No. Not that Earnest.
Earnest. Continue reading
Do you remember when I wrote that book. Like… a WHOLE book. There were mutants and a work camp and some bad guys. Wasn’t it great?! What happened with that? Continue reading
So I’ve been working on the Department for Mutated Persons this holiday week, and I know there hasn’t been an update since Christmas Eve. Maybe you’re chomping at the bit, or maybe you forgot about the Depart for whats-its. Either way, I’ve been working on Chapter 6, but also working on the end of the book. I’ve had a real breakthrough for how I want the first book to end (yes, the first one!). I decided I wanted to break the narrative into two books because of how the story flows, and what I want to do with the second half just didn’t make sense to be in the same book as far as themes and characters were concerned.
So far this story has been unfolding as I write it. I haven’t made much of an outline, which is not something I normally do; but I wanted to get this first draft out in front of your lovely faces instead of procrastinating. That means the story will evolve over time, and you have the ability to change it with me. So if you have any suggestions for the future of the story, you can comment below, tweet me (@robfike), message me, or email me. Any feedback is crucial to making this the best it can be.
This is also a YA fiction work, which means I want as many middle, high school and college people to see it as possible. I want to know how you guys feel about it: what’s missing? what’s great?
Thanks for sticking with me thus far, and I hope I give you the excitement you were wanting out of this read.
So we filled our cups to the brim with hatred. And we cast ignorance upon you if you didn’t agree. And with any misstep we wouldn’t bury you, but you felt six feet under. We’d take your job, your reputation, and – if an apology was granted – your soul as well. And you would be the cautionary tale that we would spin cycle in our 24 hour news coverage. And the pundits would bemoan your mistake, and assassinate your character, and impugn your very existence. Because we were right, and we always would be. And you would be wrong, and you would be evil, a relic of an ancient past full of pagan ritual and superstition.
Current Word Count: 833
It’s not even remotely respectable, but it is progress. I decided to jump ahead in my short story series to a climactic part because I had inspiration for it. I think it’s important to take advantage when inspiration strikes, otherwise the ideas just float away. I know eventually I want my characters to get somewhere, and I know what that somewhere is. So, instead of enslaving myself to the linear writing process, I just decided to write that scene now, so I know where I’m going. And, dammit, I’m a leaf on the wind (RIP Wash).
I think the exhilaration now lies in how I get to this moment, how the characters get to this point, and how the audience will feel once they read the lines. What happens between the inciting incident and the climax is what will be the difference in an apathetic reader and an enthralled one.
So what are you doing to make sure your reader is gripped by the climax. It could be the difference between the explosion of a million fireworks and a fizzled out sparkler.
Current Word Count: 192. Oops.
I’m not making excuses, but I do have a seven week old daughter. Okay, that’s an excuse…
But really this just speaks to the importance of forming a game plan on getting the work done. I had an inkling of an idea for my series, but I didn’t know where to start. I also didn’t carve out time and space for writing (which is a MUST).
For those of you who might be in similar shoes (not mine though, they’re covered in old primer paint), don’t lose heart. Carry on the good fight and seek glorious writing riches.
Make plans to write. Create space to work. And be prepared for all plans to go to hell.
I was having a conversation with a co-worker the other day (see: an ambiguous approximation of time ago), when I was struck by something not-so profound, but (all the same) important.
When it comes to talking about our problems, you can see someone else in two different ways. You either see a person with a problem, or you see a problem with a person.
A Problem with a Person
The problem-first type see the problem before they see the person. They may even cut off the person explaining their problem in order to ‘fix it’ right away. If you are this type of person, you might face these types of issues in relationships.
You cut people off before you really understand the problem.
You are so excited to solve the problem, that you forget you are listening to a living, breathing person, and they aren’t finished speaking. Most problems are not as simple as we want them to be. They aren’t black and white.
Remind yourself: Slow down. Let them finish. Address the human element of the problem.
Your friend doesn’t really want their problem solved.
This is probably the hardest part of seeing the problem first (or only seeing the problem) because sometimes people just want to vent about their problems and hear that someone empathizes with them. But you don’t like this sentiment. There is a problem and it needs solving. The person will only feel better if you solve it for them. But here’s the deal: their problem is usually solvable by them. Many times someone knows what they have to do, and they’re just looking for a sympathetic ear to acknowledge their issue.
Remind yourself: Listen to them first. Offer sympathy. Ask if they’d like help.
A Person with a Problem
While acknowledging a person is the more important part of any relationship, this type of person can also create unhealthy frustrations. With a tendency to over-protect a person or a relationship, the person-first type won’t address the problem or will sugarcoat in such a way as to prove unhelpful or – worse than that – destructive to the other person or relationship. Here are just a couple of situations where the person-first type can cause damage.
Your friend truly needs a solution.
So many times a friend comes to you seeking a solution, but you only go as far as sympathy for their plight. You don’t address their problem, nor offer any help in finding the solution.
Remind yourself: There is a problem here. If you truly care about your friend, coworker, family member then you will offer help.
You worry about hurting their feelings.
Sometimes (most times) we bring problems on ourselves. Everybody makes mistakes, and sometimes we get stuck in problems because of it. The person-first type has a harder time telling harsh truth because they care about the person first and the solution second, and they don’t want to harm their relationship.
Remind yourself: Everybody makes mistakes. Understand your relationship with the other person. If you have the kind of relationship which allows you to tell them the truth, listen thoughtfully and tell them like it is. Don’t dilute the truth to protect a friendship because you will inevitably exacerbate their problem and could inevitably ruin the relationship anyway.
If you see yourself in either of these two types of people, acknowledge it and move forward. Bear in mind that there are others out there just like you, and you can use your techniques on them just fine! They will probably enjoy it!
Also, if you see someone else is behaving as the opposite type to who you are, cut them some slack. Either way, they probably like you and are doing the best they can to be helpful. If it’s becoming a problem in your relationship, have a conversation about these different types.
And finally, if you are having relationship issues (work, home or otherwise) look at the other person and see if you have conflicting styles. If you make the effort to match what they like, it can have a great effect. It may even open up a conversation to see how you both can serve each other better.
Dealing with a lot of transitions lately. I just finished the rough manuscript of my first
novel, so I’m transitioning into the edit process; and it’s proving to be a pain the ass.
My birthday is on the 20th, so I will be transitioning to age 32, which is just what it is at this point. Birthdays lack the excitement they use to. Probably because I only ask for the essentials from my folks anymore (“Can I get a grocery store gift card? Maybe Amazon? We need groceries… I need to order diapers…)
I am graduating from college in December, but with a full time job already (the same one I’ve held for 10 years) that transition doesn’t seem to be affecting me like it should. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be finishing my Bachelor’s degree in History, but it feels more
like a tedious end to an obscenely long journey. It feels a bit like Frodo at the end of Return of the King; I just want it to be over already (so stop fading to black!).
I also just transitioned into fatherhood (you can follow me on Instagram @dafiker to see how that’s going – be warned: cuteness). It’s a rewarding experience, full of sleepless days and nights. It’s probably the most profound transition I’ve faced in my life, even more so than the transition into adulthood. Priorities change drastically. My mind seems to be hardwired for this change, as it appears completely out of my control. So, sorry I haven’t been writing in this blog lately (Oh, I forgot you don’t read it.), but I’ve been preoccupied with doctor visits, poops, sleeps (hers, not mine), and all the little intricacies of a newborn’s life.
If you are interested in seeing what my book will be, you can keep tabs on me by subscribing to this blog. But let’s not kid ourselves: you probably stopped reading this already and are looking at the baby pictures.