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Are You Suffering from Scripto Ex Machina?

ImageBeware!

Does your character move from one event to the next, handling each conflict with aplomb and proper heroism?

If so, you may be rescuing your character.

Regardless of the characters we design for our stories, they are always subject to our personal beliefs and thoughts. They are ultimately extensions of the author.

Because of that, they can also assume some unfortunate blind sides. If you are like most writers, your characters are very near like children, or companions, or friends. They are important on private levels. That is why writing is a deeply personal and subjective journey.

As most know, deus ex machina, is a plot device that is used to keep a character from suffering the consequences of the plot. The most obvious use of this technique is when another character that has more power, intelligence, experience, etc., steps into the fray just before it is allowed to play out and gets the main character out of trouble. This is generally an external event that quickly resolves the plot issue.

As a rule, using it in a story is a bad idea.

However, it still seems to find its way into some stories in a more subtle form. This can occur when the author writes a character that overcomes all obstacles with little consequence. He or she is attacked by bandits in the woods and walks away without a scratch, taking care of them quickly with his or her powers, then back home in time for tea.

It is a natural occurrence for us as humans to avoid painful penalties and this can be injected into a story when the author wants the character to handle some event differently, or even better, than we can or have. This could indicate an unconscious need to ‘rescue’ the character (our-self) from the pain of that event, possibly due to unresolved feelings regarding it. Call it scriptor ex machina.

Ultimately, this can hurt the story unless there is a specific reason for it.

Don’t be afraid to cause suffering to your characters. Let them face the full consequences of their actions. If they do something that should end in pain or loss, you are doing an injustice to the story by rescuing him or her from it, unconsciously or not.

Be brave, be courageous.

Because if you are writing from personal experience (which you should be) you will have to relive that pain that you are writing about. Let your characters learn from it.

Like you did. Or could.

Depression as a . . . Social Disease.

ImageDepression is big news in our society. It’s difficult to go through a day without seeing or hearing something about it, usually in the form of medication. These pharmaceutically based advertisements would have us believe that the cause of depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. However, most of the information out there shows that while a chemical imbalance is a factor, it is not known what the cause of depression is.

We live in a society that has conflicting social mores. We grow up in a system that gives us all kinds of messages that we can be whatever we want to be. We are also bombarded by what classifies as socially successful. We must look certain ways and must follow certain monetary paths.

In a ‘throw and go’ society like ours, these messages can be very conflicting and next to impossible to obtain. When we are faced with what success ‘looks’ like and are led to believe that it can be obtained, maybe easily, is it any wonder why depression hits quickly when we don’t attain this in a quick fashion. The bar is set very high.

Could it be that the major factor in depression isn’t necessarily brain chemistry? Is it possible that the reality of life versus the illusion that we are shown everyday creates the problem simply due to the conflict of trying to equate this in our minds; trying to achieve this goal of the American lifestyle portrayed by the media?

Just a thought.

Yours?

The Fatal Flaw of Today’s Coaching

IMG_20140128_111809Change your life (or Insert proper phrase here) in five easy steps. Or Four. Wait. Or ten. Or . . . One. There is one Easy way to change your life. Ok, maybe not. Maybe more than that. Maybe two. . . ..

Today’s coaching industry is fraught with this sentiment. And I say sentiment for a reason. Because it is a nice thought. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just –poof- change our lives, become a success, or whatever your flavor is? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just bypass the thing that makes changes stick?

Yes. God yes! Of course it would. But then, it wouldn’t work.

And it doesn’t work because no matter how we want to take a heuristic approach to our lives, the human being is a complex system of biological, social, and psychological components with a very limited way of dealing with all the input we get on a regular basis. To complicate matters, that limited exposure is driven by a very, very basic drive which keeps us trying to deal with situations in an EASY way.

So, we grasp for it – the easy fix – any time anyone gives us that option. Why? Because it sells. In the world of coaching, many coaches are attempting to sell it like that. I don’t necessarily think that it is due to something wrong so much as it is due to a lack of understanding. There is no easy way to fix things.

However, there is One way to change your life. Stop trying to do it the EASY way.

Change is difficult. Success is difficult. Both can be quick and both can be simple. But don’t count on it. It often takes work. Constant work. In the end, it is gratifying, but never make the mistake of thinking it will be easy.

Prelude to Chaos

Prelude Title Page_edited-1I’ve written a small prequel story called Prelude to Chaos. This teaser will give the reader some clues as to what’s to come if they haven’t read the novel and, for those that have, will give a little extra information and maybe answer a question or too. It is available on Amazon.com in Kindle format only. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Prelude-Chaos-Shattered-Michael-Gorday-ebook/dp/B00HXQQ8EG/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1390124691&sr=8-15&keywords=prelude+to+chaos

 

If you would like a copy for FREE, just fill out the contact information and I will send you one. I hope you enjoy it and I have plans to write several of this strings as part of my writing efforts. More will come available as my next novel is nearing completion. So, either grab it from Amazon or contact me.

Thanks Again!

 

 

Am I a Writer???

This is a murky swamp of a thing, like trying to define other ambiguous terms like Love.

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The short answer is: if you write, you are a writer. Of course, that is over simplifying things a bit. But I will argue that is true. However, let’s narrow this field a bit more. Let’s assume that there is at least a more basic requirement here. If you write letters to others, write your name, etc. that doesn’t qualify. If you write stories, essays, blogs, and things like that, then you are a writer.

