Diario

  • How To Break Through Writer's Block 1

    Ott 31 2014, 12:47

    How To Break Through Writer’s Block (Part One)
    Several times over the last few years I have run into a bad case of what is known as writer’s block. For me writer’s block raises its ugly head when I know I should be working at my word processor but I can’t seem to follow through.
    I spend a good part of my day on my PC doing other things so physically getting close to my word processor is not a problem. The question is when will I open up Microsoft Word 2013.
    Why do I find it so hard to get started with my writing?
    1)I am feeling distracted by noise or other people are near my writing space. I need to let them know that I am going to be starting my work in a few minutes and ask them politely to go to another room or to refrain from disturbing me for the next hour. They are only to disturb me if there’s an emergency situation. I have found that the best solution to this problem is to get up early in the morning and work on my writing when other people in the house are sleeping. Also, I find that I do my best writing in the early hours of the morning.
    2)I can’t seem to motivate my fingers to tap the keyboard. I tell myself that I will just check my facebook page for a few minutes. Next I start writing short comments on my friends’ pages or briefly update my status. There, now I’ve warmed up on the keyboard.
    3)Sometimes I get overwhelmed by negative thoughts. Something in my head will tell me things such as, “What makes you think you’re a good writer?”
    “You’re not smart enough to be a successful novelist.”
    “It’s too much work being a writer.”
    I have found that these negative thoughts have to be countered with a positive statement. For example:
    “I know I’m a good writer because I have almost three hundred regular followers on WordPress.com and I get a lot of “likes” on my posts.”
    “My IQ is in the bright normal range. This is sufficient intelligence to be a successful author.
    “Learning any new trade or profession requires a great deal of work, but all I need to do is a little bit of writing every day.
    (to be continued)
  • The Cover Up Novel Part Seventeen by Ken David Stewart

    Ago 9 2012, 18:39

    Drake also re-read the novels of Ken Kesey who became a sixties counterculture icon through his portrayal in Tom Wolfe's, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test book. The more that Drake wrote the more he realized that he had difficulty with vivid description, imagery and symbolism. To help counteract this perceived literary deficit Drake began to read poetry.
    Drake had always found poetry hard to understand. In the past he would often become frustrated while trying to make sense of a difficult poem. He would then either find some literary critic's interpretation of the poem or if he could not, he would often give up on the poem the all together. With Drake's new intention of becoming a serious writer, he decided to take a different approach to poetry. He would now read each line of poetry very carefully and would slowly begin to digest it in small pieces. Drake now tried to visualize what the imagery was trying to express. In short, Drake taught himself a new way of reading poetry.
    A few months ago Drake noticed a poster on a bulletin board in the hostel section of The House of Hope. The poster contained information about an informal writer's group that was sponsoring workshops for aspiring writers.
    These sessions were held at a local community center not far from The House of Hope. Drake knew that he was at the point in his writing where he could use some outside help and encouragement. He also liked the fact that this writer's group met on a Friday evening from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM as he did not have to work that day.
    The very next Friday Drake arrived at his first meeting of the informal writer's group. He had been anxious about the meeting all afternoon as he really didn't know what to expect from this group. Drake knew that it was very likely that, at some point, he would have to present samples of his writing to the group. He found this thought to be very intimidating as he really didn't know if his literary efforts were really any good. This year Drake had worked on a play dealing with The Roswell Incident of 1947. Drake's play was a humorous take on the alien flying saucer crash that was alleged to have taken place in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. He also started work on a novella shortly after he completed his play. The novella was a total change of pace from Drake's play. This was not that surprising as Drake was interested in a wide variety of topics. His novella was a coming of age story that could now be considered to be historical fiction as thematically it was about being a teenager in the nineteen-sixties. Drake found writing to be therapeutic for him. The Roswell Play helped Drake release stress and pressure through humor, while the sixties novel forced Drake to work through some issues that have plagued him since he was a teenager.
  • The Cover Up Novel Part Sixteen

