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Rated: 13+ · Book · Philosophy · #2020664
Repository for my Zanier Ideas... on writing, and life.
Welcome to my Abode! This collection of dusty thoughts and the like shall gather, perhaps... if inspiration should strike!

Another "MRU" Madlib...
November 18, 2023 at 5:27am
The door opens and Sarah walks in-strides in like she owns the place. Oh, damn, that is one hot dress she's wearing. My stomach burns and I start to look for a place to hide. I reach down to pick up a coin that isn't there. Slowly, I raise. "Oh, hey. Look at you." She smiles, that gambler-smile that has no happiness in the eyes. "There you are." She's going to tear me up. My eyes start to water and my lips quiver. I start counting my breath–square breat... [Read more]
Rush write... I like this. Am I alone?
November 18, 2023 at 5:37am
(Also edited and posted as a story, right or wrongly. Blog commenting even heckling is appreciated.) I saw a pink flamingo, on the lawn. I groaned. This was my lawn, not theirs. "Who put that there?" I got out my baseball bat, and walked toward the door. The door bounced against the hinges and the bird flew away. "A real flamingo?" I dropped the bat, glared at the thing. It rolled off the porch. "Stupid bat," I said, as if somehow, the bat had cause... [Read more]
Great 'meditation' session
October 12, 2023 at 7:25am
I'll call it meditation but I was mostly just doing a timed-breathing, breathing-and- smiling rest break. And during that time I realized that it would have been possible to have spent the 20 years of work I'd suffered through dancing joyfully through it, lovingly deflecting all the customer dissatisfaction, holding boundaries neatly and solidly... I mean, there might have been sharp situations with the threatening felonies put against me, but, still maybe 1/100th the angst. Now th... [Read more]
When is a blog post better than a drunk text?
August 10, 2023 at 9:58am
I told myself if I had it to do again I wouldn't tell Mary how I felt about her. It took years, but... that certainty wore at her. It had an unfair power over her. And then I met Shelly and she told me to tell my friends that I love them, and she was right. You know, if she hadn't been so intimately familiar with some underhanded things that people do, usually to people much younger than either of us. Sure she was 40 and I was 39, but she still turned one thing and made me forget tha... [Read more]
A word with the writer's unconscious
August 2, 2023 at 8:04pm
PLEASE NOTE by reading this you consent to hypnotic suggestion. License is here by granted to you to live these suggestions out in accordance with your own highest aspirations as a writer. From here on out, as you notice yourself thinking of your project, whatever problems you have to work with, you can become aware of the great things that draw you to write. As these thoughts cross your mind, as you enjoy these things that show themselves--and they are only a glimpse of what is in store--yo... [Read more]
Motivation and Procrastination
August 1, 2023 at 6:16pm
We as writers often fear to write. If you've ever put off writing then you've had it. Oh sure it might have been a lesser included form of fear, laziness, where you are afraid of the feelings you will have during the project. But more likely there is more, like a fear of the meaning of that feeling. You might encounter words that are awkward, and think that is a limit to who you are. When nothing could be further from the truth. Or you might fear that these are the best thoughts y... [Read more]
Writer discovers the cure for ADHD? ;-)
July 5, 2023 at 7:48pm
Non clickbait headline: Writer recreates his ADHD in his readers; can the reverse work on him? Just discovered: link between infodumps and ADHD I've been editing an old piece of mine, one well plotted with a lot of deep, hard hitting themes and just massively terrible stuff for the young heroine to deal with. Orphaned a second time, plagued by survivor guilt to the point of running away from her new friends who practically adopted her, and conned into ambushing an innocent of th... [Read more]
Something to play with
June 14, 2023 at 6:32am
One way to characterize is to go cheap. Lists of things that go with the character to flesh out the trope or 'character class' if you're into RPG parlance.For example, three things that you instantly recognize about the character physically, such as hair color, weight, and a tag like 'goofy.' A good thing to list would be five words that the character uses more than others. The first such list I ever made was stolen from a military strategizing idea called the CARVER. It ... [Read more]
Limiting Beliefs
December 22, 2022 at 6:45am
As part of my self-work I was thinking about how to identify limiting beliefs. Once you recognize an assumption, you have a host of new options. For example, you assume that work has to be drudgery. Challenge that and you can look for things you enjoy or find ways to enjoy the things you need to do (the latter, according to Sadhguru, being genius.) So how did this spark an article in my blog about writing? Long before we had shelves of self help guides we had stories. Maybe even ... [Read more]
Level up your writing if you aren't already
August 29, 2022 at 11:24pm
Why do writers need to read? Well, remember that writing is only effective as a social event between reader and writer. Can you imagine a professional host who made conversation but never listened to any of the things other people had to say? One who has never been a guest anywhere. That would likely be a low-quality host who would make mistakes that could easily be prevented with a little bit of empathy. Whenever you go into a social situation you should have a desired result in min... [Read more]
