“OH HARDY-HAR-HAR. A. S. ARAMIRU. WE’VE ALL SEEN THAT BEFORE. BY THE WAY, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO ‘JUST WRITE‘ YOUR FINAL CHAPTER TO YOUR SHORT STORY THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE ENDED 2 MONTHS AGO?”
What are you Jackie Gleason?
Listen here you little turd. You little—
“Mr. Aramiru, remember you’re trying to promote yourself.” – My PR Team
Do you know how I got the title for this blog?
I used an SEO blog title generator.
Hiiiilarious. I thought. And probably highly effective.
Who knows. Maybe there are even SEO keywords that are completely unnecessary to this topic embedded somewhere in this post.
Or as the people in the biz call it, “black hat SEO”.
Bitcoins. Cryptocurrency. Trump.
Like the most boring kind of wizard. But probably a wizard that knows how to make money with his gibberish.
Look, I know.
It’s a bit annoying when people say, “just write.”
But they’re not wrong. Which is the best kind of right.
It’s not wrong and you feel annoyed because your brain knows that they’re right even though you haven’t realized it yet.
Just putting pen on paper, that finger on that keyboard, those thumbs on the touchscreen are the first essential step get started with this craft. It is the only step. And it is also the only step to continue honing the craft. You can research all you want. You can read all you want. But you’ll never be a writer without actually writing.
When I say it like that, it almost feels stupid that you had to read that right?
If you want to be a swimmer, you have to first get in the water. Start with the shallow end, eventually jump into the deep end.
If you want to be someone who’s despised by his friends and family, you have to first borrow money. Don’t pay it back. Then join Amway and sell their toilet paper to the said friends and family.
I’ve been legally advised to say that I’m only speaking anecdotally from my personal experience and of my personal opinion about Amway and they should definitely not go suck on some–
“Keep it politically correct” – My editor.
Does saying “suck on some nuts” offend my male audience for demeaning their genitalia as an insult? If you’re offended, go suck on some—
“Come on, dude!” – My editor.
We have to understand what it means to “just write” to not let the advice actually divest itself of any of its nutrients to help writers do their occupation.
It’s not a good advice if it offers no course of direction to the solution.
The quintessential significance of the advice “just write” actually can be found in its first word, “just.”
It implies that there’s no fuss, no grand scheme, and no grandiosity to the act itself.
You don’t need to have everything figured out.
You don’t need to have the latest program or the gadget.
You just need to write.
What do you write?
Whatever you feel like.
Not what you think will sell.
That’ll come later. Because everyone’s feeding each other bullshit that not making money can somehow be your occupation because you’re an artist and absolutely ignoring the fact that there are successful authors who chase after trends and write great stuff…. is just silly and irresponsible.
There’s nothing cool about being a hungry artist.
That’s right. I said dingus.
There’s always a better way.
Where was I?
Whatever you feel like.
—not what you think will sell.
Not what you think would make sense to others.
Just start with something.
Build from there.
The rest is discipline. How much do you want to be a writer? How much can you ignore the immediate pleasures and rewards of what you can see and do right in front of you and instead do something for the sake of just doing it.
Because you said you would.
Because this is something you want to do with your life.
Where’s your short story, Mr. Aramiru?
Prick. I’m talkin’ here.
If we all had the courage and the patience of the first farmer who decided to plant that seed, culture it, and hope for the best, the world would be filled with better humans.
“There’s actually a lot of discussion about how developing agriculture setback the society a lot.” – My Editor
Can I… Can I finish?
So just write. And keep doing it.
And learn to take criticisms and just eat it when someone is kind enough to let you know that you wouldn’t even be able to donate your work to Goodwill because they don’t accept trash.
With that out of the way, here we go! …Hopefully, I don’t forget any.
Star Wars: Rogue One ( 2.5 / 5) – Inconsistent. Perhaps the one of the most iconic Star Wars scene at the end. Certain questionable dialogue choices. Not sure why they chose to do what they did with the characters as it was unnecessary. Final moments of the movie after the famous Vader scene also makes little sense when we really think about it.
Star Trek Beyond ( 3 / 5) – Not sure about the pacing. Villain made little sense. Action sequences were done better in the previous films.
Captain America: Civil War (3 / 5) – Another fun Marvel film. Winter Soldier was a better film since it at least felt different than the typical formula Marvel films have been following since Iron Man. The moral debate between the two sides is weak and unconvincing. [SPOILER] Weak ending where nothing that matters was lost at the end.
