How to Write After Facing Rejection from a Publishing Company

Writers can face many rejections through their careers, such as rejection from a publishing company, a book not selling as well as an author thought it would, or even disapproval from friends and family. Sometimes writers may get discouraged from these rejections, but none of these should stir that writer away from writing what they have to write. It’s fine to get discouraged, but perseverance is key. But how does a writer do that when they’re told by a publishing company, “We just didn’t connect with the material?” Let me break that down for you.

J.K. Rowling is by far one of the most prolific writers who ever lived. Harry Potter is beloved by millions and has garnered billions of dollars in revenue not only for her, but for her publisher as well. However, Rowling was rejected 12 times before she finally found a publisher who would take a chance on her, an unpublished author at the time. And even though she was broke, that didn’t stop her. She had the passion to continue her project that they thought was nothing more than a joke. The publishers didn’t think that a young boy with a wand and a fat man with long hair and a beard could succeed in a book. And with her endless perseverance, all it took was one yes. Afterwards, Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling became household names. She faced the pain and didn’t let it stop her, just as your pain and failures shouldn’t stop you.

Publishing companies are shrewd. There are only so many books that they can accept, and that number is no where near the amount of submissions they receive. That shouldn’t discourage you as there are alternative routes that writers can take, such as self-publishing. Maybe this route won’t give you the millions you dream of making, but if it gets your work of art in front of a reader, it is a success. I have been an Independent writer for most of my writing career, and I have faced criticism from those who have read my books. That it is a part of writing. I heard somewhere before, whether they criticize you or compliment you, you are doing something right. It means they are giving your work attention. 

The most important thing is to not let rejection stop you. Write anyway. Use the frustration and let it fuel your writing. Instead of feeling down and depressed that your work hasn’t been accepted, keep writing anyway. All it takes is one ‘yes.’ And if not, self-publish. For more tips on writing, check out my audiobook, Your Writing: Tips on Making Your Amazon Kindle Book Great, narrated by Chiquito Joaquim Crasto.  It is a short audiobook on the process of making a Kindle book, which is a good start in writing an independent book.

Don’t get discouraged by a publishing rejection; writers have many options besides big publishers. And remember that the most successful writers never walked away from their passion, no matter how hard life got for them.

Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’: More Of The Same Meh

With a fresh viewing of Zack Snyder’s film in mind, the overall impression is that it is better than the original. A little bit better, not enough to make any lasting impression. By the time someone does another cut of this film, it will be all new to me again.

Source: Warner Bros

My memories of the first cut of Justice League were bits and pieces of fighting and Wonder Woman. She is still the highlight of both films. Her presence prevented the ho-hum stuff between the opening and closing credits from getting to me.

THE GOOD STUFF There’s a lot of good storytelling. We get more character depth than it’s possible to get in a 90-minute film. It’s good to finally see Darkseid in the flesh. As the DC version of Thanos, he has enough menace to be someone I look forward to in the next installment of Justice League. The plot has been rearranged, and it makes a lot more sense now. Wonder Woman and Aquaman are the stand-out characters, as is Alfred the butler.

THE BAD STUFF There’s still not a lot here to get excited about. The overall arc of the film plods along, with no coherent sense of continuity. Pacing is choppy, and the film never really gets momentum to take off. It is a four-hour film, but it could be eight hours, and it still wouldn’t be much better than the original film.

The problems are with the entire DC Universe setup. It tried to outdo Marvel. DC made films that they thought would be exciting and fill theaters, but with no future design. No planning was done to create a coherent whole as Marvel did to perfection. We had no introduction films for Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, or Cyborg before the original film’s release. Contrast that to Marvel, where we had movies for Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and Captain America before The Avengers came out.

The second glaring problem with the DC Universe is the horrible lack of character continuity between films. Batman is a cold killing machine in Batman vs. Superman but is a chummy guy with a sense of humor here in Justice League. Wonder Woman has apparently forgotten that she can fly, having learned to do so 30 years before the Justice League‘s setting. I’m not thrilled by The Flash or Cyborg as characters. They’re second-tier characters and not in the same league as Batman. With the fate of the world at stake, are these the best you can come up with? No spoilers, but there are characters in this film who could have lent a hand and just couldn’t be bothered, I guess. And who likes Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? I’ll say nobody does and leave it there.

THE UGLY STUFF It’s not epic in any way you can define epic. This film never gets near epic in scope. The characters are not engaging and bland, except for Wonder Woman and Aquaman. The conversations have no flavor, no character context. You could take all of the dialogue and give the lines to different characters, and it will still sound the same. Nobody is in a hurry to stop the bad guys. They stand around talking about how bad things can get unless they do something, and sooner or later, they get up and do a little something. And don’t get me started on that epilogue.

