Moment of Candor 1

Writing can be difficult. The process of gaining skills can seem interminable.

As my first moment of candor, a brief philosophical take on the writing craft, I would like to address skill-building.

Wherever your writing skills are, they are probably enough for some reader. Wherever your writing skills are going it is important to recognize what you already have going for you. An honest assessment of your abilities can be valuable at any stage.

I hope that’s not too vague, but I think more writers need encouragement than need critique. One can only improve skills by using them.

Thanks for reading.

Tomorrow is Saturday for me, but as the terminator said in the sequel.

I’ll be back.

Don’t forget the best way to support an author is to buy and review their books.

Word Works 1

Hello readers!

Thursday’s blog post is called Word Works, though I considered other names for it that may be more clearly descriptive.

I considered “First Fifteen” because the exercise I share is me starting a flash-fiction story and typing on it for 15 minutes.

I considered “Random Work” because the exercise is generally based on random prompts from the internet.

So, for today I went to seventh sanctum’s website, hit the random generator a couple times, then generated a character concept from their quick character generator.

Finally, I picked two genres to blend and named my main character as well as a couple other terms. I also decided to avoid guns and swords as operative weapons because of the direction my prompts took me and picked a replacement term for that as well.

What I generated today didn’t figure much into the story, but I used them as jumping off points. This is not a challenge to write anything in particular, not even based on the prompts I got.

That said, my pre-notes sheet looked more or less like this before writing:

Random Elements: HowlSting = Magical School House, Temple Terrier = Dogbreed. Character: A pious, heroic lawman.
World type/genre: Fantasy with western flavor.
-Magekeeper = Lawman
-Lanteb = Protagonist Name
-Oathwarpers = Not gun or sword (weapon)

Finally, I noted I wanted to include another character’s name. Then, I began.

When I started writing I used cold turkey writer pro, a nice little program that blocked access to everything else for 15 minutes. I got about 600 words, which is a lot for me in 15 minutes, maybe even a personal best. Here they are, rough as anything, if you’re curious.


Magekeeper Lanteb walked the old battle line, heading west. He carried his oathwarper at his hip and a sword on his back. His outer coat shimmered with reflected heat from the scorching sun as he entered the desert. Here the troops once fought their war. Here the bones of countless lives, both mage and mortal, lay buried beneath the sand. No animals would approach the line after what happened there.
Hard to believe it had been fifty years and not five. Derelict structures stood as obelisks of magical combat. Each one, its black side scarred with warp strains and marked by cuts and cracks looked as ancient as any structure know to humans, but Lanteb knew better.
Here the war had left its mark the surest. No life would last here for long. A nagging doubt and fear crawled into his mind as he turned to cross the line. On one side, the nation of Catwan ruled. On the other, the old enemies reigned. Neither human nor animal, these things could be deadly as any warp blast even unarmed. Yet, here they had perished surely as their human foes. The strike must have been terrifying to witness from a distance. No one could report from the midst of the fray, on what the soldiers had seen, felt, thought before the end.
Lanteb stepped over the line and into the territory of devils. His steps kicked up dust as he walked further into the realm of unknowable evil. Even mages, real mages, not magekeepers, would not stray here, lest their spirits be ripped from them by the infernal inhabitants of this cursed place. A magekeeper might be as wary as Lanteb, bedecked in charms and talismans to hide his presence. A true mage knew better, Lanteb thought. A true mage never would have come to this place.
He pressed forward over dust and earth until he reached a rise perhaps a mile and a half from the line. There, he set down the bag he carried and set to work unpacking the devices and monitoring enchantments constructed by Miria. No, a mage would never cross the line, and no other mage would have thought to help Lanteb in his mission to scout the region of devils.
He wished for a moment, Miria had seen fit to deny him aid. After all, without the mechanical spells she had devised he would be safe walking some other path, some other place. She made this possible, and possibly doomed him as as result.
He saw no choice, given the opportunity. His fault, he acknowledged inwardly. No blame remained for Miria.
Lanteb finished with the compass, the sensor spells, and the alarm enchantments. He positioned the emitter rod, then plunged it into a spot of soft earth so it stood like a small flagpole without colors to fly. Lanteb collected the pack, then turned and started toward the line.
Shadows followed him, creeping and sliding between rocks. He quickened his pace with only a glance behind. The fear of devils swirled in his mind, fluid in this heat, despite the icy chill it gave him.
Less than a quarter mile to the line, they caught up with him. Lanteb drew his oathkeeper in a smooth motion, taking time. He aimed at the first of the shapes materializing from the shadowside of the desert. The devil loomed, claws extending. Breath of pure heat flared, feeling like dead wind on Lanteb’s face.
His impulse triggered the oathwarper. Venomous light split the demon into fragments. Spirals of energy dispersed into the air overhead.
Lanteb ran for the line.

Craft in Reverse 1 – 2 12 2019

Welcome to craft in reverse, a blog series where I take a popular piece of writing advice and deconstruct it before your very eyes! Here’s hoping this isn’t a terrible idea.

This week’s piece of writing advice goes as follows: Don’t use adjectives or adverbs.

