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Everything posted by Comicality

  1. Comicality

    Story Blurbs

    So...readers have decided to sit down and go to a quality archive full of some really well written, really hot, stories online. They get comfortable, open their laptops, head on over to GayAuthors.org because we've obviously got the best game in town when it comes to this sort of thing, hehehe...and BAM! They're looking at hundreds upon hundreds of stories all at once. Whether readers feel overwhelmed by that, or they take the happy 'kid in a candy store' approach, it can be a daunting task to figure out where to begin. Tags and keywords help to narrow things down, sure, but your story might still be thrown onto a list with a hundred others with a similar theme. So the question is, how do you get readers to buy your particular doggie in the window over somebody else's? Welcome to this week's topic! We're talking about writing a story synopsis for your project, and hopefully grabbing the reader's attention before they've even read a single sentence of your work. However, before getting to that, I think authors need to remember that you really can't judge a book by its cover...but the same can't be said about a title. So the rules of a good story title definitely apply. Otherwise, readers won't even get to the story synopsis and they'll end up missing out on your genius. So always try to think of something that's intriguing, easy to remember, and is relevant to the plot but doesn't give too much away, when you're giving your story a title. If it's too simple and non descriptive (Like "Jake Gets A Blowjob"), readers might skip right over it. if it's too long and unnecessarily descriptive (Like "The Cosmic Adventures Of Johnny The Detective On The Gangster Planet Of Neptune")...yeah, skip. There's a huge middle ground in between the two extremes, so you've got tons of creative space, just remember that title is the bait on your end of the fishing hook. That doesn't mean the hook can't be successful at catching fish...but most fish are going to pass up the chance to just suck on a random hook. Hehehe! So keep that in mind. I like to think of story blurbs as being mini movie trailers for the story to follow. You're giving readers a 'hint' about what to expect, but you want to leave out enough detail and context to keep them from figuring out the whole story from the blurb alone. Never underestimate a reader's ability to guess his or her way through your entire story from the synopsis you've given them. As I've said in the past...readers are very savvy these days. They've read hundreds, maybe thousands, of stories before they got to yours. They know the themes. They know what 'beats' a story hits, how narratives work, how plot twists are foreshadowed early on. They know romantic tropes, science fiction cliches, horror contrivances, and dramatic cues. Keep this in mind when you're trying to put a story blurb together. One or two sentences can end up giving away the entire plot of your story. And...even if the reader is making the wrong assumption from what they've read...they may skip your story anyway. Simply because they THINK, "I've read this before. I know how it ends." It's nearly impossible to avoid, but it is a factor. Think of it as reading an old mystery and assuming 'the butler did it'. That may not be how the story ends at all, but if your story blurb describes a murder, a grieving widow, and the victim's only friend was his loyal and true butler, Edmund? Some people will think, "Yeah. That guy's SO guilty! Hehehe!" I think story synopsis blocks should serve one, very important, purpose. It's asking your audience a question. Better yet, it is planting the seeds necessary to get them to ask the question. What is this story about? What can I look forward to? What kind of feeling am I going to get from this? Can I relate to these characters? Will I have any emotional connection to the plot? Etc. Your answer, as a writer, should be... ...Read it and find out! Your story blurb should take on the easy task of drawing someone in to read something that they've already been searching for. Always remember that they are trying to find your work and hear what you have to say. You've just got to wave your hands and shout out, "Over here!"And they'll come running. So, whether your story is finished or a work in progress, try to see if you can capture the overall theme of the project as a whole. Ask yourself what 'kind' of story it is, and try to project that feeling in your synopsis. It's like a microfiction project of its own. You only have a paragraph to do everything that you hope to accomplish with 10 to 20 chapters of a short novel, so use the same rules that you would when writing your story. Interesting characters, intriguing plot, emotional involvement. If you're writing apocalyptic stories where the stakes are high, use a vocabulary and a put forth a vibe of possible danger and dire circumstances. If you're writing a tragedy, your tone should be more somber. Feel free to pull a few heartstrings when giving readers a glimpse of what's to come. No matter what genre you're writing in, push that 'feeling' forward in your synopsis. Grand adventure, or sweeping romance, or spine-chilling horror...give your synopsis that will match the story you want them to dive into. You can't go wrong. Now, that sounds like a lot to accomplish in a very small space, but it can be done. Just remember, this is a 'movie trailer' for your story, not the story itself. You only need to capture the appropriate emotion and basic idea of what's going on. It's ok to be vague. Again, you want readers to leave your story blurb with more questions than answers. Be careful not to ramble. I know what it's like to want to cram a bunch of complex info into a few paragraphs to really sell your idea, but it might end up hurting you in the end. Even if you're telling a story that covers a bunch of different genres and has a lot of twists and turns...DON'T try to squeeze all of that into your synopsis! "And then the archaeologist finds the magic medallion, but the medallion is not what it appears to be, and when the aliens show up, it's up to Frank to save the love of his life from their evil plot to steal the world's supply of a mysterious mineral that was buried in the Earth over a thousand years ago. Did I mention that Frank's father was a Van Helsing?" Ok...stop. Take a breath. Erase ALL of that...and start over! Hehehe! There's WAY too much going on in that mess. A story blurb only has to be a summary. Instead, try, "On an archaeological dig, Frank finds a mysterious medallion that seems to be of interest to a group of hunters that lie in the shadows. Who are they? What do they want? And can Frank keep his love safe when they come looking for them?" There. Done. As always, your planting the seeds of multiple questions in the minds of potential readers. What mysterious medallion? What's so important about it? Shadowy figures? Are they dangerous? What's going to happen next? And...your writer's answer is? Say it with me... 'Read it and find out!' Don't worry about being too specific with details. You got the 'feeling' right. Mystery, intrigue, a touch of romance...done. Assume that the readers who are interested will read the story and discover the rest on their own. Hey, more surprises for them to find, right? That can only help you in the long run. As they say, sometimes less is more. Anyway, I'm sure that there is a LOT more that I could say about writing story blurbs, but I'll avoid that rabbit hole for now! Hehehe! It might be better for a group discussion, anyway. Still, I hope this helps. Just remember...the 'question' is everything when grabbing a reader's attention. If you can get that part right, it'll gnaw on their brain until they surrender to it and give your story a try. You guys are on your own from there! Hehehe! Best of luck! And check back next week for my article on 'Tone'! It applies to story blurbs too! Seezya!
  2. Comicality


    Gary's best friend, Jace, has just been dumped by someone he really cared for. While trying to console him, will sympathy be confused with something else? Or is a hug all that is needed to get through the night? Submitted for the "Good intentions" Anthology.
  3. I am actually really anxious to hear an entire album from Ruel! He's only 15 and Elton John picks him up and is working to make him the next big thing. How awesome is that? And this kid is good! Writes his own music too! He's like...the 'Comsie story' version of Adele...if you can believe that! But he's got a VEVO account now, and a video reshoot of his first single, "Don't Tell Me"! I'm looking to hear great things from him in the future! Best of luck, dude! CUTE TOO!!! Just thought I'd throw that in there...
  4. Comicality

    SWEET!!! It's official for Ruel now! XD

    Damn right it does!!! See? Amazing voice and stunning good looks aside...he's a truly beautiful PERSON! You know? That counts for SO much more! Thanks, dude!
  5. Sorry to keep this so short, but I'm sick at the moment. So...Billy Chase, new chapter, hope you like it, let me know. Done. https://gayauthors.org/story/comicality/thesecretlifeofbillychase9/ Seezya soon. Email marathon tomorrow, k? Hope to talk to you soon.
  6. Comicality

