Category Archives: Fictional Writing
Writer/Aspiring Writer Friends,
Great advice from Chuck Wendig on how to finish that book already! Even the most seasoned writers have days when they’d rather do the laundry than get the writing done. Plese beware, Wendig is very candid, sparing no ears the sting of his profanity laced blogs, but his commentary is always spot on regardless of his delivery:
That book you’re writing is mewling again in the dark. It’s a half-formed thing — all unspooled sinew and vein, its mushy head rising up out of the mess of its incomplete body, groaning and gabbling about this life of misery it leads. Its life is shit because you haven’t finished it. It’s flumping along on stump legs, pawing its way through your hard drive, bleating for attention. It needs words. It needs plots. It needs resolution.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE.
It’s okay. I’m here. I can help you.
CLICK THIS BUTTON TO GIVE ME $199.99 IN 78 EASY HOURLY INSTALLMENTS AND I WILL SHOW YOU HOW bleah okay fine I won’t charge you any money. I’ll do this for free. Because I like you. And because I feel bad for the ill-formed thing you call a ‘novel.’ And because I hope secretly you will respect my advice enough to one day form a cult of personality around me.
You wanna finish that book?
Here’s how you finish that book.
1. Stop complaining about it. I know, it’s hard. It’s easier to talk about writing than it is to actually write, isn’t it? And it’s extra-special-super-saucy-easy to get online and join with others who have joined the Aren’t Finishing Shit club, and it feels somehow productive to talk about not being productive. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. I’ve done it. I’ve flopped about publicly and engaged in the illusion of productivity. But you gotta stop. I’m not saying you can’t vent about it — just vent after you’ve BARFED WORDS UP ONTO A PAGE.
2. Accept your limitations. You are not a perfect person. You are given over to frailties and foibles. Others have different frailties and foibles. Yours are yours, and others may possess privilege that you do not. (Also true: you may possess privilege that others do not.) That changes no part of the reality of how this happens: writing requires writing. It demands work. A little here, a lot there, whatever you can accomplish within your given time and considering your limitations. You can do it. Gotcher hands chopped off? Type with your nose.
Continue reading here
Writing characters who are the feminists of their fictional time in one of the books of my upcoming fantasy series, THE ELEMENTS, proves to be a challenge to me. I’m not a feminist as I understand feminism, by any stretch of the imagination & I’m always thinking in terms of balance when it comes to gender, as it relates to our daily affairs. Perhaps feminists have an undeserved, bad reputation, or I still have simply been ignorant, but I tend to see feminism as an extreme. I literally have had to study, read (as I would for anything else) and then subdue instinctual reflexes in character development. It’s a very interesting process…
I wanted to share you the new episode II of Evolve
That is all……..
And still sci-fi’s Octavia E. Butler rises: A graphic adaptation. A literary society. Is a ‘Kindred’ movie next?
Wonderful piece written by novelist, screenwriter and Spelman College’s Cosby Chair in the Humanities Tananarive Due. Together with her husband Steven Barnes, they recently shot their short film DANGER WORD and are raising funds for the post-production costs, please visit www.dangerword.com to learn more & donate as little $1 to help them see this short film to fruition. DANGER WORD is based on a scene from their joint novel DEVIL’S WAKE. Here Tananarive discusses the legacy of one of speculative fiction’s greatest writers, the late Octavia Estelle Butler. Enjoy!
Today I wanted to share a brief excerpt from Book I of my upcoming, alternative Earth fantasy – THE ELEMENTS, which I began in 2003 after seeing the news coverage of the beginnings of the war in Iraq. I have talked about my fictional writing mostly on my website, but I wanted to share some it with you all. Enjoy!
“Zuri, the flesh must be divided evenly,” instructed Leena, pointing to her too generous cuts of the meat given to them by the recently returned warriors.
“You mean less the largest portion which goes to the Queen,” The young woman stopped cutting the flesh in front of her, took a deep breath and started dividing the portions already cut into smaller pieces.
“I hear she doesn’t even eat it,” said another.
“She doesn’t. She doesn’t like the meat from wild beasts and says that it smells bad. I tell her that it’s all of the meat we have now. She just drinks the muthi and makes me take the stew away most days– I give it to the those in need of it,” said Olufemi.
“You give it to Wasswa,” teased Nia as she walked by Olufemi carrying a basket full of fruit that somehow she had to divide between so many.
“We give the best to the King’s family while the people are starving. It isn’t enough and it never is,” said Olufemi.
“You can ignore me all you want Olufemi but I see the way he looks at you…and you he,”
“He is a warrior and I am a servant, bound to the king and his family. These eyes wander no further than the Queen’s izindlu,” said Olufemi without looking up from her task.
“We do as we are told and we are lucky to have this much meat. The days of hunger will end and we will have rain again. King Nkosana has shared this from the ancestors, that we will suffer for a short time and the Kishnu will kneel at our feet. It is prophesy!”
“Yes, Leena of course,” said Olufemi, nodding her head in agreement.
“Leena, you are old and sound just like the King. Do you have any thoughts that are your own? I’m tired of the prophesy and I want to eat everyday. I’m tired of hearing about the ancestors, what about the living? Why can’t we till the soil or go fishing in the sea for ourselves? Why must only Nkosana provide?!” asked Nia for the third time since the last rain.
Without warning, the elder cook rushed to the girl, raised her right hand up above her,slapping her left cheek with so much force the girl staggered backwards. All of the others stood where they were, speechless. The young cook’s pride alone was enough of a dam to keep tears from her face. She raised her hands to the left side of her face for a moment, then dropped them and faced Leena as if she was ready to strike her back.
“Nkosana comes from a line of kings too great in number for you to count, child. He has always provided us with food even when the land refuses to. We don’t have to sweat in the hot sun or suffer the dangers at sea like Kishnu women – faces painted black, climbing trees,weapons in hand like men, with not a trace of themselves left recognizable, except for bosoms. Your tongue is a young child running ahead, beyond the reach of your father’s spear, into the jaws of a lion. Our duty is to prepare the food given to us by our king. Never again let Nkosana’s name pass your lips unless followed by praise or gratitude!”
“Nia, wait! Don’t leave!” yelled Olufemi as the girl turned and rushed out of the room so quickly a breeze tickled each of them.
“I’ll go after her,” announced Olufemi while cleansing her hands with water from a potjiepot in front of her.
“No. There’s too much work to be done and every hand is needed. She wants you to come after her as you always do when she’s in trouble. Leave her to her anger. It will have abandoned her by night fall,”
“Leena, she’s my sister. She is young and needs me. Let me go to her. I’ll bring her back to finish the cooking,”said Olufemi.
Leena turned to Olufemi and embraced one of her shoulders by extending one of her arms.
“Olufemi, you’re loyal to your sister and that is good, but now your duty to Lungizwe requires your loyalty. You cannot share it. Let her be,”
“Yes, she’ll be fine. She always is,” said Olufemi with a faint smile. By now the others were listening but had returned to their respective duties. Leena and Olufemi returned to theirs, all in silence.
Excerpt from THE ELEMENTS Book I Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. www.theelementsbooks.com