On the Futility of Writing Advice

Just wanted to take a minute to plug a neat article, Stop giving a damn what Stephen King (or any writer) tells you about writing, by (my friend) Kamal Kamyab. He goes into depth on why most advice is probably useless to you, and points out some really good reasons why it can be considerably worse than useless.  Here’s a little taste:

My concern is that, for the rest of us, these myriad writing rules might help raise the lowest standards but will also risk homogenising the output of course graduates. What’s the point in learning a uniform approach to writing if you have to unlearn it just to uncover your voice. This is why the only useful, practical advice about what to write is honest, no-BS stuff like, “Write in popular genres or change your name to be misleading.” It’s not facetious; it’s true. That’s if you want to be discovered and successful. Otherwise, the only advice is:

“Write.”

It’s well thought out, packed with useful links, and refers to such luminaries as Hugh Howey, Judy Blume, and… ahem yours truly.

What are you waiting for?  It’s Friday.  Just click and go read already. ;)

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Earthian — Chapter 16: Petite

After a truly depressing Monday, it’s now a brand new Tuesday, which means it’s time for another chapter in the ongoing saga that is…

Earthian Title Card

Earthian!

Today, our heroes take their first tentative steps into an entirely new world.

Let’s see how that goes.


 

Petite

This is the city of Boluzai on the planet Poloff Prime. It’s the heart and mind of the Star League, the absolute height of League civilization… and that height is around a hundred feet.

“Quietly,” Gar Barlybar says as we follow softly along behind him. “Don’t worry about traffic. It’ll take care of itself.”

As we step forward into the miniature city’s streets, Gar’s words prove true. The small and bulbous flying cars–a thousand varieties of trucks, sedans, station-wagons, vans–they all flow in a wide arc around us, going about their business like we’re not even there. It’s like we’re surrounded by an invisible bubble.

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Earthian — Chapter 15: Odyssey

The summer break is over, and it’s finally time for more amazing adventures in the furthest reaches of the galaxy.  It’s time for…

Earthian Title Card

Earthian! Today, our intrepid adventurers make landfall after the disastrous events of Chapter 14.

Alrighty… let’s get our footing.


Odyssey

 

There are five of us.

We’re standing on a paved circle while some kind of mist peels off our suits and crawls across the ground. The sky above is red, filled with lumpy pink clouds shaped like balloon animals.

This is Poloff Prime, an alien world somewhere in our galaxy. I’m told it’s the capital of the Star League, but to me, it’s the last place Michael Oxbow was seen.

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Hugh Howey Fanfiction Contest — Read Colony Collapse!

Friends, Romans, and countrymen! Lend me your ears!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m competing in The Hugh Howey Booktrack Competition, which has a $5,000 grand prize, and my entry is finally ready!

Colony-Collapse-Cover-2014-07-08-04

 

Jessa is technically 24 years old, but she was born just two weeks ago, a genetically engineered colonist living on the galaxy’s distant and dangerous frontier. Trained as a Logic Engineer, she’s responsible for maintaining computers across the colony, but the latest software bug may be more than it seems… and her efforts to fix it will determine the future of her entire world.

Thanks to Booktrack’s very cool tech, the full story has a soundtrack designed, edited, and most likely horribly mangled by yours truly… so hop on over, give the story a read, and maybe give me your vote if you’re feeling generous!

 

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Crowds Cheer Passive Voice Article!

…well, that may be overstating matters a bit. Nevertheless, The Passive Voice: Its Darkest Secrets Revealed! was one of the few pieces tweeted by Medium’s editorial staff on Saturday, which brought in (by my standards) a metric buttload of traffic. I’m jazzed right now.

In other news, Earthian‘s summer break continues, and I’m so sorry for the delay.  I’m working on a few fast side-projects (articles and short stories) in order to attract a little attention for Earthian‘s returns… and maybe even win some prize money along the way.  I already have an entry ready for The Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Monster contest, and I’m also gearing up to compete in The Hugh Howey Booktrack Competition. Hugh Howey’s contest has a $5,000 purse, and… wow. Just wow.  I’m probably going to need help with that one, and I hope I can count on you to lend me your vote!

As for Earthian, the season will be starting back up the first week of August with Chapter 15: Odyssey!

Cheers!

-dances awkwardly away-

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The Passive Voice — Its Darkest Secrets Revealed!

Mr. Fang in B&W

-cue dramatic music-

The passive voice… Among writers, it’s public enemy number one. This heartless killer is responsible for a string of grisly slayings that stretch across history, beginning all the way back in ancient Sumer and continuing on to the present day. It’s already in your home, crawling on your ceiling, and you could be its next victim.

No one is truly safe while the passive voice remains a fugitive from justice, and that’s why I’m here writing this — to expose its darkest, most depraved secrets, and to ask for your assistance in stopping the monster once and for all.
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Short Story — Bodies in Revolution

Surprise update!  I put together a story for a writing prompt at io9 the other night, and thought I’d share.  The prompt was a concept painting by an artist named YONG, whose work can be found at his personal gallery.  This is the image:

Stone Hand, by YONG

And now my piece inspired by it, called…

Bodies in Revolution

 

They left it here to remind us.

A monstrous hand arcs up and over me, an oppressive monument built of soil and stone, conjured from the ground using technology beyond our understanding. We call it a Grip of Five, and it’s the standing embodiment of their raw power; their unsullied hatred; and most of all, their absolute dominion over our civilization.

When they tossed us aside, the invaders left the hand and a thousand replicas scattered across our world, a promise and a threat undying, an inescapable reminder of who precisely is at our throats. That hand makes sure we can never forget one simple fact: that all we are, and whatever meager belongings we may cling to… all of it belongs to them.

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