Past, Present and Future

Page 94, of 160 of my edit. If I had long enough hair I’m sure I would be pulling it out by now. Why do we torture ourselves like this? Because we love it. My thoughts have been on memoirs lately. My dad said something to me the other day that has been sticking around in my brain like that one song that never goes away. When we were joking about him crying at T.V.  shows and calling him soft, he replied it wasn’t that he was soft. It was in fact because the older he gets, the more precious life becomes. The tears are a result of coming to terms that everything in life has an end.

It is a very sad, and profound thing to think about. More to the point, it got me thinking about what we leave behind once we are gone. Our legacy? Maybe some money? Memories. But what am I personally leaving behind? In my own life, I’m not the man I think I should have been. I will never be the best husband, or the world’s greatest dad. I will never boast that I serve others for the joy of it. I can’t even say I’m a nice guy. I write none of this for attention or looking for rebuttal. I am old enough and been around enough to have a pretty good grasp on the type of person I am. So, what then, will I leave?

I am going to try to start sharing a memory, at least once a month. Couple reasons. It gives me more opportunity to write. It also gives me something tangible that I can pass on to my daughter. Will she want them? Who knows? I hope to write for a year and have enough at that time to put into a book in the form of short stories. Hopefully I will be able to be entertaining enough that she will want to read them. Because no matter how I get, or my daughter gets, I will always remember her asking me to tell her a story. Bedtime stories where there were times I would read the same book to her 3 times in one sitting. Other times when she would read to me, although she had yet to learn. Memories like these are something to be cherished. So I guess I could say this is a new year’s resolution. Something I’ve never done before because I find the idea of making false promises to one’s self to be asinine. But, sometimes we just have to try something new. What will your new year’s resolutions be?

D.B. Flint

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Get Out Of That Slump!

I’ve had to tell myself the same thing a lot lately. Winter is a depressing time for me so it can be difficult to keep motivated to write. It has helped keep me in line always working on my daily number goal. Although even that has changed slightly. I am midway through the rewrite of the first draft of my latest book. Cleaning up my own mistakes can be trying. I think, I already wrote it once. Now I have to do it again? That’s just the way it works. I’ve not found any major plot holes yet. But there is some terrible writing.

The book currently sits at just over 62,000 words. It’s been interesting to see how my writing has changed day by day. I can tell the time I struggled because my writing is choppy and many times repetitive. The times where I was on point the story flows well but is often full of minor mistakes where my brain and finger speed weren’t in sync. When the writing is good I tend to have long sessions of getting the story down, knowing that I’ll fix it later.

Then there are times I’m not sure it was me writing it at all. Not only have my moods changed when I write, but I also notice that the characters in my story also tend to change moods right along with me. I have started looking for these changes more and more as I push on through the revision. Just for fun I try to remember, if I can, what may have been going on in life at the time of the first draft. It has given me a different perspective on my own work, and helped me up and out of the slump, because in a way, it’s like reading a new book, or writing a new story.

When you do your own rewrites and you feel yourself getting off task, find a way to make it easier for you. Creative writing should be fun. So be creative in your rewriting as well. Find a way to get out of the slump and back at the keyboard. Sooner or later we all need a different perspective to help us through.

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My first Six Months Since I Graduated.

Graduating from college is a noteworthy feat at any age. I am proud to say I had the will and determination to see it through. At times I had given up. Decided that there was no way that a degree would change the outcome of my life. But I kept my pessimism to a minimum and finished anyway. Now here I am, several months later. I have since moved on from college to working part-time jobs to make rent. No prominent writing career. no Pulitzer prize award. My life has remained the same, only I quadrupled my debt with student loans. Well now what? Being an introverted pessimist has its bad sides. I thought when I was finished with my degree, things would be looking up. And they are, but I am still looking up from the bottom.

I don’t write this saying that I was wrong in my pursuit of an education, nor in my career choice. What I am saying is, that I’m still here. Everyday I spend working on my novels, submitting queries and applying for work. No, I’m not making money writing. The difference between then vs. now, is that I am writing. Before it was a hobby. Now it is my life, paid or not. Nobody starts at the top. They start in the same place I did.

To be taken serious as a writer, I need to prove that I am one. The only way to do that is by putting my head down and shaking off the rejection letters and job turn downs and know that one day, persistence will pay off and I will get paid for my craft. This blog is to tell you all, do not give up on your dreams Do not let life tell you that you can’t do something. Be strong. Be persistent and follow your dreams. Not all dreams come true, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop chasing them.

D.B. Flint

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Veterans Day

What does Veterans Day mean to you? There isn’t one country in the world, I dare say, not even a city in the world, that has not been effected by war. The first wars were conflicts of survival. The need to eat, to drink, to protect ones self and loved ones. A once primal instinct to survive, has now become a business orchestrated by political figures, indifferent to the lives of the soldiers they wield.

War is a tragic side effect of mankind’s lust for power. Countless lives lost in the name of greed and ego. A constant test to see who has the bigger stick. For any contest to end, one involved party must win. Likewise, in order to win, someone must lose. Such is the nature of conflict. But does anyone ever truly win in war? If so, at what cost? We may be powerless to stop war. We may be unable to help. The very least we can do is say thank you.

Veterans Day should be a reminder to us all. We should we pay our respects to the fallen. And, we should pay our respects to the living. There are men and women in the military, sacrificing their own lives so that the rest of us can sit home and Google, or Netflix and chill. It is the soldiers who defend your rights. It is the soldiers that protect your home.

