Studying Karma as a Writer

As a writer, thinking about karma keeps me mindful of how audiences processes information. One thing leads to another. A ripple effect, right? But it’s not just about action and result or action and reaction, it’s the tension between those two things that makes karma such a universal concept because we’re all sentient enough to think about the “what if”, or the unknown/hypothetical situation caused by an action. For many of us, that’s our self-imposed prison taking form.

The Violet Project Diaries is a diary series about the development of my writing career as a dark fantasy novelist. In the hopes of tracking my own writing progress, I hope to help and encourage other writers.

The Violet Project Diaries – Entry 4 – Flowing in Circles

If I were to describe where I’m at on the story timeline of my second draft, I’m approaching the “rising action” part of Freytag’s Pyramid. On the story structure circle created by Harmon, I’m somewhere between step 2 and 3. This is probably why I’m so giddy about having good flow today because this is the buildup before diving to the underground/unconscious/unknown. If you’d like to hear more on that, I have another Will Schroder video for you.

The Violet Project Diaries – Entry 3 – Kill Your Darlings (or torture them)

The chaos is what we want to show our characters responding to. We must also be brave enough to show that they may never learn how to flow with the chaos of life or releasing expectations for things they can’t control or simply taking responsibility for what is within their control. If our darling aren’t working for the story, we kill them; if they need more development, we torture them.

rhetoric: “The art of persuasion, in speaking or writing…The rhetorical process included five stages–invention (discovering the logical, ethical, and emotional arguments), arrangement (organizing the arguments), style (choosing words and figures in which to express the arguments), memory, and delivery.”

The NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms


Writing Advice

Vulnerability makes the writer…Read more…

Bram Stoker taught us so much in Dracula…Read more…


My Take on “Rhetoric”

When you decide to become an English major or have to take an English 101 class for Gen Ed, rhetoric gets beaten into you. As repetitive as it gets, I would say it benefits you in the end. There are so many writers out there, fiction and nonfiction, who don’t have substantial rhetoric, meaning their attempt to write something believable fails. Frankly, it happens to all of us. I’m not saying that everyone should stick to the decrees of rhetoric coined by the almighty Aristotle and his wonderful pathos, logos, and ethos formula, but for writing to become a personal art, you need that foundation that often comes from our studies on rhetoric. It’s more for the sake of sharpening your style rather than limiting you. Especially in our current time, if someone is writing or speaking to us without logic, without credibility, and without heart, they won’t pull us in. We’ll sniff out bulls**t instantly. Of course, we’ve taken in fantastical, illogical events and enjoyed them, we found interest in those who lost their credibility in some manner, and we have learned from those who have a blackhole instead of a heart. Persuasion is an art and like any art, it can’t be bound, but the study of rhetoric surely gives you something to start with.

It’s strange that there are so many people out there who offer tips and tutorials about writing, myself included, and often forget that writing is an art and art is the language of the soul. Since no soul is perfect, there is a perseveration in the writing community over great writing techniques and all we wish to do is take that to heart and sharpen our craft, but I want to propose, or rather remind those who may have forgotten, that we never ignore our imperfections and remember that they are the guiding force to our artistic spirit. A writer’s vulnerability builds a successful career with ease.

Read full article…

The reason I read books so slowly is due to wanting to discover what I can learn from the writer. I’ve accepted my literary geek ways and am proud to admit that I like writing literary criticisms for fun, like my article on the writing techniques we can learn from Stoker’s Dracula (Read here) and I can’t wait to write more. Another way to learn from other writers is listening to the podcast “Writer’s Routine” hosted by Dan Simpson. The interviews go a deeper level than a literary analysis. Writer’s Routine starts with a writer’s workspace and then eases into the details about their writing process, their influences, and inspirations. Dan is a great interviewer. He prompts every guest author to spill their personal and professional experiences during an average day of writing and I have to say, my favorite part about listening to authors is when they say something that hits you with the reality of how costly living as an author can be. Some authors are parents that have to write late and night or early in the morning. Some authors have to whip themselves into a strict routine during the most chaotic of days and others do everything they can to keep it fun. Every interview is different. Every episode helps me feel less alone about living an author’s life and I strongly recommend it to those who need the encouragement or just need to get out of their own head for a while so you can stop being so hard on yourself and your stories.

This podcast has been around for a couple of years and won a Silver award for Best Culture in the British Podcast Award last year. So maybe I’m late to the party, but you should join me anyway.

Rage writing is when something angers you so much, you grab the writing method closest to you and start creating a story based on the event that you’re pissed at.

It’s good fun, yes, but I find it most fulfilling when I reread what I’ve created and reflected upon the theme later. The reflection makes the ending and details in between very clear and solidifies the theme.

Rage writing is also a great way to make sure you write more frequently, have a healthy outlet for your emotion, and process that anger. I’m not saying you’ll turn out being a better person than you were before or that you should try to write a happy ending to your rage-written story; but I am saying, at least for myself, that this is a satisfactory method of expression and it’s going to feel damn good to publish it in time.

So after some work and some rest, I’ve been able to progress in character development and the lore of my world. I’m stuck on vampires again, but temporarily. One of my characters is my vampire and an exorcist. I’m basing her spirit work skills on exorcism techniques they used in ancient Japan.

For the record, working on a novel isn’t doing the same thing every day, at least for me. To keep the mind active and the inspiration flowing, I think it’s okay to take different approaches to your work. It’s a great confidence booster too when you create a different way of developing your story and it leads to progress, but even when you don’t make the breakthrough you hoped for, taking in that experience is a progress in itself.

My struggles with anxiety have surprisingly inspired me to fight for a confident attitude towards my work and myself. Shadow work during this time (shadow work is a self-reflection process many pagans/witches do through divination or other means, in case you don’t know) has helped so much. I did start a daily Instagram posting of one of my shadow work methods, but now I’m behind because of some mental health issues on my end. I’m still trucking on though and wanted to say that things are still moving forward.

To end, a little advice from a teabag tassel I got yesterday: The purpose of life is to know yourself, love yourself, trust yourself, and be yourself.

Today I spent a part of the day keeping clarity with the exposition in mind. The importance of clarity really slapped me across the face today while editing. I do like it when the beginning of the story gives a good punch, but audiences get sour about the punch if they don’t have enough information as to why they were hit so hard (by the way, I don’t know why I’m using violence as a metaphor…maybe I just like it when stories make me feel something).

It reminds me of a time I tried to show a friend of mine an anime series that I thought was cool and she couldn’t get into it even with all of its action and mysterious characters because she said there was no one to care about. I was bitter at first thinking she just couldn’t keep track, but after discussing with it further, her points were based around the pacing of the first episode. Granted, with anime it’s a little different (we otaku have the rule of at least giving a show 2-3 episodes before you completely drop it), but if the pilot of a weekly anime series is airing, the writers and producers should be considerate of what will catch their audiences and keep them itching for more. That’s an important attribute of the exposition; there should be a character, an event, or some detail that makes you wonder about the bigger picture and persuade you to stay for the whole story.