The power of TK

For example, you’re writing along and hit a note that isn’t important to the plot or anything that is a detail that does need to be added in. Instead of stopping to figure it out, or research it, you write something like “He jumped into the [TK make/model of car] and slammed the door shut.” The ‘TK’ is a somewhat statistically improbable letter combination, so you can, in draft, just do a find for TK and work your way through in a later draft fixing little things.

Read more over at

There has been a huge discussion over on LiveJournal about race and cultural appropriation, and one thing I’ve noticed is people saying, “Well, if I just wrote about [what they are], then it would be boring!”

Which made me laugh, because none of the things they put in the brackets sounded boring at all … unless they wrote mainstream, which puts me to sleep.

Seems to me that writing about what you know about, with a bit of tweaking to make it not exactly you, might be just what you need.

Take Tobias Buckell, for example. He grew up in the Caribbean. If he had said, “I can’t write about what I know, that would be boring!” then his whole damn freaking awesome series wouldn’t have come about.

Now I know what you’re thinking: the Caribbean is WAY cooler than, say, Hoboken or Seattle or Dallas. But no, it isn’t. Because if you honestly write what those places and people are like, someone from somewhere else is going to find that interesting.

And Tobias didn’t just write about Caribbean people. He wrote about Caribbean people in SPACE, with aliens and immortals and interstellar wars and blowing shit up.

If he had written it mainstream … well you see where I’m going here.

(apologies to mainstream writers … it’s just not my thing)

I say this as I prepare a story set in the Los Angeles basin. Just so happens it’s in the future. Most of the LA basin is underwater due to global warming, gangs run the place, and our heroine is wheedled into working for a guy obsessed with finding his way off Earth.

But it’s LA, I grew up around there, and I’ve driven that damn basin so many times I could practically do it blindfolded. That doesn’t mean someone might not be interested in what it might be like, a hundred or so years from now. Especially if it involves blowing things up. 🙂

So the adage to write what you know still seems right on.

I just started lesson five on the How to Think Sideways class (lesson six is up but I’ve been slow). This lesson … mind-blowing. If you can imagine tapping into your subconscious for all the things that motivate you, then putting THAT into your writing on a conscious level … it’s incredible.

I have two great ideas for stories from lesson 4, but I’m going with the SF one (any surprise?) because I can do a better job on this without a ton of research — I’ll need some (know someone who curses in Chinese?) but it’s set in Los Angeles and that’s a place I already know.

Click the box at the top of the sidebar on the right there for more information on the course, or you’re welcome to ask about it. I’ve gotten my money’s worth already and I still have the rest of the year to go.

Daily routines of notable people

I have trouble relating to the whole “gotta write fiction every day” thing. But I do have a routine.

I get up at 6 am on school days, make breakfast, then check email until the kids are ready for school, then after getting home, do whatever I am doing that day, usually at the computer starting around 9 or so, with breaks for housework, yard work, and tending to the animals.

I write (blog, journal, whatever) every day. It’s part of who I am.

But I can’t write fiction every day.

The desire to write fiction seems to come during warm months these days, but I never know when it’s going to happen. But an idea will come that I have to write, and I can’t NOT work on it. I have been known to work for eight or ten hours on a story a day for days straight when it happens, and not feel stressed about it at all. It’s fun.

Then I can go months without a single story happening.

If I don’t have an idea, it seems stupid to waste time sitting at a blank page. I just go read in that case, and sooner or later I’m blogging somewhere.

This lady seems to agree with me (very funny, safe for work):

One thing that struck me about this video is the idea of creativity coming from the divine, taking the pressure off a person to BE a genius rather than CHANNEL the genius.

Now if only I could get this genius thing to edit better …

I haven’t put in a plug for my deviantART community, Fifty Word Fiction, in a while, but if you have any interest in microfiction, stop by. Mostly what it is involves getting people to write very short stories, which the ‘deviations’ link to. Some people use the site for prompts as well, for longer works.

Hope to see you over there! Joining deviantART is free (but you can read without joining, too).

Anyone done hosting with GoDaddy? I got this bitchin’ idea for a website.

I’m rather pleased that I have an idea for NaNoWriMo this year! The basic premise is ‘pandemic in space’.

And that’s all you’re getting.

I’m such a tease.

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