Monthly Archives: June 2013

Smile — Failure Doesn’t Exist

FaceOfFailure

 

 

Thomas Edison once said about his many attempts at inventing a commercially viable light bulb: “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” Source – Hyperhistory.net

Thomas Edison was the fourth most prolific inventor of all time. In his 84 years, he held 1,093 patents. He was not a man of failure, but a man of success.

Is not writing a successful book much the same? “I have not failed lo those many times at writing a successful book. I have succeeded in knowing that those books did not sell. When I have learned my craft well enough, my books will succeed” – The Successful Writer

Here is my formula for writing a successful and popular book:

Step 1: Smile while you write and believe.

Step 2:  Smile while you believe and learn.

Step 3:  Smile while you learn and apply.

Step 4:  Smile while you apply and succeed.

Let us never forget — writing is fun!

 

The Black Hole Theory

Where only meaning exists.

Where only meaning exists.

Can you imagine existing in a black hole, in such denseness that light can’t escape?

A well written thought strikes me as similar: The idea is presented in such conciseness that nothing exists but its meaning. Confusion, vagueness and misinterpretation are crushed in the strength of the presentation, conveying reality alone.

It’s a neat metaphor, one that I contemplate often when I write.

A black hole pulls in matter to never allow it to escape.

A well written thought pulls in the reader to never allow him or her to escape.

A well written book is a galaxy of black holes, where the only escape is to finish every thought.

Write with the attraction of a black hole and watch your readership expand and not contract.

Shoop!

Bang!

Title Anyone?

What's in a title other than letters?

What’s in a title other than letters?

Some people say creating a book title is hard work. I say it depends on the writer’s method.

Many writers slave over a book outline, describing every character, every chapter, and often every scene. Thus a title for them is likely tedious.

For me, the book finds its title when its concept is well grounded. Of course, a title should use certain elements, like tone, expectation and interest. But breaking the brain over what works best isn’t my idea of fun. Here’s an example: Salem Street.

But what does Salem Street say? Does it suggest a thriller, science-fiction or a romance? Maybe Salem Street is a romance, because it sounds homey and inviting.

Perhaps the writer intends a story with lots of conflict between rivaling housewives, creating the title Salem Street Witches. Here intrigue suggests witch trials, brutal judgment and burnings at the stake.

Next I offer something quirky like A Knuckle for Your Thoughts. Here we have a play on words, mimicking “A nickel for your thoughts”. In this title, the word knuckle describes the story. Maybe it refers to a man who finds boxing more appealing than running his father’s business.

What’s essential is that a title must describe the book. To me, this is important, because a misleading title is counterproductive. That’s why I create a title first, imagine the plot, outline if necessary and begin to write. Then I use it to stay focused.

Would Sweet Little Kittens describe a story about two orphaned brothers named Black who bounty hunt? Probably not. Is Clan of Black more appropriate? Probably. Point is, whether you write first and create a title, or create a title and then write, the title must serve as the backbone of the story.

With this said, a new title has suddenly popped into my head: Say No More.

No Leaks Allowed

Perfect plane. No leak anywhere.

Perfect plane. No leak anywhere.

A perfect sentence and a perfect golf swing are similar — no leaks allowed.

Here’s what I mean:

A perfect golf swing requires smooth motion, precise angles, solid impact and a liquid follow-through.

A perfect sentence is smooth, precise, solid and imparts concise understanding.

What is a faulty golf swing?

A faulty golf swing displays awkward motion, imprecise angles, off-center impact, resulting in defective ball flight and reduced distance.

A faulty sentence reads awkward, imprecise, missing its point, resulting in wrong meaning and poor understanding.

A perfect golf swing is perfect.

A perfect sentence is perfect.

Learn how to write like a professional golfer swings and your sentences will stay on point and accurate.

 

Rev The Engine…

Grrumm ... grrumm ... grrumm...

Vroom … vroom … vroom…

 

Yesterday came and went a downer. Best I managed was to edit and post an addition to a former post Let’s Write a Story added by author Christi Mone Marie (www.christimonemarie.com). I guess the fuel tank neared empty and the engine could never run long enough to heat up.

With some rest and maintenance, I started the engine today and it rumbled alive and glows from the heat of high rpms.

Sometimes engines need a rest. Sometimes their tanks need refilled. Sometimes they need lubrication.

All that accomplished, the satisfying blatting of a well maintained engine makes me happy, because I can sail again to my many ports of call.

If the engine wishes to rest, allow it.

I can count on it firing up and off I go again.

Vroom

 

Fear, The Master of Failure

The faucet best turned off.

The faucet best turned off.

 

I remember my first nighttime parachute jump when I trained for Special Forces in the U.S. Army.

The night was windy and overcast. No stars for orientation, no moon for light.

The Jumpmaster screamed for us to stand and turn toward the open door of the low-flying C-130 that transported us to our drop zone. We hooked our static lines to the jump cable, buddy-checked each others’ parachutes and the moment arrived. No time for fear. No use for it. Only thing useful was clear thinking.

“Go!” came the command and I shuffled forward and leapt into the night.

Prop wash and wind spun me out of control. The C-130 deployed us in a small drop zone from a paltry 800 feet — little time to think, less time to react.

I grabbed the straps to my parachute and yanked them apart with all my strength. My body cork-screwed. I tried to acquire the ground but saw nothing but darkness. I released my rucksack and started to assume the parachute landing position when the ground slammed me silly.

I lay on my back stunned — no time for fear. I took quick inventory of my body — no grueling pain, just a horrible ringing in my ears from the awful impact. I released my parachute, gathered it, elbowed into my rucksack and ran for cover. It took me over 15 minutes to find the first member of my Green Beret Team.

“My gawd, what a nightmare!” I said and told him my story.

“I know. I never saw the ground either.”

We set off to find our rally point.

When we arrived we learned from our team leader that we had been lucky.

“Jacobs broke his leg,” our captain said. “Had to be medevaced. Harding and Blaylock crashed into the trees and tore themselves up pretty bad. You okay?”

“Never knew what hit me?” my team member said.

I groaned before answering. “Never even got into position.”

“Loose as a goose when you hit?” the captain asked.

“Yes, sir,” we both said.

“Lucky. No time to panic. Probably saved you both serious injuries.”

I couldn’t blame the Special Forces Officer Course. I volunteered for the training.

Lesson learned?

Keep the faucet of fear turned off.

 

Truth

Deceit slays truth! Truth slays deceit! Which is enemy.

Deceit slays truth! Truth slays deceit! Which is foe?

Truth is a friend — and a friend is always welcome at my table.

I invited Truth to sit before writing a single sentence.

Truth has listened to my thoughts, read my words and digested my meaning to never pass judgment.

Truth does not insist I not lie.

Truth does not insist I not plagiarize.

Truth does not insist on my perfection.

Truth is my friend.

And only insists that the bread be leavened with integrity.