work, promising yourself “When I take my break I’m going to spend 10 minutes writing about x.” Maybe you won’t actually be ABLE to write during your break… but you’ll have been thinking in the back of your head about what you wanted to write all morning. It will be going around back in the ol’ noggin, and that’s some great stuff that comes out of there when you let it simmer long enough.

I take a USB memory stick with me to work most days, and over lunch I’ll do some writing, and save whatever I’ve got on there to bring back home. I may not have much, but just thinking about what to write during the day gets the typing process all smoothed out later.

Of course, there are those horrible moments when you just nail that internal dialogue. You come up with just the most awesome plot twist that sells your entire story to you, you know JUST the right tone to take, you get the words nailed down, ohh it gives you shivers it’s so awesome!… and then later you forgot what it was when you sit down to write it. Oh man, that’s got to be writer hell, right there.

Even with that, I think it’s worth it.

Anyway, for the budding writer, I’m as serious as I can be. You want to be a writer, then sit your ass down and make time to write. When you’re not writing, take time to THINK about what you’re GOING to write. Make it something you do.

And even though you think it sucks, if it sounds like you when you read it out loud to yourself… publish it, and then MOVE ON TO THE NEXT WRITING.

If you happen to have your own tips for consistent writing, by all means share them below. After all, I ain’t kidding when I say that you never really publish something and think that it’s freaking brilliantly awesome… and if you do, trust me. You were wrong. :)

I hope you all have a great week, and I truly hope that this trend of ever-growing numbers of blog writers continues. I love seeing so many new voices rising out of the wilderness. Send your posts like an arrow into the heart of mediocrity, for you cheer me up immensely when you do.

Oh, and that blog post title up there? I sat down today to write a post, with absolutely nothing on my mind but inane crap. The words ‘Supersonic’ and ‘Lightspeed’ popped into my head, so I wrote them for a blog title. And then I started writing a post that had nothing to do with those words at all, because that’s where my fingers and the back of my head took me. I didn’t try to force myself to write something related to those words when it wasn’t coming.

I could go back and change the title now… but I think that constitutes a last little secret all on it’s own.

Comments 11 Comments »

No, not football.

Tomorrow morning, my family and I are taking a trip to visit Chicago. We’re going to be gone all week on a nice adventure, taking the train into the city, seeing all the sights, living large.

During this time, I won’t be on WoW at all, but I’ll still have my email and such.

There should still be post activity,  but I intend to spend what free time I have writing for the PBeM story, and putting WoW stuffs behind me for a while.

Have a safe week, my friends.

Comments 12 Comments »

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