My Guest Post on Terrible Minds

I’ve had a few pretty big fanboy moments in my life, and one of them happened just last week. In conjunction with the release of the Red vs. Blue book, I also had the honor of writing a guest post for Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terrible Minds.

My post: Bad Writing Habits I Learned from Video Games (Plus a Few Good Ones, Too)

If you’re wondering who Chuck Wendig is, he just happens to be the best-selling author of the brand new Star Wars novel Aftermath, the first post-Return of the Jedi story in the new order of Star Wars EU. He is also the author of some of my absolute favorite books of all time, the Miriam Black series.

You should do yourself a favor and read those books, by the way. Miriam Black is a woman who can see how you’re going to die, and just happens to get caught up in really dark, twisty, horrifying plots. She’s a total tornado of a woman and one of my favorite main characters ever.

But I’m fanboy-ing again. Just go read those books. After my guest post.

“Waiting is a huge part of a writer’s life. And I hate it. When I’m waiting, those thoughts creep in. That I’m not a very good writer, that no editor would want my book, that I’ll never have another idea as good as the last one I wrote…So, for those of us who can’t handle the waiting, here’s my thought: Stop waiting. Stop saying you’re waiting. Stop thinking about it that way. If you want news to come to you, make the news happen.”

Kate Brauning

“Your writing career will be long. Lots of peaks and valleys. Lots of digging in dirt, lots of learning ‘wax-on, wax-off,’ not sure how waxing a fucking car will teach you goddamn karate…

Every writer is her own creature, and every book a monster child different from the last.

A writing career isn’t a short game — it’s a long con.

You should always be writing, but never be hurrying.

It takes the time that it takes.”

Chuck Wendig

Spinning Plates and the Snowflake Method

I suck at writing novels. I’m not being down on myself, it’s just a simple truth. Unfortunately, I would like to write novels for a living one day. So yeah, those two things kind of collide in the worst way possible.

In many ways, being a writer is like being one of those dudes that spins plates. I’m not really sure if there’s a technical name for that, and I really don’t feel like Googling “that dude who spins plates”, but I’m sure you get the gist of it. Basically, with first drafts, there’s always something else to fix. Whether it’s general copy, something thematic, a dumb character, a bad piece of dialogue or just terrible story crafting, some plate is always going to be wobbling. You might drive yourself mad trying to keep up with it all. Continue reading →

More than You can Chew

As a dude that used to weigh 300 plus pounds, I think I can safely say that sometimes I bite off more than what is necessary or smart. I do this both literally and in my creative life. Although in the last couple of years, less in both.

Part of what kept me from writing for the longest time was that I was always overambitious in what I wanted to accomplish with a story. Continue reading →

The Casting of the Pods

As an Internet savant, it’s only natural that I discovered podcasts five years after everyone else. For some reason, I’ve missed out on these little Mp3 nuggets of goodness. Not that I was unaware of their existence, but let’s get real- who has time for them when they have important things to do like play video games and re-watch seasons of Dexter? Not this guy.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve downloaded just a handful of podcasts including Rooster Teeth’s Drunk Tank as well as Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Excuses to listen to them at work. It’s a great little way to get in the zone, and with Writing Excuses in particular, gives me some cool inspiration for that novel writing fad I’ve hopped into. Another one on my list would be the Penny Arcade D&D podcasts, which I’ve heard are just sidesplitting in their hilarity (or hilariousness, if you prefer that word).

Anyway, this is where I ask you what podcasts you recommend for me, this fledgling Web user who has apparently missed a boat that sailed a long, long time ago. Do not judge me too harshly.

Faith and Speculative Fiction

Science Fiction

There are typically two types of books that I lean towards when populating my reading list: Sci-fi/Fantasy books or books on theology and Christian living. It’s a strange combination, I suppose, but says a lot about the things I ponder, when I’m not thinking about Batman or cheeseburgers. As an aspiring author, these are actually the two types of writing that I’d like to delve into some day, and there is usually a stark separation between the two (although I’ve shared before how I think this should not always be so).

Over the weekend, there were some interesting discussions going on in a few Christian blogs about the absence of speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy/horror, etc.) from the world of Christian publishing. This all seemed to start over at ReveLife with a post about how Science Fiction Goes with the Christian Life, which discusses the myriad of thematic elements that are relevant for Christians in the realm of sci-fi. Personally, I think it raises some good points, especially considering that science fiction’s most powerful ability is to turn the magnifying glass on present culture by way of the future or the seemingly impossible. For reference material, see: Battlestar Galactica, the series. Continue reading →

Creative Tenacity With Tiny Wooden Sticks

Sometimes I like to pat myself on the back for sticking with things. Like spending 40-60 hours to beat an RPG. Or writing almost 75,000 words on a book. Or making hours and hours of Web content. Or just getting up on time and making it into work without looking like one of the special infected in Left 4 Dead.

I suppose these are all accomplishments, but they pale in comparison to this guy who made San Francisco out of toothpicks. It’s either tenacity or insanity. Or both. But I love it. I guess writing a few hundred words a night isn’t nearly as big of a deal as adding a few hundred toothpicks a night for 35 years. Continue reading →