RATINGS I gave Joss Whedon’s Justice League a 5 out of 10. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a 6 out of 10. Not enough has been added to make it much better than the 2017 film. Something is still missing from the DC Universe that keeps it from competing with Marvel. For me, it’s the characters. They’ve never been as interesting as those at Marvel. I just don’t care much about them, and that’s fatal for a film franchise.

How to Write When You Have Bipolar Disorder?

With moods of happiness and anger and other mood swings associated with bipolar disorder, writing can be difficult. This is because people with bipolar disorder can act on impulse. Things like this can be intimidating, disorienting. Such as writing something without thinking that is threatening. This can alert the local authorities to knock at your door under the suspicion that you or someone else may be in danger, which leads you to more trouble just because of your writing. 
Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

So after spending time in the hospital or in jail (depending on the severity of your words), how do you make a comeback and gain confidence in writing again? How do you know what is okay to write and what is not? You know you were manic and you feel bad that you wrote such a thing and now you are afraid to write again and show it to the public. What do you do when you may have lost your job over something you might have said in a blog or article? 

First, don’t panic; it’s not the end of the world. You may need to start journaling more for yourself and not to posting your thoughts if you are angry. You might regret what you once wrote and think you’ll never write again, but this is a phase. This is why you may need to journal and not put everything out there to the public. If anything, it could save you from further damage along the way. Journaling is a good thing, especially if you are ready to go hysterical and threaten someone. Some things are best left unsaid. 
Then you are going to need to ask yourself: would I say this in public or would someone want to hear it? Also, will someone find what you wrote offensive? 
These are questions you want to ask yourself. The initial impulse may seem good at the time, but as I said, it may backfire. It is best to use discretion. Another thing: when you are writing, it’s best to ask your friends for help. Not everything is perfect and will often need editing. You may come across in a certain way in your writing that could leave a negative impression. An editor will help you polish things up and keep you from offending anyone. Especially a demographic that may be isolated. An editor can turn you from a hysteric psychopath into a sincere writer with strong concerns, as well as showing you some mistakes and save you from public embarrassment! And an editor can counsel you or help spot something when your writing takes a manic turn. 
Having bipolar disorder may not be working in your favor if you are a writer. I have bipolar disorder, and I am a writer. I have made one too many mistakes and gotten in trouble with my writing. Even if you don’t have bipolar disorder, it’s a good idea to monitor yourself before hitting Publish on your posts. Some people have lost their jobs, gone to the hospital, or even went to jail with something written in a blog or an email. 
Use techniques such as journaling and seek the advice of an editor. They will help you out. It is better to prevent mistakes before they happen. And if you do make a mistake, don’t worry about it. It is not the end of the world. You will gain your confidence back. And the next question to ask is how to get your confidence back again especially when it has taken a hit in social media. If you are a writer this next blog will help you prepare if your self-esteem has sunk after an unfavorable post. How do you build your esteem up again?

The Twitter #WritersLift: A Good Idea Gone Bad

The #WritersCommunity on Twitter tends be to a fairly supportive place for independent authors like me. If I’m ever looking for inspiration, or advice, or just a friendly person to talk to, I know that I can search the hashtag and find exactly what I’m looking for in just a few minutes. One thing, however, that is prevalent with independent authors on Twitter is the #WritersLift, and it’s a low point for the community.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

If you’re unfamiliar with the #WritersLift, the idea behind it is to help raise the visibility of smaller creators, such as those who have a small following, or are just getting started. On the surface, it seems innocuous, and even a little helpful. It works like this: an author will post something on Twitter along the lines of “Hey, #WritingCOmmunity! It’s time for a #WritersLift! Post your #WIP (short for “work in progress”) or links to your books, blogs, or whatever! Share and follow those you find interesting!”

Like I said, it’s innocuous and even meant to be helpful. However, I’ve seen too many authors use this as a way to boost their follower numbers on Twitter, which dilutes the helpfulness.

While the example I gave above is framed in a way to help other authors, more often than not the tweet is worded, “I’m close to *insert follower number milestone* so it’s time for a #WritersLift!” Many authors treat the Writers Lift as selfishly and self-servingly as possible. It’s not about lifting other writers; it’s about lifting their own follower count.

Gaining followers is the end goal for most of these Writers Lifts. To accomplish this, users follow as many people as they can in the hopes they receive a follow back. By the end of it, these accounts have 10,000 followers, but are also following 10,000 or more accounts. In my experience, following 1,000 accounts makes Twitter difficult to use; at that point, there are so many messages coming in every second that it’s hard to follow along, so following a timeline of 10,000 people would make my brain explode. Sure, Twitter has tools to allow users to curate their feeds, like the ability to create lists of specific users which will show a timeline of only their tweets. But how many partakers of #WritersLift will take the time to do that? More than likely, the person following 10K Twitter users is simply turning off the tweets of each person they follow by muting them. So sure, while a new author may have just picked up 10 new followers from a #WritersLift, they’ll be lucky if only 1 of them continues to see their tweets.

