Formula writing is OK sometimes. Here’s why.

A lot of writers do this thing where they write a plot and it’s really successful.  So they take the core idea and write another book with the same plot, and then they publish it and it’s really successful again.  And again.  And again.  This is called formula writing.

“Creatives” look down on formula writing.

It’s not hard to understand why.  After all, the whole point of writing a book is to show off your creative side.  If you write and rewrite and republish the same story over and over you’re not being creative.  Right?

Well, actually, formula writing can help you foster that creative side if you do it right.  Here’s how.

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Conlanging: Codon, Part Four.

Codon is a language I am currently inventing based (loosely) off the rules governing RNA.  It consists of a 64-word vocabulary.

This week, we start in on the complicated process of creating the skeleton of a grammar.  Next week, we’ll flesh that grammar out some, and in our final entry we’ll tie it all together with a writing system and a few language exercises.

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Write What You Know

This week’s Tuesday post concerns the most confusing piece of advice a writer can get: “Write what you know.”  The effect of this advice can range from brilliant to useless to damaging: it can be perfectly relevant or have nothing to do with your writing at all.  Yet for some reason, people bring out this truism like it’s the end-all solution to writer’s block.

We’re going to make some sense out of it.

Warning: this was very clearly written by an English major.

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Conlanging: Codon, Part Three.

Codon is a language I am currently inventing based (loosely) off the rules governing RNA.  It consists of a 64-word vocabulary.

This week, we go into some of the more arcane parts of speech as we choose vocabulary concepts.  Next week will be grammar, and the final entry will deal with creating a writing system.

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Turning Fear Into a Tool

This blog is new.

So far I’ve been getting readers from tags and putting up links on Facebook.  This isn’t very good for readership, but it’s safe.  I mean, my grandma isn’t going to comment that my work is terrible and I’ll never succeed as a writer. She loves me, and she thinks the world of me, so she’s incredibly supportive.  (Thank you, Grandma, you rock!)

Here’s the problem.  The world isn’t made up of grandmas.

The world’s made up of critics and trolls and people whose job it is to tear you down.  The world’s full of people with good points and hard truths and nothing better to do with their time than tear apart your writing.  And that sucks.  I wrote in a previous post about all the tough paths writers these days are up against, but I missed one.

Writing is scary as shit.

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Conlanging: Codon, Part Two.

Part one (introduction and how to structure the vocabulary) can be found here.

Part three (a continuation of vocab building) can be found here.

This week, we’ll generate some common words and decide on what concepts those words will represent.  A disclaimer: I love language but I’m no linguist.  If something in here is incorrect, feel free to let me know in the comments. Continue reading

The First Day of School

There are kids who like school.

Why wouldn’t they? You get to see your friends again, and clubs start up, and you get fresh new clothes and school supplies.  For kids who learn well in the public school environment, it means challenging new material. And if they’re excited about their teacher, sometimes the school year can’t get there fast enough.

Back in the day, I was not this kid.

The system failed me miserably, and here’s why.

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