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A little birdie tells me you're having an account anniversary! Happy Birthday! And may your day be joyful and full of the things that you like the most!
Happy birthday! *Cake2*
Happy Birthday!
Feeding The Beast

I'm back!

.... sort of.

Since I was so busy, I tried a bit of a hiatus from FtB to focus on real life. I'm sure some of yu missed my weekly FtB and some didn't care. The thing is, I just couldn't stay away from the website for long. Even if all I could do was jump on to check my e-mail for 5 minutes.

But, life does not stop despite my addiction to W.C. Unfortunately, my life has been a series of painful experiences that have kept me from even writing my stories. For the last month almost, I've been fighting my internet as it randomly drops. This is because the modem is bad and not recognizing the default gateway access. Sometimes I could get a few hours of use out of it, other times a few days went by before I could coax it into working for more than a few minutes.

Then of course came this last week.... Wednesday night i felt a little queasy in my stomach but thought nothing of it. By Thursday morning it was quite painful, but still not debilitating in any way. So, drove to mothers house an hour away with pain steadily getting worse. Tried taking antacids, Tums, drinking ginger ale... but it slowly kept getting worse. Until finally I had her take me to the hospital Thursday night.

Stay overnight with liberal doses of pain medication to keep my guts under control and left with nothing to do but wonder what was wrong with me. Friday morning i find out... I need my gallbladder removed. Of course my surgery which was scheduled for 12:30 kept getting pushed back until I finally went in at 3pm. After I wake up from the anesthetic, I am told the 1 hour surgery took 2 hours and that my gallbladder exploded while on the table and I had a staggering number of gallstones to boot.

Now, I'm sitting here writing this slowly recovering with a drain in my pocket filling with blood from my wound and hoping everyone is having a better day than I am. Anyways, That's my FtB!

Quote of the Week
--- You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction.--- George Lorimer
I hope things will turn better for you soon. *Smile*
I'm so happy to see your post. I just recently returned myself. I was having modem problems as well. My router needed to be updated. then, my router became too slow for the modem so my cable company had to give me a faster modem. I'm sorry to hear you got sick. I'm praying for you! love ~Marcia
Yikes! Sounds like you narrowly avoided disaster there! Hope you mend quickly and with no complications!
Feeding The Beast

I got to get used to putting this up on the new day >.>

Murphy's Law. Trouble comes in three's. Misery love's company. What links all of these statements? Setbacks. and the fact that we as humans find humor in misfortunes-- as long as its not our own. movies and tv shows have been made out of it-- jackass, Lemoney Snickets Series of unfortunate events... life with the Kardashians (yes i went there)

So, today I am going to share with you my miserable last few days. Thursday I went on a blind date with someone I was matched up with on the internet. Now, I don't normally do internet dating sites, but I thought I should at least try it once before making a judgment on it. She was a great date-- good looks, funny, smart, etc--- but she was a he. Now don't get me wrong, I don't judge if you want to cross dress, but I'm not into that sort of thing... unless I'm role-playing *wink*

How do you know she was a he you might ask? I'll admit, there was nothing blatantly obvious like a six o'clock shadow, or prominent chin the size of Florida. It was more the small things like the unusually broad shoulders, the large for a woman hands, a voice just a little too deep that broke through when he forgot to keep up his feminine one. I didn't let on that I knew, and proceeded with the date as normal, but at the end I ended it with a handshake and said we weren't right for each other.

Yesterday (Friday) I go into town for some things... and my car stalls and refuses to start. Turns out, battery is dead. So I walk 10 minutes to an Autozone, buy a $120 battery, walk back to my car and change it right there. Go riding around the rest of the day doing what I need to do. I'm out late at night... and my car breaks down again.

Turns out putting a new battery in the car blew the alternator so the battery wasn't charging back up. End up having to get it towed and shelling out another $150 for the privileged. (they charge 90 just to hook it up to their truck!!!)

Now I need to buy a new alternator from a junkyard with the 35 not allocated to other bills because i spent the rest on food and other necessities. To top it off, I go to pay for my upgraded membership today with my gift points and I am 800 points off -.-. Guess I need to find time to do a few reviews before the 15th!

Quote of the Week
--Build your own dreams or someone else will hire you to build theirs.--Farrah Gray
  •   1 comment
Sounds like a couple of really crappy days. I wonder what the guy you went on a date with was thinking. I mean at some point you would have found out. *Meh*
*Leaf2O*Feeding the Beast: Part 2

So, how exactly does ll that long rambling in part 1 tie in to this part? Easy--- presentation in our stories of course!