I’ve also noticed that many of the authors who regularly do #WritersLifts constantly talk about being put in Twitter Jail. When they refer to “Twitter Jail,” they’re speaking of the limits that Twitter places on following other users and number of tweets sent in a certain time frame. You know, Twitter’s implementations to reduce spam on the platform. Now, I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 and I have never once, in that 11 years, had any aspect of my account locked for any reason. I’m also not trying to follow 1,000 users each hour in the hope that 500 of them will follow me back. For so many authors to be restricted in that manner, it shows that many of their actions are spammy, and is that really what you want on your timeline?

Too many people think that Follower count is a measure of how successful someone is on Twitter, and while in some way that’s true, but the real measure is engagement. It’s easy enough to get followers on Twitter; there are numerous websites where someone can buy followers for their account. This WordStream article actually outlines the pros and cons of buying followers and even links to some websites that make it possible. 

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

But purchased followers and #WritersLifts don’t create engagement, they only inflate numbers. You’re not going to sell your book to another struggling author that followed you back after you followed them on a whim because you saw their name in a #WritersLift thread. Just like you won’t buy that person’s book for the same reason. But you are more likely to sell a book to someone whom you’ve engaged with, someone you’ve had a conversation with, joked with, exchanged pleasantries with, because they see what kind of person you are, like how you spoke to them, and now they want to support you.

“But that’s impossible to do with 10,000 people,” you’re shouting at me through the screen. Yeah, it is. You can’t reach out to 10,000 people individually in order to sell books to each one. But you can be real on Twitter and let them see what kind of person you are. Instead of only tweeting links of your books and blogs in long reply chains of every #WritersLift you see, maybe talk a bit about what’s on your mind. Share or ask for writing advice (you can even use #WritingAdvice when you do so). Delve into your own writing process: how you outline, create characters, get past writer’s block. Whatever! But just talk about something other than, “MY BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED!” The constant sales pitch is tiresome and will get you muted on most people’s accounts.

And if you are following someone who does not add anything to your Twitter feed, it’s OK to unfollow them. Sure, if they’re a mutual (meaning they also follow you), they’re just as likely to unfollow you in retaliation. That’s fine; it just shows that they had no intention of interacting with you, and that’s the real reason behind social media.

Have I taken part in a Writers Lift before? Yes, of course. Multiple in fact. Does this article coupled with that fact make me a hypocrite? Yeah, probably. At the end of the day, if you choose to still participate in #WritersLift because you want a larger following count, then have at it. You’re not hurting anyone and if it makes you feel better about your social media then good on you. But just be aware that if you go this route to increase your following numbers, it won’t necessarily correlate to an increase in your sales numbers.

How to Face Depression and Keep on Working on a a Writing Project

Imagine being a writer and feeling down all the time and not having the motivation to write. Imagine having a depression that prevents you from doing anything. Writing was something that you enjoy, but you don’t feel like you felt the way you were before. When I faced depression, it was like being stuck in bed for days and not wanting to get out. It was utter misery. I didn’t want to hear from anyone who would have helped me out and I lost interest in my craft. Why does something like this happen where we lose our confidence and stay in depression. How does someone get out of this mess so they can work on their writing project again?

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

There are many reasons why someone can become depressed. It can be a bad situation with a relationship, a work situation, and a family situation. Also, an individual may lose the confidence to write due to negative feedback or criticisms received regarding their writing projects. But let’s focus on the lost confidence. Many times confidence could be lost by looking at a blank screen and you struggle with writing even a single word. It may just be depression settling in because you are fighting against yourself to write those very words. This is the reality for a writer, and it can be crippling. Before you were a writer who could come up with very good storylines and now you are stuck at a blank page.  

How does somebody get their confidence back to do what they love such as writing? There are many steps such as journaling and writing exercises to build your confidence up. For me the exercise of composing this blog series helped me build the confidence I needed to write again. I have struggled recently with my confidence in writing and in other areas of life. It helps me to become a part of something bigger than myself with Joe’s Writers’ Club. 

As for journaling, it helps by getting my thoughts on paper and gives me the structure to release those anxieties. Journaling for me means you can put anything down on the paper and you can map out your thoughts.

