What Twitter Has Taught Me About Writing

A few years ago, I decided to start building an online environment where I’m surrounded by writers who are living the life I want: stories, blogs, conventions, live tweeting, book signing, all that magic. I also wanted book agents who could potentially benefit from my manuscripts (if I ever get to sending them out again). The best place for that, I decided, was Twitter. While I have very few followers (@CAHeisserer), I’ve mostly fulfilled my intent, adding new writers and agents when they pop up.

The depressive nature of politics and political tweets aside, it’s quite fulfilling to have a broadcast community where I feel supported by proxy. A great byproduct of having all these writerly types is I get free advice about query letter construction, story hooks, first chapters, pages, sentences, strong characterization, what to avoid, how to avoid it, and due to the fact I’m following a handful of awesome lady writers, I also get a healthy dose of the up-and-coming perspectives of traditionally marginalized voices, intersectionality, inclusivity, and shifted power dynamics in writing (and, unfortunately, a lot of mansplaining).

Here are a few things I’ve learned from my Twitter environment: Continue reading

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A New Linguistic Environment

Note: This blog post is my effort to incorporate the “Discourse Analysis” (by James Paul Gee) into a real life encounter. Be forewarned: this might be boring.

I recently had the good fortune to sit in on a “Healthy Self Reset” Facebook page, where a pair of healthy eaters (and knowledgable people; from here on out referenced as “teachers”) gave information on how to eat and be properly active over a month, and was intended for poor eaters who needed a healthy reset after the holidays/help with resolutions, etc. It was cool. The teachers emailed those on the list with a recipe setup for the week, complete with meals, snacks, etc, and ways to improve on life.

I’m not the best eater. I have diabetes from poor choices (and ignorance) from earlier in life. I eat WAY better than a lot of people in this country (America), but I definitely don’t eat as well as some.

Continue reading

Focusing Through Distraction

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Missing it.

I’ve definitely written about this before. Yet I’ve seen Denzel Washington talk about the exact same discussion points on technology that’re being discussed in my classes, and I find solace in knowing this isn’t some College-level talking point. He says, on at least two interviews, what do you do with too much information?

I am a writer. I write. This semester has been intense and leaves me little time to breathe deep, so as per how I live my life, my writing priority is fourth under schoolwork, making food, and staving off insanity by staring at political insanity. Apologies for not being around much. I’m learning about rhetoric, learning about sociolinguistics, and online publishing. Continue reading

Hinting at Character in your Writing

Autumn Oak

            In the space just before dawn, when the sun warms the eyelids, he climbed a vined trellis, slipped through rooms of sleeping maidens, and tiptoed across the threshold to the King’s bedroom. Descending stairs, he found himself in the library, where morning sun reflected off motes of dancing dust and was absorbed by leatherbound books. He sank into a large chair, having found his favorite.

            He would stay here.

I failed NaNoWriMo this year. It was during finals, I had a bunch of life stuff going on, and I didn’t get it finished. But what I did do was start writing again.

I found, with my recent studies in Joyce overflowing my head, that I constantly try to hint at important aspects in my writing soas to not info dump a character’s history, background, opinion when the dialogue didn’t call for it. Sticking to a Joycean/Homeric focus, I’m writing an “epic” story with a play on the dramatic, where the novel is filled with short stories that take no more than a “day” in the life via dreams, old shorts written for advertisement, etc. So my main character is developed, strong, rounded. I use metaphor sparingly, but with an emphasis on church and chastity.

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Antagonist Birthday Book

My title is the first three words on my “tag cloud” widget or whatever scene word one uses to describe such a thing. It’s beast.

I’ve spent a lot of time studying the tropes of an antagonist, and somewhere in the recent past realized I can’t make a good antagonist to save my life. I can make an incredible zealot dedicated to opposite goals from the protagonist. I can make an army of them mechanically acting to a set of action/reaction.

But to write someone that exists only to be evil, or only to aggravate the MC eludes me. I’d assume it’d boil down to a psychological issue, or a defense mechanism (like a pathological liar), but I haven’t yet been able to drop into that mindset. Either the bad guy is a force of nature or he’s entirely redeemable and not nearly “bad” enough.

Some of my favorite books have had antagonists that were simply in the way of the protagonist. Like Ender’s Game. While the threat was the buggers, or whatever they called them, and the safety of humanity was at stake, Ender fought off several bullies and bucked a system some guy upstairs broke to break him. It was awesome. Ender literally fought the system, which is cool. Yet some of the antagonizers were the bullies that tried to force him down.

Yet that’s not entirely my point of this post. I want, desperately, to write a good antagonist MC. I’ve written Discordant Protagonists (my Urban Fantasy, for one: a cry to the darkness of all things literary to please birth an antagonist out of the Dresden-esque fantasy soup… nope), and I’ve written Sarcastic Protagonists that get into a lot of trouble and redeem themselves.

But antagonists as MC? I don’t know if it’s in me. Satirical, system-changing vigilantes? I’d love to. I really would. Some brooding figure so mired in his own unhappiness he ignores all the warning signs of a healthy, logical individual? Yes, please.

I don’t think I have enough disgruntled, misdirected anger for that. Maybe if I work hard enough I’ll start to hate.