It doesn’t matter what race, color, or nationality. The effects of war are a global epidemic. Take time, any time, be it a minute, or an hour. Take time to respect all those who fight, so you don’t have to.

 

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Halloween Masks

It is that time of year, my favorite holiday…HALLOWEEN!!! Is there any greater holiday for a creative writer? My opinion is no, not a chance. You see, what is it we really like about creative writing? We like the story, the characters, the intrigue, we like the climax, and we all like a good ending. But we absolutely love the man in the mask. That one hero, or villain. The one character you didn’t see until it was too late. We love to write about them, we love to read about them. The greatest thing about the Scooby Doo cartoons was seeing the villain unmasked at the end. So why not celebrate the characters we love with a holiday they were destined for.

I have yet to master the skills to create the perfect masked character, but it’s something I’m always looking to do. I try writing a piece this way, I put in a turn that way, yet my results remain the same. I have wondered why this has eluded me. Especially since we are all, in essence, wearing different masks at one time or another. Different masks, for different situations. We have the one we wear when we’re in public. Or the one we wear when we attend church. The masks we wear attending a family gathering. We all use different parts of our personalities to help us get through our busy lives. So, if I am capable of wearing several masks a day, why can I not write about them?

Mostly, I think it is because writing about the masks we wear, and letting others read about them, makes us vulnerable. A mask is a way to hide our identity. It is protection from the things we fear. Masks allow us to go about our business without allowing people to see the person underneath. Halloween gives us a chance to wear a different mask. It gives us an opportunity to be whoever, or whatever we want for a short time. Behind a mask we can temporarily live out our dreams. You want to be an astronaut, here you go. You want to be a zombie, no problem. A homicidal maniac…well we have enough of those already. My point being that Halloween is the one time a year, besides the ever-popular Comic Con, that we can be anything we want to be.

Real life is a sobering reality that we don’t always get what we want. In fact, almost never. Only so many people can walk on the moon. The rest of us, we are left with a shattered dream. The streets paved with gold are only a fairy tale. The pauper rarely marries the prince. I urge all of you, young, old, somewhere in between, take advantage of times like these when the mask you wear is out of fun, and not out of necessity. Kick up your knickers, let your hair down, everybody Wang Chung tonight (whatever that was supposed to mean).

And since this is a writing blog, I also urge you to watch others enjoying their own fun. Watch how your friends and colleagues behave when they have the freedom to act a little silly. Maybe you will find your own way to write the perfect phantom of the opera. If not, at least you will have a lot of fun trying. Happy Halloween.

D.B Flint

 

#masks #halloween #creativewriting

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How to Create Reality in Fiction

I attended a really good class last week about creating realism when writing fiction. But, we don’t need realism, we’re creative writers, and we can write anything we want. This is true, up to a certain point. The question the instructor asked us, “How long dies a fight last?” Well in a movie we know it takes a matter of minutes. In reality it takes a few seconds. So how, as a writer, do you write a good fight scene in your story, and still have it be believable? Weapons and wizards aside, just a plain hand to hand fist fight, how long does it last? How many pages are you going to fill? Can you take twenty pages for a 20 second fight?

The instructors pitch to us, if we want to write realism into our fictional prose, then it is a good idea to understand what we are talking about. For instance, you want to write about a beat cop, who spends his time writing tickets for parking in a no parking stall. Ever go to Walmart and there is always that one car that thinks they are okay to park on the painted areas under the no parking signs? What better way to understand the importance, and methods of police procedure than to do a ride along with an officer? You want to write a murder mystery that takes place in a hotel…why not ask the manager if you can shadow house staff and maids to get a better idea of the layout and what they do?

The thing is, believable details, the ones the reader doesn’t have to try creating in their mind, but pop up on their own keeps the reader more focused on the story rather than getting lost in epic fight battles that go on to long. If you want to understand how to write good realistic scenes, then get ready to get your hands dirty. Consider it a benefit of your job. Not only do you get to write about all your cool ideas, you get to do hands on research to make sure your giving your reader the best writing you can muster.

AS a writing challenge, go out and do it. Pick one thing in your work that you could use more detail about. Figure out how to get it, then do it.

D. B. Flint

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Writers Conference

I had the opportunity to attend a writers conference last week at Snow College. To any would be writers, or to any established writer, I would recommend attending one. I chose classes to help me become a better writer. There were the standard classes one would expect to find, writing a query letter, tips for writing, publishing and marketing. What I enjoyed the most was hearing first hand accounts from writers that have spent their lives writing and being rejected, but never giving up.

The last class of the day was a critique offered by a panel of writers and editors. An opportunity for anyone to have their first page read aloud, and then critiqued afterwards. I took the page from a new novel i’m writing. The copy was rough so I was prepared to get dinged on errors, which I did. It was insightful having my work read, and getting the response from a reader. Feedback from readers is a powerful tool. Use it. A good critique now and again is a very useful way to see the holes in your own work.

There is no mistaking that writing is hark work. I didn’t need a conference to tell me that. What I needed was that common ground, the advice from others that have been down the same road, found the same potholes, but persevered because they were passionate about their work. I came away with a better knowledge, and a binder full of notes. I can’t wait to incorporate many of the learned practices into my own writing.

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