Another thing that has helped me so much with my depression was therapy. With therapy you can get your thoughts straight to overcome your fears. Also, it helps give you somebody to talk to who can understand and relate to your problems. It is the same as having a coach who could lead you to embrace your depression. Maybe your therapist or your coach can give you writing exercises to build your confidence up again. I am not a doctor, but going to a therapist may help out. 

Another thing that may help out  is listening to motivational tapes or videos on YouTube. This will help give you strength to gain more confidence. Also, reading some self-help books can help. My favorite authors to read are Jack Canfield, Zig Ziglar, Anthony Robbins, or Brian Tracy. If you find any of your own favorite authors please let me know.

These are some tips that will help someone to face depression. Depression can be a daunting thing, but depression can be dealt with, and you can get your confidence back. Depression can be an ongoing thing throughout life. It can be rough feeling down and not getting the writing satisfaction you need, but a great solution to this problem is having fun with writing exercises which help you think and write again. Sometimes changing strategies can help you to write again.

Paragraphic Rift: Paragraphic Nexus

Now that you have been through JWC Paragraphic Rifts steps 1 through 10, which seeks to examine points of clarity and or obscurity in a text, JWC Paragraphic Nexus looks to focus on those points concerning characters and concepts. This is all building up to something, so bear with all this overview. ; )

At the core of our subject’s cosmic duality lay that which is creative, and that which is adaptive. In the symmetry between these hides various patterns, some camouflaged by mystery, and others so elegant and beautifying that one can scarcely forget them, even if such were desired. Falling from heaven is the muse, the bright cyclical flashing of which leads to a creative obsession. Yet certain things tend to obstruct this process.

Stress is the enemy of creativity and leads to writer’s block, reader’s block, and misdirection in any project that is not due to inexperience, incapacity, or ineptitude. Some factors can be corrected through practice, while others are just drops of the dice. (If you believe in luck) Stress comes from emotionality and manipulation. The many are trying to control the few, or the few seek to lead the many, so that a vision of some sort may be realized for a supposed good.

Instead of submitting to (or tolerating) the primary world’s conditions and seeking a secondary world to simulate and or originate inspirational change, some people wish to weave degrees of control over others.

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Spiders catch flies, and flies get to swing. Feelings are not equal to logic in regard to planning, but oftentimes the former shapes the latter to a damaging degree. Some emotions are profitable in certain situations, but unchecked emotion no matter how seemingly in the right, has its price.

Desire leads to emotionality. Desires unfulfilled lead to hysteria, the rush for moral/principled correction tending toward overreaction. Sometimes violence occurs or personal rights get violated for nothing but a momentary psychosis, rising from an urge to “set things right.”

Freedom and Justice are emotional states of being, not to be bottled or sold, and so long as two people have differing interests in a subject, emotions will run strong with some. The difference between a character’s disposition contrasted by the crisis in their life (or world) can define them, especially when measured by the others rising and falling around them.

What Is Hysteria Culture? = An Emotional Infrastructure

Herd Determined Logic = The Mob

Hysteria is an emotional force born of the need for control, not of one’s own body or deeds but of the body, deeds, mind, and ultimately the spirit of others, this to satisfy a need for vengeful correction. Negativity and apathy tend to warp people a certain way, but not always into abusive or otherwise dominating behavior. Manipulation of space and time marks the hysteric, and pushes others to conform without knowing them personally,

Self Determined Logic = Personal Identity

Zeal is an emotional force born of the need for rightness. Zeal and sacrifice may inspire others to self-correct souls and spirits, and so personal change for the positive or at least to be less negative. Hysteria polarizes people by striking at (or bending) the (will) vital forces in life, while zeal wishes for change benignly but does not demand or rely on tyranny and coercion. Obsessive containment of urges and deeds is the result of discipline or counter discipline, yet restraint or conditioning is seldom enough to endure extreme levels of persecution against one’s identity. Dogmatic Indoctrination or mortal threat can be hard to overcome.

What is Obsession Containment? = An Unemotional Infrastructure

Coping with the zeal and hysteria of others often leads one to either explore the nature of these emotional states in life or to retreat into another life beyond one’s native culture.

Design and evolution factor in this willpower against obsessive containment, as to if or whether the exploration and or retreat is external or internal. Some people embrace the cosmic duality structure while others cast it aside.

If you face hard times or adversity, a crisis will arise and challenge your identity. That is the common ground between fictitious minds and living ones, the notion, and limits of identity clashing in the storm of mortal seasons and eternal destinies. Each person weathers the elements and fights to survive, and so flesh and blood, misery and torment, and the agony of birth, life, death is symmetrical and so able to be recognized.

How much is any character like an author who writes them?

Do they embrace, retreat, or cope with being obsessively contained?

