Category Archives: Editorials

Flash and Five Sentence Fiction

Wow, it’s been 2 frickin’ years since I updated here.

First, I did publish on Amazon. I have 4 erotic short stories, one bundle, and one paranormal romance. They’re up under a pen name. Because erotica. Deal with it. 2 more paranormal romances are in progress and then I think I might just switch to science fiction/urban fantasy/whatever the fuck it is that I write.

I need to do more. Because I took the separation package at the day job and that ends at the end of 2016. Good news is that I have time to actually put up or shut up.

Second, Lillie McFerrin never came back with her Five Sentence Fiction. I think I will re-start it and go with some giveaways, like maybe a $5 Amazon gift card or something, as a prize each week. You have to have a Gravatar or whatever, some sort of account, so I don’t get anonymous spam. I’d have to have a separate site for that, I think. Maybe a sub-site, like http://fivesentencefiction.stevehusted.com or something.

Third, Friday Flash is gone, absorbed into social media. I think it was only other writers, anyway, so that’s not a big deal. I stopped posting my flash fiction because if I put it online anywhere, that counts as published and a lot of places won’t touch it.

…then I never published any of them, anyway.

So I think my plan is to publish Flash Fiction here again as maybe a teaser for the full thing on Amazon. Also, if I don’t want to finish it, I don’t have to. Or I can store these “story kernels” here for safe keeping.

Either way, gonna write a whole lot more now that I have 8-10 hrs/day that I didn’t have before.

Six Months Rule

I stumbled upon this post about programming:

http://blog.marcomonteiro.net/post/the-six-months-rule

It’s equally true for writing, drawing, painting, or underwater donkey fellatio. Look at what you’re doing today, compare to 6 months ago. If you think your older stuff isn’t half bad and you haven’t changed much, time to pack it up. You’re done. You’ve stopped progressing and you don’t really give a shit about your craft anymore. You’ve gone tits up and it’s time to dump Goldie in the crapper.

I went back to some old writing. Old writing that, at the time, I was like, “Aw, yeah, I’m the shiznit, bitches!” Today, I’m like, “WTF? Did *I* really write this swill?” That’s good. It means you CARE and you are progressing. Don’t feel bad.

Well, feel bad about your swill, but remember that in six more months, what you think is pretty badass today will make you barf in your mouth a little bit. And this pattern will continue for a long time. This is called “progress” and you should stop beating yourself up over it. You should, in fact, celebrate with a little masturbation and perhaps a finger up your ass, tickling your prostate. Yeah, I went there. Fuck off.  You deserve it. Now wipe it off and get back to getting better at what you do.

 

Want to be a better writer?

You Must WRITE

Improving your writing 101: WRITE

Okay, well, not just that, but definitely some of that.

Stephen King, in On Writing, says that to be a better writer, you must do 2 things: read and write. That’s it.

Unbelievably, some writers don’t read, or don’t read much. Personally, I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like and I still end up reading about 30-40 books/year. How? I make it a priority.

Focused Practice

I think there’s another step you could take. Practice.

In Talent is Overrated, the authors show that you can’t just practice anything, you must have specific practice. For example, figure skaters that practiced the same number of hours still had different skill levels. They saw that the better skaters practiced the harder stuff. Working smarter, not harder, has measurable results.

You can apply this same thing to any practice, really: chess, guitar, violin, basketball, painting, writing, relationships, etc. Don’t just practice, practice the HARD stuff.

Ben Franklin, in his autobiography, explained how he improved his writing – he would read articles that he enjoyed, wait a few days, and then rewrite them from memory. I suppose you can guess what happened – his writing improved by leaps and bounds.

Dean Wesley Smith gives a similar story – he explains why writers need FOCUSED practice, not just practice. Same concept. Specifically, he says:

When I like a page or a section from another writer who is doing something well and I want to learn how they did it, I type it into my computer in manuscript format. Putting their words through my fingers for a page of their writing or so is a learning experience, and I do it all the time. Yet most writers I know have never done this simple learning exercise.

If you are having problems challenging yourself, just take a look around – rewrite some of your favorite episodes (I watched some old Twilight Zone episodes and then rewrote one, just as Franklin and Smith prescribe, and called it “Twilight“), check out Scene Stealers from Write to Done, write some Flash Fiction and submit to FridayFlash, or even take on some writing challenges (even if you don’t submit your entry).

You won’t get better if you keep writing the same story.