Everything from how we present our characters looks, to how we first present them to the reader. when we first meet our hero, is he beating up thugs in a dark alley because he has daddy issues and is venting his anger? Or is he beating up thugs because they were picking on someone weaker? While this might seem more character development, it is also presentation. Which of the two above heroes do you feel is stronger mentally/physically? Which would you root for more?

Timing goes with presentation as I mentioned before. In my story
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I have the main character give a big speech. then walk off alone as no one follows him into battle against the enemy. This was a natural conclusion to me presenting him as a villain that turned them all against him, yet at the same time you knew he wouldn't fly off alone. Now, just by that, you might think it wouldn't be an interesting section to read, or it was too cliche. But as one reviewer said, even though they knew what was going to happen it was still engaging.

Because of the way I presented it and the mood I set. I stretched out the reveal of his allies just enough to make the reader feel the gravity of the moment and allow him to reflect, but not long enough to make them feel like mentally saying to hurry the plot along.

Another aspect of presentation is repetitive information. E.G, person A tells person B important information on the enemy/weapons/ environment. Person B then has to tell person C or a group the same information. We the reader already heard it all between Person A and B, so how do we present it again without being repetitive?

I like to do the "introverted protagonist" or the "time skip." That is-- go along the lines of "As he relayed the information he had just received, he let his mind wander to other matters." Or, if the story has multiple characters you follow, jump to the other character. The reader then can assume the information is being relayed without having to actually be there-- thereby skipping through time.

well, that's all the time I have since I don't really want to make a part 3

Quote of the Week:
--You've got to get up every morning with determination, if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction.-- George Lorimer
*Leaf2Br* Feeding the Beast: Part 1

So, deciding to try posting these towards the end of the week since Mondays are booked all the time it seems. While most will read this on Saturday, I want to try to get them out on Friday's for now. Now, I know some people have said it doesn't matter when I post them, since the little notification comes up anyway... but I disagree. because, just like when we write our stories, presentation and timing is a part of it.

Before I even started making these FtB way back last year, before i had even officially named it Feeding the Beast, I deliberated on what day I wanted to consistently post it on. I factored in not only content, but also the other sure constant in each post... the Quote of the Week.

Would the reader want the quote at the beginning of the week as a reward for getting through the weekend/ as a means of inspiration to start the week? If i post on Wednesday, would it be better as a way to "get over the hump" Or on Friday when the "tanks run dry" and a way to help get through the weekend?

I decided against Wednesday because that is when newsletters come out and i didn't want to force even more onto my readers. I finally decided against Friday for a similar reason, after slogging through newsletters on Wend. they might not want to read more of a similar vein, and if they were writing one of those newsletters, they would be too focused on that and might not be able to appreciate anything i wrote, or have time to read it.

Presentation is important as a writer, even in the little things. we subconsciously take cues from the presentation and timing in writing. Take the colors I am using for example. when i started using colors based on someones suggestions, I constantly tried to use bright colors. not only to make it easier to read... but also to subliminally convey happy feelings. Look at the color yellow here. what feeling does it invoke inside? now look at the brown surrounding this yellow... does it still invoke the same feelings despite the words i am writing?

When i was in a bad mood, or not feeling well, I am sure I used darker and muted colors that revealed my mindset at the time even if the words i wrote didn't. You might not have noticed, but such small things can affect your mood and mindset the rest of the week. That is why I always made my quotes in blue and reds.

I'll finish this in part 2
Feeding the Beast

Yet another FtB where I had to miss a week or two. I've been seriously thinking of just ending these newsfeeds. Real life has been occupying a lot of my time. lately by the time I have some free moments to write a FtB it is like Wednesday or Thursday. Since I wanted this to be something I did on Monday as a start to the week making on during the middle of the week or end of the week kind of defeats the purpose.

I know there isn't a large following who read this, and many might not read it completely. It does make me a bit sad-- thinking of ending these Feeding the Beast's-- since I have written them for about a year now. But at the same time I barely have any time on WC to do anything either. I just checked my email and found a review request... which had already expired.

What do you guys think? Should I just put it on hiatus for now? Work extra hard to try and fit it in on Mondays, move it towards the end of the week? Would some of you prefer to read it in the middle of the week as a way to "get over the hump" or as a way to inspire you through the second half of the week when you read the quote at the end?

I'd love feedback from you guys as to how this FtB can evolve (if you do indeed want it to continue.) I write it both as an exercise for myself, but also to inspire and help those who read it. Both new and old writer's.

That's all the time I have right now, hopefully i will see you all next week!