For the wounded writer
August 5, 2022 at 5:27am
When we write, we tear off little bits of our souls and fling them into the wind. When we ask for critiques, we make ourselves vulnerable in ways that most people never experience. Couple that with other pressures, and it’s almost inevitable to cause distress. Be good to yourself. Indulge in small pleasures. A book by your favorite author. A cup of hot chocolate, or a glass of sparkling cider. Music. Sitting outside, in the shade, on a warm and sunny day. It doesn’t make your troubl... [Read more]
The winner's Snooze Bar--Managing procrastination
May 9, 2022 at 5:55pm
So as you go about your life you encounter situations which trigger an undesirable feeling and that means you make a decision. Up till now you have naturally just blocked the negative feeling, perhaps by saying stop or cancel and replacing it. This gives you time to deal with your current task while the unconscious stores the task and intensifies the feelings related to it. Under this plan you make little to no progress and the offending problem is right in front of you, though you migh... [Read more]
Rush Writes
April 5, 2022 at 12:25am
Word count means a lot. People who do something a lot of times often do better than those who work hard on a single project. If like me you hear a voice in your mind you have that as a word count. If you converse, that gives you a chance to practice making grammatical first-draft sentences under pressure. It's easy to sneer at the slight advantages these give you, and that's okay if it doesn't get rid of these advantages. If you want you can cultivate these options as well. Yo... [Read more]
Alternate source for Writing Craft
March 27, 2022 at 1:36am
The Meaning of the Communication is... The study of hypnotic language is an alternative for people learning to be a good writer. There is a lot of pointers that the hypnosis community have that are entirely different from the writing community. Using these together is paramount. And it isn't that big a stretch. A hypnotist as I understand it thinks about the effect his words (and other language, such as tone of voice or body language) have on the audience. One of the biggest an... [Read more]
Easy as one, three, two.
March 23, 2022 at 3:24pm
Writing a story that centers on a character arc is really easy when you start at the right point of the character. Find a character you like, an adult. Figure out what they do and what they want and what they like. Give them a few interesting quirks or odd relationships. I started out with a thief who was in love with her boss and her husband's boss. She ran the castle security and was the in nomine boss of the crime syndicate all while loudly forcing everyone to pretend she was just a ... [Read more]
Waiting with baited breath
January 16, 2022 at 2:18pm
There is a strange need for nothing and the words don't always come, do they? You know. The blank that you draw that doesn't seem to want to go anywhere, doesn't budge doesn't open or close but only stands, holding you breathless hostage It [is] like that sometimes. ---- Excerpt from a rush write today. I think it might have more to do with the dark music pumping in the background. I think perhaps the best thing I have ever written is a snippet on writing.com, . ... [Read more]
How to describe clothes; random thoughts
May 15, 2020 at 6:27pm
She bounced into the room wearing an artsy, tongue-in-cheek dress that looked like it belonged in a museum due to the self-conscious use of straps and zippers. Her slanted stance and sparkling eyes brought it off, though, and I dared to think that she might be as wild and creative as she pretended. The prompt was, effectively, "How do you describe this dress?" Of course usually that's too much, but it does give me an idea of how to go about describing clothes. Wearing cl... [Read more]
Riddles and Confuscations, Oh My.
April 18, 2020 at 5:38pm
Riddle me this: What if the in-line critique involves (impertinent!) questions? What to do? People read to find out the answers to questions, so there are at least two kinds of questions: the kind that makes people flip pages looking for the answer, and the kind that makes people close the book on your piece. For example: Flipping pages question: Why does the sidekick seem to never worry when the main villain is attacking, if she's always such a coward against regula... [Read more]
How to begin a writing career.
April 13, 2020 at 2:33pm
How to begin writing? I would start by writing whatever comes to mind, five minutes a day minimum. Then, later, spending at least five minutes a day with some kind of outlining stories, also 'whatever comes to mind.' And reading, at least five minutes a day, but realistically leaving at least thirty minutes, jotting any thoughts about technique during or after. In order, this creates fluency of writing, fluency of story, and knowledge of technique. Outlining can be as simple as just... [Read more]
C-Store Blues
August 16, 2019 at 4:08pm
Based on a true story. Names changed. The door slid open, letting night into the convenience store. The bell chimed. Annoyed, Seamus set the tub of water in front of the straws and lids and looked about. Empty store there, nothing more. Seamus took a long breath to calm himself, though his blood surged. Surely he missed the customer on his first scan. He looked carefully over the racks of groceries, checked the cooler open doors, listened for the rustle of product in the hands of a bent... [Read more]
Answer to, "How to be Christian." 7 steps.