Dr. Strange (2.5 / 5) – Tried to do too much with the first movie. Benedict is likable as Strange. Forgettable villain with convoluted motives. The big baddie at the end is a bit puzzling considering his place in the comics. The end fight itself borders between corny and clever. One of the best post-credit “Marvel teasers.”
Batman v Superman (2 / 5) – Too scattered. Too inconsistent. Plot doesn’t even make sense within its own logic. Snyder seemed to have pieced together moments instead of creating a film. While the actor was great, how they decided to portray Lex Luther felt like a mistake by the end. MARTHAAA
Finding Dory (3.5 /5) – Very heartfelt as to be expected from Pixar. Bigger emotional punch than Finding Nemo. Jumped the shark a bit at the end.
X-Men Apocalypse ( 2 / 5) – Very meh especially considering how impressive the preceding film was. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing really interesting, Apocalypse was surprisingly a boring villain. Gets pretty cheesy near the end.
Zootopia (4 / 5) – Funny, witty, creative, and I’d love to live in Zootopia. It handled the message it wanted to send well for what it was. Nick Wilde is also a great character.
Hell or High Water (4.5 / 5) – Just watch it. Wonderful neo-western with a compelling story and pacing. One of the most intense and clever standoffs I’ve seen in a western during the final moments of the film.
Sicario (4 / 5) – Just watch it. Especially if you liked Hell or High Water.
Moana (2.5 / 5) Some of the most beautiful visuals I’ve seen in a Disney Film. Best female Disney character to date. A bit Miyazaki-esque. Songs were generally a miss for me. The song by Lin-Manuel Miranda, however, is brilliant. Very weak ending.
Sky Rising ( 2 / 5 ) A bit too in-your-face with metaphors and symbolisms. Lacks certain Magic and nuance that Miyazaki films tend to have. Pacing is too slow. Unnecessary romance that made no sense and wasn’t even biographical. Voice acting by Hideaki Anno was mostly a miss for me.
Swiss Army Man (4 / 5) – Surprisingly thoughtful and touching. Never thought fart & sex jokes can take a movie so far.
Sausage Party (1 / 5) – Dumber than you think it’d be. People will tell you that “it’s just not your type of movie” or “you just didn’t get the jokes” when you tell them you didn’t like it. It sucked. I wanted my money back.
Corner Gas the Movie ( 3 / 5) – If you’re a fan of the show, it just feels like an extended episode… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Caché (4 / 5) – Sometimes a bit too much with the message it wants to send (sometimes too subtle, sometimes too blatant) but it’s one of those films for film students. Masterfully filmed. Each shot has a purpose. Engrossing story.
Winter’s Bone (4.5 / 5) – If anyone wants to see Jennifer Lawrence’s acting chops this is a good film to do it with. Powerful and an organic film. Watch it.
Hail Caesar! (4 / 5) – Coen brothers film for all ages (?). Celebrates film industry while also poking fun at it. Charismatic, colorful, and whimsical.
Penny Dreadful (TV) S1 : (3.5 / 5) – Promising and refreshing. Someone give Eva Green an award.
S2: (4 / 5) – Awesome though the second half of the season is a bit corny. Someone give Eva Green an award.
S3: (2/5) – This would be 1/5 if it wasn’t for Eva Green and Rory Kinnear. The ending is absolutely atrocious. Build up to the ending is horrendous. Rare moments where I felt my time was wasted starting this series. But, seriously, someone give Eva Green an award.
Fargo (TV) S1: (5/5) – Tight writing, great pacing, memorable characters. Lester is a fascinating character to watch as he twists and turns through the series. Lorne Malvo is basically Chigurh but that’s not such a bad thing and Fargo brings a brilliant Coen brother feel to the force-of-nature character.
S2: (5/5) – As good as, if not better, than S1 but it’ll definitely depend on the audience. It has more “whimsical” elements to the plot that may turn off some viewers–even the fans of S1. And the vibe of the story is essentially different than the S1 as well. It’s more heartfelt and builds much bigger investment into the characters. Every actor is memorable in their own, unique ways. The dialogues are more subtle and also more profound, insightful, uniquely tailored, and at times even haunting.
I think that’s all?
Best Thing I Watched This Year
Runner-up: Hell or High Water / Winter’s Bone
Worst Thing I Watched This Year
Runner-up: Penny Dreadful Season 3
That’s it! Maybe I’ll do books sometime soon as well!
But for now… Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! And I think I speak for all of us when I say…
You might have heard of me from my past works such as… who are we kidding? You have never heard of me. I’m a nobody. But I’m a nobody with some experience.