    Ago 9 2012, 13:06

    For the last six months Drake had arranged for a modified work week. He now only worked the evening shift from Monday to Thursday. He now had a three day weekend. The new schedule was recommended by Drake's doctor. Drake's had high blood pressure that was now under control with the help of medication. When his doctor considered Drake's age his obesity and the stressful nature of his work, he thought that a reduced work week would be in Drake's best interest.
    When Drake was working five evenings per week he found that he was getting increasingly tired and was totally exhausted by the weekend. He would spend most of Saturday and Sunday taking naps. Drake didn't have any time for his hobbies which were mostly of an artistic nature.
    Drake liked to play his guitar. He didn't have great finger dexterity but had mastered playing power chords. This well suited Drake's musical tastes as he loved the music of Motorhead and The Ramones. Drake loved to crank up his Marshall amplifier and rock out making up his own riffs as he went along.
    Recently, Drake had taken up a new interest, writing fiction. This came about sort of accidentally when Drake needed material for plays for his drama class. Most of the plays that Drake found were not suitable to the needs of his clients. As a solution to this problem, Drake began writing original plays. The majority of the plays that he wrote were comedies. When he used these in his drama classes his students responded well to them.
    Drake had been an avid reader since he was a young boy. He had always loved books and magazines. Due to the success that he experienced with his plays, Drake considered trying his hand at writing some short stories, novellas and novels during his free time. Although he worked hard at his writing, Drake had no idea how hard and how much work went into writing good fiction. He found that he would need to read even more than he had before taking up his new hobby. Drake had always enjoyed the work of Stephen King and began re-reading several of Mr. King's older novels and short stories. He also read Stephen King's more recent releases such as Under the Dome and 22-11-63. Drake paid particular attention to King's use of characterization as he read his works.
    Drake also re-read the novels of Ken Kesey who became a sixties counterculture icon through his portrayal in Tom Wolfe's, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test book.
  • The Cover Up Novel Part Fourteen

    Ago 4 2012, 14:29

    At around 7:10 Pm Drake officially began class.
    “What's in the bag on your desk, Drake?” asked Carl, a resident sitting at the first table.
    “Aha, we shall see. Just wait a couple of minutes Laddie.”
    Drake proceeded to read the scene from the play, Macbeth that the group was going to practice this evening. He then assigned speaking parts from the play to his students.
    “Now to really put us into the spirit of things today I have something in the bag for you guys. Drake dumped the bag of plastic swords out on the front table. Now remember boys, we're now in Scotland at King Duncan's castle. There will be a lot of soldiers there to protect the king. So I'm going to give each of you guys a sword for this scene.”
    They came to a part in this scene where King Duncan makes his entrance. The first line said, “All hail, King Duncan!” Drake added a line of his own,”Long live the king!”
    “Now boys, we're all going to stand up, pick up our swords and yell our lines as we march down the hall,” said Drake.
    Drake got all the boys lined up. “Ah, I forgot to hand out one more thing. I forgot about the horns. Drake quickly opened the supply room next to the classroom and brought out a bag full of plastic trumpets.
    “Now we can blow our horns each time we say our lines,” instructed Drake.
    As the residents were having so much fun marching, yelling out, “All hail the King” and blowing their trumpets, Drake led the group through a tunnel that led to other departments of The House of Hope. As soon as Drake and his students arrived at the entrance to the Addictions Department office they were greeted by Lisa Harrison.
    “Are you having fun, Drake?” she asked.
    Drake looked like a school boy who been caught cheating on a test.
    “Drake, I think you and I are overdue for a little talk. See me in my office at 3:00 PM tomorrow,” said Lisa as quickly turned around and headed in the opposite direction.

    When Rick Jennings got back to his office the first thing he did was to call Detective Jeff Barnes. “Hi, Detective Barnes, it's Rick Jennings from The House of Hope?”
    “Hi Rick, you got any news for me?”
  • The Cover Up Novel Part Thirteen by Ken David Stewart

