Monthly Archives: December 2012

Good Bye to 2012

Well, the world didn’t end. It’s been one hell of a year, and I’ll be honest with you, at this point, I’m glad to see it go. Perhaps my perspective is skewed because although December has been fairly bad, this year has had plenty of good moments to it. It’s been a year of fits and starts, of ambition and disillusion, of joy and tragedy. And I’m just talking about my personal life, never mind the world in general or anything high minded like that.

On December 31st, though, I realize that I’ve accomplished a lot more that I thought I did. I’ve recorded original music, written over 50k words of an original novel, written over 10k words of another original novel (not counting planning documents), created a semi-original role-playing campaign based in the Dungeons and Dragons universe, run two seasons of D&D Encounters as a DM, published the beginning of a philosophical treatise that I’ve been trying to write for five years, started a writing group and this blog, and only purchased one video game the entire year.

Next month, I’ll be jumping back in with articles about writing, as well as working on editing my NaNoWriMo thriller into something more readable. This Thursday I’ll be posting about style and perspective, and next week I’ll be talking a bit about role-playing games and Star Wars (remember that one game I purchased?). Since technically it’s Monday, I’m actually getting back on schedule today with this whole “twice a week posting” thing. I’ll also be posting my Top 20 Metal Albums of the Year list on The Blackened Edge, so you can go check that out as well. On the other hand, I honestly don’t remember what books I read in 2012 (although I feel fairly confident that it wasn’t nearly as many as it ought to have been), so I won’t comment at this time on which I liked best. I don’t think that my tastes have been very discerning this year, anyway, as I have consumed copious amounts of urban fiction and young-adult dystopias. I will try to pull together some level of recommendations if people are interested. If you’re not interested, well…

All in all, I feel good about what I’ve accomplished in 2012, and I’m looking forward to 2013, if just so I can keep telling superstitious people how fortuitous it is (I don’t really believe in “luck numbers,” but at least 13 is prime). I hope that I was able to make your 2012 better with my (sporadic) comments and (limited) insights. I’ve never been one for making vast (or less than vast) resolutions on New Years, so I won’t say anything grand. One thing I do hope to accomplish (and have every indication of probable success) is to get the other members of the Salon more involved with posting on this blog. But as long as you keep reading Salon Auteur, I’ll keep writing on Mondays and Thursdays. Thank you all for reading.

Now go get drunk and have a sexy rumpus. See you next year.

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Happy Christmas

Christmas Tree Made of Books

Hello readers, it’s been a while. I just wanted to wish you all a happy Christmas and a joyous New Year. As you have no doubt noticed, I have been absent from the Internet for the past few weeks. This has been because of a combination of sickness and family hardship, but I plan to come back full force in January. Until then, I wish you all the best, and thank you for reading and writing with me in 2012. If you want to read the few things I have managed to produce in December, head over the The Blackened Edge to read some of my music criticism.

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Different Species of Critics…

I hate to admit this, but critics are a valuable resource to anyone in the midst of the writing and editing process. There’s a few different types, and I’ll list the least helpful first:

1. The Yes-Men: These people will read anything and say it’s awesome. At least, it seems that way. They might think they’re helping by encouraging the writer, but without offering any more than a general compliment, a yes-man is not getting into the nitty gritty details that are needed to fine-tune a work.

2. The Haters: Haters are gonna’ hate. It’s a fact. Some folks just want to make everyone miserable, and they’ll say stupid things to push your buttons. Statements like, “This is crap,” or “You suck,” really don’t go deep enough to explain whether the reader is simply being an ignoramus (I love that word), or if they honestly believe that what they’ve just typed is true. Different writers might react to such comments in different ways, but I figure that if my writing has caused a strong reaction, then I must be doing something right… I hope.

3. The Grammar/Spelling Nazis: No one is perfect. Even the grammar and spelling Nazis aren’t perfect (though they won’t always admit it –– and I know because I can be one). I’d like to think that my spelling, at the least, is perfect, but it’s not. I have weaknesses –– terrible ones. My grammar? Ha… right. As much as I appreciate the effort to perfect my spelling and grammar, such things are details that I would ask specific people to address during a later draft. Suppress that inner Grammar/Spelling Nazi!!! However, if I am ever so atrocious with said details that you feel that you’ll go blind from trying to read it, please print out my writings and send them back to me with red pen marks and notes all over them…

4. The Romantics: I run from writing romance. I’ll be honest. It is awkward. It is cliché. It is ridiculous. Yes, I do give in sometimes, but… I try to avoid it. However, now and again, there will be the reader who suggests a pairing, and I cringe in the same way that I would cringe if fingernails were scratched across a chalkboard. Does it have its place? Absolutely. Am I going to force it? No.

5. Anti-Tragedy Readers: Hear me out. I am not necessarily a writer of tragedies, but I do put my characters through hell (Just ask Feann, from Perseverance). If you don’t like it, read a different book. Life is not fair, and my characters are fully aware of that fact…

6. True Critics: These are folks who generally read quite a bit and ask all of the right questions. Things like, “Why on earth did _____ do that?!” or “What about the _____?” or “Who is _____?!” or “I’d like to hear more about _____.” Even comments like, “_____ really acted out of character in that scene.” or “I like how _____ said this.” can be beneficial. Reactions, questions, advice, etc. These are the tools with which a writer can learn exactly how to tweak things to make the story read smoothly and have deeper meaning to the reader.

So the next time you are asked to critique my writing (I can’t vouch for anyone else), here’s my request: Tell me what you like, and then be completely honest with what could be better –– even the enormous plot details. Don’t hold back! I might not go with everything that you say, but I will consider it. Most likely, I will be very happy to have a challenge to work with. Otherwise, the editing process grows stale, and I get ready to throw in the towel… and we don’t want that, now, do we?

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