Last time, I posted a blog about 4 Same Stupid Questions I See All the Time On Writing Forums. Click HERE to fulfill my shameless plug.
This time, I thought I’d do something a bit more helpful and thoughtful.
I’m going to buy your ebooks.
Just kidding. I’m still poor. And with the money I have I’d rather buy a McDouble and a McChicken at McDonald’s with the awesome Mc2Pick for $2.50! What a deal! And make sure to check out their limited-time holiday drinks!
You already know what this is about. You’ve read the title. Get to the point you’re saying. Maybe you’ve already scrolled down.
This is for all of you out there wondering what exactly some of those answers you’ve received meant. Because the random stranger who gave you the answer left you cold and hanging without an explanation. Like my dad on Christmas.
“Show, Don’t Tell”
Let’s get the big one out of the way.
I’m literally massaging my nose bridge with one hand and typing this with my other two hands as I’m trying to explain this one.
Not because it’s particularly difficult to answer, but because it’s so basic.
But not because it’s just so basic, but because it’s so basic and it’s a mistake that I make often and I know for a fact that many other writers who should be above these kinds of things make this mistake as well.
So let’s try to understand WHY this happens.
I have a simple theory: We are describing what we are seeing in our brilliant, gifted minds and forgetting that our jobs as writers are to help the readers experience what we’re seeing and not have them simply understand what we’re seeing. We’re not supposed to be the tour guides but be VR goggles. They want to be inside of our story—not be outside of it.
Showing is taking notes.
Telling is creating worlds.
There are times when you want to “tell” over “show” but this is one of those things where you have to master the rules before you learn to bend them.
And here’s an example just in case:
Jimmy was mad at Moe.
Jimmy’s unibrow furrowed into a rugged U, his hand trembled with fury, and his heart filled with the burning desire to bitchslap Moe.
You want to be a swimmer? Go practice swimming every day.
You want to be a stripper? Go practice stripping every day.
You want to be a writer? Go practice stripping every day.
Well. Why not. Cardio’s important. But you should also practice writing every day.
This somewhat calloused sounding advice exists because most people only talk about writing and never actually write.
They think they can be writers by just spewing their thesis about the craft of ink and paper as they lasciviously rub themselves for their own creativity and avant-garde ideas.
Something about hic Rhodus, hic salta.
Your ideas aren’t worth donkey’s spit on a chicken’s ass if you never actually create something with it. And unless you’re some sort of a Hemingway’s spirit reborn, you’re probably not as good as you think you are.
So how do you “just write”? I personally say do away with the whole “have a word count for the day” thing. You know, when people say things like “just write 1000 words a day”?
Look, fellow grasshoppers, if you’re a professional writer then you know when your due date is so daily word count either makes more sense or not at all since you just have to get’er done by that date.
You know how you work. You can set your own pace.
If you’re a hobbyist it makes less sense because the rigidness and the arbitrary number just turns your hobby into a chore.
But sure. If it works for you—good. Nothing wrong with that.
If it doesn’t—don’t worry about it. And let me recommend, instead, setting up a timed session.
Maybe one hour a day. One hour every other day.
Make it your schedule, like everything else you do in life, and just use that time to write one word or ten thousand words. Or even no words. Just do something writing related. Even if that’s reading for research, doing brainstorms, and whatever. Maybe it’ll be for an hour. Maybe it’s two hours. Just set a time.
This will give you some freedom and some ease with your writing pursuit. And if you have an end goal in mind that’s where you can set a long-term deadline for yourself.
Oh, and, if you’re not letting other people read your work—you’ll never get better. Practice makespermanent and not perfect.
Writing without outside criticism will only make your lack of talent permanent.
“Write for Yourself / Don’t Follow the Trend”
So, this one’s a bit FUBAR.
To unravel this, I’ll just first explain where it’s coming from and then kind of go on about why it’s FUBAR. And just a head’s up: this one’s going to be a bit serious.
Like stool samples. Poops are fun and games but sometimes you have to use serious, medical terms like “stool” and “samples”.
When there’s a fad, it’ll start a trend.
Star Wars sparked the sci-fi boom.
Lord of the Rings & Game of Thrones sparked the fantasy boom.
Twilight sparked the wtf-happened-to-vampires boom.
Hunger Games started the dystopian boom.
The whole idea of “write what you’d want to read / don’t follow a trend” is that the chances of you actually catching the trend and having your passions align with the trend… are low.
Why is the chance of catching a trend low?