    Ago 4 2012, 12:55

    “Yeah, Bret and I were good friends,” said Ian with a slight tremble in his voice.
    “How about Randy Thornton and Derek Ruis? Are you friends with those guys, too?” asked Detective Barnes as he reached for his Styrofoam coffee cup.
    “Well, I know Randy and Derek, sure, but I wouldn't say that I was friends with them?'
    “But did you hang out with them?” continued the detective.
    “I went out with those guys a few times, but only if I knew Bret would be with them,” Ian said.
    “Now, let me ask you this, Ian; Why do you say that Bret was your friend but Derek and Randy are not?” said Barnes unbuttoning the top button on his dark blue trench coat.
    “Well, Bret's more of a straight up guy. He's usually level headed and treats other people right.”
    “But you wouldn't say that about Randy and Derek?”
    “Oh, no. I didn't always get a good feeling being around Derek and Randy.”
    “Why is that?” asked Barnes.
    “Well, like I said, Bret was kind of a straight arrow while Derek and Randy are a little on the sleazy side. They are losers. They've both been in jail before,” said Ian.
    “What was Bret like when he was with Derek and Randy?” Barnes asked.
    “Bret was different when he was with those guys. When Derek and Randy were around, Bret was no longer the leader. Bret would usually go along with what those other guys wanted to do?” answered Ian.
    “How are you feeling, Ian, okay? Would you like another cigarette?” asked Rick.
    “Yes, that would be great Rick. Can I have some more coffee, too?” answered Ian.
    “Coming right up.” Rick got up to get Ian a refill on his coffee.
    “Ian, the log book says that Randy and Derek came to visit Bret once on Saturday afternoon and once on Sunday. Did you go out with the guys on either of theses occasions?” asked Detective Barnes.
    “No. I was busy reading a novel most of the weekend.”
    “Which novel was it?” asked Rick.
    “Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. Drake lent me his copy. Once you start reading it, you can't put it down,” said Ian.
  • The Cover Up Novel Part Twelve by Ken David Stewart

    Ago 3 2012, 20:16

    It took Detective Jeff Barnes only about forty minutes to get to The House of Hope. He dropped by Rick's office and saw that he was already talking to a resident. Rick looked out his office window and saw the detective. He opened the door for Jeff Barnes. “Good morning, Detective. I'd like you to meet Ian Faulkner. He is a long time resident of The House of Hope.”
    Ian extended his hand to Detective Jeff Barnes and shook hands nervously. “Hello sir. Please to meet you.”
    “You can smoke in my office for today only, Ian. I can see that you're nervous and I want you to feel comfortable as the detective asks you a few questions,” said Rick.
    “Thanks Rick. Could I have a coffee too?”
    This made Jeff chuckle as he offered Ian a cigarette. Jeff had quit smoking a few years ago but always carried a pack of Player's Light in his pocket. Like Rick Jennings, Jeff had learned that smokers usually have more to say when they are allowed to smoke. Rick got up to pour Ian a coffee from the Black and Dekker coffee pot he has in his office. “What do you want in your coffee, Ian?” asked Rick.
    “A shot of International Delight coffee creamer and one Sugar Twin, please,” Ian replied.
    “ You have International Delight, Rick?” asked Detective Barnes as he reached for his silver Parker pen and his leather bound pocket notebook.
    “Yes, I do, Detective.”
    “Then I'll have a coffee too, Rick.”
    “Two coffees with Sugar Twin and International Delight creamer coming up,
    Rick answered.
    Jeff Barnes sat in a dark green leather chair close to a round table. He pushed the chair a little closer to the table and took out a Nicorette gum from a plastic sandwich bag in his trench coat pocket.
    There was a faint scent of body odor emanating from Ian. He had probably not taken his daily compulsory shower yet. Ian looked down at his coffee as he stirred it with a plastic stick.
    “Now I don't want you to feel anxious, Ian. You're not in any kind of trouble.
    I just want some information about Bret's two friends, Randy and Derek. By the way I'm sorry for your loss. I heard that you and Bret were pretty close,” said Detective Barnes.
    Ian had a worried look as he lit up his cigarette.

    Ken David StewartThe Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart
  • The Cover Up Novel Part Twelve by Ken David Stewart

