In the ink well

Dog Ear

January 16, 2014

Who are our readers? (DOG EAR)

This question actually perplexes me. Who reads our books? Not only our blockbuster, publishing-house-backed books, but our little indie books. Have you ever looked over your fellow citizens, wondering who reads? Those heavyset man-children who wear flipflops and a ballcap into restaurants? The arrested youth who define our movies as simplistic drivel requiring only minimal attention to follow and only a touch more to predict? And desperately unhappy political worrywart? That Walmart black Friday pre-dawn shopper? The self-proclaimed over-stressed working mother? There is a 90% illiteracy rate in the poorer district in town. The bookshelves (limited as they are, pressed […]
January 9, 2014

Life imitating art (DOG EAR)

I‘m a cyclist-commuter. Bicycles catch my eye. But none has better than the one a month or two back, a bright orange bike (and I do mean orange – wheels, chains, everything) ridden by an orange man (and I do mean orange – a full body stocking (how did he SEE in that thing???)). That was notable – I mentioned it to my wife. Strange. Then a few days later, going into a local fast food place, I saw another orange bike chained up outside. Now, the tire was flat and it didn’t look like it had been ridden in […]
January 2, 2014

Rejection (DOG EAR)

(This was written a few weeks back, in the middle of the ‘overlord’ series. I’m mostly down off this, but still disappointed. However, I decided to post it up, just in case some other writer who feels the same way finds fellowship. And why would I want them to quit? I don’t want to be the only one who gets hammered like this.)  I don’t feel like writing tonight. I got fucking rejected. A while back I got a request for stories from a publisher I’ve have contacts with before – a call for submissions. It had to be a historic piece. I thought about […]
December 26, 2013

The Perfect Gift (DOG EAR)

Okay, so this would have been a handy thing to post up a few weeks earlier, but I was in the midst of the Overlord series (and I didn’t think about it until now) so there. But Christmas gifts. Everyone worries about Christmas gifts. Why? If you follow this blog (and there are about 100 out there who do), you are a reader and perhaps a writer. You are someone who likely knows books and are interested in them. This being the case, you should have the makings of a wonderful gift for that loved one you are shopping for. […]
December 19, 2013

Being an Evil Overlord Part 5 (DOG EAR)

And here it is – the final set of silly, overused plot devices for winning against a villain. Yes, there were a total of 238 of them. Thanks again to Peter Anspach who holds copyright to this (does that mean every time one of these boners shows up in the late show, he gets money?). I don’t care if you try these tricks at home. Just don’t do them in your writing!   All giant serpents acting as guardians in underground lakes will be fitted with sports goggles to prevent eye injuries. All crones with the ability to prophesy will […]
December 12, 2013

Being an Evil Overlord Part 4 (DOG EAR)

And now we go into our Fourth week of five, another 50 rules for either maintaining your evil empire or not making your villain’s overthrow trite and predictable. Enjoy these but note them – if I see one of them in a book of your’s, I’ll hash you in a review. You’ve been warned. I will not set myself up as a god. That perilous position is reserved for my trusted lieutenant. I will instruct my fashion designer that when it comes to accessorizing, second-chance body armor goes well with every outfit. My Legions of Terror will be an equal-opportunity […]
December 4, 2013

Being an Evil Overlord Part 3 (DOG EAR)

And here we are with our third set of campy, silly, overdone ways that heroes overthrow overlords. I mean, is any of this fair? Not to the overlords, who should be better than this. And not to the readers, whose story they paid for should be better than this. Read these, think about these, and don’t do these. I will not order my trusted lieutenant to kill the infant who is destined to overthrow me — I’ll do it myself. I will not waste time making my enemy’s death look like an accident — I’m not accountable to anyone and […]
November 28, 2013

Being an Evil Overlord Part 2 (DOG EAR)

We continue with our review of the things NOT to do if you are an evil overlord. Further, it’s also a list of the things we shouldn’t do as writers. These are overused plot tricks that allow the heroes to overcome the long odds against them. If you see your own story reflected in any of the below, consider another draft. Enjoy… If one of my dungeon guards begins expressing concern over the conditions in the beautiful princess’ cell, I will immediately transfer him to a less people-oriented position. I will hire a team of board-certified architects and surveyors to […]
November 21, 2013

Being an Evil Overlord Part 1 (DOG EAR)

Overlords are a popular villain of movies and literature. They provide the foil against which the hero can play his heroics against. They are important, perhaps necessary to have. But they can be painfully obvious, too. The trick is to not make them too trite and predictable. And when I say that, it’s actually amazing how many ploys, plots and desperate schemes we’ve enjoyed in books and theaters, where thousands of plucky do-gooders defeat thousands of world-enders, power-grabbers, magic-hoarders, land-seizers, and country-invaders.  There really isn’t much new under the sun today when it comes from defeating a madman’s master plans. […]
November 14, 2013

If it ain’t Baroque… (DOG EAR)

The Baroque is a period of artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance, and music. The style began around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe. Yes, literature. This really came to me while writing the review for Pillars of the Earth, a Ken Follett book. I jumped from him to one my my favorite authors, China Miéville, a brilliant writer who makes me curse when I read his books, the wording is so clever. Follett’s writing is very methodical. […]