    Chapter 42

    Thursday - Well...I can honestly say that today didn't go the way I had planned it to. Sometimes, I think Brandon and I are actually cursed when it comes to spending any time together at all. I mean, it's not like we made any definite plans or anything for tonight, but...awww, shit. All I wanted was to spend some much needed selfish time with my boyfriend tonight! Is that too much to ask for? Everybody else in my life gets to just dial me up whenever they feel like it and expect immediate 'service' from me. And then they just vanish until they decide they need me again. I can't say that I didn't set myself up for that kind of problem when it comes to me wanting to help everybody all the time. But...sometimes it just makes me feel used. You know? It's like..."Oh? I guess I'm important now. Suddenly you can't live without me?" The whole dilemma falls somewhere between Jimmy LaPlane's "Other people matter" philosophy, and Ian's "Love me NOW, because when I'm famous, it'll be too late" ideology. I just wish other people swooped down to save the day for me when I was hurting the way I'd gladly do for them. Maybe that's a bratty request on my part. But today? I really didn't care. I wanted to be with Brandon. He deserved my undivided attention, and I was fully prepared to ignore the rest of the whole world for a while so I'd have the energy to give it to him. I wish I had it in me to not feel bad about ignoring the people I care about. Or 'claim' to care about, at least. But it grinds on my nerves, and even when I try my hardest to blow them off so I can enjoy a life of my own for once...I end up getting no joy out of it at all in the long run. So what's the point? I can either feel like a total douchebag for not being a slave to other people's needs...or I can actually become a slave to other people's needs. There's no way for me to win. There's got to be a way out of this. There's just GOT to be. Ugh! Listen to me, complaining. I shouldn't be. Not in this case. I guess it was for a good cause. But I know plenty of people with a lesser conscience who would have chosen their boyfriend over...'this'. I barely know what I'm saying right now. I'm just...tired, I guess. I was doing my best to insulate myself from outside interference tonight. Jimmy sent me a message, which I didn't even bother to read, because I was sure that it was going to put me in a bad mood. And if that's all Jimmy's gonna be good for from here on out, then I'm just not interested in talking to him at all anymore. Not out of hatred or resentment, mind you. It's just not worth the frustration. I was honest about how I felt about him, I'm sticking to that, and that's all there is to it. So what's his deal? I wasn't in the mood to be abused by his childish tantrums today. i, honestly, don't even care anymore. Ian sent me a message too. It seemed innocent enough. Just something to say hi...with a little smiley face following it. I like Ian a lot. He's one of the sweetest guys that I know and I consider him a dear friend. But I also know what he's dealing with right now, concerning the whole Bobby Jinette situation. And if I send him a message now...it's only going to be a few minutes before he starts pouring that mess out at my feet, and the next hour will be spent trying to make him feel better and giving him hope about a problem that may, in fact, be hopeless. Bobby may just be a lost case when it comes to him being comfortable enough to finding happiness on his own. As much as I LOVE Ian...sighhhh...I just wanted to smile today, k? I wanted to talk to my Brandon and maybe go over there to cuddle and kiss and feel good about life. No offense to Ian, of course. But how can I be any good to him at all if I don't recharge my battery every now and then with some good fortune of my own? It's hard playing the role of the 'sin eater' every day of my life. I need a break sometimes. Why can't people ever understand that? Even Sam sent me a quick message today. And Sam is the best friend I've ever had, and ever WILL have! There's no disputing that. And yet...I hesitated to write him back. Why? I can't explain it. I just...I wanted ONE day for 'me'. Just one. Not worrying about Jimmy, or Bobby and Ian, or Sam, or Taylor and Garrett and Robin and AJ at work, and not thinking about my mom and Mr. Franks...goddammitt, I just want 24 hours of fucking PEACE!!! Can't people put their problems on hold for a few hours? Or, God forbid, find a way to deal with them on their own for a while so I can actually enjoy my existence outside of helping them through their bullshit? Shit. I'm sorry. I don't mean that. No, seriously...I don't. I'm just angry at what happened tonight. Maybe I need a vacation much more than I thought I did. I'm quickly burning out on the 'Superman' routine. I just want to be a loving boyfriend for a while. The Summer is almost over and I feel like I wasted half of it on...well...other people. What have I done for me? I try to do the right thing, but I have to wonder sometimes...does it even matter? People are addicted to misery. If I 'save' them today, there will just be another problem tomorrow. They can't live without the drama. The obsession isn't in getting help for their issues...their obsession is in the NEED to get help for their issues. Fix one problem? Well, how will they find a way to ask for more help? They need to create another dramatic issue for you to fix. It's what fuels their sense of importance, I think. Sometimes...I think I do that too. Maybe I should stop that. Alright...so here's the scoop on what happened... I was texting back and forth with Brandon, and we were both giggling and having fun just getting time to chit chat for a while. It was relaxed. Effortless. A few giggles, a few moments of deep chit chat...a few moments of boyish naughtiness thrown in for good measure. There's something so soothing about being so open with someone that I love so much. Being able to share my soul with someone beautiful. There's nothing else like it in the world. I wish I could have called him up to talk on the phone, but my mom can be a bit of an eavesdropper when she wants to be. Something about having to restrain myself for the sake of keeping her from flipping out on me just...it ruined the freedom of us just being able to let our conversation flow naturally. Especially with the way that Brandon feels about his dad finding out. It would be best for us to not poke that hornet's nest with a stick until he was ready to forward with his coming out. I'm not pressuring him. I like us just the way we are right now. It's kinda sweet. Then...my phone rings, and Trace's number shows up. I wasn't really sure that he was talking to me or not these days. It can be difficult to tell with him sometimes. I was curious, but...I didn't answer him. I sent it to voicemail. It's not like I was trying to be rude, it's just...like I said...I wanted a life of my own. If I don't force myself to take some time for myself every now and then, other people will drain every last minute and spark of energy that I have until I'm too empty to do much of anything other than go to sleep and wake up early enough to start all over again tomorrow. I didn't sign up to be anybody's superhero. Brandon and I have a chance at building something beautiful here. Something that I had almost thrown away. Stupid. So, I was totally expecting to just call Trace back tomorrow and find out what kind of spontaneously wacky adventure he had planned to get me involved in tonight. Then my phone rang again. Trace. I told Brandon, "Hold on a sec, babe. K? My phone's ringing." We were in the middle of saying 'I miss you' to one another, and I was pretty sure that we were getting ready to come up with some kind of plan to get together tonight. Maybe not for hot buttery boy sex or anything, hehehe...but being able to look into his bright eyes and maybe sneak a kiss or two would have been to fill my heart to the point of bursting. But when I switched over to find out what Trace wanted...all I heard was sniffles on the other end of the line. Little sniffles. Tiny, high pitched whimpers. Even after I said hello. Then I'm like, "Mikey?" He seemed somewhat relieved to hear my voice, but not by much. "Hey...shhh...what's wrong, buddy?" He tried to stop sobbing long enough to say, "I saw your number in Tracey's phone, so I clicked the button thingy. I'm sorry." I said, "No need to be sorry. it's ok. I'm here. What's the matter?" Mikey sniffled again, and he said, "Tracey was in the room over there, and he made one of daddy's bottles go empty...and now he won't wake up. I told him, 'Wake up! Wake up', but he just keeps sleeping and won't wake up..." Mikey began to cry again, and my heart broke for the poor kid immediately. Trying to calm him down, I said, "Ok...so is your dad at home with you right now?" He whimpered, "No. Just me and Tracey. But Tracey won't wake up. Why won't he wake up? I'm all by myself, and I'm scared..." Shit. Nothing about this is acceptable. Not by any means. Goddammit, Trace. I told him, "I want you to listen to me carefully, Mikey, ok? I'm gonna come over and keep you guys company. So I want you to just sit tight and watch to see if Trace wakes up. I'll be there as soon as I can." But Mikey wailed, "Daddy says I can't open the door for anybody. He says 'don't you ever'..." I'm like, "You don't have to open the door. Just leave it unlocked, and I'll ring the bell to let you know I'm there. Ok?" Probably not a good thing to teach him, but I was going to have to get in somehow. I could tell that he was working it out in his head, and finally he softly submitted, "M'kay..." i said, "Alright. I'm on my way. You want to stay on the phone with me? So you can keep me company too?" Again, he said, "M'kay..." I let Brandon know that I had to go. As much as I was looking forward to talking to him some more and possibly getting together for a bit...this was an emergency. It looks like the curse continues. Fate was just going to keep trying to get my attention until I gave it away. Sighhh...maybe next time, sweetheart. I love you. After telling my mom that I was headed to Sam's for a little bit, hoping she wouldn't ask any questions about where I was really headed, I hopped on my bike and got out to Trace's house as fast as I could. Mikey stayed on the phone, and I could practically hear his tears drying up a little bit, his voice...while still shaky...not as weak and helpless as it was when he first called. I dropped my bike off on the side of the house and told him, "I'm walking up to the door now, Mikey, ok? Here's the doorbell. You hear it?" He said, "Uh huh!" I'm like, "Ok. I'm coming in your house now. I'll be right there." I walked up the stairs to Trace's room, and saw little Mikey looking smaller than ever, his knees tucked up to his shoulders as he sat on the floor next to the passed out body of his big brother. Jesus...he reeked of booze, a great deal of it was spilled all over his shirt, he was missing a sock...what the hell happened? Mikey looked so sad, and he began to cry again as he got up and ran into my arms. I picked him up and hugged him as he sobbed on my shoulder. I'm like, "It's ok, bud. Trace is gonna be fine. I promise." He didn't want to let go of the constricting grip he had around my neck, but even for a little boy, he was a bit too heavy for me to carry for any extended length of time. So I put him down and wiped some of the tears from his eyes. I said, "I want you to do me a favor. I want you to go to your room and turn the TV on. Do you have something fun that you can watch?" He said, "I have my magic donkey movie in the disc player..." Ok...whatever that is. I'm like, "Ok. You know how to set it up, right? Go watch your...'magic donkey' movie, and I'm gonna see if I can get Trace to wake up and maybe we'll watch it with you." He nodded somberly and thanked me before leaving me in