Sunday, April 1, 2018

Negativity Shall Not Have You

I know I don't post here often, and likely have no readers, nevertheless here's something not related to writing at all. Well not directly at least.

In a rather bleak moment, I wrote this set of tenets for myself in an attempt to better handle the ceaseless dark thoughts and self-recriminations and loathing that it's far too easy to just shoulder from day to day. If you're reading this, I hope they help you.

  • Regret has stolen enough time from you, do not humour it by indulging in recrimination or self hate, and do not think that some period of guilt-ridden penance-of-sorts will resolve anything. I don't care what you've done wrong nor who you've hurt through your carelessness or callousness; you don't have time to dwell on it. Learn what lesson is pertinent from the misdeed in question, make amends or set things right if possible and leave it at that. Each day brings you closer to your death and regret will steal those days from you if you let it.

  • Do not underestimate the value of your own pleasures and pastimes; life is hard, it is wretchedly hard for a plethora of reasons for each person and whatever personal diversion helps to make each day more tolerable, or even provides a moment of distraction from the current troubles, should not be dismissed. They are not petty, they are not childish, they serve your interests as much as food does.

  • Where emotions fail you, decisions must succeed. Specifically, if you are overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness or inadequacy, you must choose to disregard it and take steps to deal with whatever caused such pestiferous feelings in the first place. If you feel the temptations of laziness or procrastination (and if it's far too improvidential to heed them) you must choose to do what you're tempted to avoid.

  • One day the Earth will be gone, so too the sun, so too the milky way galaxy; every trace of your existence shall be erased from a creation whose origin and mysteries may very well never be revealed to you after death; everything you do shall be as if it never was. With that in mind, everything you do becomes the amazing struggle of a valorous lunatic against a force so mighty as to be inconceivable.

  • Learn at least one thing from the following subjects every three days:

  1. A personal story of another
  2. A fact of the known workings of the universe
  3. A fact of the known workings of the brain or body.
  4. A new experience you could potentially have.

It's better to know the stories of others, the physical rules of reality and how your mind operates than it is to be ignorant. You won't know what comfort, inspiration, fascination and opportunities can be found unless you seek them out.

  • Learn to revile inactivity; whenever you feel yourself stubbornly refusing to do something, even some form of procrastination, and languishing in inactivity, spare a moment for irritation and then force yourself to do what you should be doing. Similarly, learn to scorn any sense that you are incapable of achieving any goal or fulfilling any desire. Life is not unconquerable and a lack of self belief no more reflects your actual potential than a half-remembered nightmare reflects your mental state. These reactions must be reflexive, do not try to convince yourself of their rightness or applicability. They're small, easily manageable acts which will help you, it's as simple as that.

  • Record anything pertinent to your own mental well-being, any fact, any undertaking, any means to achieve a positive state of mind, anything and everything which helps you in any way, write it down, for the tools of positivity are so easily forgot whilst negativity, conversely, is effortless.

  • Be ready to contend with yourself should your mind attempt to reject an undertaking. Once a task is begun, it becomes easier to handle, yet the true struggle is typically in the commencement.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Richard's Rustic, Rugged Crafts #1 - Fantasy Maps

A while back, someone asked me to share my secrets on cartography, then a month passed before I got it done which by the standards of my procrastination is actually quite good. Anyway, for whom it may help, allow me to present the first of 'Richard's Rustic, Rugged Crafts' tutorials which will teach you how to make maps not just as designs but as more tangible props or artifacts.

Click here to see

Monday, November 27, 2017

Things from the Reliquary

Build it and they will come, by 'it' I mean random things and by they I mean ideas. A peculiar yet practical form of method writing involves the creation of props, so to speak, for a story. Either it can help flesh out the world of a story in the works, or it can exist in a vacuum and you can see where a crafted item takes your mind.

Here's a humble example. I found an interestingly shaped amethyst once and combined it with some milliput to make this:

Like any half-decent talisman, it focused the mind, which in turn brought forth ideas, which finally merged and twisted until it became this:

An elaborate but effective counter to writer's block, especially when you feel a need to produce something rather than something specific. Use this method too often however and your house will fill up with random craft works.

Still, whatever you wind up with can ultimately be turned to a practical purpose, from elements of cover art to illustrations to tools to help you better visualize a scene, or contrive a new one. Finally, it can help keep an idea from slipping away, which is easier than you might think if you have several projects on the go at once and are wont to misplace your notes.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Let's make the best of this, hmm?