April 13, 2020 at 2:41pm
Disclaimer: from someone who sees himself as largely Pagan. I am no reverend or biblical scholar, at any rate. For questions, I refer you primarily to the Source, and tangentially to those who make a scholarly study of such matters. The steps below do not require faith to be useful, though they might build faith. My version: 1. Ignore agnosticism as irrelevant. Just as I could be an AI that happens to pass the Turing test, so God could be a figment—so could you. Yet we don't mention i... [Read more]
My Take on Fluid Gender and related
April 4, 2017 at 8:29pm
I was reading a newspaper op-ed article about how sex (Male or female) isn't something we made up. And, well, I hate to disagree with her. At a fundamental level, she's more right than wrong. The differences are real things. Yes, they vary, with some correlations being less than 100 percent, but they do correlate, on an overwhelming basis. To the extent that anything is real and not made up, that any idea has validity, this has construct validity. Nothing has pure construct validity... [Read more]
Coinfall (hidden)
November 24, 2016 at 4:26pm
Every moment the chance of impressing Lauren slips through Jack's fingers, even here, alone as he steps out of the shower. He picks up his pants to put them on. Coins fall out of the pocket. They clatter on the linoleum, announcing his clumsiness to the cat, to the neighbors, to his fiancée. The urge to vent rose in his throat. Such passions are not allowed in his new world, and he choked them down. He closed his eyes and shook his head. In a calm, albeit pained, voice he says, "Real... [Read more]
Writing Prompts: A Gallery of Magical Detritus...
November 8, 2016 at 10:27am
Seven Useless Magical Artifacts... Usually, magical treasure is a thing either of wonder or danger. These are remnants, vexing, intriguing, distracting or just plain useless. These are something else entirely. They may be red herrings, booby prizes, or just... blessings in disguise, a tool of power which will reveal its purpose in the dramatically appropriate moment. The Wand of Butterflies This magic device reliably conjures butterflies, of any color or species known (or, perhaps, ima... [Read more]
A matter of some delicacy
October 21, 2016 at 6:59pm
One does wonder what about the 'damage' done by putting a masher into the White House, I suppose. Not that it hasn't been done before, but the case can be made that this is a different game. This man flaunts his arrogance. Young boys might get the message that they are wanted when they are not. They might get the idea their attentions are desirable or, if not, it is for some shallow reason that they are rejected: the size of their wallet or the color of their Ferrari. ... [Read more]
Fiction Post: On being a man.
August 3, 2016 at 11:52am
A voice comes over the loudspeaker. "Welcome to the Alchemy Lounge. The change is set in motion and soon, you will be a man. Nothing can be done to reverse the situation. "You need to prepare yourself for the experience of male privilege. No longer will people hit on you when you want them to stop. Or when you don't. The job will entirely be yours. You will not be valued solely for your body any longer. You won't be valued for your body at all. Or your thoughts and feeling... [Read more]
How to contract Novelism
June 8, 2016 at 4:30pm
<parable>Once upon a time, Jack was a baby. Jack noticed that all the people around him could move around on two feet, rather than on all four. He tried it and fell. He did this many, many thousands of times before he finally got the knack. Then when he was twenty he read a lot. He wrote and found that his writing wasn't as good as he'd hoped. However, he reasoned that there could be a knack to get, much like when he learned to walk; so he wrote many thousands of pages. In time, ... [Read more]
February 21, 2016 at 3:54pm
Today, I am a novelist. For the first time in my life, I can say that I have a completed draft of a novel. I have done many partials. I am sure there are many holes in the plot, places where I fishtailed and got confused about which thing had happened. But my hero has done what he set out to do. After landing on the planet Larrikesh, and getting stranded there, he has fixed the largest social ill plaguing the planet, retrieved his confiscated starchaser, and set a course for the wild black. ... [Read more]
Tragedy of Guinevere
April 28, 2016 at 1:23pm
Why senseless worship is as demeaning as outright contempt. Set aside your modern day life and imagine what it's like to live in the beginnings of Camelot under the aegis of the greatest king in history. This man Arthur used his charismatic zeal to draw the best men in the land -- emphasis unfortunately on men. When they arrived to serve, he informed them in no uncertain terms that simply being the best would not suffice. He called them to him because he wanted people who could uphold... [Read more]
Why Jabba the Hutt was not any kind of Misogynist
February 9, 2016 at 1:17pm
Don't get me wrong. Jabba's attitude, the one that made him order Leia put in that slave outfit, was hostile, objectifying and demeaning, but not toward females specifically. In fact, for all we know, Jabba came from a Matriarchy. Further, that gigantic slug may have been a female. All we know for sure is we didn't see any hutt females dancing for their lives. Yes, she was chosen for her looks, and possibly for her pedigree, like the animals we are in his eyes. The only thing he care... [Read more]
Troll theology: third-grade-style theological debate
February 5, 2016 at 6:01pm
"Thinking a Magical Sky Fairy will come and fix your problems is a problem in itself." I don't just believe in a higher power. That's a mathematical necessity, by the way; either there is a Higher Power or you're it. I also believe in a living God, one that hears our prayers and cares about what we think. Our thoughts and feelings have impact on the world, or at least, on our life. The thing is, if God exists, reality is either Him or His judgment. Whatever is going on in ... [Read more]
Yin and Yang: Which one do you need?