Daily Writing

Finally, you can’t just practice once/month. It’s a lot more frequent than that. I use 750words.com to do my daily brain dump, clearing out the cobwebs and frustrations. Research shows that writing about your problems is better than therapy! Once the mental clutter clears up, I find that the stories start to flow.

And when they flow, you let them flow. Sometimes the stories just come out and I had no idea what they would be, they just take on a life of their own. Those are the best stories – they feel surprising, creative, and non-contrived.

Summary

Want to be a better writer?

  • Write every day
  • Read every day
  • Challenge yourself

Flush or flesh?

In case you’re wondering, and you ARE, even if you don’t know it, “flush out” and “flesh out” are not interchangeable. NOT.

If you want to fill in the details, you want to “flesh” that out. Like, you know, adding flesh to the bones. Padding it. Putting more on.

If you want to get something out of somewhere or something, you want to “flush” it out. Like flushing turds down the toilet. Pretty fucking simple concept.

Do people not think any more?

More importantly, do *I* do anything so retarded that I just don’t know about? Fuck, I hope not.

Textbroker and freelance writing

Well, I had a Textbroker account for all of, oh, maybe 18 hours.

I’ve been looking to do some freelance writing. I do a lot of communications and marketing at work, including a lot of technical writing. Always have, really, so why not go for it as a side biz? I have my biz license and I have my federal tax ID number and all that.

So I’ve been checking out freelance writing sites. A few places recommended Textbroker, so I signed up last night. In the morning, I saw that I was approved so I logged in, excited to see the opportunities!

Well, what a disappointment. It was just a bunch of crap that looked like auto-generated titles based on, most likely, some sort of search algorithm. You have to write 200 words articles for like 7/10 of one penny per word. That’s $2.10 for a 300 word article. Now, it doesn’t take me long to write 300 words, (this post is at 160 words already), but that’s not much money. And the topics are downright stupid.

To be fair, a couple actually looked like there were people behind them. But if you’re paying less than a penny per word, surely you’re not expecting much.

My conclusion is that this sort of service is where spammers and linkbaiters go to get content so that Google keeps them relevant. That ALONE will keep me away from sites like that. So I just closed my account a few minutes ago. I have WAY better things to do that will earn me more money than Textbroker ever would.

I signed up for Brighthub, too, and we’ll see how that goes. I have higher hopes for that. I’ve also browsed eLance.com, but a site that pays based on the LOWEST bidder also cannot have the best people looking/paying for content. Would you trust your writing to the lowest bidder? I wouldn’t.

I’ve got some books coming, though, that I ordered last week in a fit of “I can’t fucking stand my job any more” so hopefully they’ll come this week and I can get some ideas as to how to get some REAL paying clients and stay away from linkbaiters and spammers and people just looking to get clicks for ad revenue. Yuck!

I’m a Libertarian and I vote

I had a strong push for Obama because Billary is just a bad person. But I’m not a Democrat because I’m not a Socialist. I’m a Constitutional Republican, otherwise known as a “capital L” Libertarian.

So I’m voting for Bob Barr for POTUS this Fall. Obama will win, but I hope to get past the 5% milestone for a Libertarian candidate, which would be cool in 2012.

Yes, I’m a voter, I’m a Libertarian, I’m an atheist, I’m an artist, I’m a musician, I’m a geek, and I’m a Gen Xer. Fuck your ass if you don’t like it.

(edit July 2010: I dug into Bob Barr and I didn’t like what I smelled so I voted for Obama. I also rescind my Socialist statement because I’ve since become much more educated about Liberalism – I’m just sick of entitlement programs and crying for the “poor people” – barf)

Atheism and art

Unrelated to this blog topic but important: a lot of artists say they find inspiration in God or they Thank God for their successes or whatever. Yeah, whatever. You can still make good art and you can still be inspired if you are an atheist. Just because you’re smart and don’t give in to a magical “old white dude” with a beard in the sky watching over you doesn’t mean that you’re devoid of inspiration. The world is beautiful. Go see it and capture it in your art. No, it didn’t need a creator to be beautiful. Put down the pencil, stop typing, and go take a midnight stroll around your neighborhood. See all that stuff? It’s there because MAN created it (the architecture, the landscape design, the park design, etc.), not some magical Zulu dude in the sky (which is really silly – why don’t planes and/or astronauts fly into heaven?). The flora and fauna survived because they adapted over millions of years.

Have you drawn today? Have you painted today? If you have, thank yourself, not the magical Jeebus in the sky. (kudos if you got the Homer Simpson reference)