28 January 2014

Write What You Know

If the following video is the reality of today, no wonder we turn toward fiction in order to escape it. I bet when the guy left the courtroom, he still had no idea why they lost. Sad. Really sad. He's my character of the day. Watch the video, and then my post is after.

The advice I've heard over and over again through the years is that we should write what we know. I think for the most part, this is true for non-fiction. I'm not going to write a book about how to fix cars if I don't know how to fix cars. I know how to use HTML, CSS, and Java to develop applications and websites. But, I don't want to write about application development. I don't want to write to teach, I want to write to entertain. Make sense?

I want to write fiction! I want to write about things I don't know. I've never murdered anyone, but I can imagine how I'd feel if I were fixing to get caught after having done so. How would I feel if I'd woken one morning and realized I'd hit someone with my car while in a drunken stupor? Would I turn myself in?

Probably, but not until I'd spent a great deal of time trying to rid myself of the guilt, telling myself nobody would ever find out. I know exactly how conflicted I'd be, and you'd be lying to yourself if you say you'd feel any differently. It's called the human psyche, and you have it if you're not a sociopath.

Of course, you'd never drive drunk! That would be illegal. But that doesn't mean your character shouldn't. Let them run someone over. If you've done your job to make your character likable, your reader will instantly feel what any human being would feel.

The guilt. The fear. The dreadful thought of spending a good part of life in prison, away from children and family. Because I'm human, it is a given that I can reason and appeal to other humans in this way, and therefore, I am writing what I know.

But Diane, how do the kids in the video relate to this post?

They don't. They are just a reminder to us all that Dumb and Dumber things don't just happen in fiction. Besides, I thought it might entertain you. Until next time...

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23 January 2014

Guest Post by Gator, The Malinois

Me and Gator, The Malinois
As you may or may not know, one of my characters in Precinct 9 is a Belgian Shepherd named Benjamin. The idea of Benjamin came from a real life Malinois named Gator.

His birthday was yesterday, and he made a list of ten reasons why he believes he shouldn't be here, most are death defying feats.

My guest blogger today is Gator, the Malinois. Please follow the link and like him on Facebook!

Take it away, Gator!

Today is my 10th birthday! I'm amazed I've made it to this age. In honor of my age, here are 10 reasons why I should not be here:

  1. I jumped into a large, very fast, very cold river at 10 weeks old. My person had to jump in, swimming hysterically to catch me.
  2. I bit that same person of mine over a chicken breast at around 1 year old. If you've met her, you'd know why I was lucky to survive. 
  3. I broke my upper canine tooth and part of my jaw at 1.5 years old. The recovery meant absolutely no biting of things. This nearly killed me. 
  4. I've eaten LOTS of things that I shouldn't have.
  5. I've run into, under and through even MORE things that I shouldn't have. 
  6. I've broken bones playing fetch. Consequently, I'm no longer allowed to play fetch. I'm told this is because I "lack self preservation", but this still makes me very sad. 
  7. I've been kicked/hit/slung around and generally beat up by lots of people. But, I mean, I was biting them. So... Meh... Totally worth it. 
  8. I seized an opportunity with an unmanned, open bag of dog food. Carpe foodem. It was delicious... ALL of it! I also bloated and nearly died. Again, totally worth it. 
  9. Pretty sure I should have been arrested by animal control on a few occasions. 
  10. I tried to jump off a 12-foot rooftop one time. Details of how I ended up on said rooftop are irrelevant.

Thank you, Gator!

Now, I open the floor for questions. Please ask questions so you will know why Benjamin came to be!

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19 January 2014

My First Audio Book - Innocence by Dean Koontz

I purchased my first audio book today. I'm listening to Innocence by Dean Koontz. It seems the only time I have to myself where I can zone out of everything, including my own thoughts, is during that time I spend going to and from work.

So now my head will be filled with the voice of MacLeod Andrews as he reads to me a story about a banished man living below the streets of a metropolis, an exile from society who finds a bond with a woman, also dwelling in seclusion as a fugitive from enemies.

You can listen to a blurb here. Andrews has a good voice for the novel thus far and I'm liking his neutral tones. I think I'm going to enjoy audio books a lot. They are more expensive, but well worth it if you're pressing for time. I'll probably get in a good 20 minutes per day, unless I unload the CD and take it into my office. Wait, I'm supposed to be writing code.

Maybe I can spark my interest in reading again. My brain needs food!  Do you listen to audio books? What's your take on the time savings?

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13 January 2014

Retro Gaming Icons - Writing Prompt

The writing prompt for this month at Absolute Write is something I can definitely give a little twist to and still stay on topic.