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

The Networking of Minds:

Author’s Identity – Character’s Identity

Conscious Mind – Conscious Mind
X
Subconscious Mind – Subconscious Mind
X
Unconscious Mind – Unconscious Mind

When the weight of the world comes down on your main character’s shoulders, or the child loses a father, a family homestead burns down, a lifestyle is destroyed, and through all of this obsession containment that the story is told. Setbacks, sidetracks, misadventures, and failures might be relatable, just as would triumphs, elevations, or accolades, so long as the reader and writer see the same person in themselves.

As the narrative unfolds the characters unfold, the world blossoms as if springtime comes in time-lapse offering flashes of sunlight, moonlight, and storm. Senses perceive mentalities are linked, awareness is focused, consciousness is explored, all this through the networking of minds.

The Networking of Fictitious Minds:

Author’s Identity – Character’s Identity – Readers Identity

Conscious Mind – Conscious Mind – Conscious Mind
X
Subconscious Mind – Subconscious Mind – Subconscious Mind
X
Unconscious Mind – Unconscious Mind – Unconscious Mind

The networking of fictitious minds IS character development. To simulate character is the goal of every writer of fiction, and someplace more effort or emphasis behind such simulations than others. During a lifetime the reader encounters all sorts of people, some liked, some ignored, but at least a few of these “characters” make a mark of influence on said lifetime. It’s a whirlwind of influence, non-influence, and the subtle twilight of apathy. Caring is the source of honor, the core within every honorable person shines brightly like a noondays sun. Regardless of honor, dishonor, or loyalty, any strong-willed person wishes to feel freedom along with some sense of justice, to follow their bliss, and to have self-determination in accord with a dream they wish to fulfill.

Simulated World = Simulated People

When you enjoy the Intellectual Property of other authors, it is normally because of the world it offers (the fantasy setting) or the various characters. (the fantasy persona) The places and people who are most authentic tend to provide the most relatable characteristics. Those concepts who subtly reveal their ways offer a pace matching “real” encounters, the sort of thing likely or unlikely that might happen.

The fictitious situation being written could be totally fantastical, the setting as far removed from commonplace as an amusement park, and the characters completely alien in form and function, yet if these experiences are properly simulated the spirit or nature of them climbs into the text and completes what the muse started. Creative Obsessers are always interested in going to new places or meeting new people because the raw data arising from the networking of minds needs to happen in order for the collective awareness/consciousness to perfect itself in any work of creative obsession.

There are great shoulders to stand on, so seek formulas for sensual Immersiveness or unique perspective. Such formulas wait to be discovered in all the great works of literature, offering many experiences of being surrounded by intense revelations, if they be jump scares, injections of the chaotic random, or the stalking dread of exploring a harrowing elsewhere. Experience is the key to it all, and represents the very heart of the matter, an infinite door opening or shutting on elsewhere.

Revelations beyond common experiences, and moreover beyond human or earthly experience, focus the way a character copes with themselves under stress. Character is the style of emphasis, so what does the character focus on? In that focus waits the knowns and unknowns and the relatable thoughts, feelings, and reasons behind how a character behaves.

Photo by Sara Cottle on Unsplash


Levels of Emerson: Knowns and Unknowns

1: Environmental Index: exposure vs. shelter

Elemental = storm, inferno, deluge, quake

What are the Knowns and unknowns in the story’s setting?

2: Reality Index: immersion vs. dump shock

Sensorium = sights, tastes, stinks, noise, textures, oblivion

What are the Knowns and unknowns in the character’s mind?

3: Vibrational Index: static vs. fluid

Vibe = blissful, dreamy, empty, spooky, creepy, incubus

What are the Knowns and unknowns in the character’s heart?

4: Mentality Index: glass full vs. glass empty

Cultural = life, death, charity, atrocity, money, no money

What are the Knowns and unknowns in the character’s attitude?

5: Regional Index: sympathy vs. apathy

Origins = Xenophobe / Xenophile

What are the Knowns and unknowns in the character’s territory?

6: Terminal Index: living vs. dying

Religion = God / no God

What are the Knowns and unknowns in the character’s soul?

7: Crisis Index: leading vs. following

Command = obey / defy

What are the Knowns and unknowns in the character’s spirit?

To network the minds of readers, writers, and characters with the environment in thought space, an intermix of power and powerlessness must be calculated. When such is achieved, the force behind power and powerlessness clashing causes pages to turn and return year after year, offering the audience a grasp at unknowable dreams, nightmares, and transcendence, not to mention access to a parallel of common themes that can accentuate or otherwise verify immersion of the knowable.

