Friday, April 20, 2012

The Single Greatest Piece of Writing Advice....EVER!

Now that I'm an almost published writer, I figured I can start pontificating to those of you still saddled with the "aspiring" label in front of writer about what it takes to be a writer.

So, instead of doing a series of blog entries building up to the most important "rule," I decided to go right for the gusto. So here's my advice, which will join all the terrific advice that's out there.


It's complicated, but here it is:

  1. Sit down.
  2. Shut up.
  3. Write.

Any questions?

See steps 1,2 and 3.

Worldbuilding you say?

See steps 1,2 and 3.

What about research? What ab...

Ah, ah, ah....see steps 1,2 and 3.

You are welcome.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rambling About Writing, The Perfect And The Underrated

Finished draft one (actually two, but don't worry about that) of book two: Spring's Tempest. I'm very happy about it and I am delving into a very quick rewrite of the draft to submit to my agent in a few weeks. I think I've gotten better as a writer and this book shows it. I have some ideas popping on what's next. I'm going to take a stab at finishing my YA scifi that I was working on last fall, then maybe take a rewriting pass on Sisters of Khoda, do some outlining for book three of the Seasons series (which is going to be shamefully long) and book two of the unnamed series that Khoda was part of then plan and write a really kick ass YA idea I have that is so good I don't want to talk about it publicly. Seriously. Going to be a busy few months for the Z-man.

But that's not the real reason I wanted to blog tonight, I wanted to blog about something else. Two ideas about things that I've been thinking about recently. The idea of perfection and the idea of being underrated. Let me explain.

I'm a movie buff. The older, the better. I love talking about movies and debating merit and worth with people about movies, in particular how a story is told in the course of a movie. I have two lists that I love debating with people and it's a list that often confuses people. One is the list of "best" movies while the other is what I call the most "perfect" movies. Let me explain about the latter because I think the former makes sense. PERFECT movies are flawless at what they do. They understand the story they are trying to tell and execute it in a manner that is just without flaw. My 10 most perfect movies in my opinion are:
  • The Godfather
  • The Godfather, Part Two
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Hangover
  • Ocean's 11 (2001)
  • GoodFellas
  • Back To The Future
  • Se7en
  • Casablanca

It's a tough list and it will be different for each of us. Feel free to debate in the comments and remember these aren't the "best" movies, they are the most "perfect."

Now the other thing I want to discuss is the idea behind underrated. Now, when we look at fantasy in film, Lord of the Rings set the bar pretty darn high. And with the terrific production of "Game of Thrones," the bar is set really, really high. I think because of that, some pretty damn good fantasy movies have been overlooked because of it.

I was really excited about the movie "Your Highness," because it sounded as if it harkened back to the cheesy 80s fantasies that I cut my teeth on. It didn't, but I really, really liked it. I actually thought if they'd taken it a little more seriously and cut out some of the stoner jokes it would have been a pretty darn impressive story. I discovered some amazing parallels in that movie to my own writing. (No, seriously.) Wastrel hero. Father-son relationship issues. Relationships between men. Betrayals. Search for true love. Ancient prophecies. I really enjoyed it. But it made me think, what other fantasies of the last few years have been "underrated" because of LOTR? I contend "Your Highness" is one of them. So is "How To Train Your Dragon." I really enjoyed the "Clash of the Titans" remake and I still think that the TV show "Avatar: The Last Airbender" doesn't get the credit it deserves. Any thing in your genre of choice that you think was underrated? Same thing in comments.

(I'm going to write a longer post on "Your Highness" a little later on. That's how much I loved the movie....and want to write the sequel.)

(I have to go watch Gladiator now.)