Whatever your definition of retro, gaming, or icons, now is the time to get your classic game on. Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, the Atari 2600, Tim Schafer, Baldur's Gate...any game or gaming-related icon is up for grabs! Or, if you like, invent your own! Entries may be of any genre so long as they are 1000 words or less.

Many years ago I was a key player in an online role-playing event which caused our guild's guild master to go missing. Her name was Katidyd and she was, in my eyes, an iconic symbol in the game of Threshold, a multi-player online role-playing game. I later discovered that she had left the game and her character was permanently retired.

I never really knew the OOC (Out of Character) reasoning for her permanent removal (I think it was to join the Aether). However, the event was an intensive in-character development and relied upon the coordination and respect of many other players.

I'm sharing the link to a page where I've compiled a more color friendly version of the log entries titled "Katidyd Disappears". It gets more interesting toward the end and everything I colored is system generated spam to indicate a spell or special character ability rather than dialogue or emotes controlled by players. I hope you enjoy.

Click on the picture to view the entire log!!

As you may guess from my forum name, I'm playing the male character Pyrosama. :)

Visit the other participants to see what they have to share for this topic!

orion_mk3 -  (link to post)
Ralph Pines -  (link to post)
meowzbark -  (link to post)
Pyrosama - (you are HERE)
Anarchic Q -  (link to post)
AndreF -  (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes -  (link to post) [after 1/18]

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10 January 2014

Word of the Day - Rage

I love my word of the day. Of course! I'm a writer. What writer doesn't have a love for the English language? My word for today is rage. I'm inspired by its flexible usage and I have so many images to share which help demonstrate the nature of this word and its many forms. First, the definition from Dictionary.com

rage  [reyj]

  1. angry fury; violent anger.
  2. a fit of violent anger.
  3. fury or violence of wind, waves, fire, disease, etc.
  4. violence of feeling, desire, or appetite: the rage of thirst.
  5. a violent desire or passion.

Rage can also be a verb or an adjective, but I won't bore you with more details.


Raging Hormones, Perry 1 - Rihanna 0

It was subtle. Very subtle, but it was there. See it in their eyes? That's definitely rage. Just because it's well hidden doesn't mean it didn't exist, just for that split second. Oh my goodness, why must two very pretty girls feel such hatred for one another?

Road Rage Gone Wrong

Used here as a noun, this is what happens when rage gets out of hand. You should think twice before driving like a maniac all over the road, because the guy that's pissing you off might not appreciate your rage.

Dumb ass Peppers Herself

An adjective, yes. Adjectives answer the question "What kind?" So, what kind of dumb ass is she? A raging dumb ass. Get it?

A Raging Fit Over Chicken Nuggets

This is how I felt the other day when I got to work with my lunch, only to discover that the lady at the drive-through forgot to include the condiments I'd asked for. And next time, DON'T FORGET MY FRIES!

And now to slow things down a bit, I give you the antonym of rage.

calm  [kahm]
adjective, calm·er, calm·est.

  1. without rough motion; still or nearly still: a calm sea.
  2. not windy or stormy: a calm day.
  3. free from excitement or passion; tranquil: a calm face; a calm manner.

Y'all be kind to one another. Life's too short!

Do you have a favorite word? Or if there is one word that describes how you're feeling today, what is it? Happy Friday!

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05 January 2014

Smart Web Development - Bootstrap! I Love You

Well, Tim has flown off from Atlanta and is on his way to Los Angeles where he will spend the evening before heading out to Pasadena so he can watch the Seminoles kick some War Eagle ass. Haha! That's right, he's on his way to the BCS Championship game. Have fun dear! And please, don't let any of the guys use the dance pole on the party bus, only the ladies. Thanks.

As for me, I've been spending my spare time learning as much as I can about web development, the new stuff. Sure, I've been coding HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for some time now, but I've grown tired and weary with all the advances in technology, including new browsers popping up, and mobile devices, etc. Cross browser compatibility issues spring up everywhere and it's cumbersome. But, I find that the more I learn, the more I find better tools and concepts that I didn't realize existed.

That's right, I discovered a new love and its name is Bootstrap, from the developers at Twitter. It is an extremely smart way to develop your web apps being the core package is designed so that its use of new features in HTML5 and CSS3 already include the code needed for cross-browser compatibility issues, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to include them in your code or spend hours tracking down the bugs.

jQuery and JSON are the next two groups on my "to study" list. I've completed PHP and a course in responsive web design, which was pretty amazing. It's easier than ever for me to get up and started with this new knowledge. Tim always called me a professional student. I guess he is right. I can't NOT learn. It's in my blood.

Until next time, I'm making progress with my writing, but for now I've gone from fiction writing to writing code again. *sigh*

I'll get that chapter 14 started soon! Here's to another cup of Hazelnut Cream. So, what have you been working on or studying lately? Share!  {^_^}

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