A gradual journey to a new normalcy

Some of you folks may be wondering where the Hell I’ve been. May was, of course, my month-long hiatus from Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, and it was definitely a learning experience. And then I didn’t blog for the entire month of June, which was a bit less intentional. Plenty of events transpired between the last post and this one; the world continued turning, people kept writing, and life went on (and I have so much to catch up on in my subscriptions that it actually gives me a headache thinking about it).

This post will be about the good, the bad, and the ugly, but not necessarily in that order. Don’t worry, though. A lot of this will be shortened up for everyone’s sake. Plus, really, the good outweighs the bad. It’s a lot more enjoyable to read the good stuff.

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Final preparations

Free Comic Book Day is practically here, which is nice because I’m feeling glum in a way that only free comics, Indian food, and watching Ultron wreck the Avengers’ collective shit can fix. I’m excited about a good few things that are coming up in May, actually,

I deleted the Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter apps from my phone already, which went a little something like this…

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I was going to be a wise-ass and compare this process to starting the first night at Five Nights At Freddy’s, but when I opened the game only to discover my save data at Night 4 was lost I kind of lost any desire to make that joke. Yeah, I’m not super-thrilled with that.

On that unfortunate note, I’ll see you folks in a month. Take care. Wish me luck.

A little bit of all-over-the-place

It has been a productive day, but I’m now at the point where my motivation is somewhere between “Eh, I guess I could do that” and “**** it, it’s my day off and it’s time to be lazy”.  Mostly because I’m a weird, semi-grumpy mood. Five Nights At Freddy’s taunts me from Steam, but I can’t bring myself to play it at the moment. (Sorry, Bonnie. You can kill me another day, you sneaky bastard.)

Mowing the lawn is admittedly not the best for keeping me ready to seize what’s left of the day, unless what I’m really seizing happens to be blankets and I’m curling up in my bed for a nap. It’s way too early to be thinking about sleep, and yet here we are. Today’s post will be a hodge-podge of whatever I want, as it’s the last real post I’m making. Tomorrow’s, as I’ve said, will be me snarking it up a little bit, and then Friday is May 1st. The first day of me being free from blogging on a daily basis. We’ll see how that works out. Anyway, on to the various things I want to post about. Continue reading

Winding down for my break that’s not a break

Yesterday was a great start to the week, and I only have tomorrow and Thursday before I take my hiatus from being tethered to the internet. (Because that’s something I complain about so often, obviously.)

As I get closer to this self-imposed hiatus from my various distractions (Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Tumblr, and so on), the more apprehensive I am about the possibility of failure. I’ve pointed out that I’m allowing Messenger and Instagram to avoid cutting myself off from the world beyond Altoona, and I will be using the internet for e-mail, searching for publications accepting submissions, and to help with writing, but I can’t help but worry I’ll manage to slip up. One month, though months seem to fly, is a rather long time when that time isn’t being flushed down the digital toilet.

It occurred to me this morning, however, that there’s no real point in worrying too much about it. Not using Facebook gives me time to focus on writing, reading, and actually enjoying my video games. (I mean, I’m spending money on them and not actually making use of them. That seems a bit counter-intuitive.) Without having to worry about coming up with a topic for each day for my blog, I’ll have more attention to devote to writing the short stories that are rattling around in my brain, the novel(s) I’ve put off for how long, and so on and so on. Strangely enough, I’m gradually discovering that worrying about everything isn’t really a viable solution. That is by no means me admitting that I’m going to up and stop worrying; I’ve got far too many energetic, highly active neuroses for that. What I am saying is that this break is exactly that: a break to wind down and focus on other things that matter.

Well, that and enjoy several amazing events throughout May. Why fret when I can finally work on getting more of my work published, more of my games conquered, unpack and clean up more of the apartment, and generally feel less high-strung?

Bracing for the hiatus

Today’s a sleepy, do-nothing sort of day, which would work out far better for me if I didn’t have work in about an hour. (Well, in an hour from the starting time of this post, anyway.) I also can’t help but feel a bit obligated to actually try writing posts with actual depth to them, as I have four days (three after today) of blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, and so on, before I start my self-imposed month-long hiatus from most social media and blogging, operating under the assumption I’ve probably reached the goal of One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0. Given that I started this back in January, I’ve probably exceeded that goal, and this might be a small admission that it’s actually quite difficult to keep track of if I’ve blogged for one hundred consecutive days. I imagine I could have crossed off days on a calendar, but hindsight and whatnot.  Continue reading

What writers say with how characters speak

There’s a lot to be said about dialogue attributions in writing. Sure, there are a billion ways to show a character is talking without going anywhere near the word said. If a character is angry, they might shout or yell something. Sad? They may cry or blubber. Happy? They might declare cheer. And so on and so on. There are grunts and grumbles and mumbles and whispers, too. So many ways to get the same ideas across that it’s absolutely maddening to think about. Why, then, do writers choose to instead stick to a steady stream of characters saying things? He said, she said, they said, and everyone else in between said.

I don’t have a right answer, but I have the answer I agree with more strongly. I’m actually fairly certain I’ve written on this topic before, now that I think about it. For the sake of keeping it fresh in people’s minds and because I haven’t got any better ideas. When everyone is going about saying things different ways, each attribution becomes a giant red flag of who is doing the talking. Every time someone opens their big, fictional mouth to shout or whisper or grumble, it turns into another distraction. Uniform use of said, with the occasional use of asked, allows attribution to blend in with the dialogue. The words being spoken are given center stage while the attributions work the flies and levers used by stage crew.

Let me emphasize this point: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using varied dialogue attributions. I think it’s better, for the sake of easier reading, to focus on using something that will allow the focus to fall on the dialogue itself, the actions, and the scenes. These repetitive attributions serve a greater purpose in the overall narrative. More importantly, though they serve this greater purpose they also don’t happen to be important enough to worry that they’re repetitive. That’s why, barring boring dialogue and bland characters, the he said she said business just blends in with the background noise.

The reality of it is that writers can choose to go either route without major detriment so long as there’s compelling writing backing it up. I just happen to prefer said to the collection of other possible choices.