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Emotional vs. Intellectual Words (Is there such a thing?) #writing

What do you think? Are there words that are more “intellectual” versus “emotional?” How do we determine which is which? Is it just which is used more often or has become part of the vernacular?


Original meme can be found here: 

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5 and a Half Easy Ways to Annoy a Slush Reader

As some of you may or may not know, I am currently a slush reader for the Trust and Treachery Anthology that is going to be published later this year. Now, when I first began this journey it was as a way to get me back into writing, as well as giving me some experience working on the publishing side of things…But now it has become a whole new animal.

I have spent a lot of time reading, and have gotten very little umph to write out of it…but I have gotten a lot of gigglefits and screaming done.

Ok, ok, so this isn’t how to annoy a slush reader as much as it is a cautionary tale. The whole, “there but for the grace of God go I” and all that. Oh wait, I’ve gone there! Take a few minutes and review this little list I’ve made.  Trust me, after seeing these mistakes in just the few short months I’ve worked on this anthology I can promise you I’ll try never to make them again! (For the sake of my fellow slush readers if nothing else!)

5 1/2. If you don’t know what a word means, don’t use it.
You can’t “wonder through a town”…well, I guess you can, but I doubt that is the picture you are trying to conjure.

5. Basic Grammar and Spelling
I’m a terrible speller, and even worse at grammar…but EVERYONE has a friend that is better at that sort of nuts and bolts stuff than you. So, please, for the love of God give your story to that person before you submit it and we can all avoid you eating “potato’s”.

4. That cliché is like an old, worn shoe.
Comfy, sure, but a bit tattered around the edges. If you are going to go to a job interview, you might want to break out the new shoes, ya know? (Same goes for morals, avoid them “like the plague”! )

3. Format is there for a reason!
It is not easy to read strange fonts, or single spaced documents. It is sort of jarring to open a story with no title page or header. It is difficult to discuss story points when there are no page numbers. It may look boring, but trust me, we selfless slush readers will bless you if you can just follow proper format.

2. A rejection is final.
Take your rejection like an adult. Please do not write the editors to tell them that the slush reader that read your story was obviously mistaken in her evaluation of your ham-fisted attempt at literature. If you must write why not ask for a quick critique, or one piece of advice for your story.

1. Story Interruptus
Yeah, we can tell when you’ve gotten tired of writing the story. Build me up, build me up, and bang…leave me hanging. BAH! NO! If you’ve got a story, it needs an ending…give it that ending, not something slapdash or just tagged on at the last minute. Respect your story and the places you are submitting it to enough to think about your ending and actually WRITE it.

Pints of Interest that are strange but true!

I often do this on my own blog site, so I thought I would do it here too. A few random links to things that might offer some nice inspiration…or a least a few moments of distraction.

1st: Scientific American puts out a “Strange but True” blog…Check it out and see things like:
Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste

2nd: What is better than dufus criminals? Yeah, so get over and take a look at Strange but True Crime , where you can see:
Cops chasing you? Call 911.

And 3rd from the “Strange but True Website”

There are 18 different animal shapes in the Animal Crackers cookie zoo!

Your body is creating and killing 15 million red blood cells per second!

Until the nineteenth century, solid blocks of tea were used as money in Siberia!

When glass breaks, the cracks move faster than 3,000 miles per hour. To photograph the event, a camera must shoot at a millionth of a second!

One ragweed plant can release as many as one billion grains of pollen!

No piece of square dry paper can be folded more than 7 times in half!

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Lies, I tell you!

My wife was reading a blog post to me the other day… Ten Bits of Advice Writers Should Stop Giving Aspiring Writers

(Basically, the post is about those old adages that get used to death: show don’t tell, write every day, etc. And how we should STOP using them! Go check it out, it is worth the read. Then when you are done, check out some of the comments…the one about those bits of advice being great for “going gay” nearly had me peeing myself.)

So what did I take away from that post? Well, I realized…
Everything we have ever said to you is a lie.

Every empty platitude.

Every hollow encouragement.

Every vapid advice.

Everything is a lie…but it is only a lie to you if it does not work.

So, perhaps, instead I should say that everything we have ever said to you might not be right for you. Those words might not be right for you, but they are right for someone…and don’t worry, if you didn’t get anything out of our multitude of posts, I’m sure a blog out there will give you what you are looking for. Which is a lot like getting broken up with (it’s not you, it’s me).

Sorry, distracted. The point here is that you can’t quit looking.

Much like love, you can’t just decide to stop trying. You’ve got to keep putting yourself out there, keep searching, and yeah…every once in a while…get all disappointed in stuff and walk away.