the room with what might as well have been a lifeless corpse. I can't say that I have any experience with these things, whatsoever...but despite Mikey's understandable panic, Trace was still breathing. Even snoring a little bit. So that's a good sign, right? I sat on his bed and began looking through Youtube searches to see if I could find something on alcohol abuse. I wasn't sure where to start, and everything seemed to be centered on people who have spent an entire lifetime drinking and not dealing with any emergencies. Then...my searches took a very dark turn. Terms like 'alcohol poisoning' began to pop up...and I started to get chills. Did you know that you could actually DIE from guzzling too much alcohol at one time??? I didn't even know that was a thing. Getting sick, sure. Passing out, definitely. But DEATH??? Jesus Christ! After about ten minutes, I was finding myself conflicted over whether or not I should actually call an ambulance just to make sure Trace wasn't a lot worse off than I thought he was. It might mean BIG trouble for me, and even BIGGER trouble for him...but at least he'd be alive. However, I noticed Trace's arm move a little bit, and he reached a hand up to rub his nose a few times before snoring a bit louder than before. What the...??? I took the opportunity to scoot down to the floor and shake Trace by his shoulders. Gently at first, but when I heard him moan weakly for me to stop, I began to shake harder. Son of a bitch, you wake up! I refused to leave him alone, and he finally got frustrated enough to open his eyes and angrily slap my hand away. He was like, "What? What are you doing? Leave me lone..." Then his eyes began to focus on my face, and he wrinkled his forehead. Like, "Billy? Dude...what are you doing here? Where am I?" Feeling the anger building inside, I said, "You're at home. Passed out on the floor like a fucking loser." I was so frustrated with him at that moment. Upset that this trip over here was even necessary. I'm like, "Your baby brother had to find your phone, and hit the 'button thingy' with my name on it...just so he could tell me that you might be DEAD in here!" Now rubbing his eyes, Trace suddenly had a touch of hysteria shoot through him...but when he tried to quickly sit up, he was so dizzy and disoriented that he almost fell right back down to his bedroom floor again. He asked me, "Mikey? Where is Mikey? Is he ok?" I'm like, "He's in the other room. Somewhere safe where he doesn't have to see you like this. He honestly thought you were never going to wake up again. He was crying his eyes out." Trace could barely stay conscious, but he fought off his drunken stupor to try to get up again. He said, "Don't be so dramatic. Where is he? What time is it? I wanna see him. I'll...I'll tell him ok. I'll let him know that I just...I'm..." He was so off balance that I just leaned him up against the side of his bed and sat next to him. The only thing that kept me from wanting to beat the living shit out of him at that moment was the fact that I was so relieved that he hadn't died right there on the floor in front of me. With a heavy sigh, I told him, "You're an asshole. You know that?" He groaned to himself, running his hands through his hair. He's like, "Give me a break, Billy. I overdid it with the drinking tonight. I get it. Terrible me...blah blah blah..." Insulted by his attitude, I growled, "No! NOT 'blah bah blah'! Do you have any idea what you're doing to yourself? Do you have any idea how terrified Mikey was tonight? What is the fucking POINT of all of this? You're drinking yourself to death, you're hiding out from the rest of the world, you're smoking weed...what is this all about?" He's like, "I'm just having fun. Don't you remember what it was like, dude? When you and I used to have fun?" i said, "This isn't hanging out in an aquarium after it closes or visiting our local bowling alley, Trace! This is serious! You've got a major problem, and I'm sick of having to sit here and watch you self destruct over and over again." "THEN DON'T WATCH!!!" He snapped back. He's like, "I didn't ask you to come over here. I don't need your help. Captain Billy...back to save another luckless degenerate like me. Well, I'm awake now, so you can go back to feeling good about yourself. Congratulations." I didn't even know how to respond to that. He was like, "What? Do you need me to shower you with more praise and worship? Is that it? 'Oh thank you, Billy Chase! You're so awesome! Everybody loves you because you're so sweet and cute and funny and helpful...I wish I could be more like you someday!' Well, guess what? I'm not. I never will be. My life was fucked up long before you became a part of it, believe me." I'm like, "Don't you dare project your issues onto me and try to make any of this my fault. I'm here to HELP you. If I didn't care about you, I wouldn't pretend to. But you're too lost in your own bullshit to see that." I said, but as Trace closed his eyes and leaned his head back, I gave him a light smack to make sure he was still awake. I told him, "Maybe you've got problems. I get it. I've got problems. My mom and dad have problems. The WORLD has problems, Trace. But this isn't how you deal with them. You're only making things worse. The difference is...you've got people who are standing right here in front of you who are willing to help you when you need it. Who can pick you up when you fall. People like Mikey who are counting on you to set a good example. What happens the day you come home and find himpassed out on the floor with an empty bottle beside him? Huh?" He gave me a harsh look and said, "That would never happen." I said, "Funny...I used to think the same thing about you." And it was true. Trace could be restless and impulsive to a fault sometimes...but I never thought I'd end up sitting on his bedroom floor, wondering if he was going to make it through the night without kicking the bucket on me. I told him, "Look...I may not be able to bring my entire life to a screeching halt and magically appear every time you feel the need to lean on a good friend...but that doesn't mean I'm not a good friend. I CARE about you, Trace. I don't like seeing you like this. In a way...it hurts me too." Trace put his hands up to his face, as if trying to rub the intoxication out of his eyes. And he groaned, "I didn't mean to drink that much, ok? Seriously. I just...I was feeling really down, and I was trying to numb myself from the pain of having to 'think' so much. Whenever the bad thoughts came back, I poured myself another glass. And I just wanted my peace of mind to last for longer than a few minutes at a time. So my 'pours' got a little heavy...and before I knew it, I was waking up to your ugly mug." He smirked a bit, but for the first time...his adorable grin wasn't contagious. I was like, "You can just...talk to me, ya know? When you feel like that." But he says, "I told you, Billy...I'm done relying on other people for my problems. SO done. That's only going to lead to me being left out to dry while the people I trust the most let me down. I'm just...I'm so tired of being let down, Billy." He said, his eyes getting misty. He sadly added, "I'm better off being alone. At least that way, when things turn to shit...I don't have anybody to blame but myself. I can live with that. More than I can live with being made out to be a sucker again." With a sigh, I put an arm around Trace's shoulders and pulled him closer. I was like, "You're not a 'sucker', Trace. Sometimes we just get involved with people that we...don't necessarily understand. That's all." Trace was like, "Is it a bad thing that I, legit, hate my dad? And my mom? I mean...genetically speaking, I can either turn out to be a deadbeat alcoholic or a neurotic psychopath. And I don't want that life, Billy. Not for me. Certainly not for Mikey." Then he was like, "I feel like...I'm gonna spend the rest of my life wondering what kind of person I'd be...if I had your dad instead of mine. You know? He made me feel like...I could be something special. He made me feel like I was worth saving. I didn't know how much I needed that until I heard him say it." I was like, "You know...I love my dad, and he's a good guy..." Ugh! I could NOT believe what I was about to say out loud, and yet, I said it anyway. "...But he's no saint, you know?" Trace looked confused at first, and then almost offended that I would say such a thing. He's like, "You're dad's perfect, Billy. Admit it." But I sat up straight, and I said, "No...he's not. He has faults just like anybody else. And I love him with all my heart, but the truth is...he bailed on us. On me and my mom. He took the easy route and decided to hit the reset button on his whole life...not caring about the fact that it was hitting the reset button on our lives too. He just...he turned tail and he left us behind to go be happy somewhere else." I looked down at my feet as this strange feeling washed over me. I couldn't explain it, but it felt like the truth. I was like, "My dad wanted to be happy, and I'm glad he found what he thinks he was looking for. But it doesn't change the fact that he basically abandoned us. And I'd be lying if I said it wasn't for selfish reasons. I don't hate him...but he's no superhero, Trace. None of us are. None of us should be expected to be." This really harsh pinch of guilt began to jab me in the side. And I started thinking about what I said to my mom. What she said to me. And this lousy stalemate that we've been locked into for this whole week. Maybe I wasn't being fair to her after all. Maybe...maybe I just don't know what to feel anymore. Ideas of right and wrong were so much easier to figure out when I was little. Complex emotions suck. Trace leaned his head on my shoulder, and tears began to roll down his cheeks as we sat there in silence. Then he said, "We are so irreversibly fucked up, you and me." And I responded with, "Life wouldn't be this interesting if we weren't." Suddenly, Mikey peeked his head around the door and saw his big brother sitting in an upright position. He came charging in, screaming his name so loud that his voice squeaked as he jumped on Trace and wrapped his arms around him. Trace nearly fell over from the assault, but both of them were crying softly as they bonded in a way that I imagine only two brothers can. It wasn't long after that I figured Trace was going to be ok, and alert enough to keep Mikey safe until he went to bed. So I got up, gave him a long, meaningful, hug, and decided to take off before it got to be too late. I feel like I did a really good thing tonight. Maybe I had to sacrifice time with my boyfriend, and I'm a little drained from the experience...but helping other people is what we're supposed to do when we can, right? Giving them hope? And comfort? Supporting them when they need it, and not just when it's 'convenient' for me to do so? People may think that I have a superhero complex...but I don't take that as an insult. Better that than always looking for help and never giving anything back in return. Better that than ignoring people in need. If I had to choose...I'd rather be a failed superhero than a successful bystander. Any day of the week. My mom was asleep when I got home, but...I'm thinking that it might be time that we talked about this Mr. Phillips situation some more. I'm NOT saying that I like this any more than I did before! But...if my dad can walk out on us for his own selfish reasons...and if I can ignore texts and phone calls for MY own selfish reasons concerning Brandon... Well...maybe my mom is entitled to go for broke every once in a while too. It's only fair, after all. Whatever. I'm exhausted. Tonight took a lot out of me, and now I don't have time for anything else at all. I'm just going to wrap this up and get some sleep. Whatever I had to do tonight...i guess it can wait. I'll write more later. - Billy
  7. Comicality