Quote of the Week:

-- Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. -- Thomas A. Edison
I quite like your FtBs and read all of them when they are published. They are concise yet tend to be either inspirational or make me think about aspects of writing that I have not given much thought.
As for the publication time, it does not really matter to me since you get a notification when it is published which is what reminds me to read them, not that they are published on any particular day.
There's probably no particular day that is better or worse for it, so do it when it best suits you. As for continuing it, if you need a break, take one. Otherwise, keep plodding on. *Smile*
Feeding the Beast:

Another Monday, another week. I seem to be missing more and more of these FtB lately. Not surprising given my scheduled lately. And that's what got me thinking about today's Beast entry.

Life creeps up on all of us, this is just plain fact. We have various obstacles, and writer's blocks. How we respond to these situations is what really matters. In the case of writer's block, forcing yourself to go back to a half-finished story might not always be the best idea.

Sure, you might have this desire to finish because you started it, but think on WHY you got the writer's block on that particular story to begin with. On the whole, stories tend to flow from a writer (at least they do for me in my experience.) Even if the story is bad, full of plot holes, grammar mistakes, etc... the words tend to come pretty easily.

When I get writer's block I find it is because I've dug myself into a proverbial hole. I made my character too powerful for the world he is in, I made him into a Mary-Sue, I've thrown too much action at the reader, or escalated dangers too quickly so by the middle of the story the world has been destroyed and there is no "bigger" threat for the hero to stop.

Whatever the case may be, I realize where I am at in the story and can't think of how to proceed-- hence writer's block. The question then becomes, do I re-write and edit everything I have done, or do I start from scratch and use parts of this in a new story?

Using parts in another story with completely different characters/setting isn't a wrong choice. Sometimes it is easier to start fresh and your already defined characters/events as a template. in larger works like novel's, depending on how much you have to edit and re-write, it might not be worth the time. Remember, in larger works everything is connected and interwoven. plot, characters, events, places. Changing one aspect by necessity means you have to change many aspects.

Taking out a single small character changes the dialogue/character interactions, which changes the decisions made, which might change the destination, which changes the next area of conflict. So next time you have writer's block, or even a hard time writing a story, ask yourself WHY the words have stopped coming so easily, not just HOW to fix it.

Quote of the Week:
--Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world. --Nadeem Aslam
Feeding The Beast

So, What has been on my mind this week? If you can actually answer that before me I'll send you a million GP *Laugh*

The answer to that is actually-- Twists.Now I'm not talking about the glazed donuts. or the popular song back when your parents were kids, I'm talking about plot twists. Any book needs a few twists to make it fresh and unique. This is what separates on romance novel from another, one hero out to save the world from the millions of other action adventures with the same concept.

You can have fifteen harry potters, or Luke Skywalker's out there, each one as identical as the next, yet the plots and twists to those plots are what separate them from their clones. IF you can read a story, and after a chapter or two, or after the plot is introduced, figure out the basic gist of what will happen.... that's bad. Take the Mario universe for example. If I say a new Mario game is coming out (and not a kart racer) You instantly think this: Princes is kidnapped, probably by Bowser. you go rescue her only to find she is "in another castle." You battle to the end of the game, save the girl, maybe get a kiss on the cheek and we all live happily ever after.

Now granted, the Mario example isn't meant to be deep and complicated and convoluted, it is more or less there to serve as a steppingstone and reason for the game. The idea is similar though. you can't get as excited about the new game since you know it is just like the bajillion before it. BUT... what if there was a twist that revealed Mario was the bad guy? (and no not Wario, Mario, the hero you always play as) What if he woke up one day in a parallel dimension where the Princess was in love with Bowser. Bowser took her away to protect her and you go off chasing her in an attempt to "save" her from the evil Bowser?
... You interested in playing that new game a little more now?

Keep that in mind the next time you start on a story, or feel like you came to a roadblock. Let the bad guy win in the end, Let the puzzle they have to solve be easy and NOT require a four day journey into the woods for the super rare magical item. Have the heroes traveling in the wrong direction because they read the map wrong. Twists in a story can be big and small, but they all help identify it as unique.

Quote of the Week:

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
Feeding the Beast

I'm not sure if I have said anything about this before on the news feed (I mean I have been doing this regularly for like a year now) But I thought I would share my thoughts on Prologue's.

I've read quite a few stories lately that used prologues to give the reader information before the story starts.

Now, this is fine, and in my view that is exactly what a prologue is supposed to do. What I feel it is NOT supposed to do, is give you information that can easily be revealed through the regular story.