January 12, 2016 at 3:52pm
Fear and relief. Arousal and calm. There is an optimum level of arousal that works for everything. The amount of stress hormones that are needed to be in an optimum running state are different from the ones needed when you are playing golf or doing surgery. A great many problems have been caused for me, a lot of lost performance, happened when I adopted the idea that I simply wasn't electrified enough. Kelly McGonigal stated that stressful events aren't dangerous unless you beli... [Read more]
Counter Indications
December 6, 2015 at 9:17am
Alright, I admit it: the previous blog post (which though meaningful, is poorly put across and unconvincing) was speculation. That's what Self Help authors do, I think. The better-intentioned ones, at least. Granted it's not always the most helpful process, but it has it's selling points. That said, I did try it for a while, and it worked, to a degree. It did inspire creative points of view and that motivating bite of discontent, which often instantly converted to a pleasant m... [Read more]
Magic word of ... Discipline!
January 12, 2016 at 3:18pm
As a young fan of fantasy stories, ranging from the technologically-enhanced Star Wars and Krull all the way through Dark Crystal, I have been a lover of magic words. Of course, the reality of things usually is a little less glitzy than the stories, for good reason. But it's really almost as wondrous, if you think of it that way. There is a single word, that in itself conveys a complete thought, even perhaps an array of thoughts, and has the potential for causing a great deal of magic - ... [Read more]
The Blacksmith Reforging Ruined Work
October 21, 2016 at 6:36pm
"When thinking about life remember this: no amount of guilt can solve the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future." How much time do you spend thinking about the past: if only, what might have been, if I had just made one different decision how different would my life be now? Or how much time do you spend worrying about the future and things that haven't and may not even happen yet? The quote was a great reminder that both of those actions take away from the joy of today... [Read more]
Inner Peace, Outer Peace
September 22, 2015 at 6:05am
Prompt “When one does not complain … one pays for outward calm with an almost unbearable inner struggle.” Charlotte Brontë Do you agree with Charlotte Brontë? In what ways do you think venting works? Prompt Borrowed from By Of course I have experienced the phenomenon to which she refers, and could reproduce these results at will. She errs, however, in the description of her action. If she stopped all complaint, if she did not rehearse her grievance in the privacy of her skull ... [Read more]
Payback as Response or Reaction
September 5, 2015 at 12:45am
When the reader hears the word 'payback,' the first thought usually tilts toward the negative. Somebody reacted badly, and decided to pay the offender in kind. This involves dwelling on the event, magnifying the pain involved, and then scheming ways to make the guilty party feel the same. Yet, the same process can be used for kindness. Think of things that people have done for you, how wonderful they are. Each time you think of them, emotionally it's as if they've been done a... [Read more]
Compelling Goals
August 25, 2015 at 4:39pm
Prompt: “A person can write the most beautiful, lyrical sentences (as James Patterson will be the first to tell you, he does not), but if the story doesn’t grab a reader by the throat, and—having grabbed on—hold her there, none of the rest may matter all that much.” Joyce Maynard in her article on Patterson --- in Observer What kind of stories capture your imagination so you may keep on reading? Only one kind of story captures the imagination: one that is vivid and excitin... [Read more]
Smoking Mirror
August 24, 2015 at 11:48am
I found an inspiring blog prompt used in , and I wanted to give my own thoughts on this quote. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson The future and the past have no relevance on our day to day feelings, emotions, or character. Yes, I can track back to where I've gotten ideas or learned habits. I continue to plague myself with habits and traits that I learned in second grade — habits which define me... [Read more]
For the love of evil...