Because writing is a long process and publishing can be even longer. It usually takes years for someone to finish a book and see it in stores. You really think the trend will last that long? And what about passion? Do you think you can write a work you’re proud of without a passion for it? Even if you’ve missed the trend? Can I add any more questions to this paragraph? Well? Can I?
Writing what you’re proud of—something that you can call your own—can mean more at the end of the day than writing something that you thought was going to sell.
But remember when I said this topic is a bit tricky? With the technologies and how the book market is today… you can basically ignore everything I said up there and maybe you should.
You know why trends start? Because they sell.
People tend to want more cake after they had a slice.
Twilight spawned True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and a bunch of other vampire shows, books, and ebooks in a variety of genres.
Erotica was a popular genre to write for on Kindle for a while because they sold like… well… sex.
Publishers will always welcome any book that’ll sell. That’s their jobs. Publish things to sell. And if the genre’s hot right now, they’ll be looking for more of that genre and might even put you through the fast lane.
For indie writers, catching trends is easier now more than ever because you can instantly check what’s selling well. Check the Top 100 on Amazon. There you go.
Passion? Damn, son. Passions tend to suck at paying forstuff. And I like stuff.
Besides, if you’re a professional writer shouldn’t you have a grasp of how to write just about anything?
Timing? You click “publish” and you’re done.
You want to put more work into it? It won’t be too hard for you to chug out a 40-50k novel that follows a formula for a standard successful storytelling in a month. Remember, NaNoWriMo thinks just about everyone can chug out 50k in a month. You’re a professional, veteran writer. If this is your full-time job, you can do it in 2-3 weeks. During the time you’re writing you can hire an editor and an artist and ding-ding-ding you have a Hot Pockets book.
Besides, talking about passion, do you think there’s a lot of market appeal to a book that’s so personally you?
Sometimes a book is too much you and sometimes that’s not a good thing. That’s when a writer is just doing a self-pleasing (there, friends, I didn’t use the word “masturbatory”) project and hoping that people might like it.
Hell, that writer might not even be thinking of readers. If your protagonist is a half-orc, quarter-dragon, quarter-boar stripper named Borga Do’Kora (stage name being Danger Dick) who’s day job is a tax accountant, maybe you really did not give a chicken’s ass on a donkey’s spit about the readers.
And that’s fine. Writing, in its best form, should be reflective and a fragment of your being. Even if that’s a half-orc, quarter-dragon, quarter-boar stripper who’s favorite food happens to be pickled eggplants.
But if we’re talking about making money, the whole story changes.
Wow, the last one was so damn long. I’ll keep this short. You know how you improve your mile run right? You keep running.
But as you keep running, you’ll run into some hurdles along the way. Maybe your ankles will start to hurt, maybe you’ll run into better runners, and maybe some literal hurdles. It’s called gaining experience.
And sometimes, it’ll hurt. They might say you have ugly shoes, ugly face, and that you look downright silly running.
But someone wise once told me… Just kidding. I read this on Tumblr.
“Writer’s who are afraid of rejection are like boxers who are afraid of getting punched. You’re in the wrong line of work.”
In every aspect of our lives, we should welcome valid criticisms. In writing, we have to take-and-thank any sort of feedback we can get and sort it through ourselves like beggars on the street corners Aurora ave in Seattle.
And a lot of times… the greatest of criticisms will come from our own failures. It’s okay to fail despite what my mother says. What’s not okay is to let failures just be failures. Then you’ve wasted your time.
Don’t give up. Everything’s hard and writing as a craft has been around since the beginning of written language. You don’t have to try to rewrite the rule book, the legacy, or try to be the next big thing. Just enjoy it and see where it takes you.
If someone says you suck–say thanks. What can I do to be better?
If you think you suck–well, I suck. What can I do to be better?
And I’m not saying having that attitude is easy. It’s tough. Hell, I always get salty and pissy and depressed about myself and my life. And sometimes about my writing!
But that’s the process of “Keep Writing”. You’ll get better as long as you keep challenging yourself and keep yourself honest. Make sure the cycle of depression and persistence keeps turning. There’s no fast lane here. It’s just gaining experience.
Or just give up. It’s your life. Why are you doing this if you’re not enjoying it unless you’re trying to pay bills with it?
It’s okay not to be a writer. It’s okay not to be a professional writer. I’m sure your friends and family will be happy to hear that you decided not to be an artist anymore and decided to be a Tax Accountant and go make a happy, comfortable living without having to worry about your future.
But if you’re not going to give up, keep running. As you keep running, you’ll also learn how to enjoy running better. And hopefully, y’know, you’ll keep researching into how to run better because that’s part of keep running.