    Writer Collaboration

    Flashing back to some time around 2006 or so... I remember being really excited to join forces with another massively popular writer here on Gay Authors, and we were secretly trading emails back and forth, putting a story together so we could both bring our individual talents to the table and make something really special. The working title for the story was "Turn A Blind Eye", and the author was @DomLuka. If you haven't read any of Dom Luka's stories on the site, I highly recommend doing so. He's amazing! I still have some of the emails saved. Nobody knew about the potential team up, as it was meant to be a surprise, but I was a big fan. I looked forward to it. The idea was for each of us to take a character (Alex and Bryce), and write the story from two different points of view. My chapters would be from Bryce's POV, and Dom's would be from Alex's POV. Unfortunately, much to my regret, the story never came to be. We began working on it, but his schedule and mine were too hectic and unpredictable for us to really coordinate our efforts and make it happen. Life gets in the way, sometimes. Not to mention that we were both focused on continuing series of our own on our individual sites at the same time. So it was hard to pull off that particular magic trick, hehehe! But...Dom if you're still out there somewhere? Hehehe, I'm ready when you are, dude! This week, the topic is writer collaboration! How to jump into it, how to smoothly navigate your way through it, and how to combine your best instincts with the instincts of another author that you're eager to work with. I think that working with another writer can be a truly positive learning experience for both parties. Joining your passion with the passion of another author brings the best out of you sometimes. You begin to examine your similarities as well as your differences, and it gives you another perspective on the craft of putting a story together in general. Now, it's extremely difficult for me to collaborate with other writers these days, personally, because I'm constantly juggling a ton of chainsaws at once as far as my 'Comsie Work' is concerned, but I can tell you from experience that I really enjoyed participating in other writer projects when I got the opportunity to do so. It was FUN, learning other characters and storylines that weren't my own, and being able to put a bit of a personal spin on them. You should try it sometime, if for no other reason than you might enjoy the challenge. There was a vampire story that I began on the "GFD: Blood Bank" site called "Lost In Shadow", where I basically set up a cast of characters and a situation that had to be dealt with by writing the first chapter. Then I passed the second chapter off to another author, who was given total freedom to carry the story in any direction that he wanted. The third chapter was picked up by somebody else, and so forth and so on. This Round Robin story was a lot of fun to work on, but, of course...it's hard to keep something like that for any length of time. People have different writing habits, different works schedules, different family obligations...and then there's just plain writer's block lurking around the corner. Hehehe! But, for a while, I LOVED it! I'd love to start from scratch and finish "Lost In Shadow" off as an ebook someday. But that's another story for another time. If I had any tips for tackling a joint project with someone else, I'd narrow them down to the following four suggestions. Everything else, you'll just have to feel out and work through on your own. That's part of the fun, after all. Plan ahead! If you're going to collaborate with another writer, you are both going to have to come up with a game plan before you start writing. Full stop. Don't start a story without getting together in some way and discussing what you guys want to accomplish. When I say 'plan ahead', I don't mean...you plot out the whole idea and story on your own, and then contact the other author to see if he or she would be interested. Hehehe, that's not a true collaboration. The whole point is for you both to create something as a team. So, start with a blank screen, talk to one another, and start building the story together. Figure out a theme, come up with characters, bounce some ideas back and forth with each of you having a say in what you're constructing from the ground up. Not all writers (Or writing styles) are compatible with one another, so you'll have to find a way to mend the two disciplines in a way that inspires, challenges, and strengthens, you both. This is something that you might want to figure out before you put the hard work in. Think a few chapters ahead. Where are you going with this? How will you separate the chapters? What kind of 'events' do you want to happen along the way and which one of you is going to handle that? These are all things to think about before you get started. I know how easy it is to just say, "Yay! I want to write something with this person or that person!" And have no plan going into it. Take some time, get those details fleshed out a little bit and figure out how you're going to trade off your duties as you go along. Communicate! No, the conversation doesn't stop at the planning stages! Hehehe! The thing about writing your own stories without having to pass your pre-planned ideas or spontaneous instincts on to a partner, is the fact that you two (or however many people you're working with) can quickly end up getting in each other's way if you're not communicating. You may take the story in a direction that ends up completely ruining the ideas and creative goals of the other writer. And vice versa. One writer might paint the main characters into a corner, making it difficult for the next writer to get them out of it. You want to work with each other, not against each other. Being in constant contact is essential in making sure you guys are on the same page. If you have ideas, share them with your collaborator(s). If you want to do something big a few chapters down the road, and want to start building up those plot points earlier on? Let your partner know. Hell, they might even be able to help you set things up with their contributions as well. But you have to make sure you work that out ahead of time. If you decide, in chapter 3, that you want Jack and Harry to get married in chapter 10...and your writing partner decides that Harry gets torn to pieces by wild hyenas in chapter 7...hehehe, well, obviously you guys are going to have a major conflict there. So keep sharing your ideas with one another to make sure your individual contributions to the same story are compatible. Pay attention to continuity! This is important. Even if your writing styles are vastly different, you can still create the illusion that this is all the same story, written by the same talent. However, you've got to make sure that you're keeping the story straight in your head in terms of continuity. For me? The stories and characters that I've written over the years are always in my head and close to my heart. And even I get my OWN continuity mixed up from time to time! So you have to pay extra attention when it comes to the continuity of your partner's characters and plot points. Don't have someone's eyes change from blue to brown, or have a shy guy suddenly start beating up bullies at school. Obviously, if your collaborator has a character who's father passed away...and in your next chapter, you have him randomly show up to a family dinner...hehehe, that's going to create a serious 'WTF?' moment for everybody reading! So make sure that you know both your side of the story, as well as your partners', and keep things consistent. This should be easy if you're keeping up with tip #2 above. Don't 'bully' the story! Competition between creative minds is ok. It's natural. Consider literature a sport when you're writing. Put your best foot forward, and get your writing partner to do the same. BUT...don't bully your way through the storytelling. As a writer, you know that it can be a very personal and isolated practice to create a story. We get used to working alone. So, it's easy to fall into the habit of controlling everything that is being said and done in a story. You may have a vision of how you think things should go, and you want to almost force events to follow your ideas to a tee. Yeah...you have to ease up on that. If you want this to be a true collaboration, then you have to make room for another author's voice. Again, this goes back to the 'communication' rule. Talk. Think things out, share ideas, make compromises...give the other author just as much room as you would want them to give to you. If it was just going to be 'your' story, then why collaborate at all? Let your partner breathe. Let them work their own particular brand of magic, and look at it as a challenge to show readers what you've got in response. There's no better feeling than matching wits with another awesome writer, and leapfrogging over one another to bring your 'A' game to the same project. Appreciate the team effort, and the effort will appreciate you in return. Alright, that's it for this week! If you guys are ever looking for a unique experience and want to stretch your writing muscle a bit further than usual, try collaborating with another writer. It's a really great way to find things out about your own writing process as well as the habits of others. Give it a shot! Food for thought! Hope it helps! Seezya next week!
  8. Comicality

    Chapter 9 - "Checkmate"

    OH! Well, in that case, GFD will be up on the 23rd (Black Friday)! And yes, I was talking about Nightfall. Although GFD: Resurrection and Rogue Angel have additional material as well.
  9. Comicality

    A Short Breather! :P

    Hey! It's a new moon out tonight! (Or...not out, as the case may be) Anyway, I got a bit more breathing room this week, and I hope to share some of it with you guys! The newest chapter of "Savage Moon" has been posted! So check it out when you get a chance, and let me know what you think when you get a chance! https://www.gayauthors.org/story/comicality/savagemoon06-thenewbreed/ AND...if you're brand new to "Savage Moon", you can start at the beginning at the link below! This is one of my favorites, as it taps into my dark side a bit more than others! Hehehe, but I hope you'll enjoy it, nonetheless, k? https://www.gayauthors.org/story/comicality/savagemoon01-discovery/ Also...don't forget to grab your copy of the newest "Savage Moon: Unleashed" ebook when you get a chance! It was just released on Halloween last week! Thanks to all of you guys who bought a copy so far! ((Hugz)) Every penny helps!
  10. Comicality

