Writing is a Dog

“My stories run up and bite me on the leg – I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.”

~Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Humor of Life

“A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.”
~Hugh Sidey

Remember this, dear fellows: if you don’t have a sense of humor, you’ll never get out of life alive. Humor is divine in its way–an outlet, a defense mechanism, an escape. It holds at bay the devil of reality as sure as any intricate dose of reading, any flashing sea of lights we call the big screen. It softens our interactions toward others, steels our own resolves.

Writer or no, it’s something we should embrace. The soul yearns for what little lights it can get. Jokes go a long way. Do you think half of the writers of the world would have such endurance in the face of rejection without the ability to laugh? Don’t let the world get to you. Let it in, but then let it back out–with a laugh, and a smile.

Because if there’s one thing to remember about life: we’re all just passing through.

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”
~Henry Ward Beecher

Characters set the Prose

“The character on the page determines the prose—its music, its rhythms, the range and limit of its vocabulary—yet, at the outset at least, I determine the character. It usually happens that the fictitious character, once released, acquires a life and will of his or her own, so the prose, too, acquires its own inexplicable fluidity. This is one of the reasons I write: to ‘hear’ a voice not quite my own, yet summoned forth by way of my own.”

Author Joyce Carol Oates, image care of Wikimedia Commons.

~Joyce Carol Oates

Have truer words been spoken? Characters guide the writing. We build them. We give them life. Yet once upon the page, the character moves to a tune its own. We let the characters guide our hands, more often than not – and while we may put them in situations that cause them stress, worry, even pride…their personalities decide how those very situations will play out.

Tones should appropriately shift, person to person. Hopes. Fears. Vocabulary. One soul is not the same as another, and neither will each behave the same as the other.

Take your time. Breathe. Become your character. How would they react? How do they think? Many people do it in the act of reading, picturing themselves escaping into another soul’s life. Well, writers, close your eyes and be able to do the same with your own creations. Don’t speak with your voice, your authority, for each – think how they would act.

The writer may be the creator, but the character is the forward momentum of any world, both for the readers and the writer himself. It is why outlines are only good to a point. We may have our “goals,” but our own characters may surprise us in the routes they take.

“People do not spring forth out of the blue, fully formed—they become themselves slowly, day by day, starting from babyhood. They are the result of both environment and heredity, and your fictional characters, in order to be believable, must be also.”
~Lois Duncan

A few words on love

Victor Hugo, image care of Wikimedia Commons.

“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved – loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” 
~Victor Hugo

“Love doesn’t sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all of the time, made new.” 
~Ursula K. Le Guin

Success!

Today’s Quotes of the Week (yes, I’m aware I’ve been a bad writer and neglected these for several weeks – apologies!) are a special bunch indeed. Today, kiddies, our topic is “success.” Why Chris, you might ask, whatever prompted you to speak of success? Why, funny you ask assorted internet browsers!

All image rights copyright/reserved to artist and Wolfsinger Publications.

One of my short stories (“The Child’s Cry”) was recently picked up for publication in the November, 2011 edition of Mystic Signals. Mystic Signals is the print-only companion to fantasy e-zines Lorelei Signal and Sorcerous Signals, all products of Wolfsinger Publications, edited by author Carol Hightshoe. The news put a smile on my face the size of Texas for most the week…

The curious thing is, though, most people immediately go, “That’s great – how much did you get for it?” Allow me to preface by saying: yes, there is payment involved. However, I would like to add that such joy is not about the money. Nor, from the publishing perspective, is the money the important part to me. It’s the recognition. It’s the name on the page. It’s getting to now, when submitting other pieces, being able to come at the writing game from the perspective and title of “published author”. It’s a foot in the door, and not one that I had to make myself (e-book self-publishing and the like – don’t get me wrong though, I’m not hating! In fact, my own first novel will be joining that selection soon…).

So without further adieu, I give you a few wise words on success:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” 
~Winston Churchill

“There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now.  I might as well take a nap.'” 
~Carrie Fisher

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” 
~David Frost

* And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the November edition of Mystic Signals! You can order the individual issue for $12, or (and look at these savings!…oh dear, I think my voice hit car salesman pitch) $15/year for the PDF versions, $44/year for the print edition of magazines. Plus, 75% of that money goes to support your friendly authors and artists you know.  Order for some literary goodness…you know you want to…

Time, Decisions, and Opportunity

William Murray, Lord Mansfield. Care of Wikimedia Commons.

Consider what you think justice requires, and decide accordingly.  But never give your reasons; for your judgment will probably be right, but your reasons will certainly be wrong. 
~Lord Mansfield

Opportunity is a bird that never perches. 
~Claude McDonald


The flower that you hold in your hands was born today and already it is as old as you are. 
~Antonio Porchia