Monday Motivation: Alice in Wonderland and Independence
Motivation Monday / July 4, 2016

Alright. For all of you who celebrate such things, Happy Independence Day if you’re an American. Happy “It’s Just Another Day at the Office” Day to everyone else. I’ll find a way to tie this in shortly. Really. On this date in 1862,  according to the great oracle Bing.com, Alice Liddell, 10, asks Charles Dodgson to tell her a story while they’re boating near Oxford, England. He weaves a tale of a bored little girl who suddenly finds herself down a rabbit hole. Dodgson will later publish ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland‘ under his pen name, Lewis Carroll. So what does that have to do with me (or you)? Alice in Wonderland was one of my inspirations to become a writer in the first place. The crazy cast of characters, the improbable (yet somehow believable) circumstances, and the wry, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor all appealed to me. Couple that with its ability to reach children and adults alike and I was hooked. Of course, the trick with any motivating work is to give tribute without plagiarism. It’s much like America getting its freedom from Great Britain: you keep some things from the Mother Country, but you work very hard at making…

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Losing My Motivation
A to Z Blog Challenge / April 14, 2016

I write parody songs. I have quite a few in my wheelhouse, in fact. Today, since I am still lacking the motivation to write anything truly useful, I thought I’d at least spawn an Ear Worm. Ohhh, to write is bigger It’s bigger than myself And it’s not easy To show and to not tell it And I want to cry Oh no, I’ve failed too much Have I failed enough? That’s me with the laptop That’s me on the internet Losing motivation Trying to keep my plot intact And I don’t know if I can do it Oh no, I’ve played too much I haven’t played enough. I thought I could write forever I thought I could write bestsellers I thought my words could make men cry. Every chapter Of every single scene I’m Losing my conviction That this is something I can do Like the words have all fled my soul Oh no, I said too much I failed to set it up. Rewording this Rewording this The novel is writing me Rewording this This book has Brought me to my knees What if all my fantasies aren’t Good to go around? Now I’ve cut too much. I’d rather…

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Kidding Around is Pretty Serious
A to Z Blog Challenge / April 13, 2016

I’m known for my comedy. Humor is my wheelhouse. Most of what I write is pretty lighthearted. But I think humor writers, in some ways, have the harder task: we have to tackle reality with laughter instead of with pitchforks. It can be trying. In my soon-to-be-released book, Beta Beware, DJ has to deal with religion in terms of how the Figments see it: “So you never have to do something in real life you don’t want?” Shiv asked. DJ slapped at his hand before he could pat her head. She wasn’t sure if he was trying to console her, but she didn’t like it. “Well, of course. That’s called being responsible. My kids call it ‘adulting’. But no one is making me.” Eric put a finger to his nose. “Not as far as you remember. But what if all those times you adult someone is moving the pieces to make a move? What if you really have no choice in the matter?” DJ was starting to really miss the snarky game text. At least she knew how to deal with it. “Then I don’t see what the purpose would be in trying. I believe in free will. If my…

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
A to Z Blog Challenge / April 11, 2016

Art imitates life. No, wait. That’s not what I meant to say. I imitate art. Probably a little more accurate. There’s some snobbery in the writing community about having your own voice. Don’t get me wrong: I do not approve of plagiarizing. However, there’s a huge difference between plagiarizing and using something for inspiration. Art students often start by mimicking the Masters. Musicians frequently try to copy their idols (why else would American Idol have made it through fifteen seasons?). When writers try out another writer’s voice, though, there’s generally some outrage. “Fan fiction is bad!” “Writing like someone else is bad!” “Bad. Bad! BAD!” Bah humbug. Copying a writer’s voice, like anything else, is how you learn. Sometimes, it’s how you make a living, especially if you’re a satirist or write parody. There are writers who make really good money as ghost writers learning to copy someone’s voice. But there should be limits. Use copying someone’s voice to a humorous effect. Parody is generally considered fair use (although I’m not a lawyer and the Figment lawyers hate me, so they wouldn’t give me any advice). Use copying someone else’s voice for practice. Whether you write fan fiction or flat-out…