Writer’s Note: My stories do not emphasize characters as much as relationships, nor do they dwell on mind space, but rather seek to express heart space. Thoughts are more obvious than emotions, and one is subtext to the other. There are certain characters that are of such a vibrational charisma, of such excellence or monstrosity, that they are only somewhat comprehensible to the average mind. Such characters are touched by what nearly everyone else around them feels very strongly about but called by destiny to be able to shape things differently. Just as many people may bring change or take power when they gather together. (As we went over above)

Also… It is far better to import a timeless character archetype into a well-fleshed world, as opposed to basing a whole world around one character’s establishment. JWC will be going over this concept further in the posts following this one.

Crazy Ralph

 

Today, I would like to talk about how certain elements in writing can contribute to enabling a reader to show emotion in reaction to what the author has put on the page.  Sometimes the author has the ability to make the reader laugh out loud due to a rather character’s sarcastic tone or simply a bit of slapstick .  Other times the reader can be trapped in a scene based on what’s happening to a particular character in the book. A reader will sense a feeling of fear as to what is happening in between pages, notably in the horror genre. That is the aspect I want to focus on today.

Fear can be displayed many ways, and affects the reader, the viewer, and can influence your muse when drawing inspiration from either a movie or a book.  Currently I am working on a second draft for our writing club of a type of horror-related drama involving a summer camp.  Putting the pieces together at first was pretty easy, but it was the second draft that really had an impact on my psyche.  The feedback I received regarding the first draft included the fact that there needed to be more of a fear element to make it look more daunting and ominous.

Originally, I had a really good scene involving a groundskeeper at the campsite warning the counselors, before the start of actual camp, that something was not right. He told them to beware of a certain something on campus. Does it sound somewhat familiar? If you are a horror movie buff then it should.  This circumstance is a template of a scene from the first two Friday the 13th movies.  Crazy Ralph is the old man who warns the counselors of Camp Crystal Lake not to work at the summer camp due to a murder spree that happened previously on or near the original camp site.

Romance blossoming at Camp Crystal Lake

My story falls into the genre of what my writing group likes to call “Corporate Gothic”, which is defined as a story that intertwines the concept of a workspace and an element of horror. The workspace in my story is the camp setting and the element of horror is the condition of the water on the campus. If someone doesn’t drink from the right source, they could die. That lets the reader know that the protagonist could be in trouble and leads to a sense of fear for both the characters in the story and quite possibly the readers themselves. 

Although the basis of my story might not sound too “horrific”, it can still teach us a lesson in basic fear and how to overcome the tragedy within the story.  Fear can also teach us a lesson in morality and how we handle relationships going forward. Usually, the end all to a story or a movie wraps up with some positive advice for both the reader or the viewer.  So, next time you’re out and about on a camping trip or want to explore that cabin in the woods, beware that silly old man telling tales and stay safe out there!

The Birth of “Corporate Gothic”

Life had been bleak for a while, and as always a way into light was provided. Gratitude for that way and for the stars to be so aligned, my creative obsession somehow turned to podcasting. To catch us up… 

I was all about making radio shows on tape as a boy, and for many years my heart wished for a career in radio. I listened avidly to the airwaves since the nineties, not just songs but to talk radio as well as spoken word, getting political while learning words and phrases. A dream of hosting my own talk show, or even just voice-over work, traveled with me during my surveying career. The years went by and podcasting waited just outside of my own personal awareness. 

My health took a downturn and so fieldwork days came to an end. Working from home granted more time for writing, or at least a schedule more accommodating to a creative writer’s life. My thoughts also branched out into other muses, other platforms, and finally podcasting. 

I was running a writer’s club, Joe’s Writers’ Club, and after a few months of observations and planning, the time came to record it and add its flavor to my experimental network. This was a magical time for me, finding regular attendees and friends while rocking the portable setup, making a studio of whatever space would allow us to record. It felt adventurous to me, but maybe I’m just a goose. One thing not to be silly about is the hardcore talent that can be discovered just hanging around somewhere. 

My friend Joe took a break to reinvent himself and the club chapter he gave me slowly transformed into a fantastic podcast, and as we met week after week our creative obsessions were laid out. Tom T had short stories for miles and a magnificent epic hovering in the stratosphere, just waiting to become a bolt of creative lightning out of Valhalla’s azure sky. Julie read from her inspirational works and aided in the batting around of several project ideas. The one that stuck out was a side step phrase she said. 

Something like: “My husband said gothic corporate, but I don’t know. What do you think?” 

I said, “How about Corporate Gothic? How does that sound?” 

Tom said, “That sounds great…” 

The whole thing was framed by the phrase “haunted workspaces,” and when Julie said something like, “Yeah… and a corporate haunting with some sort of karmic justice.” 

