Emotional Baggage

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Car with emotional baggage glued on all sides

I am a discovery writer during the beginning of my stories. I taste, smell, and see things as my main character experiences them. This approach works for me because I need the freedom to be erratic and to explore the different paths of a story when completing my initial draft. In a way, not tackling the outline first relieves the pressure of the story. I can focus more on getting lost in the woods than trying to find my way back. But, a by-product of my organic writing is that I often need to go back and work on my main character’s emotional arc. I need to figure out what kind of emotional baggage they come with. Consequently, this helps me exploit them, and I end up creating a more dynamic character. Read More

God Save the Quotes!

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God Save the Queen

I have a confession: I am a thief.

You caught me. I extract what happens in my life to craft stories. I will gladly describe places I’ve visited and put them my stories, have my characters address problems I have faced (or my friends and family), or base chunks of dialog off real life conversations and one-liners. Of course, I dress those things up, maybe apply some foundation to further the disguise, and add a touch of rouge to make it more dramatic. When that chicanery falls short, though, you have to know where to look to give it that last coat of gloss to finish the whole charade. That’s when I turn to stealing other people’s quotes. Read More

Perfect Attendance

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I‘m drained. My eyes ache, my jaw hurts from popping every time I try to stifle a yawn, and my brain feels like it‘s been padded with wool. But I’m here. I sat in front of this damned keyboard as a small victory to celebrate my return to Creative Carnage after a two-and-a-half-year-long hiatus. Surprisingly, coming back after all that time to write a blog post has the same dynamic as when I’ve been writing in the trenches and need to return for my daily tally mark. It seems to me that I can think of a million other things I need to complete before I can focus on writing, whether I’ve been away for a day or a couple years. And it’s odd because it’s not that I don’t want to write. I love that I’m a writer. I’ve been yearning to get back to this blog ever since I left, but there’s this easy to give in force that wants to shuffle me away.
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MIA. . .

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I’m on hiatus from Creative Carnage until December 2017. My life’s circumstances have pared down my time for writing projects to the bare minimum. What remaining time I have goes straight to working on my short story collection. I’ll be back for the holiday season cheer! Until then.


How to Build a Fictional World by Kate Messner

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Kate Messner goes over some great worldbuilding 101 concepts on how to craft a fictional world. Here are the questions she poses in the video to get the ball rolling on your terraforming:

  • Are you working in the past, present, or future?
  • How did the world come to be? What past events shaped the world to what it has become now?
  • What rules are in place here?
  • Laws of gravity?
  • Laws of society? What rules are in place to punish those that break them?
  • What kind of government rules?
  • Who has power? Who doesn’t?
  • What do people believe in here?
  • What does this society value most?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • Where do the inhabitants live, go work, and school?
  • What do they eat?
  • How do they treat their young? The old?
  • What relationship do they have with the animals and plants of the world?
  • What do those animals and plants look like?
  • What kind of technology exists? Transportation? Communication? Access to information?
  • How does this world shape the individuals that live in it?
  • What kind of conflict is likely to emerge with the characters in relation to the world you created?

Should I Quit?

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I am struggling with writing my novel right now, and it’s been difficult to scuttle through this particular rough patch. Luckily, it occurred to me that one of the ways I could inch myself up this uphill, winding road is to write my way out of it and get to the root cause. And I don’t think there is enough in the writing blogosphere that is written when things aren’t going well for the writer. To me, it seems like advice from writers comes after things are gliding along smoothly for them. The tone in their advice has a feeling of fullness because they’ve already healed the cuts and bruises from scraping through the tunnel. Me, on the other hand, I’m still stumbling around in the dark; My WIP is dead in the water. The words aren’t flowing through like they did when I wrote my first novel. It’s mostly due to this rather fickle beast trying to commandeer my writing down two different directions: Should I quit and move on to another project? Or, should I weather on?
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Fueling the Creative Tank

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Shuttle Creative Fuel

I‘ve been in that sort of year in review mode, thinking about the topics I have chosen to write about on the blog this year and if they were in line with the original vision I had for Creative Carnage. When I first started the Carnage in the summer of 2013, I had this image in my head that all my posts would be about writer’s block. Not only how to recognize it in all of its varied costumes but to tackle the clever charlatan head on. That ultimately transformed into being an umbrella vision that included many different types of posts, but all with the running theme of providing content that was crafted to foster creativity. That is the cure, I think, for writer’s block. As I read over past posts, I was impressed with some and cringed at others. I realized that I grew up as a writer on here, and seeing old writing is like running into an ex. You’re never quite sure how it’s going to go because it depends on how you and the other person have changed since the relationship ended. Anyhow, during my stroll down memory lane, I had an epiphany about creativity. Well, I guess it was less of an epiphany and more of something I always felt intuitively but just never articulated: Writer’s block is always going to happen in some form. It’s a part of the writing process. Read More