Tag Archives: writing

Approaching a Nascent Story Idea

This week, I started a new story project, and am finding that, as I get more experienced as a writer, I find myself committing myself to a specific story form less and less. It used to be that I always either started a short story or a novel, and I would hold myself to the statement that I made initially. As a result, I would do everything that I could to ensure that a short story ended within 7,500 words, and I would give up on a novel far before I would decide to condense it. It took me several failed attempts before I realized how dangerous this mindset can be. Continue reading

It Doesn’t Pay to Pay to Be Published

This is one of those pieces of advice that every writer I talk to seems to understand before I ever bring it up. However, there must be some writers out there that believe that paid publishing, be it a vanity press or a vanity press under the subversive label “subsidy publisher,” is an effective way to get your work out there. Otherwise, these businesses would be unable to turn a profit. So, clearly, there are some out there who believe that they will benefit from these publishers. While it is possible to work these systems to your own benefit as an author, I would contend that the wide majority of paid publishing authors wind up taking a loss on their work. Here’s why: Continue reading

Now that the Election Is Over, How about Some Political Trivia?

So, it turns out that I need to learn my U.S. History a little bit better. I was sitting around the other day when I thought that I had made a brilliant hypothesis, that it was the habit of the Democratic Party to elect former Senators and the habit of the Republican Party to elect former Governors. It’s one of those “facts” that rings true when you hear it, but in actuality, is completely and utterly false.

It didn’t take me long to find the first problem with the above theory: Bill Clinton, our President throughout much of the nineties (1992 to 2000, to be exact), was the governor of Arkansas before being elected to the office. Not exactly where you would expect a democratic POTUS to come from, but then, this was probably common knowledge that I simply forgot in the formation of my (false) theory.

Let me stop here and say that, no, this post isn’t the response to me stating the above hypothesis in a debate and getting thoroughly thrashed for it. Rather, it was a thought that occurred to me which I then proceeded to see how true it was. It turns out, not very.

The last 10 Democratic Presidents follow, with their positions before the Presidency listed beside them. Essentially, this is a list of what their business cards would have looked like before becoming President, in reverse chronological order:

  • Barack Obama, U.S. Senator
  • Bill Clinton, Governor of Arkansas
  • Jimmy Carter, Governor of Georgia
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, Vice President
  • John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator
  • Harry S. Truman, Vice President
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor of New York
  • Woodrow Wilson, Governor of New Jersey
  • Grover Cleveland, Governor of New York
  • Andrew Johnson, Vice President

So, breaking that down, we have exactly 2 former U.S. Senators in the group, along with 3 Vice Presidents and 5 former governors. Let’s take a look at the last 10 Republican Presidents:

  • George W. Bush, Governor of Texas
  • George H.W. Bush, Vice President
  • Ronald Reagan, Governor of California
  • Gerald Ford, Vice President
  • Richard Nixon, Vice President
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander Europe
  • Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce
  • Calvin Coolidge, Vice President
  • Warren G. Harding, U.S. Senator
  • William Howard Taft, Secretary of War

Here we have 2 former governors, 1 military figure, 2 cabinet secretaries, 1 U.S. Senator, and 4 Vice Presidents. If anything, I was more wrong about Republicans than Democrats.

One thing that I would point out, though, is that we could make the statement that Republicans have more experience getting a previously non-elected official into the White House. All of the Democrats last 10 candidates, after all, previously held elected positions. 3 out of the past 10 Republican Presidents, however, previously had political positions which were appointed rather than elected. Does this mean anything? Probably not, other than perhaps the RNC shouldn’t be scoffed at when they decide to go for those who have never held an elected office. They’ve pulled that off just fine in the past.

I suppose this could be seen as arguable, of course. It depends on whether you define Vice President as an elected or appointed position. I personally see it as elected, because the Vice President is selected by the President, and the two then run together for both offices. So, by choosing a President, the voters also are choosing a Vice President. If we go with the supposition that a Vice President is appointed, however, the Republicans still show much more experience than the Democrats, with 7 out of 10 of their past Presidents being from non-elected positions compared to just 3 out of 10 for Democrats.

Just a bit of trivia for everybody. Consider it a palate cleanser of knowledge after several months of being fed lies and emotional appeals.

“Entering” Into a Story

I have fifteen minutes for the first time in about a week or so in which to do some writing. Normally, I would focus on my stories first, but fifteen minutes isn’t really enough time for me to get into a story “groove.” However, it’s definitely enough time for me to crank out a short blog post. Fifteen minutes is long enough for me to do that, but not long enough for me to do anything story-wise. Continue reading

Graduate School Applications by the Numbers

So, I know, I know, I am doing horribly keeping this blog updated regularly. I am still trying to find my niche, not to mention the hectic nature of what I’ve been doing lately: Graduate school applications! You can probably imagine how those go: A decapitated chicken probably comes to mind. As I come out on the tail end of things, though, I’m finding more time to write. Expect more consistent blogging soon! Continue reading

Ever Have a Weird Dream?

So, I wanted to get a post up for myself this week, more out of determination than anything. I don’t like the fact that I’ve been highly irregular as to when I posted, and I am, as a result, determined to put something up, even if it’s three days late. The goal after this will be to write something for Monday, too, in order to get myself back into a regular update schedule. Not that anybody is reading this blog just yet, but I know that consistency is pretty important for stuff like this.

The thing that is most impressed upon my mind right now is a dream that my wife had about me last night. See, my wife has a talent for remembering her dreams, and with both of us being Christians, we don’t discount the possibility that the dreams she remembers are meaningful. Likewise, perhaps there is meaning in the fact that I, unlike her, am horrible at remembering dreams. At any rate, the reason that I say all of this stuff about dreams is that I have been feeling rather low and uncertain lately. It’s hard, in a broken economy in a fallen world, to really know how to do right by your family and by God. I’m not trying to preach or anything, but rather I am just being honest about the assumptions that I hold in my daily life. Continue reading

5 Things Exercise Has Taught Me About Writing

Today, I ran a 5K (A 5,000-meter run for the uninitiated, and a 3.1-mile run for the really, really uninitiated).  Moreover, I ran this 5K in an unofficial event, in 27 minutes, just because I wanted the exercise and the practice. This is not something which would have happened even 4 months ago. Continue reading