As soon as we workshopped that mythic brainstorm session, the inspiration started to flow. When next we met, Tom had stories ready to sling in the form of corporate gothic, enough where my own muse flashed bright. As to that, in another point of clarity, I had never written a short story that was any good, and resorted to the abandonment of short story writing and the childish destruction of those horrid works, committing them to the abyss for Chronos to gloss over in his lamenting boredom. 

My newly acquired inspiration came forth and a whole new muse burned in the winds of my creative obsession. From podcasting to short story writing, such bizarre trends are their own wonder, but what satisfied me most was how it all came together. 

Tom, Julie, and Ben were the originals, being the first of our club’s regular attendees. Corporate Gothic burst forth from its own coffin during a time when I was leaning into paranormal research, a thing that Tom and I had in common. He knew many angles of parapsychology and the supernatural, as well as a cross-section of ghost stories, cryptid tales, and zones of mythic haunting where almost anyone is supposed to be able to see a spirit at the right time of night. We would finish each other’s creepy sentences, and I considered trying to get him on my paranormal podcast. 

Once TC joined our ranks for regular meetings during the library days, we found ourselves with several stories and a whole lot of confidence in our project’s muse. What happened next changed the game, for me and for Joe’s Writers’ Club. 

My muse for “The Eminent Domain” came online… 

Known as a storm watcher, Xando went to the cliffside to brave a wash as he usually did. Lightning strikes in webbed networks traced the sky, never hitting the same spot twice. As Xando watched, a strange light burned away the storm clouds and made a cavern-like hole in the overcast. There was a loud boom and a flash as bright as daylight and startled by it all, Xando beheld an object crash into the chop on the shoreline. 

In the waves, a drama of steam and hissing of wind appeared. To his shock, Brother Xando beheld a person fighting to swim in the stormy water. Whoever it was, it must have been connected to the crash, and so, with great haste, Xando made his way through the overgrowth and to the waves moved by a fear that whoever it was may drown. 

The sight that greeted Xando was from another world, and with religious fear, his heart palpitated as he crossed himself. A being lay face down on the sand, it’s body limp and cold. It wore a shimmering silver robe. Lightning danced in the vestment like a biblical visitation, and as he grew closer, he saw that this person had no hair atop an enormous head. A heavy odor from sea or storm lay in that place, but still, Xando picked up the prone person and slung him up over his shoulder. 


Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Soon after a stalled muse “Songs of Agharti” blazed forth likewise. 

Steve felt spellbound just as the night before. He made a connection between the Bogniki legend and the Sumerian goddess Lilitu, who was also featured in Jewish Midrash as Lilith, a spirit who slays babies in their cribs. Everyone seemingly noticed nightfall at the same time, and soon they sought to change the subject. Being well fed and needing questions answered, they turned to Steve, who through Elzbeita, gave them such information as he felt was appropriate. 

Details were kept to a minimum, but otherwise he explained what their goals were and why he wished to explore the mine. He told them of his authorship, and the book he intended to write once this trip was completed. They nodded knowingly to certain points, and having been required to sign NDAs, did not wonder very much beyond what they already knew. Most were satisfied by the answers he gave and admired his desire to honor great grandfather Ziggy’s legacy. Steve mentioned nothing about the treasure. The team retired early, and being well walked and fed, most of them slept deeply. 

In the middle of the night a shrill scream woke everybody up from out of dreaming slumber. Thinking someone had just been murdered, the men emerged from their tents to investigate. Everyone was out of their tents, everyone but Ivona. Her tent remained sealed. They unzipped the flap and found Ivona staring vacantly, scared into silence by something. When she finally spoke it was in a near whisper, with eyes wild and knuckles white from fear. Elzbeita’s intonations matched Ivona’s involuntarily because of her own rising concerns.  

“I had a horrific nightmare… A large fire at night with skulls in the coals… And human torches walking, screaming… all under an umbral moon.” 


 

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

I can’t tell you how satisfying it all has been, how grateful I am for all that I have learned from it, and just what a cool thing it is to have a club with talented, creatively obsessed dreamers who see the path ahead. I was poet, novelist, and now short story writer and blogger, and my club has helped me and each other breathtakingly along the way. 

Corporate Gothic is our first and will always be special for me, but I look forward to many years going forward and many more projects working with these fine people, and hopefully many others. Our goals will bring this podcast’s vibe to the world, with Corporate Gothic being it’s own loud bump in the night-black office of creative horror. The club’s moods are elevated and we can’t wait to bring this muse to a waiting audience.


I invite you to check out Joe’s Writers’ Club Corporate Gothic project. Enjoy! 

Paragraphic Rift: Have You Checked For Redundancy In Your Text?

9: Have you checked for redundancy in your text? 

