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Unorthodox Writing Tips 17: Turn the TV on!

I won’t lie. There are times when I just love so sit and watch television. I did so tonight while I ate dinner. I watched the Big Bang Theory (still the funniest show on television), Two and a Half Men (I don’t know why I still watch this show), and The Soup (gotta watch this show). Then I sat and watched VH1 Behind the Music remastered: Ted Nugent.

Now I know I need to be writing. I get that. But there are times when watching a little quality television will help you. Personally I can feel my brains being sucked out the side of my head during certain shows that I won’t name here, but there are some good shows on. What do I look for in a shows? I’m glad you asked.

I love to watch the Big Bang Theory for several reasons. One being a major geek I love to see all the references they drop in there. Sure, that’s fun, but the interaction between the characters on the show is so natural that I’ve often said “Oh! That reminds of <insert person’s name here>.” To me that’s what makes a great show when you can relate to the characters and see bits of yourself or your friends in there and to see interaction that flows naturally instead of looking rehearsed and forced.

Two and a Half Men used to be really funny. Why? Because the main character was Charlie who basically played a caricature (ok, not really) of himself. This made the show really funny because you could see Charlie Sheen doing something like that. I’m sorry, but without Charlie Sheen the show just isn’t as funny because Ashton’s character isn’t real enough to be funny.

There are some reality shows I like to watch. One on tonight is Gold Rush. This show I like because I like most of the people on the show. I’ve been able to tell when they’ve had to reshoot a scene and there have been times when you can tell people are hamming it up for the camera, but there are a lot of times when people are just themselves. This is true for some reality shows, not all.

Even beyond that, I love to watch a good documentary. There is so much information and it’s interesting to see differing viewpoints on how something happens.It doesn’t matter if it’s about the pyramids of Egypt, China, Ancient Aliens, How it’s Made, I love a good documentary now and again. Just to fill my head with information on a wide variety of topics.

I’ve watched all the Metallica documentary videos (a couple times each) and there were many issues reported in the news and speculation as to what went down or how it went down, but to see it actually happen on camera is great. To see people who are held up as stars act like regular people at one moment and like a super start the next really broke down what the members of the band were about.

So where am I going with watching television? It’s a way to be voyeuristic and see how people interact with each other. To see what are they wearing, what’s in the background, how do they hold themselves, all the things I’ve been talking about here for weeks you can do watching television. You can combine all that people watching into a good viewing.

Don’t just watch the story playing out before you. Think ahead. Where are they going with that joke? Did you see that prop they were about to use before the used it? On the reality show, does it look like they waited for the camera to show up before they took care of something or did it look natural? How do the characters on the show hold up to your expectations?

Apply something you see in a television show into your writing. Perhaps write a reality short story where you show a scene, then have the characters talk about it after the fact as to how they really felt versus how they acted in the moment. Write a short story based on an episode of a show you watched and write an alternate ending. Create a new world and drop in someone you saw that you thought was interesting and see how they react to the world you created. Take a speech pattern of a charter and see how your character sounds in your head talking like that.

There are many exercises you can apply to your television viewing. Don’t just veg out and watch things happen. Think ahead while you watch. Store all that in your brain and see when you need to write a scene and you’re stuck, draw from that wealth of knowledge in your head and bring that scene to life.

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

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Daily Update: Things happen when you’re not looking

I now have two secret projects I cannot talk about yet. There is a lot going on behind the scenes that once I can talk about them, you’ll be just as excited as I am about them. Even though I won’t always post about everything I’m doing (or I’ll repeat myself from time to time) doesn’t mean new things aren’t happening.

Writing: Didn’t happen much last night. Okay, happened very little in fact. I intend to correct that tonight. My favorite daughter had volleyball practice last night so that ate into my writing time. I also spent some time with the wife because it was, after all, Valentine’s. The rest of my writing time was eaten up by discussing a certain project that will come to light in the near future.

Action Pack: Mike Plested has written up the promo. Now it’s just a matter of recording and producing it. All three of us will have parts and from the initial ideas we had, it’s going to be awesome. Heck, from what I’ve read from the other two stories, the entire Action Pack will be filled with awesome! I hope you’ll be there to join us. I’ve been bugging Dan Dan the Art Man and he assures me I’ll have my cover graphic tonight. I should have my page up over on the web site tomorrow.

More Writing: I’m going to try for a few days in a row of 2000 words of fiction. Why? I need to get caught up and/or ahead of my writing goal and I have a couple very hot projects that I need to get under way. I’ve been way too lax with my writing (in my own opinion) and even though I’ve been blogging daily, I haven’t been writing fiction daily. I need to correct that.

Jack Kane: Edits are under way and plotting of the second book are also under way. This is a fun story and the sequel is mapping out to also be a lot of fun to write. Jack, Betsy, Felonious and his minions, are all great characters and just easy to write. Mike Plested and I are having too much fun and I can’t wait until this falls into the hands of readers.