Feel free to tell me about the band of heroes who locked the evil god away in a glacier hidden at the tip of the world. Or the war that started ten thousand years ago which is now started up again today. But don't then tell me this information AGAIN within the context of the story. There are exceptions to this of course. Such as using the prologue to tell a "fairy tale" or "ancient legend", and then make reference to it within the story as a means of progression/plot. (E.G. hero reads a book with highly abridged version of ancient war 10,000 years ago to give him an idea of what he is up against.)

Repetitiveness is something we writers have to constantly watch out for. That includes concepts, and information dumps as well as words. Sometimes this repetition can be used to strengthen the story or importance of something, but other times it makes the readers attention flag as they feel they already "know" so can skip ahead.

Feel free to check out
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(shameless plug) Where I use my prologue to divulge information that happens eighteen years before the first chapter-- giving the reader insight and information they would not otherwise be able to obtain. Information that also adds a new element to the story as a whole as the reader begins to understand "the big picture" or gives new meaning to actions the characters take.

That's my time! I hope you fans who continue to read these things enjoyed my thoughts and maybe helped you clarify something within your own writing in some way. Feel free to leave your own thoughts on the matter as well, I love getting reply's... just something about seeing those little red boxes next to email and notification *Laugh*

Quote of the week:

--“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Another great 'Feeding the Beast'. I would add though, that a great prologue does more than just convey information. Take, for example, the prologue from G.R.R. Martins 'A Game of Thrones', Yes, it provides information that changes the readers view of the characters and highlights their lack of knowledge, but it also reassures the readers that even though much of the book is about noble houses and politics, there will eventually a much bigger plot and magic.
Your right about that. I only focused in the information aspect due to both limited time and because information plays a large part in any story. even in a prologue, you need to treat it as a "hook" or even a stand alone short story in some ways. mingling a plot of its own which may or may not directly affect the rest of the story in a major way, the same with characters that we may come across later.

Sometimes what is most important is NOT plot or characters or pure information, but world building. I once read a story that used the prologue as a means of showing the reader the vast world, its long history, and how peopl, places, and things all interconnected. it allowed the main story to feel natural and flow smoother without making the reader question why xxx worked in such a way or why YYY person trusted this other one so much when as a reader you want to mistrust them instinctively.

still, thanks for pointing out that information isnt the only aspect. I meant to... but forgot *Blush*
Feeding The Beast

Did you miss me? I missed me. Well, I didn't really miss me since I am with me all the time, but you know what I mean. I've failed to post a FtB for the last 2 weeks! I'm sure that made many of you sad pandas. because I bet many of you look forward to my random thoughts and quotes of the week, even if you don't post a comment.

So why was I absent for so long? Well, aside from 4th of July and computer troubles forcing me to connect through my tablet (which as we all know is a pain to type on sometimes)... I got myself a dog!

He is very demanding, seeking my attention all the time. Not to mention he was my mothers, until she asked me to take him because him and one of her other dogs was constantly fighting. So he always whines if I don't pay attention to him... as if he is afraid I will disappear on him as well if I leave or am not looking at him.

So, now I have settled him into a bit of a routine and I have time to myself again... for now. That means FtB is back! This week my thoughts are short since I used most of it explaining my absence :P Hopefully though it will give you something to think about as well.

My thoughts are this: We use dialog to convey information to one another all the time. In stories, it is the primary way our characters learn anything. Sure they might SEE the town they entered razed to the ground and nothing but ash and corpses... but they probably wont KNOW what happened until the sole survivor tells them.

But do we sometimes rely too heavily on dialog in our stories? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so then, if we rely more on description to paint our scenes and less on talking, how many words would we save? I've seen a few mysteries that focus more on observation and description to make this concept work. While in those cases the stories do more telling than showing, We as writers can still learn from this style to enhance our readers experience.

That's it for me this week! Hope to be back on a regular schedule next week as well! I'll leave you with a funny before the quote!

Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.

Quote of the Week:
--Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.--Lyndon B. Johnson
Welcome back *Smile* which kind of dog did you get?

It is an interesting observation. I actually think it is one of the ways to distinguish a pro writer from the rest of us, being able to convey information without relying to much on dialogue. Especially because dialogue filled with information often sounds unnatural.
I got a doxin and chihuahua mix, so he can be a handful at times.
Yeah, I can imagine *Smile*
Feeding The Beast

Uhg... (or is it Ugh?) Anyways, I've been up since 4 am this morning... first because my stomach decided that was a good time to act up, forcing me to live in my bathroom. Then instead of going back to sleep, I had to take my neighbor to a dr. appointment... 2 hours away. We get there and no wi-fi (this is of course with me making frequent stops to use the restroom-- which is kind of hard on a highway where you have to plan your exits to get to a town and then find a toilet long before you actually NEED one.)