What is Textual Redundancy? 


Redundancy is the poetic variety and the targeting of repeated words/phrases. 

Systemically, redundancy in a text is often attributed to insufficient literary influence. In other words, a writer hasn’t read enough, hasn’t reread to study, hasn’t typed up preexisting manuscripts, hasn’t played stenographer, and certainly does need to make some adjustments or else face the editor’s solemn wrath. 

Refrain is repetition with purpose, normally attributed to lyrics, poesy, or dramatic flair, and is, outside of classical or formalist writing, considered to be fit only for song. It used to be that someone could triple repeat a statement and from this, some sort of emphasis could be commanded, or that a focus might be adjusted. The same effect might come from yelling or whispering in a hush. In any case, repetition for empowerment is one thing, but repeated words outside of this can crush the pace and disinterest the reader, not to mention mucking up what the muse and voice are trying to achieve together. 

*There are tools and techniques in certain software packages that can count specific words and so aid in anti-redundancy micromanagement. Seeking these can help fix what’s already there, but using the following JWC tools can help to correct these tendencies, and so transform/manage your voice. 

Photo by Mark Harpur on Unsplash

When you write a page/paragraph that satisfies both muse and voice and has been overseen and observed by a creative workshop, then use the following exercise. 

Guidelines to Variety of Phraseology: Mythic Containment 

How many Vehicle words? + or – = 
The, with, was, etc 

How many Flower words? + or – = 
High caliber words 
EX: gorgeous 

How many Power words? + or – = 
Hysteria words 
EX: dismemberment 

How many Elevation words? + or – = 
Those immersive into bliss so that the reader can climb into the infinite 
EX: scintillation 

How many Descending words? + or – = 
Those immersive into terror so that danger can capture the reader 
EX: hideous 

How many Nonsense words? + or – = 
Diversions into humor or absurdism in order to cut tension 
EX: flatulence 

How many Mythic words? + or – = 
The phrasing of concept so that it may not easily be forgotten. 
EX: quest 

Wordsmithing? + or – = 
The generation of terminology so that the reader “learns” with the characters 
EX: cleromancer 
Photo by Sandra Ahn Mode on Unsplash
Using the Guidelines to Variety of Phraseology: Mythic Containment, you can modify how many words more or less for each variety, so that voice dial-ins and or modifications can be explored. By this an off text or over polished work can be adjusted to the taste of what is called for, or be further perfected and/or studied so that every criteria is met.

Do You Blog?

Today I want to talk about the very essence of why you’re reading this post. You might be interested in sports, politics, movies, or books. Whatever the topic of culture that has encapsulated your attention, there’s a blog about it. Yes, you’ll find most of what other people like to talk about, argue, and go back and forth with each other until they’re blue in the face. Blogging has so many purposes and I not only want to talk a little about these topics, but how they can relate to your muse and overall writing style. Also, I want to show you how I got to this point because all bloggers are writers and some writers are bloggers. Either way you slice it, writing is the core to why you are here, staring at your screen.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Blogging helps us understand things that we haven’t mastered yet. They can include the previously mentioned topics or numerous other subtopics that cover every facet of culture out there. I’ve also previously talked about how inspiration fueled my muse to create characters, situations, and other aspects of the writing process. Would you be surprised that almost all bloggers use these same techniques to create the perfect blog post? I assume not. Much thought can be put into a blogpost. Some of us will take hours, and maybe even days to try and perfect the quintessential post. Some of us can just figure out a topic in seconds, then turn it into a quality post within an hour. 

Yes, maybe if you were the latter, you would be a lot more productive in your quest for a successful blogging experience, but either way you could find success when using the proper tools. Some of those tools include a better-than-good recall of popular, and not-so-popular, cultural aspects which could include movies, sports, music, and politics. The more you know, the easier it becomes.

Like U2 once said “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”.  Whether you are new to blogging or just haven’t mastered all the concepts yet, someone knows more than you. I will speak from personal experience. In order to get my blogposts into fully functional mode, I used the help of someone who knows a thing or two about blogging. I know the writing part, including how to use prose and display my knowledge of those cultural aspects, but I needed to tweak it. I wanted it to look good. My friend helped me out with the basics and what you see here was a product of my writing and his expertise.

Lastly, as you can see, there are many aspects to become a halfway decent blogger. It can come from inspiration, skill of writing, patience, knowledge of how to make it look “full” and stronger, and most of all, your valuable time.  So, whether you spend days on end creating the “perfect” blog post or finish a draft within an hour’s time, the same elements are at work in producing the results that you want and ultimately what your reader wants to see. In closing, I hope you enjoyed reading this blogpost about blogging; I put a good hour into creating it.