Lots of people that follow my blog have been feeling that way lately (disappointed). I lost the thread of my serial story, found myself just slapping up whatever, with no mind to what I wanted to say about these characters and the level of writing in which I wanted to say it.  I re-read all of them together and was aghast at what I was doing…so I stopped.

My wife keeps asking me if I am going to take it up again, but I’m just not ready. I know what I need to do, and I am unwilling (read: too lazy) to pull down everything that does not work and re-write it (without re-launching it) AND continue on in the story long enough that I have a firm grasp of where I am going to end (that is part of my problem, and typical with my writing…I generally know where I want to end, but I usually stumble around until I get there). It is my decision not to continue, because the story WAS NOT WORKING for me.

See, I found some advice that worked for me.

Now get out there and find some that works for you too…and if it is still us, rock on!

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Finding inspriation in illness?

I am sick and I hate my wife.

Or rather, because I am sick, I hate my wife.

My lovely, wonderful woman is not a typical “character” in life. She’s often been called soulless/superhero/crazy/emotionless…and in some ways she fits into all those frames at times, just like we all do. BUT she does have some very unique responses to unique situations.

For instance, when I get sick…she has a dual response. 1) I cannot get her off me. She will NOT leave me alone, it is as if I am going to DIE if she walks out of the room. I am constantly telling her to GET OFF ME because I can’t breathe. 2) She is at a loss as to what to do for me. She throws medicine at me, but does not make me dinner…she puts me to bed with the chills, but does not take my temperature.

Why am I telling you this? Because this is a great character study!!!

When I watch things, (like the short, “I Think My Facebook Friend Is Dead”) I see tropes…character arcs…that are so expected that I can almost tell you what is going to happen with whom from the first moment I meet them. Asian chick? She will get more and more naked throughout the movie, and will be a bad ass. Indian guy? Total horn dog geek with a heart of gold.

BUT why? Why do they have to be this way? Why can’t we have the Arab chick that panics when someone sneezes…laughs when people are bleeding…and cries at the end of Marley and Me…why can’t we have emotionally complicated people in our books (just like our lives)?

And yes, I know there are many emotionally complicated people in books, but they tend to wallow in the background…never to be fully realized or accepted…and many times they change just so we can relate better to them, but I say BAH! It is a copout on our part to believe that is all they can ever be!

Take Sheldon Cooper for instance! He has very quickly become the lead for “The Big Bang Theory”, more storylines revolve around him than anyone else on the cast…why can’t we have more “real” or at least “non-typical” heroes in the world??


See, I’m sick…I got no answers…just a bunch of questions, so hop to it. Come on, chop chop…and btw, No, Day, I’m NOT licking the medicine spoon so you don’t have to wash it before the next dose! THAT IS DISGUSTING!!

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A Dragon of a Woman…

We all have people in our lives (special, wondrous people) that make an impact far beyond what they should or intend.

For me, that person was Anne McCaffrey.

I’m not sure many of you know that Ms. McCaffrey passed on after having a stroke on the 21st of November, 2011…and the world is a darker place for it.  I have lost one of my true heroes.

Anne McCaffrey

In 7th Grade, while preparing to drive across Kansas yet again (when you live in Missouri, it seems EVERY trip you take involves crossing one of the most bland states in the country – aka Kansas), I begged my Mom to buy me a book to keep me company.  She relented, and when I saw the cover for Dragonsdawn (with Sorka in her yellow flight suit, arms outstretched and tiny dragons circling around her) I was sold.

That little paperback (and yes, I still have it) kept me busy all that night and the next day.  Kansas flew past in a blur…and I could not read fast enough to keep up with my desire to know what happened next.  I slept with the book curled in close to my body, afraid I would lose it or my place in it as we worked our way back home from our latest vacation.

This was my first real exposure to Science Fiction/Fantasy.  I mean, I’d read the genre before, but I was a reader of all things at that time, letting my undeveloped reading palate come into its own…but the moment I began reading McCaffrey, it was over for me.  I was hooked on Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Worse yet, I was hooked on writing.

I didn’t know it at the time, I could not have named it if you talked to the younger me, but that book…and the woman who wrote it…set me on a path in which I end up on this blog today.  I am happier for it, I am better for it, I am blessed because of it.  I am able, through writing, to express and explore things that might otherwise hide inside me…and that would be a shame.  I doubt I could be who I am (emotionally open, mentally willing, and brutally aware) had I not found that love of books, that love of genre, that love of writing…and all through the words of one woman.

Now we…I…have lost that woman, and my heart is broken because of it.  Still, her words live on, her world lives on, and not just through her son…but through her contemporaries…through her fans…and through amateur writers like me, that can pin the beginning of our long twisted journey to publication on one of her books.

Here is to Anne McCaffrey…the original…the granddame…

Not gone, just gone between.

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