Personality Packed Between the Pixels: How a Friend of Mine Became a Better Friend in an Hour a Week

How was your weekend? Mine went really well–got to goof off with some good friends, watch a bit of TV, and just relax.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

Last night, when we were hanging out over Discord (the chat app designed for gamer people, but really for everyone, I think), one of the guys who’s starting to become a regular wasn’t there.

I thought a bit about it, and realized I enjoyed hanging out with him–I actually know him in real life, and I thought it was cool to be able to talk to him more (before we got him involved, we only talked once a year when we met in person).

Now we get to talk (granted it’s with gaming in the background, so concentration is a bit split) for an average of about a hour or so a week, depending on when he’s available. Among the shooting of pixels, little bits about what we’ve been up to will emerge here and there, and we slowly figure out how everyone’s been doing.

And I also get to know this guy a little bit better, because talking with him for two hours a year wasn’t really helping me out very much at all (and Facebook isn’t as great as other methods, sometimes).

On to the pointola…

That’s a lot like characters in your stories, actually. Your readers get to know them, a little at a time. If they like what they see, or are curious, they’ll want to know more. So you give it to them.

It also works for emails, sales letters, or what-have-ya, because it’s characterization and storytelling.

Strangely enough, to me, life seems to deal a lot with those two things, in one way or other.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: When They Were Young…

How’s your week been? I know it’s almost over.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

Today is Friday, and for those of you who know, you’re expecting the Triple F/Fabulous Fiction Friday prompt (or here’s hoping you are). For those of you who don’t know, now you do know.

So we got that covered.

I worked on both fiction and scripting this week, so that was good. Something was interesting to me, because I started out writing fiction for one guy who responded to my offer for free fiction just for fun. And then I remember about the second guy who did, who said I could write the piece about him…or his six-month-old daughter.

You probably know where I’m going for this week’s prompt after that bit, but I’ll say it anyway:

Write about your character as a child, if they’re not already.

Now what? We only have a teeny molecule to work with. Well, now we fiction (a word I like to use as a verb now and again–mostly again).

This is where backstory would be really important (something I haven’t really talked about in-depth too much–maybe the subject for another post). But this is where you can turn that backstory into a story itself.

Once you know what parts of their past makes your character who they are, things become a lot simpler. If it’s something traumatic, you can put it in a flashback, but if you step back a lot, you can slow things down.

Something like Carlos’ parents were killed when their car caught on fire and rolled down a cliff. Carlos wasn’t there, but he has to deal with what comes after–losing his parents young, or what-have-ya.

We could have it as another character’s perspective, too. What if this story is about Carlos’ dad, who’s father never approved of him marrying his mom, even though they were high-school sweethearts? What happened to cause that rift, and did it ever get healed? Or did it carry forward to influence the fateful night–an argument or something else?

Or how about a character who grew up to be an accountant, but he always loved numbers in school, and liked to do things other people thought were boring–maybe something like cleaning chalkboards or what-have-ya?

Every experience makes real people (and characters too) who they are–you just have to pick what goes into this story, today, and leave the rest for later.

Or maybe your character wakes up, thinking the world is still engulfed in war, but things have changed, they’ve got no army, and they’re hopelessly lost. (Okay that last one was from an online game with a quest called Desert Treasure and one of my favorite parts of the Angel TV series.)

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling, I’m figuring.

September is exactly halfway over, as of today. Make the rest of the month great.

And make it a great weekend, with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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Here’s What My Friend’s Uninvited Miniature House Guest Taught Me About Writing

How’s your week been? A friend of mine mentioned something interesting on Facebook today. And I got to thinking, and discovered this works out perfectly for writing, too.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

He wrote:

“You know what doesn’t comfort me? A baby brown recluse.”

Aside from cracking a joke, I should have added more to my reply. What my friend was really latching on to (I think), was the nature of…

Implication.

Meaning that if there’s one baby, there’s a mom. And with spiders, if there’s one baby, there’s probably dozens. And they’re so small, you probably couldn’t see them all right away.

Wow.

Anyway, they’ll have to get that dealt with, one way or another (and I know they will).

My point here is that as writers and marketers, it’s good to always be pointing or hinting at something more…something just below the surface that readers can discover if they go deeper, and stick with you for a while.

Which means you have to know their pains and the solution(s) to them, or about your characters and their world, more than your readers or prospects do.

And then give it to them, one piece at a time.