    Chapter 31

    "Savage Moon: The New Breed 31" For someone so slim...Isaac was a lot heavier than he looked. As if I didn't have enough weight on my shoulders without having to carry his unconscious body through the woods like this. Why the hell did he run like that? Hemust have really been scared out of his wits to knock himself out like that. Then again...can I really blame him? I'm not exactly a part of a normal one night stand here, am I? To an Amish kid who's been raised in a God fearing household away from the rest of society's wickedness, I must have come as quite a shock to him. Am I really a monster? Am I the devil's punishment for straying from the path, and following the golden road of temptation into the unbearable flames below. A torture meant for the ceaseless wickedness of those without conscience, without empathy? A broken moral compass beyond repair. I had to ask myself if I could be honest about such a thing. Monsters don't know they're monsters. They only look that way to the fearful masses who rejected them. That's what I used to think. But now? I'm not so sure. Cyrus, along with the rest of my brethren, taught me that there really is 'evil' lurking in the darkness surrounding us all. Deliberate wickedness...looking to recruit others. Seduce us into becoming one of them. As always, Cyrus' words rang true. I had fallen from grace. And I did it by choice. The rising sun was beginning to make it easier for me to navigate through the thick cluster of trees, the uneven terrain creating a sense of fatigue in my knees and ankles as I did my best to carry Isaac along with me. I took a moment to try and get his truck started back there, but with the way it rammed into that tree...the engine was 'done'. It wouldn't even start up when I turned the key in the ignition. And even if it had, the vehicle had run so far off of the road that I doubt the tires could have powered their way back up out of the deep trench it had rolled into. Thank God we had gotten far enough away from my pack's pursuit to buy us some extra time. Father won't just let this go. He'll come for me. He'll come for us both. Nothing else will take priority over him hunting me down and, possibly, trying to bring me back. I doubt I'd still be alive if he wasn't convinced that he needed me to be a part of the group. I wish that could bring me some comfort at a time like this, but it didn't. not at all. Ok...this boy is getting WAY too heavy for me to keep carrying over my shoulder like this. I would have left him where he was if I wasn't worried about the others finding him before he woke up. With a heavy sigh, I put him down on the forest ground as gently as I could. Considering my exhaustion, that was just a few degrees away from dropping him like a sack of potatoes. Still, I needed the breather. I rotated my right arm, trying to massage the sore muscles in my shoulder. The scars on me from Kriegar, Scout, and the twins, were like pressing a hot iron against my skin...especially when I touched the deeply grooved wound with my fingers. Shit. They got me good. This wasn't some random bully on the beach that I was dealing with here. It was a pack of pissed of supernatural creatures that considered this'taking it easy' on me. I leaned up against a tree and carefully lifted my shirt. Ugh! JESUS! It looks even worse than I expected. Some of those cuts looked as though they went all the way to the bone. Specifically, the ones I got from my tussle with Scout on the back of Isaac's truck. That evil pipsqueak has been itching to take a few chunks out of me from day one. He definitely enjoyed himself. My fever was causing me to sweat profusely as my body worked to regenerate itself, but it was going to take time. Hopefully, I'll be back in working order before my brethren come for me. Because, even at peak condition...I was clearly no match for them. I took a seat at the base of the tree and tried to rest for a few moments when I finally heard Isaac beginning to stir again. He had a pretty nasty bump on his head from running into that branch at top speed the way he did, but it serves him right. I told him to chill out. "Unnghhh...what happened?" He said, groggy and disoriented. He touched the lump on his head and winced from the pain. "Where are we?" "I don't know. Somewhere in the woods." I replied. "What part of the woods?" "Shit, I don't know. The part with all the trees in it?" I sighed. "Not helpful." "Well, I'll tell you what...if I find a Starbucks coffee shop out here, I'll be sure to use it as a marker to get our bearings straight." I said. Isaac took a moment to look around, and then he asked, "Where's the truck?" "You crashed the truck. Or don't you remember, basically, trying to kill me a few hours ago with your little stunt?" "Kill you? I...I just remember..." Suddenly, everything came back to him, and his eyes grew wide as he looked me in the face. "Holy Christ!!!" "I swear to God, if you bolt on me right now...you're on your own!" I grumbled. I, honestly, didn't have the energy to chase him down again. "You...you're one of them..." "Relax. Your immortal 'soul' is safe. I don't want it." I said, and began rubbing my eyes. Trying to keep his distance, Isaac seemed to recognize parts of me that were a little less threatening than what he saw in the early hours of this morning. Something human. He was still overwhelmed with disbelief, but I can't say that I would have handled this situation any better, had the roles been reversed. "You're not going to hurt me?" He asked, meekly. "Are you kidding me? You've been unconscious for over an hour now. I, physically, carried you here. If I wanted to hurt you...you'd be hurt. I didn't even bother to take your wallet. You really think I'm waiting for my 'moment' to take advantage?" Isaac was still. Foggy. Still trying to shake himself free from the nightmare. "I had a lot to drink last night. Too much. I saw things...somebody put something in my drink..." "No. They didn't." "Monsters. I saw monsters. My brain...something isn't working right. Hallucinations. Sometimes at Rumspringa...people bring drugs..." "It wasn't drugs! Listen, I know this may be a super weird experience for you right now, but you need to stop with the denial and realize what's going on here. Because what we ran away from this morning? It's not done with us. Cyrus isn't going to just leave us alone. We need to keep moving. We need to find some place safe to think and figure out how we're going to get me back to camp. Around people. A place where we can ask for help." "I don't know where to go. I don't know where we are." He said. He looked up at the sky, trying to shield his eyes from the light. "Do you remember where the sun came up?" "What?" "The sun. Did you see it rise? What direction did it come from? it might help me get my bearings." Shit. Why didn't I think of that? "I don't remember. I've been walking this whole time...I didn't think to track it." I said. "Maybe...if we stay here for a while, a few hours, I can see if it's moving from East to West...and we can come up with a plan to..." I put my hand on his shoulder to get him to look me in the eye. "Dude...you're not hearing me. We can rest for a few minutes every now and then...but we don't have a whole lot of time to linger around the trees and see which way the sun is headed. My brethren are tracking us. Right NOW, they're out there somewhere...looking to rip us to pieces. The only way we're going to have a chance of surviving this is to get somewhere public. And fast." I told him. "And to be honest...I still can't guarantee that they won't slaughter everyone in sight just to get to us. But it's the only shot we've got." "What were you thinking?" Looking around us, the woodland landscape looking identical in all directions, "I say that we just keep walking in a straight line to keep from wandering around in circles. We move straight head, and we're bound to come to an open road or a populated area eventually. Hopefully before nightfall. How well do you know the are?" "Not very well. We were only allowed to leave our town for work or for church. Sometimes to go to market. Rumspringa was my first exploration into new territory. It was my first time being free from home." "Well, it looks like we've both got some exploring to do now. I'm not sure how many miles of woods there are out here, but I'm guessing it's going to be more than your average walk in the park. The sooner we get started, the better." I began to step forward in the right direction, but Isaac took a hold of my hand. I turned to look him in the eye, and with an emotional catch in his voice, he said, "Thank you, Wesley. You fought for me. You saved my life." He moved forward to give me a hug around the neck. Me...the monster who brought him INTO all this mess. But after a sniffle or two, I backed out of his embrace, and said, "Don't thank me yet. Save it for when we find a way to hitchhike back into town." I felt that was a bit more tactful than telling him, 'we might still be meeting our maker by night's end'. What do you think? So we did pick a definitive direction and start walking that way, careful not to stray too far from a straight line...even though the thickness of the forest trees kept trying to throw us off course. I, personally, wanted to find a way back to on of the nearby roads so that we could find some help...but as we kept hiking, we only seemed to get deeper and deeper into the woods. With nothing but bird chirps above us, and no signs of civilization anywhere else. This is NOT how I expected my forced trip to Bible camp to go! Believe me! We kept walking for what might have been ten minutes...or it could have been twenty. Might have been a quarter mile...might have just been the rise and fall of a single hill. It was hard to say. I was still extremely disoriented. Dizzy and sore. Raw, bruised, and wounded. In desperate need of two or three consecutive showers. My body overheating as my healing ability did all it could to rapidly stitch me back together. Finally, when I couldn't stand the burn of the fever any longer, I pulled my shirt up over my head and used the ripped fabric to mop the sweat from my brow. I seriously felt ill. Is this how this healing thing is supposed to work? It's never been this bad before. Then again, this isn't just a black eye and a busted lip this time. I know that Isaac thought he was being sneaky, peeking over at me every few seconds...the urge to run still evident in his frightened scent. Already annoyed with my situation, I told him, "You can stop staring at me now." He looked away again. "I'm not going to 'bite' you, alright? I just want to find a place to rest." He attempted to calm himself down, but I noticed that he continued to keep his distance from me, regardless. i simply rolled my eyes to myself and kept hiking forward. I can't say that I had a plan of any sort. I couldn't just keep Isaac joined at the hip for the rest of my days. But I couldn't necessarily just get rid of him either. I would, quite literally, be leaving him to the wolves. And even though we didn't know each other all that well, a highly sexualized evening romp aside...I wasn't quite sure that I could live with that. "You don't...seem like them. The others." Isaac said after a long silence. "That's because I'm not like them." I grunted. "But...you were with them. You called them your 'brethren'. You had me come home with you..." "I don't remember putting a gun to your head." I snapped. Why was I so frustrated? Something about the recently freed, defiant, creature within me had me just itching for some kind of confrontation so I could use this excess heated aggression to rip them apart. "I called, you came. it was a simple as that." "I didn't know they were MONSTERS!" He grumbled. "Yeah, well, neither did I?" "Really?" Isaac said, stopping his forward motion to give me a pained look. "Are you so sure about that? You're going to tell me you didn't know?" "You don't know what the hell you're talking about." I told him. But as he stood there in silence, scared, angry, confused. I walked back over to him and did what I could to calm myself down. "I didn't know they'd..." I reached out for Isaac's arm, but he quickly stepped back from me. "I didn't know what they were until it was too late." "I don't believe you." He sniffled. "I don't believe I can trust you." "Isaac, we really don't have time for this. I don't know how far you drove us away from that house while I was passed out, but if we don't find a way to get to a public place soon..." I stepped forward, and he stepped back again. Cautiously keeping me at a distance. So I tried a different approach. "Cyrus and the others...they can take things too far. But I had convinced myself that there was a line that they would never cross. That nobody in their right mind would ever cross..." "Have you hurt people?" He asked with a shaky voice. "Do you follow them?" It was best that I avoided that question. "Look, I was tricked into this..." "No. Was no trick. It was foul temptation and you surrendered to it. Willingly." "It wasn't LIKE that! I TOLD YOU..." "You sold them your SOUL! And now you pretend that you were misled!" "Fuck off, dude!" I scoffed. Turning to walk away from his accusations. "You wanna stay out here until it gets dark, suit yourself. I don't need this shit. I need to find my way home." That's when Isaac shouted out, "You damn ME as well!!!" I looked back to see tears streaming down his cheeks. "You take your soulless temptation...and you pass it on to me. You separate me from God. From my family. You drag me into darkness with you. You put yourself in league with angry, murderous, demons...and then you 'pretend' not to know what they were at their core. You have seen. You have been a witness to their crimes all this time and you say NOTHING!" "You certainly picked the wrong time to put this all on me!" I sneered. "You got what you wanted. A cute face and a hard fuck from behind. You surrendered to temptation too, just like anybody else would. So if I'm soulless...what does that make you, church boy?" I turned to keep walking, not really knowing if he was going to follow behind me or if he was going to just sit there crying like a baby. But I did take a moment to face him and spread my arms wide as I walked backwards. "Cyrus was right, you know? In order to gain knowledge...innocence must be lost. And you definitely gave yours up without much of a struggle. So...you know...you're welcome." However, as I passed a few nearby trees, something caught my eye. Something that looked a little bit out of the ordinary. I stopped walking, trying to focus my eyes on it. A little black box, about waist high...strapped to a narrow tree trunk. My eyes widened and my heart skipped a beat. "Holy shit. Is that what I think it is?" I said, but Isaac was still sniffling over his hellbound sins or whatever. I hurried over to the tree for a closer examination. "Yes! Omigod, yes! Isaac!" "What...?" He whimpered. "Look at this. Come here." He sulked his way over to the tree, wiping his eyes, but curious as to what would change my mood so quickly. "I don't understand. What is it?" Running my hand over the surface of the box, I said, "It's a wildlife trail camera. I've seen these before." Looking over Isaac's shoulder, I added, "You see? There's a path intersection over there. These cameras are used for tracking game, mostly. Deer, raccoons...whatever." I saw another small box attached with bungee chords. "External power source. They might not check this very often, but somebody's definitely keeping an eye on this part of the woods." Bewildered, Isaac asked, "You...you know this for sure?" "My friend, Darryl Breck, back home...his bog brother Denny fancied himself a wannabe hunter. He never shut up it. I couldn't help but to pick up a fun fact or two for the sake of boredom alone." I got down on one knee, and although it took a little bit of work, I managed to get the camera cover open so I could look inside. "LED light...set to take pictures every 45 seconds...batteries seem fairly new..." "I don't get it." "Well this camera...it's low resolution. It's got an infra red night vision flash. Not one of those noticeably bright ones. No attempts to really camouflage it either." I could see he was still confused, so I continued. "This isn't an HD camera. It's not meant for nature photography. It's for hunting. A photographer might set up a camera and only check it once a month, or maybe only a few times a year. But a hunter? A hunter's going to frequent this place. It was chosen as a good game spot to keep an eye on." "So...this is a hunter's camera?" "I think so." I said. "This place might seem pretty secluded from the rest of the world, but if it's a common hunting spot for somebody...then they can't be too far away. In fact, Denny used to go on and on about getting his own place so he could set up a prime location on the edge of his property like some hunters do. And...if that's the kind of practice that's common for people like that..." Isaac said, "Then we might be on someone's property." I gave him a hopeful grin. "Exactly. And there might be a house or a cabin nearby." I stood up and brushed knee off. "Maybe just over that next hill. If we can find it...we can get help. I'm sure my family is looking for me. Your family is probably looking for you too. He can drive us into town, or...or call the police. Something! There may just be a way out of this mess after all." Isaac was hesitant at first, but decided to follow me further into the woods, if for no other reason than to bring an end to this nightmare, once and for all, and split so he never had to lay eyes on me again. If I can just get back home again...I'd be fine with that.
  11. Comicality