    Ago 3 2012, 20:15

    It took Detective Jeff Barnes only about forty minutes to get to The House of Hope. He dropped by Rick's office and saw that he was already talking to a resident. Rick looked out his office window and saw the detective. He opened the door for Jeff Barnes. “Good morning, Detective. I'd like you to meet Ian Faulkner. He is a long time resident of The House of Hope.”
    Ian extended his hand to Detective Jeff Barnes and shook hands nervously. “Hello sir. Please to meet you.”
    “You can smoke in my office for today only, Ian. I can see that you're nervous and I want you to feel comfortable as the detective asks you a few questions,” said Rick.
    “Thanks Rick. Could I have a coffee too?”
    This made Jeff chuckle as he offered Ian a cigarette. Jeff had quit smoking a few years ago but always carried a pack of Player's Light in his pocket. Like Rick Jennings, Jeff had learned that smokers usually have more to say when they are allowed to smoke. Rick got up to pour Ian a coffee from the Black and Dekker coffee pot he has in his office. “What do you want in your coffee, Ian?” asked Rick.
    “A shot of International Delight coffee creamer and one Sugar Twin, please,” Ian replied.
    “ You have International Delight, Rick?” asked Detective Barnes as he reached for his silver Parker pen and his leather bound pocket notebook.
    “Yes, I do, Detective.”
    “Then I'll have a coffee too, Rick.”
    “Two coffees with Sugar Twin and International Delight creamer coming up,
    Rick answered.
    Jeff Barnes sat in a dark green leather chair close to a round table. He pushed the chair a little closer to the table and took out a Nicorette gum from a plastic sandwich bag in his trench coat pocket.
    There was a faint scent of body odor emanating from Ian. He had probably not taken his daily compulsory shower yet. Ian looked down at his coffee as he stirred it with a plastic stick.
    “Now I don't want you to feel anxious, Ian. You're not in any kind of trouble.
    I just want some information about Bret's two friends, Randy and Derek. By the way I'm sorry for your loss. I heard that you and Bret were pretty close,” said Detective Barnes.
    Ian had a worried look as he lit up his cigarette.

    Ken David StewartThe Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart
  • Stuck in the Nineties With Grunge Part Two

    Ago 2 2012, 15:21

    Stuck in the Nineties With Grunge Part Two

    It was my son who turned me on to Nirvana. When he first bought The Nirvana CD, Nevermind I didn't pay it much mind. At first I thought that this was just some typical music that teenagers could enjoy. After hearing Nevermind played several times per day I would find that the choruses of some of the songs were sticking in my head. Before long, I started to think that these guys (Nirvana) are pretty good. They are definitely superior to most music that was getting radio play in the nineties.
    A couple of years later the unthinkable happened. Kurt Cobain was dead. Shortly after Kurt's death I watched the Nirvana Unplugged session on MTV.
    After watching this video I came to realize what truly great artists Nirvana are. I came to recognize Kurt Cobain as a creative genius.
  • What Have Been Up To?

    Lug 29 2012, 18:32

    What Have I Been Up To?
    I appear to have disappeared from some of my blog sites, especially Blogster. I have not given up on blogging. During the last six months I have been doing a lot of reading and a lot of listening to audio books. I have been reading several books on the art of writing fiction. Writing fiction is the latest hobby that I have taken up. I enjoy writing for the most part but have learned that it is not easy. It is hard work. Some of the fiction writing resources that I have been using include On Writing by Stephen King, Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, The Successful Novelist by David Morrell, Writing Fiction for Dummies and How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey. I have found all of these books to be great resources for the beginning writer.
    I have started reading two classic novels from the sixties, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe and Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. I have found it interesting to re-read these books forty years later.
    Since January 2012 I have been working as a substitute teacher. I had a good year and had a lot of fun. My favorite grade to teach is grade eight.
    I have been trying to get some physical exercise in this summer. I have been taking my dogs to the dog park just about every day as well as going for my daily ride on my mountain bike. I have also been trying to get to Shapes whenever I can to get in a work out. It has been a great summer so far.
  • Flying By the Seat of My Pants

    Lug 28 2012, 12:59

    Flying By the Seat of Your Pants:

    When I first started work on my fiction writing around the beginning of 2012, I basically took a 'fly by the seat of your pants' approach to my writing. For several months ideas for stories and scenes were coming to me quite easily. I was finding my writing times to be a very enjoyable time of my day. I was working alternately on one novella and one novel. When the 'well started to run dry' or I faced a 'mental log jam' on one writing project, I would switch over to the other writing project that I was working on. For a period of time I found this to be an effective method for working on my two writing projects.
    I was able to complete a first draft of my novella, Lake Mariposa, by employing this technique.
    When it came to my novel in progress, The Cover Up I found that I would need to change my strategy. I found that the 'fly by the seat of your pants' method was resulting in a 'freeze up' of ideas. Having trouble coming up with new ideas and then not knowing how to use them when they did come, was starting to frustrate me.
    I found that I had to change my approach. I stopped working on individual scenes for awhile and starting to study some books on writing fiction such as “Writing Fiction for Dummies', 'The Successful Novelist' by David Morrell,
    'On Writing' by Stephen King and 'Stein On Writing' by Sol Stein. In upcoming blogs I will write about what I have learned from these books and what I was able to apply to my own writing.