Tomorrow is Triple F, be sure to stop by.

Until next time,

Ty

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I Don’t Blog About This, But I Couldn’t Help It…

How’s your week going so far? It’s Wednesday, and I was dithering about what to write, but after I checked my book review request emails, the dithering disappeared.

Let’s get to it.

People are interesting. Sometimes in life, we meet them, or only hear about them. Sometimes people with interesting situations come our way, and we get the rare opportunity to communicate with them.

Some things I never blog about include the news, politics, religion, and a couple more if I got to thinking. I figure people who want information on those subjects would be better served elsewhere…especially not by reading a blog focused on writing and marketing.

Then it hit me. One of the prospects I promoted my book to said she had to pass.

Her reason?

Hurricane Harvey displaced her.

I didn’t know what to say to that, and I told her straight out. I’ve never been in a situation like that at all (a flooded basement ain’t nowhere near any of that).

Something that seemed far away to me got close real quick.

Sometimes unexpected twists and turns are what we get. What makes good stories and emails can also make living conditions or situations a total drag.

There’s always a story behind people’s lives, and it could be full of struggle, to be sure.

And sometimes those struggles come right where we can see or hear them.

Until next time,

Ty

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I Couldn’t Go Around, So He Had Me Do This…

How’s it going? Something unexpected happened during a gaming session yesterday (and its aftermath) that helped me realize something.

Let’s get to it.

I play several online games, and I won’t go into specifics (but I will relate it to writing, definitely).

In this particular game, I was given a scroll that’s basically the start of a complex series of treasure maps, and I had to follow it. Okay, that’s fine. This giant compass of a map was pointing me north, so I went north. I ended up on the first floor of a monster-filled tower, expecting the north marker to turn into an X for me to dig.

But no dice.

I started getting flummoxed because this tower is north of a huge swamp, and it’s on a cliff, so it’s impossible to walk behind (this information will be useful later).

I even went to several other spots in the tower, but the scroll still kept pointing me north. And then I went online to try to figure out if I was standing in the right spot…I was.

So I got my brother on the horn. He tried everything I did…

And then he went further.

He asked me if I had a certain ring (I did), and used it to teleport me the equivalent of 30 miles or more north, to a peninsula behind the spooky tower that’s only reachable by teleport or a boat ride.

And on that peninsula I was able to dig for the box that contained the next clue on the journey.

My point for today? Always take a story or an email, whether it’s research, content, or what-have-ya, a little further than you need to.

It’s more difficult to add or pump up than trim, and what you do snip off can be put into other emails or stories, for sure.

This whole incident generated a blog post for my brother, and now for me, too.

Until next time,

Ty

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More Is Good–Here’s Why…

How was your weekend? Mine turned out pretty good–the lawn was pretty dead, but I did get some weeding/trimming done.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

I’m actually writing to you from a desktop today, which I usually don’t use because I don’t really have to.

Why on earth would I do that?

Change of scenery? No, it seems like I can barely concentrate because I’m not in my writing spot.

It’s actually because my laptop is fuzzing out on me–I mean that I can’t go anywhere online with the thing–I turned the wifi off and on, and restarted several times.

Maybe it just needs to cool off a tad–I’m not a tech doofus, but I’m not an IT expert either. I know just enough about that stuff to be dangerous.

This actually brings me to the pointola…

Back ups.

Back-up ideas for emails, in case one doesn’t fit. Back ups for characters in case one character would fit a situation better than another…you get the idea.

In any situation, you don’t want to have only one of something.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: Inspiration Is…

How’s your week been? It’s almost over, I know, but we still have a bit of it left to enjoy while we can.

Let’s get to it.

Today’s Friday, and for those of you who don’t know yet, that means it’s Fabulous Fiction Friday, aka Triple F, and a prompt for you.

And since I talked a lot about inspiration and generating ideas this week, today’s prompt for you is:

Your character gets inspiration from an unlikely source.

All right, not much to go on–but that’s where the fun is, isn’t it? Now we fiction.

You’ll have to figure what the gender and backstory for your character are, and what they have in their life (or run into or come across) that serves as the inspiration for their ideas, job, parenting, or what-have-ya.

Something like Curtis has a special pen–every time he clicks it, he gets a new idea. Or is it every time someone clicks it, he gets a new idea? It’d be different if he has a curious daughter who likes to play with Dad’s stuff.

Or maybe Rachel has a special bowl that reminds her of special times with her mom, and when she holds it, she gets an idea for a new recipe for something.

