Where I am now–update on my journey.

Posted in Thoughts with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2013 by Craig Snider

When I finally (after ten years of trying) received my degree, I was thrilled. And, deep down I still harbored the thought I could one day use my degree for its original intent, other than just decorating the wall of my library. But, living in rural West Virginia, opportunities are few. I started this blog with the intent of providing a kind of journal about my attempt to become a published author. So, here is what has happened thus far, just for the record’s sake.

Typically, I don’t write about personal items on this blog, as it is intended to be a guidebook of sorts. But, I’ve come into a couple of things that have really helped move me forward on the journey. The first thing happened long before I even thought of doing a blog. I went back to school to get my degree.

While a degree in literature or writing is certainly not a requirement for becoming a writer, the measure to which it helps is immense. Not only do you learn the basics of good writing, you also get feedback and exposure to people and opportunities difficult to access or find on one’s own. Continue reading

Clone Wars–“Someone wrote my story!”

Posted in Thoughts on November 13, 2013 by Craig Snider

“Hey, you look familiar. Do I know you?”
“Huh? Me? Uh…nope. Not me…”
(Photo by David Eger)

Perhaps you’ve been brainstorming all week, or maybe all month, on a story idea. You’ve worked out all the details, and you have all your characters ready to go, and the plot twist at the end makes you happier than a midget in a platform shoe store.

But, then you happen to pick up a book of short stories and begin reading. Then, it happens. You read a story that could have been a carbon copy of your story idea. DAMMIT!

So, what do you do? I’ll tell you. Write it anyway. Continue reading

Critiquing: Learning to write from the inside out

Posted in On Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by Craig Snider
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“Pssst. You wanna buy some body parts?”

How many times have you given your story to someone for their opinion, waited days on the edge of your seat, then all you get is, “I liked it.” What?? That’s all you have to say about a story I spent weeks on? We’ve all had that experience. And, as a writer just starting out, this is not helpful in the least. You need someone who can tell you why they like the piece, and what they feel isn’t working. How do you find such a person? Well, one way is by learning how to critique someone else’s work. How do you do that? I’m going to tell you… Continue reading

Writer’s Cross-Training

Posted in On Writing with tags , , , , , , on May 9, 2013 by Craig Snider

“See, I told you you’d come in last if you didn’t take ballet.”

Typically, when one is trying to improve their skills in a certain arena, they focus all of their practice and learning in that narrow field. For example, a marathon runner may prepare for the long race by spending countless hours jogging long distances, or the golfer will tediously practice his drive. But, in recent years, sports sciences have discovered that one of the best ways to improve an athlete’s performance is to have them cross-train. In other words, the marathon runner may use a series of sprints, and a combination of weight lifting and cardio to prepare for a marathon. The golfer will also lift weights to increase his drive distances. What does this have to do with writing? Continue reading

Horror and Humor, an unlikely friendship

Posted in On Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2013 by Craig Snider
"Hey, you wanna be friends?""Sure. We're both red, so..."

“Hey, you wanna be friends?”
“Sure. We’re both red, so…”

As a reader, and as a writer, I prefer fiction that leans toward the darker side of the imagination. Monsters, terror, horrors, and things that lurk in the shadows are my favorite subject matter. Unfortunately, the genre of horror is difficult to master, and one must avoid the heavily cliched writing and the tropes that come across more as comical than horrific. But, therein lies a cure. Humor.

What?

That’s right, humor.

“What does humor have to do with being scary?”

Glad you asked. Horror and humor often form an unlikely friendship, sort of like peanut butter and pickles, or twinkly vampires and sunlight… Continue reading

Getting your story out there

Posted in On Writing with tags , , , , , , , on February 7, 2013 by Craig Snider

Okay readers, I have reached one goal I set for myself. I have just submitted a story for the first time since 6/10/2005. I went back and read that story I submitted so long ago, and I could not help but cringe. It was terrible. This most recent attempt is much better by far, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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“Gooooaaaaaalllllll!!!!”

This brings me to the topic. Where to submit?

If you are an experienced author, this is probably not as much of a challenge for you, but as this blog is dedicated to the new writers out there, I wanted to go through the process I underwent to make my decision.

Continue reading

Cut away the fat for leaner, stronger sentences.

Posted in On Writing with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2013 by Craig Snider

As writers, we must make many choices during the writing process. We wear the hat of Editor just as often as that of Writer. The editing process forces us to make cuts, revisions, and rewrites in order to turn literary tripe into prose gold. Editing is the writer’s act as a gatekeeper, the solitary protector of the story.

Often, this process is repeated again and again, resulting in frustration, anxiety, and often suicidal deletions of entire stories. How do we avoid this? Simple: start small.

Photo Jan 28, 3 26 54 PM

“I move for no writer. I am the Verbose Knight.

More to the point, we can focus on a small part of the editing process. That small part is looking for key words that pinpoint weak writing. Call these words, Fat Words. We must begin chopping away at these villainous, verbal cads, and whittle the story down to its purest form. So, let’s get started. Continue reading

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