required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle, Eris O'Reilly

Required Reading — The Raves: The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

sherlock holmesI didn’t actually read anything of Doyle’s until college. I technically majored in Creative Writing, but ended up taking a lot of coursework in British Victorian literature. (If I remember right, I took every single class that was offered on the subject during my stay at college.) So, clearly, I already like the form and rhythm of Victorian lit.

I was assigned to read a Sherlock Holmes short story in one of the classes. I can’t remember which class—I think maybe the Gods and Monsters one? Or maybe it was just the short story class? It kind of doesn’t matter because I also can’t remember which story it was that was actually assigned. I’m pretty sure it was the Five Orange Pips one. Anyway, I found myself really enjoying it. Like, more than I thought I would. I liked it so much that I went out and bought the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes (two massive volumes, actually), and read through the entire thing in about a month.

Mind you, this was during and between assignments when I was averaging reading an assigned 120k of words a week and writing reports on them. Basically a long novel every single week, split up between poetry and short stories and actual novels. So squeezing in another, half a million words or something of Sherlock Holmes is kind of a testament to how much I freaking liked it.

Continue reading

The Writer’s Pursuit of Health – Trying and Failing at This Health Thing

The Writer's Pursuit of Health, Trying and Failing at This Health Thing, Eris O'Reilly, Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society, health, writing, physical health, failing, making unhealthy choices

So, I can might have noticed from the time stamp, I’m late with this post. And it’s not for lack of trying. Eleven (!!) times I’ve started and ultimately erased the draft for this thing.

Any advice I could have given has been said. And even so, I don’t really have a lot of advice to give. I’m not in the best of health myself–and yeah, I’ve been making strides in my own life to try to get healthier but still. I’m actually still a pretty unhealthy person. I barely exercise. I’ve only just now managed to get my eating under some semblance of control, and even then I can go days between eating anything green or vaguely vegetable-like.

I know what I should be doing. I should be getting up in the morning to do some cardio or lift weights or whatever. I should be eating …. what is it now? Two servings of greens and two servings of fruit? Three and two? Four and three? Man, I don’t even know anymore. Definitely more vegetables should be happening in my diet, is my point.

About the only thing I’m even relatively proud of is that I did almost sort of cut out sugar from my diet. Except for that birthday cake this weekend. And the pumpkin bread last night. And the sugar I put in my daily, usually multiple, cups of coffee.

Continue reading

Writing for Comics

I started writing a comic about this time last year, and since then I’ve managed to not only finalize the script but actually start getting pages drawn and posted. And even though it’s been a year, I have learned a lot. Mostly by learning from my mistakes.

The first thing to realize with scripting is that, even though you’re still putting words on a page, is that the script isn’t the final product. In this case, the comic is. But this is also true for scripts for film or stage or games. Unlike writing short stories or novels, where the words and how they appear on the page are the final product, the script is just a stepping stone.  Continue reading

The Off-Balancing Act: Binge vs Balance

ff-balancing act, creative balance, healthy boundaries, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, writing, writers, advice for writers

We created the lovely banner with the picture Lazy Limbs by Michael via Flickr’s Creative Commons with the CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. The image was slightly resized, and our text added. No other changes made.

Look, I literally just had this conversation about balance (or lack thereof) with my mother. (By the time you’re reading this, this conversation will have taken place around 10pm last night.) I was telling her about my artwork and this week’s page for Queen’s Rogues and the other stuff I’ve been working on for the comic when she asked me about my writing projects. I told her that I hadn’t written for about a week, because I’m terrible at balancing the various things (creative or otherwise) in my life…

Which reminded me that this post is due. Today. I had forgotten about it completely.

So now I’m sitting here, typing this directly up into the drafts at 10:08pm the night before it’s supposed to go live, and I have no idea what to say. Balance had never really been my forte, and it especially isn’t so when writing or other creative pursuits are involved.