    Loveless: The Jimmy LaPlane Experience

    Awesome pic,by the way! @MrM I've still got your "Children Of Sunset" playlist for November's issue of Imagine magazine. Did you want to change it out for this one? Or do you want to save it for later? Let me know, k?
  12. Comicality

    imagine Question For 11/1

    A brand new Q&A community question is up for this week! Feel free to comment when you get a chance! I always love hearing what you guys have to say abut this stuff! Also, in case you missed last week's community question, we could definitely use a few more comments on that one as well. If I can a good 9 or 10 responses, I'd be happy. Right now, between here and the Comicality Cafe, I've got four. So we're almost half way there. Anonymous replies are welcome, and emails to Comicality@webtv.net are welcome also. Cool? Last week's question was on our very first introduction to porn. Hehehe! (https://www.voy.com/15900/92091.html) This week? Well, look below and see for yourself! These question and answer sessions might help our younger Shackers who are reading, and are just learning to navigate their way through life for the first time. So don't hold back, k? This week's question is...could you...would you...be a part of a 'secret' relationship with another person? Now, think about this. What if you're in the closet and don't want the whole world to know that you're gay? What if you're out of the closet, but your boyfriend isn't? Would you be willing to keep your discretion for <i>his</i> sake? Or would you want him to be as open as you are? Have you experienced this yourself in the past? What was it like? Tell us your feelings on this! Not everybody is ok with keeping their relationship under wraps. But, on the same level...not everybody is cool with 'living out loud' either? What are your thoughts on this, and feel free to share any personal experiences that you've had with this issue in the past. I'd be interested to see your story!
  13. Comicality

    imagine Question For 11/1

    <p> ...I've always been a bit mixed on this question. And I can definitely say that I've seen it from both sides. I would never ask someone to come out if they were uncomfortable with it. That has always been something that I saw as a personal choice, and it differs from person to person. Some people restricted and confined by not being honest about their feelings. Others feel unnecessarily exposed and burdened by having other people look so deeply into their personal lives. I can see the value in both points of view. So, does a committed relationship change things? I'd say yes. I actually had a series of panic attacks over a boyfriend that I was TOTALLY head over heels in love with! And he felt the exact same way about me. We were just...we were meant to be together. And it became so serious for me that I was literally ready to give up my whole closet status just for him. Like, "This is it! I'm not about to let this secret keep us apart! He's everything I ever wanted!" Introduced him to my mom and everything (although, not as my boyfriend). But, yeah, I panicked on a number of occasions. Because I knew what my ultimate choice was going to be in the end. And the secret simply wasn't worth the discomfort it created. However...I'm not against a bit of discretion if it worked for both of us. I've had some secret romps in my history. Mostly when I was a teenager, though. And mostly because being gay wasn't something that people talked about then as openly as they do now. And because we had parents to worry about, and high school rumors, and...just a bunch of garbage that I wish hadn't been a factor at the time. But it was a <i>mutual</i> secret. That made all the difference. If he had been out, I might have thought differently. If I had been out...HE might have thought differently. I guess it just depends on the situation, you know? Besides...secret relationships can be HOT! Hehehe! Just sayin'! ::Nods::
  14. Comicality

    Engaging Dialogue

    The thing about having a dialogue with someone in real life, versus having a dialogue in written prose...is that, more times than not, prose demands a sense of purpose from its characters' interaction. There's very little room for fluff and small talk. The words being spoken have to actually 'say' something about the current situation and add to the story. It doesn't have to be forced, but I think it helps to know what your intentions are as a writer when adding dialogue to the scenes you have in your project. Now, there are writers and critics that will tell you that every single spoken word by your characters should have some significant impact on the overall story, and if not, it should be erased. I, personally, am not that strict on the characters in my own stories. Sometimes my characters just like to shoot the shit for a while. I think that's fine. But that doesn't mean that they're conversations are completely purposeless. They are necessary for the story, they just aren't directly used to move the plot forward in any certain direction. Those conversations serve another purpose. A purpose that I think is important when it comes to telling a good tale. So this week, we're not just talking about dialogue...but engaging dialogue. Dialogue that accompanies your story and plot and characters in such a way that it can elevate your project as a whole, and keep readers glued to the screen. I truly believe that dialogue should feel natural and spontaneous in a story. It should sound like the kind of conversation that two average strangers could be having on a bus, or on any random street corner. And depending on who's having that conversation, there might be a few jokes told, some witty back and forth, maybe some wisdom passed from one character to another. That's normal enough. But every conversation doesn't have to have some sort of great meaning, emotional weight, or some deep sense of gravitas, in order to work in your writing. In fact, if every sentence spoken between your characters did that...it would come off as stiff and unrealistic. People don't talk like that. Sometimes, you just see a familiar face and say, "Hey, what's up? How are you?" And the answer is, "Fine! How about you?" And that's all there is to it. The problem with adding this natural dialogue to your writing is that it can sometimes slow the pace of your story way down if you let it linger on for too long without giving your readers a reason to care about this casual chit chat. Nobody wants to read about two people discussing the weather for a page and a half. Not if it doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the story. Does that mean you can't discuss the weather in your story? No. You just have to give it purpose. Why is this happening? Let your audience know the subtext of this conversation and why they need to keep paying attention. Using the 'weather' example... If two, well established, characters are on a mission to steal a car from a mob boss...WHY in the name of all that is holy are they talking about whether or not it's going to rain??? Nooooo! What am I reading? SKIP! However...if the tools they're using to steal said car depend on whether or not it rains when the heist goes down...that's a factor. It's a part of the story. Let the readers know that. NOW that conversation has meaning. Or...let's say that you have a really shy, closeted, teenager talking to the boy of his dreams for the first time. Maybe they're in an elevator together, and the weather forecast is the only thing he can come up with to talk to this stunning beauty next to him. Again...it's a mundane conversation, but it's given depth and meaning through the character interaction and the situation at hand. If done right, you can make the most boring dialogue engaging to your audience through the subtext alone. Basically, meaningful dialogue can have one of three main objectives. To set the tone of the scene, to introduce certain personality traits of your characters, or to advance the plot of the story by delivering information that will be needed later. So...let's talk about that first one. Setting the tone for your scene through dialogue is all about how you word it. Maybe there's some flirtatious tension going on. Maybe there's some serious conflict happening. Maybe it's a scene of all out chaos, or maybe it's a scene of total indifference. The way your characters relate to one another speaks volumes beyond the actual dialogue. Two people who are hostile toward one another may throw a few passive aggressive comments in each other's direction. Two people nervous around one another may stutter or pause, or say something that they immediately regret once the sound has left their mouths. Characters who are the best of friends may joke around and give each other shit in a playful way. The thing is...you can create an atmosphere for the scene through the dialogue being shared by the characters at your disposal. You can let the reader know whether this is going to be a lighthearted scene, or a dramatic scene. You can give them cues about an instant rivalry and play up the animosity between the two people speaking. While the conversation itself may be simple and plain, the 'feel' of it can draw your readers into the scene and give them a sense of presence within the scene itself. What should they be feeling right now? Why did they say what they just said? And why did they say it that way? Your readers are smart, and they're emotionally involved in what's going on. So set the stage, give them some details, and let them know how light or how dark the scene is by the dialogue that you give them to work with and the context flowing behind it. The second method involves displaying the personality traits of the characters involved. You guys might remember my article on "Show, Don't Tell". This is exactly what I mean by that. Who is your character (whichever character you're focusing on at the moment)? Are they extroverted and optimistic? A simple block of dialogue with them talking about sunny days and double rainbows can paint that picture for your readers. It might not have anything to do with the main plot or advance the story any further from where it is, currently...but it clearly expresses the attitudes and motivations of one of your main characters, which...in my opinion..is just as important, if not more so. Use your dialogue as a tool to allow your characters to show the audience who they are as a person. Maybe they're a hopeless romantic. Maybe they're a standoffish rebel. Maybe they're an insecure jerk, or a lovable shy guy. The words they use and the things they say can convey a clear message to your readers and give them a sense of who you characters are without you having to explain it to them later. The third method? Moving the plot forward. Now...with this one, I would warn all writers that it's difficult to do this without losing site of the 'tone' and 'character trait' parts of the equation. I believe that moving the plot forward comes from a combination of all three sides of this. You definitely want to provide new information and progress towards the finale that you're looking to reach by the end of your project...but if you lose sight of tone and character in the meanwhile? The story can easily fall apart. Try to keep having your protagonist or love interest 'break character' by suddenly saying something that they would never say normally, just for the sake of advancing the plot. Don't change the tone of your story from something happy and comical to something dark and disturbing, simply because you want to jump into the tragic parts of your story. Keep things smooth. Flow. Being a good writer, I think, is all about the choices you make. And how readers react to those choices as the story unfolds. The idea is to have your audience follow you on a journey. Not for you to push an emotional 'agenda'. I know you have an idea in mind for how the story is going to go and how you want it to end...but use some finesse. Hehehe! Have patience. Any driver knows what happens when you take a sharp curve too quickly. Ease into it. Have faith in your readers. They're with you. Lead them in the right direction, but don't suddenly sucker punch them with dialogue that doesn't fit, simply because you want to jump to the next step. Keep things consistent. I've learned that it reads better in the long run. Remember...engaging dialogue comes from engaging people, and engaging situations. If you're writing, and there's a voice in the back of your mind that says, "I should probably add some dialogue to this scene"...ask yourself why? If you can't come up with a better answer than 'because...' then don't do it. Why are they talking? Who are they talking to? What will this add to the story, plot, character, tone, or theme, of the story? Don't just have people talk when they have nothing to say. If this becomes a part of your story, readers won't be able to decide what conversations are important to think about or remember for later...and which ones are just fluff for the sake of fictional mumbling. Pick your moments wisely, and make sure that every conversation is actually 'saying' something...even when it appears to be saying nothing. Hehehe, easier said than done. I know. But nothing can teach you the difference like practice. So, you know...PRACTICE! Alrighty then, I know this was a short one this week, but there isn't really a whole lot that I can say in terms of advice for this topic! Every author is different. We all have our own methods, ideas, and our own experiences with writing in the past to draw from when it comes to getting the desired effect. I can't guide anybody in the right direction, because there IS no right direction! I can only tell you what I've encountered so far, and what feels comfortable for me. So find your own version of these little lessons while writing your own stuff. And if you find little tidbits of your own along the way? Share it with me! Hehehe! I'm still learning too! Take care! I hope this helps! And I'll seezya soon with more!
  15. Comicality

    SWEET!!! It's official for Ruel now! XD

    GAH!!! He so CUTE!!! I'm in love!
  16. Comicality

    SWEET!!! It's official for Ruel now! XD

    He turned 16 three days ago! XD
  17. Comicality

    Happy Halloween, You Guys! >:)

