Facing down writer’s block

November 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

Every now and then, I encounter that thing called ‘writer’s block’, except it’s less of a ‘block’ and more of an ‘insurmountable George R.R. Martin-esque Wall’.

The Wall

When this happens, I tend to look for Uncle Iroh-type people who can give me an idea of how to surmount the Wall of Writer’s Blockery (because left to myself, I would probably just knock my head against it until I bleed to death). Sometimes I’m lucky to actually have people to talk to – older and wiser writers who know their shit and are generous with advice. But mostly they’re not around, so I settle for looking for Uncle Iroh advice online.

For instance, if you pop over to Neil Gaiman’s tumblr, you’ll find people asking him any of a thousand variations of ‘what do I do when I’ve got this story I’ve been carrying since childhood and I really want to be an awesome writer like you please tell me what I should do.’ Gaiman’s answer is always along the lines of ‘just write.’ He tells people to put one word after the other til they’ve gone right up story mountain. And this is true. Read the rest of this entry »

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Today in Awesome: The Love of Books – A Sarajevo Story

February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am (Awesome) (, , , )

Here I will note some of the events which have taken place in the city of Sarajevo. For as they say, what has been written endures and what has been remembered fades.”- from Sarajevo Diary (1746) by Mustafa Baseskija, one of thousands of ancient, irreplaceable books saved by a group of library workers during the Siege of Sarajevo from 1992-1996.

These were illuminated manuscripts dating back hundreds of years (and they were very pretty, as you can see here). The efforts of these library workers to safeguard their cultural history during a time when shells were raining down on the city, and snipers were picking people off the street, have been documented in BBC Storyville’s The Love of Books – A Sarajevo Story. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shades of Gray (or Things I Learned About Life from a ’90s PlayStation Game)

February 15, 2012 at 9:09 am (Articles / Interviews) (, , , , , )

This was my submission for Suikoden Day 2011‘s Old Book (ie. essay writing) contest – 500-ish words on why I love Suikoden. There were some awesome prizes up for first and second place. I got third. Ah well. There’ll be another chance in Suikoden Day 2012 (huzzah!).

Also check out my other contribution to Suikoden Day 2011 – a bit of pictorial ramblage concerning Suikoden and alcohol.

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suikoden 2

12-year-old me played Suikoden II on the recommendation of a school friend, who said it was “nice.” I assumed I’d be entertained. But Suikoden II did significantly more than that – it taught me about stories. Read the rest of this entry »

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13 Things Learned from NaNoWriMo 2011

December 1, 2011 at 5:54 am (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

I’ve been joining National Novel Writing Month (that masochistic long-haul writing exercise where you try to produce 50,000 words in the span of 30 days) since 2008, without ever having gotten past the 20k mark. I’d actually given up on ever completing it.

This year though, a couple of things went down differently – one, I decided to write a story which has, in bits and pieces, percolated in my head since I was 12 years old. This, as opposed to having little or no idea what the story would be about and just sort of hoping something interesting happens along the way.

Second, my friends put together a NaNoWriMo support group on Facebook, just to give us all a place to peer pressure one another to keep writing. This turned out pretty good for me, as my ego will not let me abide anyone having a higher word count than me.

The end result was this:

Yaaaaay.

So. Things learned (which may not apply to everyone who NaNos, but everyone is their own snowflake): Read the rest of this entry »

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