Continue reading

Finding Your Reader – The Evolution of a Writer: The Middle Years

The Evolution of Becoming a Writer Part 4

For a long time, I didn’t know who to write for. Seems silly, I know. The obvious choice is “write for yourself,” but that’s hard. The stuff I write only for myself I don’t want anyone else to read. So what to do about the stuff I want to write for others?

Turns out, writing for some vague, amorphous “anyone” is a terrible choice.

I’ve heard of the phrase, “If you open a window and make love to the world… your story will get pneumonia” (–Kurt Vonnegut). Stephen King has similar advice about finding your One True Reader and writing just for them. They boil down to essentially the same thing: writing specifically for one person. It’s more than just knowing your audience. Having a particular person I’m writing for actually makes the writing easier.

Unfortunately I hadn’t really processed that until now. I used to be caught up in the marketability of what I’m working on, whether it would sell, whether anyone would read it. I used to think if I wanted to get anywhere, to be a REAL writer, I had to write nothing but ORIGINAL, THOUGHT-PROVOKING STUFF.

It is incredibly hard to write when you’re anxious about stuff like that.

Continue reading

The Act of Writing

Alright, so our lovely Michelle is on vacation this week, so I’m filling in. I want to talk about the actual act of writing.

If you’re a writer–professional, aspiring, or anywhere in between–then you’ve probably read an advice column/blog post/book or two on writing. More than likely, those pieces of advice all had one thing in common: in order to be a writer, one must write.

Which is absolutely true.

But I think, sometimes, that people–especially new writers–get bogged down in the act of writing. We all know that we need to write. We even have a vague idea as to how. And yet, the act of just getting your butt in the chair and get to work is, well, difficult.

And yes, I’m speaking from personal experience.

But unless you actually get your butt in that chair (or couch or balance ball or wherever it is you like to perch on in order to spill out your words), you’re not really going to do any writing. So, as a person who can have an incredibly difficult time of convincing herself that she needs to actually work on her projects, I have compiled a list of ways I have managed to successfully get myself into my chair in order to write. Some of them may work for you. Some of them may not. I’ve added in my two cents on what I think of them, but at always, your mileage may vary. Try them out at your leisure, and let me know whatever more tricks you have personally come up with along the way.

Continue reading

Editing Your Work: Tense and Point of View

It’s me again! Last time I talked about dialogue tags (and how to make them better in your own work), and today I’m going to talk a little bit about tense and point of view.

To me, tense and point of view are linked inside the greater umbrella of voice or ambience of a story. It will flavor how people read your work, and is one of the harder things to go back and edit if you decide you’ve written in the wrong tense/point of view. (Those of you who have done this, I feel your pain.) They are also silent players, helping to shape your story by providing a framework to work within.

A lot of new writers, I’ve noticed, have trouble with tense and point of view. Hopefully I can clear up a few issues.

Continue reading

Editing Your Work: Dialogue Tags

Hey! You’ve written a novel! Fantastic! Have you thought about editing?

I’m not sure how many people know this, but I actually edit more than I write. I primarily edit first/early drafts of new writers (and I do quite a bit of beta-reading for fanfiction). I love writing, but many (many) times I find myself enjoying editing more. I love helping people make their stories better, helping their craft so they can really connect with their readers. It’s absolutely amazing to me.

So anyway, this post is going to introduce some of the things I have noticed that many new writers seem to struggle with. (I’ll discuss more topics in later posts.) Even if you aren’t a new writer, a refresher course couldn’t hurt, right?

First up, dialogue tags.

Continue reading

Chuck Wendig, Eat Your Heart Out

W is for WENDIG.

W is for WENDIG.

(You know? That’s a really weird phrase. “Eat your heart out”? I can’t seem to stop staring at it.)

Anyway, today I’m going to talk about Chuck Wendig and his fabulous, glorious blog. I’ve followed him for a little over a year now, and I’ve learned a lot from him. Not just about writing, either. So, in true Wendigian (Wendigese?) fashion, I will be doing:

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Read Chuck Wendig’s Blog.

Continue reading