    I'm going to keep this short because I'm trying to edit and cook dinner at the same time! Hehehe! Not good for the concentration. But I've got some candy treats for you all tonight! There is a brand new chapter of the long awaited "Savage Moon" series coming your way as soon as I get it all polished and pretty for ya! So, in an hour or two, tops! But, not only that, but the ebook version of "Savage Moon: Unleashed" is FINALLY finished, and is now for sale in the Comicality ebook section at https://imagine-magazine.org/store/comicality/ if you're interested! So feel free to jump in and be the first to get your copy today! Cool? I've gotta run! Enjoy the random prezzies, and I'll seeya on Monday with more! SO much more! Also, I'm mad dogging my emails tonight, so I hope to talk to you all soon! It'll be good to catch up with many of you, and awesome to meet the new Shackers as well! Welcome aboard!
  18. Comicality

    SWEET!!! It's official for Ruel now! XD

    Ooh! Nope! I haven't seen this! i was JUST talking about Ruel yesterday! See? We're connected. Hehehe! Sighhhh...he's dreamy.
  19. Comicality

    Chapter 9 - "Checkmate"

    Thanks! Actually, "Nightfall" is complete for the time being. But I AM still working on a sequel to the original story that takes place a few years later! As far as this particular part of the story, though, it's been told from beginning to end. Although, if you get a chance, check out the ebook version. I added a lot of stuff, especially to the final chapter, which I feel is MUCH better than the original version! You might like it!
  20. I'm going to keep this short because I'm trying to edit and cook dinner at the same time! Hehehe! Not good for the concentration. But I've got some candy treats for you all tonight! There is a brand new chapter of the long awaited "Savage Moon" series coming your way as soon as I get it all polished and pretty for ya! So, in an hour or two, tops! But, not only that, but the ebook version of "Savage Moon: Unleashed" is FINALLY finished, and is now for sale in the Comicality ebook section at https://imagine-magazine.org/store/comicality/ if you're interested! So feel free to jump in and be the first to get your copy today! Cool? I've gotta run! Enjoy the random prezzies, and I'll seeya on Monday with more! SO much more! Also, I'm mad dogging my emails tonight, so I hope to talk to you all soon! It'll be good to catch up with many of you, and awesome to meet the new Shackers as well! Welcome aboard!
  21. I feel good already! Apparently, Thanksgiving Dinner is happening here this year, so I need to clean up and figure out how thats going to work. Giggles! I'm so used to not having family around that this might turn out to be a disaster. But...I'm planning for it anyway! Heehe! Any ideas?
  22. Comicality

    i've got today off from work! :P

    Hehehe! I think I've got some ideas! (Peeks in Comsie's Mind)
  23. Comicality

    Imagine Questions For 2019

    Let's just say...I was a youngster! Oh man...I might have been, ummmm...seven? Maybe eight years old? Like I said, I was young. Now, my parents had moved us into a decent sized apartment shortly before that. I was used to living in tiny little 'affordable' crackerbox apartments that were just barely big enough for the three of us. But this one was bigger. To me...it was HUGE! And I had my own room and my own space, everything was so big. Hehehe! Anyway, any time that I got to be alone (Both of my parents had to work, and I didn't stay alone for very long, but I had an hour or two every day when I simply had to behave and be by myself. Way it goes) I'd go 'exploring' in this giant, adventurous, apartment of ours. Cabinets and closets and under the beds...I've always been curious. Well, the first thing I ever found was my father's Playboy magazines. LOL! For our younger Shackers, it was like Imagine Magazine...but for straight guys in the 80's! ::Giggles:: Just read it for the articles. ::Wink::) Seriously, though...I remember seeing women completelynaked and being...kinda confused at first. I distinctly remembering asking myself, "Where's her penis?" How can she pee without a penis? But...I kept looking, and I had this feeling that I'd DEFINITELY get into major trouble if I got caught looking at this stuff...but I kept looking anyway. Later on, I found some 'tapes' at the bottom of the box of magazines. Hehehe, now, this was back in the days of 'Betamax'! And I barely knew how to use the machine, but I figured it out, and I watched some of the tapes. Oh boy! I can't say that I was turned on by any of it, but I was SUPER excited to be doing something that I wasn't supposed to be doing! My heart was beating so fast! I still remember the names of the first two videos I ever watched! "Apartment Girls" and "Taboo II" (Where...some guy was having sex with his sister or something!). They were terrible 70's porn vids, but they will always have a special place in my heart. Because...nostalgia! I didn't see my first gay porn until I was 17. And that rocked my world, because I was still trying to convince myself that I was some kind of a weird abnormality that had lost his way by not liking girls as much as I liked boys. It was definitely a different time. Then...came the internet. LOL! And well, that was the endgame. Now porn is everywhere! No more looking behind the local 7-11 to see what magazines they tossed in the dumpster! Hehehe! Yeah...that was a thing, back then. (I did look through a Playgirl magazine once with one of my best friends when we were about ten, but we made sure to keep calling each other 'homos' the whole time while giggling...and STILL looking at every single page of the magazine. I guess that was our version of a disclaimer) Anyway, that was my first experience with pornography. I don't regret it one bit. It was naughty, but it was fun. Natural, even. That's why, every time someone tells me, "Comsie, I found your stories when I was only 12!" I totally get it. Hehehe, been there, done that. Believe me.
  24. Comicality

    Imagine Questions For 2019

    As many of you guys will remember, at the end of 2017, I posted a series of Q&A themes to gather reader input and support for future issues of Imagine! Now, I still have some more questions left over for upcoming issues, and we've talked openly about flirting, safe sex, coming out of the closet, first kisses, gaydar, and masturbation. We've all got stories, so why not share them? Right? Well, it's that time again! And I'm going to start posting new questions every Thursday (if possible) for next year's issues! All replies will only be posted under your online screen name, and anonymous posts are also welcome if you feel the information you're giving is private. K? Today is the first day! So let's get started! Hehehe, there was a time...maybe recently...maybe a long time ago...when we were all introduced to the world of people getting naked and doing naughty things for money! LOL! Yes, porn exists. And I'm going to raise an eyebrow if you tell me you've never looked at 'dirty pictures' or online videos before. Hehehe, I write fiction, but my suspension of belief only goes so far! SO, this week...tell us...what are your very first memories of seeing any form of pornography? What did you think about it? Did you feel guilty about it? Were you excited by it? Did it totally freak you out? Hehehe! Was it a magazine? Was it online? Was it a video or a DVD? Were you alone? Or was it shown to you by a friend or relative? How old were you at the time? Whatever your initial experiences with porn were...comment below! I'll add my own experiences as well when I get a chance, and we'll add the answers to Imagine Magazine in the months to come during 2019! Cool? Can't wait to see what you guys have to say! Porn *IS* a rite of passage, after all!
  25. Comicality