BUT!

Recently, I was asked to review a book on Amazon by a would be author. After just seeing the title, I decided against it. How can I judge a book based on the title?  Because there is a lot in a title. However, since I don’t want to be second guessed myself, I decided to take a look a little deeper. After reading a bit of the premise and introduction (this happened to be non-fiction) I put it aside, decided against reviewing it.

Let me be clear about something. As far as I’m concerned, your writing is sacrosanct. If you feel the need to write a story or essay, fiction or nonfiction, and you do so, you are a writer.

BUT!

In this world of technology where we can throw any and all ideas against the virtual wall and have them stick, the question isn’t whether you can, it is whether you should.

Writing is a skill, and skills have to be developed, practiced, and honed. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people out there that do not either think so, or think that is a step that can be skipped. Does that mean I am a purist? I don’t think so. When I started writing as a child, I believe that I was a writer then. But I don’t believe that I should have been a published writer.

BUT!

i have a problem when people writer there great treatise on whatever they think is a great treatise and then dont understand the mechanix behind the writtin language because my ideas are beyond the writing itself and you should understand that as a artist it is my right to display my art in whatever *medium* i want to and the message is the most important peace not the delivery method!

Is that a pretty sight?

If you do not have a basic working knowledge of grammar, spelling, capitalizing, sentence structure, formatting AND you don’t have any inclination to get one. You are NOT a writer!

If you are not going to edit your work, believing that your first draft is good enough, that your ideas are complete, then . . . . You are NOT a writer!

If you write a non-fiction piece that is full of absolutisms that are not supported by anything other than your whiney, self-involved pain AND it is meant to be taken seriously as a fact based exposition, then . . . . You are NOT a writer!

If you write a fiction piece that is a superfluous string of clichés and pop culture references and think it is a plot, then . . . .

Do you have to be an expert? No. I am certainly not one. If you are going to be a carpenter or a doctor, you have to get the tools, learn how to use them, and continue to practice. It is no different for writing. So, are you a writer? If you are seriously practicing, then . . . .

Well, are you?

The Writer’s Confidence

Confidence . . . it is the burgeoning writer’s worst nightmare. Is my writing good enough? Or worse: Will others like it? Love it?

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Let me give you the answer.

No!

Wait. What?

I know, I know. You were waiting for some placating, maybe even some validation as a writer. But let me explain what I mean before you hit that ‘Back’ button.

Your writing will never be good enough. If you are serious about writing, then I can make an assumption that I am sure is true for most writers. You are your worst critic. I know this because I am my worst critic, and it constantly drives me to work on my writing. Polishing it and looking for better, different ways to describe something as simple as taking a sip of coffee.

Will others like it, or love it? No. No matter what you write or how you write it, people will not like it. I speak to a lot of folks, writers included, that have this idea that they can somehow please everyone and they will go to great lengths to do so.

You can’t. It isn’t possible. And this is one of those times not to engage in the dippy over clichéd mantras like: “Can’t is a four letter word!” or “Nothing is impossible, unless you believe it is.” When taking others into consideration, do not try to use these witty idioms to keep you thinking that.

But what if they (readers, publishers, agents, etc) don’t like it?

I have one thing to say. Who gives a fuck!

Now, that may seem harsh, but I struggled with this concept for years. I was brought up to think that writing was and should always be a hobby. That it was not something that I could make into a career. A ‘career’ required two, and only two things: a good education, and a good job. In order to get a ‘good job’, the ‘good education’ was a pre-requisite. Well, I have a ‘good education’ and I’ve had jobs that were ‘good’, but never ‘good enough’. The funny thing is, in every job, I’ve had to use writing skills in some shape or form. When getting my ‘good education’, I had to use my writing skills more than some ‘writers’. In fact, many times, I wrote stories to get my points across when major papers or tests came up. A venue that proved very successful, I might add. (I did graduate cum laude from my Master’s program.) I’m not interested in impressing you, but impressing upon you that for much of my life, I have received praise for writing stories.

On the other hand, I have been rejected on numerous occasions when trying to get my stories published, including a nice little one from Lucas Licensing that said they would not read, much less consider, anyone who didn’t have a Nebula or Hugo award for the first novel I wrote. Man, what a confidence builder that was, working that hard on something only to have it rejected on the basis of not having an oft coveted award. I probably should have quit.

At any rate, my point is this. It took a long time, but somewhere along the road I naturally came to the statement I made earlier.

I don’t give a fuck!

Some people are going to like, even love, what I write, and some people are not. Period. And I am not interested in changing my writing style to get them to. Does that mean I am a great writer? Not necessarily, because, like I said earlier, I am my biggest critic, and I work at making it better every time I put words to ‘paper’. But I do know that I’m a good writer.

And if you are a writer, you should know that, too. And realize this. You can always be better. Will you be a best seller? I don’t know. Will you have a successful writing career? I don’t know.

You see, to me, writing is something that I have done regardless of confidence. By continually writing, and improving my writing, confidence became a byproduct backed by choice.

So, if you don’t have confidence in your writing. Welcome to the club. Keep writing. Keep improving. Keep writing.

And never place your confidence in the hands of others!