My Life Whether You Like It or Not

These last few weeks I have had the rare privilege of meeting my fiancé’s family. I had met the whole of her immediate family before but I was given a morsel of what it was to know her whole family in one place when I attended our wedding shower. Now most of you read that sarcastically and are thinking to yourself, “He hated the whole ordeal and now he wants us to suffer alongside him.” Well If I’m being frank, you would only be mostly wrong.

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Read it and Weep

Now normally I’m an avid fan of just writing and not worrying about making things pretty. However, when it comes to asking someone to critique your work, I have to at least stress a little review. Now if you’re paying someone to help you, then yeah, make them jump through hoops and see if you can get your money’s worth. I looked over a novel not too long ago and I never could make it past the first page.

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Setting as Character

What’s the best part of a good story? Most people would say it’s the characters. Without interesting, compelling characters, stories can’t really go anywhere. Of course, other elements matter, too: there usually has to be a plot, a general tone or feeling, and generally some overarching theme. Besides character and plot, there’s probably only one more all-important element of storytelling, and that’s setting. The setting isn’t just the time, place, and context in which the story exists—it’s the entire framework of the story. Everything hinges on it. Our characters are actors, moving and interacting in the world we create. As a writer, detailing the setting offers an interesting way to enliven these actors, giving a chance to peer inside their inner worlds.

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Enter Jim Kelly

 
Enough with the mystery already, here’s the BIG reveal!  The subject of my book project is the late actor/martial artist Jim Kelly.  For those not familiar with Jim Kelly, he was one of the most prominent African American action stars of the 1970’s.  His most well-known film is the 1973 action classic Enter the Dragon, in which he starred alongside genre icon Bruce Lee.  Although Enter the Dragon was not his film debut, most aficionados regard it as such.  That’s because Enter the Dragon established his action chops with authority, so much so he came close to stealing the show from Bruce Lee (no easy feat).  From the moment Kelly appears onscreen, he exudes an undeniable presence and charisma.  He balances being a likeable hero, and an individual not to be taken lightly.

Motivation! All Day Every Day!!!!

The day to day grind can weigh on people and ends up dragging us down from time to time. I am under quite a bit of stress here recently with finalizing all of the plans for my wedding and hoping that everything goes as planned. Now, I know that I root for you guys every chance I get, and who knows? People might not even be reading these, so I could just be rooting for an empty room, which is kind of a harrowing thought.

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Breaking the Rules

Rules are meant to be broken, as the saying goes. With writing, especially creative writing, this is often the case. Endlessly avoiding the wrath of the grammar police can limit artistic expression, preventing you from exploring the richness of the written word. It’s also boring. That said, I’m not endorsing sloppy English or ignorance of grammar. As a writer, you have to know the rules in order to break them effectively. Whenever you intentionally flout the rules, you should be prepared to defend your choice from proofreaders and critics who are more than happy to leap at the chance to correct you. We can look at some famous examples to see just how so-called “errors” can be art.

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May the Fourth Be With You

We have come upon a hallowed time for my people this last Monday. Most of you will think that I’m talking about Cinco De Mayo but you would be wrong. I’m talking about May the Fourth… and yes I did say that it was a hallowed day for my people. (Nerd level: epic) Those people that I speak of are the ones that are preordering tickets as we speak for the next Star Wars movie and if you listen intently enough you can probably still hear the hum of light sabers being tested for the camp out on opening night. I only bring up the holy grail of nerd-dom to share with you something that may affect your writing. I’m talking about prequels and sequels.

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First Steps

Last week our Transformational Editor facilitator Suzanne Gochenouer kindly met with me to talk about my writing project.  Suzanne knew I was switching from a fiction to non-fiction project, so I asked her for advice on where to begin.  I had formed preliminary thoughts on the structure of my book based on others I’ve read, but never having traveled this path before it’s nice to have an informed second opinion.  Suzanne gave me helpful advice, and essentially I’ve settled on a structure that will be part history/biography and part film criticism.  We discussed multiple ways to take this structure, and our conversation expanded my thinking a great deal.

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Fight Him in the Face!

I’m a guy, and as such there are certain prerequisites in books and movies that I need to consider them good. One of the first things that I like in my books and movies is depth. I love when a movie or a novel makes me think because then it becomes a justified source of entertainment. Another one of those “must haves” is action. I know it sounds like a bit of a stereotype, but I love me some good action! I adore visualizing a fight scene or explosion from a good book, or even something as simple as a well-timed slap to the face.

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Sometimes It Pays to Pay

There are plenty of free apps available for writers, but some great tools are available for purchase if you’re willing to fork over a few dollars. I’ll discuss a few of these tools below, but only you can decide whether or not paying the price is worth it.
 

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