Dog Ear
After Hours (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 17 January 2019 00:00

saw this great Martin Scorsese flick back when it came out in 1985. Funny story – my best friend’s mom and her daughter went to the art-flic house to see it and were totally confused. Why was this male dating-from-hell movie funny? The next night they took us to see it. We laughed uproariously all the way through it. They looked at us like it was some sort of elaborate joke.

If you are a man, see it and think of your own dating disasters. If you are a woman, ask your man to explain it. Or stick with Outlander.

But the point of this blog is writing and storytelling, and let’s get to that point. I started watching this again with a friend in the hospital the other night. Looking at it with my critical 30-years-after eyes,  I have to admit that it was still a wonderful movie. The thing is, from a storytelling viewpoint, it’s great. There is a lot of backstory you are left to ponder. The cook in the all-night dinner – what was his relationship with Marcie (with all the thrown and caught kisses)? What is it with Marcie’s burns, her cream, her book? What is her relationship with Greg, who is Franklin, and how does Kiki (with her plaster-of-Paris bagels) in any way connected to Julie (part-time waitress, part-time copy clerk, 60’s retro throwback)? Just like Paul, we are thrown into this strange district of Soho, seeing each street, watching the hours slip past as Paul goes from one strange event to another, with Neil and Pepe rattling around in their van in the background.

It reminds me of another great movie, Run Lola Run, where we learn every aspect of a small area around a Berlin bank in three different timelines.

The point is that this is great storytelling. Like a real person, we don’t know all the backstories. It is evident they exist – there are hints and innuendos. Often, in storytelling, we feel a need to explain how everything works, to step back from the story to tell why there are no phones in a house, or why every tree in a plantation has been cut down, or why a character has a limp. But as a writer, to give your readers something to ponder as they read, don’t explain it, not just yet. Let them wonder why trains don’t blow their whistles while passing through a town or why society is falling apart. Give them hints and maybe, later, a reveal. But no, you should set up your world with depth and peal the layers slowly!


Doldrums (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 09 January 2019 21:49

his isn’t writer’s block. At least I don’t think so.

There was an old Odds Bodkins comic (a Berkley counter-culture strip from the late 60s) where a character mumbles that it’s Monday and his brains are in the basement. I’ve always remembered that and it comes to mind now while considering a Thursday blog. Sometimes I just don’t feel like writing. Nothing creative comes to mind.

It's like that with game writing. I’m still adding functionality and adventure to StoreyMinus. During the day, I’ll be so excited to add new stuff to my adventures, like old bomb shelters (complete with a scattering of bones and a crashed German bomber) and the London Underground. And once I’m home, once I’ve had a beer and watched some anime and had my dinner and finally sat down at my desk, nothing. I just don’t feel like coding. I just don’t feel like anything.

So this is my fallback. When I don’t feel creative, I just write about increativity. I’m sure I’ve done this trick before. But for writers who must produce, it’s hard to deviate from your novel of love on the moors of Ancient Scotland and have your characters chat about writer’s doldrums. (“Ah ken no understand it. I jus’ dinna feel like writing today”). But what you can do is organize. One trick I did while story-writing was that if the ink wasn’t flowing, I’d go back and look at some of my earlier chapters. Read through it. Clean it up. And maybe it will get your quill quivering and ready for scribing. See, it worked for me here. I couldn’t think of a thing to write and now I’m going like gangbusters.

So yes, if you can’t write, you can always edit. Or straighten your desk. Or change a printer cartridge.

Just do something!


A reflection on time (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 03 January 2019 00:00

ime is always a sore subject with me.

I’ve never had enough of it. Even without kids, even with a quiet, low-maintenance wife, there isn’t any to spare. I haven’t written seriously (my old Tuesday/Thursday lockdown) for years now. And there are the dusty model  trains, the abandoned telescope, the unwatched movies. But still, in all this, I’m active, frantically so.

My recent efforts have been writing StoreyMinus, an interactive game that is nearing something like completion. And then there are two nights each week at the train club. Oh, and my buddy who is in a distant hospital, necessitating a long 2-3 nights/week drive. So yes, all my time drains away and I’m left with nothing.

Especially not time to focus on writing.

However, one good thing – I’ve been thinking of retirement (early retyrement, nyuk nyuk). I was thinking of putting in for it in November and backed out. Now, suddenly, the company is trying to reduce its grayhairs and I’m eligible for a handsome buyout. I plan to take it. Not sure what this sudden deluge of time will actually be like. It could be like those hardscrabble desert communities that suddenly are inundated with rain and become swampy morasses. And the retirees in my club tell me they never have time now, now that they’ve jumped ship.

So I’m looking at having to restructure myself for the next part of my life. Wondering if maybe I’ll assign writing days and review my older works (specifically Indigo and Wenamon) for submission to a new generation of literary agents. I’ve got to do something. In a matter of months, I’m going to have buckets of time.


Last Updated on Thursday, 03 January 2019 17:46
Best of 2018 (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 27 December 2018 00:00

s traditionally on this site (well, as of last year), here are my outstanding books from 2018. I am not ranking these in any order. Simply put, they are the best five from the 50 or so reviews I did this year. If you are looking for something to spend your Barnes & Noble gift card on, these are you best choices.

Leviathan Wakes – This has become a powerful series on the Sci-Fi network, a great saga of books that follows four characters on a small stolen ship in a universe defined by our solar system (in a hundred or so years). It was funny, scary, thoughtful and magnificent. Check it out!

The Last Days of Magic – Apparently, the real history of the world involves the spread of civilization and the suppression (or collection) of magic. Now the Catholic Church, with its monopoly on spell-casting, eyes Ireland as the final collection of raw, green magic.  Check it out!

The Shack – I’m not one for religious books but this one met me halfway. Can a man whose daughter has been killed by a serial killer find forgiveness and acceptance by God? For once, the dynamic trio is on the stand, having to answer for the sins of the world. Check it out!

A Man called Ove – Yeah, I said I wouldn’t rank books, but his one was my number one favorite. How can you like a cranky old man surrounded by the idiots our world produces? At the end, I don’t think it’s possible to not blink back tears – I was crying like a baby. A beautiful story told in magnificence. Check it out!

Dark Matter – Okay, so Ove was my number one favorite. This one was also. Everyone dreams that they’d love to have the world where they made the right choices. But what if you did and found it still sucked? This book will change the way you look at parallel universes – stunning! Check it out.

And so that’s it. You’ve got your reading list. Pick one of these up and then meet me for coffee and let’s chat about them.


Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2018 15:24

Page 2 of 86