Distractions: I’ve been distracted by Ancient Aliens and not because I subscribe to their belief, but because I find their point of view fascinating. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, it’s easy to poke holes in any theory, faith, belief. I never try to argue with what another person believes because faith and belief are personal. I just like to observe and from that observation, a billion story ideas come bursting forth. *note, I used to argue with people’s faith but once someone says “I believe…” the argument is over because facts no longer play a part in the argument. #justsaying. I find it best to listen, insert comments, and avoid confrontation. It never ends pretty.

More Distractions: I’m not a big TV watcher. There are a few shows I love. Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men (not so much with the loss of Charlie), Gold Rush (what? You’re not watching this show?), Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, and that’s about it. I’m not big on any on going series and will usually pick up a show once it’s run its life. Like the aforementioned Ancient Aliens. I used to watch any Sci Fi shows on TV, but got frustrated with half a season or one open ended season and then nothing. So I stopped putting effort into anything else TV has to offer. For now, I’m directing that energy back into writing.

Speaking of writing.

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Daily Update: Oscliations

So I’ve gone back and forth on a number of issues, but first.

I want to welcome all the new readers to the blog. I know you’re out there. I’ve seen the increase in traffic and thank you for the comments. I think you’re all awesome and I love each and every one of you. I mean, really, you’re great.

First issue that’s gone back and forth in my head is regarding sputtery truck. It’s pretty much dead at this point. Well, it’ll start, but only under duress. I’ve not turned it on for over a week and a half. The choice isn’t an easy one. Replace the head gasket and hope that nothing else has gone wrong that I’ll be replacing at a later time or replace the engine. Obviously one is more expensive than the other. After weighing all the options the wife and I decided that it’d be best to go ahead and spend the extra money to get a new engine. Head Gasket jobs cost around $1500. A good friend of mine found a person willing to do the entire engine job for $1900 (that includes the engine). With over 110,000 miles on the vehicle and overheating problems, it just seems like the best option at this time. It’ll hurt, but it’s needed.

The other thing I’ve been going back and forth with is getting back to walking. The pain in my lower legs has gone from annoying to excruciating. I’ve felt good one day, can’t walk down the stairs the next. It’s highly distracting. Suffice to say, I’ve not walked and the good thing is it’s bothering me not to walk. I know once this pain is gone (likely with the rain) I’ll be back out there, just slower. I’ve been doing weight workouts, but I know I need to do some cardio as well.

Writing has been going well. I’m still ahead of schedule with my word count for the year. That makes me happy. I should be ready to toss out the first short story in the Of Gnomes and Dwarves universe by the end of the week. I’m really excited about that. Dan Dan sent me the cover image. I’m SUPER excited about that, but you’ll have to wait a few more days before you get to see it. It’s awesome!

I keep listening to my music for the Action Pack podcast. I still love it. It’ll fit perfectly with the tone of the story.

Speaking of story, I’ve been going back and forth writing on To Fall From the Sky and Gold Rush (still a tentative title). I’m having a blast writing each.

Speaking of writing, tonight I meet with Mike Plested (and maybe Scott Roche) to talk Jack Kane (edits and sequel) and the Action Pack. Life is busy, exciting, and awesome! It takes a lot to get me down. I’ve been a little down, but watch out once I get this sputtery truck issue behind me.

Until tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Daily Update: New Shoes

Today I’m about to head out the door and get a new pair of shoes. I tried walking in the old pair I had and they’re terrible. They’re tight, stiff, and just plain uncomfortable. So I’m off to go buy new shoes. Something I haven’t done for myself in a very long time.

See, I’m a flip-flop wearer. I hate the feeling of shoes on my feet. If I don’t have to wear shoes at all I’ll be barefoot in a heart beat. I don’t really even like socks.

But I’ve now learned that walking in flip-flops isn’t doing my feet, my legs, or my pace any good. My feet hurt when I’m done. My shins ache (at least the sharp pain is going away) and I can’t walk as quickly as I’d like as my feet sweat I slip and I’ve gotten blisters on my feet.

So today it’s off to get new shoes.

On the writing front, yesterday was a wash. I did get a blog post up, and recorded an episode of Get Published with my friend Mike Pested. I didn’t actually get any WIP writing done, though. Will I do so today? I’m not sure at this point. I’m off to get new shoes. After that I’ll be at another friend’s house (also named Mike) working on my truck. After that I’ll probably end up at another friend’s house (not named Mike) where our wives will be doing hair and making dinner. We did the same thing last night (minus the doing of hair) and didn’t get home until after midnight.

I did plan on getting up early, but my wife and I stayed up watching Gold Rush. I hate to love that show because so much goes wrong, but I’ve found inspiration in their perspiration. Seeing so many things go wrong has really fueled my work on my own Gold Rush story (a western/steampunk).

Well, all these errands aren’t going to run themselves. So I’m going to fire up the truck, sputter off down the road. Get my shoes, fix the sputtering, and hopefully get home before the wife and kid so I can 1) walk and 2) write.

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!