I’m sure any writers who don’t retire after NaNoWriMo is over will know exactly what I’m talking about.
You’re browsing through your favorite writing forums as you relax on the comfort of your gluteus maximus resting against your glorious throne (in my case a $50 dollar chair from Costco).
You chuckle at the plebians crying for help and you dowse yourself with a reality check for your daily dose of crippling depression about your own writing.
Or, I don’t know. Maybe you just had nothing better to do on the toilet.
But this sacred ritual is plagued, as it often is, by the redundant questions that you’ve seen countless times on a weekly basis that fills up the pages of your favorite writing forums. And it’s even more than the usual because ’tis the season.
Don’t they know how to search?
Haven’t they cracked open a book before?
Isn’t there some sort of a VlogBrother piece about this?
Tell me honestly that you haven’t seen these multiple times before:
“Can I make my character ‘X'”? / “How do I make my character interesting?”
By writing them interestingly.
If people can write interesting stories about silly characters like Superman and whiny angsty kids like Holden–you can do it too!
If you have talent.
But let’s be real. Most of us don’t have talent.
We just have fun writing.
I was told that’s okay.
“How do you write women?”
Like any other person.
Add the colors of their individuality later. Like complaining about menstrual pain. Because that defines women. For men, you can make them constantly worry about the size of their penis. Because that defines men.
See? I insult both.
What? What about hermaphrodites?
Unless your mother is a hermaphrodite. Then-she’s-a-respectablel-lady-who’ve-gone through-something-not-many-of-us-have-gone-through-and-I-hope-she’s-okay-with-the-choice-that-she-made -on-what-sex-she-wanted-to-be.
Don’t sue me. I’m poor.
“Should I do X?”
No. Don’t do it.
Yes! Do it!
I don’t know. Go ask James Patterson.
It’s impossible to answer that question without actually reading your work. Even then, remember that even Tolkien was told Lord of the Rings was a terrible idea by his peers.
But, again, let’s be real. 90% of writers are too afraid to let others read their work and 75% are too lazy and/or uncaring to read other people’s work.
To be fair–the latter is fair. Why should we spend our precious time reading your book when people probably won’t even read it for free?
Don’t you know we’re too busy caring only about our feeble writing careers? Do you think we’re made of spare eyes that we can replace from the ones that burst staring at little tiny symbols all day? We’ll lay waste to our eyesights with our own crap thank you very much!
Know your work well enough to answer that question for yourself or find beta readers… I.E. Probably your friends and family members who you’ve successfully guilt-tripped to helping for free.
Just in case some of you are actually doing that… 9/10 they won’t help.
If they’re saying good thing–it’s useless. They love you and care about dumb things like your feelings. If they say terrible things–well, apparently it was that bad. Which, I guess, is helpful.
Just find strangers. Hop into their tinted white vans and shove your manuscript into their faces. Stranger danger doesn’t apply here.
Please be advised that this content is meant for comedic effect and none of anything the writer says should be taken seriously or with any sort of credence. Don’t sue him. He’s poor.
“Is this original?”
You’re not either. Your mother, your school, and your girlfriend/boyfriend lied to you. There are no such things as special snowflakes. Even if it was original, we’d tell you it isn’t because we’d be jealous or want to pretend we’re intelligent and we’ve encountered it before.
How you can be original isn’t with the formulas, but you can be original with the presentation of the formulas.
Have your own voice. Your own take. And do it with confidence.
People will respect someone who didn’t pull their punches and gave it their all rather than wimpy little attempts that made no noise or mark anywhere.
Just remember Robert Downey Jr.’s sage advice: “Never go full retard.”
Even if you went “full retard” (his words, not mine) if you gave it your all… then at least you’ll have a clearer picture of what you did wrong. If you were wishy-washy with your voice, it’d have been a lot foggier to determine exactly what you did right and what you did wrong.
Like anything else in life: Don’t be afraid to fail. Just be afraid of not learning from the failures.
Or the crippling depression that comes from failures.
And the subsequent anxiety attacks when you get up and attempt again at possible more failures.
And the sad looks you get from your family and friends as they wonder where you’ve gone wrong.
Yeah! Just be honest with yourself and give it your all to tell the story you want to tell in the best way that you want to tell it!
I’m no expert when it comes to writing. Not even close. But these are questions that even amateur writers could answer because they are basics of the basics of creative writing…
…THAT YOU COULD HAVE ANSWERED FOR YOURSELF WITH A LITTLE REFLECTION.