Thursday, 31 March 2011
Well. It was years and years of accumulating ideas. The title and basic idea actually cropped up in a roleplay I tried making in...08? Sometime around then, I think. Anyway, that was a flop, but it was an interesting idea, so I hung onto it. ALWAYS hang onto your ideas. You never know when you might be able to draw them forth from the grave and give them new life.
I didn't work at the idea, though. I had other stories to write. So I let it sit and fester and ferment. In the meantime, I accumulated other ideas.
I read an article in WIRED magazine about the Russian Doomsday Device "Dead Hand" and thought, wow, scary and cool. Maybe I can use something like that. Tossed the idea in the stewpot and moved on.
There were images--a man standing in front of a strange creature; a train traveling through a desolate snowscape; a pair of people on a bus, one of whom was a strange messenger feared by the public. There was snow, lots of snow, and strange things that people didn't understand. Necromancy, and legal uses for it. And drugs. They all got tossed into the stewpot and left to simmer.
Finally, when I'd finished telling my other two stories, I decided to give this one a whack. My mind hadn't been in the best state for a while, and I felt like writing something...unpleasant. Something dark and evil. Something with death and drugs. Lots of drugs. Weird stuff. (I can't write normal things. It's a side effect of being me.)
So I jammed my arm into the stewpot, right up to the elbow, and stirred things around a bit. They'd fermented long enough at this point that when I withdrew my arm--well, you know that gooey corn syrup-flour-whatever mix? It's soft and sticky but peels off of you? Yeah. It was kinda like that. I started pulling at stuff and poking and things just sort of came together. I grabbed the beginning of something I'd just sort of plunked out during a rewards assembly for my sister (hey, it was boring, don't look at me like that) and got started.
What about you? Do you let ideas sit?
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Neat prompt: rewrite a scene or act from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Great prompt, my favorite of Shakespeare's comedies. So, of course, I'm a bit interested, just for the emotion.
Then I began checking out the contest. The prize? Why, you get your work in a real book! From a real publisher! Wowee! (Is the sarcasm too much?)
It's HarperCollins vetting these contest winners and the book is the 'Teen Classics Edition' of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I nearly choked. Really.
Look, folks, any writer who's put in the effort knows what it takes to get published. This contest is no easier than the real deal. And the real deal offers much better prestige and personal fulfillment. At least then the work will be associated with you and not one of the greatest English writers of all time.
I love the prompt, though, so here's my challenge: everyone take a shot at the prompt and link to it in the comments below. Let's see what a bunch of writers rewriting Shakespeare for our own amusement can do!
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Simple fact, people enjoy aesthetically pleasing things. I am a very visual person myself and bright colors and interesting images catch my eye, and the same holds true for book covers. When I went to Borders last weekend, I walked with my eyes on the floor until I reached the YA section. Then, I looked up quickly and observed which books caught my eye right away:
The Witch and Wizard series by James Patterson
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Matched Ally Condie
Torment by Lauren Kate
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
With the exception of “Wither” the books that I noticed first feature a single, center image on a solid dark or light background. The title is easily visible with the author’s name below it, in a smaller case. These books were located in various areas on the shelf (in the middle, on the ends, closer to the floor etc.) but they stood out to me because of the clarity of the design and the simplicity of the title (which will probably be discussed in another post).
Here is the Amazon link to it to see what I'm talking about: http://www.amazon.com/Wither-Chemical-Garden-Trilogy-DeStefano/dp/1442409053
I found that covers with groups of people or a face just sort of blended together in my mind and made no lasting impression. The same goes for fantasy novels with a bunch of characters in front of a dramatic background…does nothing for me at all except to make me think of 80’s video games. -shrug-
Anyway, upon closer inspection, it became obvious that graphic design is a heavy influence on book covers. Personally, I’m not fond of all the lines and geometric shapes that house the name of the title and author in random places on the cover. It looks too cluttered. Some good examples of this appear on the link below:
And Then There’s This by Bill Wasik for example, is an interesting cover, but I don’t care for all the shapes.
Once Before Time by Martin Bojowald is almost too bright and distracting. I have to really concentrate to read the title and if I’m browsing quickly that’s not something I want to take the time to do.
“Wither” is my exception to all of these things I don’t like. It features a photograph of a girl in an intricate dress on the left hand side. In front of her, and off to the right, is a bird cage with a bird inside of it. The cage rests on a stack of books. There is also a strong element of graphic design involved in the fact that a series of interconnected circles and squares highlight different, key elements in the picture- the girl’s face, her hand, the “W” in the title, and the bird in the cage.