    8 Tips for Improving your Writing

    Most of the time, when I'm writing stories or new chapters to existing stories, it's spawned by some sort of inspiration or emotion that I'm feeling. That's just something my personal creativity feeds off of, and sometimes the muse for one particular story or another can be a 'feast or famine' adventure. What can I say? When the time is right, the stars and planet align and they let me know when it's time. Once that happens, the words just seem to flow naturally as if they came from somewhere else entirely. I'm sure that many writers can say what a glorious experience that is. The feeling is amazing! However, while the creative side of writing can be sudden and effortless in moments of inspiration...there's still a process that we all have to go through in order to get the words from our hearts...to our brains...and out on a screen for other people to see. And I believe that the easier that process is for an author, the easier it will be for that author to blast out their best work. That's not always something that's easy to achieve. 'Life' is a great big attention whore! Hehehe! And so is creativity! So, there are going to be times when it feels like you're being torn apart by two narcissists at a dinner party. You're going to have to choose one. Sad, but true. And when it's time to write...life gets put on hold. It takes focus, and quiet, and a certain degree of isolation, to effectively pour your heart out on the page. But, if you can find a few hours to sit at your laptop and give your writing process your all? The end result will be SO worth it! This week...I'm talking about eight things that I did to help my own writing process a little easier to deal with. Not the actual writing itself, but the process of translating my thoughts and emotions for my readers to absorb, with as few obstacles and interruptions as humanly possible. It may make a 'recluse' out of me from time to time...but if I'm going to claim to be a writer, even unprofessionally, then I'm going to give it my all and do it right. And with a little preparation and a touch of writer discipline...I can smooth out the writing process itself, and pour all of my energy into my work instead of stumbling every five minutes and disturbing my train of thought. Let's get started... Eat something first! I know that I probably sound like you mom and dad when I say this, but it's true. Feeding yourself will give your brain the nourishment and your body the energy to sit down and create your masterpiece. Have dinner, have a snack, keep a bag of chips nearby...whatever. Your body is burning through a lot of mental and emotional energy when you write. Give your body what it needs to function, and your mind won't wander off while you're writing. Not only will you be fed, but you won't have to worry about stopping mid sentence later to make yourself a sandwich when you, inevitably, get hungry later on. Also...keep a drink within reaching distance. Whether it's an ice cold bottle of water, a warm cup of coffee or tea, or a few beers and a glass of whiskey...whatever your flavor is, have it handy. There's nothing worse than getting on a creative streak, typing out words as fast as your fingers will allow...while struggling to ignore hunger pains or a deep thirst. Keep it close. Have these things ready, or taken care of ahead of time. So once you get 'in the zone'...you can stay there. Work in a clean space. Clutter, whether we realize it or not, hinders creativity. I know it sounds weird, but it's true. Clutter in your work space leads to clutter in your thoughts. Get rid of it. If you feel cramped or like the messy clothes on the floor, or dirty dishes, are closing in on you...take a moment, and clean your space so you can feel free and comfortable to operate without having to look at it. Even if it's just in your peripheral vision...lose it. If you've got a bunch of notes scribbled on pieces of scrap paper and grocery store receipts and candy wrappers (As I often do), just stack the ones you need at your side, and put the other ones elsewhere. Set a positive atmosphere for yourself. Give yourself some room and feel good about the atmosphere that you set for yourself. You'd be surprised how much it helps to clear the mind. Again...the goal is to make your writing the ONLY thing on your mind while you're pouring your heart out. I always feel that I write much better and much faster when the clutter is gone. Give it a try. Turn all of your distractions...OFF! Every last one of them. We live in an era where everybody seems to treat everything as though it was a dire emergency and they NEED an instantaneous reply fro you. It's not. And they don't. "I texted you and you didn't get back to me within the first 12 seconds of me sending it! I know you're online! I'm stalking you!" Hehehe, really? Come on. Nope! Cell phone? Off. Television? Off. Radio? Off. Skype, Facebook, Twitter...anything that will 'alert' you to a new message within seconds of you receiving it, and will cause you to agonize over what it says and who it's from? Lose it! If you want to concentrate...then concentrate. The world can wait for a few minutes while you follow your passion and say what you need to say with your art. Now, obviously, if you have to look out for actual emergency situations for work, or for kids/family, and you need a line of communication open 'just in case', then that's fine. But unless you're an on call paramedic or heart surgeon or something...don't let people treat you as one. It may sound harsh, but please don't interrupt my flawless writing streak because you were bored at home and just wanted to say hi. Send me a message, and I'll get back to you as soon as I'm finished. Promise. Also, there's no such thing as effective multitasking when it comes to your writing. Don't write two or three sentences and then look back over your shoulder at the TV. Turn it off. Don't divide your attention. It's sooooo easy to do these days, but if you want to write...then write. Either save TV for later, or watch TV first and then write. You can't do both. Trust me. Millions of dollars are paid to psychologists and social analysts every year to make every last commercial on TV as eye catching and distracting and loud and obnoxious as humanly possible. It's their JOB to take your attention away from whatever it is that you're doing at the moment. So cut that influence out of your writing time, and focus. Learn to say 'no'. Now, this is one of the most difficult parts of clearing the runway for your writing process. At least it is for me. When it comes to your family and your friends and your job...it can be difficult to stand up and simply say 'no' when they come looking for attention. I don't mean that in a bad way. They want to spend time with you, and you want to spend time with them in return. I get it. I definitely advise us all to crawl out from our holes and get some sunshine every now and again. It's good for us. BUT...if your muse is jumping and you want to sit down and really express your current feelings while the juices are flowing through you...it's OK to tell your friends no every once in a while. Don't feel bad about it. Maybe you don't want to go to the movies tonight. Maybe you don't want to go out partying on a Saturday night, or have company, or get into a two hour phone conversation. Say no. "Hey, I've really got something that I want to do right now, and maybe I'll catch up with you guys on another night." That's all you have to say. No long list of excuses are necessary. Sometimes, you just want to write. So do it. What's wrong with saying no to a distraction from what you really want to be doing tonight? You know?You see, I think that a lot of people work at daily jobs...and at the end of the day, they punch out, and they're done with it for the rest of the evening. They can't imagine wanting to be there all day and night and sacrificing a good time out on the town for more 'work' if they didn't have to. Makes perfect sense to me. But I think creativity and passion works differently. I like to go out and have fun just like everybody else. And yet, writing 'frees' me. It's something that I truly LOVE to do, as often as possible. There is no punching in and punching out. I can do it all day and never get antsy or bored with it. So...there are going to be times when I don't WANT to stop writing my new story to go to a party. I don't want to gab on the phone, I don't want to go shopping, I don't want to go out to lunch. I want to sit right here in front of this laptop and spill my heart and soul out on the page for the next few hours. That's my idea of fun for the evening, and I hope my loved ones will be able to understand, or at least respect, that. Sometimes you just don't want to miss your creative moment. Sometimes...you just have to tell them 'no'. There's no love lost, I love my friends and family dearly. But...for right now...LEAVE ME ALONE!!! Hehehe!(Seriously...don't be a dick about it. Just say, "Hey, I've got other plans." I haven't creatively 'clocked out' yet, and I want to finish this thought before it fades away. I'll get together with you guys later.) Simple. Right? Create a playlist for yourself. A BIG part of my personal writing process is music. It always has been. I can guarantee you all that I have a personal playlist for almost all of the stories that I write on my website. They range from happy, 'mall friendly', boy pop...to dark and moody, instrumental, movie scores and ambient horror. Music is a part of me setting the mood for what I'm writing in whatever scene I happen to be tackling at the moment. If I need something sad and dramatic? I have a playlist for that. If it's for something comical and playful/flirtatious? I have a playlist for that too. And when I need something 'sexy'...hehehe, well, let's just say that I've got songs for that as well. Find songs on your computer that give you a certain feel or inspire a certain emotion inside of you. Some songs might make you want to get up and dance. Some might remind you of an action scene where your main characters walks into a room and kicks ass. Find songs that fit a certain mood, and put them all together in a single playlist, so you can play them while writing. We all have 'anger' music. We all have 'heartbreak' lullabyes. We all have confident anthems of triumph and achievement. Find yours, and put them into a single folder so you can out them all on repeat when writing certain moments in your story. Sometimes, having song lyrics helps. Other times, I find them a bit distracting, and go for instrumental scores instead. It all depends on what it is that you're trying to say. Get on Youtube! Think of movies that really got you revved up, or moved you to tears at one time or another. Then look up music from that movie in the search! If you're looking for a song by a particular artist or band, with lyrics and all...look up (Movie title) + soundtrack! If you want an instrumental part of that same movie...look up (Movie title) + score! Chances are you can find anything you want, and that musical backdrop will help to keep you in the same frame of mind while you write or edit your work. Give it a shot! It works wonders! Always have your notes within reach! If you guys keep handwritten notes like me on multiple scraps of paper...get ALL of them together before you start writing, and keep them in a nice little pile next to your laptop or PC. I can honestly say that there is nothing worse than trying to write, getting some nice momentum and flow going...and having to stop to go searching for notes and details at the last minute because you forgot how you pictured the scene going! Arrrghhh! It sucks! It totally takes you out of the moment. I'm constantly writing stuff down as I think about it, and any time that I have to stop writing to go searching for those scribblings...I end up losing some of the fire that I got burning bright for the next few paragraphs I had planned. So keep them close. Also, I've found it really convenient to keep 'character profiles' in my online files for each story. These are very short descriptions that I line up under each story title and can bring up and look at any time that I need to. Basically, I can look up "New Kid In School" and look to see if Ryan's eyes are brown or hazel. I can see how old "Billy Chase" is, or what side of "Jesse-101's" forehead has that tiny scar on. Just make a short list of details that you can pull up if you're drawing a blank on anything. Is this character blond or brunette? Are they right handed or left handed? Do they live with both parents or just one? Whatever details that you may need to jot down for continuity's sake...put them in the profile. That will save you the time of going back through earlier chapters of your own story to find any details that you may have forgotten over time. Take breaks! Psychological studies have shown that concentration and focus is actually MORE effective when we indulge in a few breaks every now and then. Even if you're trying to rush through and reach a deadline or get something finished...always remember to take a moment to breathe. I know that we all get in the mode of, "I'm going to sit right here, and just pour six hours of HARD work into getting this done tonight!" every once in a while. Ummm...don't do that. LOL! I don't know how YOU guys might look at that, but it never ever works for me. Forcing myself to completely 'mad dog' my computer screen for endless hours on end without a break just leads to burn out and mental/emotional fatigue. That's not to say that you shouldn't be determined about what you want to accomplish. Just...write for an hour, maybe two, and then take a short break. Ten to fifteen minutes. Go on Youtube and find something fun to watch. Lean back and listen to some good music. Play a few video games or go for a short walk or drop by a chatroom for a bit. Just 'disengage' from your main focus for a little bit so you can recharge your creative battery, and then jump back in with even more tenacity than you had before. Seriously...if you're on a roll and don't want to stop writing, then that's cool. Follow your instincts. But I wouldn't advise writing for more than an hour or two straight without at least giving yourself a chance to relax for a little bit. Otherwise, you know what happens? You get drained...your butt hurts, your shoulders hurt, your fingers get tired, carpal tunnel settles into your wrists...and you might get a lot done for that one day...but then you're sore and miserable and don't want to type another word for a WEEK! Hehehe, that's counterproductive. Do a little bit every day, and you'll make better progress that way. Just don't get distracted to the point where you forget what you were supposed to be doing in the first place. Ten minutes here, twenty minutes there...then get back to work. I've learned that this works wonders when it comes to me getting stuff done. Know when to fold 'em! Yes, ladies and gentlemen...the old gambling anthem works here as well. Believe me when I say that I completely understand the desire to chase your muse and keep writing until the sun rises and the letters on your keyboard have been rubbed away from overuse! LOL! You should see the first WebTv keyboard I had (And still have! Because I'm sentimental)! The letters have been scrubbed off of the keys, and there is an actual groove in the spacebar. I definitely abused that thing when the site was young! BUT...you've got to know when to stop. When to pack it up for the night, shut it down, and have faith in your ability to pick up where you left off 'tomorrow'. Don't force it. Sometimes, the mind is willing, but the body can't keep up. If you're falling asleep at your computer? If your face is pressed against the keyboard and you wake up to 75 lines of the letter 'Z' because you just couldn't TAKE anymore? Then you're doing too much. Let it go. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to the same burnout and fatigue that I mentioned above. It's good to be ambitious and to give it your all...but you're only human. You need rest. You need food. You need to practice proper hygiene rituals. Hehehe! There comes a point when you need to call it quits, save what you have, and shut it all down for the night. That's just the way it goes sometimes. There have been countless times where I've actually gotten soooo MAD at myself for literally nodding off in my chair when I desperately wanted to get something done. Even now, I treat sleep the way bulimics treat food. I HATE it! I wish I didn't need sleep at all! I have WAY too much to do to waste hours and HOURS of my time sleeping. Grrrrr! But...nobody wants to read the half-baked ramblings of an author who's barely conscious while writing the next chapter of his/her story. Hang it up for the night. Go to bed, and come back when you have the brain power to put your best foot forward. K? It'll be there when you're ready to tackle it again. Besides, chances are you're just going to have to spend twice as much time editing the story when you finish. So you're not really saving yourself any time at all in the long run. So you might as well keep a healthy sleep schedule and get it right the first time. Right? Alright! So those are eight little tips that I've learned that will help to make my writing process a little bit easier on the body, mind, and emotions. Give these a look whenever you're having a bit of difficulty with getting that new work started or finished. I hope this will help! And happy writing, you guys! I wish you the best! Take care!

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