Then I sit around waiting for 4 hours... then another 2 hour trip back-- this time thankfully pit-stop-less. I make it back home and what is the first thing I do? Go say hello to St. John, patron saint of stomachs >.>

Now, what does all this have to do with anything? Aside from the multiple poo jokes I am sure could be made, it got me thinking about characters in a story-- specifically comedy stories. In comic writing many times you have a set-up and then the punchline. Rarely have I read a lot where LIFE was the joke. Looking back on my day, I could almost hear Benny hill playing in the background as I drove faster to get to my exit. Don't forget that such setbacks are also great punchline material. It might not be as "in your face" as something like: Two men walk into a bar, the third one ducked or Did you hear about the astronaut who came down with the flue? The doctors say he's a space case., but it is amusing nonetheless.

Plus... everyone enjoys watching and hearing about other peoples discomforts. Mostly since it isn't happening to them. Otherwise, shows like Jackass would never get the ratings it does.

Quote of the Week

--Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.-- Charlie Chaplin
Feeding The Beast

So I'm a day late this week. Mostly because there was a big storm that kept me landlocked. I was afraid to get on the internet... especially when my breakers kept popping and appliances kept turning on and off. then I get called out to help deal with flooding near the river about twenty minutes away with a few other people. After that, I stuck around to help a friend of mine from the red cross take care of people who lost property due to flooding and two who's houses burned down in the whole mess.

I really couldn't do much to help in those cases, since it was really just a bunch of paperwork as he talked to the owners. The reason he wanted me with him though wasn't to help with the adults, but with the children. (He isn't very good with them and I am as long as it is over short periods of time. Leave me around them for a few hours and I'll probably be calling for bail money :P)

There were eight of them in all, both from the fires, and from the flooding, so I did the only thing I could think of to keep them entertained. I told them a story. Not just any story though, more of a mad-lib I made up on the spot. I got each of them to add in a story element, and I came up with the content.

By the end, I had them laughing at the story of a flying bird woman who was half mermaid piloting a giant robot in outer space while fighting giant intelligent germs that were the root of all sickness. the main villain could only talk in rhymes and had a talking cat companion who ended every sentence with "woof".


I could never have come up with something so silly by myself. Perhaps none of us could. But it made me think--- perhaps what some stories lack is the vision of children. You ever read a story and go "It's good... but something is missing". Perhaps whats needed is to get in touch with that inner child and start writing the improbable, impossible, and the crazy to get the burst we need.

Don't forget that while we are writers, we are also readers. Make sure when you write, that inner child is filled with the sense of wonder when you READ it again.

Quote of the Week:

--“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” ― Walt Streightiff
Feeding The Beast
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GoT is in full swing now And I doubt it is much like anyone was expecting. I'll be honest, I'm a bit disappointed in the fact it is focusing more on reviews and less on writing. (well, story writing not review writing.) I wonder if this change from last year has kept people from getting really motivated to compete. I took a quick look at the standings and you can see the vast difference between houses and the somewhat lack of participation.

Not That I am one to talk. I've not participated much either. Then again, my days have been a lot busier than I had expected, So I don't have much time to read and review except late at night when I just want to go to bed or work on my own stuff. Last year it was easier in that I could write a little at a time when I found time and the finished story didn't need to be in until the end of the week, giving time for editing.

Also, on the whole reviewing thing-- I don't know if my brain farted or what, but I kept reading the minimum character requirement of 1000 as minimum WORD requirement. To give an idea of how little 1000 characters is-- So far I have written 1176 characters by the end of this sentence. (without tags such as {b } or emoticons or anything.)

My reviews usually end up as easily 4 times that... and I often come up on the 2,500 character limit here in these posts -.-. So if you have been reticent to review because you've had the same brain fart as me, Perhaps that will help clear the air.

Don't get me wrong here, I appreciate all the work that has gone into doing GoT, and I enjoy participating when I can, but I'm having a hard time really getting into it this year. That doesn't mean I'm not going to try and participate though!

Quote of the Week:

--I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.-- Michael Jordan
  •   1 comment
The reason G.o.T. went almost entirely into the reviewing direction is because the review page seemed very slow. On top of that, I lack the time for much reading and what I hoped to include into the game, fell through, because the schedule went up before I had a GO on something specific. *Frown*

It's okay if you don't review too much. We all have those moments. I know I do. Do what you can and how much you can. No one will be mad.

G.o.T.'s focus changes with each year, depending on the month, so no worries. It won't always be like this. *Bigsmile*
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