I was puzzled as to why I was interested in this cover, as it features everything I’m not fond of, but then I remembered something that my boss told me at the newspaper, where I work: When designing a page for the paper, it is important to balance the text and pictures in a manner so that your eyes do a dance; meaning your attention is shifted back and forth as you scan the entirety of the page. “Wither” manages this quite excellently.
What types of book covers do you notice first in the book store?
Why draws you to them?
If your book was published, what would you like to see on the cover?
Monday, 28 March 2011
Sunday, 27 March 2011
Hello, I'm unacclaimed, and hardly existent author J. Dwayne Peterson, unknown for various works of horror and psychological fuckery. In the real world I work for the United States Air Force, and am a student of actual psychology. On the internet I'm one of the original founders and, though almost not worth mentioning, the current administrator of the L.O.L.W.H.A.T.
After our previous hang-out went under a few of us came together and said “We can rebuild him. We have the technology.” So we did. With us came old friends and when we arrived, a few new ones, creating the functional group you see here today.
As far as this blog goes, you may find me somewhat unfocused, and my talks may stray into the real world, but I'll try to link everything back nice and neat to writing.
Now, as I like to keep these introduction things brief, I'll bid you good day for now.
Friday, 25 March 2011
Like the others here on this blog, I enjoy the LOLWHAT thread on a regular basis. I find online friendships to be important, so I am learning about the power of friendship by keeping an online group of friends. I guess it's like a Nakama, or a group of friends who trust each other.
What do I do besides write and fool around? I enjoy software troubleshooting, software design, art, drawing, housework, walks to nowhere and animal care. I am very reserved in my social life, but feel free to send me e-mails, if you like. I think my e-mail is in my blog,
I do like art and I want to blog about what interests me. So enjoy an example of my art. it's a wolvicorn.
Sunday, 20 March 2011
As an only child for most of my early life, I learned to amuse myself by writing stories about mystery solving cats. I am an avid lover of adventures and I identify myself as an amateur ghost and treasure hunter. I have spent much of my time volunteering in a haunted Victorian mansion, which has provided lots of writing topics. I've moved around a lot, currently I'm a resident of the great state of Pennsylvania.
My life part one: I am currently a student, double majoring in English (Writing Emphasis) and Communications (Print Journalism). I also am an intern for my local newspaper, so writing is pretty much 90% of my day. If you are looking to learn about life, work for a small town paper for awhile. It's probably one of the most wonderful job experiences a person could ask for in the field of writing and I consider myself very lucky! I've met so many interesting people and have gotten to experience the behind the scenes of many events and social functions...not to mention that I have developed a deep love and respect for my town. I hope to work for a publishing company as an editor or agent and I strive to see my name on the bestseller list one day.
My life part two: My novel. I have been writing this odd beast of a book for about 5 years now and I hope to finish it in the next two. It is currently over 500 pages long and consumes much of my thoughts...and free will, haha. Feel free to ask me about it, but be warned you may regret it for I will never shut up. My writing style leans toward the Victorian dime novels with elements of the supernatural, mysterious and weird.
Things/writers/stuff that influences my writing:
- Georgian Era
- Victorian Era
- Scary things
- Marie Antoinette
- Anne Rice
- Neil Gaiman
- J.R.R. Tolkien
- Mary Shelley
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Oscar Wilde
I will be blogging about: Journalism experiences, my novel, whatever else comes to mind.
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Formally, I'm studying Management Information Systems, and having fun learning programming and business management. In the future I'm hoping to go for an economics degree as I find economics as a subject fascinating.
I'm studying game design in my spare time and applying it through my own independent projects in the roleplaying market. My gaming blog is available at Thunderstorm Game Design.
Less formally, I'm learning the craft of writing damn good fiction. In that effort, I've bought many books and follow many blogs in an effort to improve my skills as a storyteller and writer.
Finally, I'm a father of two great kids.
LOLWHAT blog is actually something I suggested, and am glad to be working with this great group of folks on a focused blog. My subjects will be on the structure of writing and how to use theoretical tools to improve your stories.
So now you're thinking: who is this new writer person? Well, I run an indie music blog over at Paisley Sound, and you can also catch me at A Writer's Notes, which is my personal writing blog. I'm all over the Internet, essentially.
I plan to blog about the following things:
- research and writing
- how one goes about epubbing a book
- why my book is the greatest book ever (it is)
- betas: care and proper feeding
- and, how to write fantastic blog posts (like this one)
I am a member of the LOLWHAT. A fixture, really. Eh.
I write fantasy, mostly, but I've dabbled in some science fiction and a lot of speculative fiction. My first novel and doorstopper was fantasy, urban; my second novel was space opera masquerading as science fiction. My third and current novel is mystery/thriller/urban fantasy. And no, I've never been published.