August 24, 2015 at 11:26am
So many words and not a thing to say. WHy am I even here, on this page at this moment? Is there anything I have to say which might be of use to any person, I wonder. The thought does not last long. I realize that of course, even the most bizarre ramblings might be of value to some person, might provoke something of value in the mind of another human, even if it is only the joy of superiority. Yes, there is something productive in revealing our wounds and failures to another. People need ... [Read more]
Why can't I Finish My Outline
August 21, 2015 at 11:40am
The other day I was outlining a chapter in a novel. I have a method which is ordinarily very good at producing surprising results, involving answering four questions or filling in four blanks, to whit: What do I (the persona) want to achieve? (I wanna ________) What do I do? (So I ____________) What do I fear will happen as a result? (Fearing ______________) What do I hope will happen? (Hoping ____________) What happens instead? (Instead ________) Of course these questions... [Read more]
Does it make a difference?
August 19, 2015 at 12:23am
What do you know now, that would have made a difference? I know that I am powerful. Not necessarily in a good way. My words and actions have consequences, unforeseen. There are things that I can do. I can hurt people's feelings. I can win friends, influence people, even bend their destiny. I can derail a person's work situation. I can win a heart. The point is that these are all things that seemed beyond me, which I have done unwittingly. As a result, I have not always been keen ... [Read more]
Mystery of Success
August 16, 2015 at 2:20pm
Allow me to introduce you to a strange young man named James, who, even as today, at the time read too many books and thought too much about the mind and the things in the world. Let me tell you a story about him, a bit of everyday witchcraft that he discovered. Walking to the store James spied a tree by the path, about three car-lengths away. He chose to do an experiment, and set his course straight toward the center of the tree. He planned to walk straight ahead, toward the tree - but he d... [Read more]
August 15, 2015 at 3:32pm
Humility. There are parts of it that I believe in, and others that I forsake. In particular, I tend toward the vices of humility. In particular I have often found myself eager to search for signs of wrongness and weakness in myself. I thought this would make me wiser and better. I let it get to the point that I could no longer tolerate any actual criticism for I was full-up from that which I had foolishly absorbed though it was meant for others. In turn, this has created a rift between me ... [Read more]
Path to Freedom
August 13, 2015 at 11:46am
Tears. My own. Ordinarily, as a man, this is a subject I would prefer not to talk about — even to know about. But a great insight has come to me recently. I have recently been reaching beyond my accustomed place in life. Progress has been stalled for years, and I have had no clue as to what held me back. I know that what I have put my attention to I have achieved - with varying levels of speed and success, but still. In these things, I have failed to hold my attention long enough to... [Read more]
Emotional Vocabulary.
August 9, 2015 at 9:48am
Whether writing, reading, or living, emotions affect us far more than one might imagine or wish. The difference between two essentially same emotional states can have tremendous impact. Some peoples use one word for sadness, anger, rage and depression: all the sense that a desire is being thwarted, I suppose. Yet, who can deny the tremendous difference between rage and determination - both urgent drives to action? Rage tends to destroy things and cause pain and suffering even when under rest... [Read more]
Liven Up a Scene
April 19, 2015 at 4:03pm
One of the people I was reviewing had a scene that had all kinds of latent conflict, falsely resolved conflict, and foreshadowed conflict, (Maybe that's one thing, but she did have a LOT of it) but NOTHING in the present moment. Just some people having a great therapy session. So I came up with a way to brainstorm things for a dull scene. Imagine that the character is reflecting on how well things went, let her rant about how things should go. Let her go on. Fill in the blan... [Read more]
Taxonomy of Magi
December 5, 2014 at 11:32am
Hexmasters, magisters, witches and sorcerers? Oh, my. Some questions a writer must answer about a mage: How did he come into power? What does he feel about his power? How well does he want to understand his power? How does he use his power? How does his power affect him socially? World-building: How did he get the power? There are two classical kinds of magic: the native and the educated. In your world, you must decide if magic is something that a common person could l... [Read more]
Magical Legislation: It didn't just happen that way.
March 15, 2015 at 12:40pm
Precept One: Our universe started out the same as my fantasy universe, and somebody had to work to change the rule. Precept two: The new rule stays the same until forced to change. Precept three: Changing natural laws requires great effort. The greater the change, the greater the effort. Therefore, greater changes require deeper motives. Now- Why use these precepts? They help us to select ideas that make sense, and suggest which ideas naturally fit with our favorites. Then they can be used to... [Read more]

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