In the face of the inevitable doubts and depressions faced by writers; when the inner whispers come in the dark of a winter's night telling you that maybe your mother had a point when she suggested that bricklaying course... I recommend a moment of foolishness. Let's not forget that much like when we were teenagers writing fan fiction about , the fun of writing should never be too elusive.

So, allow me to present two things here, the first is one of my darkest ever short stories, the second is that same story twisted and malformed by online translation software.

She could not move, she could not blink, she could not feel, she could not hear, she could not speak, she could not sleep, she could not shriek, she could not die.

A few years ago, or perhaps a few hundred thousand years, she had no way to tell; the independent merchant freighter Broken Verse had been waylaid by a Nydaruku privateer vessel. The Captain of which gave a very straightforward ultimatum; send one crew member to their vessel as a sacrifice and the freighter could go free, otherwise, and here the alien Captain couldn't quite keep a clicking laugh at bay, the freighter would be destroyed.

Everyone had heard stories of the Nydaruku's 'japes'; there seemed to be a new one each week. Freighters and survey vessels beyond the Imperial border were, with increasing frequency, being set upon by their black and grey, spiny vessels. They had no interest in stealing cargo, nor it seemed with provoking a conflict with the Empire as they only attacked non-military vessels which were owned and operated by the expendable 2nd class citizenry. The Nydaruku only wanted people, and sometimes like in this case, not even the entire crew. What they did with those they took seemed to grow increasingly unimaginable with each new example.

With all of thirteen minutes to decide and respond, the fifteen-strong crew drew lots to decide who would go, and when the young deckhand, Jennifer Thew, picked the short one, her shipmates wasted little time in sedating her and putting her in an escape pod, just to be sure she couldn't have an attack of nerves, or worse still, trouble their already troubled hearts by pleading on account of her youth.

When she woke up, she was already in the capsule, already speeding through space towards the outer edge of the system. In a blind panic, she tried to call out and bang her fists against the hatch three inches in front of her face, but her body would do nothing despite all her efforts.
How long ago had it been? Was she still in known space?

It had taken her a very long time to calm down, and when she did and figured out what had been done, by rights she should have been driven mad with the vileness of it, but something the Nydaruku had done, some feature of this capsule, forced her mind to remain aware and able to appreciate the situation, and there was nothing else that she could now appreciate; here she was, sealed away, banished into the void, literally unable to do anything except lie perfectly still and stare at the dimly lit roof and tiny screen in her field of vision. She could not sleep, though her mind didn't seem to suffer for it; she never felt hungry or thirsty, which suggested she was being fed intravenously somehow, she never felt anything, except the misery and rage that she had no way to express.

Time passed... probably, and nothing happened, she just lay there, silently screaming, silently cursing at the crew who had handed her over to the Nydaruku, trying in vain to keep hold of pleasant memories from her old life through the onslaught of overwhelming monotony and all the while silently trying to die through sheer force of will.

Finally, one day, displayed in the screen a message in green, digital, English characters, a message appeared before her, confirming much of what she'd long suspected:

'You will linger on for a seeming eternity in this pod. No chance meteor shall strike it, no ship shall see you through its reflective shield, no malfunction from within shall disrupt our work of statuary, the pod will do whatever is necessary to keep running and keep you alive in this state, you will go on... by now the jape has likely ceased to amuse us, by now all have probably forgotten you, but you will go on.'

And indeed, on it went, as the Empire and the Nydaruku had finally died out after the count of long millennia, until the stars of Sol and Nydar-yiarh were dead, until Jennifer Thew was the last living human and ultimately the last sentient being in the ancient, collapsing galaxy.

Lovely hmm? Now here it is translated into various languages, then back to English.

