Categories
Creative Methods Resources

R.L. Stine’s Writing Program

Yep, this is geared toward students, librarians and teachers, and I am only certainly one of those. All jokes aside, in my experience it is rudimentary to always rely on your basics, your foundation and R. L Stine is here to give a couple of hints a tips for idea development and methods for story composure. So, whether you have a small one that would like to write a story, or your grew up reading the Goosebumps series, head on over and have a download of his 17 page PDF educational writing guide:

Categories
Book Reviews On Art

Review: How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One by Stanley Fish

How nice. This cover is in a classic, perennial style. It transcends time. . .maybe?

In this entertaining and erudite New York Times bestseller, beloved professor Stanley Fish offers both sentence craft and sentence pleasure. Drawing on a wide range of  great writers, from Philip Roth to Antonin Scalia to Jane Austen, How to Write a Sentence is much more than a writing manual—it is a spirited love letter to the written word, and a key to understanding how great writing works.

Extracted Blub, from Amazon

This is a non-fiction, self-help, novella-in-size book for writers. Then, Fish adds the part on the end of the title about how to read one. I’m thinking that yes, if you don’t understand how to read an English language sentence before you get to the end, you certainly will if you study, as not only are his references stylish – so is his flow and structure in his own writing.

Categories
Opinion Promotions

Ramble Ramble: Mumble Bumble Bench Bench Party Party

So with the end of October approaching and Halloween just around the corner, I’m excited about celebrating with our beloved newborn that is just over one month old. We won’t let any of the things going on stop us from having a good time, but we will be taking the necessary precautions. I compare it to waking up in the morning. Even that is risky business.

Last week I posted a semi-hiatus message about lessening the frequency of posts on this blog and that was my every intention ( I’m a little coocoo like that sometimes ). At the time I felt like I was getting nowhere with my writing efforts and spending too much time on posting. Once I start something, I feel like the ball rolling on Indiana Jones:

Indiana Jones GIFs | Tenor
I am BB. BB is me, I roll along after I start on something. Let’s call it a gift.

On top of that, in my efforts to come up with ideas about what to post on this blog, my mind turned everything it could find into an idea about a blog post, which is probably just a gift in a bad disguise. Unless you are full-time blogger, it is not well. I like to promote wellness.

See: Blogging: Enjoyable Hobby, or Cruel Addiction? @ RU Creative Blogging FA13 regarding blogging addiction warning signs.

It’s one of the addictive qualities of this medium, along with quick gratification of comments and likes vs. the long grueling work that it takes to write a book. Make no mistake, I’m falling in love with the process of writing a book all over again, even more so than when I wrote book #1, as I felt a bit scrambled at times with it, just to get the idea out there.

Speaking of writing, I haven’t done a promotional post for quite some time. So, I will sneak it in here. A big part of me honestly doesn’t like self-promoting at all, but an even bigger part of me will wail, holler and be a kicking, screaming child in the corner if it feels like my work is going too un-noticed without doing something about it. So where am I at with LJ and Rom book #2? I’m somewhere between an eighth and a quarter of the way through writing the manuscript, which is way more perfect than a manuscript ever should be. It cannot be rushed. I feel really good about it. My writing has evolved. I know there is a ton of work left to go. I left book #1 in quite of a cliffhanger, but not without the main problem of the plot being resolved. It was quite of a challenge for me to work the story of book #2 out of that cliffhanger / trap, but it is heading in a solid direction. Questions will be answered, but such is life when we have some questions answered, bigger questions will reveal themselves and cloud our satisfaction of having a simple answer for a simple question. The dust shall settle.

Categories
Compositions On Art Opinion

Composition: They Came to a Clearing in the Rubbish.

“Blue Ripple” by basegreen is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

They came to a clearing in the rubbish. Carefully poured and detailed cement lined the floor surrounding a body of pool water. The pool water emitted a blue fluorescence and a muffled droning from below it’s own surface.

© S.D. McKinley, 2020

The water cast a verse in the form of refracted and dancing light patterns determined by second hand inspiration from some carefully selected song, lining up in significance with time and space. The song was sung in place of a message, indueful of irony and when it spoke it did so not with words or singing voice but as if being instigated by a rogue divinity looking for low hanging fruit to nab and dabble with on it’s way toward a downward spiral of divine destruction. Like an insidious plan with the intention to instill a becoming truth and to pass the blame for something gone terribly wrong. The darkness trickled down and along with its counterpart, lifted this breath of song, bleeding itself into the spaces in between where light once shone, in perfect tune and never doubtful for its future and in turn stoically devoured places once held by brilliancy and integrity.

© S.D. McKinley, 2020
  • Do you like this style of writing? Is there anything that breaks your perspective of “not knowing you are reading”?
  • If this was a passage in a book and the whole book was in this style of writing ( assuming the plot is well ) would you like it or would it turn into “heavy reading” for you?
  • “indueful” isn’t in the dictionary, but I thought it fit perfect with the words. Did you notice that while you read it?
  • Do you feel like “lining up in significance with time and space” instead of “that lined up in significance with time and space” switched tense?
  • If this passage was carefully broken up with action and dialog, would it’s significance or flow be degraded and the feeling and message be lost?

Let me know what you think as a topic for discussion. After all, it is your opinion. -S.D. McKinley

Categories
Opinion

Two Essential Practices For Writers

“Writing” by jjpacres is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Oftentimes I am asked how it is that one can become a better writer, and I thought I’d meditate on that question in this blog post.

Writing is, like a martial art, a discipline. It is a practice. As the student of karate must practice the forms and techniques of karate frequently, so the writer must practice his or her art. In order to become better, it is necessary that you have a daily, or mostly daily, practice.

I know so many aspiring writers who do not practice; as a result, they produce little actual writing, and what they do produce tends to stay within a limited range of aesthetic quality. As with any discipline, you must seek continual improvement, knowing all the while that there is no final end goal. The process is the goal; the journey is, in some sense, the destination.

Categories
Opinion

On Writing: Woe is Me

Alice Cooper wearing a t-shirt designed by ( cover artist ) Dirk Hays

I’ll never look at a published author the same again. Even through my first book, I have experienced a lot of highs a lows. Excitement, uncertainty, revisiting past processes, wondering if I am doing this all correctly. Feelings that critics should be taken with a grain of salt, especially if they are comparing you to legendary authors and also how they might or might not know anything about the process – oh how they have spoiled it for us all. While the previous sentence is the beginning thought, the ending thought is “it’s okay because it will just make me better”. This should make you question the teacher that tells you “always go with your first answer”. Still, whether it is discovering that you have a slightly misaligned cover or some how the drop caps mysteriously disappeared from all the first paragraphs in the print edition of your published work, there is something to be had. Something might bring you joy and a not-so-distant connection to a celebrity figure like Alice Cooper through your creative trade ( see image above ).