I really like this piece of advice. When one removes these simpler ways to add descriptive flavor the writer must rely on stronger verbs to deliver the desired meaning. Definitely, overusing adjectives and adverbs can make a piece a drag to read.

However…

A well-placed adjective (Or even, GASP, an adverb!) can torque the emphasis of a sentence with vivid verb and subject to an even higher level. And sometimes, the opposite case, where one can deliver the meaning one intends most efficiently with simple descriptors.

Like practically every piece of writing advice, this one needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

This one is brief, but if it proved at all interesting or useful, let me know. I will be back next week with more of this series. In the mean-time enjoy the podcasts and other posts on this blog.

My books are available at Amazon.com. Check out my author profile if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading!

Practice Makes Practice 1 – 2 12 2019

Hello, writers and readers! This blog series is all about my process as a writer and the continuing journey of writing each week, each day, each session.

Lately, I’ve been following some ideas I read about from fellow science fiction author, Chris Fox. Somewhere in his series of writing advice books (I can’t recall exactly which one, but possibly “5000 Words Per Hour”) is the idea of writing sprints, a concept available all over the place.

I’ve tried the technique of writing for timed segments, whether its 30 minutes or an hour before. Last week I decided to try again. This time I shot smaller each session, writing just 15 minutes at a time in the program I use to block distractions (Cold Turkey Writer). I found this really helps me where I’m currently positioned mentally in my writing career.

The core of my writing challenges lately is something like doubt leading to inattention. I doubt my next move for whatever reason, and then I don’t want to look at the story because it makes me uncomfortable. I procrastinate as result. Anything but the book.

The above is my current problem, but investing 15 minutes at a time is easier for me as a discovery writer than saying to myself, “I know what the next 1000 or 2000 words will be, so I can sit down for an hour and hammer them out.” I like the smaller requirement of time, but I’ve been doing two or three sessions back to back a lot of the time.

Writing begets writing, as the wisdom of my elders goes.

I wrote about 9000 words last week, 15 minutes at a time.

So that’s where I’m at as of this writing.

I plan to continue this blog about my writing practice each Monday, but that’s not all. Tune in every day of the week for a new podcast or post about writing, or on Wednesdays, role playing games.

Now, for some quick business. My books are available at Amazon.com. The Pillar Universe series, The Root Conspiracy series, and the Spells of The Curtain series are all out in force. The Pillar Universe is a space opera and my latest work. The Root Conspiracy is cyberpunk with an emphasis on interpersonal and communications as well as very human characters. Spells of the Curtain is my current most-selling series and consists of six short fantasy novellas following a young mage as he works to preserve the nation where he lives.

Read Storm Fleet now!http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LCQC6JL

Thanks for reading!

Storm Fleet Preorder Now Live

I am proud to announce my next novel, Storm Fleet is available now for preorder, releasing December 19th.

The first book in The Pillar Universe series, Storm Fleet is space opera like you’ve never read before. Follow Yajain on her journey and see what I’m raving about, hee hee.

If you love science fiction high on action and adventure, preorder and read it when it launches. Happy holidays and thanks for reading!

Friday Morning Rambling and NaNoWriMo

I don’t recall exactly what happened in my dream last night.

I wish I did because they left me feeling pretty cheerful when I woke up.

It’s been a pretty odd week. For one thing, early on, I stayed up for 30 consecutive hours, hoping I could focus to finish my current work in progress in one day and night. I got a lot of words, but the book is still in process. I should be able to finish the book sometime between now and next Tuesday.

And yes, it is NaNoWriMo this month. Many writers of all kinds and commitment levels go to the trenches to try to write 50,000 words in one month.

I have done word counts like this before, but I’m a bit out of practice at the moment. Last month I almost managed it. This year, I’m not signed up to participate, but make no mistake, my goal is to write as many words as I can this month. No staying up all night, though. I want to make this more sustainable than my past mentality of writing as a special occasion (Which is silly for a lot of reasons, not least because it’s over half my job right now).

So, as November begins, let me encourage those of you doing NaNo to keep in mind sustainability for the future. A burst of words is a good time, but words week in and week out is even better, in my opinion.

Good day and good luck.

Thanks for reading.

Today’s Goal

Hey everyone!

I missed posting last Friday, but today I’m warming up for a big day of writing by putting this brief post online.

Writing has been okay these past two weeks. I always want to go faster, and I’ve been feeling that lately.

Overall, though, life is pretty good.

So, today I’m planning to swing for the fences. For me, this means a goal of 5000 words. Should be doable, if a little difficult.

That’s it for now. Have a good day.

Thanks for reading.

Alive After Reading Episode 26 – Suzy Vadori Returns

This week on Alive After Reading, I, Tim Niederriter have an interview with Suzy Vadori, award-winning author of The Fountain, and now, its prequel, The West Woods.

Find Suzy’s new book, The West Woods, here.

You can check out my books on my amazon.com page.

Thanks for listening everybody!

Alive After Reading Takes a Week Off

Hey, everybody, it’s Tim.

Just a heads-up. I am behind on recording interviews, so in all likelihood, there will be no episode of Alive After Reading this weekend. However, I promise you now, the incoming episodes I have scheduled will be worth it.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

And have a good weekend. Stay safe as you can.