We could also introduce a bit of suspense or mystery, to be sure–where did this object come from? What could happen if other people find out about this thing?

What if it’s actually been lost by somebody else?

What if it wants to be found?

Well, that’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling.

September is basically just underway here, which is a good thing–lots of month left to explore and do new things.

Make it a great weekend, with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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Fiction File: Fiction-Style Business Problems…

How’s it going? I read an interesting post over Facebook today, and I’d like to jaw about it. Inspiration is key for creativity, and we need to get it somewhere (which is why I keep on about mining FB or a social media channel you’d rather visit for ideas–whether that leads to a shot in the arm or a kick in the pants).

I’d debated making this a for-fiction-writers-only Fiction File, and it ended up a yes.

Let’s get to it.

This post was in a business group I’m a member of–one specifically about helping writers get writing clients. The poster talked about practicing your craft, but what really stuck out to me was trying to be the solution to someone else’s problems.

If you can do that, and well, you’ll get far in life, and your wallet will thank you.

This makes sense for copywriters and marketers, for sure, but what about fiction writers? This is something I’ve struggled with for a long time, trying to find a way out of.

What type of a business problem is a fiction writer solving?

I’d like to think of it as more of a personal problem, actually, something near and dear to a lot of people.

In two words, it’s…

Avoiding boredom.

Okay, that’s a bit simplistic, I gotta admit. As a fiction writer, if you can get someone into your story, especially if they don’t know you yet, and they like what you read, that leads to social proof, as they tell everyone about the awesome new guy or gal’s story they read and give you awesome reviews.

Doesn’t always happen, which is why we promote of course (and why that tab is at the top of this page, with all my Amazon stuff inside).

As a science fiction and fantasy writer, I try not to be too serious with things, but I also try to make it so that I think about the world around me while I’m writing, so that my readers will see the world in a new light when they read what I have to say.

I think fiction also helps people unwind, too, if they read to do that.

People seek entertainment in everything now, and if you (and I) can be a part of someone’s life in that way, it’s a very good thing.

Tomorrow is Triple F. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,

Ty

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Why I Try to Put a Little Me in Everything, and Why You Should Too

How’s it going? I read something on Facebook yesterday (yes there does seem to be a pattern here), that talked about how people can differentiate themselves using nothing other than…

Their personality and personal lives.

And I thought that was interesting because this guy was talking about marketing, and it seemed like a fit, since personality also works great for fiction, too, especially with characters. And because I write about both of those topics here.

This is the part of the show where I drone on about every last detail of the last 20 years…just kidding. No one wants to hear about most of that stuff because of how boring it is. I’ve already told you about enough grocery trips–I figure the fact that I actually went on the trip is news enough (and that was only to tell you I picked up a primary inspiration device known as the Sunday paper).

That’s also an interesting reason why people read fiction–to escape our boring lives, or, as writers, to live out daring exploits through the written word (which is probably not the case for everyone, but I think it’s true enough, don’t you?).

That’s also why I try to make this blog here sound as close to talking to me in real life as I can possibly make it.

And yeah, a lot of the stuff I would tell you (like the fact that I play trumpet and harmonica, can juggle up to three ball-like objects, and am trying to learn a foreign language) all sound like bluster until they’re put in context.

My personality comes through everything, but it’s on me to try to make it interesting, and to use stories from my life that connect with you and the theme of this blog the best I can.

Until next time,

Ty

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I Took My Own Facebook Medicine and This Happened…

How’s it going? See? I told you I’d be back.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

Ever since I mentioned that I thought it was a good idea to look at Facebook news feeds for info and ideas for fiction and copy, I’ve started doing it more. I think this is important, not only to get new ideas, but because we need to remember what we’ve accomplished and done so far (oh, and to keep up with friends and family–them too).

I thought my latest news-feed look was interesting because Facebook showed me a post from a year and three or so days ago, where I was writing about my week for Triple F (which happens every Friday around here).

I’d forgotten that I’d gotten a mild case of heat exhaustion last year. I also forgot that I hadn’t yet released a children’s book–and now, as things have turned out, I’m more actively promoting that book.

It’s amazing how things can change us when we have the ability to look back on them.

So there’s a bunch of inspiration with just a few clicks. Try it and see if it doesn’t get the ideas flowing for you, whether you’re writing an email, fiction story, character sketch, or what-have-ya.

Until next time,

Ty

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