“Keep Calm and Carry On.” You’ve seen it on bags and napkins and journals in every bookstore or gift shop. It’s everywhere. The motivational tagline that seems to have become the unthinking motto of the last few years. I say unthinking because it’s just that: the statement of the decade is almost undoubtedly accompanied by a full lack of thought – completely un-motivational in its banality and now as satirized as the middle-school-maturity phrase, ‘YOLO.’
But as kitsch as it sounds and looks now, is it innocuous? In the wake of worldwide financial crisis, terrorism, and governmental failures that make it difficult to understand the actual source of the issues – during a time when small groups of single-target activists gather on Twitter to raise half-hearted environmental awareness or lobby for some sort of reform – is this phrase just a bad tick among Western cliches, or is it something more harmful? Continue reading
Uncertainty is a virtue in creative writing. If you’re a writer, you’ve likely heard or read countless interviews of famous authors saying that the outline is a great way to kill the spark. That’s not to say that outlining doesn’t work for anyone. I’ve outlined some stories that I needed to wrap my head around before I got too far in to redirect, and they turned out fine. But it doesn’t work often.
‘Write to discover’ is the long standing motto for many authors, and I’ve adopted it for myself. For a person who usually avoids spontaneity, this seems a little out of character, but then again I’m not writing about myself. I have to figure out who these characters are. To do that, it seems easiest to place them in a setting and a situation, and then I have ten pages from which a plot is quickly being born without my knowledge. Continue reading
Well, I only read one of the books I said I was going to this summer, apparently because I can’t tie myself down like that. But it was quite a book. Although mildly escapist, Django Wexler’s The Thousand Names is a page-turner. That’s what summer’s about anyway, right? Beach reads.
Easy to get into and easy to stick with, The Thousand Names holds a captive audience by means of some of the most riveting battle scenes I’ve ever read. Wexler is gifted in this aspect. Battle is something I’ve always struggled to write because of the sheer amount going on and the significance of all of the details.