Can not move, can not give him, he felt, he couldn't hear, couldn't speak, he can't go to sleep, he can't shout, can't die. A few years ago, not miskien, a few hundred thousand years, he can not say, watch for truck trader private independent steamer cuts nydaruku poems. The captain was very simple and ultimatum. let's send members of the crew of one ship, truck, and could go free, otherwise, fluffy and unable to keep the Bay the captain laughs here to crush, to destroy the truck. It was all a joke nydaruku heard the story, every week a new defense. The cargo ship of the Imperial ships and investigated to the border, to increase the frequency and read them on their black, thick. Theft, there is no difficulty in their interest, and, it seems, is on against офâ to provoke the Empire, only if they attack civilian ships, to manage people and disposable 2-small. Nydaruku just was not, and people, and sometimes, as in this case, not the entire crew. What to do with those who, something new-anything new that is growing, as an example. Who was ten minutes to decide against it, fifteen-pulling a strong team to decide who, when and the young lion, Jennifer TEW, elected in short, vermors his friends-is a sedative and put in a capsule many times, says, we just believe that his horse an-foam nerves, or, even worse, he looked younger, now try they need to fight for a place in the heart. When he woke up, he already has a capsule, the direction and speed now, the outside world is through the space of the system. Luke himself tried to whom is fighting against the blind panic and scream in his face his fist inches, but his body was not to do anything, though, it all. How so? At his feet-the most in the world knows? It is Haram-for a very long time can not calm down, and when he, knowing what had to be done, as a rule, was insane, his respect, but to do something nydaruku, especially capsules, his thoughts, to be aware of and able to assess the situation - there was nothing that could now realize they were printed here, in the void, motionless and look at Leo's leg as eyes and couldn't do nothing but small fields barely covered it on the screen. He could not sleep, but his thoughts seemed to resent him, he feels hunger or not to drink ever, and to tell it as it somewhere else, or intravenous feeding, he never felt anything but grief and anger that he did not show. Time passed... I guess nothing happened, he just lies there, screaming silently, silently, silently cursing in a wheelchair, which Nydaruku, trying in vain to keep the delicious memories of her former life, and it always works just quietly dies under the onslaught of overwhelming the nose. One day, finally, screen has a green color in the news, points, English characters, came the news that when the first showed it a lot, I think that the reason is-the-lakhaniá time: "You will think of eternal glory of the pod. There was no chance the meteor will hit, you ship will be new evidence of the shield that hinders our work there is no picture, the pod, he had to do everything to keep that able to keep you in work and life such as you... now go on YAP, always entertained us, who is now best to forget, but you continue. Indeed, the fact that he is rich as nydaruku and finally died for many thousands of years believed, salt and nydar stars yiarh death, human life is at the end of life and finally, the last TEW Jennifer was old, falling apart galaxy.

For an audio recording of the latter, click here:

(Thought of the day: Have fun.)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Writing advice for procrastinators and the easily bored

Public transport.

*Dramatic Pause*

Everyone's writing habits are different of course, but I dare say I'm not alone in having trouble sitting before a keyboard and a blank screen and summoning the energy to type for extended periods without casting frustrated eyes over the word-count feature or hearing the calls of YouTube or some equivalent like Sirens beckoning Homer.

But that won't do, will it? We need to be writing and making progress consistently and finishing books, stories, articles and the like so we can reveal them to the world and have the world acknowledge our magnificence in turn and pay tribute in cartloads of gold and rubies.

So what to do? Well for my part I place myself in a situation where I have nothing more enjoyable to do than writing and for that, I find the wretched daily commute to and from my embarrassing job works wonders.

When your alternatives are to stare out the window at a sight you've seen a thousand times before or ponder the possible reasons as to why the fellow sat next to you smells of fish-oil, the work involved in writing becomes far more tolerable. I've written all three of my published books (PLUG: in notepads on bus trips and then transcribed them at home. If not for this approach, my output would be a fraction of what it is.

Obviously, that's not an option for everyone but I dare say the general idea can serve you well; find some way to turn the most tedious thing in your day to your advantage and, if it please you, create a pocket of isolation and inactivity around you to work in and results may well follow.

As a demonstration (of sorts) allow me to link you to the first proper work I wrote on the bus. A completely free downloadable narrative poem hight 'Nellack and Caleara'; a fairy tale involving two young runaways whom destiny contrives to have meet in the haunted Wolf's Wood.

Alternatively here's a YouTube version narrated by myself:
A blog for my writing is probably long overdue. That said, I detest introductions so kindly forgive me if I just point you towards my website and let that do it. Plenty of nifty things in there, from an ongoing series of narrative story-poems told by the Wraith of Faces to clay masks and maps for fantasy locales, to the Spinnerlings' Bonfire, an online pinboard for creative types of all kinds of promote their work, to my book series 'Accounts from the War of the Sea of Nothing', which tells the tale of a literally all-consuming threat to the entire multiverse.

From here I'll mainly be uploading musings, advice and shorter works when I can. Hope you find something worthwhile.